ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => SR Forum Archives => Road Test FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Bennett Prescott on July 13, 2009, 03:48:34 pm

Title: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 13, 2009, 03:48:34 pm
I've been trying to get my ugly mitts on a Soundcraft Vi6 since I first saw one at AES two years ago. Tom Der had one to spare this summer and shipped it down to Asbury Park, NJ where Jason Dermer's company, TSL, will be putting it through its paces. Since I do a lot of work with Jason, I got assigned the duty of figuring out how the brightly lit control surface works, getting it set up, mixing the openers, and then handing it over to him for State Radio's show this past weekend. Fortunately, my job was easy from that point on.

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/1.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/3.jpg
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/4.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/7.jpg

When it comes to digital consoles, I always harp on two points: Usability, and sound quality, usually in that order. This is because most of them sound OK enough, but fall flat in the usability department. There's simply no good way to cram the thousands of knobs and switches that we have come to enjoy on an analog console into a few hundred multi-purpose controls without sacrificing the human interface. When I first had the opportunity to get the inside tour of a Vi6 at AES, I said to myself "Self, I think this is the first digital console that I would be just as happy to use as a large frame analog desk." While it is telling that one has to get into this $60,000 price range to have the same level of control as a $15,000 analog desk, that is not an entirely fair comparison as the Vi6 will mix 64 inputs to 35 outputs (including L, C, & R) and does it well!

Walk-up usability of the desk is really excellent, I would have no qualms handing this over the the most junior of engineers and expecting them to be able to understand everything they need to do to mix within 30 seconds. The desk operates in two banks of 32 input channels with 8 master faders that can bank between VCAs or any of the bus masters. The main outputs have a dedicated fader bank and metering. Each input channel has a clear control strip on the touch screen so that all settings, from gain and polarity to EQ and dynamics to aux levels, are immediately viewable and, with the touch of a finger, immediately adjustable. Above each fader is a beautiful, clear, long LED ladder (with peak hold!) for signal metering, as well as a 9 element ladder for gain reduction. Above that is a soft knob that can be set, globally, as input gain, pan, comp or gate threshold, HPF, or LPF. Everything needed to rip through sound check in too little time because the headliner showed up 4 hours late and diddled around on stage until 10 minutes to doors is right there on the top layer, no banking or extra thought required.

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/14.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/51.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/52.jpg

Input channels are set up in banks of 8, each with its own dedicated touch screen and Vistonics knobs. That places the Vi6 in the rarified company of desks that allow more than one engineer to work at the same time, independently. Not even intending to, Jason and I did that very thing... while I was mixing the openers, he was finalizing his settings for the headliner, completely different tasks and not once did we get in each other's way (well, except physically). Had we been working on different layers it might have been a slightly different story (the whole desk, aside from the master section, banks at the same time), but the Vi6 thoughtfully allows a touch of the meters on the main screen to bring any bank of 8 channels over to the rightmost fader group for full control, while the rest of the console is elsewhere. This proved useful still, since I buried my effects returns on the last 8 channels (58-64) but could easily bring them up to adjust without losing immediate control of my band channels.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 13, 2009, 03:48:57 pm
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/26.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/34.jpg
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/19.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/39.jpg

Mixing on the Vi6, one quickly and easily settles into the sort of muscle memory quickness that we have come to expect from a well laid out analog board. Controls are where they are expected to be, one doesn't spend the whole time hunched over looking at a little display like I see so many engineers doing on so many other digital consoles. Mixing the show while watching the band is normal again... not as much an issue at FOH (although I do feel that the constant looking back and forth impedes the perception of the mix) but a real life saver at monitors. Speaking of monitors, those two Vistonics knobs per channel make that easy. By default, they are Aux 1 and Aux 2, for each and every channel. A push of a button and they can bank to the next two auxes, or be assigned with the push of another to any other bus send. With the tap of a finger on the channel strip, they can also be opened up to display auxes 1-16 or 17-32 for the selected channel, per bank of 8 of course. That means it is possible to have your "money" mixes always up, and then quickly tap in to adjust any other mix with only two moves, at any time, and without interrupting immediate access to adjusting any other mix from any other channel bank at the same time.

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/25.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/45.jpg

Of course the Vi6 also has an easy to understand output mix on faders mode, enabling it causes all faders to switch to the context of the soloed output bus. All buses also have full parametric and graphic EQ, dynamics, and FX available. Buses can be mono or stereo auxes, groups, or matrixes. Graphic EQs on the outputs can appear on the faders, and there are plenty of inserts everywhere for everything from traditional outboard, to the 8 internal Lexicon effects engines, to keying dynamics from other channels. Insert, direct out, and bus pick points are also easily adjustable... all in all an extremely powerful console.

Now that you know how thrilled I am with the usability and feature set of the console, a word on sound quality. I know sound quality gets mostly lip service in today's world of smaller, lighter, cheaper desks (that still talk to quarter million dollar plus PA systems that take up half a truck and require the latest fancy amplifiers and processors, so I don't know where the savings is supposed to be).
To make a long story short, the Vi6 sounds fantastic. Really solid low frequency response, no coloration, no nastiness in the high frequencies... it sounds as good as good analog. Add to that the exceptional control (high and low pass, full EQ, great sounding and easy to use dynamics) and this is a tool to generate the mixes you've always known were possible, if you only had that de-esser for that channel or if you could only get rid of that guitar gack. Really a pleasure to mix on and listen to.

