Massive Attack completed their international tour to places including Istanbul, Barcelona, Iceland, Berlin, Mexico City and ending in San Francisco.
The legendary musical duo needed an expert crew and accurate audio system to provide the unforgettable experience on which their reputation is built. Paul Hatt audio engineer used a Harman’s Soundcraft Vi4 console to mix monitors for the entire tour.
The Vi4 was a good choice for moving between destinations, and mixing with a small footprint, says Hatt, who also used a 32-channel Soundcraft Compact Stagebox for the input extension beyond the fully loaded Vi stage rack, plus a 64-channel Soundcraft Stagebox for additional inputs.
“I think this tour has been the most arduous outing I’ve put the Vi through to date, the Vi4 has been thrown about in local trucks, charter flights and endured both extreme heat and torrential rain the desk just keeps going and duly boots up every day without issues,’ says Hutt.
For him, the absence of backline amps or loudspeakers on-stage and a good separation of microphones to minimalise spill created a pleasant mixing environment. “The shows we do are dynamic and scene-heavy from a mixing perspective, everyone is on IEM’s and there are two drum kits, acoustic and electric, the latter providing what can be quite radically different triggered sounds from one song to the next. It’s actually been great on this tour to really get a bit deeper into the snapshot capabilities of the Vi4. I’ve used this desk as a layered analog console for years, but now I’ve had the chance to deal with it on a more technical level, and I’ve been very pleased with the results,’ he says.
Hatt also had the chance to use the Soundcraft Realtime Rack over the course of the tour. It provides industry-standard UAD studio plug-ins to the Soundcraft platform, while its SHARC-based processors run audio over MADI, and ensures DSP stability and sound quality.
“The Realtime Rack gives me a blank canvas to introduce some very high-end plug-ins to the mix, though I’m only scratching the surface of this technology on this tour, it’s a very elegant solution, the more I use it the more I like it, ultimately it hooks up easily via MADI connections and is a very exciting addition to the Vi environment,’ concludes Hatt.