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

31/03/2020

DiGiCo's Quantum 7 future proof historic Aarhus Theatre

Situated in the heart of Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, the theatre was built in the 1890s and opened in 1900. Architecturally lavish and the city&#...

24/03/2020

A note from Audiotonix CEO James Gordon

As with any business right now, our main concern is the health and ongoing welfare of all our staff, their families, and the companies and freelancers who make ...

23/03/2020

Compact DiGiCo set up for BAFTA-winning composer's masterpiece

Taking over the entire Southbank Centre and its performance rooms for one evening, Arnalds describes OPIA as a celebration of music and film, friendship and col...

13/03/2020

DiGiCo Quantum7T delivers power and flexibility to Trndelag Teater

Siril Gaare, Tr ndelag's head of sound, has worked at the theatre since 1998, first on a freelance basis, then making it her full-time home in 2008, before ...

13/03/2020

DiGiCo Quantum 7T delivers power and flexibility to Trndelag Teater

Siril Gaare, Tr ndelag's head of sound, has worked at the theatre since 1998, first on a freelance basis, then making it her full-time home in 2008, before ...

10/03/2020

SLS Productions invests in DiGiCo SD5 and SD10 to cater

We are extremely happy with our existing stock of SD12 consoles, but we decided to invest on the SD5 and SD10 for their I/O expandability, explains SLS's M...

04/03/2020

Wicked Takes DiGiCo's Quantum 7T Console For A Ride

NEW YORK CITY - March 2020 - Wicked, winner of multiple Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards, has become a Broadway staple, poised to celebrate its 17th year on t...

02/03/2020

Tonight's the Night for DiGiCo - The Tonight Show Starring

NEW YORK CITY March 2020 - Every week for the past seven years, Jimmy Fallon steps onstage in Studio 6B at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan and leads a...

27/02/2020

DiGiCo Consoles Were Sizzling For Super Bowl LIV's Hot Halftime

MIAMI, Florida - February 2020 - Super Bowl LIV was a truly Latina-American event: Bronx-born Jennifer Lopez headlined the halftime show and Columbia native but...

25/02/2020

GerrAudio provides DiGiCo and KLANG solution for Oakville Centre for

Another significant change, explains Andrew Moyer, Coordinator of Technical Services, has been the increase of both community and professional programming - fro...

20/02/2020

Optical Audio Productions tours DiGiCo SD12 with The Choir of

Working behind the scenes to help bring The Choir of Man to life is Gideon Cozens, the show's Front of House engineer on behalf of Optical Audio Productions...

17/02/2020

Primal Scream Get Maximum Rock n' Roll With DiGiCo

Formed in 1982 in Scotland, rock band Primal Scream released their third compilation album, Maximum Rock n' Roll: The Singles in 2019, containing 17 tracks...

14/02/2020

Jackson, Mississippi's First Baptist Church Installs Its Second DiGiCo Console

JACKSON, Mississippi February 2020 Approaching the centennial of its current...

13/02/2020

Quantum upgrade for Czech legends' anniversary tour

Kab t is a nationally renowned classic rock band, which has been hugely popular since the 1980s. Its 10th anniversary stadium tour was the most prosperous in Cz...

11/02/2020

Quantum synergy and touring theatre sound with DiGiCo and Autograph

Perhaps less well known is their equally widespread use in touring theatre, where the same advantages to sound designers and operators are just as applicable. ...

07/02/2020

Iconic Finnish engineer Mikko Engberg chooses DiGiCo SD12 for Eppu

Engberg is an icon of engineering in the Finnish music scene. He first got to know DiGiCo when the manufacturer introduced the SD9 to the market. And he liked i...

07/02/2020

DiGiCo launches A164D Wall LCD and A168D Stage for 4REA4

With 4REA4, we enabled audio over IP, but until now it had to be on a dedicated network, explains DiGiCo Technical Sales Manager, Tim Shaxson. Adding Dante co...

30/01/2020

DiGiCo S21 - a five-star console for a five-star venue

The venue had looked to DiGiCo from the very beginning, initially investing in an SD7 and three SD8s, but it had been looking for a smaller, more compact consol...