Coming up, a few things I didn't like as much (honest). Plus, a word on effects, and anything else the LAB would like to know. We'll have this desk all summer, so I plan on being brutal with it and brutally honest with you. I started with things I like because I really feel Soundcraft deserves a solid pat on the back for this desk, but there are a few things that detract from the experience.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Phillip_Graham on July 15, 2009, 11:13:29 am
Does it still take fooorrrreeeevvvvveeeer to boot the UI?  Did they do make some improvements in the usability of the scene advance, especially after a blackout?

Has a great great interface, that's for sure.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on July 15, 2009, 06:58:50 pm
My only real complaint with the desk is the lack of any real labeling on the graphic EQ. Sure, you can throw it up on faders, but it doesn't tell you how much of anything is cut, and the display screen is realllllyyy small.

Other then that, I too agree, that it is a very nice desk!



Evan
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Jason Dermer on July 17, 2009, 01:11:06 am
Bennett Prescott wrote on Mon, 13 July 2009 15:48

... and not once did we get in each other's way (well, except physically).

Bennett and I are planning a dinner benefit tour. The rest of you cook us your best regional cuisine for dinner, and we benefit by eating it. Oh, and we'll bring lots of cool toys to play with.

Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Effects
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 28, 2009, 05:49:21 pm
Sorry to be so long between updates, but I wanted to take some notes and get a few more shows on the console.

The Vi6 we have arrived with Lexicon effects built in on some kind of add-in card. There's 8 engines that can be run in mono or stereo, pre or post fader, and they operate just like you had them patched in externally. They can source their signal from anywhere, including channel or bus insert points. They can be returned almost anywhere as well, but for traditional use they must be patched in as inputs to one of the 64 control channels. I usually stick them in the last 8 channels on the board (56-64) and then just tap that bank of channels on the master when I want to mess with them and they pop up in the right most fader bay. Of course they're also assigned to a VCA.

The disadvantage here is that you lose those input channels... I don't know if there is some trick that could save them, maybe returning to a group and accessing that from the master section? Of course, our snake is only 48 channels and even with CD players and other miscellaneous inputs plus eating 8 channels for four stereo FX returns we've got plenty left over, so it's a non-issue for the kind of work we do. The only application where this would have been an issue was when we did a split stage festival earlier this year and dedicated 32 channels to each side of the stage. In that case we would have had to have a workaround to get at least a few FX returns in somewhere.

In any case, the Lexicon effects all sound excellent. Just like real Lexicon units, unfortunately, the controls don't always make any sense, and the built in FX types don't always sound like you'd imagine from the description. I distinctly remember a good 5 minutes spent with Jason at the board trying to find the "decay" control for a vocal reverb... there's room size, and diffusion, and predelay... but how about decay? Choosing a different reverb type ended up being the best choice. Because they're being returned to channels, there is plenty of flexibility for EQ and high pass and low pass as well as routing, panning, etc.

Another neat trick is that tap delays appear on the user definable buttons at the top of the master section, so it's easy to get delays back in sync at the beginning of a new song and then just push faders to bring them in where desired.

Furthermore, when you've got your FX all set up and being returned into channels, that channel's touch sensitive display strip shows what kind of effect and which engine is being returned there, and a simple touch brings up all the controls. Aside from the typical Lexicon interface obfuscation, there is plenty of control and it is easy to adjust.

You can sort of see both of my delay taps blinking away right above VCA #5 in this photo:
index.php/fa/24056/0/
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 28, 2009, 06:21:26 pm
After so many things I do like, I've got a few items that aren't quite right.

First of all, as Phill mentioned, it really does take the surface forever to boot. Boot times are in excess of 60 seconds. The stage rack and control "brains" are both up very quickly, which means audio will come right back up after a power failure, but you won't have any control over it for another minute after that. There has got to be a way to speed that up... minute boot times are so... 1984.

An issue that plagues most digital equipment at outdoor concerts... washout. What is strange about the Vi6 is that some of the controls do great in direct sunlight, and others completely disappear. For instance, the touch screen and Vistonics displays do pretty well, as do the level indicators around each channel's soft gain/pan/etc knob. The output meters in the master section do pretty well also, but the channel meters almost disappear. The mute and select buttons completely disappear, it is impossible to tell what the status of a channel is in the sun. Basically, any of the "squishy" raised buttons made out of soft rubber are done for once the sun comes out.

Here are example shots in the not-very-bright late afternoon sun:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/39.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/40.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/35.jpg

Almost as annoying, some of us like to wear sunglasses when we're outside from sun-up to sun-down to avoid squinting all day and permanently freezing our muscles like that. My sunglasses happen to be polarized, which I don't think is too unusual. With the Vi6, I can still mostly see it with my sunglasses on. If I tilt my head a little, though, it either gets completely viewable or completely disappears. Why can't they think of this sort of stuff and just rotate the polarizer in the displays so that you can look at it head on without having to take your glasses on and off all the time?

