DiGiCo SD9 for Manowars Death to Infidels World Tour

Since the beginning of May, American heavy metallers MANOWAR, Guinness World Record holders for being the loudest band in the world, have been performing their Death to Infidels World Tour 2010 around the globe. The team from management company Magic Circle Music, with Jeff Hair from Aggressive Sound at Front of House, have been with the band throughout. However, monitor engineer Achim Lanzendorf and his DiGiCo SD9, provided by production company B&R MEDIENTECHNIK, joined them for part of the European leg.

B&R MEDIENTECHNIK has a long-standing association with MANOWAR, having first worked with them on the VIVA Live-TV coverage of Ringfest in Cologne in 2002. Since then, the association has developed, not only between the band and the rental company, but also with Magic Circle Music and God of Thunder Production.

Numerous recordings, festivals, tours and ambitious productions with the band, a 60-strong symphony orchestra, a mixed chorus of four voices and much more have taken place around the whole of Europe. From these shared experiences and their common desire for technical perfection, a close friendship has developed between Joey de Maio, founder, manager and bassist of MANOWAR, and Bernd Kugler, owner and general manager of B&R MEDIENTECHNIK.

"Joey is an absolute techie and enthusiast and I am obsessed with the same things," says Bernd Kugler. "We can talk shop together for hours and he likes to have a go with any new toys I have. MANOWAR's idea for 2010 was to perform the Death to Infidels Tour as a world tour, and that was a big and new challenge for us. Set-up times were tight and had to work around the unique backline of the band, especially with the guitarists, Karl Logan and Joey de Maio. A redesign of both MANOWAR's backline and their stage performance was necessary."

B&R MEDIENTECHNIK has worked with the band on its recording projects since 2009, with MANOWAR utilising the company's studio in Kürten. They have also supplied a certain amount of tour support and as a result, in association with engineer Achim Lanzendorf, offered a monitoring concept that would give the best audio quality but from the smallest possible size of equipment.

"Our love of English console manufacturers– B&R is the owner of the only SSL Axiom MT+ Recording Mobile in Europe – made our decision to invest in the DiGiCo SD9 very easy," explains Bernd Kugler. "We have had a very good relationship with atlantic audio and owner Wolfgang Garçon for a long time. The exceptional speed and flexibility of both the console manufacturer and the German distributor meant that we were able to supply the SD9 in time for the Eastern Europe part of the tour, which included festivals such as Sonisphere in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey."

"Joey came to me during the first rehearsal and said, ‘The SD9 is such a small thing and is suppose to have so many skills. I am dying to know how it works'," adds Achim Lanzendorf. "The user interface of this small DiGiCo desk is certainly different in comparison to the bigger consoles and that results in a different working routine during the show. In practise, everything worked very easily and smoothly – fortunately you don´t have to read a manual to be able to get working quickly. I'm familiar with the workflow of the bigger DiGiCo consoles – the SD7 and SD8 – so I could easily find my way around the SD9 and could also explain a lot of features to Joey.

"We only took economical equipment with us for this part of the tour - the SD9 and the stage cabling - on the plane. MANOWAR is well known to metal fans as the loudest band of the world. My intention was to take things beyond just intensity of sound on stage and create a perfect acoustic result through my mix. The tour itself went brilliantly and I was very relaxed. All I had to do was plug in the console and kick off – without any sound check. It was totally pain free and everything went like clockwork!"

"Joey's reaction to our snap decision on the console was: ‘You are totally insane. But in the very, very best way!'" laughs Bernd Kugler. "It was like jumping in at the deep end, but it was also very cool. When we arrived with the little Red Snapper [DiGiCo's working title for the SD9], we got jealous looks from the other engineers and it was easy to find a suitable place in the crowded backstage area between four or five other consoles yet still get the ideal view to the stage.

"Up to now, the console has been able to do everything we had expected, including having the MADI port which we can use for recording. We provided the Red Snapper for the Magic Circle Festival at Metalcamp in Tolmin, Slovenia and for the Masters of Rock in Vizovice in the Czech Republic. In September we went to Spain for the Feria de Muestras de Durango, the La Riviera in Madrid and the Sant Jordi Club Barcelona, all as a part of our tour schedule. After that, we shipped the equipment to Columbia. I know that DiGiCo´s director of R&D John Stadius, loves fishing, so I hope that this Red Snapper is also able to swim!"



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