Twenty One Pilots Plus Three DiGiCo SD Consoles = One Duo With Amazing Tour Sound
COLUMBUS, Ohio - February 2017 - For two guys from Columbus, Ohio, Twenty One Pilots (aka TØP) have made a lot of noise. After winning Artists of the Year and Album of the Year at the Alternative Press Music Awards, and Top Rock Artist and Top Rock Album at the Billboard Music Awards, the duo memorably accepted a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in their underwear on February 12 in Los Angeles.
Two nights later they resumed their Emotional Roadshow World Tour, which kicked off in Cincinnati last May and wraps up in Australia this April. Keeping TØP’s sound in top shape are a pair of DiGiCo SD Series mix consoles. There’s an SD5 at front of house—fitted with a Waves SoundGrid Extreme Server and a MacBook Pro for recording with a DiGiGrid MGB MADI-to-SoundGrid interface—piloted by FOH Engineer Shane Bardiau. Monitors, handled by Lawrence "Filet" Mignogna, benefit from an SD10 and SD10RE Redundant Engine, along with a MacBook Pro for recording with an MGB interface. The tour, outfitted by SR provider VER Tour Sound, also carries two SD-Racks (one of which is redundant) and one SD Mini Rack with a redundant rack. The crew is additionally carrying two SD9 consoles and an SD-Rack for their opening acts, Jon Bellion and Judah and the Lion, who join TØP on stage for several songs. Audio Crew Chief and Systems Engineer Kenny Sellars, from VER, Monitor Technician Dustin Lewis, and Audio Technicians Alex Martinez and Murphy Johnson round out the capable crew.
Prior to this tour, Twenty One Pilots had been using another manufacturer’s digital consoles on the road. But as the band’s popularity mushroomed, it was time to go to the next level. “Although I certainly had good shows on the other desks, I wanted to take the opportunity to learn a whole new console for this tour,” Bardiau explains. “I've always heard good things about DiGiCo, so I decided to roll with one, and there are many things I like about the SD5. The first thing I noticed was the open architecture—I can make any fader whatever I want. Another thing I love are the DigiTubes because they enable me to color my inputs similarly to my previous console’s preamps. Beyond that, the console gives me a crisp, clean sound.
“In regards to my workflow, the macros are amazing! I can make a button for anything. For example, I use one to swap back and forth between virtual soundcheck and live inputs. Having virtual soundcheck to tune the PA has been a huge help. Before, my systems engineer and I would play music to tune the PA, but now we use the last show’s recording and play it back through the console. This gives us a better feel for what the actual show will sound like. Finally, using the center screen to control my Waves plug-ins puts the icing on the cake.”
Twenty One Pilots’ sound can go from sparse to full in the space of a song. Bardiau says the SD5 can easily handle that. “This console gives me so much space to put everything in the mix,” he says. “The width is unreal! TØP has a few channels of prerecorded playback, and the amount of depth I can get out of them is incredible. I'm hearing things in those tracks that I've never heard before, even after 250-plus shows with them.”
Bardiau loves a challenge, and the SD5 takes TØP’s shows to the next level and him to the next stage of his journey as a master of the live mix. “When I first walked into rehearsals, the one thing on my agenda was to build a show file from scratch,” he recalls. “I had no idea how to use the SD5 and was a bit nervous. With the help of my systems engineer, I got the hang of it quickly. It's very intuitive and fast. I’m definitely recommending this console to my friends!”
DiGiCo Press Contacts
David Webster at DiGiCo
Tel: +44 1372 845600
Chris Shuler at Public Address
Tel: +1 574 514 7131
Images: (please credit Brad Heaton for all pics)
1) DiGiCo_TOP_1.jpg – TØP’s audio crew (left to right) at the tour’s DiGiCo SD5 FOH desk: Shane Bardiau (FOH engineer, seated), Lawrence “Filet” Mignogna (monitor engineer), Alex Martinez (audio tech), Ganglesaur (tour mascot), Murphy Johnson (audio tech), Dustin Lewis (monitor/RF tech), and Kenny Sellars (SE/crew chief)
2) DiGiCo_TOP_2.jpg – DiGiCo SD5, SD10 and SD9 desks supplied by VER Tour Sound are keeping Twenty One Pilots’ concert sound flying first-class
3) DiGiCo_TOP_3.jpg – Fresh off of their Grammy Award win, TØP’s Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are consistently packing out major venues on their Emotional Roadshow World Tour
I have always heard good things about DiGiCo, so I decided to roll with one, and there are many things I like about the SD5. The first thing I noticed was the open architecture, I can make any fader whatever I want. Another thing I love are the DigiTubes because they enable me to color my inputs similarly to my previous consoles preamps. Beyond that, the console gives me a crisp, clean sound.
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