Alessandro Bonifacio: ‘Every investment is thought about very carefully’

UK - Located on the edge of London’s Regent’s Park, 229 is a multi-purpose venue with two spaces: Venue One has a capacity of 700 and Venue Two can hold around 200 people. Both are busy every night, often also hosting events during the day. There is residential housing above and the whole complex is managed under the umbrella of the charity International Student House, which provides a home and community for young people studying internationally. A hundred percent of 229’s profits go back into supporting the charity’s mission.

“We had been using our previous desk for about 10 years,” technical manager Alessandro Bonifacio explains. “Every investment is thought about very carefully, we have to think in terms of longevity and value. I’ve been using DiGiCo consoles on my freelance jobs for years, so I got in contact through Andy Huffer at HD Pro Audio. The whole team couldn’t have been nicer. We were invited down to DiGiCo HQ in Chessington to take a look round. It was very easy to fall in love with it all.”

Undertaking upgrades in sound and lighting equipment is a major investment for any venue and value is not just about the budget. Purchasing a DiGiCo console meant that 229 was able to benefit from the whole DiGiCo support package. Bonifacio was pleased to learn that in-situ training session was available with the purchase. He took the opportunity to gather 229 engineers and regular freelancers to benefit from the training day, provided by DiGiCo’s Molly Autherson.

“Meeting Molly was amazing, we all knew her from DiGiCo’s YouTube content,” he says. “The team are all pretty big, opinionated guys and there were at least 10-15 of us firing questions, but Molly literally obliterated us all with her knowledge. In terms of support, the DiGiCo team have been amazing, it’s a massive perk to buying DiGiCo hardware.”

The International Students House exists for international students, guiding them as they study at partnered universities across London and offering scholarships for students to stay in their accommodation directly above the venue. By reinvesting profits from 229, the charity is able to create a sustainable model for supporting young people.

The DiGiCo Quantum 225 aligns this ethos of community and support. Consoles are built with the future in mind: Quantum is super-fast, expandable and uses the very latest technology to ensure ultimate usability for the life of the console.

“The 96kHz operation represents sonically, a step toward the future for the venue, and we use features like the UB MADI, Nodal Processing and True Solo much more than we thought we would,” Bonifacio says. “They’re also completely rider friendly. Recently we had an engineer politely refuse to use their usual touring set up, just so he could mix six channels on the Quantum. The amazing thing is that everyone notices the difference in sound, it’s mind blowing. Since we got the Quantum 225s, returning promotors are coming up and asking what we’ve changed because it sounds so good.”

The new DiGiCo Quantum 225 in Venue One has been such a success that once Bonifacio had seen it in action, he knew that they had to invest in a second console for use as a monitor console, providing each with a separate stage rack.

“The level of control you have with these desks is beyond ridiculous. You can do whatever you want and the support you get if you are trying something new is astounding,” Bonifacio concludes. “That’s why the DiGiCo fits in so well. It can respond to all our different needs and with our, recent lighting rig upgrade with Claypaky and Chauvet fixtures and a new moving truss on stage, we’ve really made a significant investment in the future of 229 that will last for years to come.”

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