Markel Auditorium

A beautiful live performance venue with a 40ft thrust stage, an orchestra pit that can be raised or lowered, Michigan’s Markel Auditorium has installed a modern 5.1 theatrical surround sound system based around an Allen & Heath dLive S Class S5000 Surface and DM48 MixRack.

Located at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, the auditorium’s original audio system was an LCR design with an older digital mixer. To modernise the system, the theatre undertook a major audio upgrade that gave them 5.1 localisation of theatrical effects with neutral sound, while being rider-friendly to the many touring acts that visit the theatre.

dLive S Class digital mixing systemDesign/build contractor Cory Champion of Fortress Productions recommended Allen & Heath’s dLive S Class digital mixing system to Markel that would integrate with QLab multimedia playback and cue-based software to manage the theatre’s new system. Markel’s dLive includes a DM48 MixRack in the theatre’s sound booth and three DX32 Expanders which can be located where needed on the stage or in the orchestra pit to accept microphones and other sources and feed monitor loudspeakers. Champion installed a Dante card in the dLive to connect to the Mac running QLab. The dLive provides native 5.1 sound effects placement and panning under command from QLab, which takes theatrical cues from a director/producer in the booth.

A graduate of Hillsdale, Champion acts as sound designer for many college productions and mixes performances from touring acts. He says monitoring in the enclosed sound booth is very accurate and appreciates the added ability to mix on an iPad from a seat in the audience. When Champion introduced the retiring theatre department chairman to the new system, ‘He was in sound effects heaven being able to put things specifically where he wanted in the sound canvas of the space.’

Champion also demonstrated the system to a music professor using the theme song from The Magnificent Seven, prompting the comment, ‘This is phenomenal. Even though the level is low, I can clearly hear the percussionist, every cymbal crash and every bass drum beat as he hit that head’.

‘There is nothing else on the market that’s as flexible and easy as the dLive with this kind of transparent and natural performance,’ Champion concludes.

More: www.allen-heath.com

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