When king of croon Lionel Richie embarked on an extensive European arena tour to promote his latest studio album, Just Go, front of house engineer Lars Brogaard was in no doubt which console was going to be there mixing the house sound – a DiGiCo SD7.
Lars’ relationship with DiGiCo is a long one – he was the first engineer to take a D5 console on tour and was involved from the early days of the SD7’s development, helping with BETA testing of the new console to ensure it delivered everything that leading live sound engineers need.
“I’m also Lionel’s production manager and my sound company, Major Tom, was awarded the contract to provide sound for the tour,” says Lars. “We needed to buy a console for this tour and so the SD7 was the obvious choice. Having been involved in helping to road test the console, I felt it was about time I actually owned one!”
Of course, no matter what their history, no sound engineer worth his salt would make a major investment in a console like the SD7 unless they thought it would give them the very best sound, and Lars’ choice is strictly down to his confidence in it delivering exceptional audio.
“I think it is a wonderful console. For me the EQ is a big step forward,” he says. “It’s a great EQ for live work because the slope is steeper than it was before and providing 24dB of cut or boost per octave is a real advantage.
“The effects are also fantastic. It’s all there and the Stealth technology makes a big difference to the sound of the console, delivering crisp, clean highs and definitely more oomph in the low end.”
Although he uses snapshots as a starting point in each venue, Lars prefers to mix the shows by riding the SD7’s faders, ensuring that the uniqueness of each gig is accurately captured.
“I use snapshots to provide a basis for each night,” he says. “With this band there is no real need to be over-sophisticated and I like to let the show build organically as it goes along each night, rather than stepping through presets.
“When you’re touring, the performances naturally change and evolve as the dates go by. I don’t believe in just trying to recreate the production rehearsals every night. It’s great that I can have that basis, but also the flexibility to actively mix every show. The band can really play and Lionel can really sing, so they are hugely enjoyable gigs to mix.
“It’s the best looking console on the market at the moment. It has a real feel good factor. So when you sit down to work each night, you’re already feeling that it’s going to be a great show.”