Orbital Sound supplies Yamaha kit for Happy Days musical

Happy Days, A New Musical, featuring all the familiar characters from the classic TV series, is now coming to theatres across the UK and Ireland.

Designed by Ben Harrison and provided by Orbital Sound, the show’s audio production includes a Yamaha CL5 console at FOH, with I/O from two Rio3224-D units – one in the orchestra pit for the band inputs and a combination of mics and DIs, while the other is on stage handling inputs from the cast microphones. The AES outputs from the second unit feed a Yamaha DME64N digital mixing engine, which outputs AES to the front-of-house PA.

Also at FOH, a PC with Dante Virtual Soundcard is running Steinberg Nuendo Live, allowing full multitrack recordings of each show. A patch change on the desk enables playback of the recordings through the correct input channels for virtual soundchecking. Sound effect playback is delivered by two computers running in tandem – one as a main and one as a backup – fed directly into the console through an MY16-AT ADAT interface.

A Yamaha fan, Harrison used a CL console for the first time on last year’s production of Piaf at Leicester Curve, but this show was more of a challenge.

“This show has a much higher channel count than Piaf and it’s important for the operator to see and access more faders on the surface for a show of this size, so the CL5 was the perfect choice,” he commented. “As well as the original Happy Days theme, there are over 20 original songs in the show. Nearly all are delivered with high energy by the company and have a real feel of the era about them. Making sure we could achieve the impact of volume along with hearing the storytelling lyrics clearly is an important part of the design.

“I chose DPA 4066 headsets for the company to tighten up the vocal sound, but with close miking comes the need for more dynamic control, which the CL5 has in abundance. The onboard dynamic EQ comes into play heavily during the loudest sections of the show, whilst the reverbs and delays allow me to create the authentic effects of the era.”

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