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Group One Launches DiGiCo SD5 Trade Up Program

Jonathan Lieurance, staff engineer at Alford Media

With the launch of the new DiGiCo SD5 console earlier this year, DiGiCo U.S. distributor Group One Limited initiated a limited-time trade up program within the U.S., wherein Group One will take back any make or model large-format analog or digital console with a credit toward the purchase of a new SD5. The trade up program would allow for a black box theater, house of worship, or other facility to put in a request for funding and once approved, the venue could swap out the old for the new woth no downtime or resale.

Group One reports that several large production companies participated in the offer, including Alford Media, Clearwing Productions, Hi-Tec Audio, and Beachsound.

Alford Media Services is a nationally recognized event technology support company providing audio, video, lighting and show coordination services for a wide range of clientele from corporate to concerts worldwide. With two of each D1s and D5s in service since 2003, it traded up the two D5s for two SD5s, with an additional purchase of two 56×32 SD-racks, as well as a pair each of SD9s and SD11s, and six DRacks. “For our needs, the SD5s offer the advanced feature sets that our engineers need and tour riders request but don’t cost what the SD7 does,” says John Caswell, manager of Audio Services. “Upon taking delivery, we did a week in Dallas for Ambit Energy, followed by another event for Sam’s Club in Kansas City, and one of our SD5’s was at FOH for both events. That same console was also used at the California Women’s Conference in Long Beach.”

Clearwing Productions’ staff at Summerfest in Milwaukee; front row, from left: Kerry Miller, ProShop/Systems Integration Manager; Bill Price, Audio Systems Technician; Steve Harvey, Audio Systems Technician; Sam Brunclik, Shop Audio Assistant; Brian Griswold, Audio Systems Technician; Chris Balke, Festivals Coordinator/Audio Systems Technician. Top row, from left: Bryan Baumgardner, Audio Operations; Trevor Powers, Audio Systems Tech/Video Engineer; Andre St. Pierre, Audio Systems Technician; Mike Grabarczyk, Audio Systems Technician; Gregg Brunclik, President/CEO; Matt Larson, DiGiCo/Group One; Jeff Schauer, Senior Audio Systems Technician.

Clearwing Productions, a key resource for audio, video, and lighting, traded up a Soundcraft digital console for an SD5 and also purchased an additional SD9 for its inventory. “We went for one of each for versatility,” explains president Gregg Brunclik, “and planning ahead, the next purchase will be another one of each as we usually buy  pairs of each desk. We had an upcoming tour [Bob Dylan] that was interested in using the SD5 so the timing seemed right. We like to make cutting-edge purchases that position us as a primary resource and with the pending tour that ended up taking the SD5 there was instant ROI. We’ve found great success being early adopters with L-Acoustics—we were one of the first five U.S. companies to adopt the K1—and Vari-Lite, and we rolled the same dice on the SD5. DiGiCo’s pioneering new technology sets the bar that other manufacturers must meet. Similar to L-Acoustics pioneering the line array—and since [then], its improvements—you are the barometer by which all others get judged. We’ve come to find that we realize much greater ROI’s on products when we are very early to adopt. It’s a gamble, but when we’re right it really pays off. So far, so good on the SD5.”

Beachsound staff, front row, from left: Troy Arabia, A1/FOH/Monitor Systems Engineer; Rafi Herrera, Lighting Assistant; Sarah Thornton, Administrative/Sales Assistant; David Thomas, Sales Manager; Matt Holden, A1/FOH, Monitor Systems Engineer; Andre Serafini, Owner; Bob Lidell, Account Executive; Chris Anderson, Sound & Lighting Technician; Stephanie Barcomb, Office Manager. Middle row, from left: Bill Blackstone, Pro Tools Certified Audio Engineer; David Gooch, Lighting Technician; Rodrego Herrera, A1/FOH, Monitor Systems Engineer. Top row, from left: Richard Neilson, Lighting Technician; Eric De’Moya, Lighting Technician; Joey Cucchiara, Warehouse Manager; Rafael Mojica, Lighting Designer.

Beachsound traded up a Yamaha PM5D for an SD5 and purchased an additional SD9—for now, according to Goup One. “We felt we needed a higher caliber showcase console to fit the bill of our needs/demands,” explains company president Andre Serafini. “We find the console’s flexible I/O, sonic quality and the ergonomics make it top tier and we are very pleased to have one in house. DiGiCo’s dynamic EQ feature has been a big hit and the DiGiTube technology has been a real pleasure getting to know. We have the SD5 set up to be on a few high profile events in the near future, including a televised mega church event.”

Finally, Hi-Tec Audio traded up six of its D5 inventory for the new SD5s. “At Hi-Tec we like to look forward and for that reason it was obvious for us to move all our inventory into the new DiGiCo SD series—and we were an early adopter of that technology,” says owner Louis Adamo. “In fact, we bought one of the first SD8s when it was introduced. Over the last year, we’ve been adding SD racks and accessories like crazy and our inventory is well over 24 to 25 SD-racks, which is well over a half-million dollars. We have a few customers that have been loyal D5 customers and they’ll be the first obvious ones to migrate to the SD5s. It also serves to fill a niche between the SD10 and SD7. The SD5 offers the technical requirements of the SD10 with the surface of the SD7 at a fraction of the cost. DiGiCo has built a very powerful and flexible platform, has done its part by putting the console in the hands of lots of engineers, and are making strides in the live sound market with its consoles. There’s a model that fits every shoe size. We have confidence in the technology and we have a definite market for them.”

Find more information on the DiGiCo SD5 console.

Visit Group One at