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Piaf sound design comes up roses with a Yamaha CL3

Erica Basnicki 25 April 2013
Piaf sound design comes up roses with a Yamaha CL3

Sound designer Ben Harrison chose a Yamaha CL3 for Leicester’s Curve production of Piaf – which tells the story of the famous French chanteuse – and starred renowned West End musical star Frances Ruffelle (pictured).   A long-time Yamaha user, Piaf provided Harrison with the opportunity to design his first show on a CL series console. “I first used the PM1D on a theatre tour back in 2002 and have almost exclusively specified Yamaha consoles ever since – I currently have five PM1Ds and two PM5Ds out on national tours,” he said. “I had been waiting for the right project to specify a CL console for and, when Piaf came up, it seemed ideal.   “The design brief was that we were aiming to achieve something epic, almost filmlike in its audio quality,” he continued. “So, although it was staged in a comparatively small space, it needed to be dynamic and impressive. With its extensive onboard processing, the CL3 was a great solution to help me deliver what was needed.”   The nine-strong cast was all on radio mics, complemented by a three-piece band comprising grand piano, percussion and an accordionist.   “Most important was Piaf’s microphone, from which the majority of her songs in the show would be delivered,” said Harrison. “It needed to fit with the show stylistically, but also be functional. We settled on a Shure 55 mounted on an original Atlas Hydraulic stand, with a wireless transmitter mounted in the base so it could be moved around during scene changes.    “I knew that getting the level and tonal quality that I was after out of the 55 was going to be a challenge, but the CL3’s dynamic EQ and compressors helped me deal with it perfectly,” added Harrison.  “As a freelance sound designer it’s always difficult to put yourself out there and specify a console you’ve never used, particularly on a commercial show. But I was incredibly impressed with the CL3, I found it very intuitive and user friendly…I’m happy to say I wouldn’t hesitate to specify one again.”   www.yamahaproaudio.com  

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