POTTERS BAR, United Kingdom — For the Arctic Monkeys’ current world tour, Firehouse Productions has supplied a HARMAN Soundcraft Vi6 digital audio console for monitor mixing.
The Arctic Monkeys, an English indie rock band formed in 2002, has released four studio albums. The band is known as one of the first groups to build a fan base and attention through social media, using new ways of promotion and marketing to help drive its rise to stardom. The band’s debut album titled Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not in 2006, became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history, selling 363,735 copies in the first week.
Tim Fraleigh, Audio Technician at Firehouse Productions, believed the Vi6 would be the best console for the job given its ease of operation 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, said the Vi6 handles marvelously. “Even though I’ve been using a digital desk for some time now, I think one of my favorite things about the Vi6 is how much it feels like an analog 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,” stated Doyle.
“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 add loads of flexibility. “Doing monitors for a 4-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.”
For Doyle and the Arctic Monkeys, monitoring has run smoothly thanks to Soundcraft and the Vi6’s ease of use. “The board has plenty of functions and capability for what we need and makes our job easier everyday,” Doyle summed up.
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Photo Credit: Frida Borjeson
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