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi62/Thumbnails/8.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi62/Thumbnails/9.jpg

Of course, they'd have to try and be as bad as the Dolby Lake Processor, which is totally useless in the sun and even worse with the sunglasses-LCD display issue.

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi62/Thumbnails/10.jpg

Now, when indoors or when it is dark, the desk really shines. Three brightness settings make it even better, from unobtrusive theatre to full brightness when there's nobody else to bother but you in the mix tent. A built in set of lights at the top of the console, right above the screen, handily illuminates everything that doesn't already have an LED behind it and makes usability even better. Little things like this really make the last 1% for me, and it's nice to see those little "rope lights" on at night.

index.php/fa/24057/0/

Speaking of indoors and theater and things like that, a word on fan noise. The surface is dead quiet. The brains are dead quiet. The stage rack sounds like a 777 trying to accelerate through a cloud of ducks. 1m away I measured 75dB. That's totally unacceptable... do we have a broken thermal unit or something? There are some big fans up in that rack, it has no need to be that noisy. Maybe Soundcraft were assuming that the stage rack would always be on stage, but for those of us with analog split snakes (everyone) that's not the case.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 28, 2009, 06:44:29 pm
The fader taper on the desk is... unusual. I would like to see a centimeter or so more distance between +5 and -5... as is there is much less control than I am used to, which makes it little awkward sometimes setting balance between things in the mix.

index.php/fa/24058/0/

Another control issue is that, with all these knobs everywhere (which is great) it is easy to nudge one while trying to, say, push the soft button on the Vistonics interface. This adjusts the level that knob is controlling by a fraction of a decibel. Since there is no center detent, the knobs have almost no physical resistance, and there is no "resistance" in the software to make zero easy to hit, it is then a small fight to re-adjust that knob back to zero, breathing carefully while adjusting it by fractions of a degree. Yes, a few fractions of a decibel are a very small amount and almost certainly meaningless, but I am neurotic and obsessive compulsive about these sorts of things, plus it messes up my workflow when I look across the console and see a few auxes that are almost, but not quite, at zero. Did I mean to do that? Did I brush against them? It takes my head down from looking at the band and listening to the mix to meaninglessly fight with some little control.

I have a sort-of similar issue with the channel faders. While it is all good and "analog" to have no digital indication of channel fader level, having that be the only control with no numerical readout is odd. I would like to be able to positively set my VCA masters to 0.0dB, and it would be nice to know where my channel faders actually are... -3dB, -10dB, 0dB... why not just pop up the fader level in the "long name" scribble strip at the bottom of the Vistonics interface? Please.

It would also be nice to have a physical button, maybe in the "copy/paste" section, that allows me to zero or return to default any control on the console. I could hold it down and touch an aux send and re-set it to -infinity, or touch an EQ control and zero that band. Would save me a lot of time.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 28, 2009, 06:54:11 pm
A few unrelated complaints:

There are buttons all over the console that do absolutely nothing. I am sure they are supposed to be built into a future software release... like the ability to actually set up any user pages in the master section or the main fader sections. What do the "F" and "ISO" buttons above each channel do? This console has been out for years and while all of the important functionality is there, it seems silly to have missing control features on a non-beta $80,000 console.

There is no button in the dynamics to allow auto attack and release control. There is a button for auto makeup gain (which is great, however they made it work), and the attack and release are easy to set by ear, but sometimes you just need to slap a comp on something now and fine-tune it later, or never. Hopefully this is something that can be added in a later software update.

It would also be nice to have one or two more lights per channel on the stage box. Knowing which channels have phantom is great, but how about a signal/overload light? That would really help with troubleshooting. Maybe a light to indicate mute, or whether the channel has any DCA control to troubleshoot channels not sending any signal.

And a real software bug: If a channel is assigned to a mute group, and that mute group is activated, the channel obviously mutes. One can then push the channel mute button to temporarily un-mute it, which is great for when someone wants to make an announcement or something. One would imagine then that pushing the channel mute button again would re-mute it and return it to control of the mute group... not so. Instead it turns the channel off, and so once the mute groups is disabled (say the band's about to go on) one must "mute" and then "un-mute" that individual channel to get it to come back on.

Here's a photo of the problem, the leftmost channel is showing the issue:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/soundcraftvi6/Thumbnails/47.jpg

Other than that, I am still very happy with the desk. Mixed on it this past weekend and had even more opportunity to play with the powerful dynamics, which let me get exactly the drum sound I wanted, along with a very nice, subtle, reverb.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Andy Peters on July 28, 2009, 08:24:18 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Tue, 28 July 2009 15:44

The fader taper on the desk is... unusual. I would like to see a centimeter or so more distance between +5 and -5... as is there is much less control than I am used to, which makes it little awkward sometimes setting balance between things in the mix.

index.php/fa/24058/0/


That looks like PM4K fader taper.

-a
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 28, 2009, 09:02:24 pm
Guess so... add little dashes in between every major number and it's about the same taper.

index.php/fa/24063/0/
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Chris Tate on July 29, 2009, 12:17:20 am
Hey Bennett

Zeroing things IS as easy as using the copy / paste function.....

