Located along the Colorado River, Lake Havasu High School in Arizona has built an incredible education platform on the idea of equipping students with the skills needed to utilize the world’s latest technology. To enrich the students’ knowledge of audio production, the school’s administration reached out to their own Director of the Community Performing Arts Center, Sam Brindis.
After starting out with a small studio set-up, Brindis contacted Vintage King to help him in his efforts of completely rebuilding the production facilities at LHHS. Partnering up with Sales Team Representative Chris Bolitho, the duo embarked on a journey to bring state-of-the-art equipment to the school, including an Audient console and a Focusrite I/O system. We recently talked with Sam about the development of the recording program at LHHS and how his students have taken to the influx of new gear.
What was the LHHS recording program like when you started there?
The teaching position opened up five years ago. I was already the Director of the Community Performing Arts Center, which is a 700-seat theater located here on the high school campus. The administration approached me about taking over and "reinventing" the Audio/Video program.
My first year started with 60 students, this year I have 160 students with an additional 75 being turned away, as I capped the classes at 30-35 students. There was no audio studio when I started and during my first year, we put in more computers to start 25 stations running Pro Tools 9 with a small studio space using a Digi003 and cheap $300 microphones.
What made you want to upgrade the studio? How'd you come to work with Vintage King?
I was able to upgrade the studio last year as that was my original vision when I was hired. I wanted to put in a legitimate recording studio/workplace for students, as well as the community to have access to.
I reached out to Vintage King as I felt they might be a vendor worth asking for input, in addition to a source for purchasing the gear. Previously I have been purchasing through Sweetwater and B&H. I spoke with Chris Bolitho via phone and we met at The NAMM Show a few years ago. He has been TREMENDOUSLY helpful in giving his advice and helping me make my final gear selection process so much easier!
Tell us a little about the install and the gear you’re using.
We put in a 24-channel Audient ASP8024 desk and I wanted 24-channels I/O with Pro Tools. I chose Focusrite RedNet as Pro Tools HD Native maxes out at 16-channel I/O. I had seen the RedNet at The NAMM Show, in addition to doing my own research on it. I felt it was the way to go rather than adding additional AVID units. Other than the original install there have been no additional glitches. Their tech support was excellent getting me up and running. I plan on taking advantage of recording remotely via our network audio from other locations within the school that are outside of the studio space.
What made you decide to go with the Audient console and how's it been working out so far?
It’s good for teaching as it is physically large enough to get more than a few kids on it at one time. I’m very impressed with the ease of use for instruction and the EQ and mic pres sound beautiful as well. I also like the assignment section having both long and short throw faders, and I very much like the onboard stereo compressor on the Master Bus. Of course, build quality and dependability are equally important. The desk seems rugged not flimsy, easy on the eyes with light colors and there is room enough on the real estate to get in on and work the different faders, knobs and buttons.
What other gear did you purchase from Vintage King? How has this gear impacted your student's studio experience?
We purchased quite a bit of the gear from Vintage King including the Focal and Genelec monitors, Universal Audio plug-ins, LA-2A, LA-610 MKII, Dual 1176 stereo compressor, Millenia, Great River preamps, API Channel Strip, Empirical Labs Distressors and DBX compressors. We also bought mics from FLEA, Neumann, Royer Labs, Charter Oak, sE Electronics and Shure.
What’s the best part of training the next generation of music creators?
The best part of the new studio is seeing the excitement that the students have getting to use as well as hear and see the gear in action!
Photo Credit: Audient