Digico consoles have been a constant at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood resort since its overhaul four years ago, rebranding one of its main auditoriums as the Axis in 2013.
Pop star Britney Spears was signed to a two-year residency deal at the newly-launched venue, which has boasted the highest number of ticket sales in Las Vegas during its extended four year-run.
Axis production supervision and head of audio Eric Fish said: “When I first came in, this place was raw concrete. It was not a facelift, it was a full remodel. Everything was redone from the speaker rig to the consoles to everything in the walls and a ton of acoustic treatment.
“We have the highest number of paid ticket sales in the country and we’re number three in the world, so we stay busy,” Fish commented. “In addition to four rotating residencies, we do everything from live events for TV broadcast to a comedian in front of a curtain with Britney or J-Lo’s set right behind it.”
Working alongside Fish on the Britney show is system engineer Julio Valdez, from Vegas-based provider 3G, who reports that the “reliability” of the Digico platform makes his job easier. “The beauty of the whole platform is that you can move from one Digico surface to another one with very little adjustment.”
All shows use the house SD5 at monitors and an SD10 at FOH, except for the Britney shows, where a SD5 is brought in from 3G for FOH.
When the room was spec’d, the designers looked at what was being used on the road by the kinds of acts they hoped to attract to the venue. “For at least the past five years, Digico has pretty much owned the major touring world so that was an easy decision,” Fish said. “If we had gone with something else, I would have spent a lot of time justifying the choice to engineers and we would have been renting a lot of Digico anyway.”
Valdez notes — as do many engineers who may have fought moving to digital—that the workflow on the SD consoles is very analogue-like. Fish used his own experience mixing in the AXIS to illustrate the ease of the learning curve: “The first show I actually mixed in this room... I had mixed on the Digico platform before, but pre-SD, and it had been at least five years [since he'd used one]. I wanted to make sure I really knew the console, so I picked a day when the room was dark and set aside the whole day to just get comfortable with the SD platform. I left an hour and a half later.”
Despite the Britney residency ending, the Axis has gone from strength to strength since its reopening. “We’re booked through solid through at least 2018,” Fish concluded. “It’s great, I know my schedule two years in advance, and Digico will continue to be a big part of the success of this room for the foreseeable future."