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The recent X Chili Cook-Off 2011 outdoor music festival combined blazing music with offerings from some of the area’s hottest chili chefs. Held at the Richmond Raceway Complex in Virginia and hosted by radio station 102.1 The X, performers such as Seether, Sick Puppies, 10 Years, Saving Abel and The Dirty Heads, were mixed through two of HARMAN’s Soundcraft Vi4 digital consoles, deployed by Soundworks.

The Richmond, Virginia-based Soundworks is a full-service live performance production company that has been providing complete event production services since 1976. For the X Chili Cook-Off 2011, owner Steve Payne deployed his consoles to handle front of house and monitor mixing to support the live sound.

“I’ve been supplying the sound for the X Chili Cook-Off for 10 years, but this was the first time we used our Vi4’s during an event of this magnitude,” Payne notes. “We bought the consoles in January 2011 and have been taking them out on every job since to test their capabilities. We already had a great sounding large-frame analog console and a popular and powerful digital desk in our inventory.  With the Vi4’s we no longer have to make a choice between the two.  The Vi4’s provide great sound, an intuitive layout, the power of digital and it's all there in one system."

“We looked at other brands of consoles in terms of what would make the most sense for our business and what would be financially feasible, but from a user standpoint, the other consoles weren’t all there. The Soundcraft Vi4 was perfect for our needs,” Payne continues.  “It’s a wonderful console. One is good, two is better!”

Payne adds that the Vi4 is the first digital console Payne feels comfortable using. “It’s easy to forget I’m on a digital console–it feels like a really high-end analog board,” he says. “The EQ sounds ‘analog,’ really warm and clean. Also, only one of the front of house guys for any of the bands at the X Festival had ever worked on a Vi4 before, but they all felt comfortable on it within a few minutes.”

Jon Martin, FOH for Saving Abel, echoes Payne’s sentiments: “I’ve never worked on a Vi4 before and I hate having to learn a new digital surface on festival dates, but the Vi4 was very straightforward and easy to get around. I didn’t have a show file made so I had to start from scratch. I basically dialed up levels, managed good tones and mixed off the faders old-school style. The console sounded fantastic right out of the gate. The Vistonics™ interface was easy to use and made it feel like an analog console. My only regret was not setting up VCA groups. I wanted to see the FaderGlow feature! ”

For more information on Soundworks, please visit http://www.soundworksva.com.

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