I've been handling front-of-house sound mixing for the "Nashville Star" TV show for the past five seasons. The 2008 season will mark the third year that a Yamaha PM5D has been the console of choice for the show, with a DSP5D Expander added this year. The flexibility of this desk is unbelievable and it makes my life in "combat audio" very manageable.
"Nashville Star" differs from typical front-of-house mixing duties due to the additional TV production elements tied in, as compared to mixing live music-only shows. The show requires numerous zones, as well as multiple monitoring options, including feeds to the main PA, lobby, judges, VIP area and others. This season I'm using a total of 21 outputs on the PM5D.
The show features different themes, ranging from pop to rock, with various national acts as guest performers. Adding the Yamaha DSP5D Expander has allowed us to accommodate all the guest bands, as there is no real position for a guest front-of-house desk due to studio audience seating. The PM5D platform is very user-friendly and a welcome sight for guest engineers.
This year I'm providing the show judges with an in-ear mix, one of the features this desk makes possible. Each judge receives a music/program mix, but as this is a live show, producers need to interrupt that mix frequently. To solve this, I side-chained the mix compressor with a mix of dialog/IFB's from the TV truck. When the show's producers need to provide direction, it's heard and then the mix will be restored.
Mixing a live television show is challenging, and every aspect affects every other department. The show's monitor engineers (Robert Bull and Shane Hamill) have to keep the contestants content without affecting the broadcast mix—a very fine line to walk. We need to be heard, but not adversely affect the broadcast mix, as crowd interaction is a big part of this type of show.
MICS PRESENT CHALLENGE
Another challenge is from the mics used by the judges, which are located in front of the PA. Trying to get a useable level from them without washing out the broadcast mix can be very trying. To handle this, we provide some auxiliary speakers which are fed only with the judges' inputs. These are then routed to a group, with that group sent to the matrix output driving the speakers. That group is sent to the main PA right up to the edge of stability. The parametric EQ and delay on the Yamaha outputs make fine-tuning a breeze.
The PM5D console has become my first choice for many applications. The options available are only limited by your imagination.
For additional information contact Yamaha Commercial Audio at 714-522-9011 or visit www.yamahaca.com.