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Author Topic: Digico SD11  (Read 13689 times)

Adam Robinson

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Digico SD11
« on: November 10, 2011, 12:23:25 pm »

I've been test driving the Digico SD11 a bit recently and am quite impressed with all the features they've packed into such a small package.  (Many here will know that I'm a Digico fan).

For those of you that don't know, the SD11 is their smallest console.  It can be rack mounted or sit on a table.  It has 16 ins and 8 outs (plus one each of AES in and out) on-board and can connect via a Cat5 cable to the D-Rack (their Cat5 remote box) which provides 32x8 or 32x16.  The console itself handles up to 32 channels, up to 8 of which can be made stereo, giving a total input count of 40 plus 1 talkback mic input.  The output structure of the console is completely flexible like their other consoles and in addition to a Master Bus (on the SD consoles the Master bus is given as the first Stereo Group) and an 8 x 8 Matrix, it can provide 12 buses which can be a mixture of auxes or groups and each of the 12 buses can be made mono or stereo. 

The console features the same fader bank layout as the rest of the SD series consoles, but with just 12 faders.  When you load a "fresh" session, the faders come setup into banks of channels, groups, auxes, control groups, and matrix outputs, but from there each fader and each layer is completely customizable, so any fader can appear anywhere on the console (and multiple times).  Like the SD9, a row of 12 knobs and buttons follows selection keys to the left of the 15" touchscreen for adjusting parameters like gain, pan, and aux sends on the screen.  To the right of the screen is a full EQ strip, HPF and LPF controls, and simple compressor and gate controls.  The interface on the screen is exactly the same as the rest of the Digico SD consoles, so those familiar with another Digico console will feel right at home on this one.  Above the screen amongst controls for headphones and 2 solo buses and a USB port is a section of 8 macro keys (if the console can do it, it can be programmed to a macro).

Under the hood of the SD11 is the same DSP technology powering the rest of the SD consoles giving it performance that goes far beyond anything else its size (yes, I'd like my little bitty console to sound like a $250k top-market console!).  In addition to the usual compliment of digital console features (this console has high pass, low pass, fully parametric 4-band EQ, compressor, and gate on every input and output), the SD11 allows up to 4 instances of a dynamic EQ (think BSS-901 or XTA D2) to be used, up to 4 instances of a multi band compressor to be used, 4 FX engines, and 12 graphic EQs.  Also like the rest of the SD consoles, it has a snapshot system that starts out shallow (the snapshot scopes all parameters) but can get extremely detailed (individual parameters on individual inputs or outputs). 

I took the console to do a corporate gig in a small theatre.  5 lav mics, 2 handheld mics, a podium mic, and video playback.  I set up the top layer with my main 10 inputs (the playback channel was stereo) followed by 3 groups for processing (lavs, handhelds, podium).  Everything was right in my reach.  Ringing out mics was a bit involved since the PA (groundstacked KARA) was sitting right on the stage and in very close proximity to all the mics.  I was immediately impressed with how the sound of the mics remained natural and smooth after what I deemed was entirely too much EQing. 

I had set up to mix a band with the console, also using its onboard MADI port to track the show to my laptop, but the event fell through.  So to give it a "band test," I hooked up the console to my laptop and ran some multi-tracked shows back through it.  It performed just as I would expect from any Digico console, more reason why they're my first choice.  It had the headroom and clarity I've come to expect from the rest of their product line.  Depending on the band, I could see it becoming a bit difficult to chase around a bunch of levels if you've got to be everywhere at once. 

Although this console is sized similar to a Yamaha LS9-16, it's not a direct replacement.  Its price point puts it in a league a bit higher, but at the same time you gain a lot more into a similar footprint:  increased sonic quality, more IO options, a full-sized touchscreen, and a digital snake option.  I think it fills in a place in the market for people looking for the most they can get into a small package, like many "corporate" audio gigs I've done over the years.  With the ability to mix 12 stereo auxes, it could also easily fit in a tour bus bay as part of an IEM rig.

