Feb 09, 2021 - 09:27

Being an educator in sound engineering isn’t easy. Not only do you need to be clever enough to teach some of the most promising audio talent in the country, you need to be visionaries also. The prestigious University of Salford’s audio engineering staff know this to be the case. When they needed to update their Avid D-Command and Avid S5 digital consoles they needed to cast their minds five years into the future to think what the fast-changing world of audio engineering would look like.

Bernard Steer, Creative Technical Demonstrator, explains: “When you buy new equipment for a university you have to think what the audio world for music and post will look like when the new crop of university students are ready to graduate years down the line. If you get it wrong, then they’re not ready to get employment in the audio industry. So being able to think ahead is crucial.” The answer they decided upon was the Avid S6 – an M10 and M40, to be precise, to upgrade their two studios.

Steer explains the reasoning: “The D Command and S5 were coming to the end of the line and we had to think of the right option. When we looked at a five year plan, it became clear that the Avid S6 was the best option. We knew that bigger production houses are gradually all changing to the S6 and it seemed clear that this is what students would likely be using at the end of the three to four years they would send with us. Also, being modular, the S6 allowed us to replace like for like in both our training studios.”

Steer is enjoying getting to know the new consoles. He says: “I like the Spill function and how the S6 handles metering and locking channels. It’s great for teaching.”

Alongside the S6, they knew that they wanted to be Dolby Atmos ready, so they opted for the Avid Pro Tools | MTRX monitoring system with its analog and digital I/O able to take on the most demanding music and post-production challenges.

With two studios both the same, the students are happy.

“Pupils can be creatures of habit,” he says. “They don’t want to move between studios that are different to each other. With the two studios being so similar, the students can get to work more easily. But also it benefits the teaching staff as we’re able to configure back to the set-up we want after the students have been experimenting and exploring what the desks can do.”

But it’s also prospective students who are happy. Steer says: “For potential students, equipment plays a big part in their decision making. The S6 certainly ticks the wow factor when people visit the facilities and that can be important.”

Eric Joseph, Managing Director of Mediaspec , believes that University of Salford have made wise decisions. He says: “We were delighted to supply and install the new equipment. They were pleased with the competitive pricing we were able to offer and they were aware of us from the number of clients we have around Salford’s Media City. They’ve made great decisions in the equipment they’ve chosen. The new S6 consoles certainly future-proofs them, and combined with the expertise of the training staff can only mean that University of Salford goes from strength to strength.”

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