The Biloxi Grand Casino on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has upgraded its multi-function showroom with the addition of a 48-input ATI Paragon II Monitor console. The Biloxi Grand Theater is an 1,800-capacity room that hosts Broadway and Las Vegas-style productions, musical entertainment and corporate events. The ATI Paragon II was installed in mid-March to complement the existing FOH system and an extensive Clair Brothers monitor speaker system.
Photo caption: Audio Toys hits the jackpot at Biloxi Casino with the Paragon II.
“The monitor rig is supplemental for guys not carrying their own stuff,” explains Earl Driggers, the theater’s audio engineer. Driggers, a New Orleans native and an eight-year veteran with the company, elaborates, “The Paragon matched what we were able to do with the Clair rig that we purchased, in terms of outputs. We’ve got 24 Clair 12AMs on 16 dedicated stage mixes, with two ML18s for drum subs.”
Originally planning to buy a competing product, he notes, “We found that, for the same price range, we could get the Paragon. The Paragon is unparalleled in the industry for features, with a gate and compressor on each input. Plus, being able to do 32 outputs, or 16 stereo mixes, there’s no comparison. That’s quite a nice feature to have.”
“Invariably,” he continues, “I wind up mixing monitors for a lot of acts that come through with ears, so one feature that I really like is the two cue busses. Having the separate wedge and ear buss, where you don’t have to listen to the ears on the wedge or vice versa, is really nice. The cueing system is phenomenal, as far as versatility, and what you can cue and where you can cue it. It’s wonderfully laid out.”
In the audio industry as a regional, national and international touring engineer for nearly 20 years, Driggers relates that he’d had previous experience with older Paragons yet the Paragon II still amazed him. “Everybody loves it and I’d heard so much about it that I was apprehensive about expecting too much. Actually the desk met my expectations and even exceeded some. It’s just so easy to mix on the desk because it does what it’s supposed to do, and does it so well. It’s very invisible and doesn’t get in the way.”
Driggers, whose first show on the newly installed monitor console was comedian, singer and impersonator Finis Henderson, notes that the Grand Theater offers an eclectic mix of artists and acts. “It runs the gamut of entertainment. We did “Starlight Express” for the whole month of April, which was followed by a quick turnaround to Willie Nelson. We’ve also got “The Odd Couple,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “The Sound of Music” coming, plus Sheena Easton, Clay Walker, the Temptations, Phil Vasser, Lee Greenwood, Tim Conway, and Don Knotts.”
At 250,000 square-feet the Biloxi Grand, which also incorporates the 12-story, 500-room Grand Casino Hotel as well as the Grand Theater, is the largest floating casino in the world. The Biloxi Grand Casino is a subsidiary of Park Place Entertainment, reputedly the biggest gaming company in the world.
The ATI Group is the parent company of Audio Toys Incorporated, API Audio, Uptown Automation and the newly formed ATI Group Distribution Division, which now distributes the full line of Audient products including the newly introduced Aztec console. Audio Toys manufactures the industry leading Paragon II monitor console, the Paragon II production console and associated rack mount gear. Uptown Automation manufactures and installs moving fader and mute automation for analog mixing consoles. API remains the leader in analog recording gear, such as the famed Legacy console, the TEC award-winning 7600 channel strip, and the acclaimed 2500 stereo bus compressor.