Pictured with the Studer Vista 5 SR during system set-up and rehearsals are (l-r) FOH Engineer Francois “Frankie” Desjardins; Tour Manager Denis Savage; Studer USA Sales Manager Jamie Dunn; and Monitor Engineer Charles Ethier.Las Vegas, NV (December 13, 2007)–Gossip doyen Cindy Adams may have claimed in Tuesday’s New York Post that Celine Dion will return to tour the U.S. in 2009, but it looks as if her sound crew is already rarin’ to go, having recently gotten their hands on a pair of new Studer Vista 5 SR digital live sound consoles for the trek.
Purchased by Quebec-based production company Solotech–which has been providing sound, video and lighting systems for Dion since 1992–the two Vista 5 SR desks will handle front-of-house and stage monitor duties throughout the Canadian songstress’ upcoming world tour.
“All of the systems we considered sound good and offer similar features,” says Dion’s FOH engineer, Francois “Frankie” Desjardins. “But, for me, the top three reasons for going with the Vista 5 SR were easy. Number one, it is very compact and light. Since we will be taking the console with us throughout the tour [the production will only carry its complete PA system on the European and North American legs of the tour], weight is very important. And its small footprint means that we can place it within the audience,” without taking up valuable seating space.
“Secondly,” Desjardins continues, “the Vista 5 SR produces very little heat. When touring Australia in February, for example, the local temperatures can cause major reliability problems with equipment that runs hot. Finally, we need a design that can handle FOH and monitors equally efficiently. Our operators will be out on the road for perhaps two years, so we may need to swap between mix positions; having to learn two console systems just wasn’t viable for us. The Vista 5 SR is perfect for our needs and very quick to use.” In addition, “maintenance of the console is easier–we will need to carry fewer spare parts–and we’ll have a better knowledge of the product.”
Denis Savage, Dion’s longtime FOH engineer and now tour manager, offers that mixing on-stage monitors for the Taking Chances tour–a task that will fall to Charles Ethiere–will be particularly complex. “We have a number of sound sources and other elements locked to video that need to be sent to different artists. Because we are planning [to provide] 16 stereo monitor mixes, the Vista 5 SR’s routing flexibility is a big deal for us.”
“We’ve had great support from Studer,” Desjardins concludes, “but I think Jamie Dunn from Studer USA made the difference. He spent many hours with us in Las Vegas. Given that our audio setup is a bit unusual for FOH and monitors, he was able to build two different setups really quickly, and it worked the first time. That made a positive influence on us regarding the choice of Studer consoles.”
“We are constantly investing in cutting-edge technology,” adds Solotech Sound Department Special Project Director Mario St-Onge, “and continually developing ever more effective solutions. Our sound, lighting and video teams work together [to] find the best solutions.”
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