They may be creepy and kooky, but the cast of the Broadway musical adaptation of "The Addams Family" cartoons sounds far from macabre. With a DiGiCo SD7T in the starring role of a fearsome audio system and sound design from Acme Sound Partners, the new musical—based on the bizarre and beloved family created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams—opened to rave reviews at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City this April. â€¨â€¨
Acme's placement of the state-of-the-art digital console was based on positive experience working with other DiGiCo platforms over the years. Previously, the NYC-based production outfit employed DiGiCo D5T systems on many of their Broadway and touring shows starting with "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" in 2004, and later on Monty Python's "Spamalot", "A Chorus Line", "Legally Blonde", "Hair", "Ragtime" and many others. For "Addams", Acme worked yet again with the rental production team at Masque Sound in Union, NJ.
"The SD7T for was our specification for the out-of-town tryouts for the show in Chicago," explained Nevin Steinberg of Acme. "We had been following the product development, and keeping a close watch on the theater software development in the UK through our friends at Autograph Sound. We were early-adopters of the DiGiCo D5T platform on Broadway, so we were excited about the new console, improvements in the hardware architecture, form factor, redundancy, and the integration of the theater software package right into the guts of the console itself. The specifics of the â€˜T' software and hardware configuration is suited specifically for use in the theater, and provides us with high levels of resolution, extension and ease-of-use in console control we are most concerned with: control groups, delay, input/output routing, extensive matrixing, etc."
The production utilizes over 100 inputs, broken down into 25 for wireless microphones, 52 for orchestral reinforcement, 18 for effects, and 12 for auxiliary systems. As for outputs, they're right at 99, including 53 physical outputs for the distributed house sound system, including center clusters, proscenium speakers, fill speakers, front fills and all delay systems, as well as an additional 46 internal output routing points for mono and stereo bussing and matrix inputs.
Steinberg says his favorite feature sets of SD7T are many-fold and essential in the show's workflow. "We are addicted to â€˜auto-update' for our cueing. The show has nearly 200 cues in the desk, so we couldn't imagine tracking through all the changes we make at any given moment. The workflow doesn't stop; we just grab a knob and keep going. We make a ton of input delay time changes, sometimes even within a scene, and auto-update's smart handling of various control points allows us an intuitive and transparent use of this feature as well." [MORE]
"Another nice tool are the multi-band processing on all the EQ strips," he adds, "and the SD7's compressors and gates perform better than their predecessors on the D5T system. Aliases are another big component of our toolset, and we use them extensively for alternative input/output routing or special EQ or dynamics processing tracking (such as wireless EQ for costumes and hats, or dynamics processing on drum mics for traditional vs. pop tunes). The console macros are also very useful—both for big gestures like full console muting, and small ones like choosing alternate inputs for emergency backup microphones. Finally, we make good use of 24 control groups on this show for high-resolution active control of the orchestra mix."
The SD7T continues in the sonic tradition of its predecessors Steinberg happily reports. "The audio quality of the DiGiCo consoles has been delightfully high. The SD7T continues this tradition; it's very clean and warm."