Pete Freeman. a UK-based engineer, is the technical manager at Gibson Guitar Studio in London and is also the front of house engineer for Vintage Trouble, a band that mixes soul, R&B, rock and funk to create the infectious sound that earned them the 2011 Best New Band award from Classic Rock magazine.
Freeman relies on a Soundcraft Vi1 digital mixing console at Gibson Studios and will be taking it on the road for a number of shows for Vintage Trouble’s upcoming European tour. His preference for the Vi1 is the culmination of years of experience using a variety of Soundcraft consoles in every conceivable studio and live situation.
“Soundcraft has always made my favorite consoles and the ones I feel the most at home with, whether digital or analog,” says Freeman. “Their EQs work in a way that I’m most comfortable with. In fact, I don’t really have to look at the EQ labels on the controls any more. When I do, I find that the labeled frequency I’m reaching for is more often than not just the one I wanted to cut or boost.”
Freeman adds that he does not find the same level of tailored accuracy in other brands of consoles. “This intuitive feel and operation is the same for me whether I’m using the Vi1 or Vi6 digital consoles, an MH Series analog desk or even one of the Si Compact ‘notebook’ mixers,” he said. “I feel like everything’s been thought out.”
“I had been using the Soundcraft Vi6 in many venues across the country, and when Soundcraft was in the process of introducing the Vi1 they gave me one to test. To be honest, I did not want to give it back.”
Freeman has since incorporated the Vi1 into Gibson Studio’s control room. “It is an absolute joy to mix on,” he noted. “We have used it to mix live broadcast audio for a variety of acts and have also done countless Radio Academy broadcasts using the Vi6.”
Freeman has also found the Vi1 to be the ideal console for his live sound projects. “I’m currently working for management company McGhee Entertainment as the front of house engineer for Vintage Trouble,” he said. “It is a lot of fun and having the Vi1 as the console helps make it a positive experience. In fact, the Vi1 offers the flexibility you need for any application, and it’s genuinely brilliant that a console this portable has so much functionality. I have always loved the Vistonics II illuminated color touchscreen interface, and sonically you cannot fault the Vi1 in any way. It offers amazing value considering its price–but I would rate the Vi1 as the top console out there, regardless of price.”