Grand Ole Opry Chooses Studer Digital Consoles

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Grand Ole Opry Chooses Studer Digital Consoles

Oct 17, 2014 1:48 PM

NASHVILLE, TENN. � The Grand Ole Opry recently purchased a Harman Studer Vista 9 digital console for its broadcast and post-production work and a Studer Vista 5 M2 as its new FOH console.

�We have been digital for a long time on the broadcast side, but we went with the Vista 9 because it was purpose-built for live broadcast and post,� said King Williams, Broadcast Engineer, who mixes the live radio broadcasts and handles the post-production work, while also remixing performances for the marketing department.

The FOH console at the Opry is a Studer Vista 5 M2 console, which features a TFT metering system capable of displaying signal levels from mono through to 5.1 channels on each input, with a configurable lower area which can be used to display bus assignments, surround images or the unique History Mode. Metering for �layer 2'' signals can also be viewed, while the Control Bay screen can be used to provide configurable user pages with up to 40 meters.

King Williams, Grand Ole Opry broadcast engineer

�We are working with 96 inputs and the Vista 5 M2 is set up on four banks of 10 on the top and six layers deep,� said Tommy Hensley, FOH Engineer for the Opry. �I use three of those banks for inputs and a VCA in the middle.�

Until the Opry upgraded to the Vista 5 M2, the FOH console was the last piece of analog audio equipment remaining. However, the Vista 5 M2 has provided the benefits of digital technology while retaining the warm sound and tactile operation of an analog desk.

For the in-house and broadcast elements, built-in cue lists were priorities when choosing consoles.

�Considering the number of artists we work with every week, we have tons of snapshots that we need to save to be able to recall the settings for each artist,� said Audio Engineer Kevin McGinty.

According to Hensley, it''s not just the depth of the cue lists that make a difference; the ability to organize the lists alphabetically is an often-overlooked but crucial feature.

Other Harman equipment at the Grand Ole Opry includes a Soundcraft Si Expression 2 in the video department and an Si Expression 3 that is used as a sidecar to the Vista 9, via a MADI interface.

�We run radio commercials and other content on the Expression 3 and sometimes we''ll get some playback from the video department that goes from the Expression 2 to the Vista 9 and Expression 3,� Williams said.

In addition to the Si Expression consoles, the Opry features Harman''s JBL VERTEC line arrays for its main PA system and BSS Soundweb London DSP for the Opry''s 70-volt system.