Sydney Theatre Company’s new Bar, aptly named ‘The Bar at the End of the Wharf’, is a busy little hot spot for Sydney’s inner city crowds in the know. As the name neatly implies, the bar is found at the end of the Wharf just past the Wharf 1 Theatre. With the 500+ capacity bar now being an extension of STC’s operations it is capable of hosting any number of acts and performances such as opening nights, season launches, media calls and monthly live gigs.
When the time came to choose the front of house console that could be utilised in both the bar and the Wharf 2 theatre STC’s Head of Sound, Ben Lightowlers, was quick to go with DiGiCo based on his prior experiences with the two SD8 consoles in use at Sydney Theatre. With both the SD9 and SD8 featuring the same audio processing as well as software, users could move back and forth between the venues with confidence.
“When the console first arrived, the Bar was still under construction. I seized the opportunity to take the SD9 with me in my capacity as operator for our touring production Bloodland, which was travelling to Adelaide Festival Centre and QPAC in Brisbane, so I could see how it stood up on the road. Putting the SD9 up for use in Theatre mode really gave me the chance to embrace its full capabilities. It seems to be common practice that you’ll end up using all the available outputs, so it is handy to be able to tailor the number of Busses and Auxiliaries when setting up the board.”
With the SD9 capable of 48 stereo channels (96 channels total) as well as the ability to create up to 16 stereo busses in addition to the LCR Master buss; any number of different setups can be accommodated. That is in addition to the true theatre style matrix.
“Choosing the DiGiCo SD9 for this venue was rather easy. I was already familiar with their versatility as we had just upgraded the 850 seat Sydney Theatre across the road with two SD8’s so I couldn’t wait for an excuse to buy one for the bar. Having the SD9 set up in this room also offers my crew more opportunity to train up on the DiGiCo console.”
Ben and the crew put the SD9 to work immediately on their regular and international visitors.
“The DiGiCo SD9 has already been used with great results since it arrived. For the last two years we have hosted a monthly live night called the Wharf Sessions and have been very lucky to attract some pretty major artists in that time including Faker, Bertie Blackman and The Paper Scissors to name a few. Most of the time we mix for them and occasionally they bring their own engineer. I am seeing more live venues embracing DiGiCo and engineers requesting DiGiCo on their band riders so felt pretty comfortable with the choice.”
Features, size, power, excellent sound and flexible design are amidst the most appealing standouts of the SD9 for Ben and his crew.
“I’m stoked with what you get out of the board when looking at how small a footprint it takes up! Its great having the ability to insert as many as 16 graphic EQ’s anywhere you want plus people commenting about the great sounding onboard reverbs when you set it up in their venue is always reassuring.”
Given all the SD series consoles feature the same FX and audio processing; even the physically smaller SD9 sounds the same as the rider-leading SD7. Even though it is so small, you still get 48 stereo input channels at all times. You don’t lose any processing as a trade-off for extra graphic EQ’s or auxiliary sends. It seems that the entire SD Series has left quite an impression on Ben and the Sydney Theatre Company as well.
“I feel that DiGiCo has really made a stamp on the industry by rolling out a full complement of consoles to cater to any size venue. The fact they all use the same architecture and can be scaled/transferred across to any of the SD range, in my opinion, puts them in the lead.”