Leading Amsterdam music and arts centre, the Melkweg has purchased a multipurpose Soundcraft Vi4â„¢ from Dutch distributors Audio XL. The technology company's live sound manager, Jeroen van Keeken, confirms that the decision to purchase the Soundcraft platform for use in the venue's 700-person capacity Oude Zaal (Old Room) was taken by head technician Richard Balk following extensive evaluation.
Van Keeken explains, “The Melkweg caters for many disciplines, including music, theatre, dance, cinema — and other media. So they needed a versatile desk.”
He adds that the investment forms the latest phase in an extensive upgrade of the venue, which will see an increase in capacity. “Richard and his team of house engineers looked at all the leading consoles, and visited other venues. But in many cases these desks were too complicated,” he says.
Richard Balk was already familiar with the Soundcraft digital topology. The Melkweg's head of sound liked the intuitive Vistonicsâ„¢ II interface — providing a fast-track learning curve for uninitiated engineers — as well as the 48-channel input capacity (on 24 faders). This provides the ideal footprint for the limited space of the second room, without the need for external outboard racks. Finally, he was impressed with the library of Lexicon effects and BSS EQ's.
Richard Balk added that the selection of the Vi4 not only unanimously met the approval of the house technicians but also guest engineers, who have been delighted to work on the surface. The overall sound quality and the support he knows he will receive from van Keeken's team at Audio XL clinched the deal.
In preparation for a further technical upgrade to their increased 1,500-person capacity main room (â€˜The Max') Balk has also asked for CAT5 cables to be laid so that once the next phase is complete, they can patch between the two rooms.
Van Keeken says that the DSP expansion card on the Vi4 will give the venue access up to 72 channels via the outputs on the local rack. “Another nice touch,” he says, “is because Dutch sound engineers are so tall we are having special brackets made to elevate the desk, which will travel up and down over a distance of 20cm. This will ensure that their hands will always be at the right angle to the desk for maximum comfort.”