UK indie band Arctic Monkeys are currently touring the globe with a Soundcraft Vi6 digital console taking care of monitor mixing duties.
Supporting the band’s world tour is Firehouse Productions, who specified the Vi6 console to handle stereo ears, wedges and sidefills. Tim Fraleigh, audio technician at Firehouse Productions, believed the Vi6 would be the ideal console for the job given its functionality and intuitive user interface. “It’s an incredibly easy desk to work with,” stated Fraleigh. “It’s simple and the touchscreens make the adjustment of settings a straightforward process. Soundcraft has always been reliable. Knowing the type of response that the board will give is important, plus it’s incredibly user-friendly and with the confidence we have in Harman and Soundcraft, I knew it would do the job and everyone would be satisfied.”
Monitor engineer Will Doyle, who uses the desk to run stereo ears, wedges and side fills, was clearly impressed with the Vi6. “Even though I’ve been using a digital desk for some time now, I think one of my favourite things about the Vi6 is how much it feels like an analogue desk. It’s very easy to see at a glance exactly what all the channels on each layer are doing. With the touchscreen, everything is at your fingertips,” he commented.
“The Vi6 is great for multi-tasking as well,” Doyle continued. “With the fast assign function it means you can always have the most important mix or mixes on the encoders. This makes it easier to work with faders and still be able to react quickly to any onstage requests. Having the multiple touchscreens means that I can work on different channels at the same time. It may not sound like a big deal but it makes everything convenient and quick.”
According to Doyle, the user layers are very simple to set up and a further element of flexibility. “Doing monitors for a four-piece rock band means I don't have to stretch the capabilities of the desk too far, but I have started incorporating VCAs into my user layer,” he said. “So as well as being able to hide away all the extraneous channels, I only have to use one fader to turn up the drums. The great thing is that there's a set of discrete VCAs for every output, so if you happened to be mixing a more complicated band, you could use up to 16 VCAs to control each mix instead of having to jump between layers to get to all 96 channels—more time looking at the stage instead of your desk. I mostly use them for keeping the balance between the vocals and their reverbs the same.
“The board has plenty of functions and capability for what we need and makes our job easier everyday,” Doyle concluded.