Founded in 1865, Dean College in Franklin, MA is ranked in the top forty 'Best Regional Colleges' by US News and World Report. With a variety of arts and entertainment management majors, Dean College has several live performance spaces some of which double as classrooms.
In 2010, the college expanded the Campus Center. The new "Main Stage and Dining Wing" houses a state-of-the-art multiuse theater with green room and dressing rooms. The theater, known as the "Main Stage", is equipped with a versatile sound system including an Allen & Heath iLive Digital Mixing System. A second iLive system is installed in the Dean College Guidrey Center.
"We host a wide range of live drama, musical and dance performances," says Mike Sartini, chief audio technician at Dean College. "I was mostly familiar with analog mixers but I knew we needed a digital mixer for the Main Stage and the Guidrey Center. They had to be powerful enough to handle our modern productions but also they had to be simple to operate when the theaters are used as classrooms. I talked to my friends who do Broadway shows and we looked at several digital mixers but, after seeing a demo at Wavelengths Pro Audio, we chose the iLive."
Pictured at the iLive console is Mike Sartini, chief audio technician at Dean College.
Alan Redstone of Wavelengths, who sold and installed the two iLives says, "for the Main Stage theater Dean College chose the larger 112 Surface and iDR10 MixRack. That gave them plenty of inputs for their larger productions and the larger Surface to see a whole show at once. For the classes in the Main Stage, we installed a PL10 Remote Control near the stage. They can select a 'scene' at the PL10, plug in local sources and operate the system without touching the 112 Surface. For the Guidrey Center, we installed a smaller iLive T80 Surface and iDR32 MixRack. And, like the Main Stage, they've got a PL10 in the Guidrey Center for classes and presentations."
Sartini uses the iLive's iPAD app to walk the theater and make changes during a performance. "Our control room has a window that opens but it's still hard to hear everything accurately so the iPAD app really helps," he says. Commenting on the iLive's sound, Sartini continued, "some digital mixers sound brittle to my ear but the iLive sounds great. I love the EQ and the compression is excellent."
Main Stage productions are often mixed by an outside engineer. Sartini noted that, "even when they have no digital experience, I can get them up and running on the iLive quickly. If they need lots of monitoring, we've got that covered as well and I can even send an Aviom monitor mix."
For future expansion, Sartini says the college plans to implement the iLive's Dante interface to interconnect the Main Stage and Guidrey Center. This will also allow them to send live sound over the campus network to remote classrooms and to the college radio station for broadcast and recording.