The consoles were selected as the result of a shoot-out organised by Richard Nowell Sound Services (RNSS), which has a long association with the Southbank Centre’s three concert halls.
The desire for higher quality preamps and a more user-friendly configuration than that offered by the site’s existing digital desks were among the factors that informed the selection of the new consoles. A three-console shoot-out saw the Vi1 emerge victorious, with RNSS placing an order for three of the desks with long-term supplier Amber Sound.
While one Vi1 has been permanently installed in the 370-capacity Purcell Room, the second will be floating between a number of locations — from the Front Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall to the foyers of the Royal Festival Hall. A further Vi1 is expected to be installed permanently in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the near-future. Each desk features an optical MADI card for future channel capacity expansion.
Richard Nowell commented: “In most of the halls analogue desks are still installed — but these are now getting a bit long in the tooth. The technical team’s policy is that it does not want to restrict programmers in any way and with the compact footprint of the Vi1 we can easily add this alongside the existing analogue desk, providing a lot more flexibility in what they can offer.
“The desk also needed to be easily recognisable for incoming engineers, and you also want a very easy interface. Not every show is staffed by experienced sound engineers so it had to be something the engineer would not be fazed by — and the Vi1 fits the bill. It is just so much easier to get your head around.”
Southbank Centre technical director Eddy Smith said that the delivery of the new consoles met the mid-November deadline for the London Jazz Festival. “The engineers love them and now there is no more squabbling about the system set-ups,” he said.
Image Credit: Morley von Sternberg