Expanding its digital “blue” console inventory, DEE Sound & Light invested in the country’s first SSL Live L500 Plus console and deployed it at a Trixie Whitley gig in the Antwerp Lotto Arena.
In 2011, DEE Sound & Light decided to split their operations, assigning colour codes to each segment of the business.
“A red label for all-in productions where we take on the full audio and lighting assignment, a green label for backline rental operations and a blue label for the digital equipment: consoles, effects and recording gear,” explains André Schneider, founder/MD of DEE Sound & Light. “We wanted to expand our digital platform, which already features Midas (XL8, PRO 9,PRO 1 and M32) and Digidesign (Profile and VENUE) consoles, and all the separate cards – these cards are rented out all over Europe to rental and recording companies.”
Schneider opted for an L500 Plus console as the perfect complement to his stock of digital desks. “I liked the sound and quality of the new mixing desk,” he says, “and believe in this type of console. With the L500 Plus, SSL has become the extra brand that meets the demand of digital consoles throughout Europe. I particularly like the fact that the all of the processing is featured in the console – no extra racks needed here – and the desk’s compact size. The option for extra inputs is also a bonus. For smaller gigs, the direct 32 mic inputs are very helpful – but with the extra ML32.32 and ML I.32 stageboxes it’s quite easy to add more.”
DEE took delivery of the L500 Plus console some eight months ago – the desk has since been on the road for European concert tours of Sam Smith and Santana, and Dutch gigs of the band Raccoon. At press time, Jurassic 5 confirmed the SSL 500 Plus as FOH desk for their upcoming European festival tour.
“This type of bigger digital console is currently not yet popular in Belgium, contrary to what we find with the smaller ones, ” admits Schneider. “But I’m convinced that the market will steadily grow into it. Let’s face it – when we included our first Midas desk in the rental catalogue some 10 years ago, it needed quite some introduction time. Today, our digital Midas mixers are booked up months in advance.”
It was Joystick Audio, the Belgian SSL distributor, who supplied the L500 Plus console to DEE Sound & Light. The company introduced the new console with seminars and demo concerts, promoting the prestigious brand of studio console’s entry in the live and touring business.
Belgian American multi-instrumentalist Trixie Whitley’s European tour (11 dates in the UK, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and France) became the ideal tool for a SSL Live L500 Plus promotion campaign. With concerts in 500-800 capacity venues, the tour was an ideal opportunity to show the new live console in clubs throughout Europe and to introduce system techs and audio production engineers with the quality and flexibility of the live desk.
“The console has a super analogue sound,” enthuses Tim Lenssens, Trixie Whitley’s FOH engineer and Joystick Audio product support. “The Live L500 uses the same pre-amps like in the SSL AWS and Duality studio consoles, great analogue pre-amps with lots of depth and warmth, and this was crucial in the production’s choice for this console.”
Lenssens adds that the console’s flexibility and the quality of the effects are other crucial assets. “All of the plug-ins are SSL-based but ‘re-tuned’ to live sound – both the ‘natural reverb’ and the special plates…” he says. “When Trixie’s on stage she sings with quite some low-mid – the SSL’s dynamic EQ allows me to bring her vocals to the front . I also use the amp-simulator to give her voice just that little 'edge' it needs.
DEE Sound & Light’s SSL Live L500 Plus, with two ML32-32 stage-racks was first used in Belgium for the concert of Trixie Whitley.
The FOH system, supplied by Phlippo Productions, further consisted of two hangs of nine L-Acoustics
K2, 15 SB28 subs and 20 L-Acoustics KARA speakers, controlled by a Lab.gruppen LM26. Monitoring was undertaken through a Midas H3000 desk, L-Acoustics X15 wedges and ARCSII + SB28 sidefills.
The SSL L500 Plus was part of a dry-hire agreement between DEE’s ‘blue label’ and Phlippo Productions.
Top pic: SSL Live L500 Plus with Tim Lensses in Antwerp. Bottom pic: Trixie!