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InnovaSON Takes Production Co. Into Digital Future

Midwest Concert Concepts uses two Grand Live digital consoles (July 23, 2004)

For the first time in almost a decade of handling the pre & post event entertainment for the Grandmas Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, Midwest Concert Concepts, Inc., didn't feel like it had run a marathon.

The reason: Two new InnovaSON Grand Live digital consoles. The June event was among the first few events that this production company has used these consoles since purchasing them this spring.

"Not only was the quality of sound better than it had been in previous years, but there was a huge improvement in our ability to stage and manage the event," says Brian Houle, a co-owner of the Superior, Wisconsin company. "We were able to get bands on and off the stage much more quickly."

Midwest Concert Concepts purchased two of the units earlier this year after deciding they needed to upgrade the company's mixing consoles. Initially uncertain of whether to acquire new analog consoles or move into digital mixing boards, Midwest opted for digital after seeing how the Grand Live stacked up against digital and analog rivals. "We decided that buying a new analog would amount to a sideways move, and that stepping into the digital realm for live sound reinforcement and mixing was important to our future," he says.

The Grand Live's intuitive design, easy set-up, and sonic quality were among the reasons Midwest Concert Concepts chose these consoles. All of those factors, especially ease of use, are important because of the nature of the company's business.

"We do a lot of festival work where we have to stage multiple bands," Houle says. "Because of its recall capabilities we can mic up two acts at a time, hit recall and then move on. We can patch any mic preamp to any fader on the console. Plus, unlike a lot of digital boards on the market, they are easy to use. And that's important in teaching the band engineers, who are used to mixing on analog equipment, how to mix digitally. Once these guys who've been raised on analog see how simple it is to use they're like 'Oh, I can do this.'"

One of the specific features Houle likes is the unit's mic preamp capabilities. Its sonic quality stacks up well against more expensive analog consoles. The console's recall capabilities also provide a big boost over the plodding performance of analog units, he adds. What's more, there's a lot less equipment needed.

"We now carry a cable case half the size of what we had to carry the analog snake in," he says. "Plus, we can do what's traditionally taken two analog consoles to do with one InnovaSON unit."

The unit's upgradeability is another factor that prompted Midwest Concert Concepts to purchase the Grand Live. InnovaSON's new-generation Sy80 console was not yet on the market when they acquired the two units. But because of the Grand Live's configuration, new features and subsequent equipment can be incorporated.

"We can have these units completely refitted with Sy80 features for a minimal cost," he says. "We like the way the firmware is designed and the fact that we're not locked into that technology."

About InnovaSON
InnovaSON is a Digigram company and is based at Plougoumelen in Brittany, France. Active in live sound since 1993, the company has gained a worldwide reputation for its rugged, digital mixing console technology for live applications. InnovaSON is committed to maintaining the highest audio standards through technical excellence while producing cost-effective equipment that meets its customers' business needs. In the United States and Latin America, Sennheiser Electronic Corporation is the exclusive distributor of InnovaSON.

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Related Keywords:Midwest Concert Concepts, Grand Live, Brian Houle, mixing consoles, sound reinforcement, mic preamp, Sy80, Digigram, Sennheiser,


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