Paloma Faith graces the Apollo with DiGiCo
Since breaking into the UK music scene in 2009 with three top 20 singles, Paloma Faith has had two platinum-selling albums; the latter, Fall to Grace, reached number two in the UK Album Charts, and led to several 2011 BRIT Award nominations. Currently in the midst of an extensive UK tour, her FOH engineer, Huw Richards, is working on a DiGiCo SD10 with SD Rack, and it's all going rather well...
“I instantly liked DiGiCo the minute I used one of their consoles,” Richards admits, during soundcheck at London's Hammersmith Apollo. “Whatever the model, you're getting real value. Be it the great EQ, the excellent pre-amps - the list goes on – everything you're working with is always the same quality as the flagship SD7, which you really can't argue with.”
Richards likes the SD10 for its functionality, user interface, and overall sound quality.
“DiGiCo is always great for channel count; I'm running 54 channels here on my SD10, and what's also really handy is having 12 faders in each fader bank rather than eight, particularly so when working with drums,” he enthuses. “For example, on this show I have several additional snares and kicks, so there are a lot of channels, yet I can still pack the whole kit into one bank, which is absolutely ideal. I then have another bank for all of the percussion and effects. It works really nicely, because everything is there in front of you.”
Very much a 'hands-on' engineer, Richards insists that the SD10 allows him to work “pretty much as I would with an analogue desk”, which certainly suits his mixing style.
“When I mix, it's like I'm playing an instrument, really – I like to be able to move around the console,” he explains. “The SD10 allows me to do that; I only end up using snapshots and the mutes. The inbuilt effects are good, too; I am using a couple of reverbs on this gig on the drum kit, then some delays on the vocals as well as various other bits and pieces, as there's a lot happening on stage.”
Richards is also a big Waves fan, and for this tour, has borrowed a PuigChild and Maxx BCL units from audio provider, SSE Audio.
“SSE has provided me with some Waves hardware,” he smiles, turning to the outboard rack. “The PuigChild is superb for Paloma's vocals, as she has quite a peaky mid range - it really fattens the vocal; and I use the Maxx BCL across the PA.”
Audio is sent via AES from the SD10 into two Lake processors (located at FOH) and then it's all fibre to stage left, according to Faith's system tech, SSE Audio's own Perttu Korteniemi.
“From there, it breaks down to Cat5 to the stage Lakes, then it goes AES to the amplifiers, so when the microphone hits the DiGiCo SD rack on stage, it doesn't go back to analogue until the speaker cables,” he explains. “This method keeps it all simple: there's no setting up of gains and no hiss, it's all nice and clean, so when I open up the PA, there is no interference whatsoever.”
Just a few days after this show, Faith went on to perform at the BAFTAs in Covent Garden's Royal Opera House.
Her tour runs until the beginning of July, where she will perform at T in the Park festival in Scotland.