Amsterdam’s Famous Melkweg Invests In Soundcraft Vi4
Leading Amsterdam music and arts centre, the Melkweg has purchased a multipurpose Soundcraft Vi4™
from Dutch distributors Audio XL. The technology company's live sound manager, Jeroen van Keeken, confirms that the decision to purchase the Soundcraft platform for use in the venue’s 700-person capacity Oude Zaal (Old Room) was taken by head technician Richard Balk following extensive evaluation.
Van Keeken explains, "The Melkweg caters for many disciplines, including music, theatre, dance, cinema — and other media. So they needed a versatile desk."
He adds that the investment forms the latest phase in an extensive upgrade of the venue, which will see an increase in capacity. "Richard and his team of house engineers looked at all the leading consoles, and visited other venues. But in many cases these desks were too complicated," he says.
Richard Balk was already familiar with the Soundcraft digital topology. The Melkweg’s head of sound liked the intuitive Vistonics™
II interface — providing a fast-track learning curve for uninitiated engineers — as well as the 48-channel input capacity (on 24 faders). This provides the ideal footprint for the limited space of the second room, without the need for external outboard racks. Finally, he was impressed with the library of Lexicon effects and BSS EQ’s.
Richard Balk added that the selection of the Vi4 not only unanimously met the approval of the house technicians but also guest engineers, who have been delighted to work on the surface. The overall sound quality and the support he knows he will receive from van Keeken’s team at Audio XL clinched the deal.
In preparation for a further technical upgrade to their increased 1,500-person capacity main room ('The Max') Balk has also asked for CAT5 cables to be laid so that once the next phase is complete, they can patch between the two rooms.
Van Keeken says that the DSP expansion card on the Vi4 will give the venue access up to 72 channels via the outputs on the local rack. "Another nice touch," he says, "is because Dutch sound engineers are so tall we are having special brackets made to elevate the desk, which will travel up and down over a distance of 20cm. This will ensure that their hands will always be at the right angle to the desk for maximum comfort."
About The Melkweg
The Melkweg is operated as a multi-room, non-profit making venue by the Stichting Foundation and funded by the local government. Originally built as a sugar factory it later became a milk depot (hence the name). By the late 1960’s it had been abandoned until local hippies asked the council if they could stage a couple of “happenings” there — and this revived interest. The venue thrived during the punk era of the mid-to-late 80’s so that by 1995 they were able to take space from the adjoining City Theatre to develop "The MAX". However, the original "Old Room" remains. Aside from its two band/dance rooms Melkweg also operates a 150-seat theatre and a cinema and is available for private hire. Recently a new 800-seat venue has been constructed on the roof in a joint venture with the City Theatre, and co-funded by the local government and sponsors.
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