British folk rock band Bear’s Den recently took DiGiCo’s SD9 on tour.
Supplied by SSE Audio, the two SD9s have spent five weeks touring with the band around Europe, starting in Scandinavia and taking in Germany, France, the UK, The Netherlands and finishing in Belgium. The choice of console was FOH engineer and production manager Scott Humphries.
Rory Mulligan, monitor engineer, explains: “Scott suggested a complete DiGiCo system from the outset. I was all for that. I hadn’t worked with DiGiCo consoles for any meaningful length of time before, so I saw it as a good opportunity to learn. I knew they sounded great, which would be a big plus for our IEMs, and I love a good tactile surface, having started my career on analogue consoles.”
Humphries adds: “I wanted to put together a package that was small and trailer worthy, but could also manage a large amount of I/O as the channel list grew which, with Bear’s Den, is more often than not. Having SD9s with Stealth Core 2 was a perfect choice for this and the sheer amount of I/O you can now get into the SD consoles is incredible.”
The channel count for the European leg ran at around 52 inputs, including comms and ambient mics. Mulligan had eight stereo IEM mixes - six for the band, plus the backline mix and his cue pack - whilst Humpheries also split a few guitar channels to cater for different styles of playing, using 70 channels on the SD9 with FX returns, with six groups for drums, guitars, keyboards and enough auxes to use eight FX and five matrices for his system outputs.
Mulligan says: “Some guest horn players were added to a few shows on the last run and we gave them a mono mix each. I’ll always set up three extra mono mixes on the board, if possible, in case any of the frontline singers ever needs to go to a wedge. Thankfully I’ve haven’t had to use them. The Stealth Core 2 update offers so much processing. I plan my set up before I start building my file, so that I know everything is properly organised.”
The two biggest functions Humphries relies on are the Waves integration and Snapshot system. “The instrumentation in a Bear’s Den show is vast,” he says. “We'll go from a delicate acoustic number into a song with synths, three guitars, horns and drums. Having the scenes to help facilitate that is a massive help. Using the scenes on a DiGiCo console is extremely intuitive and very easy to get your head wrapped around.”