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Vi1 controls NBA’s European first

Soundcraft’s Vi1 was at the helm for the first regular-season NBA game to be staged in Europe last month at London’s O2 Arena, writes Paul Watson

ETASound provided two Soundcraft Vi1s along with a full Harman rig to host the first ever regular-season NBA basketball game to be played on European soil as New Jersey Nets took on Toronto Raptors at The O2 Arena in London last month. Eddie Thomas’s ETASound hosts between 150 and 200 events per year and has the contract to maintain the PA/VA system throughout the O2 complex; and Thomas insists that the major sporting events such as the NHL (ice hockey) and NBA games provide some of the biggest challenges. The Vi1s were deployed to work alongside a JBL VerTec PA system which also utilised Crown and BSS gear, all operating on a Cobranet backbone running Harman’s own protocol HiQnet. “The small format desk is perfect in this layout,” explains Thomas. “And with 64 inputs, it has plenty of capacity.” Aside from the PA system, ETASound also provides all the feeds to broadcast; there are separate splits for the mics and music from the Vi1 along with show relay feeds to go into talkback. Thomas says one of the most challenging tasks is arranging splits to the OB trucks on all inputs from the press conference area, and ensuring perfect coverage, which requires four staff to be operating permanently from FOH position and the press room, where the second Vi1 is deployed. “People in the press room need to know what’s going on out in the arena, but you have to watch your feedback levels closely, because with your mix going out to broadcast you have to get the balance right,” he insists. “The Vi1 is perfect for this type of event; there are also 30 bands of BSS graphic EQ – and we can also use it as a matrix mixer.”