Premier Cardiff nightclub and live music venue, Clwb Ifor Bach — originally set up in 1983 as a Welsh-language club and community centre — has continued its long tradition of using Soundcraft mixing consoles, by purchasing a next generation Vi3000 digital mixing console and Vi Stagebox from nearby dealers, AB Acoustics.
AB Acoustics director, Rob Ashton,said that the venue’s technical team of Phil Williams and Richard ‘Chill’ Hawkins had been quite specific in their requirement when they placed the order, and had wanted to remain loyal to the Soundcraft brand. “Many bands started off playing there and they host a lot of different music genres, which is why they wanted the 64 channel capacity of the stagebox.”
Bands that have played at the club over the years include Strokes, Killers, Pavement, Coldplay, Bloc Party, as well as locals such as Super Furry Animals, Bullet For My Valentine, Stereophonics, Cate Le Bon and Kids In Glasshouses.
Chill Hawkins confirms that their love affair with Soundcraft dates right back to the old Soundcraft 400B — decommissioned five years ago — and was followed by various analogue desks such as GB series and recently MH2 and MH4, occupying house and monitor positions in both the 470-capacity band room on the top floor and second room two floors below.
“At present we have three Soundcraft desks: two MH4’s and an MH2,” he reports. The previous MH2 FOH desk will now be redeployed and monitors will be mixed from the new Vi3000 at front of house.
Explaining the rationale behind the purchase, he added, “We used to get a lot of festival warm-ups playing here and we wanted something superior to offer the sound engineers. Digital gives us better options.
“We have a lot of in-house sound engineers and it was talking to them that guided us to this desk. We wanted something where we wouldn’t be scrolling through a lot of pages and for ease of use and sound quality it’s by far the best. As for the Vi Stagebox, we have two MADI cards — as well as the ViSi iPad remote — and in future we want the ability to multitrack shows if bands want a live release.”
One of the resident sound engineers who strongly recommended the Vi3000 — and is presently out on tour with one — is Mathew ‘Acy’ Acreman. A Soundcraft Vi veteran, he said, “My main reason for recommending the Vi3000 was due to its usability and simplicity. A club-sized venue gets engineers with all levels of experience coming through, from very experienced touring engineers to people who are fresh out of university or new to the industry.
“It's important to have a desk that covers all bases and the Vi desks meet the specs of the most demanding touring engineers, whilst being user friendly enough for the less experienced engineers to walk up to and easily put together a show, due to its intuitive layout and features.”
And Chill Hawkins, himself a former touring engineer, echoes this. “I like the desk so much I might come out of retirement and have a go myself. Everyone seems over the moon with it.”
Soundcraft consoles are distributed in the UK and Eire, as part of the Harman Pro portfolio by Sound Technology Ltd.