Review: O2 December Sessions

December Sessions at The 02 is a three-week run of performances from over 100 up and coming new bands. The production side has also showcased some new products and concepts throughout the three weeks, which is just the first of several forthcoming developments from new company Silentgig.

Choosing the equipment and team for the production to cover all bases was the initial approach. To achieve the turnaround times and band set-ups, a festival style patching system was put into place, which would remain in place for the event’s duration.

The firm also managed to secure manufacturer support for the backline. Having a constant backline and festival line patch made the choice of going digital for the consoles an easy one.

The consoles being used for the December Sessions have been the Allen & Heath iLive Digital range. The iLive-T112 Control Surface at FOH and iLive-T80 on monitors are both connected to iDR48 MixRacks, making use of Audinate’s new Dante technology as a digital mic splitter, which also feeds the Dante virtual soundcard for full multi-track recording of the performances. The iLive systems were supplied by The Audio Group, who are long-time users of the iLive systems.

Sean ‘Rampton’ Cranny, FOH engineer for Chase & Status, commented: “At first I was quite dubious about using the desk, but after about 10 minutes I was won over. Its ease of use, accessibility to parameters is very quick, its processing of information is instant and the A/D conversion is very impressive. The big thing for me was its layout – very easy to understand; that coupled with the iLive Editor software makes this desk a winner. Editor is so easy to use and configure, it enables you to interact with the desk before, during and after the gig. Other manufacturers need to take note of this.”

By utilising a third iDR MixRack, also equipped with a Dante networking card, the Silentgig team were able to give the audience the chance to mix the performance for themselves.

The Audio Group’s Nadar Shahzad, explained: “We’ve got a few PL-10 panels running off the third MixRack and this allows us to give the audience at the VIP area a chance to mix a simplified version of the FOH sound by using the PL-10’s to control the third iDR-48 rack completely separately. We’re also putting in a small vibrating platform for the Silentgig nights. It’s just a different way of creating audience engagement and that’s what Silentgig is all about.”

The main PA system consists of four stacks of d&b C7s with a couple of B2 infra subs with D12 amplification. Monitor system is Logic Systems LM15 with Matrix Amplification.

For the ‘Silentgig’ events, there are over 600 sets of Sennheiser RS110 and 120 wireless headphones and G3 IEM systems for the performers. All microphones onstage are also from Sennheiser, who have played a key role in the development of the Silentgig concept for next year and have secured the services of one of their endorsees to play as special guests at Monday’s Silentgig event in the London Piazza of The 02.

Shahzad added: “We feel very happy that between Allen & Heath and Sennheiser we have the platforms to be able to take the whole idea of Silentgig forward in the way we want to.”

There are four crew working the event for Silentgig: Michael Straun, in charge of lights and screens; Sean ‘Rampton’ Cranny at FOH; Chris McCarron at monitors and Paul Murphy at stage and backline. Steve Pattison, a long-time Allen & Heath user, also worked FOH and set-up the PL10 surfaces.

The system was specified by Chris McCarron (Silent Gig), Shahzad (The Audio Group) and Jim Dunbar (Central Pro Audio) all of whom have been heavily involved with Silentgig from the beginning.