Western Carolina University is installing a new state-of-the-art digital production console designed by Solid State Logic in the university’s all-new, interdisciplinary recording arts studio, which is scheduled to be ready for classes in the spring semester of 2004.
“We need to train our students on equipment they will find in the real world,” said Bruce Frazier, Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music at Western. “The new console (called a C200) is a marvelous teaching tool for the concepts of digital audio. It offers displays that show dynamics, limiting, gating and the like, so you can visually illustrate these things.”
With its dedicated “knob per function” control surface, the C200 is excellent for mixing complex sounds used in music or entertainment, where hands-on access to a large number of controls is essential, Frazier said. This familiar design should help students transition seamlessly into the business world, according to Solid State Logic’s representatives.
“Most of our students have gone through some previous recording arts training using analog consoles. To make the move to the digital arena with the same type of console layout really appealed to us,” said Frazier, who has been twice recognized by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his contributions to dramatic underscore and sound mixing for television programs, nominated for several Emmys for his role as music editor on the TV series Quantum Leap, and nominated for a Golden Reel for his work on the TV show JAG.
“Also, we found there are a lot of Solid State Logic consoles in the marketplace, both digital and analog, so our students will be able to walk into a Solid State Logic-equipped facility and be familiar with the layout. It is our job as an educational facility to provide the very best learning experience, and the C200 gives us state-of-the-art training possibilities,” Frazier said.
“The basic layout of the C200 offers a standard mixing strip that is laid out very logically,” said Tim Caldecott, staff engineer with Sony Systems Integration Broadcast & Professional Company, which is working with Western to prepare the new facility for commercial and electronic music students. “Other manufacturers of digital consoles use a multi-layer model where only a few knobs perform multiple functions. Solid State Logic uses the ‘channel strip model’ that is ubiquitous through the audio world. When you are training newcomers to audio, the C200 gives them the knowledge to work on consoles used in the industry.”
Frazier and Donald Connelly, assistant professor of communication and theatre arts at Western, recently saw the console in action at its debut during the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas.
“We love the automation system and its ability to store different projects and call them up instantaneously. Obviously, we will have many different student projects in progress at any one moment, and we have very short periods of time between lessons and between classes,” Frazier said.
“If we have a 10-minute change over from one project to another that requires the kind of recall power this system offers, you’re not having to completely zero out the console and completely reset it from one project to the next,” he said. “We are looking forward to completing our studio so that our students will have access to the C200 and other equipment that will give them a competitive edge in the music world.”