Dec 05, 2006

Touring & Corporate


--SSE Audio Group has one of its four Soundcraft Vi6 digital consoles on tour with rock band Thunder, one of the big guns on the British metal rock circuit, selling out all the dates on its UK tour of academies and civic halls.

The Soundcraft Vi6 is in the hands of front-of-house engineer Pete Russell, who has been mixing the band for nearly 12 years. As a project manager for the SSE Audio Group, Russell has been close to the development programme of the Vi6 but this is the first opportunity he has had to use the console on the road.

"Although it's right up there sonically, the outstanding quality of this desk is that it is just so user-friendly," comments Russell. "I'm very impressed by the amount of information that is available on the surface, and how easy it is to use it. The layout is excellent – within two minutes of seeing the Vi6 for the first time, I could work out how to mix on it. You can't say that of many digital consoles.

"Thunder is a very live band so I can't really programme the mix; it's very hands-on, I fly by the seat of my pants. There are no backing tracks. Guitars, amps, drums, they play - that's it. So I'm not using the snapshots or presets for this band, just set-up memory and gig memory, plus set-up for the support band, although that would be different if it was a band where one could pre-set or programme a lot of the mix." In his capacity as project manager, he has also recommended the Vi6 to SSE clients Bullet For My Valentine; "it's ideal for their gigs, where there are three or four bands on the bill – and they've chosen to use Vi6 at both ends."

An unusual aspect of this tour involves the support act slot being put up as a competition prize. Dates were divided up between five winning bands, so Russell is seeing a lot of new faces at the mix position. "With the set-up memory safely on the desk, I am perfectly happy for the support engineer to come out and use the main console."

With the support band(s) using the same console, Russell has no back-up plan, demonstrating his confidence in the stability of the Vi6 platform. "I've got a phone, and Andy Brown and Simon Roome from Soundcraft are at the other end of it! They've given me all the back-up I need."

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