St Martin-in-the-Fields upgrades with Yamaha

St Martin-in-the-Fields, one of London’s most famous places of worship, delivers events and live music to 750,000 visitors every year, and has a Yamaha QL1 console at the heart of its new audio system.

The church also occupies a unique place in broadcast history, having made the very first religious broadcast, and it continues to broadcast to people around the world. SFL Group’s extensive portfolio of worship installations meant that the company was a natural partner to handle the upgrade. 

“Being open and inclusive are the cornerstones of the church’s mission, part of which is ensuring that its congregation and audiences enjoy the best possible sound at its services and musical performances,” said SFL sales and installations manager Tim Horton. 

“Originally we were going to use the LS9, because we needed a console with a small footprint, but it was also very important for the church to have Dan Dugan auto microphone mixing. When we saw the QL1, which has the Dan Dugan facility built in, it was the obvious choice. It saved an expansion card slot, plus the combination of Dante networking with local I/O meant we could tailor the system precisely to the church’s needs. It made the system more flexible, yet more straightforward, than any other solution.”

Complementing the console is a Yamaha Rio1608-D I/O unit at the altar end of the church, plus a pair of Ro8-D output units for broadcast requirements.

“The church has 11 lectern microphone positions, plus five wireless microphone systems and some ambient microphones,” continued Horton. “The church wants to be as inclusive as possible, so the latter are important for broadcasting sermons and concerts to the foyer and to loudspeakers installed within the exterior portico."

An important part of public inclusion is catering for the hearing impaired and those who cannot get to London. The expansion card slot, freed by having the Dugan auto mixing onboard, allowed an MY4-DA interface card to be installed, providing four XLR outputs for a high quality induction loop and outboard recording. 

While the church’s concerts are largely classical, ‘unplugged’-style performances are also popular, so the Rio1608-D allows for amplified instruments and also powered monitoring or IEMs to be used when needed.

“As well as its small size, another advantage of the QL1 was that it was very straightforward to teach to the staff. Yamaha digital consoles are inherently straightforward and we set the QL1 up with scenes for different uses, all on the user defined keys,” Horton concluded.