Ricky Martin Engineers Sound Off

Ricky Martin’s monitor and front-of-house engineers, Steve May and Chris “Privet” Hedge, shared some insights into their work on tour, praising a certain mixing console manufacturer in particular. 

Digico Ricky Martin
– Digico Ricky Martin
supplying the “Livin la Vida Loca” star’s 2017 Spain tour.

Martin toured Spain May 22 to June 11, stopping in neighboring Portugal once. PRG Spain and Llusovi each supplied six of the shows, with Fluge handling two.

While May has specified a Digico SD7 console for Ricky Martin’s shows, he has also used a SD5 depending on availability. The ability to switch seamlessly between Digico’s consoles within one range came in handy, May said.

In general, he was working with around 95 inputs and 64 outputs that included the main and backing vocals, drums, guitars, bass, percussion and keyboards, as well as effects, his Pro Tools rig, and communications.

He used no outboard effects, relying solely on those onboard the console.

“I’ve been using Digico consoles pretty much continually for the past 10 years,” May said. “I like the way racks work, the sonic quality of the consoles and the way the inputs and outputs work – you can put channels anywhere you want to on the board.

“I originally specified the SD7 for Ricky because of the number of inputs and outputs it has available. As well as touring, he’s been a judge on the Spanish, Mexican and Australian versions of “The Voice”, so it’s really useful to have enough capacity to leave scope for guests on the show.

“There isn’t much rehearsal on this tour, so having a familiar board is always a big help,” he continued. “Ricky likes to do duets with guest artists. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but you can guarantee that if I didn’t allocate the channels, it would. That’s another reason why the capacity of the console is important.

“I always try to keep things as simple as possible, because when you swap between consoles it makes things less complicated. When you’re using the software to convert from one console to anther – in this case the SD7 to the SD5 – and you have to take channels off, there are always bits you forget to do, so I try to reduce the risk of that happening to a minimum. However, this isn’t a complicated show, so I don’t have masses of cues.”

Digico’s technology also makes it relatively simple to record each show. Via the so-called the DiGiGridM interface the video and Pro Tools engineers can take an audio recording from Privet, allowing them to add videos to Ricky’s website and social media sites.

Spain’s bad roads and venues such as dusty bull rings continually tested the equipment.

“The equipment is all really good and has performed extremely well, but the climate alone has taken its toll,” said May. “All the rental companies are great, though, and anything that needs replacing gets replaced.”