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UK rental companies vying for Vi1

Top UK rental companies have been eagerly investing in Soundcraft’s new small-footprint Vi1 consoles to add to their touring inventories, writes Paul Watson

A number of leading UK rental companies including SSE Audio Group, ETA Sound and Adlib Audio have been eagerly investing in Soundcraft’s new small-footprint Vi1 digital consoles to add to their touring inventories. Eddie Thomas of ETA Sound says the North Wales Headquartered facility is in the process of a complete inventory overhaul and believes that the four Vi1s he recently acquired will turn out to be a worthwhile investment. “The Vi1 has got so many of the Vi6’s functions and it’s the smallest thing out there; we can get 64 inputs out of it using the Vi1 stage box and the fibre multis,” explains Thomas. “We’re currently in the process of getting them flight-cased and then we’ll be sending them out on the road.” Soundcraft says that one of its objectives when designing the Vi1 was to take its popular Vi platform to a more affordable level, but with no compromise in audio quality. John Penn of SSE Audio Group believes that’s exactly what’s been achieved; SSE recently invested in two units. “The Vi platform has proven to be a very user friendly and reliable platform much in demand,” says Penn. “The addition of the Vi1 gives us the same features and format in a smaller footprint which is ideal for jobs where the channel count is low but the features and audio quality remains high.”

 The Vi1 made it onto many of the recent major UK festivals including Glastonbury and Green Man festival, which was held in the Brecon Beacons in August. Andy Brown, director of digital strategy at Soundcraft, is encouraged by how quickly the take up has been – particularly in the UK market. “We have actually had to increase production capacity to keep up with demand,” reveals Brown, “which is a nice problem to have – for us, at least!” The Vi1 was beta tested earlier in the year by Friendly Fires at Ronnie Scott’s in central London; and various beta testing was undertaken by Liverpool Headquartered Adlib Audio. Adlib’s director, Dave Kay, has since ordered a couple of Vi1s. “Shows can be easily transferred around the Vi range of consoles and we think this will become a widely accepted console in a multitude of applications – from music venues, both large and small, to theatres, conference centres, churches and local venues,” says Kay. “The preamp sounds great and the analogue style metering and floating point architecture all make it a great sounding, easy to use desk.”