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University of Huddersfield

Stage Electrics has supplied the University of Huddersfield with a raft of live sound equipment to allow students on its BA (Hons) Music Technology, BA (Hons) Music Technology and Popular Music and BMus (Hons) Creative Music Technology courses to get hands on experience with the latest digital products.

“Working with digital consoles for live sound is something we have wanted to develop into our courses for quite some time,” says the University’s Stewart Worthy, who teaches the courses along with fellow lecturer Alex Harker. “The other part of the university already runs music technology courses with industry standard analogue consoles such as Allen & Heath and Avid, but we wanted to do something different in our area, offering two different consoles with different operating principles to give our students a more diverse experience. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to do this for the first time this year.”

Stewart worked closely with Stage Electrics’ Rob Beamer on the tender to supply two industry standard consoles, a DiGiCo SD8 and a Yamaha CL5, along with stage racks and other associated equipment, including Sennheiser radio mics and a rack of Radial eight channel mic splitters.

“The Yamaha console is very useful because you come across them in a lot of different types of live sound activities,” Stewart continues. “The DiGiCo has become an industry standard for theatre productions, as well as other live sound applications. DiGiCo consoles also have different features and flexibility in terms of setup, which gives our students an additional perspective. The combination of the two consoles also allows our students to work with two digital protocols, as we use Dante for the Yamaha and MADI for the DiGiCo.”

The university has integrated the new equipment into its courses through a combination of lectures and workshops. The ultimate goal is to use them on productions with students from performance modules, allowing everyone to work together and providing a real-world experience, but in a controlled environment.

“The students really enjoy using both consoles,” says Stewart. “In live performances, they have to work at both FOH and monitor, with the consoles also alternated between the two positions. Some students develop a console preference, so we give them a choice of which one they want to use for their final assessment, which is a multitrack mixing test.”

The University’s aim is, of course, to equip its students for a career in the live sound industry.

“To that end, they all have option of doing an industry placement year between their second and third years,” says Stewart. “We also participate in the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, part of which is held at the University. We like to offer students on these modules the opportunity to work on that as well, to link our courses to the real world as much as we can.”

This approach has been a great success, with former students going on to work at companies such as Wigwam Acoustics and HHB.

“We have no doubt that having digital equipment in our inventory is going to help our students immeasurably,” Stewart concludes. “We know that we are now giving them all the skills they need.”

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