Stone Temple Pilots relied on Digico’s SD12 consoles on their recent tour of California.
The US rock band recently embarked on an extensive tour with fellow bands The Cult and Bush.
FOH engineer James Huth, and system engineer Chris Demonbreun highlighted the simplicity of the SD12 consoles as key reasons for their selection.
“It’s just so simple. By the time I get the PA up in the air [the tour is out with an L-Acoustics K1/K2 package provided by Sound Image] and make my way to front of house, it’s usually already set up and ready to go,” said Demonbreun.
“When we started this tour, everything had to fit into a trailer,” said Huth. “We started before this three-band run doing large clubs and small theaters. This being Stone Temple Pilots, it’s a rock band, we need maybe 24 inputs max. The traveling plans meant we had to go with the smallest frame size possible and it looked like the SD12 had all the inputs and horsepower we would need. So we decided it was time to see what they could do, and they’ve been fantastic. With the same audio quality as the bigger SD consoles and all the inputs we would need for gigs of many sizes and types, we just couldn’t pass up the chance to take out the SD12.”
Huth added: “One of the reasons we went with this package was because we could loop everything together via the Digico 192k SD-Rack through the Optocore loop and share mic preamps and use the gain tracking feature which we’ve really enjoyed. “The system is simple and the footprint is great for those times—we did a fair number of festivals—where there are seven other consoles at front of house and you need to shoehorn your way in there.”
The “who’s in charge” designation when it comes to gain tracking went to monitor engineer and crew chief Sean Herman: “It should probably be harder. But it’s just so simple that it’s just a part of the normal workflow now. If I need to goose a mic pre to get what I need on what can be a loud stage, I make the change and Huth's console just takes care of it on his end. He never even knows I made a change." Herman also mentions the feature has never before been used on tour.
“Our guys [STP] have been together a long time and they are really stable sonically,” Huth explained. "They’re also a really dynamic band so I’ve always had to leave plenty of headroom on each input. So, for me, preamp levels have stayed the same for years. But I’m doing a cumulative mix of all the channels into a left/right mix, and what Sean is doing on monitors is a very different deal. So when he first set things up, the gain settings of many of the inputs were hotter than I would have liked. But I just engaged the gain tracking and brought everything down 6-8 dB and it’s stayed the same ever since.”
Demonbreun said: “Everything you hear is coming to me from Huth's console over AES at 96K and feeding the LA-RAKs for the K1/K2 system. Everything is digital from the time it leaves the mic pre until the time it hits the speakers.” Reidel RockNet system is known to handle the AES distribution.
Huth said: “I’m not really big on outboard stuff. I use some compression plug-ins occasionally, but in the heat of the moment, if I need to tweak something, I’m going to do it with what’s native on the console.”
Huth and Herman use Waves plug-ins and most of the processing is taken care of on the device.
“It really just keeps coming back to the size thing,” said Herman. “At least at monitor world, the SD12 is the smallest console out there. And I never have to feel like I’m missing anything or there is something I wish the console could do." He concluded: "When it comes to power versus size, the SD12 punches way above its weight.”