Nothing But Thieves Tour

Nothing But Thieves Tour

English rock band Nothing But Thieves were very happy with their touring setup, but a fly-in gig in South Korea changed everything. The in-house desk was a DiGiCo Quantum338 and FOH Engineer Gary Curtis knew as soon as he heard it that there was no going back; and once the band had heard his multitrack recordings, they agreed. The Quantum338 is now their desk of choice at both the front of house and monitor positions.

“We had been using another system for about seven years,” Curtis explains. “But when we heard the Quantum, we all knew it was really good. I was able to do a recording of the sound check, so we could A/B it. The other console was great, but the DiGiCo is completely different.”

Monitor Engineer David Ruffle was unable to attend the dates in South Korea, and the last thing he expected was to come back to a completely different rig. He was not familiar with the Q338, but talking it through with Solotech, suppliers for the tour, confirmed it was the right choice.

“The guys at Solotech invited me up to their Solihull HQ to play with one of their consoles for a couple of days,” he says. “We ran through the desk with some multitrack recordings that I’d heard a thousand times before, and it was incredible. The space and separation the DiGiCo console gave the tracks was phenomenal; I was hearing things that I’d never really noticed before.”

The sound of the DiGiCo Quantum338 is just one of the benefits of the console. Curtis has also found the Snapshot and Scene features incredibly useful. During the show, he has automated certain changes that always happen. By allowing the desk to do some of the heavy lifting, he can concentrate far more on the band and his mix.

“We have an integrated timecode system for our lights and playback; by converting the LTC to MTC via my Rosendahl mif4, I can link the desk to the timecode and Snapshots that happen exactly when I need them. All the little things that happen in the background that can take your concentration are now done by the desk, so I am free to really feel the mix.”

The Quantum338 comes with a host of features that also stand out from Curtis and Ruffle’s previous mixing consoles. For Ruffle, it is the console’s surface. The Quantum338 benefits from an ergonomic, intelligent layout, with three, 17-inch, high-brightness screens, so everything you need is at your fingertips. Being able to switch the Master Screen to Aux Screen allowed Ruffle to stay in one place and mix song by song, rather than have to jump around the desk. Curtis echoes this and appreciates the greater depth of sound he gets from the DiGiCo console.

“Sonically, the Quantum338 is in a different league; there is a space, greater depth and width to the sound that you don’t get with other consoles,” he says. “I can pick out nuances that I haven’t heard before. Having all the processing elements is great too; the Mustard Processing and the compressor emulations are being used quite heavily across my groups. The majority of the processing is onboard, supported by a few outboard effects.”

Communication is also improved with connected Quantum338 consoles. Monitor and front of house engineers can text silently with the Text Chat function, eliminating the need for additional private comms channels, which is perfect for concentrating on the stage.

“The text function is really handy,” Ruffle notes. “Our consoles are in Loop, so I can chat to Gary at front of house and we can identify issues quickly, or just chat. It might seem silly, but it’s really useful.”

With the band so pleased with the improvement in audio quality, Ruffle and Curtis are looking forward to a long future with DiGiCo.

“Dominic Craik is guitarist and producer for the band, so I work with him closely during rehearsals and it’s been great getting the sound just right,” Curtis says. “If he had any issues at all, we wouldn’t be using the DiGiCo! We’ve got Wembley with Green Day coming up, and we’re all super excited to tick that one off!”

“I’m using all the processing. I think that’s what sold me on the desk,” Ruffle concludes. “Plus, the Q338 surface is really usable and the conversions are so easy between consoles. I know that if we have to do any more fly shows I’ll be able to adapt to any console in the range, and it just sounds incredible. I’ll be using DiGiCo Quantums for a long time now!”

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