Sony Digital Rapids Pixel Power calrec Sony

MerleFest 2019 Doesn't Miss a Beat with DiGiCo

26/07/2019

WILKESBORO, North Carolina With most music festivals these days being multi-stage productions, sound reinforcement providers have become remarkably adept in speedily switching over backline setups and minimizing downtime between artists' sets. But Wilkesboro, North Carolina's annual Merlefest, reinforced by Greensboro-based SE Systems, Inc., was able to take that transition speed to a whole new level this year thanks, in part, to DiGiCo mixing consoles and the manufacturer's new 4REA4 networked audio solution.

Established in 1988 in memory of Eddie Merle Watson, the son of bluegrass icon Doc Watson, as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College, the festival has pushed the boundaries of what Watson called traditional-plus music to feature acts as diverse as Elvis Costello, the Doobie Brothers, and Zac Brown Band. SE Systems has been the sound provider from the beginning, and the systems have grown along with the festival, which annually draws more than 75,000 people to the school's campus. This year, MerleFest utilized 17 DiGiCo consoles-ranging from the compact S21 to the large-format SD5-spread out across 13 stages for FOH and/or monitoring.

On the main stage there were three, maybe four, bands that were just straight-up type bluegrass the whole four days, says Chris West, who handles production, system design, and installations for SE Systems. Some people still see MerleFest primarily as a bluegrass festival, but two-thirds of the bands on the main stage had a drum kit, just to give some perspective.

The main Watson Stage had an SD5 at front of house, and then an SD11 for the Cabin Stage, says West, explaining that the Cabin Stage is a side stage, attached to the Watson, that gets active whenever the main stage goes quiet for a changeover. We never go down on sound at all. Bands don't get a chance to do soundchecks or anything like that once we get rolling. It's a near seamless stream of music from the day's first song to the evening's final note.

I love having the SD5 out there because the layout is so favorable to helping guest engineers feel comfortable. It's very easy to make custom fader banks for every band. Using a festival plot, we do that to basically give engineers what they're used to seeing in their channel lists. I typically do a fader bank of drums, and then I'll have a backline fader bank. I try to put everything in the order that the engineers are used to seeing it-whatever their riders specify-even though it's a festival patch. And then I'll usually have another bank; my right bank will often be the vocals and effects and stuff like that, and I'll leave the center for VCAs. And the engineers all seem to really like that.

As for the DiGiCo 4REA4, West used it as a large matrix mixer, instead of bringing in a separate console that all of the other consoles feed, and that, in turn, fed the PA.

Our 4REA4 was loaded with an analog input card, an analog output card, and an AES output card, he details. We also had an A168 STAGE box and an eight-channel ACONTROL8 fader wing that lived at front of house with the SD5, SD11, and other consoles on those occasions when a guest engineer insisted on bringing in their own. I used the 4REA4's analog inputs for the two SD desks and then used the AES out to hit system drive for the PA. Then I also had the analog outputs that I was able to use to send to other audio destinations, he notes, pointing out that there were audio needs outside of the PA, including feeds that went to video and an archival recording of the entire event.

It's the rule, not the exception anymore, that any festival will have audio going all over the place and you don't want to put it on the console, because someone might come drop a file in the desk. If that were to happen, all of the non-stage audio needs would get cut off. It's why festivals generally still use a separate mixer to drive the PA and matrices. In the past, SE Systems has carried additional consoles and other systems just for this purpose, but West says that the 4REA4 is the easiest and most elegant solution he's seen in 17 years of working MerleFest.

West positioned the A168 STAGE box in the area where the guest consoles were set up, with connections simply made via CAT6 cables. At some points we'd have one or two guest consoles out and you could leave them hooked up all the time, which made it great getting it right back into the matrix mixer, he says. We didn't have to run lines all the way across front of house; I could put it where the desks were and then use the ACONTROL8 at the main mix position for my faders. What was really nice about that was that I was able to see the signal on the LCD screens before I opened it up in the PA. With a lot of matrix mixers, you can't see what's happening until you unmute that channel. So without opening it up in the PA, there's no real way to tell what kind of level there is, and you can't verify lines with those. The 4REA4 allowed me to verify feeds before I opened each channel. I could also solo and listen to it, and then I had faders and mutes to turn them on and off.

