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DiGiCo enters broadcast market at NAB

Known up until now for making a major impact on the live sound market, DiGiCo has made its first push into broadcast, with the release of two new desks, the SD-10B and SD7-B. Mel Lambert was at NAB to digest the story.

Barely days after unveiling the remarkable new SD-10 and ultra-compact SD-11 digital live-performance consoles at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt, the firm wowed NAB Convention attendees in Las Vegas with new broadcast versions of both the SD-10 and current SD-7 offerings, writes Mel Lambert.

“Given our proven reliability in live-sound applications with the SD Series consoles,” states DiGiCo marketing director David Webster (right of picture), “it was a natural progression to offer the same hardware with a broadcast-specific application for live-TV and OB van mixing. From reactions we received to these new broadcast-specific products in Las Vegas, I think we have a winner!”

“The SD-10B’s control surface features a total of 37 touch-sensitive faders,” points out Ian Staddon, the firm’s newly appointed VP of sales (left of picture), “that provide fast access to 96 input channels with full signal processing, 12 of which can be configured as full Flexi Channels. The console can run at either 48 or 96kHz with no reduction in channel count.” A 15-inch touch-sensitive screen provides both information and control of the main parameters. All channel inputs feature dual mono inputs for fast Main and Alt switching.

“With an average end-user price of around $100,000,” Staddon states, “the SD-10B is highly affordable for broadcasters, particularly outside-broadcast trucks that are looking to replace existing analog consoles or general-purpose digital consoles, as well as new budget-conscious installations.”

For broadcasters, the SD-10B provides multichannel control via a single fader that lets users configure stereo, LCR, 5.1 or up to 11 mono channels under a single strip that can be unfolded for individual control. Smart Key Macros – accessed via four layers of 10 backlit keys – let users programme complex control functions that can be recalled at the push of a button.

Local I/O on the console’s rear panel includes eight mic inputs, eight line outputs, eight mono AES I/Os, two MADI connections with redundant cabling connections, 16 GPI connections for external triggering of any console function or functions, 16 GPO connections for machine start, fader start and relay control (with optional expansion to 32 GPI and GPO), MADI and Optocore.

The larger SD-7B handles up to 896 simultaneous optical plus 224 MADI, 24 analog and AES/EBU connections; routing is to 128 busses with full processing, each of which can be selected as mono, stereo, LCR or 5.1, plus 32 matrix outputs. As Webster points out: “The new broadcast console can run two high-speed Optocore loops – with any combination of 448 inputs and outputs on each loop, all at 96kHz – while the local I/Os are ideal for fast outside-broadcast setup.”

Multiple-user operation is enabled by three 15-inch TFT touch screens, each of which resides above a bank of 12 faders; adding two EX-007 Expander Units increases the active physical fader count to 100 without the need to access input-channel banks. The TFT screens are complemented by Interactive Dynamic Metering.

“The SD-7B’s combination of powerful Stealth Digital Processing, full redundancy and an industry-leading work surface will be a perfect combination for the broadcast community,” adds Webster. Up to 256 processing channels are available, in any combination of inputs, aux-send, group and solo busses, plus mix-minus busses, with 36 VCA-style control groups. The console’s 48 internal Stealth digital effects can be expanded using an optional Waves SoundGrid with broadcast-specific effects and processing.

“Of course, DiGiCo’s roots are very much in the broadcast and studio console market,” Webster considers, “with the company’s long Soundtracs heritage. It is appropriate that DiGiCo’s flagship SD-7 console is now ‘coming home’, in the form of a dedicated broadcast version.”

With 20 years experience at Harman – including 11 with Soundcraft, then nine years of broadcast-focused expertise as Studer’s VP of sales – Staddon says that he was ready for a new challenge. “DiGiCo has always been an interesting company and, with the arrival of the SD Range and Stealth Digital Processing, is has some powerful solutions. Since the SD-7’s introduction in 2007, DiGiCo has consistently launched products that meet the market’s requirements; the SD-Rack, with its multiple sample rates and hot-swappable cards – combined with the SD-7’s dual processing engines, providing superb levels of redundancy – clearly shows the direction in which the company is moving.”

He continues: “I plan to help grow the company’s business even further in new directions, such as the broadcast market. DiGiCo has clever ideas of where they want to go – witnessed by these new broadcast offerings, which demonstrate a focused approach and high attention to detail.”

Also to be seen at the NAB Convention: two new Audinate Dante networking cards for SD Series consoles. An eight-channel I/O module for the SD-Rack lets users access Dante-compatible components for system control, amplifiers connections and similar audio networks. The Dante DMI (DiGiCo Multichannel Interface) card can be added to either a D-Rack or SD-Rack and allows users to connect the I/O rack – via Cat5 cables – to a standard Windows or Mac PC. Using newly released DiGiCo-Control software, system users can control all the rack functions via a standard network connection.