ATK Audiotek in Valencia, Calif., supplied three Yamaha digital mixing consoles for the 81st Academy Awards ceremony held on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. P.A . designer and front-of-house engineer Pat Baltzell used both a Yamaha PM1D 128-input/64-output Dual Engine system and PM5D digital console. Monitor mixer Michael Parker used a Yamaha PM1D 128-input/64-output Dual Engine system and was supported by monitor tech Tom Pesa.
“Digital recall consoles have increased the detail of a mix by an order of magnitude for multiple performance television shows such as The Academy Awards,” states Baltzell. “In the analog days, I was always ‘splitting the difference’ and making compromises, knowing I would only be able to restore certain settings, but not all. I now can confidently program and recall the subtlest details in an orchestra balance for each performance. The Yamaha PM1D and PM5D consoles have a proven reliability and are widely accepted by artist engineers.”
Baltzell was also the P.A. system designer and front of house mixer for the 44th Presidential Inauguration and Super Bowl XLIII. “For the inauguration of President Obama, I used a pair of Yamaha PM5Ds, cascaded. Several alternative digital consoles were offered to me, but I had the most confidence in the Yamaha consoles to work outdoors for three weeks in subzero temperatures.”
Michael Parker, who was also the monitor mixer for the “B” stage at the 51st Grammy Awards, notes that digital mixing in general has been a major step in offering quickly accessible processing, which is very important in live television shows. “The engineer is now able to create a consistent, personal starting point for the Yamaha PM1D that is well developed from other shows. Of high importance is the layout of PM1D, which allows for quick fader accessibility on only two layers. The console offers pure digital sound that is dynamically true and clean. With a proper approach, the engineer can achieve extremely full-sounding mixes, which is especially important when creating in-ear mixes.”
Monitor tech Tom Pesa says that recalling scenes individually has become a standard on television shows with multiple acts. Pesa was also the monitor mixer for Super Bowl XLIII and the “A” stage at the Grammy Awards. “Performers and guest engineers traveling into a show expect to be able to have their own scene, fully customizable to their performance and recalled exactly for the live show,” he says. “Yamaha pioneered this on a large-scale console early on with PM1D.”
This year’s 51st Annual Grammy Awards had 24 live performances on two stages. While Parker and Pesa split the duties with two separate PM1D monitor systems at the Grammy Awards, FOH engineer Ron Reaves was responsible for mixing every act and relied solely on a single PM1D system.