The guys at Channel 7 Perth's news control room have put their aging Euphonix 2000 mixing console to rest, replacing it with a Soundcraft Vi6 large-format digital live desk.
“We had a thorough look at the market and I have to admit that originally I really wanted a Studer Vista 5 console, but it wasn't within our budget,” confessed Colin Graham, primary operator of the Vi6. “However in my researching I came across the Soundcraft Vi6 console and realised that it was really a Vista 5 without as much fruit, and the fruit that it was missing wasn't what I was interested in anyway!.”
Graeme Pennifold, Channel Seven's Engineering Manager, states that there were other contenders but that they very soon focused on the Studer from an operational view.
”We liked the Vistonics control on the Studer, in fact that's what really sold us, but we were amazed to find that the Soundcraft Vi6 also has the Vistonic control but in a console that is much more affordable,” he commented.
“The Vistonic interface on the Vi6 is very intuitive,” agreed Colin. “I would describe it as a fourth generation digital console. Digital consoles very quickly got very powerful but you really needed to know what you were doing with them. They never really told you what you were doing with them all that clearly.
“Ease of operation is aided by simple things like use of colour and who was the genius who thought to drill holes in the monitor so that the knobs were linked to what you were looking at?! When you're working as quickly as you have to in television, you really don't want to think that much – you need to be able to react. Paging through things is dangerous to say the least. The fact that everything is only one or two levels down at most is really very helpful.”
Graeme and Colin report that since the arrival of the Soundcraft Vi6 into the newsroom their jobs have been made a lot easier. Whilst Colin operates the Vi6 for the news reports Monday through to Friday, a range of freelance operators are in charge at the weekend.
”They are all experienced guys but may only be doing the news once or twice a month so such an intuitive console was a huge bonus,” Colin said.
“We did a staged installation for the Vi6 training of our casuals,” added Graeme. “They only needed two sessions each before they were comfortable with the operation of the console. When they first went on air Colin sat with them to hold their hands but soon found out that he didn't need to!”
Colin pointed out that the console also sounds good, stating that not all digital consoles in that range do. He describes the sound of the Vi6 as warm with really good dynamics and EQ.
”They're a little touchy,” he added. “You don't want to get too brutal with them, but it sounds sweet and we can get a nice strong sound that doesn't get blown away by the commercial breaks which is often a problem when you're live to air."