Friday, January 29, 2021


In order to have a fully functional adequate Sound Shop, the concept of the SWIFT (Sound Workshop for Integrated Fine-Arts Technology) needed to be reimagined.  Since the SWIFT has now been renamed the Keller (in honor of BC Keller), this was the perfect opportunity.

When I came on board to attempt to fill in BC’s shoes (let’s face it, anyone who knew him, knows this is impossible to do), the first thing I noticed was the sound shop was in chaos and needed some direction, since it was almost two years since a full-time sound supervisor was part of the CTSA. As evidence of the photos below, you can see there was some infrastructure and equipment being housed in those infrastructure elements.  

A change was needed and a drastic one at that.  The Sound Shop needed to feel renewed with a sense of new found purpose.  Over the course of the next 15 months, I devised a plan to slowly implement changes and improvements to how the Sound shop will function.  The first was to determine a new layout that will allow the most flexibility and storage capability.  I kept BC’s idea in keeping the center clear for a prep area and rearranged and purchased new equipment infrastructure to improve the layout.  I removed the old tool chest and donated it to the xMPL booth, removed the old test rack and any storage containers that didn’t match the new esthetic.  I decided to keep the long Shelving unit, Wireless cabinet, rigging cabinet, workbench, storage bins rack and filing cabinet.  I proceeded to purchase a second matching storage bins rack, replace the mic cabinet with a different cabinet, purchase a new shelving unit, add a new cabinet and purchase a tool chest. 

This gave the new layout a new look and allowed for more storage.  I was able to add the new storage equipment in the Sound Shop and actually gain 12 square feet of floor space.  Once the new layout was implemented, the SWIFT or Sound Shop, was no longer and The Keller was born.

When you now walk into the Keller, there is a new standard in how the Sound Design program operates and runs for each production.  Since the implementation, the shows are pulled faster, more efficiently and have a place to live before the equipment gets loaded into a venue.

I will now give a photographical tour of the Keller since we live in COVID times and only authorized people may be on campus.


When you open the door to enter, there are three cabinets on the left, rigging, microphones and wireless.  Continuing on is the workbench, with the long storage shelves along the back wall now.  On the right is the electronics cabinet and two units of storage bin racks followed by the tool chest.  Immediately on the right is the computer station.


The Rigging cabinet is now fully organized and labeled.  Speaker manufacture bolts and smaller hardware are separated out in bins or drawers.  It’s now easy to grab what is needed for a show pull and have it.  This is also where the bolts, screws and washers are stored by size.


The microphone cabinet is the latest addition to the Keller.  Each microphone model is grouped together in its own bin so it is convenient to see what is in stock and how many of each are available for a project. There are currently empty bins, which leaves room for more mics in the future.  Various mic hardware is also stored in the door to make mic mounting on non-stands more convenient.


The wireless cabinet contains the mic elements, wireless mic transmitters and any in-ear monitor units for wireless speakers.  


The workbench is full functional and equipped with a soldering station, carbon filter and vices to assist in repairing equipment.  The desktop also includes the test rack, which contains a cable tester, Clear-Com unit and mixer.  Above the workbench is Akro-Mils drawers for various components, adapters and parts.  To the right of the workbench is the repair shelving unit.  The top shelf is for cable that needs repaired, the next shelf is for mics and smaller equipment.  Below that shelf is for rack gear that needs repaired.  The bottom shelf is for Clear-Com units and larger equipment.


Along the back wall is the long storage shelving units that stores our computer monitors, Clear-Com units.  Since we now do custom racks for each production, our rack making equipment is also in this unit.  This includes panels, panel connectors, vents, lacer bars and blank panels.  Above the rack making section is the tech table supplies and computer keyboards and mice.  The very top is where the spools of various cables are stored to build new cables.  There is still plenty of room and many empty bins to be able to store future equipment on this unit.


The electronics cabinet is for storing of the smaller networking switches (non-rackmountable), wireless routers, MIDI, Yamaha Cards and video equipment.


The storage bins rack are for storing various equipment for easy access.  This includes XLR turnaround cables, RS232 cables, adapter cables, Computer Cables and other miscellaneous cables.   On the top is for connectors to make new cables and to the right is power adapters for equipment.


The tool chest has many drawers to keep tools organized for use in the Keller.  These tools are are only for the Keller as we have a separate tool chest for load-ins and strikes.  There are also empty drawers for future tool storage.


The computer station is equipped with a Mac mini on the left and a PC on the right.  This flexibility gives us the ability to run any software needed in the shop.  Both computers are connected to the 42” HDTV  so the display can be seen across the Keller.  This is helpful in pull lists and checking out equipment.  The Keyboards and mice are wireless, so it is also easy to move the keyboard around the Keller.  The PC also has a wireless scanner which helps assist in the checking out and returning of equipment.  

So there you have it.  You have witnessed the death of the SWIFT and the birth of the KELLER!