DiGiCo gets The Feeling
But Sean had an additional requirement from his desk. “I’m teching for myself, as well as mixing monitors,” he explains. “I needed a small footprint without compromising audio quality, but I needed something that was quick and easy to set up and breakdown each day.”
“My main priority is also audio quality,” adds Jonathan. “ I knew I would get that with the SD9 (and with any DiGiCo!). The desk sounds great right from the in, the pre-amps are crystal clean, and the EQ sounds fantastic; it actually allows you to be creative rather than just being corrective.”
“The SD9 has two 12 fader banks, which makes everything accessible,” Sean continues. “I also needed a desk with two PFL busses, as I am running both a Sennheiser G2 in ear system and wedges simultaneously - I love the easy way you can route channels and outputs to wherever you need them; DiGiCo desks are very versatile and there aren’t really any limits to what you can route where, and the sound quality is incredible. DiGiCo is very well regarded in the industry for a good reason. The preamps sound really good; you plug in the mic ‘1, 2, 1, 2, check’ and the sound is already good. The four band EQ is also really responsive; no matter how much you have to carve out from the signal, it always sounds great, it has real body and live-ness to it that’s hard to describe.”
Jonathan’s other priority is how the desk works as a creative tool. “I believe mixing is a combination of technical knowledge and creativity,” he says. “With the SD9 I can put any inputs in any place I need, which makes mixing a joy and allows me to be artistic. The two banks of 12 faders works really well for FOH. I set one bank to be my input channels, and the other bank to DCA’s, Groups, FX sends, and Matrix’s etc. This was incredibly easy to navigate and gave me full control of the band at all times. As I was taking the desk in the trailer along with all our backline (which is a lot!), the size of the SD9 was key. The amount of channels you get for the size is excellent, this also kept the tour manager happy as it fits in nice and easy.”
Sean is running 42 inputs, six stereo in ears, one mono in ears, three wedge mixes and, on some days, two side fills, whilst Jonathan has 34 inputs, plus the electric guitars running through a stereo group.
“I’ve then got eight Matrix outputs set up (input from the L+R mix). The PA and venues were very different each night on this tour, so I needed total flexibility when it came to output distribution.”
For both engineers, this means the console has to be intuitive.
“Working with a DiGiCo is just like having an analogue channel strip in front of you,” says Sean. “The touch 'n' turn knob is great, very fast and easy to dial things in. The Macros mean you can apply multiple functions to one button, and the copy and paste function means that you can pick a channel to copy from, or copy to, on the faders; this is so much quicker than on other digital desks.
“Having the eight local in/outs are very useful if you need to throw another input/output quickly at the stage without delving into a rack. The assignable PFL/AFL busses can be routed to either the wedge buss or your in ears buss, so you don’t have to listen to a ears mix coming out of your PFL wedge, but again are easily assignable if you do want to.
“The ease with which you can group stereo channels together, so that you can increase the channel view count that you have on your screen is great. There are just so many features to the SD Series that make life that little bit easier and quicker.”
Whilst the band left it up to the engineers to choose the desk they wanted, both engineers agree that they really do notice how things sound and show an interest in how easy a console is to use.
“The band left the choice of desk up to us,” says Jonathan. “But they are very technically minded, so do pick up on how things sound. The guitarist especially will always come and have a listen to FOH during sound check. He commented several times on how clear everything sounded. Credit to the pre amps!”
And what of support?
“We spoke to DiGiCo’s support team at the beginning of the tour; we didn’t have a problem, we just needed to clarify a couple of things as we were running one DiGiCo MADI Rack and sharing gains between monitors and FOH,” Sean concludes. “The technical support team were excellent, they were very quick to respond and dealt with our query very efficiently.”