Photo: FOH engineer Andy Meyer mixing Justin Timberlake’s current Man of the Woods tour on a DiGiCo SD7 console
Justin Timberlake has been a mainstay in the charts, and on our TV screens, for the best part of three decades. Starting out in The Mickey Mouse Club, before becoming a member of the boyband *NSYNC (their first two studio albums now certified as Diamond by RIAA), to then becoming a bona fide pop legend, selling 32 millions albums and 56 millions singles worldwide, Timberlake is currently on his sixth world tour, Man Of The Woods. His two live sound engineers, Andy Meyer and Paul Klimson, both rely on DiGiCo consoles supplied by Clair Global, the touring sound reinforcement provider.
“The SD7 offers an input count, flexibility, and sonic clarity that is unsurpassed by other platforms,” opens Andy Meyer, whose DiGiCo SD7 console is receiving 200 input paths at FOH, with 138 outputs. “I’ve got snapshots for changes that I want to make, and I fire it all off of time code. I used to do it manually, and I have foot switches to do it, just in case.”
The snapshots are starting points, Meyer explains, as throughout the performance he's making slight adjustments: “I don’t EQ the system, I let the system be the system, and I fix it in snapshots. If there’s a frequency bugging you, you find out what it is, and then you put a snapshot in to clean it up - you learn those things over time, so frequency-wise, I’m pretty set; it’s level-wise that I’m doing the work in real-time.”
Meyer likes to be hands-on with Timberlake's vocal: “you can't just leave that up,” he insists. “That's because everyone is everywhere, so I have to make changes around that. Every once in a while, you have that magic show that’s perfect, and you just laugh and go through the motions, but it’s pretty much always an adjustment situation.”
Monitor engineer, Paul Klimson, has worked with Timberlake since the artist's 20/20 tour in 2013. He says the SD7 was a no-brainer for this show. “The SD7 is the only console to use when you’re talking big channel counts,” he insists. “And it really does come down to that. Also, the surface layout, flexibility of programming with the macros, and having the ability to see many channels at once keeps all the important things under my fingers without having to page around to find things.”
The show file Klimson works off now has been in existence since 2014. It was a pretty full file back then, he says, but on this tour even more inputs and outputs have been added. “There are two stage racks and a Nano rack, and I use all of the inputs, so we’re at 140 channels,” he explains. “I’m really excited to change over to DiGiCo’s new Quantum engine when it becomes available, and explore the new options and features that will aid us monitor engineers.”
Klimson says this tour is a lot of fun: like driving a Ferrari, in fact! “In-ear mixing for bands is quite utilitarian, as they have to hear everything, so you give them a decent mix – especially this band, because they are all playing together and vibing off of each other. There are 32 stereo monitor mixes between Justin, the dancers, and the band; they have a couple of players that come and go. We are very lucky working with these guys!”