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DiGiCo SD11 Proves That Small is Beautiful With Geike Arnaert
Popular Belgian singer Geike Arnaert spent the summer playing a number of European festival shows, her mixture of sparsely-arranged pop and haunting ballads providing a popular counterpoint to many of the other performers. Ensuring that the former Hooverphonic lead singer and her six-piece backing band had the best monitor mixes was a DiGiCo SD11, manned by the band’s regular engineer Gert Vreys.
Gert asked Apex Audio to supply a suitable digital console for the festival shows. With its many facilities packed into a very small footprint, the SD11 was the perfect answer.
“I was happy to use the SD11,” says Gert. “I made up a custom 14U rack, which had the D-Rack and the wireless IEM and microphone units built in to it. I put the SD11 on top of it and so only needed one square metre of space, (which was ideal for festivals), as I could fit into any corner of the stage. It meant that I was out of the way, but the band could always see me.
“I also liked the fact that, even though it’s so compact, the SD11 works the same as all the other SD desks. So once you know one of them, you know the others too.”
The fact that DiGiCo has packed so many facilities into the SD11 meant that Gert didn’t have to compromise on his work, providing a total of two wedge, three wireless IEM and five wired IEM monitor mixes, plus a reverb and delay for Geike and reverbs for the band’s two backing vocalists.
“As a monitor engineer, I like to closely follow the dynamics of the band and change the mixes accordingly. Digital mixers can be more about button pushing and screen changing, which can distract me from looking at the musicians. But I set up macros to have quick access to all of the mixes and, after a little practise, I was operating the SD11 at a fast pace. It definitely exceeded my expectations regarding the speed of operation and it was very reliable.”
Geike has a series of theatre shows booked in December and January and, with Gert having more space than on the festival shows, he will be touring with a DiGiCo SD9.
“Geike and the band were very pleased with the DiGiCo SD11 on the festival tour. It is ideal for festivals and it will be nice to continue using DiGiCo on the theatre tour,” he says. “The SD9 allows me to provide more stereo in-ear mixes and effects, but with the same audio quality and speed of workflow that I enjoyed with the SD11.”