Total Production

DiGiCo Desks Are Unbreakable On The Road With Janet Jackson

December 2015

Janet Jackson embarked on a major world tour with audio production provided by VER Tour Sound, including a pair of DiGiCo SD7 consoles at front-of-house and monitors.


The new Unbreakable show generates 109 inputs, including Pro Tools tracks, to the two DiGiCo desks. Even with all those sources, Kyle Hamilton, Jackson’s FOH Engineer since her previous tour in 2011, had no need for additional outboard effects. “I’ve always stayed away from using extra outboard stuff, just because I don’t need it. Everything I need in a desk is already there.”


Hamilton commented: “If I need a nice tap delay, it has it. If I need a standard ‘verb, it has it.” In addition to the SD7 he also used a DiGiGrid MGB coaxial MADI interface to record to a laptop for subsequent virtual sound checks.

“Reverbs are for when you’re in a sterile environment, to create atmosphere and ambience. I just add the stuff that makes it cohesive for the environment that we’re in.” He said: “My goal is to mix to make it sound like the record with a live feel. That particular method has kept me working for the last 22 years.”

Hamilton, who only carried four outboard mic preamps - for vocals and bass - in addition to the console, continued: “I have a high-powered desk, the SD7, and the desk itself sounds great. What I’m getting from the band sounds great. Our Pro Tools is incredible and the stems are all amazing, because we take time to go through all of that meticulously. So I don’t need to add extra processing.”

He added: “Pro Tools is the sixth band member. If you break it down to a five-piece band it sounds empty if you don’t have all the elements there. The meat of everything comes from our band; the sweetness comes from Pro Tools.”

Hamilton has been using DiGiCo consoles since 2008, when he took a D5 out on a Lionel Richie tour. “I’ve used them all: SD5, SD10, SD11; from the biggest to the smallest. I know the DiGiCo family very well,” he stated.

Monitor Engineer Jim Roach is another longtime DiGiCo fan. “I’ve been using DiGiCo since 2010, maybe a little before, and I used a D5 in 2007. The audio quality is stellar,” Roach said.


“With other digital consoles, I sometimes find myself missing the old analog sound, but DiGiCo happens to have a sound that I love.”

Roach feeds 44 outputs to Jackson and the five band members - drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and a DJ - and the three background vocalists, all on in-ears, plus nine dancers, on side fills, as well as the production and technical crew. The DiGiCo console has proved to be very useful on this project, as the musicians experimented with different instrumentation and song arrangements during the extensive rehearsal period, he reported.

“It’s the most flexible console I’ve ever used,” commented Roach. “On a show like this that changed and evolved over the course of 10 weeks of rehearsals it was great to be able to change the console around every other day to meet the new configurations.”


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