POTTERS BAR, United Kingdom — America’s musical first family The Jacksons has reunited for the 2012 Unity Tour, the Jacksons’ first concert tour of the US in almost 30 years. The Jacksons Unity Tour brings together Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson to celebrate the remarkable musical heritage of the Jackson 5 and to honor the spirit of Michael Jackson. The Unity Tour features the brothers performing beloved hits like “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “The Love You Save” and many others, with plans for a live concert album and DVD to follow.
Veteran tour sound pro Shannon Austin is handling front of house duties for the Unity Tour and chose a HARMAN Soundcraft Vi6 digital live sound console after an auditioning process that wasn’t exactly as easy as ABC. “At first, another manufacturer’s console I won’t name was being forced on me, and I didn’t like it,” said Austin. “For a historic tour of this magnitude, I didn’t want to settle or compromise. After all, you’re talking about a group and individuals who have sold hundreds of millions of records whose songs are part of the very fabric of American pop music. I had also tried other brands of consoles and none of them impressed me as much as the Soundcraft Vi6.”
“I’d already used the Vi6 with two other clients, Jay Sean and Martha Munizzi, and the thing that jumped out at me the most was the sound quality,” Austin noted. “In both cases, the desk performed beyond my expectations. I called Tom Der at Soundcraft, told him I wanted a Vi6 for this tour and he was able to make it happen.”
“I’m using the Vi6 in a standard configuration for the tour—64 inputs and 32 outputs on the stage rack,” Austin continued. “The local rack is also pretty straightforward and adds 16 more line inputs in addition to AES and MADI connections.”
One of the many aspects Austin likes about the Vi6 is its configurability. “You can customize it to be the way you want it with the Vistonics™ II touchscreen interface and the user options on the input section,” he said. “It’s like designing your own configuration based on your workflow. Compared to other digital desks, the Vistonics screens make setting up the console a breeze, as well as making any needed tweaks during a performance.”
“Also—and this is something that more and more people are paying attention to—the Vi6 has a really good internal word clock,” Austin added. “The quality of a word clock is absolutely essential to a piece of digital equipment’s sound quality, and the depth and width of the sonic image you can achieve.”
“Another big part of the reason the Vi6 sounds so good is that it has Studer ‘guts’ inside,” Austin concluded. “I’ve worked with Studer equipment as well as Soundcraft in the past and the fact that the two companies share technologies is a big plus in my book. If you were to ask me what three things set the Soundcraft Vi6 apart from other consoles, I would answer: Sound quality! Sound quality! Sound quality!”
Photo Caption: (Left) Norman Swisher, Head Audio Tech at the Borgata in Atlantic City, with Shannon Austin.
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.