Jun 23, 2009

Touring & Corporate

ADLIB supply John Barrowman tour with Soundcraft® Vi6

--Seasoned sound engineer Walter Jaquiss joined forces with his favourite sound company, ADLIB Audio and Lighting for John Barrowman's recent tour - delighted with the excellent audio package they supplied (including JBL VerTec rig and brace of Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing consoles). This was matched by the top lighting spec provided for LD Neil Trenell.

The standard 12 x JBL VerTec 4889 line array enclosures per side, utilised on the tour, was doubled up for the arena shows at Cardiff International Centre and London's Royal Albert Hall, while the system configuration of 12 VerTec subs also varied slightly according to the different venues, and was optimised each day by ADLIB systems tech, Richie Nicholson.

Production used two Soundcraft Vi6 consoles, run in 96-channel V3.0 mode, which Jaquiss effortlessly filled with around 80 inputs, 56 of which were stage alone - including guest vocals and assorted media. "The Vi6 is a brilliant desk, great sounding and with a very small footprint for this style of tour," he comments. The existing console was upgraded to 96 channels via an additional DSP card, while the sound man immediately identified the advantages of the latest software release.

"With both desks upgraded to v3 software, along with the increase in channels, the snapshot and scoping functions had been improved as well. This has now made it a totally usable function of the console in combination with the improvements to the isolation features. The ability to export names as an Excel file is useful when typing up long channel names in the offline editor."

Walter Jaquiss has worked with ADLIB for the last 15 years, but has been around Soundcraft analogue boards for a lot longer.

"I think a lot of engineers started on Soundcraft, whether on a 400 or 800 Series - that's certainly what I learnt on, and it was a sensible platform."

"Today, a lot of colleagues are using 'real' desks because the learning curve is easier - yet the Vi6 invites the move from analogue to digital. They have provided a control surface that I think most experienced analogue engineers can just walk up to. The desk really spoils you, as one of the big advantages of the Vi6 is that everything you need is right there in front of you on the Vistonics's as if everyone else has missed a trick."

The Barrowman shows could not have been mixed on a surface offering less than 96 channels, he stated, adding how easy the Vi6 is for file-building. "Using the offline editor is fantastic as it's identical to the desk itself."

Walter Jaquiss discovered the full potential of the Vi6 at the recent twinned two-day Give It A Name (GIAN) Festival, held simultaneously at Brixton Academy and Manchester Academy, and then flipped overnight.

"There were seven bands a day at each venue and we were just able to email the show files overnight between myself and Steve Pattison in Manchester. The show mixes came up exactly as they had been created the night before - we had the files loaded into the desks before the band's engineers walked in the next day."

"In fact I was able to programme all the bands' files in the back of the car on the way down to the Brixton É and I could do the same with John Barrowman."

Festival work offers similar advantages, he says. "You can email your file ahead, and by the time you turn up on site the session files have been loaded into the board."

For the Barrowman tour, Walter Jaquiss spent the two production rehearsal days at Shepperton Studios creating snapshots - essential for a theatre type show. "Everyone has a different style of using snapshots. Even just being able to automate the mutes and FX changes is now essential for a show like this."

Aside from BSS's trusty multiband DPR-901 dynamic equaliser, he used all the onboard desk effects. "The advantages of keeping everything within the box outweighs that of having a rack of outboards. I used all the Lexicon onboard FX engines and add to that the gates, processors and graphics on every output and it adds up to an incredible amount of facilities on the Vi6."

The monitor setup was mainly all in-ears - Barrowman, band, crew and guests - with James Neale mixing on another Vi6. ADLIB's Hassane Es Siahi and Kenny Perrin completed the audio team.

But the final message to digiphobe engineers comes from Walter Jaquiss. "Anyone who thinks they can't get to where they want to on a digital mixer as quickly as an analogue set-up might find the Vi6 a lot easier to use than they think."

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