iHeartRadio Theater Guelph “Hearts” DiGiCo
The tenth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, a two-day virtual streaming, radio and television event in late September, featured a number of international artists performing live in front of a virtual audience, including Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with the special Guests Khalid and Swae Lee, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett with Jon Pardi, Usher and others. The festival also marked the debut of the recently unveiled DiGiCo Quantum338 digital mixer along with a new DiGiCo SD12 mixer at the iHeartRadio Theater Guelph in Burbank, California, where many of the artists are performing ahead of the festival’s air date.
Jason Batuyong, the venue’s Head of Audio for a year, has worked at the iHeartRadio Theater Guelph since the opening of the 20,000-square-foot space – formerly NBC Studios and home of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno – at Burbank Studios in 2013. He reports that upgrading to two consoles significantly improved the setup process at the venue. The original sound system installation, which Batuyong was also working on, was done by ATK Audiotek and included digital desks that were driver-friendly but were an earlier generation of technology, he says.
“Most of the time, acts brought their own tour package desks or rented them for their shows. The idea was to streamline everything and make it easier for artists not to have to bring in all of their own stuff. We chose DiGiCo because that was all we really used on every show, ”says Batuyong, who regularly works on America’s Got Talent, X-Factor, and numerous other TV shows and live events.
Batuyong and his team, which includes FOH mixer Josh Manville and monitor mixer Matt Russell, knew they had a compact SD12 in the front-of-house position in the theater with a standing capacity of around 500 plus an additional 150 to 200 wanted the mezzanine. “An SD12 in front of the house saves us so much space because it is so small and still offers all functions. And that made everyone happy, because everyone who normally gathers in front of the house suddenly had more space, ”he says.
When he reached out to Matt Larson, vice president of professional audio at DiGiCo’s US distributor Group One Ltd, in late 2019 to see what options might be available for the monitor desk, Matt said, ‘Don’t buy yet. Wait until the NAMM show. I can’t tell you what’s coming, but you will want it. ‘I said,’ Sign up; I trust you. ‘We didn’t know it would be Quantum, although we had hoped. “
But then Batuyong says, “We found out that this is a whole new quantum machine. It was everything we hoped for and much more. “The venue’s new Quantum338, which is based on seventh generation FPGAs and a completely new system architecture, has 112 inputs and 48 outputs, all of which use the new 32-bit ADC and DAC conversion“ Ultimate Stadius ”from DiGiCo and DMI-AES cards contain support for 16 AES I / O.
He also reports that two SD racks are optically connected. “We loop everything and share the head amps, a mixer that uses and adjusts the gains, and then everyone else who uses trims. Nobody uses gain tracking. We’ve found that this works best for us. “
The iHeartRadio Theater in Guelph has been closed since the coronavirus pandemic began, so the festival marked the debut of the new Q338. “Like everyone else, we were closed in March. And we didn’t receive the Q338 until June, ”says Batuyong. “We used the SD12 on a few shows earlier in the year, but the 10th Anniversary Music Festival was the maiden voyage for the Q338 and it was 100 percent amazing.”
He continues: “Everyone was very excited because no one could see this console when it was quarantined. Some artists’ FOH mixers were a little concerned about how to bring their files and how the file converter would work, but all of this worked seamlessly and was absolutely great. But most people started the mix from scratch. That was easier for the shortened sets they would be playing. And everyone said on their next tour that they want a Q338. “
The weekend virtual festival, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, aired nationwide on iHeartMedia on September 18th and 19th and on September 27th and 28th on the CW Network. The iHeartRadio Music Festival, held ten years ago to celebrate the launch of the iHeartRadio digital service, was also available for streaming via the iHeartRadio app, the free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service by iHeartMedia.
This year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival included performances not only from Guelph, but also from the station’s theater in Nashville and from Seoul, South Korea. “We had eight artists in seven days, including two in one day,” says Batuyong. For example, he says, “Miley Cyrus was the big showstopper” who headlined the second day of the festival. Enrique Santos, winner of the iHeartRadio Latin Personality of the Year Award 2017, introduced Kane Brown on stage in Nashville for a performance of “Be Like That” with special guests Khalid and Swae Lee on the stage of the iHeartRadio Theater in Guelph , a collaboration made possible through PORTL, a new hologram technology. “Alicia Keys came through and Usher was here too,” he says.
A few artists brought their own setups with them, Batuyong reports. “Which was okay because we now have a little space,” he says thanks to the space-saving compact SD12. “And everyone brought DiGiCos with them.”
For more information on the iHeartRadio Theater Guelph, please visit www.iheart.com. ATK Audiotek can be found online at www.atkaudiotek.com.