Engineer Ricardo Tross creates specialized services for mixing/recording Latin bands with a compact, customized SD11 touring rig.

Watching a musician struggling to unload his bulky, oversized PA system in front of the old Playboy Club in New York City many years ago planted a seed for Ricardo Tross. Eager to help, he offered the musician a hand that day, and for many thereafter, in exchange for learning how to operate the system. A decade later, that experience inspired Tross, now a sought-after engineer, to create a customized and compact mixing rig to handle the specialized services he offers to many prominent Latin bands around New York City and across the world.

Over the years, Tross had bought and traded many analog boards. But he continued to struggle with the length, weight and additional process racks required. Working solo, the specialist services Tross offered was providing all the gear required (except for the house sound system) to mix and record a 12- to 18-piece band live. Because he travels extensively for several Latin promoters who book music at various New York venues and often outside of the U.S., Tross needed to rethink the analog system and create a condensed rig.
 
“My first real experience with a digital board was at the Salsa on the Square night at the B.B. King Blues Club in New York City” he recalled. “I realized I could bring all of my processors onboard and reduce my load and the total weight. A sales rep gave me a pass to the AES show in 2011. As I was browsing the aisles I caught sight of the DiGiCo SD11. I took a chance on the DiGiCo because I’d had a memorable experience previously with an SD7 during a jazz function at the Apollo Theater.”

Tross created a portable system for his SD11 housed in a Hybrid case, with two DT12 mass connectors uniting 12 wireless Sennheiser systems and two dbx DriveRack 260’s for front of house and monitors. The SD11 has a custom flip-up tray for a Mac laptop, a mounted removable LED flashlight, and a Leatherman multipurpose tool.
 
“Working with the SD11 for the past six months now, I’m loving it more and more as I learn what it can do for me,” he said. “The total weight and footprint is perfect for one person to manage. The 15-inch touch-screen monitor and the internal rack processors (gates, reverb, EQ) are easy to access, view, configure, insert and tweak for each channel. The unit’s expandability is virtually endless, and I have mixed everything from an eight-piece jazz band to a 24-piece salsa band. I have also used the SD11 for a small vaudeville show, recalling each preconfigured scene with ease. I have also purchased a DiGiCo DRack (adding an additional 32 ports and eight outs) and a 75 Meter CAT5e cable, which affords a lighter-weight snake. I decided to purchase a smaller 50-foot ProFlex CAT5e cable to reduce the excess, which adds more durability from the gear rolling over the cable.”
 
“Wherever I go, other engineers and band members surround me with their mouths open in amazement, asking many questions,” he said with a laugh, “and taking so many pictures that I decided to put my logo on it because it was showing up on the websites of many promoters and various bands. Yeah, I love my baby DiGiCo, and I’m looking forward to using the new UB MADI for recording all channels and the iPad for remote control!”