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DirectOut PRODIGY.MP chosen for Halsey’s Love and Power Tour

25th April 2023 4:23 pm

Image of Halsey on Stage during the Love and Power TourSystem Engineer Grant Copley and FOH engineer Charles Izzo discuss how DirectOut’s Multifunction Processor became an indispensable device on Halsey’s 2022 Tour.

In 2022, American Singer-Songwriter Halsey set out on the Love and Power tour, in support of their fourth studio album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. The tour took in dates around the US, as well as a string of festivals across Europe and Asia, including Reading and Leeds Festival.

With a mix of full production concerts and festival performances, a scalable, flexible audio system was required that could easily be adapted for the variety of venues that the tour would visit.

The DirectOut PRODIGY.MP proved to be the ideal device. Its modular design philosophy allows the unit to be configured to the necessary specification.  With a mix of analogue, digital and networking modules available, the PRODIGY.MP is capable of handling up to 416 inputs and 420 output channels. This combination of flexibility and power makes the PRODIGY.MP an incredibly capable device on even the largest of productions.

The PRODIGY.MP is therefore unsurprisingly, no stranger to handling audio duties for some of the biggest artists worldwide. It most recently featured in the audio setup for pop phenomenon Coldplay on their Music for Spheres tour, as well as providing audio playback on singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi’s 2022 summer festival run.

Read on to find out how System Engineer for the tour, Grant Copley, as well as Front-of-House engineer Charles Izzo discovered the PRODIGY.MP, as well as how it became an indispensable part of the touring rig.


An image of Grant Copley and Charles Izzo with the Sound Rig for Halsey's Love and Power TourDiscovering the PRODIGY.MP

With The Love and Power tour taking in shows at a wide range of venues, including headline arena dates and festival performances in stadiums in the US and appearances at the popular Reading and Leeds festival, it became clear to Grant and Charles that the tour’s audio system would need to be incredibly flexible.

Rental company Eighth Day Sound, providing the equipment for the production, saw the tour as the ideal opportunity to test the PRODIGY.MP as a compact audio problem-solver – operating as a FOH matrix, audio converter and PA management tool that was small enough to be used on the tour’s various fly dates. The PRODIGY.MP would prove to be an eye-opening device for both Grant and Charles.

“We were looking at different ways to drive PA systems going down the line, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much IO capability this unit has,” comments Cropley. “It came with a DANTE.IO card, a MIC8.LINE.IO module, an AN8.O line out module, as well as two MADI.IO modules.

“But the key for me when using a PRODIGY.MP compared to prior systems designed around other less powerful processing platforms, was the ability to run the consoles at front of house with a full AES3 main and analogue backup with seamless switching between all those lines, while using Dante to drive the d&b audiotechnik system.”

“Rehearsals started in March for the world tour that was scheduled to run throughout the year,” Charles recalls. “However, the PRODIGY.MP instantly became an important and permanent part of our gear complement.”


A Compact Problem-Solver

After extensive testing during rehearsals, it became obvious that the PRODIGY.MP was the right choice for the tour. Despite its 2U frame, the PRODIGY made light work of the full production’s complex routing and processing needs.

When a full production is in place, the show runs on three different consoles. The stems from the consoles reach the PRODIGY.MP primarily via AES3 and then, thanks to PRODIGY’s Input Manager, are seamlessly backed up via Analogue connections. These Input Managers are then patched towards some FlexChannels to add DSP plugins and then routed towards the MatMix section of the processor to be distributed to the different parts of the PA primarily via Dante, and with AES3 and Analogue as backups.

The PRODIGY.MP also offered the simple scalability that a tour with such a varied range of venues requires, with the device’s various processing systems allowing Grant and Charles to plan for every scenario the tour would encounter.

“In terms of number of outputs and how we would divide up each segment of the PA, I utilized the matrix side of the unit” Grant explains, “and in terms of driving each segment of the PA, I kind of overbuilt the file so that it could scale up at any point.

