DiGiCo SD5 consoles take Dermot Kennedy concert on the road – rAVe [PUBS]


Dermot kennedythe album n ° 1 of the breakthrough Without fear, released in October 2019, saw its tour cycle interrupted by a global pandemic, just as the Irish singer-songwriter and British candidate would have instead taken to the stages of the world stages. Undeterred, Kennedy took part in Billboard’s Live At-Home concert and went on to put on his own virtual concert, Sound waves, in May 2020 in support of the Solidarity Response Fund of the World Health Organization. He also produced his own worldwide live broadcast from the iconic Natural History Museum in London. Now, hes finally back on the road with two DiGiCo SD5 consoles supplied by SSE Audio and operated by FoH engineer Will Donbavand and monitor engineer Simon Peter Lawson.

We were fortunate to be back in the United States with rehearsals in Nashville starting at the end of July, ”says Donbavand. “This was followed by a tour of the United States and a performance at Lollapalooza,” Lawson adds. “Thishas been a trip since then! Thishas been a challenge in its own way, digging deep to reclaim the skill, quick thinking, and transparent execution we took for granted before the pandemic. We have found our rhythm!

Donbavand and Lawson have worked with Dermot since 2017, Donbavand doing London’s very first Dermot show at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen and Lawson taking the reins of a Monitors from FoH tour across Europe later in the year. Things quickly escalated in early 2018, with both engineers assuming their current roles. “As soon as we were able to specify desks for Dermot, we took out a pair of SD11s and shared an SD rack,” says Lawson. “We haven’t looked back since!” adds Donbavand. As the number of channels increased, both engineers progressed through the SD lineup, opting for the SD12-96 for the more recent tours before this one. “For me, it’s a great console; nice layout, compact, twin touch screens. It’s very versatile, perfect for a show with a lot of mid-sized channels, ”says Lawson.

The decision to switch to DiGiCos SD5 came after the addition of backing vocals for the new design of the show which increased the number of input channels, built-in effects and faders required. I finished the recent UK shows with 82 input channels, 14 auxiliaries, two mono groups and 11 stereo groups and 12 control groups, ”says Donbavand. Its LR matrix feeds a speaker management processor, with an additional matrix providing an IEM mix for the light director and the video operator. FoH and monitors share an SD rack with a mini SD rack for additional inputs. An additional DiGiCo mini rack to FoH manages sends and returns to external signal processing, audio interfaces for recording broadcasts and synchronization for other external signal processing and recording devices.

Lawson described their current setup of the SD Rack scene: Our optical loop consists of the fully loaded SD rack with 56 32-bit Stadius input cards, 48 ​​analog outputs and eight AES outputs. Four analog output cards have been assigned to the control desk and two, plus the AES card, have been assigned to the FoH console. To accommodate additional inputs for this show, the team also had a Mini Rack at the monitor position loaded with three analog input cards and an AES I / O card. I used the AES I / O card to patch the Cedar DNS8 noise suppressor that I used on the background vocal mics, ”Lawson explains. Additionally, Donbavand and Lawson use the DiGiCo Con send and receive ports to route the eight analog inputs on the back of the board, allowing the two mixing engineers to access any input in the system. This is great for something like a last minute mic that gets patched to the monitor card, or for me to pick up Wills without any additional patches, ”says Lawson. I had never had an SD5 on monitors before – I have to say I enjoyed using it very much, the ease of accessing the large macro bank has proven to be extremely useful.

I also used a Streamdeck connected to a Raspberry Pi 4b running Macro Stream SD from Frostbox Labs, ”reveals Donbavand. “It allows me to access more macros than I could just with the mixing surface and control my recording platform by sending OSC commands to Reaper. Macros play a big part in the FoH mixing workflow for Donbavand, especially with the Kennedys recent addition of several radio systems requiring mute at certain times of the broadcast: having macros configured for these really made it easy, I also use macros to reduce the gain of the acoustic guitar for particular song sections.

Lawson also cites being able to patch aux sends or groups on top of an input channel is “a killer trick for monitors.” He finds the Matrix convenient for patching the Cue Buss and Group Buss used to make the talkback mics work in parallel, to avoid missing talkback messages. I also use the Matrix to send a guitar chord DI to our guitar technician Joe Grouse, who dodges his main mix, allowing him to tune precisely without missing a beat in the show – big thumbs up! He notes.

The SD5 is awesome. I’m very fond of having one screen per bank of faders for easy visual referencing, which is why I wanted to opt for the SD5 rather than the SD10 ”, continues Donbavand. Our Tour Director, Music Director, and Artist Management all commented on how happy they were with the sound of the show. We ended up at Alexandra Palace, which has a certain notoriety for being a particularly difficult piece to mix, and I had great feedback from important people on the Kennedy Live team.

After working on a new album during the winter months, Dermot Kennedy will be back on the road in 2022, supporting Shawn Mendes on a tour of North American stadiums next summer.


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