Clay Walker started out in the Texas honky-tonk scene before gaining national recognition as a country artist. Touring regularly year-round, he recently purchased dual Yamaha CL5 Digital Audio Consoles and two Rio3224-D I/O boxes through Pro Acoustics of Salado, Texas for front of house and monitor use. Alan Wentz serves as both front of house engineer and production manager for Walker. Chris Carter is Walker’s monitor engineer.
“Clay likes to own his gear and has for many years,” states Wentz. “We play year round, so it works best owning the gear we need.” Wentz said he likes the physical layout of the Yamaha CL5 and the fact that there is a built-in meter bridge, custom layers, a lot of user definable buttons, and three independent sections of the console that can be tailored to fit the engineer’s lay out. “The console sounds great, has an easy to manage work flow, and the added bonus of the Premium Rack.”
For ten years, Walker owned a Yamaha PM5D-RH V2 and so Wentz wanted to spend Walker’s money wisely on the purchase of new consoles to replace the PM5Ds. “We wanted consoles that would still be relevant for another ten years or so. Given that the CL5 sounds great, is built with Yamaha quality and durability and uses modern day technology, I felt that of all the available consoles on the market, the CL5 was the wise purchase. Also, it is considerably lighter and smaller, a great benefit as well.”
Wentz has mixed on many different Yamaha consoles in the past, both analog and digital. “For me, there was a very slight learning curve with the CL5 due to the use of Dante and setting up switches in order to create a redundant system. I also have the house CL5 setup with four Cisco sg300-10 switches. As far as sitting at the console and mixing, getting around the various menus wasn’t a problem. The console is very intuitive, and the transition from the PM5D to the CL5 was pretty much seamless as far as control and functionality.”
Monitor engineer Chris Carter added that while most of the modern digital consoles are capable of being operated from an iPad, the Yamaha StageMix application is essential when dialing in his mix. “StageMix is one of the better remote applications that I’ve used. I’m able to move around on the iPad quickly and get all the musicians dialed in, in a timely manner and according to their needs. The customizable layout of the CL5 was also a huge improvement for me. I can quickly assign layers, buttons, and knobs to enhance my workflow. This is instrumental in getting my monitor console set up. I’m able to change the parameters of any effect or mix channel effortlessly. With the CL5, you have the option to share analog gain while leaving your digital trim independent of each console which is useful for interacting between the front of house and monitor console.”