Swansea-based Total Sound Solutions expands Soundcraft digital console inventory with second Vi1 and new Si Expression

In order to maintain a successful sound rental company Chris Hooke, of Swansea-based Total Sound Solutions (TSS), knows the importance of a regular inventory review in order to meet all requirements within his diverse customer base.

This includes a fleet of mixers to meet all budgets and demands. “For example we will typically use Soundcraft 16-channel EFX mixers for weddings and speakers — however, when we recently did Swansea Uni summer ball, with 4,000 people and three stages, we provided two Soundcraft Vi1 digital desks on the main stage.”

Having just celebrated ten years in the business, Chris Hooke’s relationship with Soundcraft’s new generation models began with the purchase of an Si Compact 24, and in April last year the company took delivery of its first Vi1. Exactly 12 months to the day, the company’s second Vi1 arrived, along with the new popular, portable 19in rack-mount Soundcraft Si Expression 1.

Total Sound Solutions

Photo above: The Total Sound Solutions team with their new Soundcraft inventory. From left – Robert Jones (engineer), Gavin Smith (all round stage monkey), Paul Cunningham (engineer), Chris Hooke (managing director), Craig Fender (lighting engineer), Anthony Carmichael (Stage hand/warehouse manager) [Clickimagefor hi-res version ]

“In the past year we have invested sensibly with Soundcraft,” said Hooke. “We receive great service from both Soundcraft themselves and Sound Technology [the UK and Eire distributors], and that’s one of the reason we went with them. When we needed a 16-channel digital desk, and were considering the Si Compact 16 they made us aware of the new Expression.

Explaining the rationale, the TSS MD explains, “We needed a rider friendly digital desk that was well built and sounded good — at the right price point. We demoed the Vi1 on a gig and loved it immediately.

“We evaluated the whole market for rider friendly consoles but the Vi1 was easier to move around, and suited our rock and roll requirements, whereas others we reviewed seemed too theatre-oriented.

“Soundcraft was on more rock ‘n’ roll riders than any other brand, the engineers we speak to were recommending it and we didn't need to crack the manual open to get it up and running.”

Having purchased the first Vi1 Chris Hooke’s aim was to add a second monitor desk a year later to give them 32-in, 16 analogue out channel capability. The desks are run with Compact Stagebox and MADI interface cards.

“We wanted to stay modular and the Compact Stagebox allows us to swap cards — for instance to give us two input expansion cards and one output. Everyone wanted a feed when Swansea FC got to Wembley and we were able to supply — so this was the way to go in terms of the desk’s adaptability, providing us with a cost-effective remote I/O.

As for the Si Expression, TSS saw a gap for a rack-mountable desk between the EFX16 and the top end desks, and the new Si Expression has provided the perfect solution.

Chris Hooke explains, “For Swansea City Council’s Battle of the Bands and events in the city centre we needed a simple 16-channel digital desk. We like the size of the Si Expression — it’s small, powerful and very cost-effective to get into the hire stock. It’s in 19in rack format, it’s only a one man lift and has the classic Soundcraft sound to it.” He also praised the new tools introduced by Soundcraft such as iPad apps.

The purchase looks justified, as in the two months since they took delivery of the Si Expression, it has been out most weekends, servicing events for the local university, radio station and council.

Soundcraft is distributed in the UK/ROI by Sound Technology Ltd. For more information please call 01462 480000, email info@soundtech.co.uk or visit www.soundtech.co.uk