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Live Sound

All Hands on Desk for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run II

Stadium tour carries more than half a dozen mixing consoles for the power couple’s production.

Cleveland, OH (September 21, 2018)—On the Run II, Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s four-month, 48-date world stadium tour, is a massive undertaking by any definition. It’s the kind of show where Eighth Day Sound (Highland Heights, OH) had to ensure there were seven DiGiCo SD7 consoles on hand—two at FOH, four in monitorworld, and one backstage used for rehearsals and writing sessions, supplemented by a SD12 used just for dressing room vocal rehearsals.

Jason Kirschnick, international operations officer and global project manager at Eighth Day Sound, pointed out, “The wireless and in-ear counts are enormous. Stephen [Curtin, FOH engineer] uses a lot of subgroups to keep and manage all of the stage inputs on a single SD7, with the second SD7 on the same fiber loop and with the sessions loaded and ready there as a spare. No other desk could touch what the SD7s are doing here.”

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Currently, the Eighth Day Sound crew is running just over a hundred channels of wireless units, including comms, said artist monitor engineer James “Cowboy” Berry: “I’m only driving 16 stereo outputs from my desk for vocals—plus a sidefill and wedge mix downstage just as a safety—but I think that Jimmy [Corbin, band monitors engineer] only has two outputs left on his desk, which means he’s well into 30 stereo mixes.”

The SD7 consoles are connected to an Optocore fiber loop—a double loop in the case of the monitor consoles, two of which are primarily dedicated to the band members and two more for the artist on stage, with one for each task assigned as the primary console and a second as a spill-over deck for ancillary inputs such as talkback and audience mic inputs. Curtin estimated the show is 160 total inputs, down from 175 when the tour first took shape. “We were able to reduce the number of inputs slightly, which helps,” he said, “but it’s a high channel count, and the SD7s make all the difference.”

“With the SD7, we were able to utilize a second HMA Optical Loop, doubling the available I/O in the fiber network allowing us to add not one, but two additional record systems capable of handling all 160 channels plus an additional 16 audience mics,” said Curtin. “More important to us was the additional 504 inputs or outputs along with the 504 on Loop #1 to the system, which on this show is critical. That’s enabled me to be able to keep everything on just one primary console, which streamlines the workflow considerably.”

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The logistics for On The Run II are, by necessity, massive. It is a setup that can only visit the biggest of stadiums because “it definitely won’t fit anywhere else. But the SD7s can handle it all. When the SD7’s Quantum 7 processing update becomes officially available, we’ll technically be able to handle even bigger productions, but I’m not sure that we should tell them,” Berry joked.

On the Run II tour dates •

Eighth Day Sound •

DiGiCo •