Sounds like there is something up with the cooling fan in your stage rack (I had a fan with dodgy bearings in mine) runs quite as a mouse now...

The ISO buttons work really well (what software version are you running?) Press to ISO the channel....Press and hold then touch vistonics to narrow down the ISO....gang channels to ISO multiple CH's...etc etc... ISO buttons also help when editing scenes in the automation section....might pay to read the manual bro:)

At the moment F keys switch between input a/b but in the next software revision, all the F keys as well as the rest of the user assign keys will become active....(custom layers etc etc)

You can set up the F keys over in the master section already (they default to tap on the first six FX engines at the moment)

what else..... oh yeah.....the surface runs stripped back windows...not Linux.....the brain uses QNX

You can get 32 more DSP channels by putting another DSP card in the console (thus not eating up your 64 stage inputs) or insert FX over Aux masters....also saving channels....you can also use the Buss masters as stereo returns for CD etc etc in the same way (just assign CD line inputs to the insert return and make it pre EQ)

Also re the masters not sitting 'right on zero'....this annoys me as well....but I've found that the main reason for things not being exactly 'On Zero' is a fader calibration problem (download the TXLA from soundcraft to calibrate faders) TXLA also lets you see some of the other features yet to fill some of the master screen pages (separate control of meters, lights and screen dimming etc etc)

The console may be out of beta test, but it isn't finished yet (i.e. some buttons still not functional) I personally am happy that they've taken there time, as it has remained the most reliable console I have in stock (so far....lol) and every new update has been well thought out (again....so far...lol).

I also agree on the mute thing....it's a pain when doing awards shows etc....but an easy fix (I'm sure after they read your review they will be frantically fixing the problem...lol:)

Hey and another handy thing to do with FX returns is to layer the ST channels vertically on the last bank of 8 faders (this way they are always in front of you and when you bring a layer of 8 channels up from another layer, they don't come up over any stage inputs from the layer you are on:)

I'm glad someone reviewed this console here....I've loved the sound and ease of use from the day I first played with one.

I also think that it's good to mention that vistonics is very elegant  when it comes to building in future features (no screen printing on a vistonics screen aye!!)

chur

P.S. ....I also agree...Auto Attack / release would be really handy (especially as Harman owns DBX)  





Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 29, 2009, 11:33:46 am
Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

Zeroing things IS as easy as using the copy / paste function...

How? You mean by copying a control that is already zeroed and then pasting it onto the one you want to zero? That can be pretty complicated when I want to zero something a layer deep in Vistonics.

Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

Sounds like there is something up with the cooling fan in your stage rack (I had a fan with dodgy bearings in mine) runs quite as a mouse now...

It's definitely not a dodgy bearing, it just sounds like the fans are running full out.

Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

The ISO buttons work really well (what software version are you running?) Press to ISO the channel....Press and hold then touch vistonics to narrow down the ISO....gang channels to ISO multiple CH's...etc etc... ISO buttons also help when editing scenes in the automation section....might pay to read the manual bro:)

At the moment F keys switch between input a/b but in the next software revision, all the F keys as well as the rest of the user assign keys will become active....(custom layers etc etc)

Thanks for the info... what does the ISO actually do when you activate it? Don't know what software version I'm running, but I did read the manual. Didn't see any reference to the F or Iso buttons but it may have just been a short mention that I skimmed over. Tried to find it in the channel strip section of the manual but no luck.

I don't know what software is on the console, I'll have to check next time I'm there (Friday).

Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

what else..... oh yeah.....the surface runs stripped back windows...not Linux.....the brain uses QNX

Ahh, bummer. I thought that was a Linux boot screen but I guess not. No wonder it's a little slow to get going.

Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

You can get 32 more DSP channels by putting another DSP card in the console (thus not eating up your 64 stage inputs) or insert FX over Aux masters....also saving channels....you can also use the Buss masters as stereo returns for CD etc etc in the same way (just assign CD line inputs to the insert return and make it pre EQ)

Ah ha! Good to know... that explains the unused third bank button on the surface. Can the console mix all 96 channels then if I were to plug more inputs into the stage rack, or would I have to run another set of Cat-5?
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Philippe Bauwens on July 29, 2009, 02:32:29 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 17:33


Ah ha! Good to know... that explains the unused third bank button on the surface. Can the console mix all 96 channels then if I were to plug more inputs into the stage rack, or would I have to run another set of Cat-5?


You can use 96 channels, they can come from the stage rack, the local rack, a second stage rack,... You only have to run a extra Cat 5 if you connect a extra stage rack

If you take a Vi4 and add the DSP card you get a Vi6 (72 in 35 out) with only 24 channel faders. That's the set-up we're looking to purchase.

Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Raul Suarez on July 29, 2009, 03:43:01 pm
I am not sure about the Vi series, but the previous Soundcraft definition of ISO were channel that would NOT mute when another channel is cue'd in the Solo In Place mode.  ie effects returns that you want to keep on when cue'ing lead voc or such.

Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Chris Tate on July 29, 2009, 10:29:05 pm
Hey again Bennett,

ISO Buttons isolate the channel from the automation, you can 'zoom' in to single functions on the channel by holding the ISO button and then zooming in on the functions you want included / excluded by touching on the vistonics (i.e. 1 send / all the sends, Labels / no labels, Patch / no Patch, Gain / no gain....you get the idea.

On top of this, ISO buttons can be used in conjunction with the 'scope' function of the automation (for scene by scene iso's or pasting of parameters (EG....vocal gain change etc)...Another handy button is the 'Load show with ISO' button (allows a new show file to be imported while leaving anything ISO'd from the previous show file behind (Matrix outs, output EQ, MC mic, CD player etc...

There is an addendum to the manual which relates to all of the extra function that has been added since the original manual was written (there used to be a manual kicking round somewhere that had all the complete function set included) this includes functions still not available (touch eq and dynamics at the same time and get EQ & Dynamics on the vistonics encoders at the same time....custom layers etc...)

Your software version should be 3.0.1.112 (this is the latest and includes all functions available at this time)

This version includes a 'Flat all' button in the EQ screen (push to zero....)

Still puzzled about the stage rack noise thing though....the stage rack fans do have an auto speed control curcuit....maybe something funny going on with that perhaps?

Oh yeah....another little thing that annoys me is the insert switches on the master Left / Right are still not linkable...(although everything else is).....I can't wait for that so that I can finally put a stereo pan / phaser combo ober the left / right and realize my all time dream of recreating a poor facsimile of the end of Led Zepplin's When the Levi Breaks...lol


Chur

 
Title: When Levi's Levee Breaks
Post by: Mac Kerr on July 29, 2009, 10:56:53 pm
Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 22:29

I can't wait for that so that I can finally put a stereo pan / phaser combo ober the left / right and realize my all time dream of recreating a poor facsimile of the end of Led Zepplin's When the Levi Breaks...lol


Hey Chris, I's sure Levi appreciates the plug, but the levee that breaks is a levee.

Mac
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 29, 2009, 11:23:19 pm
If the "flat all" button defines the latest software, then I have the latest software. Now I just want that button everywhere.

I can only assume there is something wrong with the fan speed control, usually this console is outdoors and the fan noise is not noticeable, so I'll have to pay special attention to see what's going on.
Title: Re: When Levi's Levee Breaks
Post by: Chris Tate on July 30, 2009, 12:06:48 am

Mac....Yeah my spelling sucks:) (but my enthusiasm for actually wanting to pull that effect off is no less abated because of my spelling deficiencies:)  lol (I bought an old KORG delay in 1991 with that effect in mind and heard Gary Bradshaw achieve a similar effect back when he was doing FOH for Simple Minds back in 1995)  


Hey Bennett do you mean to flatten the whole desk or just say....the comps....?

I've found that using the 'gang' combined with copy / paste is a nice quick way of resetting lots 'o' gates / comps etc.....also a really quick way of setting up things like phantom / dynamics in/out and HPF's when you're in a hurry

For a full console 'flatten' just recall a default show...


The reason why I was asking about the software version is that we've had a few consoles come down this way over the last 8 months that were running firmware that was 2 years old and missing quite a few really handy functions that have been implemented since then.....
Title: Re: When Levi's Levee Breaks
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 30, 2009, 11:46:48 am
Resetting the whole console is indeed easy, kudos to Soundcraft for including a set os useful default files that cannot be overwritten and let you get well on your way with only a few button pushes.

I, however, would like single element reset to default immediately available, no matter where I am in the console.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Ryan Lantzy on July 30, 2009, 12:41:25 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 11:33


Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

what else..... oh yeah.....the surface runs stripped back windows...not Linux.....the brain uses QNX

Ahh, bummer. I thought that was a Linux boot screen but I guess not. No wonder it's a little slow to get going.


FWIW, the iLive uses a Linux kernel in the surface and it's even slower to boot... Almost 2 minutes.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Chris Tate on August 01, 2009, 11:26:14 pm
Hey Bennett,

Just thinking about what you were asking about resetting defaults using copy / paste.... Have you found the button on the master vistonics that comes up when you hit copy / paste that is labeled 'lib', just checking because I just assumed you have when I posted my reply about being able to use the copy / paste function...

If you hit the 'lib' button, you gain access to presets for individual things including FX presets, dynamics, EQ, sends, whole channels, groups of channels etc etc. You can create your own, store them on a USB key etc etc....just like any other digital console.


Chur
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on August 02, 2009, 11:29:47 pm
Nope, had forgotten about it entirely. I'll check it out!
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Silas Pradetto on August 03, 2009, 07:48:21 am
Ryan Lantzy wrote on Thu, 30 July 2009 12:41

Bennett Prescott wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 11:33


Chris Tate wrote on Wed, 29 July 2009 00:17

what else..... oh yeah.....the surface runs stripped back windows...not Linux.....the brain uses QNX

Ahh, bummer. I thought that was a Linux boot screen but I guess not. No wonder it's a little slow to get going.


FWIW, the iLive uses a Linux kernel in the surface and it's even slower to boot... Almost 2 minutes.


