The Smashing Pumpkins tour Asia with DiGiCo SD7
ASIA: Front of house engineer Jon Lemon has been making use of a DiGiCo SD7 console for the Smashing Pumpkins’ current tour, which recently visited a number of festivals, including Summer Sonic in Japan and Good Vibes in Kuala Lumpur. Audio rental company Eighth Day Sound supplied The SD7, along with the rest of the PA system.
‘The D5 Live came out in 2002; I had one of the prototypes,’ said Mr Lemon. ‘I’ve always used DiGiCo consoles. For me, they are the best sounding of the digital desks and the SD range is very reliable. I’ve used just about every one of DiGiCo’s SD consoles now. When the SD8 came out, I used that because it’s a smaller, lighter package and we were flying around a lot and we didn’t necessarily want to fly an SD7. Then, when the SD10 came out, I used that for a while. But the SD7 is my personal favourite.
‘The Oceania album was different to anything we’d done before,’ he admitted. ‘For safety’s sake, I decided I was going to go with the SD7; that way I would have built in redundancy – I had to build many snapshots to make the album work with the video, so I needed to know I had backup. However, the big updates from both DiGiCo and the Waves V9 plugins means that everything is very stable anyway.’
Mr Lemon uses 55 channels and keeps one spare, which keeps him to one 192kHz SD rack, with monitor engineer John Sherman using his own 192 rack for his SD10. ‘I use a lot of the SD7’s internal effects, but there is one bit of outboard I still can’t get away from: which is a Manley Voxbox but I do use that in conjunction with a Waves Renaissance compressor mainly for fast compression,’ he said.
‘We archive every show and record it straight from the SD7 via the Madi split into our Pro Tools rig,’ he furthered. ‘The recording is used for the live album and for virtual sound check. We’ve been on the road for so long now that I don’t really need it for virtual sound check anymore, but when we were starting up of course I used it all the time.’
Mr Lemon continued: ‘If we’re going to a festival, we let them know upfront we’re not going to give them analogue splits and that it will be a 48kHz or 96kHz Madi split. It works out better for everyone that way, because they have a basic mix from the FOH console to start with and the gains are all correct, so there’s no load on any of the microphones. That’s one of the real benefits of digital and having so much Madi I/O.
‘I find that digital audio simplifies things in a big way and the benefit of having all the onboard plugins is huge; when you need stuff, it’s just there and you can transfer from mixing a show for the website, for radio, for TV or a festival by just taking the settings from the plugins and having them on your DAW. That back and forth between console and Pro Tools really has made life pretty easy over the last year.’