To promote their second album ‘Our Earthly Pleasures‘, Tyneside-based indie rockers Maximo Park have been touring tirelessly throughout 2007, taking in dates in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, summer festivals and two separate treks around both the UK and Europe, all of which will climax in a triumphal homecoming gig at Newcastle‘s Metro Radio Arena on 15th December.
For the UK and Europe dates, Britannia Row supplied a Turbosound Aspect® rig, with the band‘s FOH engineer Trevor Gilligan mixing on a 56 channel DiGiCo D5 console.
The Aspect system comprises nine TA-890H mid/high, nine TA-890L low cabinets and two TQ-440 full range speakers per side, augmented with four TSW-218 subs. On stage, 16 Turbosound TFM-450 wedges are supplemented by two TFL-760H and four TFS-780L as side fills, with pairs of TFM-450s and TQ-425Sps for drum fills. The system is driven by T25 and T45 amplifiers, with system control by Dolby Lake processors.
Gilligan had used Aspect a few times before and was particularly impressed with its performance at this year‘s Jersey Live festival. And it has more than lived up to his expectations indoors.
“We were playing a wide range of different venues, so the fact that Aspect works well in many different situations was a real bonus,” says Trevor. “It could be ground stacked or flown and it always worked well, even if you could only get a few boxes above people‘s heads.”
One venue where this virtue was particularly apparent was Cardiff University. “We couldn‘t get much height at all there, the place was packed, it was really hot and I was mixing under the balcony – I couldn‘t actually see the speakers at all!” Trevor continues. “But it sounded great and it‘s a nice system to use at reasonable levels, you don‘t have to cane it.
“Sonically, using a point source system is much better than line array in smaller venues and Aspect is also compact and light. Not only does our entire PA and lighting rig fit into one truck, its compactness aids sight lines at venues. Audiences go to gigs to watch the band, not the PA.”
Trevor has been using DiGiCo consoles for rather longer, for around five years now. “I started using digital when working with Oasis,” he says. “And the D5 is still only digital console that I can walk up to and get a mix out of without having to open a manual or start making calls. The routing is so easy, whoever designed it got it spot on.”
The Maximo Park tour doesn‘t makes heavy demands on the console – Trevor is using just 26 inputs and he prefers to mix on the fly, rather than using scenes – but its small size and onboard effects are a major benefit in the club shows.
“I would use snapshots and scenes if it was a big production, but we‘re in a different venue every night and there aren‘t a lot of effects changes. So it‘s actually easier to mix the old-fashioned way,” he says.
“The D5 looks very prestigious and I like a small console at places like Barrowlands where the punters are likely to be throwing beer about. They provide less of a target,” he smiles. “And space for FOH is always at a premium in club venues, so the onboard effects are very helpful. Indeed, the band‘s management came round at one point and asked where all the outboard was. So I just pointed to the D5 and said ‘in there‘!”
Although Trevor isn‘t using all the D5‘s facilities, what he is using he is very pleased with. “The onboard EQ is fantastic,” he says. “XfM also came in to record the Brixton show and we did a full multi-channel feed to their mobile recording facility with just one cable.
“In addition, it‘s incredibly reliable. If there is a problem with the D5 in my experience it always originates in human error – whether that‘s some idiot pouring beer into it or operator error. And if there is a problem, DiGiCo‘s customer support is second to none. I‘ve rung them at some very strange times of day, but they‘ve always been brilliant.”
Allyson Dias, Turbosound
Tel: +44 1403 711447
David Webster at DiGiCo
Tel: +44 1372 845600
Sarah James, Gasoline Media
Tel: +44 1372 471472