O'FALLON, Missouri — In order to accommodate the musicals, concerts, dance recitals, talent shows and much more that it holds throughout the academic year, Fort Zumwalt West High School in Missouri recently purchased a HARMAN Soundcraft Si Compact 32 audio mixing console.
Tim Croghan, Auditorium Manager for the school, has been working with the Fort Zumwalt School District for 20 years and helped design and build the auditorium and sound system, and was looking to upgrade from the original analog sound board the school was using. Based on his positive experience with previous Soundcraft products, Croghan decided the Si Compact 32 was an ideal fit.
Croghan chose the Si Compact 32 for many reasons, including the console's flexibility for the variety of school events. “We like to do production work, mix our own sound effects and record the chorus and bands for live CD's. Another great use is to mix songs together for football games and sporting events. We simply have an endless amount of options,” he said.
Most of the time, however, the students are the ones operating the console. “It's the perfect machine to teach to the students. When we got it, the kids were learning faster than I could and ended up teaching me a few things,” Croghan said with a laugh. The students, usually around 15 or 16 years old, enjoy working directly with the console and immediately seeing the results of their work. “It's great because you don't need a real in-depth concept of audio production; for a student, to be able to move the fader up and down, gives them the feeling of control we want them to have.”
When working on production for different events, Croghan mentioned that they use the Si Compact as a creative tool as well. “We can have sound effects called by the director just like a lighting effect. Everything that we do can be tied into the script, and we can create actual cues and microphone levels based on what the director wants,” he said.
“Everything about the board is perfect for what we need,” Croghan added. “It allows the kids to have the freedom to operate, and Soundcraft gives us the security of having a reliable console that doesn't wear or break down. There are so many more outputs than we're used to, and we are still exploring the ways that we can do more. Overall the board is so much cleaner and crisper.”
Croghan is thrilled the students have the chance to use such a high-end product in a school setting. During a recent Battle of the Bands event, Croghan was shocked to see the ability of the groups to manipulate the settings to find the sound they wanted to achieve, and how they were able to make it happen with very little help.
“Having the Si Compact allows our program to keep growing and expanding not only physically but through music education as well. The console gives us so much opportunity and we are all excited to see the students continue to explore and continue to thrive through the opportunities we give them,” Croghan summed up.
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 12,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $3.8 billion for the twelve months ending September 30, 2011.