Before the digital console appeared on the touring scene, front of house engineer Dave Kay had always preferred a Soundcraft series FIVE console for mixing.
A part-owner of British production company ADLIB AUDIO, Dave has forged a strong connection with Soundcraft and so it was no surprise that they turned to Dave for advice when designing its Soundcraft Vi6 digital audio console.
Soundcraft Vi6 digital audio console is available from Jands.
"At ADLIB we have always been keen to give feedback to Soundcraft at the design stage and as we road test their prototypes," said Dave while in Sydney with The Scissor Sisters, a show that of course uses the Vi6.
"We really try to make the consoles as user friendly as possible whilst making sure they have all the features necessary for live performance."
For the past three years Dave has collaborated with Soundcraft on the design of the Vi6, using it extensively for the past twelve months. The Australian leg of The Scissor Sisters tour used Johnston Audio for many of the audio production.
"I first took the Vi6 on the road last August although I had been using it for quite a while for rehearsals," explained Dave.
"In fact it was great for rehearsals because we could record direct from the madi stream onto our Madicorder hard disk system so that the band can rehearse, write new songs and when they've forgotten what they did, we can play it back to them!"
Dave insists that the Vi6 is a stable digital platform and that nothing has needed to be fundamentally changed since last August; the software updates are now just adding more features and enhancing usability.
Having used all other digital consoles on the market, Dave is particularly impressed by the way that the Vi6 grants an easy crossover from analogue technology.
"It's the first digital console I've used where the metering and the dynamics behave like an analogue console," he said.
"The Vi6 uses the same language as an audio engineer. My reservation is not the sound of digital consoles it's the speed of operation. Most consoles are hampered by the interface, which can be too complicated and slow you down to the point where it starts to interfere with the creative process.”
"My analogy is digital cameras; with a digital camera they didn't change the way you focus, it's just the storage medium that has changed. With digital consoles, my ideal console is one that looks like an analogue console with every single knob on.
“The Vi6 has a standard Soundcraft layout, for example, the solos are at the bottom, and the console is really shallow from front to back so you're not stretching to find anything. A small footprint is also beneficial for promoters. But the key thing with the Vi6 is the speed of its operation compared to other consoles. Everything is where you want it to be."
Dave further explains that the Vi6 has the ideal Vistonics II touch-sensitive interface which allows you to go directly to where you want to make the change
"There are many things that are a lot quicker to do on the Vi6 than on an analogue console, such as ganging. You can link a number of channels together, and, once they're linked, anything you do on one channel then affects all of them - you can use this, for example, to set up the whole console really quickly."
Dave was particularly pleased by the console's USB interface, which allowed him to leave rehearsals with his entire Scissor Sisters mix data backed up on his mobile phone (a Nokia N91 with a 4GB hard drive).