May 14, 2008

Touring & Corporate

Brace Of Vi6's Put The Konk Into Kooks

--The notice on the Swindon Oasis Leisure Centre website read: Please note that the Lagoon Pool will be closed from 6.00pm on Tuesday April 22 and Wednesday 23 April due to concerts. We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.”

The band in question was the chart-topping Kooks, promoting their new CD Konk, around Europe — including this unlikely venue on the itinerary.

This is the Brighton band’s second production tour, with Russ Tite piloting the FOH mix and Paul Roberts vacating monitor duties with another mercurial indie British pop band The Feeling, to take up the reins here. Both men are aboard Soundcraft Vi6™ digital mixing consoles, the latter switching from the smaller Vi4 which he had taken out with The Feeling.

Russ Tite joined the band two and a half years ago while mixing Rooster. “The lighting guys were mates with the A&R department at Virgin, and they needed someone to mix a Kooks show supporting The Editors at the Barfly.” Since then, he hasn’t looked back.

Tite was a confirmed analogue man before being turned on to the sonic transparency and intuitive Vistonics interface of the Vi6 by SSE Group’s Pete Russell — an early adopter of Soundcraft’s digital platform.

On this tour he has been using industry-standard HD24’s for multi-tracking and virtual sound-checking, using a MADI-to-ADAT converter. Outboard includes a BSS DPR-901 on Luke Pritchard’s vocal, SSE also supplied their generic digital drive rack.

But pretty much all the FX are straight off the Vi6, with Russ operating the new Version 2.1 software. “I love the Vi6, which sounds great and is really easy to use. The de-esser is extremely good, the reverb sounds amazing and the compressor is also really nice — in fact it’s perfect for a rock show.” His views were echoed by the tour’s system tech Craig Pryde.

The Kooks’ sound engineer is also impressed with the desk’s new Copy and Paste function. “This works amazingly well and the Vi6 is now everything it should be. It’s definitely this desk on the riders for me now.”

Finally, Russ Tite emphasizes that the console is a two-man lift — unlike the analogue desks he has struggled with over the years.

Meanwhile, at Monitor City, Paul Roberts says that the Vi6 is not only a classic foldback board but its brightly-coloured fascia could have been made for him — since he is completely colour blind.

“The choice of different block colours for the different functions is brilliant,” he says. “The aesthetics of a desk are so important and by colour-coding the different sections, everything becomes obvious — which is not the case with other boards.”

Roberts says that he loved the experience of driving the Vi4 with The Feeling — and enjoys the whole Vi series topography. “Soundcraft have taken some of the best elements of other digital boards and made it more useful and user-friendly — such as the two A/B monitor outs.”

Only the drummer is on in-ears the rest of the band are using wedge monitors.. “As a result, everything sounds great. The VCA’s are tremendous and this mix is largely inspired by what I was doing with The Feeling [who were all on in-ears]. It’s a great desk for close monitoring.”

Next for The Kooks and their production manager Rick Smith following their UK stint is a three-week American tour. The band then return for the British Festival season.

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