Starring former Spice Girl Mel C, comedian Tim Minchin and Chris Moyles, Laurence Connor’s contemporary take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar is currently hitting stages across the UK and Ireland with a Digico SD7 console handling monitor mixing duties.
Taking in a number of large venues, including Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Wembley Arena and Dublin and London’s O2 arenas, the tour’s entire audio inventory was supplied by SSE/Canegreen, with a Digico SD7 at monitor position every night.
“My reason for using an SD7 is simple, really: it is literally the only console that can handle a show like this,” stated monitor engineer, Seamus Fenton, who runs 110 channels from the desk. “Being a theatre production, there are so many vocals to deal with, and this console handles that situation absolutely perfectly.”
Initially, Fenton was keen on putting all cast members on in-ear monitors. However, late into production rehearsals, he realised he needed an alternative plan of action. “Musical theatre is a very complicated genre to work with, to be honest; they sing one line, then they’re part of a crowd, and of course sometimes when they’re coming off stage, they’re still nattering away,” he commented. “These reasons combined meant I wouldn’t be able to put everyone on IEMs as I’d originally intended, so I brought in another pair of hands to help me out.”
The ‘new pair of hands’ constituted an additional monitor engineer with his own console, meaning the SD7 became the complete hub of the operation, catering for the nine principle vocalists and all the band members. It also sent feeds of everything else to the second engineer, allowing him to create his own sidefill mixes for the rest of the cast.
“This was the best way to do the job, as it meant the nine main vocalists could remain on in-ears, which is what I really wanted; it meant I could also look after the band properly,” Fenton said. “I just send a sub-mix of all of the vocals and the band to the second console, and from there he manages the ensemble.”
Another benefit in using this setup was the fact that all of the band members were using Aviom Personal Monitor Systems, which, according to Fenton, plays right into the SD7’s hands. “The fact that the SD7 has Aviom cards is absolutely fantastic, because I can just send those Aviom mixes directly to the band; there’s nothing else out there that enables me to do that,” he explained. “I have always been a Digico fan, but it’s not just for the channel count and the amount of inputs and outputs you can achieve; the desk has far more to offer than that.”
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