Daly City, CA (August 3, 2006)–Nashville renegades, the Dixie Chicks, have hit the road again this summer in support of their seventh album, Taking The Long Way. FOH engineer Fern Alvarez went with Digidesign’s Venue live sound environment for all his mixing needs on the tour. Working closely with Digidesign product specialists Steve McCale and Jeff Priepot, Alvarez configured a multiple Venue rig with one system at FOH and two systems for monitoring (each Venue system consists of one main console and two side cars).
Dixie Chicks FOH engineer Fern Alvarez at the Venue set up in Madison Square Garden for the Chicks’ Tuesday night show.Alvarez chose Venue after using the console on a brief run with Lisa Marie Presley in 2005, after which he was sold. “With the onboard features, versatility of the plug-ins, and the quick access to all parameters on the surface, I knew Venue was the solution for the complete package with the Dixie Chicks,” Alvarez commented. Alvarez was impressed with the Venue system’s studio-quality sound, calling it in his own words “masterful,” and the versatility of plug-ins. “It’s like having all of your front-end gear right at your finger tips.”
Another important consideration for Alvarez was the console’s physical size. “Real estate is not even an issue with Venue,” explained Alvarez. “Everything you need is onboard, so there’s not a lot of extraneous gear to carry. And with Venue’s small footprint, it takes up almost 75 percent less space than other FOH consoles I’ve used on past tours. Another reason Venue is a no-brainer.”
In addition to VENUE, the band has incorporated two Digidesign Pro Tools|HD rigs–one stationed at FOH and the other at monitor position–each capable of recording and playing back their 92 respective inputs. Because of the extensive demands of the Dixie Chicks concerts, Alvarez says he’s able to stay “ahead of the game” by using the FOH rig for virtual sound checking, and more importantly, for HD multitrack archival of the show. “Venue has made mixing easy and enjoyable all over again. I can’t imagine using anything else.”