Fall Out Boy's audio crew at the DiGiCo SD5 console, from left: Chris King, monitor tech; Jerrell Evans, systems engineer/crew chief; Chad Olech, FOH engineer; Tim Banas, P.A. tech; Kevin Dennis, monitor engineer; and Katie Hughes, P.A. tech
Photo: Jack Edinger.
The Boys of Zummer Tour, supported by Clair Global, pairs rockers Fall Out Boy with rapper Wiz Khalifa, and it includes a DiGiCo SD5 console mixed at front-of-house by Chad Olech, and a DiGiCo SD10 console at monitors mixed by Kevin Dennis.
Olech—who has mixed FOH for touring artists like Demi Lovato, Robin Thicke, Joe Jonas, Anthrax, Survivor and the Deftones—says he was new to the DiGiCo SD5 when he went to tour Clair Global’s headquarters in Lititz, Penn., last fall. While there, he says, he asked Clair to set up a shootout between half a dozen consoles, including the SD5, using the Clair i3 cabinets and CP218 subs they’d be using on the tour.
“The workflow on the SD5 fits the way I work perfectly,” Olech says. “I like to have everything in the same spot every time. I don’t want to have to think when I mix; I just want to mix. The SD5 lets me do exactly that.
“For instance,” he continues. “I can have the entire EQ strip in front of me and don’t have to page through to find things. I know exactly where the knobs are; it’s muscle memory. The same goes for the compressors; everything is where I put it and where I want it.
“I like having some of the Waves [MultiRack] stuff here, and the SD5 is set up to integrate them nicely,” Olech says. “But the SD5 also has a 4-band EQ on its inputs, and I’d bet that if I were to just use that, the audience wouldn’t notice the difference. That’s how good the console sounds.”
Monitor mixer Kevin Dennis, who has also mixed monitors for Green Day and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, says the SD10 is “[sonically] completely transparent—the preamps, the EQ, all of it. There’s no coloration of the sound. A band at this level works very hard to get the tone of its backline exactly right. They don’t want to hear your version of that sound. And I’m a minimalist. I only want what they want to come through back to them. The SD10 lets me do just that.”
FOH engineer Chad Olech mixes Fall Out Boy on a Clair i3 P.A. system.
Photo: Jack Edinger.
Just as importantly, Dennis says, the SD10 has also become a communications hub for the entire operation. “We have an extensive talkback system with everyone on in-ears, including the techs, and no speakers on the stage,” he explains. “Instead of hand signals, the techs can easily get onto the comms and let me know what they need, or vice versa. It’s all matrixed through the SD10, which makes it very streamlined. And Chad’s connected to this as well since we’re using the same rack and it’s all on fiber.”
This particular communication infrastructure lets the show proceed smoothly, even if bandleader Pete Wentz decides to change up the set list on the spur of the moment. “Everyone’s in the loop, through the consoles,” says Dennis. “Doing that on the fly without it would be way more difficult.
“This tour is going a lot of places and I know when I call DiGiCo with a question, I’ll get an answer or a phone call back within five minutes,” Dennis adds. “The support is just top notch. They’ve covered all the bases.”