Having gained recognition for his mixing prowess on such TV shows as American Idol and The Voice, veteran engineer Andrew ‘Fletch’ Fletcher handled music mixes for the 2012 Billboard Music Awards for the second year in a row.
With a raft of major awards shows to his name, including the Grammys and the MTV Music Awards, Fletcher applied his skills to a Digico console for the very first time at this year’s Billboard Music Awards, supplied by ATK, the show’s audio provider.
“When the opportunity arose for me to use a Digico on the show, I jumped at the chance. Given the choice of an SD10 or an SD7, I went with the SD7 as it had a bigger input capacity… and more flashing lights.”
As it was his first time on a Digico desk, Fletcher spent a few hours at ATK familiarising himself with the desk, programming his show template, and doing the rest onsite.
“The challenge on any live TV show is to always be ahead of the game. I found the SD7 to be very easy to program and to get around on in general, which got me where I needed to be time-wise. I liked the onboard effects and stuck strictly to what was available on the console including three reverbs (Warm Hall and Vocal Plate for vocals and Percussion Room for drums) and two simple delays (one short, one long for vocals) for the show. I loved the multiband compressors and they worked great on vocals.
“I liked the flexibility of the fader bank layout, too. I put all my instruments on the left side of the console and had my vocals on the right side. I also put the top layer of vocals in the center section so I could have all 17 vocal mics on the surface at the same time. I used the edit range function to add things to my snapshots such as back up mics that were added after I had rehearsed all the bands and had to be put into all the snapshots. Also, I found the scope functions invaluable for some production elements that I had to land in my console and needed to be isolated from automation for emergency back up in case the FOH production console encountered a problem. Macros were quite useful to navigate around snapshots quickly as well.”
However, according to Fletcher, the first thing that really impressed him was the SD7’s sound quality: “The sound quality is outstanding and it’s very flexible. I’ve been using just Yamaha consoles for the past 8 years and the Digico’s sound very different and a lot more transparent. As it was my first time on the console – and having the time constraints of a live TV show – I didn’t get too deep into it, but I’ll indeed have some fun the next time I use one… and I’d be inclined to use one on every show, given the chance.”
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