SWG Events, Ben Rector Tour Rely on DiGiCo Consoles
SWG Events has recently invested in two DiGiCo S21 digital mixing consoles and they have been busy from the moment the company took delivery of them. SWG Events has been providing technical production services to the events industry since 1985 and has a long-standing relationships with a multitude of engineers.
“A lot of the freelancers and tours we work with have seen the benefits of DiGiCo consoles and we’ve hired them in previously,” says the company’s Mark Bott. “But we had an opening in the fleet for a small size console, with the level of functionality of a much larger console and we wanted to minimise the weight on our transport. Having the S21 adds a great brand name to our inventory. There only a handful of pro audio brands that if you say they are going to be at either end of the multicore everyone is going to be happy.”
“This was our first Glastonbury rolling out DiGiCo,” continues Bott. “The guys from DiGiCo came and supported us there. It was brilliant to have that backup.”
Since then, the consoles have been to CarFest, both north and south, The Just for London comedy festival in Russel Square and a tribute event to Eric Brown, reputedly the greatest test pilot that every lived, at RNAS Yeovilton and Countryfile live.
“We have several corporate events and small scale music events that they’ll be used on during the rest of the year,” Bott concludes. “The next stage is establishing a good dry hire market for them as well. We’re very happy with our investment. Any product that can spend more time out of the warehouse than in is a very good thing.”
Ben Rector Tours With “Brand New” Stealth Core 2 DiGiCo SD9s
Ben Rector’s career is a textbook case of what the new music industry landscape looks like: a sea of independent musicians touring and working hard to break through public consciousness when up against major label-backed artists. The Tulsa-born, Nashville-based Rector has put out seven albums on his own indie label, Aptly Named Recordings, selling over 450,000 albums and four million singles in nearly a decade — a large accomplishment for an indie artist.
Jake Hartsfield, Rector’s FOH engineer and production manager, has added a new tool in Rector’s road kit helping him perform in that crowded field that is the music business: a compact pair of DiGiCo SD9 digital consoles, used for FOH and monitors. The DiGiCo SD9s give Rector and Hartsfield the power and performance to help stand out on the road, plus the economic effectiveness to stay out there profitably.
Rector has been touring all year, and his schedule is still packed with headline amphitheater and theater dates this fall. Touring with the SD9 consoles, rented through Nashville’s Spectrum Sound, has offered Hartsfield and Brian Boggs, Rector’s monitor engineer, a new level of effectiveness and efficiency.
“I’d read a lot about the DiGiCo consoles and many of the live mixes I’ve admired were mixed with them,” says Hartsfield, who’s also mixed live shows for other successful indie artists such as Megan & Liz and Kidz Bop. “Spectrum Sound had SD9s available that were fully upgraded with the new Stealth Core 2 software and the Optocore fiber-optic loop that lets both consoles share the same SD Rack amp heads.”
He’s also found that the SD9 has virtually all of the EQ and dynamics processing onboard that he needs for live shows. “I put a bit of the Waves C6 multiband compressor plugin on Ben’s voice for some polish,” he says. “But everything else I need is right there on the console.”
The SD9’s sonic power and flexible connectivity, combined with its compact form factor and light weight, helped to boost the economics of touring for Rector and other indie artists. “We’re at that point right between a semi-truck and two trailers, so the compactness of the SD9 really helps there,” says Hartsfield.
Yet, he emphasizes, he doesn’t have to compromise any performance. “With the new Stealth Core 2 upgrade, I can have 96 channels,” he says. “When we began rehearsals, we were right at 48 channels, so I have plenty of room for additional channels if I need them. I’m also very comfortable with the number of faders and work surface.”
And the SD9 offers Hartsfield options that contribute greatly to Rector’s live show: Hartsfield connects the SD9’s I/O through MADI via the DiGiGrid MGB to a multitrack recorder, enabling him to record every show (Rector’s 2014 LP release was a live record), and playback from that routed back into both consoles via MADI enables him to do virtual monitor soundchecks at FOH and monitors.
“The flexibility, the sound and the performance of the SD9 are all fantastic,” he says. “It’s the best-sounding desk I’ve ever mixed on.”