FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Chooses Avid VENUE Live Sound Systems

NAMM (Hall A, Booth #6400), ANAHEIM, CA, 21/01/2016

New multi-purpose performing arts facility chooses VENUE | S6L and S3L-X systems for their industry-standard workflows and unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and power

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) today announced that the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, a new state-of-the-art performing arts facility located in St. Catharines, Canada, recently embraced Avid Everywhere™ live mixing workflows and installed cutting-edge Avid VENUE live sound systems for their versatility, modularity, and portability. With systems integrator Westbury National Show Systems handling the audio and video installation for the new facility, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre chose VENUE | S6L and VENUE | S3L-X systems for their industry acceptance and ability to handle a wide range of performance requirements.

“Our selection process was based on looking at the needs of the artists coming in and creating the easiest setup possible for the artist and their touring staff,” said David Rapelje, operations manager at FirstOntario. “I reached out to some industry contacts on the touring side who have experience coming in and out of these types of facilities. I was looking for industry standards, ease of operation, and something that would provide long-term expandability—that’s what we liked about the Avid consoles. We also audited upwards of 100 riders on file to see what was listed. When we realized that VENUE was appearing on more and more riders, we felt confident that we were moving in the right direction.”

The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre is a 95,000 square foot cultural complex comprised of four state-of-the-art performance venues. After opening in the fall of 2015, the facility now hosts more than 600 events each year, including performances, corporate and community events, conferences, and more. In addition to serving the community, the facility is also used by Brock University, with more than 500 students visiting the facility daily for rehearsals, performances, and training. The facility is operated by 20 full-time staff, 70 part-time staff, and hundreds of volunteers, so it was important to implement a live system that was intuitive and easy-to-use.

“The team here has years of experience with SC48 and Profile systems, so we were all really familiar with the VENUE workflow,” said Rob Robbins, audio technician at FirstOntario. “We’ve all commented that switching to the S6L is so much easier with its customizable layouts, the ergonomics of the console, and the touchscreens. Certainly the Universe View is one of those things that you don’t think you need until you use it, and then you wonder where it is on all the other consoles.”

“In order to deliver the best possible live sound for audiences and performers alike, performing arts facilities like FirstOntario need live sound systems with the power and flexibility to handle any performance,” stated Jeff Rosica, senior vice president, worldwide field operations at Avid. “Leveraging the power of Avid Everywhere live mixing and recording workflows, VENUE | S6L and S3L-Xlive sound systems provide FirstOntario with the unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and power they need to mix a wide range of performances.”

With over 780 seats, excellent sightlines, and world-class acoustics, Partridge Hall is the crown jewel of FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, so it was important to implement a live sound system that delivers the highest level of performance. After careful consideration, the facility installed dual VENUE | S6L systems for their pristine sound quality, advanced processing power, and modern workflows.

“The ability to have two operators on the same console is amazing,” continued Robbins. “For example, two weeks ago the Niagara Symphony Orchestra was in and there were a lot of last minute changes, so while one soundman was working on the patch, typing channel names, making the revisions for 70-plus inputs, I was on the other side of the console dialing up stage monitors, starting EQ’ing—everything would have come to a stop if we didn‘t have the ability to have more than one operator on it. We have a very tight schedule, going from a rock concert one day, to a ballet or dance the next day, and the next day a symphony. That feature alone is going to save us a lot of grief.”

FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre also selected two VENUE | S3L-X systems to support its other three halls. S3L-X offers the same familiar VENUE workflows in a smaller footprint, enabling the team to easily move systems around and network them together when needed.

“Even though S3L-X is a small console, it’s extremely versatile and powerful. Being able to easily move systems around, configure them to support the event at hand, and scale the I/O to fit the need is huge,” said Paul Forbes, system sales at Westbury National Show Systems. “It’s obvious that Avid is moving live sound technology forward with these systems, and we’re excited to see where they will take this new platform in the future.”