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Soundworks Of Virginia Continues 40-Year Investment In Soundcraft By Harman

Production company founded in 1976 with a 1S console adds Vi5000 digital consoles to current $1 million in inventory.

By PSW Staff May 12, 2016

Grant Howard, vice president and senior engineer, Soundworks of Virginia

Soundworks of Virginia has come a long way since 1976 when its founder was loading up his Ford E350 van with a Soundcraft Series 1S console, small JBL horn-loaded speaker system and Crown DC-300 and DC-150 amplifiers.

Today, the full-service live production company has more than $1 million worth of equipment that’s used for events of all sizes, including multi-day festivals that attract more than 200,000 spectators. In January, the Richmond-based production company invested in two Soundcraft by Harman Professional Solutions Vi5000 consoles to replace its Vi4 consoles.

Much has changed since Soundworks was founded 40 years ago, but one thing has stayed the same—its loyalty to Soundcraft consoles.

“We have always appreciated the high sound quality of the Soundcraft Vi systems,” said Steve Payne, president, Soundworks of Virginia. “It’s especially pleasing when a guest engineer turns around with a big grin and says, ‘This thing sounds great.’”

Prior to purchasing the Vi5000 consoles, Soundworks had much success using the Vi4 consoles at hundreds of events over the last four years. One event was a large outdoor show in 2015 with the Richmond Symphony, where the symphony’s mix engineer was so impressed with the Vi4 console that Soundworks was subsequently hired to provide audio support for all of the Symphony’s 2016 outdoor concerts.

“Almost without exception, guest engineers who are new to the Vi series are thrilled with the console. They’re extremely pleased with its easy interface and exceptional sound quality,” said Grant Howard, vice president and senior engineer, Soundworks of Virginia. “We continue to appreciate the ease of setup on gigs that have short changeover times. There is no burrowing down into menus with the Vi operating system. Every feature is readily accessible and very quick to access.”

According to Payne, when the Vi5000 consoles were introduced, he and his team knew it was a must-have upgrade. They particularly appreciate the Vi5000’s fast startup time of less than 30 seconds, enhanced Vistonics screen graphics, 128 inputs/32 stereo outputs and more powerful user-definable keys. Payne was especially happy to see the digital implementation of the classic BSS DPR901ii Dynamic EQ adding to the channel processing.

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see the 901 multiband compressor included in the latest software for the Vi,” said Payne. “For the longest time, I have been half-jokingly saying to Soundcraft, ‘Come on guys, you own BSS. It would be a no-brainer to put a 901 into the Vi.’ Well, they actually did it, and it rocks. What a great audio tool to have at your fingertips.”

With the Soundcraft Vi5000, sound quality is assured by low noise microphone amp designs and enhanced 96kHz 40-bit floating point digital audio processing. Effects come courtesy of 8 independent Lexicon multi-FX units, BSS DPR901ii integration and a BSS graphic EQ on every bus output. Rapid configuration and powerful automation features, radio mic status monitoring and extensive ViSi Connect I/O expansion (EtherSound, CobraNet, Dante, MADI, etc.) complete the package.

The Soundcraft Realtime Rack provides access to Universal Audio’s analog audio processing emulations and UAD plug-ins. Realtime Rack software gives Vi console operators all the control they need to insert plug-ins on individual channels, auxiliary channels and master busses—just as easily as real hardware. A snapshot system allows total recall of all plug-ins and their settings, while tight network integration with the Vi Series ensures that all settings of the application are stored inside the console.

“The Soundcraft Vi Series consoles are one of the few digital desks that stand alone as a total mixing package. The Vi’s have powerful, no-compromise audio tools built in. It’s all there,” said Payne. “When Soundcraft added plugin tools, they did something exceptional. The UAD plugins running on the Realtime Rack hits it out of the park. The UAD plugins are the pinnacle of classic analog signal processing emulation. The Realtime Rack integrates seamlessly with the Vi surface and operating system. Two thumbs up.”

Harman Professional Solutions


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