As one of the largest Auditorium venues in Australia, the Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) is a bustling live music hub in Melbourne’s Arts Precinct, Southbank. Since opening its doors in 2009, the MRC have been operating with DiGiCo in house. Beginning with the DiGiCo D5, then adding an SD8 and most recently, an SD11, it’s safe to say the MRC has become a big fan of DiGiCo.
MRC Technical Manager Jasa van Andel (left) with MRC’s Jake Martin
Two auditoriums make up the MRC, the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (which seats 1000) and The Salon (seating 132). The Elisabeth Murdoch Hall features a 135m² stage as well as an optional 51m² extension when required. This has made it suitable for chamber music and orchestras alike.
The amazing Elisabeth Murdoch Hall – Home to several DiGiCo consoles
The D5 and SD8 tend to spend most of their time in this particular hall. The Salon is a completely configurable space which can be configured however needed.
Both auditoriums feature highly engineered acoustic treatment, both internally and externally.
The Salon – A flexible performance space now complete with a DiGiCo SD11
The MRC is somewhat unique in its design as it located on the very busy Southbank strip, as such it is entombed by 250mm of concrete which has been mounted onto 38 steel springs. This ensures acoustically the spaces inside are not disrupted by the high noise level outside.
The architecturally stunning Melbourne Recital Centre
When a flexible and portable solution that mirrored the versatile design of The Salon was needed, the SD11 made perfect sense for the MRC’s Technical Manager Jasja van Andel.
“The SD11 was the logical choice for a multi-purpose console. Its specs, size and weight make it a very easily deployable console for a wide variety of concerts\events and locations. Its user interface is intuitive, well laid out, the I\O options are impressive. It can easily be set up by only one engineer.”
Jasja found several features of the SD11 particularly appealing also. With the MRC already using a DiGiCo SD8 and D5, the SD11’s integration into the rest of the system, among other things added value to their entire system.
“Even though the actual work surface is relatively small, the SD11’s capabilities, accessibility and flexibility combined with an excellent price point made it a very appealing solution. The fact that the SD11 seamlessly integrates with our other racks and consoles (an SD8 and a D5) made the SD11 even more appealing for us.”
With Jasja earning his stripes using traditional analogue gear, his transition into digital was made painless with DiGiCo and the SD11 continued that tradition for him.
“As an analogue trained engineer, I find the SD11 very user friendly. Its interface is logical, the control surface is well laid out, the I\O and routing capabilities are impressive and I rapidly found my way around all important features the console has to offer. The fact that it has 16 local inputs as well as easy connectivity with the DiGiCo range of rack makes the desk easily deployable for a wide array of events.”
With the SD11 being used regularly in The Salon, Jasja has found its versatility perfect for the demanding scenarios the MRC often find themselves in.
“I continue to be impressed on the SD11’s use in our Salon. Regularly we present contemporary amplified music in this space (think of 3 pieces and larger). The space is very intimate and has an amazing natural sound. It is an absolute delight to hear performers play in this space. From a technical point of view, requirements can be demanding for the engineers mixing in this area. A relatively small sized performance space, hardly any separation between stage and audience, regular need of larger numbers of condensers and almost always monitors mixed from FoH combined with, at times, extremely subtle sound make it a demanding environment for an engineer. Particularly because of its fast accessibility to functions and its audio processing options, the SD11 truly impresses in getting the job done. Alternating between various layers is fast and easy by use of the fader banks and the quick selection buttons enable fast access to the usual channel parameters.”
The entire package of the SD11 has really hit home for Jasja and his team.
“For where the SD11 sits in terms of price point and compared with a significant number of other digital consoles it certainly impresses me with how it sounds. The channel processing options are great, the effects sound good. I like the easy way it connects to outboard racks and especially the row of quick selection buttons on the left of the large touch screen make me happy every time I use the desk. I think this method of quick accessibility is a huge step forward compared to what many other consoles have on offer. In a way I consider myself lucky having had the experience and pleasure of working with all the good things analogue consoles have to offer but nowadays am fortunate enough to be working with truly matured digital systems, including DiGiCo.”
The general consensus from new and existing operators using the SD11 has been very promising all round as Jasja reports also.
“Feedback on this console in use is positive, I regularly introduce new engineers to the SD11 and my general impression is that people experience the console as well sounding, intuitive and easy to operate.”