At least it doesn't crash in all kinds of weird ways like the other Vi6 thread is showing. Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console - Complaints
Post by: Chris Tate on August 03, 2009, 08:00:28 pm
Quote:


At least it doesn't crash in all kinds of weird ways like the other Vi6 thread is showing. Rolling Eyes


I think I can honestly say that of all the digital consoles I've used over the last few years, the VI6 is the only one that I haven't had crash on me! Smile...and I've had mine since software revision 1.....
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on August 21, 2009, 05:33:10 pm
I think I touched on something similar earlier... had Hammer of the Gods the other day, they're "the" Led Zeppelin "tribute band". Long story short, their "FOH Engineer" was actually just there to mix the lead singer's vocal effects. No problem on the VI6... made him a whole little world over on the right side of the console with two duplicated copies of the lead vocal channel and three stereo effects returns. Two engineers, one console, both doing completely dissimilar tasks... no problem!

index.php/fa/24525/0/

I am more thrilled with this desk every day.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on August 21, 2009, 05:48:54 pm
Now that I have sung its praises, there are still some things I would like to see changed.

In effects world, the lexicon interface is nice, but some of the parameters are very strangely presented or missing entirely. For instance, all tap delays seem to be 1/4 note, and there is no way to change that.

I have also been having a problem where some FX returns will show up mono (return left channel only), even though they are routed stereo.

In the input stage, there is an analog high pass after the preamp, and another digital one inside the console. I can see why this was done, the analog high pass can prevent the rest of the electronics from overloading where there is the least available dynamic range. It is then cheap and easy to implement a variable high pass in software. This is annoying and unnecessarily complicated, however... for a $80,000 (ish, loaded) console one would think they could have just put a digitally controlled analog high pass in the front end. Or, why not hide the analog high pass and just have it engage whenever the digital high pass is above that corner frequency? Or something that doesn't make me explain that oddity to every band engineer?

Finally, a major pet peeve. The channel labeling is pretty good, 6 characters on the scribble strips and many more at the bottom of the screen for every channel. Unfortunately, the console has no brains about this whatsoever! I have to label each channel twice. One "long label" for the screens, and one "short label" for the scribble strip. Why not do what (cough) Digidesign does very well and make the software smart enough to knock out a few vowels and generate at least a halfway decent short name? This sort of little thing probably takes up half my programming time every time I need to set up the console.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Andy Peters on August 22, 2009, 12:42:11 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Fri, 21 August 2009 14:33

I think I touched on something similar earlier... had Hammer of the Gods the other day, they're "the" Led Zeppelin "tribute band". Long story short, their "FOH Engineer" was actually just there to mix the lead singer's vocal effects.


Did you read the articles about the Led Zeppelin reunion at O2 last year? Two guys at FOH -- Mick Hughes mixed the band, and Plant's regular guy mixed Plant's vocals and effects.

So obviously this cover band is doing the same thing.

-a
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Chris Tate on August 22, 2009, 11:06:06 pm
Ok...so i'm the only one that cares enough to reply....but:

Short label procedure:

1) Type long label
2) Press Tab
3) Press Backspace

Short label will scroll if it is to long to fit in the little scribble strip

Delay:
Notice there are two 'time' functions the first is like a ratio (break out your BPM chart) and then save as a preset....yeah I know they didn't set it all up for us....but it can be done Smile

HPF: really?  Rolling Eyes

Have Fun...(and get Soundcraft to send you the manual addendum) Smile


Chur



Chris

Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bart de Wit on September 25, 2009, 07:00:47 pm
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but not so new to the VI's. I did a course at soundcraft early this year and currently work a VI6 or VI4 at least twice a week, many weeks it's 3 or more days a week.

There's one little thing that bugs me and some of my fellow engineers. I've tried to look it up in the manual but couldn't find this, and maybe I'm ooverlooking it.

Me and one of my mates do FOH for a few well known top 40 acts where volumes are required to be, quite frankly, outrageous. This because of the amount of screaming little girls and boys that together produce about 110dba for almost the entire concert duration.

To still get enough push out the vocal without feedback at the 115dba level we sometimes find ourselves in, we route our vocals through individual groups and then carve the h#ll out of them with the graphic eq's while trying to maintain a decent vocal.

On all other desks we've come accross, this is all fine, the VI's however have one little tricky feat. where it seems that once you've routed a channel to that group, the group fader becomes the controlling fader and there's no longer any control on the channel fader.

Any experiences with this? Maybe we're overlooking something and are just being dumb engineers?

So in short, once a channel is put into a group, it seems to happen pre fader and there doesn't seem to be a switch for this?
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Chris Tate on September 26, 2009, 08:32:31 pm
Hey Bart,

I think you can make groups pre/post as I remember once changing some pre fader aux busses into groups on the fly and they defaulted to pre fade.....quite a handy feature....the pre fade aux thing is most likely the way your console defaulted to pre fade as they default to post fade normally......

here is how to change it:

1) hit the pre/post button in the master vistonics bay
2) hit the gang button
3) hit a select button on any channel
4) press and hold gang button until all channel select buttons light up
5) select pre / post using any vistonics bay encoder button for the (buss or busses) you wish to make pre/post


Another easy way to check would be to go into fader flip mode and then solo a group master.

