UK: A Digidesign ICON system is at the heart of the production set-up on The X Factor, writes David Davies. Skratch Music Productions - the studio operated by the show's music director, Nigel Wright - recently replaced its analogue console with a Digidesign ICON system, including D-Control console with surround panner and Pro Tools|HD system.
The ICON was selected to satisfy the extremely frenetic nature of The X Factor's production schedule. "We record up to 24 backing tracks for the show, and the turnaround time is rather tight," said Skratch's chief engineer, Robin Sellars. "We're frequently working on multiple projects simultaneously, and being able to rapidly jump between them is vital. Within a matter of minutes we can go from recording piano and vocals to mixing in excess of 100 tracks."
The Digidesign system is also said to be a significant boost in terms of making last-minute changes. "The ICON allows us to immediately recall each project's settings: automation, plug-ins, everything. Without that, it would be impossible to get these changes done on schedule," said Sellars.
The final mixes are brought over to the broadcast centre's Pro Tools system, where any further adjustments can be made.
"We've been mixing inside Pro Tools for some time, but the D-Control has dramatically streamlined our workflow and done wonders for our productivity," said Sellars. "We can accomplish so much more within a single day."
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