Sound reinforcement company EBR Providers, founded by Eric Rayford in 2012 to support regional events in Michigan, recently purchased a Harman’s Soundcraft Vi1 digital console for local acts such as the Southfield Jazz Orchestra, which began in 2010 in collaboration with the City of Southfield Parks and Recreation Department. The Vi1 will serve as an upgrade that not only fits into the budget of the orchestra, but also the modest spaces of its venues.
“Sixteen channels are sufficient for what we need and the Vi1’s size is ideal for the small venues that we play in,” states Rayford. “The ability to control some venues remotely on the iPad is great, because sometimes we don’t have enough room for a board near the stage. With the Soundcraft ViSi Remote App, I am able to keep the system in a protected area when performing in a bar, out of harm’s way from the audience.”
Moving away from the analog consoles he used previously, Rayford also points to the familiar analog-like controls on the Vi1. Every knob and button correspond to only one function, eliminating the layering of controls. Although it is the smallest member of the Vi Series, the Vi1 console still includes FaderGlow for color-coded illumination of the motorized faders, and the Vistonics touchscreen user interface for all other surface controls.
“This board is so well-designed and packed with so many functions, I won’t ever need a larger one for this act,” says Rayford. “The dedicated buttons for EQ’s and effects are very useful, and the layout is not cluttered at all. I can finally put EQ on an individual channel, which is great.”
Rayford also assists with managing the sound at three different church sites under the Third New Hope Baptist Church, one of which is equipped with a 32-channel Soundcraft Vi3. He also would like to see the remaining two locations to be outfitted with Vi Series consoles as well.