Soundcraft at the Double for La Citrouille
Based in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, contemporary musical theatre La Citrouille has upgraded its technical infrastructure with the purchase of two new Soundcraft digital desks from HARMAN distributor Eurolive. The newly released Vi3000 will principally be used for mixing the wide range of performances and events hosted at the venue, while the smaller Si Expression will handle monitors.
Prior to purchase, Eurolive had also arranged various console demos to enable the theatre to make the correct decision.
The purchases were authorised by General Manager Benjamin Bouet, who has worked at La Citrouille since 2003 (initially in the studios). When the theatre itself opened in 2009, he became General Manager, and has remained the only house technician since January 2012 when the theatre received a 'SMAC' designation (certifying it as a live contemporary music room).
The theatre itself has a capacity of 420 (200 seated) and Bouet explained that, while they were ready to upgrade their old Soundcraft analogue MH3 house desk and move into the digital world, the theatre's returns desk had equally been starting to show signs of weakness, costing valuable time — particularly when making preset recalls on evenings where there were three or four groups participating. In addition, the monitor desk didn't have the required adjustable low cut filter — and so La Citrouille sensed that this, too, needed to be replaced.
Helping to fund the new Vi3000 was the local community itself — notably the City of Saint Brieuc, Brittany Region and the CNV (National Centre for Variety). When it was used for the first time with the group Miossec, their sound engineer arrived with his show on a USB stick (from a Vi4), Bouet recalls. "They just had to repatch a few effects in the console and it was perfect — and a big time saver."
He said that Soundcraft's release of the Vi3000 was perfect in terms of timing as it sits in the portfolio between the Vi1 ("very popular with technicians but insufficient faders for us") and the more expensive Vi4 and Vi6.
"Technicians are already experiencing great results," he says. "The Dante capability of this console also attracted me and it will enable us to make multi-track recordings of some concerts. It opens up new perspectives."
He adds that with the space saved at FOH, it is easier to accommodate a second console when incoming engineers carry their own production. "We welcome artists in residence, and it's great that they can walk away with their show on a USB key."
For monitors, Benjamin Bouet had wanted a console with at least 30 inputs on the same fader to avoid losing time by constantly changing layers on the menu. Soundcraft's Si Expression 3 exactly met the requirement and everything on the desk was easily accessible. Essentially, I was looking for a simple console that all the technicians could use, at an affordable price."
Featuring 32 recallable mic pre amps, the Si Expression 3 is a powerful cost effective digital console — and one that can expect to endure a heavy-duty life cycle. "Soundcraft has a reputation for building robust, reliable desks, and this was another important factor — in fact their consoles have been in use for 20 years in our studios and are still working."
After mixing monitors for three groups on the recent Transmusicales tour, he confirms that the Si Expression functioned extremely well and certainly met all expectations.
These two new desks will take care of all eventualities. For aside from running concerts throughout the year, La Citrouille hosts meetings, as well as housing a 'rock school' where musicians can learn their craft, stages workshops in the performing arts and encourages youth theatre. "And when we have residences, groups can prepare their shows and just plug in their file via USB stick."
Soundcraft products are distributed in France, as part of the Harman Professional portfolio, by SCV Audio.
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