British singer-songwriter Ben Howard is enjoying success on both sides of the Atlantic, having completed a sold out UK tour in December, a successful run in the US, returning to the UK in April, where he filled arenas round the country, including three nights at London’s Alexandra Palace, Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena and Birmingham’s NIA. His soul-searching brand of folk-pop has earned him a dedicated following. Audio rental company Nitelites is using DiGiCo SD7s for both Front of House and monitor positions on the tour.
Nitelites director Andy Magee, who has been working with Ben since 2012, elected to take up the FOH position, with Barrie Pitt mixing monitors. They use SD7s.
“The band knows exactly what they want and we try very hard to give it to them. It’s always a challenge and every console we use is pushed to the limits of its performance,” he says. “Almost all the band members are engineers and have worked in studios, so they push us really hard. It’s good for us because it keeps us sharp.
At FOH the show is heavily dependent on automation.
“If things change during the show, I can hit a safe button and get exactly what I need,” he says. “The band is great and the show sounds fantastic; the layering in the music is really subtle.”
Andy’s SD7 has the addition of a Waves Soundgrid, along with a DiGiGrid MGB to multitrack every show to a MacBook, which he plays back to Ben each day. Barrie, meanwhile, has a Universal Audio Apollo 16 plugin server with a DiGiCo Mini-Rack. A pair of SD9’s are also employed as the support band consoles.
And what of support? “Before the tour started, I had some hardware training from Rob Andrews and Dave Bigg at DiGiCo,” Andy concludes.