Rock ‘n’ roll legend and former Kinks frontman Ray Davies took a Soundcraft Vi6 console on the road as part of his recent tour of Canada and the US, with the digital desk handling FOH mixing duties.
Having served as Davies’s FOH engineer for 15 years, Tristan Mallett is a long-time user of Soundcraft’s middle-footprint Vi4 digital console.
“I’ve also used the Vi1 quite a bit and I love it equally,” Mallett said. “It’s nice and compact, sounds great and I love the idea that one show file fits all. Having everything fit on a Vi1 allows me to get a bit more indulgent with my music pages on the Vi6. However the small footprint of the Vi1 makes it perfect for music festivals.”
With a set that ranges from soft acoustic numbers to some heavy rock tunes, Mallett’s responsibilities include accommodating for a massive dynamic range. “I need something that will be low noise at low volume and then also something I can drive hard, without running the risk of it overdriving,” he said. “With the Vi6, even if you do hit red lights, you don’t hear them. Transparency and faithful reproduction are vital and very important, especially with guitars. This is why large diaphragm AKG 414 microphones are used on the guitar amps and combined with the Studer microphone amplifiers before entering the digital stage.
“Mic amps are the highest priority for me, plus the Vi Series has everything in one package, with no need for outboard gear. There are some really nice reverbs in there. The Vi’s de-esser is also amazing—I don’t even need to know how it works, it just does the job seamlessly!”
Mallett is also impressed with the Vi6’s Vistonics II user interface, which he claims makes the desk very easy to use. “The whole layout is very accessible and with the Vistonics interface I don’t think I’ve ever lost my place on the board,” he noted. “The operation of the Vi6 is very intuitive and almost foolproof in that respect.”
In addition to the Vi6 console, Davies utilises a number of AKG microphones. “For Ray’s vocals, we’ve used a D7 exclusively for the last 18 months—it’s an outstanding vocal mic,” concluded monitor engineer Chris Wibberley. “We have 414’s on the guitars, which are great, as well as some D5s and 535s microphones on stage.”
Keep up to date with the latest developments from the world of pro audio by registering for our free daily newsletter.