DiGiCo at the SAMAs

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The 23rd South African Music Awards was a live broadcast from Sun City’s Superbowl on SABC1. This year, Johannesburg based rental company, Sound Stylists, were the main technical suppliers, delivering DiGiCo to cater for the audio requirements.

The SAMAs date back to 1995, and have become the country’s premier annual music awards, recognizing musical excellence across all genres from traditional and Afrikaans, to Rock and pop, as well as paying tribute to the various facets of musical production including production, engineering and video production.

Commissioned by the VWV Group, Colin Loock from Sound Stylists was responsible for the audio system design guided by a spec sheet as requested by the audio engineers Friedrich Wilsenach at FOH and Edgar Laubscher on Monitors. “Being able to do rehearsal after rehearsal, snap shot after snap shot, was flawless thanks to the DiGiCo system,” said Colin. “From a broadcast point of view, we had a split system for their feeds. The whole system integrated well.”

Edgar Laubscher

New to the SD10 platform, both sound engineers received training from Kyle Robson from DWR, the South African DiGiCo distributor. A DiGiCo SD10 was positioned at FOH, with the option of having WAVE plug ins run directly from the console. The monitor console was the DiGiCo SD8.  Sound Stylists used two SD Racks on a fibre loop for the SD10 and two DiGi Racks on fibre loop for Monitors. The inputs were split via XTA DS8000 units – one of the MADI ports on the SD8 was used for a feed to a Roland M-48 Personal Monitor system used by the ‘house’ band. A high number of outputs were used for stage on top of this for a mixture of monitor sends. Having access to 48 mix busses made this stress free.

“Although I have preferences, as a freelance Audio Engineer I’m not biased to any pro audio product,” commented Friedrich Wilsenach. “It’s in my interest to be able to use as many large format consoles as possible permitted it can handle the user requirement and the SD10 certainly surpassed my expectations. It is incredibly flexible!

“Being the first for me to mix on the DiGiCo SD platform, I soon realized how versatile and powerful the stealth architecture underneath the surface is,” he added. “I found my way around the workflow of the board with relative ease and it all came very naturally. The build quality, processing power and most importantly audio quality is impressive. It is however not a board you want to walk up to blind, without doing any homework. Luckily having the support from DWR this was not an issue and would be helpful to any first-time user. Basically, once you are ready, apply yourself, plan your show and setup your custom layout thoughtfully. With this system, any mix engineer worth his salt should have total control at his or her finger tips.”