Alongside renovations made to improve the audience experience and improve functionality for both technicians and performers since opening in 1977, the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts has added significantly to its audio infrastructure, most recently with the installation of two DiGiCo SD12 consoles and Klang immersive in-ear monitoring for the 485-capacity, AEG Liebherr Auditorium.

Another significant change, explains Andrew Moyer, Coordinator of Technical Services, has been the increase of both community and professional programming – from roughly a dozen shows a year previously to approximately 70 professional and 230 community-based shows currently.

Oakville Centre for the Performing ArtsWhen Moyer began working full-time at the venue in 2000, one 24-channel analogue desk was deployed to run mains and monitors. When necessary, rental assistance was brought in on a project-by-project basis. ‘It was all analogue,’ Moyer says. ‘We had some BSS Soundweb processing for the PA, but that was the extent of digital equipment in the chain. We purchased our first digital console in 2010.’

The company has also added full and part-time technical staff over time, which was part of what drove the choices and purchase of the SD12s – one 72-channel for monitors and one upgraded to 96-channels for FOH – from GerrAudio Distribution.

‘Typically we all do everything,’ continues Moyer. ‘I often do sound, but also lighting. We all do whatever needs doing and the SD12s are very user-friendly, so that’s a definite plus. I’d also been exposed to the consoles doing summer festivals in my off-time and understood the workflow, so when it came time to purchase here, DiGiCo was top of the list.

‘The SD12 impressed us with its price point and operational features and spoke to our needs as far as input/output count and usability,’ he adds. ‘And the nice thing about the SD12 is the second screen, because you’re able to see more in front of you while you’re mixing.’

Education has long been a major element of GerrAudio’s services, Moyer notes, citing a DiGiCo course he had taken previously with the company, adding that Gerr’s Manager of Technical Services/Industry Training, Ian Robertson, provided additional training for those unfamiliar with the desks. ‘He came to the Centre and went through the SD12 in depth with our staff,’ Moyer recalls. ‘They were able to get comfortable with the workflow, which was obviously important to us. Knowing that support is there is comforting.

‘The other big piece for us was going with the 32-bit Mic Pre-Amp and DAC cards for the SD-Rack. Overall, there’s a huge improvement in sound quality and in how clean and warm they are, and that’s without even getting into what the console will do for you in terms of processing and functionality. We also went with the SD12’s built-in Optocore option, so connectivity between devices, in any configuration, is easy.’

Although Moyer had considered various personal monitoring systems, when GerrAudio suggested Klang’s immersive in-ear app he was immediately impressed by the possibilities the free software offered. Klang’s interface allows performers to achieve a high degree of separation and spatial placement using iOS, Android devices, or computers. Its latest iteration also provides a DiGiCo SD console link.

‘The big piece that everyone’s seeing and hearing in the news is the immersive in-ear mixing and what you can do with that. For example, adjusting your mix to hear other players, where they are on stage. But it can scale down to mono as well, and people are astounded at how easy it is to adjust.

‘We purchased six Samsung 7-inch tablets as controllers, but you could also just come in, connect to Wi-fi, and use your own device and that simplifies things substantially,’ he adds, particularly for musical theatre – given the monitoring needs of members of the orchestras are complex, and that musicals typically inhabit the venue for no longer than a week.

Klang also provides a core benefit for the venue’s technicians, incoming crew/artists, and audiences: ‘It has a lot of options that will make people more comfortable using IEMs, and there’s no question of the benefits in-ear monitors offer for sound in the house.

‘I think there’s a lot of flexibility DiGiCo SD12s and Klang offer,’ Moyer sums up. ‘They’re high-quality products that are easily used and really enhance the community-based and professional touring productions we deal with. So that definitely helps us meet our mandate.’

More: www.digico.biz

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