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Bell Event Services Deploys DiGiCo In Sonic Upgrade At A Classive Venue In LA

Recently renovated cinema from Hollywood’s Golden Era gets 21st century sound with DiGiCo SD12-96 and SD9T consoles plus touring-grade line arrays.
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Warner Grand Theatre master electrician and FOH engineer Victor Prudeaux at the venue’s new DiGiCo SD12 console.

The historic Warner Grand Theatre in Los Angeles (San Pedro, CA), a classic Southern California Art Deco-Moderne cinema palace dating back to the 1930s, is now a 1,525-seat venue presenting films and hosting a variety of live performances that are now supported by two recently installed DiGiCo consoles.

Designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca and interior designer Anthony Heinsbergen, and retaining its original contours, the venue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It 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 continously operated the landmark since that time.

The recent sound reinforcement project includes a DiGiCo SD12-96 at front of house and an SD9T for monitors, as well as an SD-Rack with Stadius 32-bit I/O mic preamps on an Optocore HMA optical loop. These desks control new VUE Audiotechnik al-8 line arrays, all of which were installed in July by El Segundo, CA-based Bell Event Service (BES) under the direction of audio/operations manager Tim Campbell, who served as the project manager.

An interior view of the theatre, with the new VUE line arrays flying left and right.

“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.”

The SD12 includes the SD12-96 upgrade, taking it from 72 to 96 channels and from 36 to 48 aux/subgroups, while the SD9T offers a redesigned “T” workflow designed to suit theatrical requirements. Bell adds that 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.”

Left to right: Joe Dismondi (BES), Victor Prudeaux (WGT) and Tim Campbell (BES) behind the newly-installed DiGiCo SD12 at Warner Grand Theatre’s FOH mix position.

Victor Prudeaux wears many hats: at the Warner Grand Theatre he is both the front-of-house mixer as well as the master electrician, and he mixes and consults at various other venues and stages in the Los Angeles area. “I have worked on every digital console under the sun and nothing compares to DiGiCo sound quality and functionality,” Prudeaux says. “It’s simply the best there is.”

He adds that the Stadius 32-bit preamps in the DiGiCo SD-Rack will allow for enhanced speech intelligibility and clarity for theatrical performances. “And every show that comes through here, concerts or theater productions, will find the same consoles they likely carry on the road — DiGiCo — which works to make us a preferred destination for shows,” he concludes. “That’s a lot of good reasons to go DiGiCo.”

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