Nov 07, 2006



--One of the first UK customers for the revolutionary Soundcraft Vi6™ digital console is Simon Kennedy Lights Ltd (SKL) in Edinburgh, Scotland, which has just confirmed an order for a second desk.

SKL took delivery of its first Soundcraft Vi6 in July. Demonstrating absolute confidence in the new purchase, in fact the company's very first digital console, SKL immediately despatched the Vi6 to a 5-week rental at the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Soundcraft Vi6 was stationed in the E4 UdderBELLY, a new comedy venue sponsored by digital TV channel E4 that was very much the talking point of the Fringe this year. Best described as an upturned purple cow with inflatable legs about 4 storeys high, the purpose-built 322-seat theatre space hosted a huge number of comedy and music comedy performances, including 'The Sperm Monologues' and the juggling extravaganza 'Tossers: More Balls than Most'.

SKL has made a substantial investment in a high-specification PA rental inventory, with the new Soundcraft Vi6s at its heart, which is intended to open new markets and business opportunities for this, Scotland's largest lighting hire company. Established for some 10 years, SKL also provides staging, rigging, trussing and power distribution, and, just 2 years ago, purchased a small PA company in response to customer demand for audio rental.

"Increasingly our clients were asking us to supply audio," explains SKL director Stephen Patterson. "We've chosen to make a serious investment in a digitally-controlled line array based inventory, and this has enabled us to become a single-source supplier for an entire production."

After an in-depth survey of the digital market, SKL found it surprisingly easy to make its decision. "Really there was no choice to make. We found Soundcraft to be light years ahead of other manufacturers in terms of the bang for the buck, we were convinced of the stability of the platform, and we could see evolving technology in the design process, rather than the updating of ageing concepts." Patterson continues, "the decisive factor was that I've always thought Soundcraft make superior desks – I'd take a Series FIVE anyday."

Patterson also spent time discussing the desk with Dave Kay at ADLIB Audio, one of the first high-profile front-of-house engineers to commit himself to the Soundcraft Vi6. "The fact that Dave Kay has the confidence to put the desk out with the Scissor Sisters was hugely influential," says Patterson. Additionally SKL joined Soundcraft's beta-test programme so has had plenty of hands-on time with the console prototype.

"A lot of the work we do is corporate, so space is always an issue. The compact footprint of the Soundcraft Vi6 gives us a considerable advantage in this respect. The worksurface, with its Vistonics™ II user interface, is incredibly intuitive. Everybody who has tried it has been up and running in a matter of minutes, I think it's because the ergonomics work in a very analogue way. However, this desk provides a flexibility that you just wouldn't get with analogue equipment. If you need a graphic, EQ or dynamic, it's as quick, in some instances, quicker to access than using a piece of outboard equipment. And last, but not least, the sound quality is exactly what you'd expect from a high-end Soundcraft audio console."

Under the direction of sales manager Al Brown, the Soundcraft Vi6s were supplied by Harman Pro UK. SKL is quietly confident that the the new consoles will spearhead the success of its corporate expansion into audio services, opening doors for the company as well as serving its existing client base.

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