Docktrdave Prescribes Soundcraft Vi6™ for Diana Krall

20 Aug 2007

For jazz fans, news that the multitalented Diana Krall was going on tour this summer was met with eager anticipation seeing that the outing marked her first live performances in close to a year since giving birth to twin sons in December with her husband, Elvis Costello.

Known to pack out venues across the country from Madison Square Garden to the Hollywood Bowl, the singer/pianist is touring once again this summer with her longtime front-of-house sound mixer, Dave Lawler, whose Docktrdave Audio Inc. recently purchased a Soundcraft Vi6™ digital live sound console. "I first saw and heard the Vi6 at the Winter NAMM Convention," Lawler recalls. "I've used pretty much every console out there, but I feel that the Soundcraft Vi6 is closest to my requirements for artists like Diana. It is easy to use, handles complex mixes, and sounds great! Also, the console nicely enables me to connect all of my auxiliary units and playback devices via AES digital inputs, which I like."

Docktrdave Audio purchased the 64-input/35-output all-digital console back in mid-May. "The Vi6 has a shallow depth from back to front, which means that I don't have to stand up and reach across the surface," confirms Lawler. "I love the Vistonics™ II control surface, which is highly ergonomic and makes using the desk so much simpler. Access to three encoder knobs per function is nice; it offers great navigation.

"I can set up multiple mixes - we also use the board to mix sound for Chris Botti, who's co-billed with Diana on this tour - and then recall them at the touch of a button. I tend to use the lower 32-fader bank for stereo effects returns and group masters, with sources on the top layer. Having 32 faders on the surface is nice - not too many to be confusing, but enough to give me simultaneous access to the important channels."

The Vi6 connects digitally to the tour's system drive and stage monitoring system via AES and Soundcraft's new Vi Series CobraNet interface cards. As Lawler explains: "Instead of a conventional monitor console, we have a number of [BSS Audio] Soundweb London processors that form a PC-controlled/tablet mix control surface." Eric Laliberte, the monitor engineer, can fine-tune a 36x12 networked stage system from a tablet PC anywhere in the venue. "It can pack into a small flight case at the end of the show or live in the 18U touring rack," the FOH engineer states. For ease of system assembly, the Vi6 stagebox connects to the control surface and local rack via three conventional CAT5 Ethernet cables with Amphenol RJ connectors: a primary connection plus an online auxiliary and a spare.

"Our Vi6 is also equipped with the new BSS EQ and Lexicon effects modules," Lawler continues. "The internal reverbs sound great." Soundcraft's new DSP package provides eight mono or stereo effects units that may be patched to aux bus outputs and then back into a channel input, or inserted into input or output channels. All effects are controlled from the console's intuitive graphical displays for full control integration.

"I'm having a great tour with the Soundcraft," Lawler concludes. "The Vistonics II screen functionality is extremely user-friendly and totally ergonomic. The Vi6 is really the perfect choice for this tour."