There’s a lot of (crazy) love in the room at every venue Michael Bublé plays, as he tours the world in support of his album of the same name. And with the Canadian singer songwriter having recently converted to using in-ear monitors, engineer Craig Brittain’s DiGiCo SD7 console is on the receiving end of much affection too.
Craig has been Bublé’s monitor engineer for five years, a job he freely admits to “loving more now than ever.” Playing its part in the tour’s all-round atmosphere of devotion is Craig’s DiGiCo SD7, which he is touring with for the first time.
“I switched to a DiGiCo D5 at the beginning of our last tour, two and a half years ago. I fell in love with the sound, the versatility and flexibility of it,” he says. “At the time I happened to catch a glimpse of the then-unlaunched SD7 under lock and key in a back room at DiGiCo. So when audio company Solotech suggested purchasing one for me to use on this tour, the decision was a no-brainer.”
The show’s monitor setup is complex, with 90 inputs and close to 60 outputs. “We have an intricate talkback system, click tracks and various other things, which pushes up the count,” says Craig. “With that number, there’s no other console which can even come close.
“But it’s not just the channel count, I think the SD7 sounds remarkable. Any console sounds great when you have one or two inputs and an in-ear mix, but once you start summing multiple channels and doing 16, 18 or 24 and upwards mixes, numbers are getting crunched and you start to hear the difference between desks. You can A/B any digital console with the SD7 and it’s a clear-cut winner.” While Bublé’s backing musicians have been using in-ear monitors for some time, the singer was previously resistant to the idea. But, having a change of heart in production rehearsals for this tour, he rapidly became a convert.
“Michael’s using Sennheiser G2 in-ears now. It was quite a sudden decision, so I threw a rough ears mix together for him on the SD7 and it sounded so good straight off that he hasn’t taken them out,” says Craig. “There is a growing period for anyone using IEMs for the first time, but the SD7 has really helped ease that because of the sound quality.”
With the tour underway since March and continuing through to February 2011, Craig is continually discovering more about the SD7’s capabilities.
“I’m still discovering various facets of it on a daily basis,” he says. “I think it’s pretty amazing that there’s no outboard needed any more. The multi-band compressors on each channel and dynamic EQ mean it’s all there for me. The effects engines sound excellent.
“I also like the little video screen. I call it my rear view mirror, so I can see if anyone’s creeping up behind me!”
Above: Craig Brittain, Michael Bublé’s Monitor Engineer with a DiGiCo SD7.