Warner Grand upgrades with DiGiCo duo
Thursday, 20 August 2020
warner-grandWarner Grand Theatre FOH engineer Victor Prudeaux at the venue’s new DiGiCo SD12 console
USA - Golden Age Hollywood movie mogul Jack L. Warner called it ‘The Castle of Your Dreams’. The Warner Grand Theatre is the last of a series of classic Southern California Art Deco-Moderne cinema palaces from the 1930s designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca and interior designer Anthony Heinsbergen that retains its original contours.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theatre was renamed the Warner Grand Theatre in the 1980s, and in 1982 was designated as City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural-Monument #251. In 1996, the theatre was purchased by the Department of Cultural Affairs and has continuously operated this venue since that time.
Now, the 1,525-seat historic film house in San Pedro, California hosts classic and art films as well as concerts and other live performances. It’s doing that with very modern sound thanks to newly installed DiGiCo audio consoles: an SD12-96 at front of house and an SD9T for monitors, as well as an SD-Rack with Stadius 32-bit I/O mic pre’s on an Optocore HMA optical loop. These desks control a new VUE Audiotechnik al-8 line array sound system, all of which were installed there in July by El Segundo, CA-based Bell Event Services (BES) under the direction of audio/operations manager Tim Campbell, who served as the project manager.
“The combination of the new consoles and the new PA system means that this is a world-class destination for touring shows,” states BES president Michael Bell. “That’s why the choice of DiGiCo means so much; any audio engineer in the world would be able to walk in here and be familiar with these desks and be happy to see them, because they’re such great consoles.”
Bell says the SD12, installed at the rear of the auditorium, takes up far less space than the previous FOH desk. “They would be able to add more seats as a result, for increased show revenue or social distancing purposes,” he says. “And the SD9T has a really small footprint. We have it installed on the stage, but it can be easily moved around, repositioned based on whether it’s being used as the monitor mixer for a musical concert or a theatrical performance at the front-of-house position. These are the perfect consoles for this room for a number of reasons.”
Victor Prudeaux wears many hats: at the Warner Grand Theatre he is both its front-of-house mixer as well as its master electrician, and he mixes and consults at various other venues and stages in the Los Angeles area.
Prudeaux says the SD12-96 is an excellent all-round FOH console for any venue because of its ability to tailor its workflow to meet that of the operator and the moment. “With DiGiCo, I’m not tied down by a set workflow,” he says. “I don’t have to scroll through a thousand pages to get to the one I need.”
The Warner Grand Theatre is getting ready for its next 90 years, with upgraded projectors next on the list of planned enhancements. “When touring comes back, the Warner Grand is going to be a real showcase room, thanks to the DiGiCo consoles,” says Bell.
(Jim Evans)

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