DiGiCo SD Consoles Tour With Swedish Superstar
Multi-award winning Swedish folk rock singer Lars Winnerbäck has spent the summer of 2012 on tour in Scandinavia. Relying on his trusted audio engineers to pick the very best equipment available, the tour has featured two DiGiCo consoles.
Winnerbäck is a very popular artist in Scandinavia and the 27-date tour, which took in shows throughout Sweden, Norway and Denmark, including headlining a number of festivals, as well as indoor shows.
With Front of House engineer Frans Ebbesson and monitor man Peter Larsson having been in place for five and eight years respectively, their recent upgrade to a DiGiCo SD11 at FoH and an SD7 on monitors has been an unqualified success.
“Peter and I started using DiGiCo D5s back in 2007,” says Frans. “We both fell in love with the user interface and touchscreens. We liked the fact that you could swap banks only a section at a time, which meant that you always had access to your main channels while switching through other layers. It was also clear to us that the D5 was a very good sounding desk.”
They used D5s on a tour with Winnerbäck that autumn and, when the SD range made its debut, as Frans says, it was “A definite want-to-have!” This year they have finally been able to make that longed-for upgrade.
“We have 54 inputs from the seven-piece band, including click tracks and SMPTE timecode, which is distributed via MADI through the SD11 to the lighting console,” Frans continues. “Peter chose the SD7 because six musicians and the backline crew are on in-ear monitors, with the seventh musician on wedges. To do that you need a lot of visual information, so the overview and large number of physical controls on the SD7 was ideal. If he wants to adjust an EQ or dynamic processor, he can do so instantly.”
He adds, “As Peter pointed out, the SD7’s user interface meant that we managed to run through five songs on the very first day in the rehearsal studio, including the always-critical initial sound check.”
In contrast to the SD7, Frans chose the SD11 for the FoH mix thanks to its combination of big facilities in a tiny footprint.
“The SD11 really is a magic box. I get a 106 input mixer with up to 64 inputs at the same time, awesome sound quality, MADI - which allows me to record each show on multitrack and do virtual soundchecks when necessary - offline editing possibilities, the best snapshot functions on the market… and all of that in a package that fits under my arm. The small size is really appreciated at festivals where space is limited,” he says.
“I was fortunate to be able to programme the mix during rehearsals, so I don't need the overview of the larger consoles. Also, by having the SD7 as a gain control at monitors, I receive an almost unity gain-structure for my mix which allowed me to make some approaches to my setup that are a bit unusual.”
Both engineers only use the internal effects of the respective consoles and are very happy with the sonic results.
“The SD range’s onboard effects mean that we need none of the outboard equipment we have previously carried, which makes things a lot easier. Every setting is stored in the snapshots and you don't have to save in multiple places, speeding up the workflow,” Frans continues. “The Dynamic EQ really helps to get Lars’ soft lead vocal through the noise of the band. Combined with the multiband compressor, it keeps everything perfectly in place.
“Another thing is the summing of the busses which don't get choked by too much information. This is where I believe many current consoles have a problem. Ultimately I have never heard anyone say that they didn't like the way the DiGiCo D or SD series sound. To my ears they have a very true sound that sounds absolutely natural.”