Comprehensive Coverage of DiGiCo Worldwide Users
Thunder Audio Choose DiGiCo Consoles for Garbage Tour
With 25 years experience in sound and light rental, Michigan-based Thunder Audio is a premier audio and full production company in both the US and the rest of the world. Their knowledge of mixing consoles is vast and various, and they have chosen to invest in DiGiCo D5 Live and D1 Live as their first foray into the world of digital audio mixing.
(left to right) Tony Villarreal – President; Paul Owen - Vice President; Scott Minkley - Head Engineer; Dave Bernas - Warehouse manger
“We always said that we would take the digital plunge when it was necessary,” says Paul Owen, Vice President of Thunder Audio. “We chose to go for the D5 and D1 Live with fibre optic split because of DiGiCo’s excellent reputation and the request for these particular consoles on the Garbage tour. We know that we’re going to have them rented out for the coming 12 months and that makes for a very sound investment.”
Geoff Lissaman, DiGiCo’s Vice President – Concert Sound, adds: “We're very pleased to have Thunder Audio on board with DiGiCo. They are a great company providing quality service and we are proud they have chosen to add the D1 and D5 to their rental arsenal.”
D1 Live in Greece: First Impressions Count
Open air concerts, television shows and long seasons at music clubs meant that a digital audio mixing console became a must for the complex productions that Sound Engineer Aris Koudouris was involved in. The DiGiCo D1 Live provided the perfect solution.
“Ypsilon Live, the rental company I usually work with, and I decided that time had come to switch from an analogue to a digital mixing console,” says Koudouris. “We chose the DiGiCo D1 Live primarily because of the way it sounds. We’d tested other mixers, but they didn’t completely satisfy us.”
At the moment, Koudouris is using his D1 for a 60-show season with well-known Greek artist Yiannis Kotsiras who is playing large clubs in Salonica and Athens.
The DiGiCo D1 as Used for Greek Artist Yiannis Kotsiras
“I’m using the D1 at Front of House with an SLS RLA-2 line array system, with a Lexicon 960 for reverb and a Focusrite compressor,” continues Koudouris. “Just because this is the first time I’ve used the console, I have two D1s mirroring each other. Besides the safety issue, the mirroring configuration gives me the added advantage of doubling the working surface. The sound is better than the analogue mixers I’ve used before and after mixing on the D1 for a few shows, I felt as safe and comfortable as with any analogue desk.
“The EQ and dynamics are great, which means that I don’t really need external processing. I use the Focusrite just because I’m used to doing that, and inserting processors is a very simple thing to do. The internal effects on the D1 are also great. It’s a good feeling to have EQ and dynamics on all inputs just a finger (and a glance) away. The touch screens are a very quick and efficient way to work. Every move I make takes less time than on any analogue desk.
“The snapshot system is perfect - I don’t have to concentrate on routine changes for various songs which allows me to be much more creative. And the different configurations you can do for the output busses are also a great help. You can set auxes or groups (mono, d¸xstereo or surround) depending on your needs.
Aris Koudouris in the Mix
“One of my main concerns when I first thought about digital consoles was the speed of reaction if a problem occurred, but the D1 is quicker at sorting out problems than anything I’ve used to date. Changing a layer is easier and quicker than moving the distance of one or two metres that you have to with larger analogue consoles and the DiGiCo technical support is quick and friendly.
“But, apart from all that, one of the main advantages of DiGiCo mixers is that you can prepare the show at home, gaining a lot of precious rehearsal time, and afterwards you can take your session anywhere, anytime in a USB key.”
A Fantastic Year in Theatre
Autograph Sound Recording and US sister company, Autograph A2D, have had an amazingly productive year supplying and selling DiGiCo's dedicated theatre console, the D5T. Their latest collaboration is on the new eight million pound production of Mary Poppins, which sees the fourth Autograph supplied DiGiCo D5T desk to arrive in London’s West End. A further three are currently on tour around the UK and Europe, and this is all since the consoles debut on the long running Les Miserables, refurbished for its West End move from the Palace Theatre to the Queens Theatre in March last year.
Disney and Cameron Mackintosh joined forces to bring Mary Poppins, the world's most famous Nanny, to London's Prince Edward Theatre in December, following a pre London season in Bristol. As one would expect with a production of this quality, they have used the highest specification equipment to achieve their results with the D5T, the D5TC operators console and the D5T RE redundant engine at its core.
As strong a team was behind the Les Miserables move and refurbishment earlier in the year. Bruce, the original sound designer, worked this time with Autograph's Nick Lidster as his associate. When asked to comment about all the new developments, including the arrival of the D5T, producer Cameron Mackintosh said: "Nearly 20 years on, it is a wonderful opportunity for every department in Les Miserables to create the show afresh at the Queens Theatre, using revolutionary technology designed to deliver the performances of the 40 plus actors and musicians to a new dimension of reality, so that the show packs more emotional power and intimacy than ever before."
Miss Saigon, another Mackintosh production, began its revised UK Bus & Truck Tour in the summer. Autograph's Nick Lidster designed a new system, including MC2 amplification for the first time, following a series of impressive demos. The show is scaled down from the original tour so this gave a perfect opportunity to introduce the DiGiCo D5T after Nick's success with the desk on the Les Miserables move.
With Mamma Mia! - the hit musical that pays homage to the music of ABBA, Sound Designer Bobby Aitken has embraced the DiGiCo D5T in more than just London's West End. The International tour, which opened in Dublin and is currently in Edinburgh before heading for South Africa, has an Autograph supplied D5T and complete sound and communications system, as does the Spanish production currently playing in Madrid. For Stuttgart, a similar package was supplied in collaboration with Delta Audio Services Belgium who, as well as providing all the RF, are the first Belgian company to invest in the D5T package.
All of the above productions utilise the extended features offered by the D5TC operator’s console, together with the D5T RE that provides full redundant back up. For the Mamma Mia productions, the digital loop is expanded further to incorporate a Soundtracs DS-00 console for monitoring.
DiGiCo D5 Live Used in the World’s Biggest Theatre Productions
Finally, an Autograph D5T is currently on long-term rental with the RSC for its London season, while a spare training console can be found at Autograph's HQ in North London. In tandem with this, DiGiCo's D5T US distributor Autograph A2D has been busy supplying many of New York's theatre hire shops with D5T's. Masque Sound were the first to come on board, purchasing a D5T for the Bobby Aitken designed We Will Rock You in 'Le Teatre Des Arts' at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, followed swiftly by Sound Associates buying their first D5T for Nevin Steinberg of ACME Sound Design for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which opened in San Diego and moves to Broadway early this year.
A second desk for Sound Associates was purchased for La Cage Aux Folles, which has just opened on Broadway to rave reviews. Pro Mix bought their first D5T for Spamalot that has its Broadway premiere later this year following a pre-Broadway run in Chicago. The production draws on the design services of Mark Menard, also of ACME Sound Design. And Sound Associates have just ordered their third D5T/TC system for Andrew Bruce’s sound design of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a current hit in the West End, which will doubtlessly entertain audiences of all ages on Broadway from April onwards.
DiGiCo D5 Live
DiGiCo D1 Live
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