After an almost two-year hiatus from touring, Colombian singer-songwriter Juan Luis Londoño Arias, better known as Maluma–happily hit the road for its 27 two-month stops Grandpa Juancho Toured in support of her fifth studio album Sony Music Latin, released August 2020. Although Clear Overall provided a Cohesion CO-10 sound system and touring support for the Latin Grammy-winning artist’s third full-scale tour of North American arenas, front and monitor mixes were both performed on a new pair of DiGiCo Quantum338 consoles that Maluma purchased for his own touring inventory.
“I’ve been mixing on DiGiCo consoles for at least 15 years now and they’ve always been my favorite,” says Lucas Pinzón, who has spent the past six years leading the reggaeton/pop superstar front that has collaborated with everyone. world from Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna to Ricky Martin, J Balvin and The Weeknd. “In my early days with Maluma, I worked on a variety of consoles – SD8, SD10, SD5 – supplied by local vendors. Eventually he acquired his first set of consoles and peripherals including a SD12, which I really liked for its compact size and full processing. But now that Maluma’s number of shows and channels have increased, we’ve moved to the Quantum338 platform and it’s been amazing. The console is so versatile, solidly solid and always sounds clear and beautiful.”
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The artist’s latest trek ended up in almost every show and included stops at the Forum in Los Angeles, Madison Square Garden in New York, State Farm Arena in Atlanta and the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. For the tour leg, Pinzón’s FOH console was on an optical loop with two 56 in/24 out SD rackseach associated with an AES/EBU output card, and a SD-Nano Rack, all fully loaded with 32-bit I/O modules. The Quantum338 was additionally equipped with a DMI-DANTE [email protected] board to provide digital PA system sends, while 64 channels from the racks served as analog backup. The console’s second card slot housed a DMI-WAVES module to run the Waves backup system, “since I’m running the main one from the native Waves port that comes with the console,” he noted. The recording and the virtual sound check were carried out on BNC via a DiGiGrid MGR MADI to SoundGrid interface providing 128 audio channels at 96 kHz to a REAPER digital audio workstation.
“Having mixed on many DiGiCos, I have to say the sound difference of Quantum is quite noticeable, and I love the Mustard processing and Spice Rack,” Pinzón said. “I’ve found that applying Mustard to my most important input channels gives me the ability to be more precise and create solutions that weren’t possible before. , like doing parallel compression per channel, for example . And as for the Spice Rack, I like to use it to make changes to some channels that I’ve customized for specific songs, and then control those changes through my snapshots. Although I always complete my mix with a few “little brushstrokes” of Waves, I mainly use the console’s built-in processing for most things because it’s super functional, very user-friendly and sounds fantastic. The sound quality of this console allowed me to take my mixing to another level.”
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While Pinzón ran around 90 input channels at the FOH position each night, control engineer German Tarazona worked his mixes from a remote bunker, as the artist used a 360-degree stage. With the band occupying the four hollow pockets of an X-shaped stage, Tarazona used his Quantum338 to create 12 main stereo IEM mixes for singers and musicians, four stereo mixes for guests, two spare mixes for the band and eight channels in a different frequency band for cities with high RF congestion, such as Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
“This is my first tour with DiGiCo, and I can tell you after 27 shows it’s the best change I could have made,” he said. “On previous tours, when Lucas used an SD12, I was on a different brand, which wasn’t ideal for unifying the overall sound. We had been hoping to move to the same type of console for a while now, and we finally we found the right fit. We both wanted our artist to feel that his in-ear mix and the room mix are very similar, so he could get the most out of his show. We absolutely achieved that with the Quantum338 consoles.”
Tarazona calls new Quantum features like Core processing and True Solo as perfect examples of why he was so happy. “These two tools are game changers for me as a sound engineer – being able to provide different sounds of the same instrument to musicians makes my mixing experience very enjoyable. And the Spice Rack is amazing too. I have inserted my playback tracks into it. , which sounds great and helps me preserve the dynamics of my footage.”
The ability to have dedicated talkback on each mix is ”very nimble”, he reports. “I don’t need to multiply assignments, and everything is thought out to give me quick access to musicians. Besides, I use the wide option on the stereo channels to improve the stereo image in the IEMs, as well as different types of reverbs to provide wonderfully warm mixes.”
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In addition to its two SD racks loaded with 32-bit I/O cards, Tarazona also has an SD-MiNi rack in its insert rack for analog inserts. Two AES/EBU cards facilitate connection with four Bricasti effects units to “deliver spatiality to my artist’s ears”, while two analog cards interface with the vocal processors: a Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel and a Portico 5045 to “reduce ambience on the mics,” he said. Like the FOH desk, the DiGiCo monitor console also comes with a DMI-WAVES board. and out-of-the-box external processors, I haven’t really used them much. The sound of this new console is far superior to what I used before and I found in the Quantum338 all the solutions to my needs.”
A fundamental visit tool: the virtual soundcheck
Both engineers agree that virtual soundcheck was a fundamental tool for the tour. “Due to the technical complexity of the setup, we don’t have a regular sound check, only a pre-show line check,” Pinzón noted. “So when I want to fix something or improve the mix of a certain song, I go back to the virtual soundcheck of the previous show, go through the snapshots, then calmly work through them until I find the right result. . It’s a tremendous help.”
The Quantum338 displays’ brightness, size, and 1000-nit viewing angle are also a welcome improvement over other desks the duo have used. “Even for outdoor shows, these consoles are very comfortable and easy to use – the sun doesn’t bother us anymore,” he said. “It actually really illuminates the beauty of these boards. That blue is gorgeous.”
At the beginning of March, Maluma will take his Grandpa Juancho Toured Europe and the UK, followed by later dates in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere in the world. “We will take our DiGiCo consoles everywhere with us,” added Pinzón. “After a long mandatory shutdown due to the pandemic, we are more than happy to be back on the road, and our Quantum consoles are also ready and eager to go.”