Southern California-based live event sound, equipment rental and broadcast audio production specialist ATK Audiotek recently acquired a slew of DiGiCo digital consoles, immediately putting them to work on the 56th annual GRAMMY® Awards telecast in Los Angeles in late January. This is the third consecutive year that ATK has relied on DiGiCo consoles for the production of "Music's Biggest Night," with this year's show marking the very first outing for the company's latest purchases.
ATK, the audio production provider for the Recording Academy's annual music celebration since the telecast permanently relocated to the Staples Center in downtown L.A. fourteen years ago, made the switch to DiGiCo consoles in 2012. This year, the console complement included an SD10 for Mikael Stewart, FOH production mixer and ATK's vice president of special events, plus an SD7 for Ron Reaves, FOH music mixer, seated alongside Stewart.
"Everybody who comes through the GRAMMYs leaves happy, and all I use is the onboard processing," says Reaves. "But my partner in crime at the GRAMMYs, Mikael Stewart, uses the Waves plugins quite extensively. He mixes all the dialog and the production elements, so he makes use of the DNS plugin on some of the podium micas." Stewart, whose console was directly connected to a DiGiCo SoundGrid server, used the Waves Dialog Noise Suppression plugin to reduce the room regeneration coming back in to the microphones and also made use of the Waves C6 Multiband Compressor.
Tom Pesa, the A stage monitor engineer, and Michael Parker, monitor engineer for the B stage, each mixed on an SD7 with a redundant engine. This year, for the first time, an SD8-24--supplied by Hi-Tech Audio for the occasion--was positioned backstage at A2 world, and that enabled an assistant engineer to more efficiently monitor signal distribution throughout the venue.
As in previous years, Parker and Pesa each accessed common head amps in the four SD-Racks positioned backstage. But this year, in another first, two SD-Racks were added in parallel in order to provide Reaves with discrete preamp control at FOH. "Those were running MADI to his console. Staying at 48 kHz, we got an entire rack down one MADI cable instead of two," says Jeff Peterson, ATK's system designer. A further four SD-Racks were dedicated to outputs. ATK's recent purchase was comprised of six consoles--two SD10s, two SD7s and two SD5s--plus 14 SD-Racks.
ATK was not the only company utilizing DiGiCo equipment at the GRAMMY Awards show. Outside the venue, in the Music Mix Mobile (M3) Eclipse truck, which provides the 5.1 surround music mix for the broadcast, Joel Singer, engineer-in-charge and M3 company partner, made use of a DiGiGrid MGO dual-port optical MADI interface and SoundGrid SGS-1 Server One. The setup enabled co-broadcast music mixers John Harris and Eric Schilling to insert Waves Renaissance Vox and DeEsser as well as CLA-76 and SSL Compressor plugins on the truck's console and Pro Tools system.
Photo: FOH Music Mixer Ron Reaves manning ATK Audiotek's DiGiCo SD7 console at the 2014 GRAMMY Awards