Harman Helps Man from UNKLE
Performing for the first time ever on stage can be stressful for any band. But for UNKLE, with their unique blend of electronic music, hip-hop and rock, a good live sound console is an absolute essential. With so much at stake before the release of their new album, War Stories, UNKLE chose a Soundcraft Vi6™ digital live sound console provided by Harman Pro UK for their sold-out debut performance at London’s 800-capacity Islington Academy on the 5th of July.
After this intimate warm-up show, the band are hitting the worldwide festival circuit and taking the Vi6 with them for a series of tour concerts and festivals from Croatia to Japan. UNKLE’s hectic tour schedule will take in a wide variety of venues including Manchester's most legendary club ‘Sankey’s Soap’ to crowds of over 400,000 at Budapest’s Sziget Festival.
The Vi6 is an integral part of UNKLE’s live sound, recommended for the band by Chris Roberts, a sound engineer with over twenty years experience working with artists ranging from Mel C and Death in Vegas to the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Chris, who also works as a chief front-of-house engineer at the Glastonbury Festival, first put the Vi6 through its paces at London live music venue KOKO, while working for The Bluetones. “Harman had installed one there as a house desk and I found it really easy to use.”
For both UNKLE’s Islington warm-up and busy tour schedule, the Vi6 was a logical choice. At the heart of the Soundcraft Vi6 live sound console is the space saving Vistonics II™ system which combines visual info and operational controls into one touch sensitive screen accessing channel functions like EQ, compression, and delay. Chris says, “There are a lot of digital desks where you have to scroll through pages of layers. But with the Vi6, you could see everything that was going on at a glance and access everything at the touch of a screen. It’s the most accessible digital board I’ve used actually.”
UNKLE’s live sound set-up also includes a Soundcraft Vi4™ and AKG IE4 in-ear monitor system for each member of UNKLE. Chris says, “We’re keeping the Vi4 out on the road with us and that’s handling the monitors and onstage sound. It’s very user-friendly. The AKG in-ear monitors are working for us and the functions on them are really good. You can select different frequencies and limit them so all the ticks are there.” AKG has even made Chris abandon his more usual Shure mics for the new AKG D5s. Chris admits, “I’ve always been a bit stuck in the old school Shure thing but it’s nice to use a different mic for a change They’ve got quite a flat response and good EQ so the D5s get my thumbs up. We’re using AKG mics on basically everything for the whole band – drums, guitars and vocals. All the condenser mics are fantastic.”
The UNKLE team were so taken with the Vi6 console that, when their next gig took them to Montreux in Switzerland, they insisted on taking the Soundcraft desk with them to replace the house console!
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