Mumford & Sons Install SSL L500 Console For Heartland Tour

Mumford & Sons Front of House Engineer, Chris Pollard, has chosen the Solid State Logic L500 console for the band’s An Arrow Through The Heartland tour, which comes to an end in October 2016.

Having used an analogue console on previous tours, the SSL Live digital console had to deliver. “First and foremost,” Pollard said, “The sound quality is amazing.”

The FOH path count for Mumford & Sons is large with around 76 inputs so Pollard added the robust L500’s Stem bus type. This grouping bus is equipped with discrete send levels that can be picked from any one of six points on the contributing path, and routed anywhere, including to other stems.

By inserting an FX into a routing channel to that stem, Pollard creates a fully processed auxiliary bus without requiring a separate return path. “I’m not using auxiliaries at all,” stated Pollard. “It’s a new way of working for me, but it works really well.”

Pollard lays out his VCA masters on Fader Tile 1 below the large multi-touch screen. The tile to the left contains banks of instrument channels, and the one above has all FX stems. “In a way, I’ve replicated an old-school analogue set up, but with this I can quickly access any instrument through the VCA groups, with the ‘Q’ button,” Pollard explained.

The Q button (Super-Query function) enables forward and reverse interrogation, populating neighbouring tiles with contributing channels. This also works with all bus types and input channels for fast access to destination paths.

The L500’s onboard FX Rack offers 96 effect slots, arranged in racks with dual linkable tempo sources – and nearly 50 different SSL effects and tools. Pollard commends both the compressor and phase scope:

“It’s a great sounding compressor, you can even emulate other compressors and make it sound the way you want. The phase scope is also really useful, I have set it up on a stem as a ‘tool channel’. If I need to check the phase relationship between two inputs I can simply send them to the phase scope, left and right, and see how they are lining up.”

Every one of the 208 fully processed paths on the L500 (256 paths total) incorporates an All-Pass Filter for adjusting phase without affecting response – extremely useful for multi-miking situations.