Top End Sounds in Darwin has invested in a DiGiCo D5 live digital mixing system, a mainstay on the worldwide production circuit considered and one of the best in its class. After doing so, any concerns with retraining staff have been alleviated due to the ease of use of the system and space saved in the truck has been an added bonus for the company.
“The timing was right for us to upgrade to digital audio technology especially with the growth that is happening in Darwin, such as the new convention centre that is under construction, and the clientele now looking at the Northern Territory and Darwin requiring the latest in technology or what they currently use elsewhere,” commented Colin West, managing director of TES.
“Choosing a digital console out of the top three models in the country was a hard decision but most important was the back up and service that could be provided by the company that sells the console. Group Technologies’ back up and service is superior, although I’m not saying the other distributors don’t have it, you just have to feel comfortable with one especially as we’re miles away from anyone else in our own little world!”
Colin also has an ongoing relationship with Bob Doyle, DiGiCo’s chief executive, who has been a friend for many years and that also made him feel comfortable as it offered another line of communication other than the distributor.
“We think that most acts and operators coming through will find the DiGiCo D5 acceptable,” added Colin. “There are already ten in Australia so they’re not a virgin console; they’ve been well and truly proven to be reliable. The fact that there are several in South-east Asia was important to us because of the similar climate that we have in Darwin – temperature and moisture are harsh environments for consoles. Over all, we’re very happy with the purchase, service and back up and we look forward to further services from Group Technologies.”
Being a bit old school, Colin took time to get used to not having outboards, racks or any exterior equipment. “I’ve always been one to stick to the old technology because I know it well and know that it works,” he said. “The old rule was ‘why change for the sake of it being new?’ So it was a big learning curve for me to take that step forward. However once I saw the console in use it was quite refreshing, it definitely has its benefits and is certainly the way of the future. The real estate you save in the truck and venue space is great as is the labour costs. I discovered that compared to the other brands available, the D5 was smaller but did just as much.”
Although Colin’s sound operators have had little experience of digital audio consoles it has not proven to be a problem thanks to the ease of use offered by the D5. David Houghton, TES chief audio engineer who ran the audio for the Qantas Gala photographed, was reportedly more than comfortable using the console after just one day, a scenario repeated at three more gigs during the week by other operators at TES.
“It was good to see the speed at which people became comfortable with the D5 learning it very quickly,” said Colin. “I was fascinated by the DVD that comes with the console – pommie accent and all. I thought it was amazing that all you had to do was watch the video and suddenly you were an expert! It’s very self explanatory and it has changed my mind to re-look at the rest of the market and the rest of what we do in other areas rather than cart around all those other big, black road cases!”