As befits its status as the UK's leading radio production facility, Unique Facilities has been the leading software test site for the RM1d. As well as contributing to the console's design, the facility has provided a demanding test of the RM1d's functionality, using the consoles on some of the most popular radio shows in the UK. The Pepsi Chart, syndicated to 96 radio stations, makes use of the Soundcraft desks, as do popular programmes such as 'Pick of the Pops' and the Richard Allinson show on Radio 2, and of course the national digital station Oneword, which records plays, books and comedy shows.
Q2 has two studios which share a voice booth. One control room is equipped with a 6-fader RM1d, the other with the only 18-fader RM1d system in the UK. This hybrid console was created by joining a 6-fader configuration to a 12-fader extender. Q2's digital facilities are used for a wide variety of situations, including live ISDN broadcasts with artists such as Huey from the Fun Loving Criminals, Kylie, Jon Bon Jovi and Hearsay, syndicated to radio stations throughout the UK.
Studio Manager Patrick Gunning explains that "initally, people are surprised by the RM1d's size, and we have to explain that it's digital, which means more compact and that all the sound FX are built-in. But the tiny footprint is one of its strongest selling points; these compact consoles are replacing desks that used to take up half a room.
"It is a great post-production desk but it is also a good on-air desk. It has loads of configuration and routing uptions, with a built-in Lexicon FX unit. On-air, it reacts very quickly to varying live broadcast situations which are crucial for a radio broadcaster. Because we're a facility house, we have a lot of different people using the desks with a myriad of operational settings. The RM1d's ability to recall presets is a fantastic benefit; it saves so much time being able to recall a particular desk setting of an engineer's session."
Taking advantage of their role as a software test site, Q2 commissioned an 18-fader RM1d. "With this mixer, I can have six mics and all my external sources up on one pre-set page at one time. And I could configure it very easily to six separate SADiE channels via the T-DIF* box," says Patrick. "This is brilliant, for instance, when we're recording plays with 10 actors, and we require clean recordings with no spillage from 6 open mics."
Unique Facilities is part of the UBC Media Group PLC and can be seen at www.uniquefacilities.com