Let me know if you're curious about anything I've left out!

Update:  I just got an email from Digico that for their anniversary, the SD11 will be getting a feature boost (along with other consoles).  It now has more dynamic EQs, more multi-band comps, more FX, and DigiTubes (tube emulation from the SD7) along with an increased count of flexi channels (the number of channels the can be mono or stereo).  They'll also be releasing a broadcast variant of their software for the 11, with some application specific features added in.
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Ben Young

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 05:49:46 am »

Hi Adam,

Thanks for sharing this info!  I work for a church/ministry and we travel with a full band to different churches about once a month, and are looking at upgrading our current DM1000 set up.  We are looking at purchasing an M7CL-ES(we use 2 regular M7's cascaded together for FOH at the church), but I have been doing a lot of research wondering if we can something of better value/sonic quality for the money.  I have really been looking at the Digico SD9.  Any thoughts on that console?  If I understand correctly, it is just a bigger brother to the SD11, with some more I/O capability and obviously some more faders. We've been happy with our M7's(they're workhorses), but sonically, I believe we might be able to to find something better in the price range.  I want to make sure we get a great value(quality/price/etc.) I understand that the SD9 comes with a digital snake with only 32x8, vs. 48x16 with the M7CL-ES version, but 32 inputs are fine for us right now, and I know you can add another D-Rack to the SD9 for more I/O if expandability would be a concern.  Just curious, did your email from Digico about the new features for consoles give any date when they will be adding those features?   
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Adam Robinson

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 10:42:56 am »

Hi Adam,

Thanks for sharing this info!  I work for a church/ministry and we travel with a full band to different churches about once a month, and are looking at upgrading our current DM1000 set up.  We are looking at purchasing an M7CL-ES(we use 2 regular M7's cascaded together for FOH at the church), but I have been doing a lot of research wondering if we can something of better value/sonic quality for the money.  I have really been looking at the Digico SD9.  Any thoughts on that console?  If I understand correctly, it is just a bigger brother to the SD11, with some more I/O capability and obviously some more faders. We've been happy with our M7's(they're workhorses), but sonically, I believe we might be able to to find something better in the price range.  I want to make sure we get a great value(quality/price/etc.) I understand that the SD9 comes with a digital snake with only 32x8, vs. 48x16 with the M7CL-ES version, but 32 inputs are fine for us right now, and I know you can add another D-Rack to the SD9 for more I/O if expandability would be a concern.  Just curious, did your email from Digico about the new features for consoles give any date when they will be adding those features?   

Say what we all will about the M7... it's a useful console for many things and quite accessible.  That being said, the SD9 is just in a completely different league.

When the anniversary software update hits, the SD9 will do 48 mono or stereo channels, 16 mono or stereo busses, 12x8 matrix with inputs routed from anywhere, up to 8 multibands, dynamic eqs, and tube emulators, 8 FX, and so on.  Additionally, it is my experience that the digital snake option with the Digico is much more solid than my experiences with Ethersound.  Granted, I have not used the M7 ethersound console, but in using the SB168 with the PM5D and LS9 I've found the set up to be a little cumbersome and buggy.  Oh, and the SD9 is also physically smaller than an M7 - if size is a factor.

I don't know when the new features are coming out but one would assume in early 2012.  To coincide with the anniversary they're also having a deal on a SD9 + 2 DigiRack system, but I haven't seen any more details on that. 
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Ben Young

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 01:35:58 pm »

Say what we all will about the M7... it's a useful console for many things and quite accessible.  That being said, the SD9 is just in a completely different league.

When the anniversary software update hits, the SD9 will do 48 mono or stereo channels, 16 mono or stereo busses, 12x8 matrix with inputs routed from anywhere, up to 8 multibands, dynamic eqs, and tube emulators, 8 FX, and so on.  Additionally, it is my experience that the digital snake option with the Digico is much more solid than my experiences with Ethersound.  Granted, I have not used the M7 ethersound console, but in using the SB168 with the PM5D and LS9 I've found the set up to be a little cumbersome and buggy.  Oh, and the SD9 is also physically smaller than an M7 - if size is a factor.