Already a DiGiCo fan, West is a 4REA4 convert, too: Man, for a festival situation, this is just way superior to any other solution we've ever used. I fully expect to see it back here next year.

Additional information on this year's MerleFest can be found at www.merlefest.org. SE Systems can also be found on the Web at www.sesystems.com.

DiGiCo Press Contacts

Maria Fiorellino at DiGiCo

Tel: +44 1372 845600

Email: maria@digiconsoles.com

Chris Shuler at Public Address

Tel: +1 574 514 7131

Email: christophershuler@comcast.net

Images:

1) DiGiCo_MerleFest19_1.jpg - The DiGiCo SD5 FOH mixing console for MerleFest's Watson Stage

2) DiGiCo_MerleFes
LINK: https://digico.biz/merlefest-2019-doesnt-miss-a-beat-with-digico/...
See more stories from digico

More from DiGiCo

13/11/2019

Maggie Rogers Pairs Up With DiGiCo SD10 Pair for North

LOS ANGELES October 2019 Although Maggie Rogers' major label debut, Heard it in a Past Life, officially dropped in January of this year, the singer-song...

13/11/2019

Two DiGiCo SD5s for the Mosaek Teatro

With only three SD5s in South Africa, two of which are now based at the Mosa ek, this has been an important investment for the market they are catering for, sa...

30/10/2019

Colorado Symphony Conducts a DiGiCo Quantum 7 Upgrade

DENVER, Colorado Home to 80 full-time musicians representing more than a dozen nations, the Colorado Symphony is one of North America's leading orchestras...

23/10/2019

Bjork's Cornucopia An extraordinary 360-degree experience powered by DiGiCo's Quantum

The project, which started with the Utopia tour, evolved over a two-year period ...

14/10/2019

DiGiCo Spotlights New Software Enhancements and More at AES 2019

NEW YORK CITY October 2019 AES Stand #629 With its renewed commitment to sound reinforcement and expanded roster of related presentations, the Audio Engin...

14/10/2019

Paul Cooper chooses DiGiCo every time

I'd spent a few years touring with various acts and had pretty much stayed with one particular manufacturer, Cooper recalls. But then I started working wi...

07/10/2019

Historic Hollywood Bowl Embraces the Future with Quantum Tech

HOLLYWOOD, California Season after season, through the ongoing upgrade and refinement of its installed live sound technologies, the 18,000-seat Hollywood Bowl...

07/10/2019

Design Sound and DiGiCo: Always Seen and Heard Together in

BEVERLY HILLS, California If Entertainment Tonight and Page Six had a party, they'd call Design Sound, the sound reinforcement provider with a client list...

07/10/2019

Quantum Synergy with DiGiCo and Autograph

Hosted by DiGiCo and Autograph Sound, the day opened with Autographs co-founder Andrew Bruce telling his story from the early 70's to the present day. This ...

07/10/2019

DiGiCo Supplies The One-Two Punch For Anderson .Paak On Tour

LOS ANGELES Anderson .Paak's 2019 Best Teef in the Game Tour began in May at Nashville's Ascend Amphitheater, with its second leg now underway visitin...

30/08/2019

Idlewild Baptist Church Turns to DiGiCo for Live Services, Broadcast,

LUTZ, Florida Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida is the very definition of a mega church. Its 5,000-plus-seat sanctuary is big enough to accommodate a B...

29/08/2019

DiGiCo mixes all the Colours of Ostrava

Colours of Ostrava is an annual, international, multi-genre music festival that has been held in Ostrava, The Czech Republic, since 2002. In 2012, the festival ...

28/08/2019

Ordway Music Theater's new DiGiCo SD7T Quantum Console Brings Futuristic

ST. PAUL, Minnesota St. Paul, Minnesota's renowned Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has installed a new DiGiCo SD7T Quantum console in its main Ordwa...

