Pioneering electro-rockers Depeche Mode have taken two SSL Logic L500 Plus digital live consoles on the road for their Global Spirit tour, which takes in stadiums and large-scale venues around the world across more than 90 dates.
Supplied by UK rental company Britannia Row Productions, FOH engineer Antony King has hailed the performance of the desks on the tour. "The SSL is the only serious choice out there," he said. "With a company like SSL you're not taking risks... You want something that will work every day, sound good, and travel on the truck. So SSL is the only choice, I think, at this point."
For most shows, there are two SSL L500 consoles at front of house, running in Expander mode (effectively as a single 'stretched' console). This allows King to move around a greater range of faders, and also means that his assistant can use the second surface as and when needed. The consoles are fed by SSL ML 32.32 Stageboxes via a redundant optical connection using SSL's Blacklight concentrated MADI technology. The monitor console uses the analogue mic amp splits from the SSL Stageboxes.
All gating and most of the dynamics processing on the show uses the standard SSL Live channel processing. "There's no need to over think it," he explained. "All the internal stuff is good, so I don't feel the need for any extra on a lot of it. Having two insert points is great, too. I can run outboard on one and internal FX on the other and punch in and out if I need to."
King is also using the second insert point as a feed to record a version of every show with all effects in place (as well as a clean direct output): "You can put that output anywhere you want in the signal flow, so I just touch-and-drag it to the end and it picks up the entire chain."
He concluded: "Of course, it also sounds great, which was the whole point of choosing SSL in the first place."
Below you can watch two video clips of King discussing his set up and how he prepares for tours of this magnitude.
Earlier this week, PSNE announced that A/V distributor Face had been appointed as distributor for SSL broadcast consoles throughout the Benelux region and SSL live consoles in Belgium and Luxembourg. Read more on this story here.