The popular BBC1 programme Strictly Come Dancing has just completed a 21-date live arena tour, where fans had the chance to watch the celebrity participants and their professional dance partners strut it up on stage.
South Wales-based Sonalyst has designed and facilitated the sound and lighting for the Strictly tour for several years. Managing director and sound designer Rory Madden chose a pair of Yamaha PM5Ds, an M7CL and an LS9 to mix the 2014 production.
Sonalyst projects manager, George Pakenham says: "The vocal interaction between presenter Lisa Riley, judges, celebrities and their professional dance partners is a key element to the production. The sound design demands that this is delivered to every seat in the arena without compromise."
Pakenham continues: "All inputs are mixed live for every show and, due to the way the consoles are designed; we are enabled to be in complete control of the mix. As ever, the Yamaha consoles have proved to be reliable throughout the production, they are always a popular choice for this reason."
Head of audio, Gareth Lewis (pictured above) explains that one of the biggest challenges of the show is mixing the monitors. Lewis mixes monitors on a second PM5D, with an LS9-32 acting as switcher for two playback machines, dealing with presenter talkback, some overall show relay and as a line driver for the ‘voice of god’.
"The show has grown dramatically over the past few years. The PM5D and LS9 are fully loaded, but I love mixing on the PM5D. It's really comfortable to use, you can do everything on the surface and wherever you are you can see everything that’s going on," explains Lewis.
At the programme's home at the new BBC Studios and post production, Elstree Film Studios, a 70-fader Studer Vista 8 console was used for primary mixing duties and a Studer OnAir 3000 console was used for grams and as a system routing hub. A Studer Vista 1 console handled the surround mix and down-mix check for the BBC 1 HD channel feed.