SAINT ALBERT, Canada – Catering to a wide array of events ranging from live concerts to full theatrical productions, the Arden Theatre in the Canadian province of Alberta is a dynamic venue where folk, blues, modern rock and jazz music come to life. To deliver world-class sound for its programs and events, the Arden Theatre currently employs HARMAN’s Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1 mixing consoles.
The Arden Theatre is an intimate space that seats 509 people, with a stage that is 40 feet wide and 26 feet deep. Of its 240 shows per year, the Arden Theatre features many repeat performers that are drawn back by the facility’s acoustics. With such a variety of performers, in-house Sound Technician Tyler Patrick finds the digital features of the Soundcraft Vi consoles to be essential to his workflow.
“We have a lot of shows that come back year after year, so the ability to recall stored settings is huge for us,” said Patrick. “The Vi6 with a Compact Stagebox allows us to have an expanded channel count at front of house and the Vi1 is perfect for our monitor position. With these consoles, we’re able to mix our big yearly musicals without problems.”
When deciding to transition out of analog, the technical staff attended demos of digital consoles from various audio brands, none of which struck as strong a chord as the Soundcraft Vi Series. According to Patrick, ease-of-use features like Vistonicsâ„¢ and FaderGlowTM were the factors that took the Vi6 and the Vi1 beyond excellent sound quality.
“The Vistonics touchscreen is so easy to use, and the biggest selling point for me is that it allows for more than one person to operate the console at the same time,” said Patrick. “Many of the artists who play here bring their own engineer. Also, sometimes we allow high school students to come and operate the sound equipment on their own. Naturally, we place a high value on ease of use.”
Patrick continued to explain why he loves every aspect of the Soundcraft consoles. “When we first plugged in the Soundcraft Vi consoles, they sounded like analog desks without any harshness of a digital desk,” he said. “It sounds very smooth, exactly like you would expect a high-quality board to sound. The parametric EQ’s on the channels are fantastic and responsive.”
As part of the venue’s future growth, the production team has partnered with a video company to offer web-streaming capabilities for its shows. To this end, it is planning to use the Vi6 console to send multi-track audio via optical MADI to the Soundcraft Vi1 console, which in turn will be managed separately in a different room. Webcasts with pristine sound quality will be available next year thanks to this configuration.
While in-house and guest engineers are getting used to the five minute setup times of the Soundcraft consoles, the theater is well-equipped to serve the local community of Saint Albert for years to come.
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