Belfast’s award-winning Lyric Theatre, the only full-time producing theatre in Northern Ireland, has upgraded its FOH sound mixing console with a new Soundcraft Vi1000.
According to Technical Manager, Ian Vennard, the facility’s existing desk had become dated and needed replacing. “We were starting to struggle with what we were trying to achieve with it,” he admits, “and our programme has included shows that stretched us way beyond its capabilities.” Consequently, over the past few years, they had rented different consoles — including Soundcraft — on shows that demanded more from the FOH console.
Eventually it was time to upgrade on a permanent basis, and with 2018 being the Lyric’s 50th anniversary at its Ridgeway Street home, there seemed no better time to act. The 96-channel Vi1000 digital desk was acquired from local dealer McCusker Pro Audio.
Taking up the story, Ian Vennard says, “The Snapshot Recall on the Vi1000 was one of the things that really stood out to us, and was the principle reason for going with the desk. Our Autumn season will see us present Good Vibrations, directed by Des Kennedy, and this show will allow us to really push the capabilities of the Vi1000, with a high input count from live musicians on stage and extensive sound design plot for the show. This will enable us to present the best sonic experience possible for the audience.”
But there were other key features on Ian Vennard’s mind, notably the Dante integration. “Being heavy users of QLAB it has allowed us to expand our input and output count, and will create a better platform for sound designers to achieve the show they want,” he believes. “At the same time, the effects engines, to my ear, are some of the best sounding on the market so that also played heavily into our decision to go with the console.”
As with most theatres, space at the Lyric is at a premium so the form factor of the VI1000 meant that they could have a 96-channel mix at front of house and take up no more space than their previous 32-channel desk. “This meant that we can greatly expand our capabilities without having to eat into more real estate in the theatre.”
Supplier, McCusker Pro Audio, has been the Theatre’s long-term equipment and service providers. “They have been a great company to work alongside, providing us with high quality gear and a great service,” praises Ian Vennard. “During the auditioning process they we able to allow us to trial a Vi3000 and we were sold [on the platform] immediately.
“We have also hired in Soundcraft’s Si Impact for some of the shows in our Naughton Studio and they have always been well received by the sound engineers on the shows.”
Summarising all the benefits of the Vi1000, the Lyric Technical Manager concludes: “The Vi1000 will provide an extended input and output channel count, a far superior Snapshot Recall system, easily accessed virtual soundcheck and recording facilities.
“The Vi is also proving very intuitive; the investment has proved completely justified and will help us push towards bigger and better audio on our shows.”