This spring, DiGiCo SD10-24 digital mixing consoles occupied both the Front of House and monitor positions on three time MOBO award winner Beverley Knight’s tour of UK theatres.
The consoles were supplied by audio rental company Capital Sound Hire.
FOH engineer Robin Tombs and monitor engineer Simon Panos have been working with Beverley Knight for a number of years.
“I first started working with her in 2011. Her album Soul UK had just been released and she was looking to do a UK tour in support of it and I was introduced to the BK camp by Robin,” explained Panos. “We’d worked together for quite some time with a variety of artists and we work well together, so he invited me to mix monitors for Beverley on the tour. This is her first tour since that one, mainly due to her West End commitments.”
Tombs had also worked on several projects with Paul Timmins, Capital Sound’s general manager, over the past 10 years. “He introduced me to Simon and both of them indicated they had a desire to switch to DiGiCo consoles for this tour,” said Tombs. “Knowing where the budget had to sit - and being a tour that needed to be budget friendly - I felt the SD10-24 would be the ideal solution, as they’re compact and offer the sizeable number of inputs and outputs wanted and the quality signal flow gave me the confidence that both Robin and Simon would just love them.”
Tombs and Panos had heard good things about the SD10 and the fact that a lot of the big name tours the latter had seen recently, such as Pharrell Williams and Mumford and Sons, use SD7s. Despite this, he believes the SD7 would have been out of reach on this particular tour and may have been slightly overkill.
The two SD10-24s were ran using a single SD Rack on an optical loop, with the monitor console as the analogue gain master, since Panos had been using it for two weeks in rehearsals, and the FOH console in Gain Tracking mode. In total they used 48 of the 56 SD inputs, with monitors also deploying eight talkback mics as the whole band (drums, keys, bass, guitar, three backing vocal, two brass and Beverley herself) all used stereo IEMs.
“The four static musicians all had a talkback mic with an Optigate going to my cue mix, so they could ask for adjustments mid- song,” said Panos. “There were also two tech mixes with their own talkback mics for communicating with the musicians, plus Robin and myself. Beverley was the only person on stage with wedges. The drummer, bassist and keyboard player all had Cole and Porter thumpers. All told, with effect sends and returns, I was running 12 stereo mixes, 12 mono mixes and around 64 input channels."
Panos has enjoyed the flexibility of the SD10-24. “There’s nothing you can’t customise to make your workflow as smooth as possible,” he said. “You can move channels where you need them, and create custom banks and macros that allow you complete one touch control. Gain tracking and the ability to share a single input rack is a rental company’s dream, not to mention the optical loop system. In fact, there are so many features that have just made it a next-level console for me.”
“The combination of DiGiCo SD10-24 consoles with Rack sharing at the input stage, combined with our Martin MLA compact system and digital Dante returns, enabled us to present an incredibly compact and quality audio system for a one truck tour with limited budget,” concluded Tombs. “The SD10-24 consoles offer compactness and quality at a price that works for the theatre touring market, something that is crucial for clients and rental providers in the current climate, where artists need to make money and audio suppliers need to see return on their investment.”