16/08/2019

DiGiCo SD12s make their mark at TRNSMT

Adlib has a long history with the TRNSMT's organiser, DF Concerts, not least through T in the Park, Glasgow's predecessor to TRNSMT, with which the comp...

16/08/2019

Confetti fires with supercharged DiGiCo engines

Confetti's (part of Nottingham Trent University's) recent 13m investment in infrastructure and technology has seen the educational institute add a new ...

16/08/2019

Creative Stage Lightings creates new benchmark with DiGiCo SD10

My father, Mr. G. R. Srinivas, has been associated with the audio and lighting industry for past four decades. In the last 10 years, I have expanded my father&#...

13/08/2019

Ireland's Acoustik Invests in DiGiCo

For the past couple of years, DiGiCo has been at the top of the list on the riders we receive and they are our crew's console of choice, so the decision to ...

29/07/2019

DiGiCo makes Quantum leap at Montreux jazz festival

For over 50 years, Montreux has carved a unique place in the live music calendar, staging concerts across the city throughout the first two weeks of July, with ...

26/07/2019

MerleFest 2019 Doesn't Miss a Beat with DiGiCo

WILKESBORO, North Carolina With most music festivals these days being multi-stage productions, sound reinforcement providers have become remarkably adept in s...

25/07/2019

DiGiCo creates a spectacle with SD7 Quantum on 40-45

40-45 is a story of love and loss, centring around a family torn by religion and war during the German invasion of Antwerp in 1940. The ever-changing set (there...

24/07/2019

Summerfest 2019 is Hotter Than Ever Thanks to Clearwing and

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin There's a good reason that Wisconsin's Summerfest is colloquially known as the Big Gig. For 11 days in late June and early July...

19/07/2019

Power, control and backup DiGiCo and Autograph a perfect

Equipped throughout with d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers in a bespoke configuration, the new design provides seamless coverage of every single seat for the first ...

17/07/2019

DiGiCo Helps Intimate Vilar Performing Arts Center Achieve Grand Ambitions

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado The area around Vail, Colorado has long been a combination of natural beauty and modern taste, and the Vilar Performing Arts Center at ...

17/07/2019

DiGiCo Shines On Alfie Boe UK Tour

Alfie is a very personable and easy-going guy, and he's very appreciative of the job everyone does, says Bunting, who has worked with Boe for several years...

15/07/2019

The Voice South Africa hears the future of sound with

Multi-Media has worked with The Voice since the popular competition hit African soil four years ago. During this time, the company has grown and become more inv...

08/07/2019

Weird Al Yankovic Hits the Road with Strings Attached and

LOS ANGELES, California As to be expected, Weird Al Yankovic's latest North American tour, which kicked off in Clearwater, Florida on June 5 and runs th...

08/07/2019

Splitbean invests in the best and takes DiGiCo SD7T out

The theatre industry has its own demands and they differ from the other areas of the entertainment market. Sound is, of course completely crucial, and Splitbeam...

02/07/2019

DiGiCo Lands in Trinidad & Tobago

Earlier this year, Trinidad and Tobago-based Rent A Amp Sound Co (RAA) took delivery of an SD10 and SD12. The purchase, made through local sales and rental comp...

29/06/2019

DiGiCo lands in the Caribbean

Earlier this year, Trinidad and Tobago-based Rent A Amp Sound Co (RAA) took delivery of an SD10 and SD12, the first DiGiCo consoles to permanently reside in the...

29/06/2019

Lake Travis ISD Performing Arts Center's Three DiGiCo Desks

AUSTIN, Texas The Lake Travis Independent School District comprises its flagship Lake Travis High School and nine other middle and elementary schools, but wha...

08/06/2019

DiGiCo SD9T Delivers Audio Fidelity For Historic East London Theatre

The Grade II listed Victorian theatre's beautiful crimson and gold interior is redolent of the era in which it was built, while much of the handsome exterio...

08/06/2019

Drake Assassination Vacation tour upgrades to DiGiCo SD7 Quantum

With each successive tour, Drake's show as grown both in terms of his performance and its production values. To accommodate this, the team has continually r...

