London (February 23, 2010)–Running since 2006, Thriller Live is a Michael Jackson tribute at London’s Lyric Theatre which makes use of a DiGiCo SD8 console.
The show’s audio provider, John Saunders Productions (JSP) supplies audio systems to numerous popular nostalgia live productions. With no less than five DiGiCo SD8 consoles recently added to the company’s inventory, the shows that the company services may be nostalgic in nature, but in reality are very much the real 21st century deal.
“In the past, I have made purchasing decisions based on who could offer me the best deal,” admits JSP owner, John Saunders. “But sound designers have very definite ideas about what they want and they tend to stick to that, so it’s hard to compete if you don’t carry the kit they want to work with. It’s all about quality.”
Sound designer Chris Whybrow made the decision to use the SD8 for the european touring edition of Thriller Live when the previous touring production outgrew its original desk. Thriller Live features two SD8s, one at FOH and one at monitors. One has also recently been put in to the West End production of The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas.
“I’m using all the snapshots and all the global scope, so each scene can recall a completely different sound if we need it to. And, the new Overdrive software makes it an even more valuable tool,” says Chris. “The onboard effects are great and I’m using AES direct to the amps, which has really improved the sound. The system sounds a lot cleaner and crisper, when compared to the show’s original design.”
The JSP team is also using the RME Madiface to make multitrack recordings during rehearsals and shows, allowing them to use the playback to immediately make any adjustments, if necessary, without the musicians needing to be present.
“We have an ‘electric’ band who are all on Sennheiser in-ears, so when we use the recordings, it’s as if the band really is there because we don’t get any spill from the stage,” says Chris.
The tour’s front of house engineer is Robin Conway, who adds, “The SD8 is a great console. The layout of the control surface is excellent and it’s very intuitive to use.