I’ve just come off tour as Sound No.1 on the acclaimed nod to Ian Dury, ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ and so, I thought I’d be highly original and use this as a basis for my first few posts;
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part 1; DiGiCo SD9
I love it when I come across good quality British audio equipment. The SD9 by DiGiCo is such a console and I was fortunate enough to have one specified for the RTBC tour.
As Dave [Swallow] has said before (L&SI -Jan 2012) we all go on about “intuitive” technology far too much, it’s true, but this isn’t one of those ‘I love the SD9 because it’s so intuitive’ sort of posts. This is a post about how great technology is when it really helps your work to flow from the moment you start using it, without spending hours navigating the hundreds of pages and menu’s to find out how to delay your drum group back in your band matrix.
What I liked the most about touring with this console, is that it is one surface which I’ve had the pleasure of programming and mixing on, which works with you however you want it to. The desk allows you to maximise control over your mix by giving you complete freedom to assign or un-assign your fader strips by bank, with every one of the 8 banks being totally customisable. If you want to put the Sub aux on a fader and sit it in the bank with your Control Groups, you can. If you just want it to be there during a particular scene, then to disappear into the background again, you just tell it to using Snapshots. If you want to have your EQ/Comp/Gate window pop up and expand as you grab the pot, then to hide itself automatically after ‘X’ seconds, you can. There is nothing which took me any longer than about 20 seconds of touch-screen navigation to find, even on my first day with the console.
You have three possible screens to assign; your Master screen, where you will find the menu across the top to save files, mix matrix’s, adjust your FX Rack, lock the console, etc. Simple. Then down each side of the faders, you have four assignable banks with a screen assign button at the top. Easy. You can assign whichever bank to whichever button you like and move them whenever you like. The only thing which took me longer to find was the talkback routing! There are two places to assign talkback outputs; on the Aux’s bank, or in the talkback menu. However the two don’t talk, so turning one off somewhere doesn’t necessarily turn the other off.
By having all this freedom and control during the programming of the console, as soon as we got into tech week, I was able to fly through the rehearsals with ease. I knew everything would be exactly where I wanted it, when I wanted it, by just the push of a button allowing me and the PSE to focus on turning the sound designers vision, into reality.
To be continued…