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Date: 28 May 2010
News Type: Music Venues
Country: Canada

Soundcraft Vi6 Conquers The Great White North

The Yukon Arts Centre (YAC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of the arts as an important cultural, social and economic force in the Yukon, and the territory's premier venue for performing and visual arts, has purchased and installed a Soundcraft Vi6 large-format digital live sound console. The Vi6 emerged as the clear winner of a nearly year-long period of intensive research and systematic comparison by Patrick Matheson, Technical Director of the YAC, which saw the Vi6 emerge superior in key performance categories including intuitive operation, a fast learning curve and exceptional reliability. In the year since the Vi6 was installed at the YAC, it has acted as the FOH mixing platform--and often simultaneously as the monitor mixer, as well--for a wide range of music artists, consistently delivering great sound and smooth performance.

Intended to be a model for the development of the arts in Canada's North territory, the YAC's 428-seat proscenium theater offers outstanding acoustics and top-of-the line technical support to provide an engaging experience for performers and audiences alike. YAC has become a major presentation venue in Canada, showcasing performances ranging from hip-hop to modern dance, from cutting-edge theater to national and international music headliners, and everything in between. But itís unique in another way, as well. "Being in a fairly remote area of the country, we have to try to be all things to all people to the extent that we can," explains Matheson, who has acted as Technical Director for the YAC for the past five years. He spent the better part of the last year intently researching the YAC's first foray into digital mixing, which promised to give the YAC's audio system the flexibility it needed.

"Once we decided to go with a digital console, we knew that it had to meet some very rigorous criteria," he says, again noting that Yukonís vastness and remoteness meant that the console would have to offer outstanding reliability even while it was being used almost every night, often to mix both FOH and monitors. Furthermore, with nearly half the visiting artists performing at the YAC bringing their own live sound engineers, the console had to be user-friendly. "We reviewed a lot of candidates," says Matheson, who compared specifications of several different consoles and contacted colleagues asking their experiences with them. The results increasingly pointed towards the Soundcraft Vi6.

When Matheson visited the General Motors Place arena, home to the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, where a Vi6 had been installed a year earlier, he realized he had found what he was looking for. "We needed a board that had already proven itself, yet was still state of the art, that could perform multiple functions yet be as familiar as an analog console for visiting engineers," he says. "The Vi6 was all that and more. The touch-screens are easy to navigate Ė you know where everything is and where it's routed all the time, which is much better than a single screen where you have to go through several layers to find everything. Plus, we have had a lot of good experience with systems from BSS, Lexicon and Studer, and those technologies are all integrated into the Vi6, such as the Vistonics interface. Iím an Apple computer user, so I have a very specific idea of what a simple but effective user interface is, and I have to say that if Steve Jobs designed a digital audio console, the Vi6 would be it. Visiting engineers are on it after just a 10- to 15-minute tutorial. It's a console that speaks to its operators. Itís been the perfect choice."


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