AudioLab-Lb is a relatively new sound production and rental company in Lebanon, but in just a couple of years it has grown to become one of the country’s biggest and most successful audio businesses.
The company was founded by Imad Mrad, one of the best live and broadcast sound engineers not just in Lebanon but across the entire Middle East. He was previously Head of Sound at leading Middle East media production house Studiovision for nearly 14 years, working on big live TV shows such as the Middle East editions of Taratata, Dancing with the Stars and X Factor among others. Imad is also the sound engineer for Rotana, which produces concerts across the Gulf region for well-known Arabic singers and bands including Mohamed Abdo, Rabeh Sakr, Rashed al Majid, Hussein al Jassmi, Wael Kfouri, Kazem Al Saher, Najwa Karam and Assi Al Hallani.
As a user of Avid audio equipment for more than 10 years, Imad recently purchased two Avid VENUE S6L live mixing systems from Litewaves, Avid’s audio reseller in Lebanon.
“We only use Avid equipment at AudioLab-lb. We have an Avid VENUE SC48 and an Avid VENUE Profile which are still very busy, but as we continue to grow we need additional equipment – and of course we want to stay up to date with the latest technology,” he says. “The S6L is the best choice on the market. The sound quality is absolutely superb, unbeatable. It’s an easy and fast console to work with. It also has good studio plug-ins – and added to Avid’s plug-ins, we have a lot of choices without needing any external hardware or software for that. The dynamics and pre-amps are also very good.”
Imad finds the system intuitive and easy to use. “The whole team was already very familiar with the Avid VENUE system so it was simple to get going straight away,” he says. “The S6L communicates easily with Avid Pro Tools, which is important as we often need to record concerts on multitrack directly into Pro Tools. I also find the Spill function very handy because you can choose whatever channels you want in your bay and have them all in front of you. I like to work with several screens, and it’s easy to set this up so you can go directly to EQ or the fader on the screen - it’s all right there.”
AudioLab-lb’s S6L first console – the largest of its kind in Lebanon, with two Stage 64 boxes giving 128 inputs and 64 outs - was installed in July 2017 and was busy from day one on a variety of broadcast and live project. It proved its worth very quickly, on a live concert with a very short set-up time and almost no rehearsal, thanks to one of S6L’s software features.
“The Virtual Soundcheck function meant that we could get a head-start on the mix from our offices, then once we got to the venue we only needed around 15 minutes with the band,” Imad explains. “Without this function - which worked perfectly and smoothly in just one click - we would have faced a lot of problems. I would certainly say that the S6L saved the day.” The success of the console led swiftly to the purchase of the second S6L in December 2017, which looks set to be kept just as busy as the first.