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DiGiCo SD8 jazzes up Jamie Cullum world tour

Jamie Cullum’s FOH engineer and TM Danny White switches to a DiGiCo SD8 for the exuberant pianist’s world tour: The Pursuit, writes Paul Watson.

FOH engineer and tour manager Danny White made the switch to digital when he purchased a DiGiCo SD8 for his family-run production company Chaps PA (based in Sutton) last year which is now being used on Jamie Cullum’s extensive 2010 The Pursuit tour. Previously a Midas Verona user, White was drawn to the DiGiCo console after discovering that it has the same signal path as the SD7, which he believes makes the SD8 great value for money. “You have to embrace the latest technology because it’s what everyone is doing. It’s the way forward and I saw the SD8 as part of that development,” says White. “To me, mixing is all about the path; if I have a good signal path then I’m happy.” White runs 35 channels from FOH position and uses mainly Shure mics – “nothing too fancy” he insists. Five SM58s are assigned to the vocalists (including a wireless model for Cullum) and Shure lapels are used on the trumpet and sax; he also uses over a dozen DIs and opts for a Helpinstill pickup on the piano as well as a couple of mics around the fingerboard. “The Helpinstill is great, but it’s pretty clinical sounding: no feedback and total isolation,” he explains. “And because Jamie slaps the piano a lot, we mic the piano too; I like to capture some of the percussion around the piano and mix it together.” White uses no outboard; all effects come from the SD8: some reverb, a gate on the kick drum and very little compression. He prefers to ride the faders and rely on the dynamic range of the show rather than try and control it with the compressors. Also, because Cullum rarely uses a set list, he says each show is always spontaneous and benefits from maximum audience interaction. Chaps PA also provides the sound system, which is White’s personal favourite: a d&b Q1; in his opinion, the perfect partner for his new console. “The sound of the Q1 is just so good,” says White, “and running that system with the SD8 at FOH – well, I’m in heaven basically!” The Pursuit tour runs until the end of August, where Cullum will perform his final show at the BBC Proms with The Heritage Orchestra at The Royal Albert Hall.