CBS audio technician Greg Doughty. (Photo credit: Ed Colver)
CBS Television’s Studio 33 in Los Angeles has been upgraded with a Solid State Logic C100 Digital Broadcast Console. In addition to hosting The Price is Right—which celebrated 35 years on the air in September 2006—Studio 33 is also home to HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the religious program Helpline and other programs.
“We have many different programs that require many different capabilities,” says Greg Doughty (pictured), one of the studio’s primary mixers. “Real Time is different from Price is Right, and Helpline uses a lot more inputs than either one of those.”
With the C100, Doughty explains, “It takes just a couple of minutes and a few patches to get your show set up. It used to take forever—you had to go through every pot and every button manually. Now, when a show comes in, even if it’s once a year, you can store your setup on the console; when they come back in, we recall it and are set to go. It has eliminated a lot of patching and things like that. The setup time has been cut way back. Also, when you recall your program, you’re exactly where you left off.
“That also helps us on The Price is Right,” he adds. “We might have to change something, depending on how loud the audience is or whatever. But we have a starting point that we go back to every day. It’s a lot more precise than an analog console.”
According to Doughty, learning the C100 is straightforward for analog console operators; CBS Television still employs several SSL 6000 and 8000 Series consoles. “The way it’s laid out makes it easy to learn,” he says. “It’s laid out like an analog console, so you don’t have one knob that does everything. You have a whole EQ section, dynamics, everything. It’s a lot quicker to learn from an analog console.”
With the C156 in Studio 33, CBS now houses four C Series digital consoles. Audio Post 2, responsible for post-production for The Bold and the Beautiful, houses a C200 Digital Production Console. Studio 58, site of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Studio 56, currently home of The Tyra Banks Show, both feature a C100.
“We wanted the redundancy of being able to swap things out and have interchangeable parts,” says Marc Hurd, director of technical operations. “We certainly like to keep the consistency.”