Soundcraft’s first large-format digital live sound console, the Soundcraft Vi6™, is a third-generation digital desk, thanks to a joint development with sister console company Studer.

The Vi6 has been designed using the proven reliability of Studer’s Vista Series and OnAir 3000 consoles and a derivation of the Vistonics™ user interface (Vistonics II™) to allow the engineer to very intuitively operate the desk. Like its predecessor, Vistonics II utilizes the same type of touchscreen color TFT monitor with integral rotary controls and switches mounted on the glass to provide a "where you look is where you control" working philosophy.

This user interface is so intuitive that engineers who consulted on desk’s features during its development all felt very familiar with its operation. In fact, Soundcraft feels that even die-hard analog console fans will feel resoundingly comfortable with the Vi6’s worksurface within only ten seconds of stepping up to the desk for the first time.

Despite featuring a smaller footprint than many other large-format digital consoles, the Vi6 boasts an input-to-mix capacity of 64 channels mapped out on two layers under the control of 32 motorized faders. These can be assigned to 32 outputs (plus a stereo and mono mix) that can be any combination of group and aux buses. Furthermore, up to 16 matrix outputs can be configured from the pool of 32 buses.

Every channel strip has all of its respective functions simultaneously on display, so no time is wasted searching through menus or moving back and forth across the desk looking for anything. Selection of channel function is as simple as touching the required element onscreen, then adjusting the controls and switches to implement changes.

Adjustment of EQ, aux levels, routing, and dynamics all takes place in line with the channel, and color-coded sections are enhanced by the patented Soundcraft FaderGlowâ„¢ system. FaderGlow uses a multi-color LED with a unique diffuser alongside the fader track to indicate which function is currently active on the fader. For example, when used to control aux or monitor sends, the faders will illuminate orange in line with the corresponding function on the screen.

The input channel has four-band fully parametric EQ, gain and routing facilities, aux send level controls, and integral dynamics on the Vistonics II screen, leaving very few additional controls on the channel surface (e.g. solo and mute).

Inputs from mics and instruments route to a stagebox containing all the connectivity for I/O and then connect down a Cat5 cable over a MADI link to the local DSP rack, which sits with the console surface. A second Cat5 cable link provides for redundancy in case a cable is damaged. Alternatively, the second cable can feed a Vi6 desk being used for monitor duties.

Soundcraft has recently completed a seven million dollar factory upgrade to ensure that the desks can be manufactured to the highest possible standards of reliability and performance. The new factory houses the most advanced surface-mount PCB line currently installed in Europe, complete with several stages of thorough board testing, including in-line X-ray inspection.

Harman’s proprietary network system, HiQnet™, is an integral part of the Vi6 console, which means that the desk can be a central control point for a complete HPro system of wireless mics, signal processors, amplifiers, and loudspeakers.

Expected to begin shipping in May, US list pricing for the entire Vi6 environment (desk plus the stagebox and local rack with I/O and ‘SCore Live’ DSP core) is anticipated to be set somewhere in the vicinity of $80,000.