Premier live London music venue KOKO has maintained its policy of progressive technical upgrade by investing in Soundcraft’s new generation Vi digital platform. This summer it replaced its two long-standing Soundcraft Vi6 consoles, which form part of a complete Harman Professional sound reinforcement package, with the latest Vi7000s from UK and Ireland distributors, Sound Technology Ltd — one at front of house and one for stage monitors.

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Photo above: Thomas Fortier mixing Nahko And Medicine For The People on the new Vi7000 at FOH 

The upgrade met the approval of Technical Manager, Tim Hamper, and Senior Sound Engineer, Eddie Puhl. Stated the former, “The old desks served us brilliantly for nearly a decade and this has been a seamless and logical transition.”

He confirmed that the two Vi7000s were supplied with local racks and Realtime Racks, featuring the suite of UAD plugins, which provide classic analogue emulations.

Added Larry Seymour, COO of Mint Group, the venue’s operators, “We have enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with Sound Technology and the Harman brands, and after such a great relationship it was inevitable we would be looking at their new generation equipment.

“The previous desks were superbly robust, reliable and extremely well supported. We host more than 250 events a year to which the equipment is obviously mission critical. I reckon these desks have clocked up 30,000 hours. They have certainly put in the hard yards and that includes consuming more than a healthy amount of lager along the way!”

The familiarity of the platform meant that both Hamper and Puhl could jump onto the new desks immediately. “We had a new Vi3000 on loan, which was a fantastic introduction to the new series,” Tim Hamper continued. “The new desks sound way better [than the previous models] — they are much faster and a lot more integrated. These days we need to spend far less time teaching sound engineers about the desk; they just come in with their show files and plug in.”

He notes that in addition to install it is equally an ideal desk for festivals. “It’s very fast to jump onto, and if you are doing, say, a five-band show you don't have to go through pages of set-ups. Also, it’s based around the same DSP cards, and seeing the old [BSS} DPR-901 is like meeting up with an old friend.”

As a monitor desk, the Vi7000 is proving equally popular, “That’s because everything is in front of you — and with 32 stereo outs, and bands increasingly on IEM’s, you no longer have to pair up [outputs] as you did previously.”

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Photo above: Tim Hamper (left) and Larry Seymour on stage, with the new monitor desk

Summing up, KOKO’s technical manager said, “Soundcraft seem to have addressed all the angles with these new desks and we have received many favourable comments.”

And Larry Seymour added, “We will continue to keep our equipment at the cutting edge and returning [technical] crews notice this. It’s a brilliant mindset as there is always a good payback. From its DNA to its physical appearance KOKO offers a lot, and when you overlay the technical capabilities it adds lustre to any event.”

He says he couldn't be happier about the value derived from the old Vi6’s or the relationship with the distributors. “With Sound Technology it never feels like you are in or out of a warranty as they are always available in the background — which is a massive bonus.”