SSE Hire explains why the Yamaha CL5 is its festival choice

The CL5s in action at Download

UK: As UK sound company SSE Hire returned from a weekend of hard rock and heavy metal at Download Festival, Project Manager Dan Bennett confirmed that the Yamaha CL5 is now SSE’s console of choice for main stage monitors at each festival it services.

SSE is working with many festivals this year, including Download, Nocturne Live, T in the Park, Wireless, Latitude, Lovebox, Ramblin’ Man, MTV Crashes Plymouth, Wilderness, Cropredy, the V Festivals, Reading & Leeds, Bestival, and Community Festival. SSE is providing each with a pair of CL5s for main stage monitors, each with a pair of Rio3224-D i/o units.

The Yamaha PM5D was SSE’s long-running go-to festival monitor console, but with the CL5 now a popular request on riders throughout the world, it’s the PM5D’s natural replacement that SSE now relies on.

“We used the PM5D because everybody knew it. Even if it wasn’t the first choice for some engineers, they had a show file for it and it was very straightforward to get a mix together on,” said Bennett. “Critically, it was also bulletproof. Something that everybody knows and also doesn’t break is the perfect festival mixer.”

A feature of the PM5D which was adequate at the time, but had become a shortcoming at modern festivals, was its output channel count. “Output requirements have steadily increased over the years,” said Bennett. “24 used to be fine, but as festival monitor systems have increasingly had to feature wedges, sidefills and stereo in-ear monitors, nowadays it isn’t enough. We were having to get quite inventive with the PM5Ds.”

The answer has been the CL5, which has all the virtues and reliability of the PM5D, but its Dante networking and cutting-edge facilities make it not only the ideal festival console, but one which can earn its keep for SSE all year round.

“As well as having great-sounding preamps and being a popular choice amongst engineers, the flexibility of the CL5 means its rental potential is significantly better for us as a company,” said Bennett. “The options provided by the various R-series i/o units mean the CL5s can be used to earn their keep on any kind of event. They really fill a gap for corporate dry hires throughout the year.”

Meanwhile, on festival stages the required speed of changeovers means SSE flip-flop between the two CL5s, their inherent flexibility making it a quick and painless process.

“As well as the technical aspect, for some bands further down the bills these can be the biggest shows they’ve ever played,” said Bennett. Having a console familiar to as many engineers as possible is essential, but we also have experienced engineers continually manning the desk, mixing the bands who may not have their own monitor engineer and helping out those who do.”

He continued: “Engineers for the top three bands usually bring their own monitor console, although some will choose to use our CL5s. But, whoever the artist is, the CL5s and our full monitor system will be operating throughout, just in case they have a problem. As a company we have one overriding purpose: to make sure that the show happens.”

SSE Hire
Download Festival