Fresno’s Betsuin Buddhist Temple Finds the Right Balance with Line 6

The Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple Dharma Center’s mission is to promote peace and tranquility throughout the world, so it comes as no surprise that they embraced an elegant yet high-tech approach to upgrading their AV systems. Working with local system designer Tim McFarland of American Music, the Dharma Center chose the new Line 6® StageScape M20d smart mixing system to bring improved quality and ease of use to their presentations.

“After learning their needs, I thought the StageScape M20d was a good fit for the Dharma Center,” says American Music owner Tim McFarland. “The system offers all this great technology, but without a big learning curve, which is important since they don’t have any professional guys on staff. When I described the system to them in one of our meetings, they thought it would be perfect, so we went for it.”

The Line 6 StageScape M20d is a self-contained, touchscreen-driven digital mixing system for live sound that incorporates sophisticated DSP and dynamics/EQ processing, enabling the user to craft their sound through an elegant, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI). It also enables detailed manipulation of features like compression, reverb and delay through its Tweak mode, and offers feedback suppression, scene recall, and multi-track recording without additional hardware. This is made even more intuitive through a “Quick” tweak mode and X/Y pad, that through the movement of a finger across the screen towards a descriptive parameter, changes multiple parameters under the hood, leaving the user just to ‘listen’ for the desired setting. StageScape has 12 auto-sensing mic/line inputs, that really simplify setup, along with four additional line level balanced inputs and a stereo auxiliary input, which made it a good fit for the Dharma Center’s needs.

Greg Tsudama, a member of the Dharma Center and professional IT manager, has taken on the role of primary audio-visual technician. “When Tim McFarland told us about the StageScape system, it really seemed to address a lot of the issues we’d been having with our old analog system,” he confirms. “When the rep came down and did a demonstration for us, we could see how quick and easy it is to use the touchscreen and visual cues to manipulate the sound. It takes away a lot of the intimidation of all the knobs and dials that our previous system had.”

The Dharma Center was also enthusiastic about having the ability to control StageScape remotely via one or more iPad® devices. “Because the temple keeps all its control equipment in a rack back in the office, having the full StageScape control surface accessible on an iPad was a key feature for them,” says Tim McFarland.

The full project included several other component upgrades, including a video projection system, and the addition of secondary loudspeakers to improve intelligibility by reducing the room’s strong natural reverberation. In addition, the temple’s two outdated, single-channel wireless microphones were replaced with Line 6 XD-V75 digital systems, which operate in the license-free 2.4GHz band. “Again, my product recommendation was based on reliability and ease of use,” McFarland explains. “The Line 6 wireless system was ideal for this situation, because it offers advanced technology in a very user-friendly package.”

Services at the Dharma Center include both spoken word and music, and Greg Tsudama is enthusiastic about improvements resulting from the new, StageScape M20d-based sound system. “As soon as we started using the new system, we heard a lot of comments about how much better everything sounded, especially being able to understand the minister without turning everything louder,” he relates. “We also have it tied into our assistive listening system, and people listening on headphones or earbuds have said that they can hear things much better now as well.”

Thanks to a training session from American Music and the StageScape mixer’s intuitive visual interface, the transition from the temple’s old analog equipment went smoothly. “We caught on to the StageScape system pretty quickly,” say Tsudama. “Tim and the rep installed it and did a demo for us. The touchscreen and visual cues give you a quick and easy way to manipulate the system, and I immediately download and installed the free StageScape app for iPad as well. Being able to mix from anywhere in the room is a big upgrade for us, and I like the fact that the app mimics the console interface, down to the knobs below the touchscreen, so you have all the same functions.”

Tsudama feels that the StageScape M20d mixer’s ease of use will help the temple in a variety of ways. “All you do is turn on the system power, then just touch the screen and it pulls up our saved settings, so anyone can use it,” he notes. “We’re hoping that the usage of this system will go up, because it does offer quite a few new capabilities. For instance, we can record choir practice and play it back for immediate listening. We want to encourage more of our members who play instruments to start playing sessions.”

For Tim McFarland of American Music, recommending Line 6 StageScape M20d was simply a matter of learning his customer’s needs and fulfilling them in a creative way. “When a new client requests a digital console, what they usually want is repeatability, but not necessarily complexity,” he notes. “That’s the big innovation that Line 6 came up with in this mixer. You get all the full advantages of digital audio presented on an interface that’s easy to understand and use—especially for anyone who uses touchscreen devices like a smartphone or iPad. The Dharma Center turned out to be a perfect venue for StageScape M20d.”

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