DiGiCo SD7 sounds sweet for Foster The People
Monitor engineer Francois Pare has been working with American indie pop band Foster The People for just over a year. When the band decided to expand its set up for the current tour he decided it was time to bring in the big guns in the form of an SD7 from British digital console manufacturer, DiGiCo.
“I'd been working on a maxed out board since I started with the band and I thought, now is the time to make a change in this set up. I talked with Foster's FOH engineer James Lawrenson about what we should do to make the gig better and what we both wanted to do with the set up. After our numerous chats, I came to the conclusion that there are not many boards out there that could give me more than 32 auxes.”
Francois was familiar with DiGiCo’s D5 and SD8 and liked the sound of the consoles. His decision was between the SD10 and the SD7.
“I finally chose the SD7 because it had three screens instead of one and gives me more headroom,” he says. “I probably could have done the gig on an SD10, but I thought that I would be a little quicker on the SD7, so I went for it.”
Francois goes on to explain how working with Foster the People requires a large degree of flexibility from its engineers: “The band loves to throw stuff at us and we always try to make it happen. In Mexico a few weeks ago, the band saw a Mariachi band playing on the streets one evening. The next day, when they showed up for soundcheck an hour before doors, they announced that the Mariachi band was playing that night with them, so we accounted for that right away. As the set up changes a lot and as I want to be super flexible, I think the SD7 is an obvious choice.”
Foster the People’s Summer 2012 tour starts at the end of May and Francois will be making full use of his SD7, which comes with two 96k SD-Racks and two Waves SoundGrids.
“I will have 81 inputs from the stage and 38 auxes,” he explains, “15 stereo auxes for IEMs “seven mono auxes of wedges, two auxes for sidefils, 12 FX and two more mono auxes for a front of house shout system and drum subs. I also use matrixes for the LD' and video operator’s mix and my cue mix. We have a pretty nice communication system going on our gig, where everyone can speak to everyone at anytime. I even have the comms system used between our LD and the follow spots routed into the SD7. I also have the walkie talkies routed in the console and all of the techs have tech mics with toggle pedals that route their mic to various places.”
There are a number of functions that Francois says make life at monitors easier, one of which is the console’s macros.
“Those things are really good,” he smiles. “I like the fact that the same button can have two functions, which means I can use the macros for harder cues where I need to mute or pan change a lot of auxes and channels at the same time on downbeats of parts of songs.
“But there are so many things on this board that are sweet. The DiGiTubes are pretty cool, plus the fact that there are mutliband compressors on every channel and that there are also dynamic EQs on every channel. I think the SD7 is probably the only board out there that you can see was designed with monitor world in mind.
“And I think the SD7 has that DiGiCo sound - DiGiCo really does have a specific sound! It seems to me that the EQ reacts differently on the SD7 than on the D5. I seem to be able to hear when I make changes on the EQ a lot more on the SD7 than the D5.
“In my opinion, the SD7 is one of if not the best sounding board out there.”