Stagelight, a successful Dutch hire and events production company noted for consistent success in the corporate events market, is expanding for a larger share of the public event and tour sound sectors, with part of the strategy being investment in high-end, flexible technology such as four SSL Live consoles—three SSL Live L500 consoles and one SSL Live L300 console—from Audio Electronics Mattijsen (AEM).
“For us, SSL complemented our own strategy of always delivering to the highest possible standards: A global reputation for excellence, teamwork, and reliability are key to Stagelight operations,” says Jacco van der Heijden, managing director of Stagelight. “We had to find a brand that would fit with our high-quality inventory. It had to be superior in all respects… No discussion… In the end, the choice was easy, and SSL delivered.”
Robert de Lorijn, senior project manager (audio) and manager of technical operations for Stagelight, is also the front of house engineer for Matt Simons, a U.S. artist who has found a large following in The Netherlands—and who provided the first opportunity for De Lorijn to use the L500 on a big stage. In a single weekend Simons played the Brussels Summer Festival (Belgium) and the Strandfestival Zand (Netherlands) to a total of 35,000 people.
“We had already done rehearsals and pre-programming with the console, but of course it’s always a different thing when the audience is there,” reports De Lorijn. “You get the chance to compare your sound with the other bands, compare it to the sound you are used to on another console, and you get to see the reactions of the other engineers. The SSL made a big impression.
“Singers always sound better when they smile,” he continues. “For me, the SSL makes every input smile. I think that’s the best way to put it. You can hear the detail, you can focus in on every instrument, and the whole mix is ten times better than you’re used to.
“I also love that there is always something useful in front of your hand, left or right. Sometimes I forget about the technical stuff and get carried away with the music, but my hands always find the control I need, and it’s not always on the same part of the console. Sometimes I operate the EQ on the main screen, sometimes on the little screen, or sometimes I use the encoders.”
Two of the Stagelight L500s are going out on a long tour with the Dutch Royal Airforce Orchestra (Orkest Koninklijke Luchtmacht). The other two, an L500 and an L300, have immediately become part of Stagelight’s primary hire stock, and the company is already busy training free-lance engineers.
“At the moment we are running short training sessions almost every day for top Dutch engineers,” explains De Lorijn. “If the desk is already prepared for them, we can get them working in just a few minutes. When I explain how to prep’ it themselves – starting with a blank file, building the console the way they want it to be, and starting a mix – the training takes between 30 and 45 minutes, which is really fast.”
“The Live series ticks all the boxes for Stagelight, says Roland Mattijsen of AEM. “It’s able to handle very complex events with high channel counts and lots of buses. They have been confident enough not only to put two L500s on a very important tour with the Royal Airforce Orchestra, but also to add another L500 and L300 to their hire stock. That’s a fantastic endorsement of the product and we’re very happy to be working with Stagelight on this.”