“Our standard workflow was left, right, sub and fill coming from every console. But going forward Charlie will send me a left and right AES, with Analog backup and then I’ll split that into left, right, sub, fill, delays, and any other outputs for the scale of the PA. So we have kind of infinite output capability for however we need to drive the power.”

“There’s so much to it…”

DirectOut designed the PRODIGY.MP to provide solutions to a wide range of complex applications, and the more time Grant spent working with the device, the more he found himself leaning on its impressive built-in feature set.

Its integration of Rational Acoustics Smaart V8 measurement system via API proved to be a highlight for both engineers, streamlining their workflow with the help of globcon.

A photo of the front of house for Halsey's Love and Power Tour“I was able to use the internal Smaart page on globcon to access the features in Smaart. I was also able to do multiple readings of all my reference mics straight into the unit by using the very high quality mic preamps in the MIC8.LINE.IO. Plus, I could have a real time SPL display just for Charlie to monitor that didn’t interfere with my Smaart.

“I was able to set that on a fixed gain and a fixed trim, so he had a calibrated SPL measurement display at all times” Grant continues. “I was also able to use all the routing from within globcon to have transfer functions throughout the show at different stages in the processing. I could always see what the PA was doing and I could see what Charlie was hitting me with… it worked out exceptionally well for us.”

This feature became vital for Halsey’s festival stops, where the unpredictability of the PA system at each site was in stark contrast to the comforts offered by the touring rig. The PRODIGY.MP offered the team consistency across every performance, something welcomed when working amongst a large number of other artists and sound teams on festival dates.

Not only has the PRODIGY.MP offered consistency, but it has also helped improve the overall workflow of the sound team. Both Grant and Charles praised the PRODIGY’s ability to make complex tasks like EQ’ing a system a far simpler prospect.

“In going between festival dates versus tour dates where we carried our own PA, I was able to log all our standard EQ files that we had as a base rate, and I could just insert and save them. Before we got the PRODIGY.MP, this wasn’t as simple.” Izzo agrees: “It made our festival days so much easier!”

“The PRODIGY.MP does everything you need”

As Halsey’s 2022 tour progressed, Grant discovered new ways in which the PRODIGY.MP could meet the requirements of the show and improve the output.

“I had the PRODIGY.MP out earlier to prep for the next leg of the tour, and I have been able to condense and streamline everything” he starts. “I’ve got Charlie coming to me and the summing busses to manage the front fills, subs, and my playback.

“In fact, I actually have two layers of playback – a music tuning sent to a FlexChannel, and several buses routed back to the FlexChannel so I can mute the subs. The same holds true for pink noise. This gives me instant access to muting segments of the PA. Using this method of muting subs or muting certain scenes is far more efficient and simpler than it was with other processors I’ve used in the past.

“The PRODIGY.MP does everything you need. The more familiar and proficient I became with globcon, the more I was able to better utilize my FlexChannels. I can have my pink noise generator, a number of fixed outputs, in addition to ‘doors music,’ and have all of them on FlexChannels, all linked together so I can bring them down like a fader. That FlexChannels page is a real dream!”


PRODIGY.MP: Essential, Advanced, Unlimited

DirectOut offer the PRODIGY series with a software licensing model that brings different features at each level, providing a range of options for different budgets. The PRODIGY Series licensing is available in three different versions.

It starts with Essential, which delivers the PRODIGY without DSP, but with all the switching and redundancy options available.

From there, PRODIGY.MP Advanced brings powerful DSP capabilities to the device. This includes Dynamics, Delay and EQ effects, as well as input management tools, flex channels and up to 16 Mix Matrices for freely assigning DSP to channel groups.

Finally, PRODIGY.MP Unlimited takes the incredible DSP capabilities of Advanced whilst giving access to all future options and licenses, meaning your PRODIGY device is ready for any improvements DirectOut make down the line. Software licensing means that if your needs change, so can your license, meaning access to DSP is only a matter of clicks away when required.

This article originally appeared on Pro Sound Web.

Find out more about the DirectOut Prodigy Series




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