PLASA09: DiGiCo unveils the SD8-24
DiGiCo SD8, launched at PLASA show last year, was an instant hit for the manufacturer, with record numbers sold since its launch. Now, DiGiCo believes it has once again produced a product to suit the industry's changing needs. "A lot of our customers in the corporate world were hard hit at the start of the credit crunch," says James Gordon, DiGiCo's managing director. "Recently, they've been telling us that work is starting to come back. This is great news and we wanted to do something to address the needs of the rejuvenating market. Designing a smaller footprint SD8, but without reducing any of its features, seemed the perfect way to do that."
The SD8-24 has the fixed architecture of the SD8, employing the same smaller Super FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), a technology that has been around for almost as long as DSP. FPGAs comprise a series of logic blocks, plus a system for connecting them, which can be programmed to perform complex operations or more routine tasks normally associated with basic gates, and in many high performance FPGAs, these logic blocks also have access to on-chip memory or even embedded microprocessors.
Applications for FPGAs are very wide reaching and this brings with it certain economies of scale. They are particularly well-suited to audio mixing applications, not least because a single FPGA can carry out the same functions as a whole board full of conventional DSP chips. Evolution has seen the development of much larger FPGA's and these can perform far greater numbers of calculations than the most advanced DSP. These Super FPGAs are utilized in the SD-8 and SD8-24.
DiGiCo has also applied Stealth Digital Processing to its entire SD range. This is the technology that allows it to process all mixing functions and reverb algorithms in one of the latest FPGA design components. A single chip processes an amazing amount of channels, providing more channel processing than can be found on any other digital live console.
All of this gives the SD8-24 an exceptional cost to feature ratio and means that less really is more.The console benefits from all the features currently available on the SD8, as well as some additional ones courtesy of the newly developed OverDrive software, which comes as standard in all new SD8 and SD8-24 consoles and is available as a free upgrade for existing products.
The SD8-24 is not only ideally suited to the corporate market, but to other applications where space is at a premium. These include regional theatre or installations that want to upgrade from existing consoles to benefit from vastly increased features, I/O capability and sound quality, but do not have the space for a larger footprint console.