06/06/2019

DiGiCo Celebrates Coachella's 20th Anniversary in Style

INDIO, California Although currently ranked as the globe's fifth largest music festival, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival-or simply Coachella-...

04/06/2019

Ancienne Belgique stays versatile with DiGiCo

Ancienne Belgique first opened its doors in 1994 and underwent a massive two-year renovation to create a multi-purpose musical hub. Today, it boasts a superbly ...

29/05/2019

Kelly Clarkson Realizes Meaning of Life on the Road with

LOS ANGELES, California Although Kelly Clarkson has performed numerous one-offs and festival shows since the launch of her eighth and most recent studio album...

29/05/2019

CRC invest in trusty DiGiCo

CRC has over 90 satellite branches across South Africa with the main campuses based in Bloemfontein (two venues), Pretoria and now Johannesburg, all using DiGiC...

24/05/2019

SD12 perfectly compact choice for Ward Thomas tour

I chose the SD12 for its compact footprint, twin touchscreens, feature versatility and consistent sound quality, says Robin. The girls were backed by a four-p...

22/05/2019

DiGiCo Set to Showcase New Products and Upgrades at InfoComm

InfoComm 2019 also sees DiGiCo reveal Mustard, a new set of algorithms and options for SD7 Quantum channel strip processing that offer enhanced flexibility and ...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Eliminates Worries on St. Vincent's Fear The Future Tour

NEW YORK CITY October 2018 After a stint as a solo theatrical show on tour, St. Vincent roared back this year for a tour with a full band. This summer leg...

21/05/2019

Fully Redundant DiGiCo SD12 System Delivers Flawlessly For Pope Francis

NGR was chosen for this important event because of the quality of its equipment, of which DiGiCo is an important part, and its exemplary service, says Ram nas ...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Launches New DMI options and Previews KLANG Integration at

DiGiCo is delighted to announce the launch of a number of innovative new products at ISE 2019. These include the expansion of the DMI-AMM (Automatic Mic Mixing)...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo SD7 Consoles Have Live Sound At The Grammy Awards

LOS ANGELES, California February 2019 For the sixth year in a row, the DiGiCo SD7 console was the audio mixing hub for the two most critical junctions of th...

21/05/2019

The BRIT School Gets Students Industry Ready With DiGiCo SD12

Situated in Croydon, South London, The Brit School is a state-funded school for ages 14 to 18 and is dedicated to Education and vocational training for the per...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Lifts Off on Travis Scott's Astroworld - Wish You

LOS ANGELES, California Mixing just four inputs in an arena show is one of the greatest challenges of my career, shares Ken Pooch Van Druten about his gig...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Desks Pass Testing with Flying Colors on A$AP Rocky's

NEW YORK CITY Performing in full crash test dummy attire in the shadow of several vintage BMW and Mercedes Benz vehicles suspended over the stage, A$AP Rocky ...

21/05/2019

See DiGiCo KLANG Integration and S-Series Stage48 System at Prolight

ISE gave a first glimpse of the advantages the collaboration of DiGiCo and KLANG:technologies will bring to the companies' customers. Now, Prolight Sound ...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Exhibits New DMI Option, SD Software Upgrades, and KLANG

The DMI-A3232 card from the 4REA4 Range is now incorporated into the S-Series consoles. This I/O expansion allows for the 4REA4 I/O to be directly connected to ...

21/05/2019

Hot stuff! DiGiCo Reveals Mustard For Quantum 7 at Prolight

Last year's Prolight Sound saw DiGiCo showcase the working debut of its new Quantum 7 processing engine. Developed with seventh generation FPGA devices, i...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Helps Kane Brown Live Forever

NASHVILLE, Tennessee At only 25 years old, Kane Brown has already accomplished more than most major country stars twice his age. Case in point, in October 201...

21/05/2019

DiGiCo Treats Nicki Minaj Like a Queen on Her Nicki

CLEVELAND, Ohio Although North American audiences were justifiably disappointed when Nicki Minaj cancelled her fall 2018 NickiHndrxx tour with Future after de...