Quantum338 console pair, plus a DMI-KLANG card, create a tasty mix for a busy stage and show
They knew her as Carolina Giraldo Navarro in her native Medellín, Colombia, but the world now knows her as Karol G. She’s the multi-platinum global recording artist, two-time Latin Grammy Award winner, international pop culture icon, and trend-setting powerhouse who’s at home with reggaeton, Latin trap, sertanejo, and other genres that are creating a new artistic front in global music.
The first female artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 with a Spanish-language album, who broke the all-time record for the biggest female Latin album by first-day streams on Apple Music and had the biggest debut ever for a Spanish Album by a Female Latin Artist on Spotify, recently completed the US leg of her headlining Mañana Será Bonito tour. It kicked off in August at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and made stops in Pasadena, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and East Rutherford, NJ, and will continue later this year in Medellín, on December 1, and on to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara early next year. It’s a non-stop whirl that needs a console that can keep up with her and the show, and that’s just what they found with a pair of DiGiCo Quantum338 consoles, supplied by tour vendor Clair Global, deployed at front of house and monitors.
“Quantum is the future,” says FOH engineer John Buitrago, who cites a number of aspects of the Quantum338 he’s been using to support that assertion, from its powerful processing to its ergonomics that include how readable the displays are even in broad daylight at stadium shows. “I love how DiGiCo understands what front-of-house engineers need when it comes to mixing in many different environments. But it’s the console’s processing power that’s really the story.” On a tour that tops over 100 inputs, Buitrago says the Mustard and Spice Rack processors have made a huge difference, for starters, by dramatically reducing the need for outboard processing. “Using Spice Rack and Mustard, I get direct access to every processor I need, which saves me time, increases precision, and avoids external DSP issues,” he explains. “And the processors are the highest quality I’ve ever heard from within a console. For instance, the Mustard optical compressors have a super-fast response on transients. Just spectacular.”
Buitrago’s Quantum338 is on an Optocore network that also links the second Quantum338 at monitors, a pair of 56-input SD-Racks—one on the main stage and one on a smaller satellite stage—and an 18-input SD-MiNi Rack, as well as an Orange Box used to host track playback. While the networked system offers incredible reliability, the SD-Racks’ Stadius microphone pre-amps provide sonic clarity that he says supports increased direct-input instrumentation on the stage, including keyboards, but also for guitars, as those now utilize Kemper modeling amplifiers. “We can apply any of the processors to any instrument, and that gives us very consistent tonality,” he says.
Over in monitor world, engineer Robinson Barrera has found that the combination of the Quantum338 and a DMI-KLANG card for in-ear monitoring has significantly improved his workflow and the onstage experience. “There are a lot of songs but also a lot of ‘moments’—spoken introductions to songs, transitions, costume changes—as many as 50 of these moments per show, and I’m able to use the combination of snapshots and worksurface layers to easily manage all of those,” he explains. “The way the Quantum338 is laid out and the flexibility with which I can configure it makes setting up custom workflows so easy and intuitive. I have macros for every instrument and vocal that give me the combination of sound and processing I need instantly as the show moves along. In terms of processing, I especially like the Mustard optical compressors and EQ. I use both on various channels, especially bass and ambient mics.”
The transition to the DMI-KLANG card on the Quantum338 for monitors on this most recent tour was smooth, says Barrera. “We started with Karol’s mix and quickly had the rest of the band switched over. By the second show, everyone was adjusting their own mixes—the transition was easy and comfortable for everyone. What the musicians are telling me is that they’re enjoying their mixes more than ever before. With the Quantum338 and DMI-KLANG, they can hear the difference because there’s no ear fatigue or straining to hear. This technology is making our work better.”