Melbourne Recital Centre Adds Third DiGiCo Console

As one of the largest Auditorium venues in Australia, the Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) is a bustling live music hub in Melbourne’s Arts Precinct, Southbank. Since opening its doors in 2009, the MRC has been operating with DiGiCo consoles, beginning with the DiGiCo D5, then adding an SD8 and most recently, an SD11.

The MRC comprises two auditoriums: the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (which seats 1000) and The Salon (seating 132). The Elisabeth Murdoch Hall features a 135m2 stage as well as an optional 51m2 extension when required. This has made it suitable for chamber music and orchestras alike and this is where the D1 and SD8 are most utilized. The Salon is a completely configurable space that can be tailored as required and both auditoriums feature highly engineered acoustic treatment, both internally and externally.

The MRC is unique in its design. Located on the very busy Southbank strip, it is entombed by 250mm of concrete, which has been mounted onto 38 steel springs, ensuring the spaces inside are not disrupted by the high noise level outside.

When a flexible and portable solution that mirrored the versatile design of The Salon was needed, the SD11 made perfect sense for the MRC’s Technical Manager Jasja van Andel.

“The SD11 was the logical choice for a multi-purpose console. Its specifications, size and weight make it a very easily deployable console for a wide variety of concerts, events and locations. Its user interface is intuitive, well laid out and the IO options are impressive. It can easily be set up by only one engineer.”

Jasja found several features of the SD11 particularly appealing and, with the MRC already using a DiGiCo SD8 and D5, the SD11’s integration into the rest of the system, among other things, added value to their entire system.

“Even though the actual work surface is relatively small, the SD11’s capabilities, accessibility and flexibility, combined with an excellent price point, made it a very appealing solution,” says. “The fact that the SD11 seamlessly integrates with our other racks and consoles (an SD8 and a D5) made the SD11 even more appealing for us.”

With Jasja earning his stripes using traditional analogue gear, his transition into digital was made painless with DiGiCo, and the SD11 was no different.

“As an analog-trained engineer, I find the SD11 very user friendly,” he adds. “Its interface is logical, the control surface is well laid out, the I/O and routing capabilities are impressive, and I rapidly found my way around the all-important features the console has to offer. The fact that it has 16 local inputs as well as easy connectivity with the DiGiCo range of racks, makes the desk easily deployable for a wide array of events.”

With the SD11 being used regularly in The Salon, Jasja has found its versatility perfect for the demanding scenarios the MRC often find themselves in.

“I continue to be impressed with the SD11’s use in our Salon,” he concludes. “We regularly present contemporary amplified music in this space (think of three pieces and larger). The space is very intimate and has an amazing natural sound. It is an absolute delight to hear performers play in this space. From a technical point of view, requirements can be demanding for the engineers mixing in this area. A relatively small sized performance space, hardly any separation between stage and audience, regular need of larger numbers of condensers and almost always monitors mixed from FoH combined with, at times, extremely subtle sound make it a demanding environment for an engineer.

“Particularly because of its fast accessibility to functions and its audio processing options, the SD11 truly impresses in getting the job done. Alternating between various layers is fast and easy by the use of the fader banks, and the quick selection buttons enable fast access to the usual channel parameters.”

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