January 16, 2014, by PSW Staff
The Arsenio Hall Show premiered in September 2013 and features a mix of comedy, music and celebrity guests, adding a new perspective to the late-night scene.
Hosted by comedian and actor Arsenio Hall, the daily, one-hour nationally syndicated late-night talk show is anchored by the Tribune Broadcasting Station Group and produced by CBS Television Distribution.
Peter Baird, the sound system designer as well as the music mixer for The Arsenio Hall Show, along with the production mixer, house and monitor engineers, chose five Yamaha CL Digital Audio Consoles and six Rio3224-D input/output boxes to kick off the season.
Two CL5s and one CL3 are used at front of house with two CL5s at the monitor mix position.
“When production mixer Ish Garcia asked me to come in as the show’s music mixer, we spent some time together strategizing about what an ideal system would look like,” states Baird.
“We knew the show would be very music-heavy and wanted the system requirements to check four main boxes: 1) 160 inputs available to split between the house band, guest artists, and production, 2) tight integration and future-proofing, 3) stability and reasonable immunity from buzzes, hums, and grounding issues, and 4) incontestably great sound.”
Baird said he did a lot of research and was surprised to find that most major professional audio manufacturers still think in terms of single consoles with local input/output resources rather than integrated, networked systems.
“It’s true that some manufacturers have implemented various modes of moving audio around including MADI and EtherSound, but only Yamaha had really perfected the relationship between separate console operators using shared resources.
“And, the more I read about Dante, the more I thought a large Dante network might be the best answer for us.”
Garcia and Baird have been through the audio selection process before, having been the mixing team on Lopez Tonight.
“In a project like The Arsenio Hall Show, the audio team needs to be able to move inputs and outputs around quickly and flexibly to deal with whatever the production team might throw at us,” explains Baird. “For example, we need to be able to quickly integrate any number of players suddenly showing up to sit in with the house band, while at the same time keeping the whole system as simple and understandable as possible for the operators.
“Yamaha’s incremental approach to console operations and CentraLogic meant that our FOH and Monitor Mixers, James Young and Greg Keslake, were already largely familiar with the console surface conventions from the very first day.”
Baird added that the economics of networked audio are not insignificant.
“Traditionally a show like The Arsenio Hall Show would have at least three 56 pair of three-way transformer splitters with all of the associated interconnect copper between them, and in some cases, hundreds and hundreds of feet. Those 504 outputs (3 x 56 x 3) would feed separate consoles, with each output requiring a separate head amp.
“As mixers, we know that the best-sounding consoles are the ones with the best head amps, and a console with 64 top-drawer head amps costs more money than one with 64 mediocre head amps. But a networked system only needs one really great head amp per channel no matter how many consoles it’s connected to.
“With the CL series having only 8 head amps on board, Yamaha was able to spend time and money making the console as ergonomically correct as possible rather than trying to re-engineer head amp design to fit a small footprint.
“Also, in the case of Dante, local interconnects are on Cat 6 cable, with point-to-point connections on fiber, a monumental savings over the same capabilities in copper. And to clarify, the head amps in the Rio3224-D input/output box are spectacular.
“They are clear and detailed, yet with great body, warmth, and musicality; a great foundation for a system in a critical installation like The Arsenio Hall Show.”
Monitor Engineer, Greg Keslake says he’s a big fan of Yamaha digital consoles having been introduced to digital over 15 years ago with the Yamaha 01V, and since that time, has extensively used all of the larger format consoles.
“We are using Dante exclusively for FOH, Monitors and Music Production, and I am even using a Dante MY16 Card in my house monitor console for high level returns from production,” he explains.
Keslake said for monitors he’s using one CL5 dedicated to the house band and one dedicated to the guest bands.
“The house band is using the new Aviom 360’s, and I am sending the band each a mixture of direct outs, mixes and matrices. This has given them the comfort of being able to adjust the instruments of their choice very quickly but hasn’t limited my ability to supplement their mixes as needed.
“The Yamaha CL has also made it extremely easy to swap around what channels I send the house band based on weekly sit-in artists via Dante patching.”
On the guest band console, Keslake has dedicated mixes 1-16 as stereo in-ears, 17-24 as wedges, matrix’s 1-7 are effects sends, and matrix 8 is a drum sub mix.
“The dedicated mixes have allowed me to have a very good starting point for almost any guest band with very little information,” he explains. ” I have found the ability to map my own channels to custom fader banks immensely valuable specifically on the CL5 guest band console.
“I am using the C5 and C6 banks to map my daily used mixes enabling me to bounce around very quickly between them. I was also extremely impressed with the addition of the Premium Rack in the CL Series.”
With an audience of 201, James Young, front of house engineer is using a CL3 for the house band with six stems to the CL5 production console: left, right, sub, two vocal stems, lead and BGV, and a ‘guest’ stem for when someone sits in with the house band.
Guest bands land in a separate CL5 with a similar 6 stem set up.
“The Dante network has been very stable, and the Yamaha CL consoles are very easy to set up and use with classic Yamaha reliability. I also appreciate the extra DCA’s, effects rack, and custom fader banks.”