my Live Sound class visits the Union Transfer (again)

Among the various classes that I teach within the Audio Department at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, the Live Sound courses are some of my favorite.

Part of this comes from the opportunity to get out of the classroom and show the students:

  • literal “behind-the-scenes”  / backstage technology
  • networking with local Production Managers
  • exploring different systems, install, and methods of mixing.

Tom Shebest, the Production Manager at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer, was generous enough to host my Live Sound class yet again to show off their marvelously flexible D&B sound system.


Our visit started out with a tour venue space, and explanation of the moving stage system.
Moving onto the stage in Monitor World, we studied the stage patch
Moving next to the amp room, Tom carefully explained the analog patch’s 3-way split : digitizing one signal set to Front of House, another to Monitor World, and isolating another analog set back to returns at the patch area (for multi-track recording, etc).
Moving to FoH mix-position, all 96 channels arrive (via MADI on a single CAT5) to be mixed on their DigiCo SD8 console before returning to amp room.
While at FoH, Shebest fired up some music and showed us how the speakers positioning and dispersion of sound had been planned/modeled on D&B’s ArrayCalc software
Lastly, we moved to Monitor World, where Tom First explains the structure and workflow of the (other) SD8 at monitor world.
After a feature demo of the SD8 (and some quizzing to test my class’s understanding of digital mixing consoles from previous venue-visits), Tom picked a few students to demo the monitor console. I had the students run through our class’s usual basic sound check routines (to explore how different boards work). The flexibility of the SD8 really seemed to click with some students.
As their teacher, I tend to lead these “sound check sandboxes” acting somewhere between “stooge-talent,” “life-guard,” and “goalie”. Lots of leading questions. Tom and I are developing quite a shtick.

More ?

If you’re interested in taking a bit of a tour yourself, I noticed that Google Maps got inside the UT, as seen on UT’s Contact page….

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