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Neapolitan Song Folds Back the Years with HARMAN’s Soundcraft Mixing Consoles

Engineer Joe Faraso with a Soundcraft MH3 console

NAPLES, Italy — Many generations of HARMAN’s Soundcraft mixing consoles have been used, first by Calogero Valore and later his son, Stefano, over three decades at the Napoli Prima e Dopo (Naples Before And After) Festival in Italy. This celebration of Neapolitan song, spanning the last two centuries, shows there is much more depth in the genre than simply O Sole Mio and Funiculì, Funiculà.

Started by Calogero himself in 1982, the event features some of Italy’s most renowned crooners and takes place at the Grand Hotel La Sonrisa in S. Antonio Abate (Naples). Here, up to 1,000 people gather outdoors for a show that is transmitted through a private production company, by RAI 1 (Italy’s national broadcaster).

The second festival in 1983 saw a vintage Soundcraft 24-channel 400B used for the first time—the console launched that year as an upgrade to the Soundcraft Series 400. Calogero used the 400B until 1985—but things have moved on considerably since Stefano took over the reins in 1993.

After mixing international singers such as Valerio Scanu, Gloriana, Peppino di Capri, Lucio Dalla, Manuela Villa, Anna Tatangelo and many others for the last time on a Soundcraft analogue MH3 last July, he has now turned to a digital Soundcraft Si1+. This will be used for the first time at the landmark 30th event this year.

“First and foremost I like the sound of the Soundcraft desks—but they are also very practical,” stated Stefano. “As for the Si1+, in my opinion this is an excellent digital mixer—combining a lot of features and functionality into a very compact chassis. It’s also an easy transition from the analogue desk I came from.”

In fact Stefano has wide experience of the Soundcraft analogue platforms, since undertaking his first Napoli Prima e Dopo 18 years ago. The sound engineer can boast at having subsequently worked on a Soundcraft Spirit Live 4-32, Soundcraft Delta, K2, SM20 and Ghost—in various theatre, concert and television productions, in addition to the song festival.

But he remembers fondly the period between 2005-2011 when he took a major step, piloting the flagship 48-channel MH3, which he acquired soon after it came onto the market. “The production crew were in awe of it,” he remembers.

Planning the festival itself requires major preparation over six days, he confirms. This includes four days to build the infrastructure and carry out tests, followed by soundchecking the Augusto Visco Orchestra, conducted by Enzo Campagnoli, and the performing soloists. But as the event now prepares for its milestone 30th year, you can bet that Stefano Valore will be tracking Soundcraft developments.

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 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.2 billion for twelve months ending December 31, 2011.

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