If the pre lights come up on the fader bay, then use the instructions above to switch pre/post.

PS: the pre fade feature is quite handy for keying dynamics off a group of things, but the console has no option for keying group outputs so I usually carry a few xlr jumpers with me and return some groups back into the bottom layer of channels (AES I/O is handy for this) for this....VERY handy for 'auto mix' situations when using the gates as duckers etc etc...


chur


chris
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bart de Wit on September 27, 2009, 12:30:39 pm
Hi Chris,

Thanks ever so much for your quick reply. However, last night I was doing another one of those extremely loud events and I had a few hours to spare in the afternoon so I got the talkback mic on an input and started playing and then found out that indeed it has to do with how the aux was set and I found to change it, I'd have to change the group back to aux quickly and post that aux on the channel where it was set as a pre.
Worked really well. It was really loud and the vocals were right in there and audible even though  the overall volume didn't change much. It's horrible mixing that loud but it's what the client wants and when you get paid directly by them... Wink
Thanks again,

Bart
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Chris Tate on September 27, 2009, 08:05:11 pm
Ah Ha!

Yes I just tried it again myself and came up with the same thing...

There are a couple of things like that that have changed over various software revisions....this is one that I haven't used for ages!!....lol.....(not being able to assign Matrix busses back to Stereo is one I really miss as it was also VERY handy....but alas to many people had feed back disasters by engaging when stereo was a contributor and the feature was removed:( )

It comes about from the starting off as a pre fade aux buss thing...I'm about to email Andy at soundcraft to see if they could put the pre/post thing in on group busses as it's really handy.....will probably have to wait till the next software revision....but a birdy has told me that version 4 is in beta at the moment so not be that far away for everyone:)

I think putting the pre/post option in would be better than just defaulting groups to 'always post fade' for the reasons outlined in my previous post!!

PS: I know what you mean about screaming girls!! lol....I'll never forget the first time it happened to me.....I was about 17 at the time, had sound checked LOUD!..... when the band came on I figured out what it must have been like at a Beatles show....meters pinned and a band somewhere in the background.....ear plugs in and wait for the show to be over!! (and the Beatles never had anything like what we would call a PA)

chur


Chris
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bart de Wit on September 29, 2009, 06:08:16 am
I was thinking the same, about getting on to soundcraft to see if the can get the option in for a next update.
Yeah, levels like that aren't nice but sometimes just plain necessary. I could not find my plugs Saturday, till 1,5hrs in! It was an 8hr show Sad
I had a chance to have a half hour break after the time without plugs and had to grab it, my right ear was ringing. After that I did not listen for more than 5 minutes before the plugs went back in! lol!
The venue's got a very nice DV-DOSC system but the bad thing is, you don't notice it's loud, till you really can't understand anyone talking anymore! It's good it had the versataille VI6 in so I could still get the vocals out above without getting more level!
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bart de Wit on October 01, 2009, 02:51:02 pm
I managed to crash the work surface twice today while setting up!

It happened when I was setting up the VCA's and I had an external keyboard attached to it. I know that the issue has something to do with typing.

The stagerack and localrack stayed up. As did the faders, or so it seemed, they stayed up and the little screens above them stayed on. I had no audio running through at the time but with some previous crashes I lost all control and the whole thing would reboot. here it just seemed to be the vistronics bit (WIN XP embedded?) as the screens went off and that bit rebooted.

It happened in VCA 3 While I was typing 'Guitar'  in the long label and was typing the 'u'. The 2nd instance occured when I was typing 'Effects'  in the long label of VCA 7 and when I pressed the 'f' for the second time.

After the whole ordeal I had to move some VCA's round but nothing happened when retyping labels.

I'm using a Trust keyboard, which is certified for XP.

For now, the gig's about to start in 10 mins and I should be alright as I had no hitches other than when I was typing but I will pass this on to Soundcraft tomorrow

Oh, and as a footnote to a really annoying thing:
When I type comments in snapshots so that if I fall ill or can't do a few gigs and another engineer has to take over for a few gigs, Why can't that be readable and do I have to scroll thru it by keeping clicking on the arrows?
Can that possibly come to the left of the snapshot screen, you know, where you can also hide and show the scope?

Another thing that I would love to see, Improvement of GEQ's. At the moment you can't really see how much you're cutting etc. It would be nice if the GEQ zoomed on the screen where you pressed it? Same goes in a lesser sense for the PEQ's. it would be great if they could zoom a bit more as at the moment they are very small?
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on October 02, 2009, 08:05:17 pm
Well, I had some bad experiences on this console tonight...

First, while I was programming it, I managed to lock the whole console up twice by rapidly scrolling through various menus and fader banks. Not a huge deal, but it was rather annoying to have to wait for the thing to reboot twice...

Secondly, and most annoying was come show time, my file from sound check did not save/recall correctly. My gains were all waaay off(most inputs were solid red during line check), all of my high parametrics had become high shelves with a +3dB boost @ 10k and my compressor settings were back to the default position. Certainly annoying trying to fix this by memory in the cans before the show... And yes, I saved the show properly, and no, nobody fucked with anything after I left the console.

