Dual DiGiCo SD10 digital consoles are heading the house and monitor systems for the current “Days of Gold” concert tour by Jake Owen, the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist of the Year in 2009 and American Country Awards 2012 Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
The two new consoles, purchased by Nashville-based tour sound provider Morris Light and Sound in February though DiGiCo U.S. distributor Group One Ltd, are making life easier for front of house mixer Greg Huffman and monitor mixer Andrew Sullivan.
“They’re simply awesome—we love them,” says Sullivan, who adds that they were literally introduced to the consoles during the band’s pre-tour rehearsals. “We swapped them out during the line check so we had very little time to get to know them, but they are so easy to understand and use that we were up to speed on them in no time.”
Sullivan cites the SD10 for its flexibility, noting that he can assign any channel to any of the three fader banks on the SD10’s work surface. “I can have any combination of inputs, outputs or control groups on any fader I want, putting it wherever it makes the most sense, instead of having to flip between pages and VCAs,” he explains. He also likes the way the desk’s 16 multiband compressors and dynamic EQs offer highly nuanced control over the sound.
While the SD10s have Waves servers for outboard plug-ins as part of their package, Sullivan says that other than Owen’s vocals, everything else on stage is using only the SD10’s onboard processing. “It’s really an amazing board like that,” he says.
Huffman, who has mixed Owen’s live sound for eight years, explains how he splits the work surface left and right between Owen and his band. “I had gotten used to flipping fader banks on the previous console I was using, but now I have Jake as several macros all on one side of the console, along with some of the playback stuff,” he explains. “It’s so much easier to manage.”
He also cites DiGiGrid, the collaboration between plug-in maker Waves and DiGiCo/Soundtracs that provides processing and networking solutions based on the Waves SoundGrid platform, offering audio interfaces for Native DAW, Pro Tools and MADI-enabled consoles, such as the SD10. “That makes all of the outboard processing much easier,” he says.
He also notes, “The sound is incredible. When Jake heard it the first time during a rehearsal, he loved the way everything sounded and I attribute a lot of that to the DiGiCo console. Jake likes it loud and the SD10 handles loud very well.”
John Mills, vice president of Morris Light and Sound, adds, “We wanted to diversify our console choices, and DiGiCo is a great way to do that. Andrew and Greg wanted to try them and the results so far have been excellent; from the first day they were flying them like they’d been using them for years, and the sound was phenomenal.”
Mills says this year, with anchor touring client Kenny Chesney taking the year off from live shows, Morris Light and Sound’s decision to pursue more festival work has paid off—the company provided equipment for five stages at the CMA Music Fest, the Bayou Country Superfest and Buckle Up, among other festival events in 2014. “We wanted to be able to offer clients a broader range of console choices, and the DiGiCo desks add more depth and dimension to our inventory,” he says.