Having backed Soundcraft’s digital mixing technology by investing in the Vi4 and Vi1 consoles,  London based rental company, Hark, has welcomed the arrival of the subsequent generation of desks.

Run by Mark Hornsby, Hark has upgraded its Vi4 to the new Vi5000 via Soundcraft’s conversion kit at the request of monitor engineer, Harry Bishop — to enable the latter to ramp up the dynamics, processing power and channel count for chart-topping electronica trio Years & Years — all of whom are now on in-ear monitors.

“The upgrade has proved extremely successful and has converted the surface into a Vi5000,” he said. “There is no practical difference, and Harry is delighted with it.”


Photo above: Years & Years monitor engineer Harry Bishop with the Soundcraft Vi5000 and Realtime Rack
Photo credit: Danny Cubbit / Mount Echo Media  (click for hi-res version)

At the same time Hark has purchased the ‘Ultimate Bundle’ for the RealTime Rack — the deluxe package that unlocks all 74 UAD-developed plugins, which provide a wide selection of classic emulations.

Hornsby describes the move by Soundcraft as a welcome development.

“The upgrade is like buying a new Vi5000 but in a more more economical fashion, and I don't have redundant hardware. The core has more functionality and with more processing power now available, there is more DSP including a dynamic EQ which was really necessary — plus it boots up in just 30 seconds!”

Hark heeded the plea from Harry Bishop as soon as the band started to play increasingly larger capacity venues. “He was struggling with his [existing] small format desk because the band has doubled its channel count,” he explained. “And the fact that Soundcraft have created extra ear outputs was an immediate bonus.”

The monitor engineer himself says, “The Vi has long been my desk of choice. I’m extremely comfortable on this platform because I like a simple workflow. Prepping the desk has been easy as I can add channels where necessary and rearrange in custom fader pages on the desk. In a festival environment too this is leagues ahead of all the other consoles as it’s so easy to set up and everyone can use it.

“The RealTime Rack takes it to the next level,” he continues. “The workflow on the desk and processing in the Rack makes a beautiful and fun gig. The EQ and dynamics are good on the console but the RealTime rack is a step above …studio quality and snapshot recallable, which is amazing. The Vi5000 can now compete with the best, and the single best thing is the workflow.”

Watch our video interview with Harry here:


The new desk will now go to Europe as part of a control package during December and will be largely deployed with Years & Years down at the stage for the foreseeable future. However, Mark Hornsby sees enormous potential way beyond, in particular during the festival season.

“I’m expecting to get far more work out of it. I still think [the Vi] offers the best surface and sound — and as a ‘walk-up’ desk for festivals it’s perfect.”

He credits the support given by Sound Technology, the UK and Ireland distributors, and in particular Stuart Strachan, in the newly created role of Live Sound Project Engineer. “He washelpful getting it up and running and making sure Harry was aware of all the functionality. I received a real VIP service and it’s great that Sound Technology has created this new technical sales role.”

Meanwhile Hark’s Soundcraft Vi1 also handled some of the earlier show mixes for Years & Years FOH engineer Pablo Campanaro, and also recently mixed Shamir, the support band at Brixton Academy.

For more information please call Sound Technology Ltd on 01462 480000.