DiGiCo Down Under With Rihanna

New York (January 28, 2009)--Rihanna's fall arena shows in New Zealand, Australia and Manila found monitor engineer Scott C. Pike mixing at stageside on a DiGiCo SD7.
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Monitor engineer Scott Pike
used a DiGiCo SD7 console for
Rihanna's fall tour of Australia.
New York (January 28, 2009)--Rihanna's fall arena shows in New Zealand, Australia and Manila found monitor engineer Scott C. Pike mixing at stageside on a DiGiCo SD7.

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Pike landed in the monitor spot during rehearsals in Los Angeles for the tour, and quickly switched out the existing monitor desk for the SD7: "Group One's Taidus Vallandi brought a loaner console down and we set it up next to the other one, ran a second split, and started setting up the SD7. We only had a limited amount of time to do the entire setup, in part because I had to track down an SD7 for the tour, but also because I had to convince management to go for the change. My saving grace was that Taidus also brought a computer in to record the rehearsals on the SD7, and afterwards, I was able to go to his facility and dial in all the mixes from the multitrack recordings on his SD7. Fortunately, we were able to track down an SD7 in Australia through Tom Allen at Parradiddle Productions."

The tour kicked off in Auckland, New Zealand on October 25th, and with only two days of production rehearsals--and only one hour with the band for a soundcheck before Rihanna hit the stage--Pike was up and running quickly thanks to the prep work done in rehearsals.

Although the tour monitor input requirements were fairly straightforward--totalling only about 50 including Rihanna, keys, guitar, bass, drums, Pro Tools tracks, and two background singers--the outputs were where Pike needed flexibility. For the band members alone, the outputs amounted to 30 for 16 mixes (8 stereo mixes), including single stereo mixes for side fills, the Pro Tools, pyro and video guys, one for the backline guy, a thumper mix for the drummer, a sub-mix for one of the key players and a record mix for the band's review.

One of the biggest challenges for Pike was dealing with individual requests for talk mics and in-ear monitor mixes from the band, while respecting and meeting the needs of the headliner. "We have talk mic's on stage so the MD (the bass player) can talk to the players, the Pro Tools guy and myself--but under no circumstances does this talk mic go into Rihanna's mix. In my past experience, working under the same circumstances with other bands, it has always been a problem. If I am cued up to the main artist, I can easily miss requests from other band members. We were able to use solo bus two and latch all the talk mic's up in a very inventive way by doubling the patch to my solo 1 cue output and using the same for solo buss 2. So even if I had Rihanna's mix cued, the talk mic's would end up in my ears and not hers. I personally have never been able to do this with any other desk."

"The word is spreading that the SD7 is a must-have," concluded Pike. "As a D5 fan for many years, these consoles sound great and are easy to use. You're not distracted by the technology. I am hearing a buzz about the SD8 and can't wait to get my hands on one too!"

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