27/01/2020

Nordic Rental makes biggest ever console purchase, investing in DiGiCo

Our work in both touring and television has increased dramatically, but we were also seeing a growing demand from international artists doing fly-in shows on fe...

27/01/2020

DiGiCo's KLANG Integration Nets Three Industry Awards at NAMM

ANAHEIM, California - January 2020 - NAMM stand 17901 - While DiGiCo's new Quantum338 was the obvious show-stealer at this year's NAMM, the manufactur...

23/01/2020

Leading regional entertainment complex steps up to DiGiCo with Autograph

Nottingham's Theatre Royal has completed the purchase of a DiGiCo SD10T with two SD-Racks, supplied by Autograph Sales & Installations. Autograph also provi...

17/01/2020

DiGiCo shows new Quantum5 at NAMM 2020

Quantum 5 follows on from the huge success of DiGiCo's flagship Quantum 7. As with Quantum 7, the Quantum 5 engine slots neatly into the existing SD5 frame ...

17/01/2020

DiGiCo announces the DMI-KLANG at NAMM 2020

KLANG's acclaimed immersive in-ear mixing systems make spatial and transparent in-ear monitoring possible. With lower listening levels on average up to 6d...

17/01/2020

DiGiCo reveals Quantum338 at NAMM 2020

With Quantum338, we have ensured that we are providing a next generation console that works in synergy with our Quantum Engine, says Michael Aitchison, DiGiCo&...

15/01/2020

KLANG finale for last Soul Survivor Festival

SFL has been the event's technical partner for the last 16 years and wanted to provide the best and most innovative equipment for the finale of this incredi...

10/01/2020

DiGiCo for CRC Bloem

When it was time to upgrade their audio console in Bloemfontein, CRC decided on the DiGiCo platform in keeping with the same system they have at their Johannesb...

10/01/2020

Ukrainian popstar turns to Quantum for Russian stadium gig

Known by the stage name LOBODA, Svitlana Serhiivna Loboda first came into public view in 2009 when she represented her country in the Eurovision Song Contest. H...

07/01/2020

Stage Sound Services makes multiple DiGiCo Quantum 7 investment

As well as the SD7s, we have a large stock of SD10s, says Stage Sound Services Phil Hurley. When it was time to add more consoles to our inventory, we wanted ...

03/01/2020

DiGiCo & KLANG Makes a Big Splash at Willowbrook Baptist

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - December 2019 - Willowbrook Baptist Church's main campus in Huntsville, Alabama recently implemented its first step of a multi-phased ...

16/12/2019

George Strait Checks Yes For A DiGiCo SD12 96 FOH

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - December 2019 - Known as The King of Country and considered one of the most influential and popular recording artists of all time, George...

16/12/2019

DiGiCo SD10 Is Not Giving In On Tom Walker Tour

FOH engineer, Mike Platt, has worked with Tom Walker since 2017, when he was part of a three-piece support act for The Script. The Scottish artist's rise to...

27/11/2019

Lizzo: Millions Of YouTube Views, Eight Grammy Award Nominations, and

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - November 2019 - Lizzo has made her mark on the music industry: her chart-topping Truth Hurts was at the number-one position on the Bi...

27/11/2019

BRITANNIA ROW SUPPLIES DiGiCo FOR MTV EMAS 22ND YEAR

MTV has trusted Brit Row to supply the event for over two decades, creating a strong level of trust and reassurance during planning, pre-production and the live...

26/11/2019

First Presbyterian Church Bonita Springs Adopts Beautiful DiGiCo SD9 Console

BONITA SPRINGS, Florida November 2019 When First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, Florida reached out to All Pro Integrated Systems to update its audi...

25/11/2019

Teatr Muzyczny Roma Installs DiGiCo

Over the past 10 years, it has seen DiGiCo's Polish distributor Polsound involved in various technology upgrades, initially installing a DiGiCo SD7T and a n...

25/11/2019

Key supplier invests in first DiGiCo SD7 Quantum for

Protones is an established rental company with many well-known German pop and rock bands on its client list, such as Fury in the Slaughterhouse, as well as serv...

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...