The Australian College of the Arts (Collarts) is a tertiary music college based in South Melbourne that teaches degree-level courses in Audio Production, Music Performance and Creative Industries Management. The college has a long history on the Melbourne music scene, where it was known as Ausmusic until 2010.
Associate Dean and Head of Audio at Collarts, Dr. Paul Doornbusch has had a highly diversified and successful career in sound including everything from DSP synthesis programming, to virtual reality audio design and a gamut of experimental and location based projects pushing the boundaries of what is possible in sound. With degrees in Composition, Computer Science and Electronic Music, Paul’s career has seen him work all over the world.
Collarts Associate Dean and Head of Audio, Dr. Paul Doornbusch with their new SD11
Collarts is quite a well- built facility with two live rooms, a complete post-production studio as well as two fully equipped student labs for production and composition. With the need arising for an upgrade to their existing mixing console, a trip to their AV supplier Soundcorp was in order. A DiGiCo SD11 proved irresistible to Paul for many reasons as we soon learned.
“Young people these days have grown up listening to digital recordings and CD’s, that’s the sound they expect be it live or recorded. The SD11 lets us produce that. The first time I heard it, I said ‘Oh yes! That’s the sound!’. It’s completely replaced our old analogue console and all the patching.”
An exceptional number and variety of I\O on the back of the SD11 makes it an extremely powerful workhorse all on its own
With the console being used primarily for the purpose of educating, it proved logical for Paul to give students access to a system used by world leading engineers who mix for some the biggest headliners in the world such as George Michael, Lionel Ritchie, U2, Robbie Williams, Metallica, Justin Timberlake, etc.
“It made sense to go with the SD11. The students love it, they have seen it used in concerts. The recall functions and FX really make it easy to show them what’s going on.”
The quality of the in-built FX also impressed Paul and with his long history in synthesis development and electronic music, he’s no spring chicken when it comes to critiquing the sound of DSP and FPGA based FX.
“The flexibility of the HPF\LPF are really impressive. The compression is also very nice. Having it all inside the console makes things so much simpler and cleaner.”
Simplifying the signal chain and teaching using the SD Series UI have proved very appealing to Paul, allowing for simpler end-to-end production.
“The transfer from A to D is much simpler now. When you’re teaching students signal flow, it’s highly beneficial to be able to keep things easy to understand. The other great thing is that we’re now teaching them how to use something that is widely used everywhere in the industry. This will give them an immediate advantage in real world environments.”
The head of music performance at Collarts, Gene Shill, was also very impressed with the SD11 all round too.
“I love it. I just love it. I notice a lot of small things that make sense. The colour coding across the console is also really helpful and the size of the FX dials when they pop up mean that even the students with bigger hands can still access the controls. Yeah, I love it.”
For anyone looking to get into professional audio and the music industry, Collarts is certainly worth checking out.