Marking the middle of a world tour in support of his third album, ‘Call Me Irresponsible‘, Canadian crooner Michael Bublé played eight UK arena shows in November and December. Accompanying monitor engineer Craig Brittain was the latest member of the touring entourage – a DiGiCo D5 Live console.
Brittain began using the 56-channel D5 Live EX console this autumn. “I‘d been using various digital consoles for the past 18 months or so,” he says. “I took part in a DiGiCo demonstration in Vancouver some time back and, having spoken to friends and peers in the industry who use them, really wanted to get a DiGiCo for the summer dates in the US.
“For various reasons I had to wait, but starting on it in Europe and the UK worked out very well. I was able to go to DiGiCo‘s premises and spend some time with Tim Shaxson and Roger Wood, who got me up to speed really quickly with customising its settings for the show. I was really impressed with the flexibility and ease of setup. Once I got on to it, I realised the decision was a no brainer.”
In addition to Bublé, the tour features 13 musicians – an eight-piece brass section and five-piece rhythm section consisting of drums, bass, two guitarists and a pianist.
For Craig, this meant six sets of IEMs, plus wedges and sidefills. In addition, he has an Aviom card interface on the D5, feeding rhythm stems and direct outs of each one of the horns. This is then sent to eight Aviom A16 mixers operated by each member of the brass section, allowing them to do their own monitor mixes. And with a choir brought on each night to round off the set, it‘s a busy life in monitor world.
“The desk is pretty much maxed out,” Craig smiles. “I‘m running 55 inputs and 33 outputs, but the D5 is so intuitive to use. The layout is really comfortable, having the four screens means I‘m not having to go through menus or layers to find things. I‘m also using an external TFT monitor, allowing me to see all the ins and outs at same time. I also really like the feel of the faders, the overall graphics, and the sound of the dynamics. But, most important of all, it sounds amazing!”
Craig is using an outboard compressor and reverb on Bublé‘s vocal, but will be depending entirely on the D5‘s internal effects and dynamics for forthcoming dates in South Africa. “I don‘t use a lot of effects, just the dynamic gates and compressors, plus some reverb,” he says. “And they all sound great. Using the outboard units is something I have got used to over the years, I just feel very comfortable using a few select pieces of gear.
“I also save every show and tend to start each day in a new venue by recalling the last show to use as a basis for the mix,” he continues. “At the moment we‘re in arenas, but I like having the option of recalling a theatre show for the next time we play a theatre, for example. It saves a lot of time.”
Overall, Craig is very happy with his choice of the D5, also citing its roadworthiness and ability to cope even when there‘s a problem.
“Last night we had a hiccup for the very first time,” he says. “But it didn‘t affect my show in the least, I swapped the bank in question to a different input section and all was fine, never having lost any passing of audio. That was really good.
“I have to say that DiGiCo‘s service is amazing. You can call them at any hour of any day and it‘s not like calling a company where you sit on hold and get put through to different departments. I can call Roger on his mobile at any time of day or night. DiGiCo is also very happy to get feedback from users.”
He continues: “I‘m extremely happy at the moment. From first day of using the D5, I had the guys in the band complementing the sound of the mixes. They have been amazed and I know a good part of that is the quality of the console.
“The upgrades on the V4 operating system are excellent. DiGiCo always surprising me with things they come up with and I‘m sure the next upgrade will be just as impressive.”
David Webster at DiGiCo
Tel: +44 1372 845600
Sarah James at Gasoline Media
Tel: +44 1372 471472
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