Soundcraft Vi1 console and AKG DMS700 digital wireless added to inventory
Maidstone-based production and dry hire specialists, Phonophobia, have made a further investment in the Harman Professional brand portfolio — spearheaded by a Soundcraft Vi1 mixing console.
Photo above:Mark Chant and Phonophobia financial director, Sacha Chant, with some of the new Soundcraft and AKG inventory
This is in addition to the slew of Soundcraft products already in inventory. The purchase of an Si Compact 32 was quickly followed by another (to keep up with demand). Then came a Compact Stage Box, a 16-channel Si Compact and a Mini Stage Box.
“These Soundcraft systems have literally been flying out the door,” says Phonophobia owner, Mark Chant.
He has now added a 64-input Vi rack to accommodate the increasing capacity requirements, and at the same time is in the process of replacing his wireless mic stock with AKG’s frequency agile and securely encrypted DMS700 digital system.
Mark has been running Phonophobia for around 15 years, developing two large warehouses of hire stock, which also include lighting, staging and rigging. He has again earmarked considerable funds for capital reinvestment in 2014. “We are now a major dry hire company serving the south of England and the hub for a lot of companies,” he said. “We turn over kit as often as we can and constantly review our fleet.”
One such review led to them switching their existing digital mixing platform to Soundcraft after receiving positive feedback to the installation of a Soundcraft Si Compact on a long-term rental last year. “We had not done much with Soundcraft since their analogue desks but at this point we decided to jump ship from our previous brand. We bought the Si Compacts for our rental stock — but it was only a matter of time before we moved up to the Vi1, with a 64-channel Vi rack, since some shows and events they go onto are quirky, and require a serious number of I/Os.”
An experienced sound engineer himself, having worked KOKO’s house Vi6 on a number of occasions (usually mixing Madhen), Mark says he knew “exactly what to expect” with the Vi1.
“It’s a great desk to walk up to and the most comfortable of all the digital desks. It has been an instant hit with everyone in our training room — our in-house sound engineers much prefer to go out with the Soundcraft boards, and both the functionality and sound quality are superior to that of our previous large format desks. Also, the Vi or Si is constantly coming up on riders.”
Factored into his purchasing decision was the support he receives from UK and Eire distributors Sound Technology Ltd. “Their sales rep Gary Jackson is a great guy, nothing is ever a problem. When I have any technical questions their Project Team gets involved straight away — they are always our first port of call. Once you are in the Sound Technology family it seems to be the only place to buy.”
To exemplify that statement Mark Chant confirms that he is upgrading all his radio mics to AKG’s flagship DMS700 digital system operating on Channel 38. “These things are amazing … just brilliant,” he says.
He admits his company didn’t handle the transition to Channel 38 particularly well. “Things kept going wrong with the mics we bought at the time — but then Sound Technology lent us an AKG demo kit. These proved easy to use, the encryption is amazing and they are wonderfully versatile.
“Everything is just much better from a functionality perspective, they look and sound great and it’s silly to consider anything else. Also we know they are HiQnet compatible with the Vi1.”
Thanks to in-built software on Soundcraft Vi Series consoles, AKG HiQnet compatible radio systems, such as the DMS700, can be monitored from the Vi console itself. Known as VM2 software, real time visual display of battery life, RF status and mic muting, appears right on the relevant console channel strip.
Mark Chant is confident that his upgraded Harman Professional inventory is working hard for him, and is now anticipating a busy summer outdoor season ahead.