"With so many acts currently using in-ear monitor systems, we needed a board with quiet and dependable monitor sends," says Little Nashville Opry Monitor Engineer Gary Weidner. "We had also outgrown our 48-channel frame size. Since a stereo ear mix uses twice as many mixes as a mono wedge mix, workable mixes quickly became in short supply. With the SM20, we can now stage up to 15 powered mixes, plus cue wedge, and five more in-ear monitor mixes."
The Little Nashville Express house band frequently opens for Saturday night headliners, making separate mixes and input channels a necessity rather than a luxury. "Now I can keep the house band's channels at the end of the SM20, as well as its separate mixes, and rarely have to use either one for a national act," he notes. "It makes setup and set change times for the Little Nashville Express quicker and easier on everyone."
"That means more time to focus on the quality of the show and less time spent with production problems," adds Little Nashville Opry Production Manager Larry Bemis. "If we have to deal with channels or mixes that don't work, we're not focusing on the quality of the product, which is the entertainment we provide to our paying customers. With the SM20, those issues have disappeared."
"And nearly every visiting monitor engineer has worked on a Soundcraft at one time or another," Weidner says. "There's very little 'learning curve' to running the SM20, so even a relatively inexperienced operator can find his or her way around the board quickly."
"When advancing a show," adds Bemis, "and they ask what kind of monitor desk we have, the Soundcraft reputation instantly wins the 'rider acceptability' game. It's just not an issue."
Bemis' company, Sound Advice Consulting, sold the Little Nashville Opry its Soundcraft SM20, which became the fourth dedicated monitor console used at the venue in its storied, 27-year history. The venue operates a 39-week performance schedule from March through November in scenic southern Indiana and has staged more than 3,000 shows ranging from the house band to country music legends like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, and 'Mr. Las Vegas', Wayne Newton.