Since 1967, the annual Montreux Jazz Festival has embraced a highly varied range of performers, from the loosest of freeform jazz through to contemporary stars of rock, pop, rap and RnB.
2009 saw the introduction of DiGiCo as a sponsor, with 10 of the company’s consoles used in the festival’s main venues. SD7s were located at Front of House and monitors in both Auditorium Stravinski and the Miles Davis Hall; while SD8s were in use in the MDH Club, Le Petit Palais, Jazz Hub and B4, Montreux Jazz Café and the outdoor Parc Vernex. DiGiCo also supplied an SD8 for engineer training and programming purposes.
“Because of the variety of performers over the 16 days of the festival, it is very important that we choose equipment that the majority of audio engineers want,” says Patrick Vogelsang, the festival’s head of audio.
“We had to find a new supplier of consoles for the festival this year, there were two or three brands that we thought about and we felt that DiGiCo was one of the best. Claude Nobs, the festival’s founder, wants the best products. He wants the best sound quality and the best performance for the artists. So choosing DiGiCo was a straightforward decision.”
Although the audio setup is straightforward in each venue, the biggest challenge was the sheer variety of performers. This was compounded by the relentless schedule meaning that there was no time for full soundchecks between acts.
“We need consoles which can easily handle many styles of music and also be readily set up how different engineers like to work,” says Benoit Saillet, who was looking after Front of House in the Miles Davis Hall.
“It’s the first time I’ve used DiGiCo. We had one day of training, but the SD7 was very easy to work with. The user interface is really clear and is excellent for the people who don’t necessarily like digital desks. They found it has exactly the same feeling as analogue and had absolutely no problems with using it.”