Mumford & Sons perform on the KROQ Coachella House stage during Coachella 2011
During April’s 2011 Coachella Music and Arts Festival in the Southern California desert, Broadcast Support Inc., which provides broadcast quality AV services for special events, spec'd a DiGiCo SD8 console for the KROQ Coachella House stage. For the second consecutive year, Los Angeles rock radio station KROQ rented a house for hosting live mini-sets and interviews with four-to-five bands daily, which included Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Cage The Elephant, Interpol, Flogging Molly and Mumford & Sons.
The DiGiCo SD8 console at the KROQ Coachella House
The SD8 console handled front-of-house, monitors, on-air broadcast, and mixes for the Webcast and backup recordings.
From left: CBS/KROQ engineer Steve Skuller, freelance engineer Steve McNeil, and Broadcast Support's Chris Malone
Broadcast Support’s founder and president, Scott Ramsay, has worked with KROQ for more than three decades, and provided services for the station’s inaugural Coachella House at last year’s festival. Ramsay helped interface with the bands' FOH mixers and tour managers, provided quality control over broadcast and Web mixes, and helped mix when required. He specified the SD8 for the gig for many reasons, one of which was to have an easy-to-operate system on-hand for touring engineers.
“I was familiar with the SD8’s reputation, but hadn’t actually had a hands-on experience with the console," Ramsay says. "I knew that DiGiCo made extremely intuitive and simply great-sounding consoles, and with the SD8’s massive onboard digital processing and control available in an easy-to-operate package was the deciding factor for me. The onboard package is phenomenal, and I get everything I want and more.
“The live broadcast environment is extremely demanding and filled with last-minute changes," Ramsay continues. "Bands show up early, late, and often unannounced, and we had to be able to change direction very quickly. Because of the heat, and on a stage with no cover, many of the tour mangers were reluctant to put the bands up for any more than a line check. Because the SD8 was so easy to program, it was no problem and we were able to deal with these situations and surprises very quickly. No other console adjusts to rapidly changing demands as well as an SD8. And most remarked how much they loved the sound.”
Ramsay says that one of the console’s best-used features was the multiband compressors on the matrix outputs. “These are better than any in our current inventory. They kept the codecs from saturating and avoided the station’s on-air limiters.”