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Kennesaw State University recently installed a console to support recording of concerts held at the 624-seat , home to the KSU School of Music. The massive concert schedule that encompasses over 170 student, faculty and high-end professional concerts, some of which are aired on NPR, covers classical, jazz and world music styles. The sterling sound quality coupled with DAW control and a small footprint were primary considerations for Kennesaw choosing the AWS 900+ SE.
"Every concert that we do in the Bailey Center is recorded at 192kHz/24-bit and we're really getting the full resolution of that capability by using the AWS 900+ SE," says Bobby Asher, managing and artistic director of the Bailey Performance Center at Kennesaw State University. "We chose the AWS because it offered us 24-channels of high-end mic pres and automation, along with 24 channels of analogue mix down capability and integrated DAW control. The recordings we're able to produce from this console are just phenomenal. The SSL allows us to capture performances that sound like they were created in a high-end professional studio."
Every year Kennesaw produces high-level concerts that are captured and appear on NPR. The set up for the Bailey Performance Center includes a traditional Decca Tree with B&K 4006 microphones over the downstage area along with a wide range of ribbon and condenser mics to accommodate concerts with multiple performers. Two recent concerts mixed through the AWS 900+ SE featured pianist, Simone Dinnerstein and Cantus, a nine-member vocal group that performs everything from folk to classical.
"We essentially use our Pro ToolsÂ® system in the role of a tape machine for capture and editing," Asher explains. "The desire to have the AWS 900+ SE was for the capability to do an analogue mix. With the AWS we get the pristine electronic circuitry and the E and G series EQs to really tweak our sound. For us in the classical realm, I think we get a much better sound using traditional analogue EQs over the sound that you get using a regular plug-in. The EQs really help to bring the recordings to life."
Student assistants from the KSU School of Music act as the assistant engineering staff and run the equipment most of the time. Kennesaw music students are very enthusiastic about using the AWS 900+ SE and hearing the resulting quality recordings.
"Our music students are doing the recordings, the mix downs and the mic placements," continues Asher. "A lot of our students go out into the world and become the call players for studios around the country. The experience that they're gaining using the SSL â€“ how operate it, how to get a great sound and how to record in general â€“ is a leg up for them over other musicians who come out of traditional conservatories with no technical experience at all. To be able to work on a console of the SSL caliber is really amazing for them. It's exciting to see the way these students dive into the technical aspects of a concert. Their experience with the AWS 900+ SE is a real complement to their training as musicians."