Also, I still hate the onboard graphic EQ. It's to the point where I actually had the house guy get an external EQ for me to use...  

Overall though, I still enjoy using the console. It's not my favorite digital desk, but Soundcraft did a good overall job with the console. Just a few glitches that need to be worked out.

index.php/fa/25325/0/


Evan
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Chris Tate on October 05, 2009, 07:16:01 am
Wow guys, that sounds a bit suck....

I can honestly say that I've never had that happen on the 3 consoles I frequently use down in my neck of the woods....

The only time I've ever had a show not come up correctly is once when a touring guy thought he was up dating his snapshot but in fact was updating the highlighted snap shot which wasn't his.....luckily I managed to figure out what he'd done and recalled the other snap shot for him.....

I've never ever ever seen the surface crash.....although switching between layers is slower than I'd hope for when the fully functional surface is software'd up....and I've seen guys get get in a vicious circle holding the layer buttons down waiting for the change only to have it flip back to the previous layer due to the fact that if the button is held for 2 seconds it becomes momentary...

I'd be ringing the local agents I reckon...sounds to me like the consoles used have problems.....and not software ones.....my brain works pretty fast on shows and I find the console very responsive....(layer change thing excepted)....the console should react instantly... If it's not, something is wrong!

Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on October 23, 2009, 07:25:53 pm
Herein endeth the Road Test of the Soundcraft Vi6. It held up flawlessly through an entire summer of abuse, with band engineers and without, with files and with BEs who had to get used to it over the course of a half hour. I still say it's my favorite digital desk at any price, and after talking with Tom Der at AES a few weekends ago most of my nagging concerns will be fixed in an upcoming software update.
http://bennettprescott.com/images/wingstock09/Thumbnails/1.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/wingstock09/Thumbnails/14.jpg

Of course, it rained.
http://bennettprescott.com/images/wingstock09/Thumbnails/67.jpg

Fortunately, it doesn't end here. Jason is buying one, with plans for another down the road, so I will get to spend plenty more time on this excellent piece of hardware. Talk about a pro console to build a company around. I'm very glad to see Soundcraft really polishing this desk, and I can't think of a task that I wouldn't be thrilled to have it at.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 25, 2010, 08:39:50 pm
Another night on the VI6... two things come to mind (I still really like the desk):

1) It does not appear possible to remotely key the individual channel compressors. This comes in helpful sometimes on corporate gigs, like tonight.
2) The new software (4.0.0.157 is what my desk says) is much better polished, but hot damn does it take the desk a long time to boot now. It used to be less than a minute, now it's... well, I'm in the middle of the show, so I'm not going to find out. But it's uncomfortably long. I would hate to lose power to the surface during a show.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Andrew Moyer on June 26, 2010, 03:19:54 am
Bennett Prescott wrote on Sat, 26 June 2010 01:39

1) It does not appear possible to remotely key the individual channel compressors. This comes in helpful sometimes on corporate gigs, like tonight.
2) The new software (4.0.0.157 is what my desk says) is much better polished, but hot damn does it take the desk a long time to boot now. It used to be less than a minute, now it's... well, I'm in the middle of the show, so I'm not going to find out. But it's uncomfortably long. I would hate to lose power to the surface during a show.

1) I think I'm just missing something because it's 3am but what do you mean by remotely key the individual channel compressors?
2) I noticed this on a demo we had of a desk running version 3.  One of the debates we had was whether the computer being in the control surface or the brain made a difference.

Now I just need for the budgeting to get finalized so we can order our Vi4!
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Michael 'Bink' Knowles on June 29, 2010, 03:15:04 pm
Andrew Moyer wrote on Sat, 26 June 2010 00:19

...what do you mean by remotely key the individual channel compressors?


I think he means use another input as the key to affect the sidechain of a compressor. For instance, make a voice compress a background music channel, or make a kick drum compress a bass line. Ducking, in other words.

-Bink
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 29, 2010, 04:06:49 pm
Yep, that's what I want. For such a powerful desk it is unusual that the dynamics section is so weak. No auto attack/release, no compressor sidechain, no remote key.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Andrew Moyer on July 01, 2010, 10:23:02 pm
Well if it is ducking you are after, use the INV button on the gate and you can key it.  That will allow you to duck the music under the announcements/speeches.  I don't have a desk in front of me at the moment but that is my understanding of the INV function on the gate.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Bennett Prescott on July 02, 2010, 02:34:02 am
That's what I thought, too, but then it didn't seem to actually work that way.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Andy Peters on July 02, 2010, 12:27:21 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Tue, 29 June 2010 13:06

Yep, that's what I want. For such a powerful desk it is unusual that the dynamics section is so weak. No auto attack/release, no compressor sidechain, no remote key.



Does ANY digital console have a compressor with dbx 160A-style auto mode?

-a
Title: Re: Soundcraft Vi6 Digital Mixing Console
Post by: Jamie Taylor on July 03, 2010, 09:19:41 pm
The Profile does, but that's via a plugin.