The Delta Music Institute (Delta State University, Cleveland, MS) has chosen a 48-channel Solid State Logic (SSL) Duality δelta console as the primary tool in its newly upgraded Studio A control room.
The Delta Music Institute (DMI) is an Independent Center of Excellence within the Delta State University College of Arts and Sciences offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Entertainment Industry Studies.
The DMI concentrates on technological, creative, and business areas of the entertainment industries, including specialism in audio. It has a dedicated music studio complex, which includes the large Studio A live room and control room, where the new Duality δelta is installed.
Tricia Walker, director of the DMI, is a Mississippi native and alumna of Delta State University. She returned to the area after spending over 25 years immersed in the Nashville music scene as a songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. “A lot of our students in this region have not had the opportunity of formal music training,” explains Walker. “So a more classical music education might be quite challenging to them. There is an enormous amount of talent though, so when the DMI began a lot of those students gravitated towards us.”
The courses at the DMI focus on practical skills, but always in the context of the music and entertainment industry. “The music and entertainment industry changes so quickly,” she adds. “We’re trying to teach our students good solid technical skills and business skills, but also to think and live entrepreneurially in a creative type lifestyle.”
The DMI has grown significantly over the last six years, and has reached a tipping point. “Our administration has recognized this,” says Walker, “and has decided to run our program up the flag pole—this purchase and some other upgrades put us out there as a flagship programme of the university. The SSL represents the icing on the cake, if you will.”
The DMI building formerly served to be a gymnasium, but was then transformed into separate studio spaces, with the centerpiece being a large live room designed by producer Norbert Putnam. Walker states, “It’s rare to have that much space in a university to dedicate to a recording space. And of course, now with that kind of console in the control room we can really brag that we have the best facilities in the eastern United States.”
Miles Fulwider is the Co-ordinator of Sound Recording Technology for the department, and a full time instructor on the Entertainment Industry Studies course. “For me,” he begins, “In the recording studio, nothing compares to an SSL.”
Fulwider notes that there were were several reasons for selecting the Duality, including flexible routing options, comprehensive analog processing, dual DAW control, and δelta-Control (in-DAW console automation) all contribute to effective and relevant learning. This works in combination with the console’s SuperAnalogue architecture and I/O.
“These are the tools that allow students to develop fantastic critical listening skills now,” Fulwider explains. “Having to work their way up in the industry for 10 years to finally be able to work in a facility that’s got great equipment like this—and only then assess their skills—feels backwards. In this institute they have those tools from the beginning. They have the experience and the skills for them to go out and dive in commercially. Hopefully their careers just explode at that point for them.”
Fulwider has found that the console has a significant effect on the way students approach creative projects: “Students coming into our programme usually have familiarity with DAWs already—they’ve already used plug-ins and in-the-box processing. However, when they get to touch something physical, and they really understand signal processing, their workflow changes. When they go back and work on their laptops they are listening differently because they have been able to interact with those signals in a different way, versus just watching meters bounce inside of the DAW.”