The John Cooper School, located in The Woodlands, Texas, recently upgraded its 515-seat performing arts center with a Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing console. The Vi6 is a permanent fixture on the main stage and is responsible for a wide range of performance applications and productions. The engineers have found the versatility and ease-of-use of its' Vistonicsâ„¢ user interface has decreased engineer set-up time by nearly half.
class='thickbox'>Troy Dingle, Audio Video Coordinator for the Performing Arts Department at The John Cooper School, selected the Vi6 because its â€˜analog feel' allows students to experience mixing in a traditional manner with the benefits of advanced digital technologies. The Vi6 is used on a daily basis for a wide range of applications, including rehearsals and other school events as well as large monthly assemblies and school productions.
The intuitive Vistonicsâ„¢ II interface on the Vi6 means that the console was quickly employed on a wide range of tasks. It enables the engineers to effortlessly scan all input and output levels using the Master Bay area and if he or she recognizes anything unusual, they can easily access the feature without having to guess or reference a manual. Also, the input and output channel strips of the touch screens provide valuable insight on each channel at one glance. The Studer designed Vistonics is controlled by a simple touch of a finger on any screen to instantly control gain, EQ, dynamics, DSP and routing.
Providing audio support for a school offers many challenges and the rate at which things change â€˜makes life interesting' for Troy Dingle. “Every day I'm mixing something different: which is exciting but requires a very flexible audio console,” commented Dingle. “I often have lower school kids (quiet and/or yelling) right next to a vocally trained upper school student with a great vocal range and dynamics, performing on the same microphone. With the Vi6, I can quickly adjust the gain, EQ, gate and compression to create a smooth sounding event.”
The variety of different events and the rapid rate or performance changes requires the all flexibility of the Vi6. “The students themselves create a changing variable that requires instant input changes,” Dingle continues. “Many times I rehearsed with one student only to find that the next day three more students got their courage up and are now singing. I can quickly use the consoles' copy and paste functions to recreate the adjusted channel strip settings onto other open channels.”
The John Cooper School's Vi6 is adapted to meet the wireless microphone needs of the installation. The sound engineers run 28 channels of wireless mics from the FOH mix position and opted to install two 8-channel line-in cards bringing the local rack to 32 line inputs. Soundcraft also provided a custom-built 1U rack unit that fits above the local rack input connection box to house the additional 16 inputs.
“Knowing that I rarely go past 48 channels of analog mics, I created two distinct layouts within the single Vi6 console. All microphones are on the left side of the master bay in a 48 channel setup and the left 1-24 channels on fader page A and left 25-48 channels on fader page B. On the right side of the master bay are 8 groups of stereo linked channels for line level playback devices. The right side channels are not numbered; instead they are labeled according to the device that is attached. Taking advantage of the included additional local rack MADI Card (optical), I installed a MADI card into the FOH computer and can now record 64 channels effortlessly for every event we run.”
For more information on the John Cooper School, please visit www.johncooper.org