Photo: FOH mixer Greg Huffman (left) and monitor mixer Andrew Sullivan at one of Morris Light and Sound’s two new DiGiCo SD10 desks on tour with Jake Owen
Jake Owen, the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist of the Year in 2009 and American Country Awards 2012 Breakthrough Artist of the Year, is taking his chart-topping brand of party-country on tour all spring, summer and fall this year. The “Days of Gold” that kicked off March 20 see Owen and his band headlining in 55 cities across the country, and DiGiCo SD10 consoles used at the FOH and monitor positions are helping to keep the festivities rolling.
The two new consoles, purchased by Nashville-based tour sound provider Morris Light and Sound in February though DiGiCo’s US distributor, Group One Ltd., are making life easier for FOH mixer Greg Huffman and monitor mixer Andrew Sullivan. “They’re simply awesome – we love them,” says Sullivan, who adds that they were literally introduced to the consoles during the band’s pre-tour rehearsals. “We swapped them out during the line check so we had very little time to get to know them, but they are so easy to understand and use that we were up to speed on them in no time.”
Sullivan lauds the DiGiCo SD10 for its flexibility, noting that he can assign any channel to any of the three fader banks on the SD10’s work surface. “I can have any combination of inputs, outputs or control groups on any fader I want, putting it wherever it makes the most sense, instead of having to flip between pages and VCAs,” he explains. He also likes the way the desk’s 16 multiband compressors and dynamic EQs offer highly nuanced control over the sound. And, speaking of sound, while the SD10s have Waves servers for outboard plug-ins as part of their package, Sullivan says that other than Owen’s vocals, everything else on stage is using only the SD10’s onboard processing. “It’s really an amazing board like that,” he says.
FOH mixer Greg Huffman is just as effuse in his praise of the SD10, explaining how he splits the work surface left and right between Owen and his band. “I had gotten used to flipping fader banks on the previous console I was using, but now I have Jake as several macros all on one side of the console, along with some of the playback stuff,” he explains. “It’s so much easier to manage.” He also cites DiGiGrid, the collaboration between plug-in maker Waves and DiGiCo/Soundtracs that provides processing and networking solutions based on the Waves SoundGrid platform, offering audio interfaces for Native DAW, Pro Tools and MADI-enabled consoles, such as the SD10. “That makes all of the outboard processing much easier,” he says. And the sound? “The sound is incredible!” says Huffman, who has mixed Owen’s live sound for eight years. “When Jake heard it the first time during a rehearsal, he loved the way everything sounded and I attribute a lot of that to the DiGiCo console. Jake likes it loud and the SD10 handles loud very well.”
John Mills, vice president of Morris Light and Sound, agrees pointing out that the DiGiCo SD10 brings a new level of sophistication to the company’s extensive inventory of sound and lighting technology. “We wanted to diversify our console choices, and DiGiCo is a great way to do that,” he says. “Andrew and Greg wanted to try them and the results so far have been excellent; from the first day they were flying them like they’d been using them for years, and the sound was phenomenal.”
Mills says this year, with anchor touring client Kenny Chesney taking the year off from live shows, Morris Light and Sound’s decision to pursue more festival work has paid off – the company provided equipment for five stages at the CMA Music Fest, the Bayou Country Superfest and Buckle Up, among other festival events in 2014. “We wanted to be able to offer clients a broader range of console choices, and the DiGiCo desks add more depth and dimension to our inventory,” he says.
For an up-to-date list of Jake Owen’s tour stops, visit www.jakeowen.net/events. More info on Morris Light and Sound can be found at www.morrislightandsound.com.