By Hugh John
Yamaha M7CL digital mixing consoleFurther education colleges offering courses that cover the technical aspects of live music and theatre sound production want their students to gain experience of 'real world' gear – the sort of industry-standard studio equipment which they will encounter once they complete their studies and, hopefully, find work in commercial studios and theatres. That's why Kendal College has recently invested in a Yamaha M7CL digital mixing console (left).

Kendal College has gained an enviable reputation for fostering performing arts. The college's Music, Technical Theatre and Performing Arts programmes work closely together to provide resources for students wanting to pursue careers either on stage or in technical support roles. Music and drama theory is combined with production work in real venues.

Lecturer Paul Satterthwaite opted for Yamaha because of the company's "track record and the legendary reliability of their consoles". Having been on a training day at the Yamaha HQ in Milton Keynes and road tested the M7CL console he realised that "it was exactly what we needed. As soon as I tried it there was no other choice."

Other considerations were the console's accessible user-interface, cost effectiveness and a large display screen which means that information is "easily visible to a group of students stood round the desk. We are also able to blow the display up on to a large screen so that a room full of people can see it." Using Yamaha Studio Manager software, students can programme the console offline, and the analogue-friendly interface of both console and software means that everyone can set it up quickly.

“The students are more familiar with digital technology; for the younger ones it’s all they’ve ever really known,” says Paul. “But the way the M7CL’s operating surface is arranged, the older members of staff more used to analogue consoles can also programme it quickly and easily.

“We use it as commercial piece of kit. It will get flight-cased up several times per year and taken out to do productions in 400-500 capacity venues where we charge £5-£6 per ticket. It’s genuine, real-world training.

“The sound is fantastic and the students have taken to it like ducks to water – everybody’s in love with it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

More information

The commercial price of the Yamaha M7CL is around £20,000 but education packages from dealers, including other equipment, start at around £17,000.

Yamaha Music Education UK

Kendal College