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DiGiCo SD12 delivers rocking sound at Inhaler’s largest European Tour yet
Europe – Formed in 2012, Inhaler is an Irish rock band originating from Dublin comprising vocalist-guitarist Elijah Hewson, bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson and drummer Ryan McMahon. Their first album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, debuted in 2021 with the latest album, Cuts & Bruises, released on 17 February 2023 and delivering a stunning sophomore smash. Touring with the band almost continuously since late August 2021, FOH engineer Martin Mittler has relied on a DiGiCo SD12 mixing console, chosen for its compact design and wide range of features, to provide hassle-free performance at an affordable price point.
The band’s production manager and monitor engineer, Dave Skelton and Mittler joined the band in early 2020 and managed two tours, one in the UK and then a brief stint in Europe, before the pandemic put everything on hold. "We had to wait until July 2021 to be able to rejoin them in Dublin for production rehearsals. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of touring, especially after the release of their first album!" Skelton exclaims.
Skelton has almost exclusively used DiGiCo consoles since 2015, noting that the ability to have both consoles and multiple racks on the same Optocore loop has significantly improved his workflow. “I no longer need to carry around a noisy analogue split because I can take a MADI split directly from the SD-Rack. This has been a real game-changer for me, especially at festivals where most broadcast trucks are equipped to handle MADI signals,” he says.
The choice to use the DiGiCo SD12, supplied by rental company Adlib Audio, was a collaborative decision between Mittler and Skelton, as both appreciated the benefits of SD-Rack sharing in terms of functionality and cost-effectiveness. "Moreover, the SD12 is ideal for me as it can easily fit into cramped FOH spaces, like those in small venues or crowded festival positions, while still providing a superb ergonomic layout and a large fader count at my fingertips," Mittler adds.
Detailing his console set-up, Mittler emphasises his extensive use of custom layers. His left-hand side first layer features one-to-one inputs in their correct order. The next contains groups, matrices and aux masters. The third layer includes a mix of the most frequently used inputs and groups, which he needs to access quickly during the performance. "This layer includes bass and drum inputs, control groups, and the most useful FX returns," he explains. "On the right-hand fader bank, I have a similar combination of useful inputs and groups, but with guitars, synths, and vocals."
Skelton’s setup comprises 40 input channels from the stage, along with six channels of audience mics and six channels of talkback mics. As he shares an SD-Rack on an Optocore loop, with inputs feeding him intro music and a FOH mix for any VIP areas located off stage. For outputs, he is managing six stereo IEM mixes that include a spare mix from the matrix and additional mixes for three downstage wedges, stereo sidefills, and a drum sub. He has also configured two additional stereo mixes for the guitar and drum technicians. To enhance the sound quality, Skelton is utilising eleven internal FX units for drums, guitar, and vocal reverbs/delays, as well as nine DiGiTubes on drums, bass guitar and a distorted vocal channel.
The DiGiCo SD12 boasts several useful functionalities that both Mittler and Skelton fully exploit, such as the two assignable master faders, in addition to the 24 faders located under the screens. “I leverage these to manage my lead vocal and backing vocal control groups, which means I can stay close to any vocals that need constant attention,” says Mittler. Skelton, meanwhile, appreciates the dual screens on the SD12, which enable him to set up his monitor console with inputs on the left-hand bank across six custom layers, and outputs on the right-hand bank across four custom layers. “It's amazing how much more organised and efficient I can be with the dual screens," he notes, highlighting the convenience of seeing all the necessary information without having switch layers too often.
“Above everything, they’re great sounding consoles and, with a lot of hire companies having now moved over to 32-bit cards in their SD-Racks, we have faster AD/DA conversion and a much lower noise floor, which really helps with IEMs,” Skelton explains, also adding that he uses the console's Snapshot feature extensively in his shows and finds it really intuitive, with the ability to update multiple snapshots on the fly advantageous. “Another feature I am a big fan of are the macros; everything I need to do during the show that is not song specific has a macro assigned. I love the fact that you can get the console to perform multiple functions instantly with the push of one button!”
As the team gears up for Inhaler's latest tour, scheduled to start at the end of April, both are excited to once again take the reliable performance and excellent sound of the DiGiCo SD12 with them, which they have come to appreciate over the years. “I’m really happy with the SD12. It’s been very reliable, especially considering the heavy touring schedule it has had to endure,” Skelton says.
To further improve his experience with, Mittler is in regular communication with the DiGiCo technical team, providing valuable feedback and ideas for possible future enhancements. “I have had a fantastic experience with DiGiCo’s tech support team, they have always been friendly, approachable, and extremely helpful,” he concludes. “Whenever I’ve encountered any issues or had any questions, they have always been resolved swiftly and with minimum hassle. The same can be said for our UK/Euro audio suppliers Adlib, whose support has been second to none. This gives us great peace of mind as we prepare to embark on the band’s biggest tour to date.”
30th March 2023
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