Miami’s three-day Ultra Music Festival recently saw a Digico SD8 console chosen to handle FOH mixing duties for a number of the event’s headliners, as well as over 100 DJs.
Featuring eight stages of electronic music, and with an estimated record attendance of 165,000 over a weekend, the Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is North America’s second largest electronic music event.
Since 2008, Miami’s Beachsound & Lighting has taken care of the performance and production duties for the main live stage. This year, for the first time, Beachsound specified a Digico SD8 for FOH duties to mix the majority of the headliners over the three days, including over 100 DJs, from David Guetta to Tiesto, with FOH engineer/crew chief Neil Rosenstock at the helm aided by systems engineer Harry Brill.
“All the DJ’s and vocals went through the SD8,” explained Beachsound president, Andre Serafini, “and the sound quality was superb. There were over 30 sets performed over the three-day span, from artists including Tiesto, Skrillex, Benny Benassi, Avicii, Fat Boy Slim, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, and Armin Van Buuren.
“One might think that when you do a show with a DJ, it’s just a simple left and right feed, toss up the faders, and go get something to eat. Shows like this have evolved into very large productions, and each year we are working to raise the bar technically and to achieve the next milestone in audio quality that the promoters and the fans expect. Putting the Digico on the front end of the system was the icing on the cake, and one that also gave us extreme control to manage the variable sources that were sent to us.”
He continued: “We found that the best feature of the SD8 was the dynamic EQ on the DJ’s. When a DJ would sweep up and down, the HF compressor would keep it under control. Having the ability to move channels around quickly was effortless and proved to be a much-needed feature. Also, the SD8’s intuitive interface made it a great choice for this festival environment where we have a lot of guest engineers that may not be familiar with the desk. We chose the SD8 because it has been a reliable console and consistent in accommodating the variety of music genres we handle—be it live bands and/or DJ’s. All in all, it proved to be a fantastic choice for the weekend and will certainly be front and center at next year’s event.”
Guest engineers and artists throughout the weekend also made a number of comments. Winfried Blank, tour manager for German electro pioneers Kraftwerk, added: “It was really great to work with Beachsound. We were more than happy with the fantastic-sounding console and PA. As Kraftwerk’s music is very straightforward and powerful, we like to have clear bass impact and full frequency response—even in the ultra lows below 30Hz. I just have to say we got what we expected and would like to do it again with Beachsound.”
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