Arctic Monkeys engineers mix with DiGiCo Quantum consoles

The band’s engineers, Will Doyle and Matthew Kettle, have relied on DiGiCo consoles, provided by Solotech, to deliver sound at both the monitor and FOH positions for many years.

This time they have opted for the latest DiGiCo Quantum consoles along with a DMI-KLANG for immersive in-ear monitoring. Both are experienced DiGiCo users, with Doyle opting for a Quantum 338, and Kettle utilising a Quantum 5 for the latest tour.

“I first made the switch to DiGiCo for Arctic Monkeys in 2012, and I’ve been using their consoles almost exclusively for nearly all my clients since then,” commented Kettle. “I find it to be a very quick, powerful, and extremely flexible platform, which I believe greatly contributes to achieving the best-sounding shows possible. Over the years, I’ve increasingly utilised the workflow flexibility, which has truly become second nature to me. It never gets in the way of what I’m trying to do and always sounds great. And the level of support and communication from the DiGiCo team is completely unmatched, not only in this industry but any other. Nobody even comes close.”

Doyle switched from his previous desk of choice in 2017, and discovered Relative Group Update Mode and Macro functions: “I like to use the Aux to Faders panel to select my outputs, freeing up the centre section and giving me more inputs at my disposal. Having the channel processing controls on the centre screen has significantly increased its versatility for me,” he added.

Doyle’s monitor setup includes 60 inputs from the stage distributed across two shared SD Racks. “This goes up to about 86 inputs with all the shouts, effects, ambients, intros, and other elements,” he explained. “Not all of them are used simultaneously, as the band moves around and swaps instruments, so I’m making the most of the Snapshot automation. We have 12 in-ear mixes and six wedge sends, along with a few spares.”

At FOH, Kettle has approximately 80 inputs, with 60 originating from the band and the remaining comprising utility items such as audience mics. “I’m pleased to say that every sound you hear during an Arctic Monkeys performance is played live by a real person, using a real instrument, which is somewhat unusual these days,” he explained.

Kettle stated that Mustard’s ability to integrate modelled classic compressors and EQ onboard significantly reduces the need for third-party tools to achieve specific tonal characteristics. He also appreciates the True Solo function: “I have a sense these features are only the beginning, which fills me with excitement and anticipation for DiGiCo to unlock even more of the potential the technology has to offer.” Doyle had used KLANG for the first time on a lower input show and realised it would suit Arctic Monkeys: “I’m using the DMI-KLANG, which does wonders separating everything out, leaving room in the middle for whatever the main focus of the mix is. It gives a real sense of space where you can place things in their actual onstage orientation,” he explained.

“Placing sounds around the listener makes everything seem less crowded and it’s easier to discern different instruments and lower the overall volume needed to pick things out. It also lets you bring up other sources that might otherwise make things a bit congested in a normal mix. For example, a particularly full keyboard patch might normally overwhelm a mix, but can give everything a bit more vibe when kept slightly more distant with KLANG. Additionally, for the few individuals not using KLANG, Nodal processing is proving to be a great tool for achieving personalised sound,” Doyle commented.

Doyle added: “Another great application of KLANG is the remote control side of things. With an access point attached, our backline team can control their own mixes on their phones or tablets. Not only can they adjust their mixes to taste independently of me (using either user-defined groups, or single channels), but they can also solo individual channels direct to their mix, again completely independently of what the console solo bus is doing. It’s made chasing faults a much more streamlined affair.”

For Doyle, the shift from the previous DiGiCo ecosystem to the Quantum consoles was easy. “You feel right at home straight away, just with a few more tools at your disposal,” he concluded.