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SD7 and SD8 chosen for Full Sail Live

Andrew Low
SD7 and SD8 chosen for Full Sail Live

After a year-plus of construction, Full Sail University’s multi-purpose, live performance venue, Full Sail Live, is finalised.

Located in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail Live is listed as one of the largest, dedicated sound stages for live concert training at an educational facility. It will serve numerous campus-wide events including live musical performances, monthly graduations, open house events, multi-visual presentations, guest lecture appearances, 16-speaker surround movie screenings and live concert student training sessions. The building is flanked by a new audio recording facility and linked by fiber for audio and video interfacing. DiGiCo SD7 and SD8 consoles were selected for installation to serve at FOH and Monitor engineering positions respectively.

“The console purchases were based on many elements,” explained director of audio programs, Dana Roun, who developed Full Sail’s Live Production training curriculum in 1981 while working as a touring engineer before coming onboard full-time in 1988. “We took into consideration superior technology and reliable service, industry acceptance, cost and value, as well as relationship and trust. As an educational facility—and this venue being the largest of six live production facilities on the campus—we have a responsibility to provide our Show Production students the full range of live concert industry tools, including lighting, video and audio. We knew we wanted a flagship console, and we knew its usage would need to cover a very wide range of functionality. The hitch, however, was that in planning our budget for the building four years in advance, the console purchase line item was merely a placeholder; I didn’t want to lock into our console until the last minute to ensure we were getting the most current technology available.”

While researching consoles for the new Full Sail venue, Roun requested a demonstration of the latest DiGiCo console technology. His lengthy experience working with DiGiCo consoles over the years was a big factor in that decision. “We owned a D5 for many years, so we were very familiar with the quality of the DiGiCo consoles and the responsiveness of the technical support staff (very important in a 24/7/365 environment). I was introduced to the SD7 at a tradeshow years ago and considered it a bit out of our price range at the time. I had been waiting to see how the SD7 consoles would be received, and last year we had grads on the U2 tour that advised us to get a good look at an SD7, which renewed my interest in the console. Other graduates – and we have many out there on tours and operating in the shops of top rental and production companies – reported having used SD7’s on their tours with great success, and SD8 consoles were seen on corporate and regional shows. Their insight into what consoles are actually moving out on current tours and corporate work is invaluable to us.”

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iGiCo’s product specialist Matt Larson set Roun up with a preview of all the DiGiCo models. “Matt and I had done business together over the years, and I was excited to find him now working with DiGiCo. I have wanted to work with [Group One President; US DiGiCo distributor] Jack Kelly for years and I’m happy to say it was worth the wait. Lastly, I have always enjoyed Bob Doyle’s expertise and passion for the industry. Bob has worked with me to supply our students with equipment at Full Sail University for decades; he is the real deal and clearly understands our educational needs. Many of the live production consoles we have here at Full Sail were directly related to Bob’s influence and expertise. Just prior to his move to DiGiCo in 2002, he wouldn’t discuss anything about his future and we needed to obtain the next step in consoles. (For those able to remember, the emerging digital live console selections at the time were very limited). I decided to wait for a while longer and then it all made sense. I imagine we were the first school in the world to purchase a DiGiCo D5 for training, and looking back, the D5 really helped our students to prepare for working in the touring industry. The console gained industry acceptance quickly and we were once again in the right place at the right time. Over the years our DiGiCo D5 console has been very reliable and I expect no less from the new SD7 and SD8 models.”

Dave Dean, the school’s long-time department chair for Live Production (and an active FOH engineer with KC And The Sunshine Band) shared Roun’s raves. “The D5 console held up remarkably well considering the hundreds of live production students that used it year-round during that 5-year span,” explained Dean. “Our desire was to keep up with the top-level riders in the industry. That, coupled with feedback from friends that had used the SD7 in the field, and our great experience with the D5, we were very excited to get our hands on the new SD7 and SD8.”

“I have used DiGiCo consoles on multiple tours in the past including R. Kelly, Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson and now with Axl Rose and have gotten used to how easy they are to mix on,” added John Sheldon, touring engineer and part-time Advanced Show Production Lab Specialist. “DiGiCo’s ease of use and clean sound made it a easy choice for live sound.”

Tags: digico sd7, digico sd8, full sail university

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