Milford Haven’s Torch Theatre and touring company Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (ThGC ) have both recently purchased a Digico SD9 digital console.
The Milford Haven venue, which combines main and studio theatres, an art gallery and a café, has joined the growing trend of showing live and recorded transmissions of high profile stage shows, such as those by the National Theatre and New York’s Metropolitan Opera. While this trend has provided additional revenue streams, increasing demands have been placed upon the audio system, as the loudspeakers and mixing console have to cope with the high quality sound that comes with the HD video broadcast of the shows.
“The SD9 isn’t our first digital console,” said the theatre’s technical manager Andrew Sturley. “Previously we had a 24 channel digital desk from another manufacturer and went through four in a year, so it wasn’t a great start. We ended up without any console at all for a while so, when we were looking for a new one, we needed much greater reliability and to be certain that we were getting a quality product for the money.
“We looked at many digital mixing consoles and were unanimous that the multi-functionality, processing quality and size made the SD9 the right desk for us. The Flexi Channels have added a lot of versatility and it has transformed our audio system from being mediocre to excellent, simply by just plugging it in. Some incoming productions are now using our system instead of their own, which they never did before.”
In addition to the main house, Torch has a studio theatre, featuring 102 retractable seats, which may well house an SD9 in the near future. “The SD9 has become an integral part of our system and we are very happy with it,” commented Sturley. “As soon as we can, we will be buying a second one for the studio theatre.
“The SD9 has transformed things since the initial, very disappointing start to our use of digital audio. I would recommend it to anyone.”
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (ThGC), the Carmarthen-based, National Welsh language touring company, which stages Welsh language productions throughout the country, has also taken stock of an SD9. Supplied by Wigwam, the SD9 is the company’s first ‘permanent’ digital mixing console.
“We were able to secure some Lottery funding to purchase equipment and a high quality, digital console was high on our list of priorities. Our productions vary in scale and the audio system needs to cope with everything from a full-blown musical to an intimate performance in a village hall. So the SD9 was the logical choice for us,” said Wyn Jones, ThGC’s technical and operations manager.
“We rely a lot on freelance sound engineers and their views were also a consideration. The SD9 is very user-friendly and many of them expressed a preference for Digico. The sound designer on our last tour absolutely loved it and Digico’s support has been great. Buying it was a very wise decision.”