Los Angeles College of Music expands with Line 6

With the opening of a thoroughly refurbished 1907-vintage Union Garage Building facility, the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) in Pasadena wanted to provide its students with a state-of-the-art live performance environment. The school’s recent expansion includes new programs and majors for students, new celebrity faculty, and an exclusive “Let’s Talk Music” series, which provides students with one-on-one access to top professional musicians. With ongoing performances from students, faculty and alumni, the college needed a modern performance, rehearsal and event space more than ever. To meet the combined needs of excellent sound quality, ease of use, and cutting-edge technology at a reasonable price, the school chose a Line 6® PA system.

LACM Executive Vice President of Academic Operations Mike Packer, who also happens to be a drummer and an instructor, first experienced the Line 6 StageScape M20d® digital mixer and StageSource® loudspeakers while playing at a demo event at the S.I.R. rehearsal facility in Los Angeles. He had also heard the system at Catalina’s Bar & Grill, the acclaimed LA jazz club.

“I was playing these events and seeing all that the rig had to offer, and all I could think about was how perfect it would be to have at LACM,” recalls Packer. “Hearing the sound quality of the rig, learning the economy of the mixer, discovering the way the mixer is laid out, and then experiencing the live recording feature, it was all so perfect.”

“At LACM, we wanted the new building to contain a performance stage, primarily for concerts and clinics,” he explains. “We have both student and faculty concerts, which are always free, along with master class presentations from visiting artists. The goal was to provide a professional experience with great sound in a user-friendly environment, and I knew from personal experience that the Line 6 system would provide it.”

The heart of the system is the ultra-compact StageScape M20d digital mixer, which uses an intuitive touchscreen GUI to make it easy to set levels and mix. A library of visual icons helps set the basic sound for each input, which can then be fine-tuned through the system’s advanced DSP capabilities, offering the same level of precision as a premium touring console, but with the simplicity of a tablet.

When connected to Line 6 StageSource self-powered loudspeakers through the L6 LINK™, the system detects each speakers model and intended usage, adjusting EQ, gain, and dispersion automatically based on their orientation (horizontal for monitors, vertical for mains). For The Garage stage, LACM purchased two L3m loudspeakers to use as their mains, augmented by two L3s subwoofers. Four L2t loudspeakers are typically deployed as floor monitors. The multi-purpose performance room, which also contains a student study lounge, computer lab, and some office space, accommodates 150 for concerts.

For LACM’s Mike Packer, the Line 6 system proved to be a perfect fit for the school’s needs. “First, the system sounds fantastic. The first time they heard it, everyone – both students and faculty – were very impressed. Even with the building’s high ceilings and open architecture, the sound quality is clean and intimate,” he explains. “And as a learning tool, The Garage stage feels like a club venue, which gives the students more of a real-world concert experience – something we really needed.”

While the Line 6 system’s sound quality, pro features, ease of use, and economy made it very attractive to the school, it was the M20d mixer’s on-board recording capability that really stood out. “With most mixers, you need an outboard recording system – typically a laptop, some software, and the connectivity to get all the equipment talking to each other. But it’s all right there on board the StageSource mixer. Just plug in an SD card or thumb drive and you’re ready to record. You can go stereo from just the mains, or capture full multitrack from all the inputs – or both! That’s an amazing feature, for students and teachers alike.”

Another favorite feature of the M20d is its ability to be remotely controlled via Wi-Fi on an iPad. “Giving our operations guys the ability to [mix remotely] was huge. Instead of mixing from one fixed spot, they can do monitors on stage, and hear the house sound from different parts of the room. And it’s all in real time. Very cool.”

Having seen the installation and heard the results, Mike Packer is convinced that the Los Angeles College of Music made a smart purchase decision. “The environment at LACM is nurturing, not competitive. We want to provide an experience that will help propel these young musicians into their professional careers,” he explains. “For us, it’s important to have gear that makes a lot of sense both educationally and in terms of production quality. And Line 6 nailed it with this system. We couldn’t be happier.”