Pensacola Florida's Vinyl Music Hall literally rose from the gutted rubble of a former 3-story Masonic temple in the heart of downtown, transforming itself in a mere two months into a live music destination for national and regional touring acts of all flavors and fans alike.
Dual DiGiCo SD8s—SD8-36 at FOH and SD8-24 at monitor world—are the heartbeat of the club's audio core, along with a d&b audiotechnik Q1 PA system and Meyer USM-1P stage wedges, supplied by Pensacola's All Pro Sound. The 40-bit floating-point processor, at the nucleus of DiGiCo console's stealth processing, enables this cutting-edge music venue to deliver state-of-the-art sound live to a 525-capacity room, but will also enable them to stream archived multitrack performance recordings virally over the web.
"The SD8 has truly made this a multi-functional facility," mused Brian "Disco" Oden, the club's production manager and system designer, whose resume includes residencies at New Orleans' venerated Tipitina's club, and as tour manager for Crescent City artists from the Continental Drifters to Terence Simien. "Given the flexibility of the console we can push out audio in so many different ways. Anything is possible; the sky's the limit."
With a list of requirements for the venue-in-progress—from features to price tag—Oden says they were sold on the console at introduction. And for Oden, a died-in-the-wool analog enthusiast, it would be his first foray into the digital realm.
"There were a lot of things that I was really worried about when thinking about digital consoles: software, night-to-night reliability, sonic quality…. But when we were showed all the capabilities of the console, I put all that to rest. We were sold on the console immediately; I didn't think there was anything else out there that could give us the features, flexibility and quality at the price that the DiGiCo consoles could. And, the console sounds amazing. It is literally the best-sounding consoles I've ever heard in my life"
The SD8's RME MadiFace synchronicity was one of the biggest selling points of the console said Oden. "It is absolutely amazing and offers the capability, with two wires, to capture live audio and stream it back through the channels of the console you're recording from. Literally the band can be on stage doing soundcheck and with the push of a button the audio is instantly transferred back, channel to channel from my computer, through the console so the band can review it. It gives the engineer the ability to listen to the individual instrumentation and do his final tweaking, without the band, and saves an enormous amount of time for everyone. It's not like it used to be where you were struggling to get a soundcheck in a certain amount of time. Or, wishing you could capture a band live, night-to-night, without having to spend loads of cash to bring in a recording truck. At the end of the night, I can hand over a complete multitrack or 2-track recording on a Blue Ray DVD to any band or artist."
Oden was also surprised at what little or no CPU processing toll the recording processing took on the console. "We're just using a standard PC, recording at 48 kilobits per second uncompressed for each track. Not only is it at extremely low latency levels, but also, it is extremely accurate."
Still in its relative infancy as a venue, the Vinyl Music Hall continues to dial in its nightly rave-worthy live shows, while focusing on the future. "We're looking ahead," says Oden, "and have the capability and technology in place to be able to broadcast live or pre-recorded materials via streaming Dolby 5.1 digital audio with hi-def video in the near future. The media has been heading in that direction for a long time and we want to be there as well. The DiGiCo SD8 did exactly what we were aiming for, and I'm excited to get my hands on the new Waves bundle soon, to maximize its capability even further… We wanted to be a premiere venue, on top of the map to attract the best artist to route their tour through Pensacola and to be able to offer them a state of the art audio system that sounds fantastic—and I've never seen bands happier than they've been on these consoles, ever. We're in the big leagues now."