Held the last weekend of April in Wilkesboro, NC, this year’s MerleFest included more than 125 artists with area roots such as Alan Jackson and Merle Haggard, and as they’ve done for the past 27 years, SE Systems of Greensboro, NC provided audio production, supported by Yamaha Commercial Audio supplying four CL5 digital audio consoles to add to the inventory of the festival, which already utilizes a strong contingent of Yamaha-NEXO gear.
Two Yamaha CL5s were used for front of house and monitors at both the Americana Stage and the Hillside Stage. “All worked flawless and sounded great,” states Bryan Smith of SE Systems.
“The Yamaha CL5 is a great-sounding, and versatile console that was perfect the Americana Stage,” adds Melissa Joplin Higley, who mixed front of house. “The console, Dante networking, and Rio input/output boxes performed consistently. I found the CL5 to offer more flexibility and horsepower, and the Premium Rack effects are a tremendous advantage.”
Higley also utlized a good deal of the CL5’s onboard processing. “I particularly enjoyed the Custom Fader Banks, especially since we used a festival patch,” she explains. “It was great to have each band’s input list consolidated on one page for easy access to channels, and we were able to quickly and easily adapt to many different scenarios, including hosting guest engineers, patching artist stage snakes into our Rio boxes, running ‘ears’ from front of house, etc.”
Jeff Neubauer mixed monitors at the Hillside Stage using a CL5. “I enjoyed the custom page feature that allowed me to just choose the channels that we were using out of the Festival page for each act,” he says. “The ease of Dante to route audio between consoles was also a nice feature, and I also liked the ability to recall parts and pieces of show files.”
SE Systems also deployed four Yamaha PM5D consoles for FOH and monitors at both the Walker Center and the Chris Austin Stage, while the Creekside Stage was served by NEXO GEO D arrays with GEO subwwofers. And for the main Watson Stage, SE Systems provided NEXO 45-N monitors with NEXO NXAMP 4x4 power amplifiers. Finally, in the video/recording trailer, a Yamaha O1V 96i console was used to route to DVRs and converters.
“This year, a new stage was added to our production,” Smith notes. “It was a small courtyard style stage called The Plaza and used for smaller, local acts. We only needed to cover audio in a small area, so we decided to use eight Yamaha DSR 112 active loudspeakers—four for mains and four for monitors. No subs were required. The DSR loudspeakers sounded awesome and projected just like we expected—the bass was strong, but not overpowering, and a perfect match for this stage.”
Yamaha Commercial Audio