Southfield Jazz Orchestra Upgrades to Soundcraft Vi1 For Jazz Ensembles


Having founded the sound reinforcement company EBR Providers LLC. in 2012 to support regional events in Michigan, Eric Rayford recently purchased a HARMAN’s Soundcraft Vi1 digital console for local acts such as the Southfield Jazz Orchestra, which began in 2010 in collaboration with the City of Southfield Parks and Recreation Department. The Vi1 will serve as a powerful upgrade that not only fits into the budget of the orchestra, but also the modest spaces of its venues.

The Southfield Jazz Orchestra performs mostly as a jazz ensemble playing tunes such as “In The Mood”, “Teach Me Tonight”, “Love For Sale”, and many more. Privileged to have saxophonist George Benson and vocalist Barbara Ware perform in the band as artists-in-residence, Rayford wanted to move into the digital age with the Vi1 console.

“Sixteen channels are sufficient for what we need and the Vi1’s size is ideal for the small venues that we play in,” said Rayford. “The ability to control some venues remotely on the iPad is great, because sometimes we don’t have enough room for a board near the stage. With the Soundcraft ViSi Remote App, I am able to keep the system in a protected area when performing in a bar, out of harm’s way from the audience.”


Moving away from the analog consoles he used previously, Rayford appreciates the familiar analog-like controls on the Vi1. Every knob and button correspond to only one function, eliminating the layering of controls. Although it is the smallest member of the Vi Series, the Vi1 console still packs the intuitive Soundcraft FaderGlow™ for color-coded illumination of the motorized faders, and the Vistonics™ touchscreen user interface for all other surface controls. The Southfield Jazz Orchestra also uses JBL Professional EON Series portable loudspeakers for many of its performances.

“This board is so well-designed and packed with so many functions, I won’t ever need a larger one for this act,” said Rayford. “The dedicated buttons for EQ’s and effects are very useful, and the layout is not cluttered at all. I can finally put EQ on an individual channel, which is great!”


Besides generating more success for the band with the brand new digital console, Rayford also assists with managing the sound at three different church sites under the Third New Hope Baptist Church, one of which is equipped with a 32-channel Soundcraft Vi3. He also would like to see the remaining two locations to be outfitted with Vi Series consoles as well.

HARMAN designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 15,200 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.1 billion for the last twelve months ended March 31, 2014.