Posted in practice
on March 29, 2017 3:42 pm EDT
Distributor Group One Ltd. celebrates its representation of U.K.-based Digico, and how the alliance is impacting contemporary worship space design.
Images courtesy of Group One Ltd.
“Our relationship is very much like a tight family,” says Matt Larson, vice president of pro audio sales for Group One Ltd., based in Farmingdale, N.Y. “We have an enormous amount of respect for what [Digico has] built as a brand and product line, and are honored to represent [them]. We know what it takes to build a technologically advanced product line that meets the requirements, from very simple to complex installations.”
Church Designer dug deep with Larson, asking what the alliance will deliver for professionals who are charged with the design and integration of worship space systems moving forward. From all reports, the future starts now.
What Digico line of products do you believe is the most innovative and sought after for church project specification in 2017, and why?
Matt Larson, Vice President of Pro Audio Sales, Group One Ltd., Farmingdale, NY
LARSON: What I have found is that this landscape is evolving. While the megachurch platform works in many parts of the world, there is an understanding that the only way to truly be a part of a community is to not always focus on one very large location—but to develop satellite locations around the community that are closer to neighborhoods and have a larger impact on more people, [people who otherwise] may have never joined a church because it was just too far of a drive for them.
With Digico we have developed a platform that covers vast product requirements that can be used in one of the most demanding environments, with large channel counts, down to a smaller format portable church system with a reduced channel count that may be even be getting a handful of stem feeds (mixed down group of channels) from a main campus across town. One of the advantages with the Digico SD series consoles is that the platform is the exact same, so when you have a 16-year-old volunteer mixing on an SD9 at your smaller campus, and you get called at the main campus for some support on how the desk works, you do not have to try to remember multiple platforms—and you become the expert ‘knows all’ guy.
But the hidden gem here is that our volunteer in the smaller campus is building up experience and can make an easy transition to any other location with a larger format system, [because] the SD Series platform is the exact same, and it also allows them to even bring settings (pre-sets) to any other Digico desks. So if they have really dialed in a lavalier microphone or a complete drum set on one desk, they can bring these settings into any other model SD Series, as well as convert the complete session.How is digital audio networking affecting what's being done and what's possible, in a nutshell?
LARSON Digico went with the industry standard. In fact, they went with most of them and have the flexibility to work with most audio network standards all at the same time. We also have the ability as new protocols come out to develop cards that just plug in to our systems—and we play well with all other manufactures in the neighborhood. What really sets Digico apart from other systems is that our core systems are MADI and Optocore Fiber Optics, with 504 channels per optical loop, that you can connect up to five consoles and 14 racks per loop. So in a typical application, you can have consoles in the Front of House, Monitors, Broadcast and Post Production locations all getting a split of the microphone pre-amps, and can feed any rack’s output card from any of the five surfaces. Additionally, you can do console to console bussing so your walk-in music at FOH can also be fed to Monitors and Broadcast simply by routing through the 15th virtual 56 channel console buss. All clocking is pushed through all connections so it is easy to clock an entire system without having to add additional clock lines. What new technologies are going to set the world of church audio on its ear heading into the foreseeable future?
LARSON: Our Digico Stealth Digital Processing with our Super FPGA platform has allowed us to continue to develop and add incredible features and channel counts. The buzz created by the announcement of the SD7 Quantum 7 engine that will be released later this year is going to make your jaws drop, with the power to handle 640 inputs or outputs. It’s not that we need that many channels, but it is introducing a new way of processing audio. The Nodal Processing will allow you to have different EQ and Dynamics for every aux send on an input channel, with many other fantastic design features developed by John Stadius, who is responsible and the leader for all of R&D, and Roger Wood, who drives the software development teams with Digico. Both of these gentlemen with their dedicated group in R&D have been responsible for so many cutting-edge achievements—changing our industry in so many ways that we now expect new advancements in digital audio from this team. How does Group One and, as an extension, Digico, service its church specifiers and clients following a sale?
LARSON: We believe that our role prior to the sale is to assist in the understanding of what they need today and what they envision their requirements will be down the road—to help future-proof their system design as best as possible. Many things may be unknown, but it is always best to have the discussion and understand what the senior pastoral staff would like to see in the future and make certain that they are spending the capital investments as wisely as possible.
After the installation has been completed we do on-site training with their staff so they all are confident in the system and its operation. We know that a majority of the technical team may be volunteers and, in our training, we really try to go through not just the aspects of Digico but how to best be prepared for any event scenarios as an audio engineer. On top of the on-site training we have a very open-door policy that they can contact any one of us on our staff or our fantastic rep force—any time with any questions—or sign up for our Masters Series Classes that we do across the country at no charge. What drives your level of service and care to the church market? What attitude ensures that you “get it”?
LARSON: We have earned a reputation as the best in the industry in responding to our customers’ needs. Of course, we are not perfect, but we all work very hard to be there to help on a moment’s notice when needed. And most of our staff have been in our customers’ position, so I think we have a grasp on how we would like to be treated.
As we work in the concert sound, corporate events, Broadway, broadcast and house of worship (HOW) markets, we know that many of the HOW weekly duties can be the most demanding types of events—and they really are all one-offs, being different from what they did an hour ago. And while other shows will have one event on a day, it would not be uncommon for 4-6 events to happen in one day in just one of their many rooms, and that is why the flexibility of our systems is so important.