SSE Audio Group Reports High Demand For The Soundcraft Vi6™
SSE Audio Group reports increasing success with its four-strong fleet of Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing desks.
According to hire project manager, Miles Hillyard, Soundcraft’s proprietary mixing platform is proving increasingly popular with their top tier sound engineers — particularly for its ease of use, warmth of sound and compact size.
Already this year SSE has supplied experienced sound engineer Huw Richards with a pair of linked Vi6’s for the massive Liverpool City of Culture Opening Ceremony, while Will Doyle, monitor engineer for the Arctic Monkeys has been piloting it as his board of choice, as has Kasabian’s monitor man, Mark ‘Yogi’ Novissimo.
Liverpool police estimated that 38,000 people had watched the People’s Opening outside St George’s Hall, when Ringo Starr performed his new song Liverpool 8 on top of the building. The 40-minute opening ceremony was devised by artistic director Nigel Jamieson and Jayne Casey and put together by John Wassell and Mark Murphy of Walk the Plank.
“The main reason we needed two Vi6’s on duty was because we couldn’t get enough inputs locally, and we needed the optical multi,” explained Hillyard.
Huw Richards teamed up with SSE system tech/crew chief Nick Pain, while the event was production managed by Simon Barrington, working on behalf of Liverpool Culture Company.
Meanwhile, other sound engineers who have been putting their weight behind the Vi6 include Gert Sanner with Deep Purple and Alison Moyet, Dave Nutbrown with Bullet for My Valentine and Russ Tite with The Kooks.
“Most of the sound engineers tell me how much they love working the Vi6,” Miles Hillyard continues.
SSE’s Pete Russell and Rob Hughes have been championing Soundcraft’s flagship console from the very beginning, and seasoned engineer Huw Richards for one is delighted.
“It was Rob Hughes who originally sold me on the Vi6,” he said.
A self-confessed old-school analogue operator who has suddenly been plunged into the world of digital consoles, Huw finds himself working increasing through SSE Hire. “Their equipment is always turned out fantastically,” he says.
“But it’s quite unnerving suddenly looking down the barrel at digital,” he admits.
The former Oasis FOH engineer, more recently known for his work with Fun Loving Criminals, Placebo and EMI band Mattafix, spoke of one digital desk that he had adopted “until, after working alongside grungy bands like Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance in the States I tried pushing it through the sweet spot and found it had nothing more to give. But I know I can open up the Vi6 and it doesn’t look at you and say ‘I can’t take any more’.”
Huw Richards first used the Vi6 on the pilot broadcast for The Tube on Channel 4’s internet radio in Manchester — where he remained for the next three or four months. “I was immediately impressed,” he remembers. “I just had a pair of NS10 monitors — but I put my cans on and there was an immediate warmth in my ears. On top of that the board layout is brilliant as is the touch screen and I love the size of the desk.
“And although I’m very anal about new technology I decided to take it out on other work I was doing [including four nights with SSE at the NEC Arena on Jasper Carrott’s Rock With Laughter].” He also found his decision to use the Vi6 endorsed by fellow engineers such as Groove Armada’s monitor man, Paul Hack.
“Soundcraft have had their critics over the years but they have done so well with the engine on this. There is direct output, you can do your recordings, you don’t need to carry any outboard — you have your show stored and it’s just a case of plugging in your key,” he says. “On top of that I like to stick with British where possible.”
Huw Richards’ days of working large analogue boards, wondering whether the outboard he has ordered halfway round the world will be current or a decade old, could soon be over. “If this is what is being sold as a package I can’t see myself lugging big boards around for much longer,” he says.
Meanwhile back at the SSE Audio Group, the hire team: Spencer Beard, Pete Russell, Rob Hughes, Dan Bennett and Miles Hillyard are continuing to spread the word about the Vi6.
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