John O’Donnell is certainly a busy man in Australia’s Pro Audio scene. With an impressive credit list over two decades long, the diversity of John’s work is ever expanding. Well versed in everything from theatre to world tours, John has moved seamlessly between sound designer, engineer and system architect; and all at some of the highest levels. His impressive list of past accolades includes being Head of Sound at the Victorian Arts Centre, sound system designer for Melbourne’s Concert Hall and State Theatre, consultant for the Sidney Myer music Bowl sound system as well as being a sound engineer for countless acts including John Williams, Don McLean and Paul Kelly. It’s fair to say John O’Donnell is one the key sound guys in Australia.
Above: Melbourne’s Anthenaeum Theatre
His most recent purchase was a DiGiCo SD9 from Melbourne’s Soundcorp which has been in non-stop use since being received. When visiting John at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre (where he is currently doing sound for ‘The Story of Bon Scott’), he shared some of his thoughts on the SD9. John’s become an instant fan of DiGiCo as he explains. “It sounds great, that’s the main thing. We had our opening night last night and I’ve been getting comments from the band about how good the sound is. I love the DiGiCo operating platform; it’s so easy to use. I really like the processing power, matrix mixer and groupaux options. I go between theatre and rock and roll a lot and the SD9 fits the profile of all the different gigs I do. For this gig, I’m doing front of house and monitors at the same time; all out of the SD9. I’m using all 8 outputs, 7 sends and a bunch of groups. The snapshots make it really clear and straightforward to use too.”
Above: John O’Donnell (right) and Group’s Drew Menard (left – He’ll do anything to get in shot)
John was also a big fan of the Stealth on-board effects typical of all SD Series consoles. “For the footprint, it does a LOT! Dynamics are really good, the EQ’s on every channel are handy, I’ve been using them on sibilant voices too when I really need to get in there. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of consoles. When I first the saw the multi-band compression I was like ‘oooh, this is really cool’.
John’s booked for the next two months solid already with the SD9 too. “At the Athenaeum, I just finished doing ‘The John Denver Story’ with Rick Price, now I’m doing ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be – The Story of Bon Scott’; following that is Claire Bowditch. Then I’m off to Her Majesty’s Theatre to do the Dorris Day Musical with Melinda Schneider and a 14 piece band. The SD9 will be running non-stop.”
Special thanks go out to Soundcorp from John also. “It’s always great dealing with Mike (Lasa) and Scott (Jamieson) at Soundcorp. I’ve known them for a long time and just going down there, chatting with them and re-connecting was great. I’m really happy to have made the purchase from them.”
Above: Inside the Intimate Anthenaeum Theatre