The desks are the latest in a progression of DiGiCos that have accompanied the iconic multiple-Grammy-nominated tenor on his global tours and that offer his live-sound engineers the flexibility and power needed to manage 100-plus voices and instruments on a wide variety of world stages

 

Andrea Bocelli recently wrapped up the second leg of his North American AB30 tour dates (photo credit: Luca Rossetti)

 

Most artists of significant stature will name their tours, perhaps inspirationally, perhaps whimsically. Andrea Bocelli, the 11-time Grammy Award-nominated singer whose oeuvre comfortably straddles classic opera, romantic pop, and Latino genres, needed only a couple of letters and numbers to moniker his most recent sojourn: AB30—his initials and the number of years he’s recorded and traveled the world touring. And even that abbreviated signature is simply shorthand for millions of fans who just say “Andrea!”

On the current tour, which crossed North America in February and April, including Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal, and Detroit, with a brief stop in Brazil in May before heading to Europe from July through November, will ultimately return to the US in December. Throughout, Bocelli has been accompanied by 60-plus-piece orchestras, often some of the flagships of their respective regions, such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Indiana Symphony Orchestra, all conducted by Maestro Steven Mercurio. Equally impressive are the two new DiGiCo Quantum852 mixing consoles traveling with the tour, which also includes a full band and 60-voice choir.

 

OSA International is supplying the DiGiCo Quantum852 pair

 

The two consoles, representing the latest iteration of DiGiCo’s acclaimed Quantum series, were supplied to Andrea Bocelli’s audio team as part of a complete production package by OSA International, Inc. “Upon seeing the Quantum852 we knew it was the best choice for both the artist and OSA. Nothing else touches it and we’re proud to have some of the first in the US,” says OSA Executive VP Carmen Educate. “Adding the Quantum852 desks to our locations in Las Vegas, Nashville, and Chicago is a ‘win’ for our clients and these world-class desks perfectly complement the top-tier equipment and services that we proudly offer.”

For the AB30 tour, both desks are used for front-of-house mixing: one for mixing the orchestra—which ran to 68 musicians for the São Paolo dates in May—helmed by Stefano Serpagli, and the other for the overall mix, managed by Davide Lombardi. He takes Serpagli’s mix and blends it with the band—used for the more pop and Latin numbers—choir, some occasional playback tracks from Pro Tools, and ultimately Bocelli’s magnificent vocals. In addition to all of that, the two consoles also provide all of the onstage monitoring required.

 

The twin Quantum852 desks are also running monitors from FOH

 

“I come from a pop background, but I’ve also done some classical music before, and I love it,” says Stefano Serpagli, who has previously mixed live sound for Natalie Imbruglia and Dido. “The complexity with orchestras is that there’s a large number of live mics and musicians, and it’s all about the subtleties and finding the right balance. There are also differences between orchestras: you can go from the London Philharmonic, obviously so well drilled, and then we have a young and enthusiastic orchestra like São Paulo’s. The difference can be huge from what you get out right out of the box. And even a great orchestra will just give you a good starting point; the challenge is the difference in environments we encounter. Bocelli is an arena- and stadium-sized artist, and so you’re dealing with the subtleties and the complexities of mixing an orchestra in environments like these.”

Serpagli says the Quantum852 has taken what had already been his choice for mixing orchestras to the next level. “I’ve been a DiGiCo user since the D5 and then into the SD-Range, and I love how it has progressed with regards to onboard dynamics—and then came the Quantums,” he says. “We’ve used the Quantum338 and the Quantum7, which was previously my favorite work surface with its central bank of faders easily at hand. But the Quantum852 is its own category! It has a huge, intuitive surface that is absolutely incredible to work on. There are no compromises on this console. I can have whatever I want and as much of it as I want. And although I was already impressed with the clarity of the Quantum7’s screens, the Quantum852 makes visibility and control even better.”

 

Stefano Serpagli mixes the orchestra on a Quantum852

 

He’s also a huge fan of the Quantum processing. “I use the Chilli 6 [six-band, dynamic multiband compressor] across each section of the orchestra to help me smooth it out,” he says. “For instance, the younger orchestras may have more attack, dynamically speaking, and it lets me deliver a smoother result for Davide to mix in with the other vocals and the rest of the show.”

Davide Lombardi has worked with Bocelli since 2009 and has the role of audio supervisor, as well as sound designer and co-FOH engineer for this tour. He has also enjoyed employing the progressively more powerful Quantum processing during his time with Bocelli. “The Quantum852 is a natural progression to the future, with bigger screens and extra power,” he says. “That really helps because we also do stage monitoring from out front, and the availability of the Spice Rack and Nodal Processing offer us excellent tools for that. We can have as many as we need, and we can automate them, so we can cover both monitors and front of house at the same time. There is not a large amount of monitoring onstage, but what there is needs to be very precise, and Quantum852 makes it very easy for us to be able to do different cues for different sets.”

 

Davide Lombardi mixes Bocelli, his band, choir, and a few playback tracks on one of the tour’s two DiGiCo Quantum852 mixing consoles

 

Lombardi is managing 158 channels of audio for each show, including the mix sent over from Serpagli’s Quantum852 console and Bocelli’s vocals from the Schoeps Mk21 microphone capsule on his DPA headset, which passes through the 32-bit Stadius mic preamps on the DiGiCo SD-Rack onstage. “The Quantum852 lets me lay out the console exactly the way I need to manage the show,” he says. “That’s something else that DiGiCo has gotten right—every new console model is more ergonomic than the one before. I can only imagine what they’ll think of next.”

For more information on Andrea Bocelli’s upcoming tour itinerary, visit www.andreabocelli.com. OSA International can be found online at www.osacorp.com.