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Soundcraft console ‘ticks all the boxes’ for Union Chapel install

The Grade 1-listed Union Chapel in London has installed a Soundcraft Vi3000 digital console as part of a technical upgrade of the venue. What separates the Union Chapel from other houses of worship is it combines the activities of a working church with that of a concert venue.

“The artists know they have to listen to the room — we ask them to play to the space and many produce shows that they wouldn’t normally do,” said head technician, Les Mommsen. “The pay-off is that we need to provide the best equipment that will enable them to achieve these lower levels, keeping the performance intimate, and at the same time enhancing the audience experience.”

Mommsen recently petitioned for a Soundcraft Vi3000 digital console, the latest acquisition in a carefully planned three-phase upgrade of the venue’s technical infrastructure.

One of the directors, Charlie Barrett, who has been running Terminal rehearsal studios for many years, worked with Mommsen on the refit.

The Soundcraft console, distributed in the UK and Ireland by Sound Technology, was supplied by Crystal Pro Audio, with whom Barrett has a long relationship, and the house technicians carried out the installation themselves.

Union Chapel had already invested in an earlier digital desk with different characteristics, but wanted to give incoming production teams a choice of tonality, flexibility and feature set.

In outlining the requirement, Mommsen said: “We set a number of criteria; the new desk had to have rider compatibility; be futureproof; give us flexibility for later expansion and meet the budget. Soundcraft ticked all those boxes.”

Having regularly used a Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1, Mommsen was instinctively comfortable with the platform. “The sound quality is excellent and by using the built-in Dante interface and additional card slots we are providing recording engineers with digital options.

“With four Lexicon FX engines, UAD plugins via Soundcraft’s Realtime Rack and access to Waves SoundGrid via Dante or MADI we are well set for the future.”

The Vi3000 is claimed to offer more input channels, busses and faders than any other in its class, with 36 faders and 24 mono/stereo busses. Any of the busses can be either mono or stereo, whilst keeping the total number of busses at 24.

Mommsen continued: “In the chapel the acoustics are wonderful, so we already have 120 years of fantastic reverb in the room itself. With the Vi3000 you can get a clear acoustic mix and it does sound fantastic with the compressors on the console.

“Hosting high quality acoustic concerts, often including string or choir ensembles, is what we do well, and the Vi3000 provides us with everything we need to deliver the highest fidelity possible. The preamps sound great as is the precision and clarity of the console. In addition, it’s a very intuitive console and there are multiple ways of doing everything to fit everyone’s workflow.”

Soundcraft consoles