The first U.S. installation of an Audient Aztec console was in thepopular Nightclub 9:30 in Washington, D.C. Head engineer Shawn “Gus”Vitale evaluated numerous FOH consoles for the club’s sound systemupgrade and found the Audient Aztec to be a perfect match. Vitale ownedand operated Gus Sound, his own successful multiunit soundreinforcement company for 18 years, where he worked with popularregional acts like Fugazi, Shudder to Think, Not Even and Bruno LovesDanger.
The original Nightclub 9:30, located in downtown D.C., dates back tothe early 1980s; in 1996, the club expanded to a much larger venue inNorthwest Washington. The new facility features a large main room and awrap-around multi-tiered balcony. The performance area is outfittedwith movable stage and lighting/speaker truss system to accommodate forshow size. Recent performances at the club include Bob Dylan, VinceGill, The Pretenders, Joe Jackson and Norah Jones.
The upgrade from the club’s Crest GTX-40 FOH console has been in theworks for some time, said Vitale. “We’ve been planning this majorupgrade for over a year. It was essential that I make the best decisionfor the club and for the performers. We host multiple-act shows nearlyevery night of the year with styles ranging from world music toalternative rock to folk to R&B and metal, so I needed to find atop-notch console that was flexible enough to handle just aboutanything. Who would be using the console was a very importantconsideration. I wanted to make sure that the board was bothcomprehensive in its feature set and, at the same time, a comfortablefit for incoming tour engineers.”
The Aztec frame can be fitted with 32, 40 or 48 mic/line inputchannels, and all models include two additional stereo line-levelinputs and stereo “ambience” microphone inputs to facilitate in-earmonitor mixing. “The inclusion of stereo aux sends is also very handyfor the occasions when the front-of-house engineer wants to retaincontrol of the main performer’s in-ear monitors,” Vitale said. “Twowell-implemented and extremely useful features of the Aztec are thepeak-reading, eight-segment input meters on every fader pack, and thefact that Audient included balanced sets of insert inputs and outputson just about everything: channels, mains, subgroups, auxiliary sends.”The console also features 12 auxiliary outputs configured as eight monoand two stereo sends, plus eight subgroup outputs and a 12x8matrix.
Vitale sends a stereo mix from the Audient console to Klark-TechnikDN3600 programmable equalizers and dbx 480/260 Driverack processorsbefore feeding a wall of 18 Crest Audio CA 12 amplifiers (nine amps perside). The club’s stereo mains system comprises 12 EAW KF850E fullrangecabinets and eight SB1000Z sub cabinets. Four KF850Es are flown aboveeach side of the stage for general and upper-level fill, with two moreKF850Es and four SB1000Z subs stacked on either side of the stage.