Jul 30, 2009

Musicians & Bands

Soundcraft digital features ensure fast changeovers during frantic weekend

--Adlib Audio sent out two Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing consoles — and two excellent sound technicians to babysit the systems — when they took over the production of feature stages at this month’s Latitude Festival.

Walter Jaquiss in the Uncut Arena

In charge of the highly influential Uncut Arena was the experienced Walter Jaquiss, while simultaneously the same furious schedule, with back-to-back changeovers, was taking place in the Sunrise Arena, where Otto Kroymann was based.

While bands were turning round within 15 minutes at the stage end, sound engineers were setting up their patches with equal alacrity at front of house — no doubt relieved that in each case a Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing console awaited them alongside their two mentors.

The Vi6 is quick to repatch and even quicker to jump onboard and start mixing for any sound engineer still to receive his induction.

“Adlib were conscious of having to put out a desk that everyone could mix on easily,” stated Walter Jaquiss. He set up a regime in the Uncut Arena where all show files were created off-line. “For those (engineers) who arrived with no show file I would take the patch from stage and create the file on a laptop,” he said.

“I had already created a generic festival set up and this allowed us to mix things around, move layers, change effects etc and save to key. You wouldn’t have time to reconfigure the gates, comps and VCA’s on an analogue desk.”

With 27 out of the 30 bands using the resident desk, the advantage of being able to create offline was paramount — and once the engineers had taken up the pilot’s seat they found the operating experience intuitive. “The desk is laid out visually and everything they needed was right in front of them — any fear factor would evaporate straight away,” said Walter Jaquiss. “It all becomes easier when it’s assigned offline — and the freedom to then be able to reassign later is fantastic.”

A bonus for Walter Jaquiss has been the arrival of Soundcraft’s v3.0 software, and the ability to take the generic festival patch from an Excel spreadsheet (using .csv files) and copy and paste channel labels . “To be able to do this with all 40 channels and then export them to your USB key — having already had them in another spread sheet — is fantastic. This would normally take a lot of time and it helps if [engineers] can see a personalised layout.

The Sunrise Arena

Over in Sunrise Otto Kroymann was undergoing a similar manic routine — but again, his knowledge of the Vi6 won the day.

“Quite a few sound engineers were using the Vi6 for the first time but everyone said how absolutely brilliant the experience was.

“None of the sound engineers brought their own show files and so we had a rolling template and incoming engineers would build on [the sound structure] the engineer before had created. Everyone who walked away from the desk commented on the Vi6’s ease of use and how simple it was to bring up any parameter. They all left the desk with a good feeling.”

In view of the lack of time, many engineers used the board like an analogue surface with the digital features added on top. “This worked brilliantly,” he said.

For Walter Jaquiss and Otto Kroymann there had hardly been time to draw breath over the three days — and both men were delighted that, thanks to the user-friendly features of the Vi6, they were able to get over the finishing line unscathed.

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