When DiGiCo introduced its supercharged SD9 at the beginning of 2012, the significant expansion in channel count, dynamic EQs, multiband compressors and matrix, and the addition of DiGiTubes, reorder of busses, multichannel inputs and aux VCAs (formerly only available on SD7) made it a no-brainer for production companies around the country for use in myriad real-world applications. With the addition of the "Rack Pack" option—adding a second D-Rack, Digital Snakes and a flight case for the surface—DiGiCo took it a step further, offering a ruggedly road-ready, 72-mic-input system available at an unprecedented price.
"DiGiCo has had incredible success in penetrating not only the touring market, but also the Broadway market, house of worship market, and projects ranging from small events to large-budget corporate productions," says Group One's National Sales Manager, Matt Larson "Now, with the SD9, you can get an expanded I/O capacity with the same sonic performance as you would on the SD7 with a smaller footprint and less expensive system. The DiGiCo Stealth™ platform, using the super FPGA chip, allows us to open up the power of the engine in any of our systems like we've done with the SD9. We've increased the output capacity as well as a vast amount of other cool features. We then offer it in the SD9 Rack Pack package, which now takes this small footprint system and adds a ton of inputs to it. It is very accessible to every market segment, whether it's the regional sound company or the big sound company looking for a desk for the house of worship for the main sanctuary or small youth room, down to the regional theatre market segment."
The small footprint, easy load-in/load-out capabilities and an easy-to-program operating system enable Atlanta's Rock-N-Road Audio, Miami's Beachsound and Audio Formula, Seattle's Carlson Audio Systems and OTSC in West Texas to get the job done easily at mid-to-large-scale festivals and corporate events.
"DiGiCo consoles offer us essentially three important features: superior audio quality, ease of use, versatility and reliability," reveals Rock-N-Road Audio's Roy Drukenmiller. "It's wonderful for anything from corporate events to major shows. The fact that you don't have to use copper analog snakes makes life so easy. When your snake is a piece of CAT5, everybody's willing to help pull that! We just did a show in Boston, a corporate after party, and used it for FOH and monitors—one console did it all. And it made for a very easy load-in and load-out since the only thing at the FOH was the surface, a processor and a CD player. And because we have the traditional eight-output strip in our rack, we were able to have 16 outputs on deck, which allowed us to have the in-ear rack onstage as well."
"Audio Formula placed a pair of SD9s and D-Racks at the Ultra Music Fest in Miami Beach," explains CEO Nick Assunto. "Our responsibility at the event was to make certain we had the latest technology available for the performances, from the PA system to all the peripherals involved. In addition, we're responsible for tuning the system for the demanding SPL requirements and making sure we get the nicest definition out of the system. My favorite feature of the DiGiCo is having the ability to have everything separated in the matrix and in different layers. It's handy to be able to remove all the nonessential buttons from the layers to have easy access to all the required channels in one page without having to flip around. Also, the SD9 with remote D-Rack was very small and fitted perfectly under the DJ booth with no problems. That definitely was a winner."
"We've found the SD9 Rack Pack to be the most powerful compact-sized mixing platform available for our events while still retaining a practical and logical layout," says Beachsound & Lighting owner Andre Serafini. "Because of its efficiency and reliability, we foresee this becoming a tour standard for shows that require a solid performance and are limited on space as they travel, such as up-and-coming artists needing to carry consoles in a bus or cruise ship theatres where space is limited and heavy I/O is demanded. DiGiCo has continuously provided outstanding and unparalleled support for their digital mixing consoles, which is definitely an added benefit to us as we pick partners to work with."
"OTSC used the SD9 at FOH for the Fiesta West Texas family-centered Hispanic cultural festival to mix a roster of a dozen bands over the three-day Cinco de Mayo weekend," OTSC head engineer Eric Hite explains. "We really need the flexibility of the SD9 as we wanted that big fat DiGiCo sound, clear and solid, and features that go on and on. The SD9 allowed us to set up and soundcheck multiple bands and recall their snapshot without needing to re-soundcheck. Also, with its physical size being so small compared to our older VCA analog board, it made it easier to move around during the festival. Not needing a separate FX rack really helped, as there was no last-minute re-patching of the comps and gates, or anything at FOH, really. You just look up your band and hit Recall. It is very convenient to have. The internal effects did just fine for this show and will most likely keep up with our pace for a long while."
