Prairie Sun Live (PSL) sprung from Prairie Sun Recording—a high-end recording facility in Sonoma Country that’s produced music with legendary artists from The Doobie Brothers to Van Morrison and Tom Waits in its 35-plus-year history. Owner/engineer Mark "Mooka" Rennick wanted to diversify his business to provide a superior sonic experience at live events. In searching for a console to build his business around, he chose a DiGiCo SD10 and SDRack after spending some hands-on time with the console at both the Winter NAMM and summer InfoComm shows. PSL took advantage of a trade up program offered by DiGiCo’s US distributor, Group One Ltd., to exchange their SD8 for the SD10. Rennick felt the SD10s flexibility and expandable options offered SPL a wide variety of opportunities for growth down the proverbial road.
"We loved the SD8, but came to feel that the SD10 would offer us more potential and greater options for the future," Rennick explains, "including a 96k sampling rate, fiber optics, more I/O, the SD rack, and more. Prairie Sun Live already owned a couple of other desks and we were looking for one or two more high-end digital consoles to round out our inventory. The SD10’s features and reputation were a huge factor in our decision to go with DiGiCo—they offer a very diverse line of consoles that are extremely compatible with one another. It's amazing that you get the same basic software, layout and options of that of the flagship SD7 in the SD10."
PSL's first show with the SD10 was in Vacaville, CA, at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theater over the summer, featuring a four-act bill headlining with Bay area, power pop rock group Cheating Daylight. In addition to the SD10, PSL brought its Adamson Y-10 line array with SX Subs, Lab Gruppen amps, and Clair Bros. 12AM monitors. Operations manager and engineer Travis Strain ran both FOH and monitors from the console with ease, in addition to recording the full show using an RME MADIFace using Reaper and a Apple MacBook Pro laptop.
"The overall customization of the console, specifically the custom banks, are great," offers Travis Strain. "It makes it super easy to modify channel layouts; you can drop in an extra channel of guitar or vocals without having to reset the entire configuration. Macros are also a huge plus on this console. For the Vacaville show, I stuck to using the macros for mute groups, but their potential is endless. I am also a huge fan of the multi band compressors as well as the ease of use with the graphic EQs. No outboard gear was used for this show as we found the internal effects to be stellar. We also have the Waves SoundGrid Bundle and using the Studio Classics and Live bundles, it let us bring all our studio gear on the road with us in the form of plug-ins."
Another boon for Strain and Rennick in choosing the console was its superior sounding sonics.
"The sound is stellar," raves Strain. "Overall, the console is extremely warm and musical sounding. The 96k with optics and the SD rack bring a new level of clarity to live digital desks. Having previously owned the SD8, the SD10 took things to a whole new level. We also had a chance to do a blind listening test with an Avid VENUE Profile that we also own, and the DiGiCo won by a long shot. The overall flexibility of the console is great and the customization makes this console perfect for any mixing style."
Looking to the future, SPL is excited to ramp up its live sound production and anticipates putting the DiGiCo through its paces on a regular basis. "In the long run, we feel the choice of the SD10 will make PSL more relevant and productive in the live sound world," sums Rennick. "When we initially chose the DiGiCo, we had found out that seven out of 10 touring acts were going out with or preferred DiGiCo consoles, and for PSL, that meant there would be lots of people that would want to work with the gear we owned."