Stage Electrics has integrated a Roland RSS digital audio system over CAT5 into the Performance Pavilion at the new £86 million Medway Campus in Gillingham. This is part of MidKent College, the UK’s largest provider of education and training.
Since it was involved with the project from the ground up, Stage Electrics was presented with a ‘blank canvas’, with no legacy equipment to incorporate into the system design. As such, the firm was able to base the technical specification on an all-digital infrastructure.
“From the very beginning, MidKent College was able to make meaningful economies,” explained Darren Beckley, business development manager at Stage Electrics. “The whole building could be wired with a CAT5 infrastructure, which carries audio, lighting, video and data, which considerably reduced cabling costs. The choice of the compact RSS M-400 audio mixing console, which comes with its own digital multicore system and stageboxes, has bestowed a huge amount of functionality while giving infinite choice in where to position control equipment.”
The Performance Pavilion will house audiences of 300, can be set up with and without seats, and has flexible staging, which will accommodate any sort of production. As well as hosting college productions that will range from fashion shows and drama to rock concerts, the theatre may be rented out commercially. Students will also use the facilities on the college’s technical theatre course.
“The portability of the M-400 and the stageboxes is very important,” continued Beckley. “Although the primary control position is on a gantry system at the back of the house, they now have many options because the system is infinitely portable: they can even take it on the road with them if they put out a touring show.” Stage Electrics has paired the RSS control technology with an active RCF TT front-of-house loudspeaker and stage monitor system, run from the M-400’s return lines using REAC (Roland EtherNet Audio Communication).Article continues below
“The college set us quite a challenge for our first event,” recalled Darren Beckley. “We had six live bands, some of which brought their own sound engineers, with just 30-minute changeovers. The M-400 did everything we needed it to do and, in fact, I was surprised at how much functionality it offers. We were able to pre-programme set-ups in the desk and the engineers were able to get straight into it despite only a very short introduction. Since completing this installation, the M-400 has gone up in my estimation and that event proved to me that the console has total credibility among professional users once they get in front of one.”