London’s Union Chapel has upgraded its audio infrastructure with a Soundcraft Vi3000 digital console, distributed in the UK by Sound Technology and supplied by Crystal Pro Audio.
The Grade I listed venue is unique in combining the activities of a working church with that of a concert venue. The magnificent architectural space is a haven for promoters and bands, happy to take advantage of the building’s enviable acoustics by adapting their sets to the restricted 88dBA threshold (over 15 minutes) that is imposed.
Over the years this has led to some classic unplugged sets in the 900-capacity venue. PSNEurope has been fortunate to witness several such performances from the likes of Dead Can Dance, Eric Whitacre, The Spooky Men's Chorale, and Laura Mvula.
“The artists know they have to listen to the room – we ask them to play to the space and many produce shows that they wouldn’t normally do,” says head technician, Les Mommsen (pictured). “The pay-off is that we need to provide the best equipment that will enable them to achieve these lower levels, keeping the performance intimate, and at the same time enhancing the audience experience.”
Mommsen recently petitioned the Union Chapel's board of directors for the Soundcraft desk. In outlining the requirement, Mommsen says, “We set a number of criteria; the new desk had to have rider compatibility; be future-proof; give us flexibility for later expansion and meet the budget. Soundcraft ticked all those boxes.”
Having regularly used a Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1, he was instinctively comfortable with the platform.
The aim, says Mommsen, is to provide a large number of analogue and digital channel splits. With increasing Dante applications and with the industry moving towards bringing the studio into the live format, he ads, “It’s geared up to provide a live stream, or provide a feed anywhere in the building and the next phase is to have the desk talking to broadcast trucks.
“With four Lexicon FX engines, UAD plugins via Soundcraft’s Realtime Rack and access to Waves SoundGrid via Dante or MADI we are well set for the future.”