Apr 10, 2007

Touring & Corporate

Two Guys Assume The Lotus Mix Position On Soundcraft Vi(tm)

--Gone are the days when corporate productions involved a simple slide show and hand-held microphone. Recognizing the opportunities to take such events to a whole other level, Dave Zammit, owner of Two Guys Audio Services, Inc., has carved a successful niche in producing elegant audio presentations for Fortune 500 companies.

A Florida Corporation operating out of Rainbow City, Alabama, Two Guys Audio Services recently added a new Soundcraft Vi6™ digital live sound console to its inventory to provide flexible multi-zone mixing and routing for clients like IBM Software. According to Zammit, “We used the Soundcraft Vi6 for the first time in late-January at IBM’s Lotusphere 2007, a weeklong corporate event, and it performed admirably and sounded excellent.”

Zammit has been a long-term user of Soundcraft consoles, dating from his early career days in England when he met Soundcraft co-founder and chief designer, Graham Blyth. “While digital offers a number of operational advantages,” Zammit concedes, “including recall of all front-panel and systems settings, I’ve never been a fan of the digital sound. But the new Soundcraft Vi6 has largely changed that. It’s a great addition to our systems inventory.”

Founded in 1998, Two Guys Audio Services provides sound systems for a wide range of clients and specializes in out-of-the-ordinary productions. “For Lotusphere 2007 we needed to cover a number of ballrooms at Disney World’s Dolphin Hotel and Resort, Orlando, as well as areas within the Swan Hotel.” The Vi6 large-format console served as the event’s main mixer, feeding a large number of different audience areas via its flexible output routing. “All in all, we were using six discrete sound systems linked together during the main event in the Dolphin Hotel, and a further four fed by an optical fiber link to the Swan Hotel for Lotus customers.”

Lotusphere is held annually to allow users of IBM’s technologies – including Lotus Connections, Lotus Notes and Domino 8 – to hear the latest news of recent software developments. Several auditoriums, ballrooms and meeting rooms are interlinked to allow the company’s technical representatives to address one or more application-specific audiences. Using the Soundcraft Vi6’s flexible stem mixing functionality, Zammit and his crew were able to quickly set up between eight and ten basic submixes of the lavaliere, lectern and hand-held microphones, musical acts, plus video and other playback sources, and prepare different balances for various playback environments, as well as a dedicated record feed.

The Soundcraft Vi6 third-generation digital live console features a unique integration of touch screens and encoders that eliminate complex mental mapping – the console’s compact user surface offers a fully optimized control density. The 32-fader control surface handles mixing of 64 mono inputs into 35 outputs, with 24 insert send/return pairs assignable to any of the I/O channels via the system’s Vistonics™ II touch-screen based user interface. For added flexibility, in addition to internal routing to 32 Group/Aux/Matrix busses, all input channels can be set up with direct outputs and the main LCR and Left-Right/Stereo busses. Outstanding sound quality is assured through a combination of Soundcraft ultra-low noise analog mic preamp designs and advanced 40-bit floating point DSP from Studer.

“The Vistonics [user interface] lets me operate the Vi6 digital console simply and easily,” confides Zammit. “A combination of touch-screen color [TFT] monitors with on-screen rotary controls and switches provide a very intuitive ‘point-and-click’ user interface that can be learned in just a couple of minutes. It all works in much the same way as my brain!”

Connecting together the various system components, including mic preamplifier racks, was dramatically simplified through the use of MADI fiber and copper cabling. Zammit recalls. “We used optical MADI converted to AES/EBU format to interface the outboard effects rack and record/playback equipment. That outstanding flexibility in routing – and the ability to simply reassign on the fly – was a major selling point for me. These days, we are asked to provide multiple simultaneous outputs; of the 35 available outputs from the Vi6 console, I was using – and it’s no exaggeration – 34 all of the time!

“All in all, the Soundcraft Vi6 offers the degree of flexibility and assignability I need from an all-digital console, but with the clear, open sound I have come to expect from Soundcraft products. The system performed very, very well, and handled everything I expected of it. I’m extremely pleased with the Soundcraft Vi6.”

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