Morris Light and Sound Adds DiGiCo SD9 Consoles for Jake Owen Tour
With four albums, nearly a dozen top 20 tunes and a fist full of number one country singles, Jake Owen has achieved a popularity that many in Nashville only dream of. And, while he stays busy all year with his own tour dates, he is also spending a good deal of this summer opening for Kenny Chesney on arena and stadium dates through the US. That kind of mixed schedule can be tricky when putting together an audio rig, but Nashville-based Morris Light and Sound recently purchased a pair of DiGiCo SD9 consoles to deftly answer the challenge.
“We have a pair of SD10s that we purchased last year for Jake’s headlining tour of mid-level arenas and Jake’s team uses those for the dates with Kenny Chesney. But we needed something physically smaller for when he breaks off from the tour to do his own dates,” said Morris GM John Schirmer. “The SD9s were the perfect solution to the logistical issue of an artist who is both opening stadium and arena shows and doing his own dates in between.”
Schirmer points to the ease of moving between various frame sizes and systems in the DiGiCo family as a big part of the appeal of the SD9. “The engineers are already very comfortable with the DiGiCo work flow, and with the SD9, we get a reduced footprint surface with all of the same SD capability. They can load the same show files as they use on the SD10. It makes a smoother changeover between opening for the Chesney tour and being able to provide their own production without compromise for Jake’s performances outside of the Chesney tour.”
The audio quality of the entire DiGiCo family is beyond doubt at this point and is consistent from the biggest console down to the SD9 and even the SD11, which will fit in a DJ rack. “We don’t give up anything to get the size down,” Schirmer said. The SD9s travel with the system to Owen’s solo gigs, so the only things the engineers have to take out of the Chesney truck pack are a pair of Waves servers, making the SD9s extremely convenient in addition to sounding great.
While engineers will often cite specific features or abilities when explaining why they chose a specific audio console, as GM of a large sound company that is doing an increasing amount of business in the rental of gear for tours, Schirmer looks at thing a bit differently.
“DiGiCo has done a really good job of keeping the infrastructure of their products consistent from one console to another,” he says. “If you have used an SD10, or a 9 or a 7, they are all familiar with a few tactile differences. This makes them ideal for a company like Morris that has acts of various sizes doing all kinds of gigs. The people at DiGiCo are really in tune with the live sound industry and the specialized needs there. That is really important and it shows in their products.”
Once known as a company that serviced only the artists of its sister company, Morris Higham Management, Morris Light and Sound has moved aggressively into a more traditional rental company role in the past few years. “The model of the company has changed. Two years ago, they pulled me off the road and we began to transition into being more of a full concert production company. And now it’s not just Chesney and Owen. We work with Eli Young, Grace Potter, Chris Isaak, Chevelle, Old Dominion, Florida Georgia Line, Keb’ Mo’, and the list goes on and on.”
“As we move in this direction, it is crucial that we have the great gear available that tours are asking for. It needs to be gear that makes the phone ring. Increasingly, DiGiCo is at the top of that list.”
“When Jake’s solo arena tour came around last year, we were looking for a system that was a little smaller, sounded great, provided a 96 kHz solution and was priced at a point we were comfortable with in order to get that tour out the door. The SD10 really fit our needs. And when we needed a smaller solution for these solo dates during the Chesney tour, the SD9 with the same great sound quality, stellar service DiGiCo provides, and interoperability of the entire SD line made it the obvious choice.”
DiGiCo Is Portugal’s Gold Standard
Globos de Ouro – or the Golden Globes – is Portugal’s highest profile arts and entertainments awards ceremony, taking place annually at Lisbon’s Coliseu Dos Recreios. 2015 marked the awards 20th year, with the 24th May ceremony featuring four DiGiCo SD series consoles to mix the audio for both the live and broadcast audiences.
Although it shares a (translated) name, Globos de Ouro is unrelated to the Hollywood film and television awards, instead rewarding Portuguese achievement in a range of disciplines – from film and theatre to music, sports, and fashion.
Working with television channel SIC, Sintra-based Auditiv Audiovisuais Lda has been the event’s audio contractor throughout its two decades and this year used DiGiCo SD series consoles for the first time.
“In previous years we have used our DiGiCo D-series consoles, but this year we upgraded our stock to SD consoles,” says Auditiv’s João Escada. “We purchased two SD10s, two SD5s and an SD9, plus two SD-Racks. All except the SD9 were used for Globos de Ouro.”
The ceremony features live music, with an orchestra and contemporary bands playing together. The front of house mix was taken care of by the two SD10s, one for the orchestra and the other for the other bands, musical stings and presenter/guest microphones.
“We were handling over 100 channels, plus 20 channels of ambient microphones just for the broadcast production. In all we had about 14 stereo auxes and 20 mono auxes,” says João. “We used one of the SD5s for monitors, while the master console was an SD5B, located in our mobile studio for the broadcast feed. The broadcast software and extra screens of the SD5B made it an excellent choice.”
He continues, “Everything was on an optical loop, with all the consoles sharing the two SD-Racks. One of the big advantages of the system was that analogue splitter noise is a now thing of the past. In addition, we could still use all the outputs for the monitor console, even with the broadcast SD5 as master.
“It was very easy to put the SD Racks exactly where we needed them, the snapshots all worked perfectly and the send/receive tie lines was a very useful feature. It was a very successful show and we are already looking forward to next year.”