The House of Blues Las Vegas (HOB) is a regular port of call for major touring acts and large corporate events in Nevada. HOB sound engineer Justin Oswalt has designed the venue’s live sound setup for excellent sound quality and the versatility required for an ever-changing program. When the HOB team purchased a Midas HD96 from Clair Global Integration (CGI) to serve as the centerpiece of this setup, Oswalt and the HOB turned to Midas and AVL Media Group to ensure a seamless integration that would meet the needs of the steady stream of front of house engineers who may be working the venue for the first time.
Intuitive Mixing with Hands-on Support
Oswalt described the HOB as a ``longtime Midas house”, and as such he was eager to implement an HD96 as their live front of house console. “Once you’re familiar with the workflow of a Midas it’s incredibly intuitive to build a mix and run the show,” he said. “The sound quality and versatility of the HD96 blew the competition out of the water, so they were an obvious choice for us. You’re really getting an insane powerhouse for your money. Its ability to handle the variety of different show types that we have to put on is unmatched.”
Working directly with CGI via Eighth Day Sound and Audio Associates Joe Blacker, the console was quickly acquired and installed. “We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Live Nation for many years and were eager to work with them again on supplying the House of Blues Las Vegas with an HD96,” he said. “We put together a great team for this, including Dave Helberg of Live Nation, Jimm Cash, Kate Serb, and Joe Bunting of CGI, Jason Vrobel of Eighth Day Sound, as well as Chase McKnight of Midas and the guys from AVL Media Group.”
“We were thrilled to be involved with this and continue working with AVL Media Group," Cash added. "The relationship there has been top notch as has been their ability to deliver and support these products.”
Once the console was installed, Oswalt and his team got to work integrating it into their setup, doing so quickly with the direct support of Midas and AVL Media Group. “We were also immediately impressed by how hands-on both Midas and AVL Media Group were from the get-go,” he said. “Chase McKnight from Midas came in personally to train our staff on the HD96 and they’ve been incredibly communicative post-install. That’s a huge draw for us that a spec sheet won’t tell you.”
Seamless Integration across the Nation
The show calendars that can often see the House of Blues Las Vegas hosting completely different genres on adjacent nights. As such, Oswalt has become used to expecting the unexpected and he’s quick to say how important it is to have a versatile console that can rise to the challenges of these different kinds of events without any compromise in sound quality. “We might see a metal show the first night, a Latin hip-hop show the next, and a corporate event after that,” he explained. “Everything changes, and we need to be able to change with it and deliver at the same level of quality every night no matter what.
“The Heritage D really can do anything and mixing on it is such a pleasure.”
Working side-by-side with visiting engineers every night, Oswalt is also intimately familiar with how quickly an engineer needs to feel comfortable on the equipment a venue may have. He says that the reputation of Midas is immediately reassuring, and the access to its Offline Editor makes seamless integration easily achievable. “The first question is always ‘Well, what do you have?”, and when I tell them we have a Heritage D they usually get very excited,” he said. “The availability of the Offline Editor makes it a snap for them to pre-build the show before they arrive, and once I get them acquainted with the control surface, they are off and running.”
Oswalt says that the success of the HD96 at the venue has also had ripple effects, leading to a move towards working with AVL Media Group to adopt the consoles across other Live Nation venues. AVL Media Group director of U.S. sales Kurt Metzler said that making such a sweeping change quickly will be no problem for the top distributor. “We’re very proud of how well the HD96 has been received by live sound engineers, and specifically its implementation in the HoB Las Vegas,” he said. “With the level of inventory and support that we can offer, we’re ready to install at any venue that is ready to make the upgrade.”