Five-time Grammy Award-winning Canadian singer Céline Dion recently brought the curtain down on her residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas after more than 1,100 sold-out performances and embarked on a 12-month tour in support of her “Courage” album.
Global entertainment technology services provider Solotech is providing sound, lighting, video and rigging—everything except the stage—for the Courage World Tour, including multiple Solid State Logic Live L550 digital mixing consoles, one at front-of-house and two at monitors.
Denis Savage, who has been Dion’s tour manager and FOH engineer for several decades, began using SSL’s Live series desk at Caesars Palace in 2013.
But this tour has provided the opportunity to implement some changes that have further enhanced the performance of all three consoles on the production, he says. “Just before Christmas we switched everything to 96 kHz and the difference was incredible. Everything got lighter and smoother and brighter.”
The production also switched band monitor engineer Martin Paré and Jean-Sébastien Boucher, Dion’s engineer, to L550 consoles at the end of last year. “Everybody in the band was very happy about it,” reports Savage. Boucher has been using an early version of L550 software that enables him to control an analog SSL Sigma Delta summing mixer to eliminate latency in Dion’s in-ear monitor signal chain. That control functionality is now standard in the recent SSL Live V4.10 release.
Francois “Frankie” Desjardins, systems engineer for Savage and Dion for the past 27 years, is also VP of R&D and technological solutions for Solotech, which is headquartered in Montréal with offices across North America and the UK.
Desjardins’ design for the latest touring rig supports up to 128 lines from the stage. Those inputs pass via DirectOut Technologies Prodigy.MC analog-to-MADI converters over fiber at 96 kHz to a main router, which feeds a second DirectOut Technologies router. This second router feeds DirectOut splitters that output to two SSL Blacklight II MADI systems, one for the L550 at FOH and the other for the two desks at the monitor position.
A third split allows RF engineer Marc Theriault to monitor the Shure Axient wireless microphone system and other channels. “It looks complex, but it isn’t,” says Desjardins. “We just integrated some redundancy into the design.”