DIGICO S21 GETS GROUP WELCOME
Group Technologies’ unofficial Integrate sideshow was a welcome chance for past and prospective clients to clap their eyes on the all-new Digico S21 console. It’s a whole new GUI that looks a lot less packed than the SD series, but does most of the same things. The work surface is similarly sparse, with new multi-touch features keeping a lot of control on the two touchscreens. The software, which is built in Unix instead of Embedded XP, is still in beta but already felt pretty stable in-use and looked graphically smoother than its bigger siblings. While there aren’t dedicated buttons for each fader bank, paging through banks was super snappy. Some of the best features included drag ’n’ drop customisation of channels, either individually or in banks; a custom spill bank; four multi-band compressors, and EQ parameters all manipulable via multi-touch.
To allow itself room for a lower price point without sacrificing sound quality, Digico has used the same FPGA algorithms as the SD7, just on cheaper FPGAs. An ARM Quadcore RISC processor controls the rest. The mic pres also leverage Digico’s SD-Rack tech to keep quality up. The whole system runs at a 96k sample rate, without any sacrifice in channels or processing. If the SD series is anything to go by, expect Digico to eke more out of the S21 as time goes on.
On the back, as well as the 24 mic/line inputs, and 12 analogue outputs, there are dual Ethercon ports, and two multi-channel optional card slots. There will be options available for Dante, Hydra 2, MADI, Optocore, Aviom, AES, Soundgrid, and more, with up to 64 channels per slot allowing you to expand the S21 at will.
While prices won’t be finalised until the software is at version 1.0, the expectation is the S21 will come in somewhere around the $11,000 mark. With a UB MADI 48-channel USB recording/playback system (previously over $1500) integrated into the console, there’s plenty of value either way.
Check out our video walkthrough with Drew Menard from Group Technologies.
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