Crash Course in Learning a New Audio Console

dicigo sd7 janet jackson live mixing Sep 28, 2019

I recently got called last minute to mix a few shows for Janet Jackson.  The gear was already on the truck on its way to the first gig and I would be mixing on a Digico SD7.  I have mixed on Digico a handful of times over the past several years but the Midas ProX has been my console of choice and where I have spent the majority of my time.  Needless to say, the Digico and Midas platforms are quite different.  

This is a fairly involved production with 80+ inputs so it was going to require some serious thought.  If you’ve read my previous blog about console workflow, you know that the proper layout of the console is very important to mixing a show of this size.  

So I needed a crash course in Digico. 

Here’s what I did-

I found an excellent tutorial for Digico online as well as the user manual.  

I downloaded the SD7 offline editor and started building my file while watching the videos and scouring the manual whenever I needed to dive deeper. 

It’s a bit complicated building a file for a show you haven’t mixed.  I spent some time listening to the songs in order to get my head around how things would need to appear on the console.  The good thing about the SD7 is it has 48 faders on the surface which will allow me to have a good amount of inputs at my fingertips at any given time.  

Once I finished the first draft of a show file, I focused on learning the songs.  Fortunately, the set is heavy on Janet’s hits, which having grown up in the 80s I am quite familiar with.  Still, I listen and make a lot of notes and I've got Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on hand for any cues!

Once we start band rehearsals and I get a feel for how things are coming to me, I make some adjustments to my console layout- mainly the input layers and control groups.  Luckily what is coming to me from the stage sounds great and everything is well balanced.  There is very little EQ needed with the except for drums and vocals.  For the most part I just need to dial in the proper head amp gain.   

I’ve said it before, it all starts at the source. If you’ve got great sounds from the source and proper gain structure, you shouldn’t need to do much more than bring up the faders. 

Janet is fantastic and it's a fun show to mix.  After my crash course in Digico and spending several days of rehearsals, run-throughs, and a couple of shows, I've got a good handle on the Digico SD7. Now I just need to get my head back into the Midas for my next gig!




By: Michelle Sabolchick