UTRECHT, The Netherlands – When Dutch sound engineer Bart Schulz set up his own company, BSAmedia, at the beginning of this year, his main goal was “to deliver a high standard of sound engineering and make high quality gear affordable for everyone.” Having worked as a sound professional for 30 years—including live sound, studio and remote recording, live radio and TV broadcasts—he had recently been training sound engineers while developing broadcast sets and studios in his native Utrecht.
Setting stringent standards of equipment specification, he purchased a HARMAN Soundcraft Vi1 digital console from the company’s Benelux distributors Audio XL to form the hub of a modular mobile unit — knowing that the brand would be familiar to a customer base comprising broadcasters, musicians, recording studios and theatres.
Supplied with Compact Stage Box, a MADI optical card and 100-metre Quad Fibre drum, the Vi1 replaces a previous 16-channel analogue live set-up.
“I can use this as a stand-alone unit for live sound, or combine the Vi1 with a 19-inch recording module for remote recording and music production,” he said. “Alternatively I can connect the Vi1 and stage box with a set of 19-inch broadcast modules to do live broadcasts on location. It is perfect for the market niches that BSAmedia wishes to cater to.”
Bart Schulz has used Soundcraft consoles throughout his sound engineering career, and being active in broadcast is also very familiar with Studer. “The fact that the Vi1 is combining key elements of both brands made it BSAmedia’s ideal desk, suitable for all our activities.”
The reduced footprint of the Vi1 is also a huge advantage—for two reasons: “Most of the time I work alone and cannot physically handle a big console, and secondly, most theatres and other locations where I intend to use my Vi1 are pretty small.”
But prior to making the decision Bart Schulz set out a wish list and surveyed the market options within his budget. He knew the desk needed to be both flexible and versatile—and then a sound engineer friend suggested he contacted Audio XL, who arranged a demo.
“Some of the desks I had reviewed were very good for mixing music but missed broadcast features, and others were very good for broadcasting but unsuitable for music production. There was only one desk that was able to handle everything straight out of the box, and that was the Soundcraft Vi1.
“It was of high quality, with a very good sound, packed with great effects and all the broadcast features like GPIO’s and intercom incorporated into a single package. It seemed like the ideal solution. Although I had done my homework, Martin van Kouwen, at Audio XL answered any other questions and arranged delivery in double quick time.”
Although a newcomer to the Vi Series he says the platform is extremely easy to work with. “I got the Vi1 up and I had it up and running within the hour.”
Once he delved deeper into the Vi1’s attributes he was quickly impressed with the overall layout of the control-surface: “All functions are grouped logically — you instantly know were to look/grab, and FaderGlow® is a useful addition.” He also highlights the layout and ease of use of the Vistonics™ screen, combined with the placement of the rotaries. “This makes for a straightforward approach — just as on an analogue desk — while it packs all the power and benefits of digital.” Finally, he says the Gang Mode and Follow Output Solo Mode are extremely useful additions. “These speed up set-up and operation,” he notes.
“Now it’s time to discover all the extras that the desk’s software has to offer, such as snapshots, cues, and the iPad Remote.”
HARMAN (www.HARMAN.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of audio, lighting and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson®, and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with Harman audio and infotainment systems. Harman has a workforce of about 14,300 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.