San Diego’s newly renovated North Park Theatre recently hosted the sold-out, four-date premier run of Primal Twang: The Legacy of the Guitar, a theatrical-style concert celebrating the instrument’s 3,500-year history through a combination of onstage narration, video projections of rare historical footage, and stirring live performances from numerous musical greats.
Spanning everything from ancient modal music to modern rock, the event showcased the talents of Grammy Award winners Eric Johnson, Albert Lee, Doc Watson and Mason Williams, Brazilian jazz master Peter Sprague, Grand Old Opry star Doyle Dykes, world music legend Dan Crary, and many others. Primal Twang also hosted another new performer—the Soundcraft Vi6™ digital live sound console, which made its official US concert debut at the event.
San Diego-based Meeting Services, Inc. (MSI) was tasked with the technical aspects of the production, including overseeing the show’s mix of 70 inputs—largely comprised of guitars—and Soundcraft’s new Vi6 proved to be up for the challenge.
Although MSI took delivery of the Vi6 only a couple of days prior to load-in for the show, technical sales manager Ken Freeman notes, “For a digital console, the Vi6 was actually quite easy to get up to speed on very quickly. After I was briefly familiarized with the desk, I was able to help get my guys and Gary (Hartung, FOH engineer) fully comfortable with it in a very short amount of time.”
Aside from being impressed with the Vi6’s ease of use, Freeman also appreciated the console’s compact footprint and remote stagebox. “Having most of the I/O basically on stage rather than on the back of the mixing console helped tremendously because we didn’t have to crawl around behind the desk to patch things in. That, combined with the compact size of the Vi6, freed up a couple of extra rows of seats over what most of my other consoles would have required.”
Soundcraft USA’s national sales manager, Tom Der, personally delivered the console to MSI, provided hands-on training, and was also present throughout the event itself. According to Freeman, having this level of communication and personal support made all the difference. “We’ve realized with digital mixing consoles and a lot of other software-based equipment that we’re not simply buying a product—we’re moving into a relationship. And, frankly, having a good support mechanism often becomes a very big factor in the equation for us in terms of the capital improvements we choose to make.”Additional gear used in conjunction with the Vi6 at Primal Twang included Soundcraft Series Five Monitor and MH3 desks located backstage for monitoring, JBL’s new VP (Venue Performance) Series of powered loudspeakers, which were set up in a surround sound configuration, and several other Harman company products donated specifically for the event.