Florida’s Pensacola Christian College recently received a major audio upgrade to its 6,200-seat Crowne Centre auditorium with two Harman Studer Vista 9 digital audio consoles, nine BSS Audio Soundweb London BLU-160 signal processors and five BLU-BIB break-in boxes.
Architecturally striking with its tall, jewel-like faceted glass front sections and ultramodern curved interior featuring a 110-foot rotating stage and dual wedding chapels, the Crowne Centre is used for services, concerts, weddings and special events.
The Crowne Centre was built in 2001 but the sound system recently began showing its age. The auditorium is used almost daily, and while it proved very reliable overall, after 11 years of constant use the mixing console and other components began to exhibit failures and glitches. Commercial audio contractor All Pro Sound was chosen to bring the audio system back to the high-quality standards required by the college.
“We didn’t just want this to be a glorified repair job—we wanted the system to be more powerful and user-friendly, to be future-proof and to provide many years of reliable service,” said John Fuqua, vice president, All Pro Sound. “We have worked with Pensacola Christian College for over 25 years and have a great understanding of their expectations for quality and function. As the original system designer and installer, All Pro Sound was able to provide a comprehensive plan that met both function and timeline.”
“The Studer Vista 9 is a significant upgrade from the previous console,” Fuqua stated. “We chose it for its large input and output capability, its flexible configurability and its superior sonic quality.”
The Crowne Centre uses two Vista 9 consoles for front of house and in the broadcast suite. Both have 42-fader mixing surfaces and are running a total of 212 inputs with 32 main outs, 48 matrix sends and 32 aux sends. The broadcast console is programmed for dynamic automation, which is required for remixing the musical portions of the church services and concert events.
“The Studer Vista 9 fits this installation perfectly,” Fuqua continued. “We needed consoles that could handle both live sound and broadcast mixing needs, and the Vista 9 is versatile enough to be optimized for both applications. It makes life much easier to have the same brand and model of console, especially since both are networked together.”
The inter-compatibility of the two consoles and the BSS Audio Soundweb London components was an especially crucial—and practical—aspect considering the time frame Fuqua was under. “We had a 3-week window to remove the old gear, change all the system programming, pull all-new fiber optic cable between locations and take delivery of, install and program a large Studer mixing system. We started the process with Studer engineers in early March for the install date to begin on May 25, so we could be completed by June 15. This was, at best, very tight for the Studer system to be built, tested and shipped to the site. We took delivery of the first Vista 9 on June 1 and the second on June 4.”
“The fact that the Studer and BSS Audio components are literally made for each other was a tremendous advantage in ensuring we did not go over deadline,” Fuqua added. “The system uses HiQnet London Architect programming interface and its drag-and-drop functionality really sped up the configuration process. Our lead systems designer Dennis Ryan created a custom GUI that allows for complete function control and monitoring for all types of events held in the Crowne Centre. The wide variety of signal processing options provided by the Soundweb London BLU-160 enabled us to precisely optimize the sound and performance of the system.”
“The Crowne Centre staff is extremely pleased with the sound quality and more intuitive user interface of the Vista 9 and the capabilities of the entire system,” Fuqua concluded. “The sound quality of the new BSS Audio Soundweb London components coupled with the Vista 9 consoles was evident from the first sound checks.”