"We took delivery of our first SD9 in April 2012, and since then I have been really pleased with the system as a whole," enthuses Matt Collins, operations manager for Carlson Audio Systems. "I've used it several times at this point for both corporate and rock shows, and the versatility of the system is incredible! It's really nice to have exactly what you want anywhere you want it. Once you become familiar with the system and the surface, it is really quick to set up a new show and be ready to roll. Additionally, using the SD9 Remote Control Editor software on a PC makes show setup even easier. As with any system, there are quirks and a learning curve; however, the usability of the SD9 is superb and it sounds great as well. I could go on for a while about the techy nerd details that I like about the SD line, but in lieu of that I'll say that overall I am very happy with the SD9 and will certainly use it more and more going forward."
"After spending four days running monitors on our SD9 at Sasquatch Music Festival, I found it to be a highly flexible, great-sounding, robust desk," adds Carlson staff engineer Jesse Turner. "The GEQs were responsive and I could move around on the desk quite quickly even after only spending a little time on it. The biggest win for me was when I had an engineer walk up and be pleasantly surprised that we had a DiGiCo product, as he had an SD11 file that he'd recently created. He was able to load his presets, move around a few fader banks, and away he went with no problem. At the end of the show, he thanked me profusely and stated that he was able to have one of his best shows ever in a festival situation, when typically he would end up ‘just trying to get through the show.' Overall, I was impressed with the fact that the desk has many of the qualities of its flagship counterparts, but in a much more compact and cost-effective package."
After years of research, St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Belleville, Illinois, and Grace Church in Glendora, California, undertook major renovations of their technology systems, including making the leap from analog to digital with DiGiCo. Both were extremely pleased with the features and functionality of the SD9 systems.
"Having installed an SD7 for a large theatre project in 2011, we were impressed with the sonic quality, manufacturer support and operator training that DiGiCo provides its dealers and end users," explains Joe Byrne, CTS operations manager for the West Coast division of Pro Sound & Video, which handled the install. "Because of the small budget we had for the Mountain Springs Church install project in Colorado Springs, I did not know if we could even consider DiGiCo. However, looking into the SD9 Rack Pack further, we found that it was such a great deal and represented such a robust upgrade from similar products in that price range that we ultimately decided to go with the SD9 system. I feel 100% confident that we made the right choice and the client is very happy."
"The SD9 offers so much more, really, than any other console in its price range," adds Mountain Springs Church tech director Keith Miller. "The Flexi Buss feature really opened a lot of options for us. You can mix in any type of situation without being stuck with a set amount of auxes or groups. Also, we found that the macros were very flexible and can do more than one function at a time, which is really nice, and the ability to have an alternative input on mono channels really cuts down on patching between our weekend and youth services."
"When the SD9 was introduced, we all quickly realized that this would be the perfect replacement for the analog console in the video control room, making FOH and video independent and completely digital," explains St. Matthew United Methodist Church's broadcast engineer DJ Rockwell. "With the SD9's affordable price tag, everyone was in agreement. It sounded great and the processing was seamless. The snapshots were very smooth and easily customizable. St. Matthew is a house of worship that has been into technology for a long time, and we do our best to stay on the cutting edge. We started airing our services on cable more than 25 years ago, and now we also stream live. On Sundays, we have three services back-to-back, with no time for rehearsals in between, and they can be as simple as three mics or as extreme as 75-plus inputs. Both the SD8 and SD9 made these 15- and 20-minute switchovers—from traditional to contemporary to blended with choir and orchestra—possible. The DiGiCo system has really improved the audio quality of our worship services and productions. The quality has noticeably improved for our members who watch online or at home."