In addition to the educational efforts, that first week marks the beginning of nine very busy months for Stewart Independent at the university.
“It’s always a little crazy but we keep it well organized,” Stewart notes with a laugh. “There are tons of activities designed to welcome the new and returning students and many of them require sound systems, stages, lighting and even video. It’s exciting, but a lot of work.”
He and his team set up temporary office space near the university’s world-famous football stadium, making sure they have “boots on the ground” to meet any special requests while also mapping out and refining the approach for a range of highly trafficked events.
The company plays it smart, deploying variations of the same sound reinforcement elements for the majority of live events held during kick-off week. Go-to components include RCF line arrays, subwoofers and monitors, as well as Avid VENUE SC48 digital consoles.
“We started using RCF a few years ago when we were looking for a self-powered and processed single 18-inch subwoofer for monitor applications,” Stewart says. “Our goal was to be able to create multiple subwoofer configurations. We ended up astounded with the sheer output and punch of the TTS18-A subs, so we added a few for monitor applications and a few more for PA.”
Sound check for the Block Party, with RCF monitors, a Stewart Independent staple, deployed on stage.
That led to TT25-SMA floor monitors, providing a tight 40-degree by 40-degree coverage pattern that’s desirable in several applications, followed by TT45-SMA monitors loaded with double 12-inch woofers that handle wider coverage needs. Staying on stage, next up were HDL 20-A line array modules for side fill applications.
“They sounded so great out of the box, horn loaded, almost 100 percent weatherproof, and so easy to fly that we ended up getting enough so that we would have a great powered PA line array in house as well as killer side fills,” he explains. “It sounds terrific and provides exceptionally long throw, with the reviews from those who’ve used being stellar. It’s now our ‘go-to’ system for just about everything.”
Members of the Stewart Independent team onsite at a project, including (left to right) Christian Chambers, Sam Skalbeck, Shannon Stewart, Dan DeVisser, Austin Lanning, Joe Watrac, Ross Labardee. Long-time team members Mati Johnson and Scott Frost were also working the event but were not available for the photo opp.
The SC48 digital consoles see constant use, cited for ease of use, familiarity among a wide range of engineers, and the assortment of available plug-ins. “It is amazing that we can have all of the effects from our analog days in our digital consoles,” Stewart says. “I just love these boards.”
Blowing The Roof Off
Let’s take a look at how the Stewart Independent team deploys that gear, starting with Domer Fest, an event for first year students that features a mixer and dance in a field house with free standing tents and activities just outside. The main stage is outfitted with four individual DJ packages, accompanied by a lighting rig that could be found at higher end night clubs.