LONDON, United Kingdom — Whilst many first-time-out products choose a local village hall or a modest event to dip its toes in the water, HARMAN’s Soundcraft Si Performer didn’t mess about, and dived head first into a packed Royal Albert Hall for the Sunflower Jam.
Sunflower Jam is a live music event with a difference. Founded six years ago by Jacky Paice, wife of Deep Purple drummer, Ian Paice, it was set up specifically to raise money for underprivileged and sick children. Two years ago the event outgrew its modest Porchester Hall location in London’s Notting Hill, and upped sticks to the unmistakable and prestigious Royal Albert Hall, which has been its home ever since. This year’s guest performers included Alice Cooper, Bruce Dickinson, Kerry Ellis, Brian May, and the quite incredible English tenor singer, Alfie Boe.
Sunflower Jam gave Soundcraft’s latest console, the Si Performer, its live show debut. Connected via MADI to a Soundcraft Vi6 at FOH position, it controlled “everything except the live band” according to HARMAN’s Gert Sanner, who mixed all of the acts on the night. Sanner, incidentally, has mixed the last five Sunflower Jams, a job he took on after forging a working relationship with Ian Paice during his time as FOH engineer for Deep Purple.
“My idea was to bring in the 24-channel Si Performer as my ‘get out of jail’ mixer, as my Vi6 was loaded with all the band stuff coming off the stage,” he explains. “Basically it allowed me to keep the Vi6 completely clear of everything other than the band.”
And being a ‘jam’ of sorts, Sanner says the free flow of the event and number of artists involved leaves little rehearsal time, which means he never quite knows what’s coming next. This was another reason for utilising the Si Performer.
“We don’t change anything during the show, and everything has to be set up, ready to go at all times, therefore we need a very high channel count at FOH; essentially, the Si Performer also took some of the pressure off of the Vi6,” he states. “I used some of the Vi6’s tie lines to get the inputs, and patched in about 12 lines which allowed the Si Performer to deal with the two narrator mics, all of the DJ element of the show, and the VT stuff. Basically, whatever audio was sent from the recording truck came back on this console.”
Although Sanner had never actually worked on the Si Performer before, he says it was very easy to get around. “It’s a great little desk, and I knew how to use it without referring to the manual,” he smiles. “This event’s such a good one to be involved in, and a great test for a brand new product.”
Photo Caption: HARMAN’s Gert Sanner with the new Soundcraft Si Performer.
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,400 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $4.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.