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Sound Stylists first in South Africa with a DiGiCo SD7

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:17

South Africa is now able to give international audio engineers what they need and what they ask for with the very first DiGiCo SD7 in the country. The exciting investment was made by Kevin Glover, owner of Sound Stylists, and the SD7 will compliment his existing DiGiCo inventory which is the largest in Africa. Training on this console will also be offered to all interested parties in the near future.

Sound Stylists were the first in South Africa to bring DiGiCo to the country in around 2006 with the purchase of a DiGiCo D5, and they have subsequently added to this their stock, now comprising of two D5s, two SD8s, an SD10, and two S21s not to mention the racks and accessories. Was the SD7 needed? “Absolutely,” says Kevin. “The South African market is maturing and is getting bigger. There were a number of International artists that we serviced with our SD10 last year. However, a number of them were looking for SD7s, so essentially, we are answering that call. In addition to that, we also needed the additional SD Racks and having the 32-bit input cards also increases the desirability.”

Kyle Robson of DWR Distribution, the DiGiCo distributor in Africa, elaborates, “To meet requirements of international acts, the DiGiCo SD7 was previously hired in for a show, often from Dubai. The SD7 platform is eleven years old yet is still one of the most popular consoles on the market, the main contributing factor being the dual engines. It’s like having two consoles in one, which offers redundancy that engineers like. They have the assurance that should one, for some reason, break down, the other will kick in giving peace of mind. Other benefits include having high channel counts, more faders, more screens and a bucket load of outputs.”

The sale was an emotional one for Kyle. His introduction to DiGiCo was when he worked for Sound Stylists, and he was one of the first users to mix on the D5. “I’ve been trying to sell an SD7 for years,” he said, clearly chuffed. “It has been one of my biggest dreams to get one in the country. I have not mixed a show on an SD7, but have had the privilege to stand behind the console and play, as well as receive training from DiGiCo in the UK on all the SD consoles.”

The news has spread like wildfire, and Kevin has had positive feedback on his Facebook page from engineers who can’t wait to try out the SD7. “I always use the analogy of a BMW showroom,” said Kevin. You have to have a 7 Series on the floor in order to sell a 3 Series, but your biggest mover is going to be the 3 Series. It does mean though that you can offer the full suite.”

Going back to the legacy of Sound Stylists and DiGiCo, Kevin says he may initially have entered the DiGiCo platform a little late in the game with the D5, but desirability by users was always the main selling point. “Going forward, I have to say that out of all the console manufacturers that we’ve had, DiGiCo has been the most supportive, for want of a better word and we receive the support, back-up and education from both DiGiCo and DWR Distribution. I know that should DWR fall off the planet tomorrow, I could pick up the phone and anyone at DiGiCo would assist. Do I have that type of relationship with any of the other manufacturers? I don’t.”

DiGiCo has proved to be a sound investment over the years for Sound Stylists. “The SD8s have worked hard and they will continue to work hard. They are our stock standard desk of choice. The SD10 is essentially doing the high-end corporates like the SAMAS and international acts. While the price of the SD7 is going to restrict certain shows, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.” As for the D5s, they continue to offer stability, reliability and build quality. “The fact that we can still put those D5s on shows now is a testament to the pedigree of an incredible desk. They have an incredibly high channel count and sample at the same rate as many of today`s consoles 12 years down the line. With time, and growth of technology they will be over-run, but they will still work and still generate income, in fact, both of the D5s are currently at a festival.”

A key factor for Kevin is that DiGiCo enables him to standardise racks across the various models, providing flexibility and power.

I have seen the major rental companies across the US and the UK investing and aligning in DiGiCo,” said Kevin. “With this in mind, Sound Stylists will be making further DiGiCo purchases in the near future, both with surfaces and additional SD-Racks.”

Ian Staddon from DiGiCo comments, “I am delighted that Kevin and Sound Stylists has chosen to not only continue their investment in DiGiCo, but to go for our ‘Flagship SD7’. Many of my colleagues at DiGiCo and I have known Kevin and several of his team for a long time, and it gives me great satisfaction to know that Sound Stylists appreciate DiGiCo, our products and what we stand for as a manufacturer. Our beliefs are mirrored by DWR, and this sale is a testament to that; a great team effort by all involved.”

Kevin sees the future of the new SD7 working for everyone. He aims to make the console readily available so that audio engineers in the South African industry are comfortable and familiar behind the console. He will be first in line to receive the training from DWR. “I’m an old dog and it’s going to take time, but I’m excited. I want to stay current, and I want to know what my team are talking about,” he laughs. “One thing I will say, and this is a sentiment from my team when they have a choice of desk to run a show, they always choose DiGiCo.”