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DiGiCo SD7s Ease The Pain Of Maroon 5’s Summer
Maroon 5 is currently on a world tour to promote their current album V. A pair of DiGiCo SD7s helped to ease their pain.
Supplied by US sound company Sound Image and in the UK by partner company SSE Audio, the SD7s were manned by Jim Ebdon at front of house and Kevin Glendinning on monitors.
Jim has used his trusted combination of the SD7 and Waves package since it was introduced, following his experience with DiGiCo’s first digital mixing console, the D5 Live. “DiGiCo consoles don’t colour the sound in any way,” he says. “I find the SD7 the easiest digital desk to operate and the most musical. I do like the fact that the surface has 50 faders!”.
“I used to use a lot of snapshots and programming, but halfway through the last tour I realised that I wanted to mix because I like mixing. I can pretty much get my whole mix on the top fader bank, so I have a start-up position using snapshots with a few mutes, but from then I’m mixing, changing EQ and doing what I’m paid to do. It’s more interesting, productive and more fun – the band play and I play the band, so I need to have some artistic sympathy and musical awareness. The console makes this an easy task.”
Jim principally uses the Waves plug-ins for subtle compression and sweetening. “I don’t go crazy with them. They are really just a little tinsel on the top,” he says. “I’m also using a Focusrite ISA 430 on Adam’s voice, because I like to have analogue processing on the lead vocal, and a Sonic Farm Creamliner across the analogue mix just to warm it up.”
As well as the band microphones – a mixture of AKG, Royer, Sennheiser and Shure – Jim has a selection of audience mics, because he records every night direct from the stage racks to ProTools. “It’s very simple to do. I’m sometimes asked for a number of songs, fully mixed, within a few days, so I mix down the 64 ProTools tracks with a small pair of Genelecs while I’m on the bus,” he says. “The whole system works really well.”
“The number one reason that I hold the SD7 in high regard is that it sounds the best. It’s a really musical sounding board and I don’t think anything’s better,” says Kevin from behind the monitor console. “I’ve been with Maroon 5 on and off for a long time and there used to be masses of wedges, side fills and subs – there was stuff everywhere.
“Nowadays it is a lot more streamlined – a combination of Sound Image wedges and Shure PSM1000 in-ears with JH Audio earpieces – but things have grown over the years and we’ve increased the number of inputs and outputs. We have 75 inputs now, which is a lot for monitors.”
Part of the increase is down to a comprehensive comms system, put together by Sound Image technician Marcus Douglas. “It’s as crucial as the monitor system. The days of hand signals have gone, we have talk mics that can supersede our listen buss,” says Kevin. “It’s a very effective way to do it, but it has built the numbers up because everyone has to double up on microphones.”
With a full SD-Rack, plus an SD-Mini Rack and utilising the SD7’s local inputs for talkback and other uses, the set-up could get very complex. But things are kept as basic as possible.
“We try to keep it simple, the sound comes in, we EQ and do some dynamic work on it, then the sound goes out. I don’t do things just for the sake of being flashy. If I have to leave for any reason, Marcus can take over. It keeps our head straight and if there’s a problem it’s usually fixable,” says Kevin.
“The DiGiCo sound is so natural, musical and pleasant. There’s no harshness to it, it’s very accurate and it just sounds right. I also like having the dual engines. It’s nice to have it in your back pocket if something happens.”
He continues: “The SD7 also has room to grow, if required. You don’t ever want to tell a client ‘no’, especially this band. They are all very music savvy and production oriented, which keeps me on my toes. But I think the cat’s out of the bag - they know the board can do anything! I’m lucky to be able to work with these guys and do my job.”
Jim agrees, concluding, “It’s a great job, they’re a great band to work for, they’re fantastic guys and we are always busy.”
31st July 2015
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