After releasing its latest album, All In Good Time, last year, and playing several
large festival and one-off arena gigs, award-winning Dutch band Racoon has been
on an extensive but intimate theatre tour around The Netherlands. Renowned Front
of House Engineer Marty Brugmans and Monitor Engineer Jelmer Dijkstra both
specified SSL Live consoles for the tour, with Brugmans taking an L500 for FOH and
Dijkstra using an L300 on Monitors. Both consoles have been supplied by Dutch hire
and events production company, Stagelight, and are using Dante AoIP network
technology for audio transport.
Brugmans was an early adopter of SSL Live technology, having already used the
L500 on several large-scale events. His move to the SSL platform was triggered by
dissatisfaction with the quality of summing and processing on other live consoles.
“The first time I used it, everything became clear!” Brugmans explains. “Everything
you do comes out of the PA… SSL brings an exciting, transparent, uncompromised
This quality is crucial on the Racoon tour. With a wide variety of acoustic
instruments in use on stage, including guitars, a grand piano, and two drum kits,
Brugmans has to be certain of his signal path. Underlining his confidence in SSL
Live, he has left many of his boutique mic pre-amps and outboard processing at
home, opting for the console’s SuperAnalogueTM inputs, full-featured channel
processing, and internal FX Rack instead. “I’m using a lot of the SSL processing – I
especially like the channel dynamics, with the Tube emulation… With other
consoles, I just use the faders.”
The SSL L500 console offers 256 channel paths (208 fully processed, 48 dry) at
96kHz, with Channel, Stem Group, Aux, and Master channel and bus types.
Processed channels have hi and lo-pass filters, four band parametric EQ (switchable
between Legacy or constant Q), compressor with tube “warmth’ effect),
expander/gate, delay, panning, and an all pass filter. The FX Rack can host up to 96
individual effects instances with comprehensive routing options in six racks that
feature independent solo bus selection.
Brugmans uses snapshots throughout the shows, a strategy that he says could
cause him problems with other consoles. “Every day we’re in a new venue,” he
explains. “And everything about the environment changes… But this console sounds
so great – it’s so close every time – that we can trust the snapshots. It’s really
Racoon is touring Dutch Theatres until September 2016.