With three UK Top 20 singles announcing her arrival in 2009, singer Paloma Faith followed with two platinum-selling albums and BRIT Award nominations. Right now, she is on an extensive UK tour with FOH engineer Huw Richards on a DiGiCo SD10 with SD Rack…
‘I’m running 54 channels here, and what’s really handy is having 12 faders in each fader bank rather than eight – particularly when working with drums,’ Richards says, during soundcheck at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. ‘On this show I have several additional snares and kicks, so there are a lot of channels, yet I can still pack the whole kit into one bank. I then have another bank for all of the percussion and effects. It works nicely, because everything is there in front of you.’
Very much a ‘hands-on’ engineer, Richards insists that the SD10 allows him to work ‘pretty much as I would with an analogue desk’.
‘When I mix, it’s like I’m playing an instrument,– I like to be able to move around the console,’ he says. ‘The SD10 allows me to do that. I only end up using snapshots and the mutes. The inbuilt effects are good, too; I am using a couple of reverbs on this gig on the drum kit, then some delays on the vocals as well as various other bits and pieces, as there’s a lot happening on stage.’
Richards is also a Waves used, and for this tour, has a PuigChild and Maxx BCL units from SSE Audio: ‘The PuigChild is superb for Paloma’s vocals, as she has quite a peaky mid range,’ he says. ‘t really fattens the vocal; and I use the Maxx BCL across the PA.’
The mixed audio is sent via AES from the SD10 into two Lake processors at FOH and then via fibre to stage left.
‘From there, it breaks down to Cat5 to the stage Lakes, then it goes AES to the amplifiers, so when the microphone hits the DiGiCo SD rack on stage, it doesn’t go back to analogue until the speaker cables,’ explains SSE Audio’s Perttu Korteniemi. ‘This method keeps it all simple: there’s no setting up of gains and no hiss, it’s all nice and clean, so when I open up the PA, there is no interference whatsoever.
‘I liked DiGiCo the minute I used one of their consoles,’ Richards summarises. ‘Whatever the model, you’re getting real value – everything you’re working with is always the same quality as the flagship SD7.’
From the Apollo, Faith went on to perform at the BAFTAs in Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House. Her tour runs until the beginning of July, where she will perform at T in the Park festival in Scotland.