Studer upgrades Benedum Centre for the Performing Arts

The Benedum Centre, a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and renowned performing arts venue, has taken delivery of a Studer Vista 5 digital audio mixing console with 42 faders to support a variety of theatrical productions and live music performances.

Chris Evans, house sound engineer for the Benedum Centre since its renovation and re-branding in 1987, initially saw the Vista series of consoles at the AES Convention in San Francisco in 2010 and chose the Vista 5 because he believed no other board felt closesr to analogue. He explained: “The relationship I have with Harman also helped. After a valuable discussion with Studer, who were very helpful in navigating the system, it felt like the right choice."

During the summer, the Benedum Centre hosts at least one performance per day, leaving little time to adjust to a new console. “The Vista 5 was easy to install and is even easier to use. More importantly, it sounds great,” Evans noted. “The transition to the Vista 5 has been seamless and it’s given me greater flexibility with far less hassle than our previous analogue board.”

With a variety of performances and acts hosted by the Centre, including Blue Man Group, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line and a recent performance by The Beach Boys, the ability to move audio around the building is something that Evans constantly relies upon. "I can patch something downstage right to FOH and go through the system without having to touch the console,” he commented. “It can operate as a mixing console and routing matrix. The Vistonics surface is so easy to navigate. I also use all the built-in features, from compressors to EQ to delay."

Evans also noted the console’s Snapshot function as a key asset during live events. "I’ve done a number of shows where there are two or three different bands, so I am able to save a snapshot of each band’s settings and be ready to go with my input list,” he said. “It’s always set up as either I or the touring engineer left it."

During the Centre’s own theatre and opera productions, the Vista 5’s cue list has been another key asset for Evans. “It’s easy to program and I use it extensively,” Evans noted. “We included two racks of 48 channels of DSP which I can put anywhere with additional fibres if needed. This is a real flexible solution for what we are doing."

Since the purchase of the Vista 5, everyone at the Benedum Centre has expressed their satisfaction with the console. “Studer’s support is on a whole other level, it’s easy for me to do my work and count on the performance of their products," Evans concluded. "The value of the Vista 5 was apparent immediately and the whole team here adapted to it right away.”

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