Since opening in 1929, the Fox Theater in Redwood City, CA, has enjoyed a storied history as a vaudeville stage and movie theater. Today, the landmark venue is a live performance venue, with the main 1400-seat Fox Theater and smaller Little Fox nightclub next door hosting a busy schedule of national and regional acts.
For years, both venues relied primarily on rental gear or the theater’s aging analog console to handle live shows. But recently, the Fox underwent a massive audio makeover to install Digidesign VENUE live sound systems into both theaters, with the main theater receiving a new JBL VerTec line array as well. Systems integrator Steve Bauer explained that VENUE was the logical choice for a number of reasons, most notably power, flexibility and intuitive operation.
“We spent quite a bit of time looking into all our options,” Bauer said, who admits being an old-school analog fan. “The old arguments about analog sounding better simply don’t hold water anymore, and the many advantages of digital are just a no-brainer. So, we looked into all the digital consoles on the market, and VENUE was really the only logical choice.” The Fox Theater is now outfitted with a VENUE D-Show system, while the Little Fox received the more compact D-Show Profile.
Both VENUE systems have been well-received by virtually every act coming through, according to Bauer. “A few of the old-school analog guys have been a bit hesitant at first, but everyone who’s worked with the VENUE is convinced. Neil Young and Tim Mulligan, his FOH engineer, loved working on it so much that they rented one for the rest of their tour.”
But the VENUE system’s biggest advantages, Bauer says, are its integration with Pro Tools and depth of plug-in capabilities. “The ability to do a live recording in Pro Tools HD is great in itself, but the biggest advantage is the sheer range of TDM plug-ins available, both from Digidesign and from third parties. And the VENUE runs them all natively. With the VENUE, we no longer have to make any compromises.”