I don't know when the new features are coming out but one would assume in early 2012.  To coincide with the anniversary they're also having a deal on a SD9 + 2 DigiRack system, but I haven't seen any more details on that.

Thanks for the reply, Adam!  Wow!  That makes the SD9 sound even more desirable!!!  I'm just surprised that it isn't more popular than it is here in the states. Maybe it is, but I've had a hard time finding people on forums and the internet who use/have used it.  I will definitely recommend it for consideration to my supervisors though for sure!
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Samuel Rees

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 02:26:14 pm »

Agreed. There is nothing wrong with the M7, but if you are looking to scale up there a lot of things I'd rather do than just have 2. Digico is one, the Avid SC48 as well.
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Christopher Irwin

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 01:56:00 pm »


Thanks for the reply, Adam!  Wow!  That makes the SD9 sound even more desirable!!!  I'm just surprised that it isn't more popular than it is here in the states. Maybe it is, but I've had a hard time finding people on forums and the internet who use/have used it.  I will definitely recommend it for consideration to my supervisors though for sure!

This is my first time responding in this forum, so forgive any problems with quotes/etc...

I have been using an SD9 3-4 times a week for the past year and a half as a part of my job.  I have done FOH, Monitors, and Broadcast all from the console as well as a wide variety of things- from banquets to full orchestra and choir to concerts. 

All of that to say- I absolutely love the console.  I also have tons of time on an M7 and have used quite a few other consoles (Avid, Soundcraft, etc) and Digico is by far my favorite. I can go into more detail with my experience if you want, but bottom line is that the sound quality is stunning and the features are ridiculous for the price range (in a good way). The customer service is also great; I have made suggestions that have already showed up in firmware updates (which consistently come out and are free of charge) and Taidus made the trip from Las Vegas to Southern California to give my crew free training on the console. 

I hope this helps.  Let me know if you want to know anything more specific.
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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 03:30:48 pm »

This is my first time responding in this forum

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real full name as required by the posting rules clearly displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

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Ben Young

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 04:04:25 am »

This is my first time responding in this forum, so forgive any problems with quotes/etc...

I have been using an SD9 3-4 times a week for the past year and a half as a part of my job.  I have done FOH, Monitors, and Broadcast all from the console as well as a wide variety of things- from banquets to full orchestra and choir to concerts. 

All of that to say- I absolutely love the console.  I also have tons of time on an M7 and have used quite a few other consoles (Avid, Soundcraft, etc) and Digico is by far my favorite. I can go into more detail with my experience if you want, but bottom line is that the sound quality is stunning and the features are ridiculous for the price range (in a good way). The customer service is also great; I have made suggestions that have already showed up in firmware updates (which consistently come out and are free of charge) and Taidus made the trip from Las Vegas to Southern California to give my crew free training on the console. 

I hope this helps.  Let me know if you want to know anything more specific.


Thanks for the response, Christopher! It seems that I have heard nothing but good about the Digico consoles. I have downloaded the offline editor software for the SD8 and read through the manuals of the SD8 and SD9, and I will have to admit it kind of spoils you! The way you can easily lay out your channels any way you want is pretty amazing! Have you used any other racks other than the D-Rack with your SD9? Can you interface with one of the SD-Racks without the need to purchase additional hardware? If I understand correctly, the SD9 has built-I'm MADI ports, but I wasn't sure if they were just for sending out audio for recording, or if there are inputs too. Any comments?
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Nick Pires

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 09:18:43 am »

