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Soundcraft digital desks have piloted the sound mix
for many leading rock bands over the years, but in the last six months they have
also reinforced the speech of two world leaders.
Following the use of Soundcraft consoles during the visit to the UK of Pope Benedict
XVI last summer, a Vi1 was again on duty in the Chateauroux region of France on
January 20, as French President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed more than 1,000 health
workers in the gymnasium of the local hospital in Chatillon-sur-Indre.
The rental company called in to convert the gym into a full production space were
Poitiers-based sound and lighting company, SLJ Sonorisation, Eclairage, Vidéo. They
built a lighting structure which was rigged in the roof while the President’s staff
constructed the stage itself.
FOH engineer, Benoit Lasjuilliarias, confirmed that the President always favours
using local service operators where possible on his regional visits throughout the
country, and the gymnasium was one of several locations visited by M. Sarkozy during
his trip to France’s mid-west. Although they have worked for the President’s office
in the past, this was SLJ’s first outing with the new 32-input Soundcraft Vi1.
“We purchased it on January 10th and little over a week later we were using it for
the first time — with the President,” declared Benoit. “So there was quite a lot of
He added that although the company could have chosen other digital desks in their
inventory, they felt they needed a board with sufficient output capacity for TV and
radio feeds. “The desk also needed to provide simplicity of use and give us a lot of
onboard 30-band equalisers — which the BSS effects do. We could see that with the
Vi1, Soundcraft were one step ahead of their competitors.”
SLJ first became interested in the Soundcraft Vi1 when they saw the new console with
French distributors SCV at last year’s Frankfurt Pro Light + Sound show.
Hugely impressed, they placed an order and SCV’s Jean-François (Jeff) Guillot duly
provided the training. However, the learning curve had been remarkably short. “The
desk was very intuitive, and even without much knowledge of digital desks you could
be ready in a few minutes … the transition is very easy,” confirmed Benoit
This view was shared by SLJ’s own theatre and corporate customers after they had
attended a demo.
Over in Chatillon-sur-Indre, the Vi1 took a simple live mic feed from the President
who spoke for around an hour. The signal was routed to four OB vans for TV
broadcast, with four separate audio sources sent via Nagra digital recorders for the
radio station and journalist feeds.
Although the President’s address didn’t require the desk to add any DSP cards, SLJ
did take the precaution of purchasing a MADI expansion card to connect to a Vi6
stage box for future use. Benoit explained, “An associate of ours also has a Vi1
with a stage box — so now we have the possibility of being able to do a FOH and
In conclusion, SLJ’s sound man gave the Vi1 an unqualified seal of approval. “This
is an extremely good desk — highly functional and an easy routing path. Everything
is right in front of you, and you can see all the sends at a glance.”