One of the K2s, a 24-channel model, is now permanently installed in the house sound booth of the John A. Walker Community Center's 1130-seat performing arts auditorium. "It's a very nice proscenium-style theater with beautiful acoustics and the school does a great job of promoting an Americana concert series in there every year in addition to other music, comedy and theatre," says SE Systems President Cliff Miller.
The second console, a 32-channel K2 housed in a road case, is brought out for miscellaneous concerts and other events held elsewhere in the Walker Center and around campus.
Both K2s will be used at MerleFest, the school's annual four-day acoustic music festival held each April. Named after Merle Watson, son of the legendary Doc Watson, the 2002 concert marks the festival's 15th anniversary and will draw approximately 75,000 people from around the world to see a myriad of bluegrass, celtic, country, zydeco and other roots-based acts perform on 13 stages spread about the 150-acre college grounds.
"The K2s are a good fit for WCC because they enable the school to run four monitor wedges and a pair of stereo sidefills from the front-of-house position, which very often eliminates the need for a dedicated monitor console. Also, having range switches on each of the mono input channels allows the engineers to flip between dedicated XLR and quarter-inch inputs for different setups without requiring a lot of repatching; many other consoles in the same price range didn't offer that. The desks' matrix, low noise floor, attractive price, reputation for quality and great Soundcraft sound were other reasons that I recommended them."
Miller, who toured with Doc Watson for seven years as a guitarist after working as his house sound engineer, has coordinated all of the sound reinforcement for MerleFest since its inception in 1986. "We usually bring several of our own Soundcraft boards, including a couple of 24-channel K1s, over to the festival each year. An 800B used to also be a regular out there before we retired it a couple of years ago; it was a good old console that reliably served us for a long time.
"Being in the rental business, we own just about one of every type of live console on the market. But I've always been a Soundcraft fan, and a 40- or 48-channel Series FOUR will most likely be my next purchase in a large-format board for our inventory."