Ben,
The SD9 has an ethercon connection for the D-Rack and one standard BNC MADI port. You can interface with any of DiGiCo's racks (SD, DiGi, MADI, Micro, Nano etc.) through the standard MADI port, but you would then lose the ability to record with the RME MADI-face. DiGiCo does sell two interfaces, the "Little Red Box" and "Little Blue Box" which convert the ethercon connection to BNC/MADI and back. There's also the optical option which is available on all of their racks except for the MADI rack.
The company I work for was overwhelmed by the DiGiCo demo we hosted and opted to buy a pair of DiGiCo consoles. I can see us sticking with this brand for quite a while. The service has been very good, and the software updates offer some very tangible improvements to the consoles.
Hope this helps.
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Samuel Rees

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 09:49:36 pm »

I'm (hopefully) about to be doing some work at a new venue that installed 2 SD8s for FOH / Mons. I just went down for a light-traning session on it with the installer. Took me a minute to get my bearings, probably just because I've got the yamaha "angle" stuck in my head. Looked impressive though, I'm really looking forward to trying them out.
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Christopher Irwin

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2011, 07:35:12 pm »


I will have to admit it kind of spoils you! The way you can easily lay out your channels any way you want is pretty amazing! Have you used any other racks other than the D-Rack with your SD9? Can you interface with one of the SD-Racks without the need to purchase additional hardware? If I understand correctly, the SD9 has built-I'm MADI ports, but I wasn't sure if they were just for sending out audio for recording, or if there are inputs too.

Yes, the console does spoil you. I love mixing and matching channel types on different banks (layers).  I also love the ripple feature for automatically routing consecutive I/O at any number of channels you set.  The copy feature is outstanding allowing you to copy one channel or part of a channel very simply to as many or few channels as you want (a quick reset of the console with the eq points where you want them, compressor set up the way you like etc, can be done by setting up one channel and copying it to the rest of the console with about two button pushes). Presets (library functionality) not only save what you want, but you can save groups of channels, say your 10 channels for a drum set, and be recalled to quickly A/B or recall your eq/compression/etc for an entire set of channels. The dynamic eq and fx are absolutely fantastic.  You can even make folders for your presets and session files, which is a real plus for people who love to stay organized like me. The list really goes on and on.

But back to your original question, no, I have not used other racks with the SD9.  We own two D-racks and they have been great, though less flexible if you want to add a bigger console to your inventory, since you would have to get the LBB or LRB as mentioned. However, the console does have Both Madi In and Madi Out (2 connectors) so it is possible to use it with one other Madi device, whether that be a rack or recorder.

As a side note, Digico is extremely cautious with the cat5e cable specs for the D-Rack. I was planning on installing cable in a couple of buildings since we use the console both outdoors and in multiple buildings on campus. I ran into a lot of fun first of all trying to figure out what Digico would allow and then secondly what would work even if it wasn't "up to spec." Digico's specs include: cable cannot exceed 225ft (75M), cannot have any connections (if installed both sides must be "tails"), must be Shielded cat5e, must have a ferrite core on each end, etc. We have successfully used a homemade 300' shielded cable multiple times without ferrite cores. I also installed connectors that terminate in boxes and we have used cat5e cables on both ends (one to the console and one to the D-Rack) with no ferrite cores for more than 100 hours of use and have had no problems so far. Everything I have done has been with shielded cable though, which is absolutely essential.
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Ben Young

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Re: Digico SD11
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2011, 09:59:23 pm »

Ben,
The SD9 has an ethercon connection for the D-Rack and one standard BNC MADI port. You can interface with any of DiGiCo's racks (SD, DiGi, MADI, Micro, Nano etc.) through the standard MADI port, but you would then lose the ability to record with the RME MADI-face. DiGiCo does sell two interfaces, the "Little Red Box" and "Little Blue Box" which convert the ethercon connection to BNC/MADI and back. There's also the optical option which is available on all of their racks except for the MADI rack.
The company I work for was overwhelmed by the DiGiCo demo we hosted and opted to buy a pair of DiGiCo consoles. I can see us sticking with this brand for quite a while. The service has been very good, and the software updates offer some very tangible improvements to the consoles.
Hope this helps.


Thanks for the info, Nick!
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