The New England School of Communications (NESCOM) grants associate and bachelor degrees to 100 undergraduates a year in concentrations ranging from audio engineering and marketing communications to live sound engineering and video production. The school's expansive facility boasts seven fully appointed control rooms with all the latest gear and technologies in addition to a fully-appointed live truck and a 500-seat theater complex.
To stay current, the faculty conducts a console search every year, so no console is older than approximately five years. Their most recent search turned up API's new 16-channel 1608 small-frame console with a 16-channel expander.
NESCOM's API 1608 has joined several racks of outboard gear and a 24-track RADAR recording system in Control Room A, known to the students as the “Jungle Room.” The console incorporates API's discrete electronics topology and is built to the same standards as the flagship Vision and Legacy Series consoles. The standard 1608, with 16 input channels, eight buses, eight aux sends, eight reverb returns and full center section facilities, includes a dozen 550A three-band equalizers and four 560 10-band graphic EQ modules with space available for eight additional modules.
The faculty at NESCOM was happy with the 1608's logical workflow. "It's hard for students to understand signal flow without being able to see it," said Dave MacLaughlin, NESCOM executive director of audio. "The transparent topology of the 1608, starting with mic preamp controls just above the faders, makes it easy for students to understand what's happening between the input and the output. They can then transfer that understanding to more convoluted consoles or digital mixing environments."
Because the 1608 conforms to API's 500 Series modular paradigm, which has been adopted by more than two dozen companies, instructors and students are free to switch out modules to quickly appreciate the "sounds" of different manufacturers.