DiGiCo S21 Live Surface Only
DiGiCo's belief in audio quality and road worthy mechanical design has limited their ability to release an affordable introductory product. These values have required the same pioneering approach to design, not to follow the trend but to deliver the flagship for a price point - and change expectations. The DiGiCo S21 does exactly that. By using new, lower cost FPGA components programmed with the same audio algorithms, and combined with a new form of control processor, DiGiCo is able to deliver the S21 with the fundamental technological values at it's core. Running in harmony with the FPGA core is a new ARM QuadCore RISC processor. Delivering faster processing with lower power consumption, this efficient tool, combined with the audio core, has allowed the development of a cost effective console worthy of carrying the DiGiCo brand to existing and new owners and users.
How to make the step
To date, it has been the Tiger SHARC controlling the FPGA, but integrating these three technologies, along with networking capabilities, was a brand new challenge. Using the high power QuadCore SoC, associated with high bandwidth memory, S21 connects to a low power 484-ball array FPGA which in turn connects to fourth generation control SHARC DSP, capable of not only controlling the FPGA, but offering the potential for additional processing in the future. The compact footprint of the S21 has no relationship to the scale of processing power going on under the polycarbonate work surface.
Two Touch Screens
Touch screens are now part of our daily lives, but DiGiCo has incorporated them in designs as long ago as 1997. Continuing their integration, with the advantages of speed of control and user feedback, meant that S21 had to bend the rules again. DiGiCo utilized the latest P-CAP multi-touch screens for clear visual feedback and gesture control, but also did not limit the user to a single screen - by providing multiple multi-touch screens!
The compact dual screen design of S21 provides 10 channel strips per screen allowing the operator instant feedback and control on 20 simultaneous channels. This amount of instantaneous feedback offers total reassurance when mixing large shows, but the newly designed drag, swipe and drop channel layout system makes it simple for operators to move channels and busses across the surface to design their own custom fader layouts.
Whatever function you are using, there is an interactive meter where you would expect it, and helpful color coding so you know which section you're looking at, be it channel, aux, or group. Visual feedback is all reinforced with the HTL functionality of the encoder rings, and anything not in use is automatically greyed out on the console so operator's attention is drawn to the right controls. The beauty of having two screens not only gives you more channels to view at any one time, but it allows you to utilize one as a setup or master screen, while still operating with the other. You are always looking in the same location, whatever function you have highlighted.
Touch the EQ screen, and you can choose to pinch, touch and drag your curves on the touch screen, or for a more tactile experience, use the rotary encoders to fine-tune your frequencies, then press to change function or switch on/off. It's the same philosophy for all other processing functions within the console. The new look screen designs are all developed under the flat designs philosophy, to aid the user learning curve and take away distraction from an operator. These new designs will still be familiar to existing DiGiCo users, but allow new operators to feel at home and ready to take advantage of the wealth of integrated processing.
Channel Bank Layout: as with all DiGiCo products, you can alter where the banks are located, and mix and match any channel, aux, group, control group, or matrix within a bank, with the ease of drag and drop, at the touch of a screen.
S21 comes complete with dual DMI (DiGiCo Multichannel Interface) option card slots, perfect for expandability, as it can interface with industry formats be it Analogue expansion, MADI, Dante, Waves SoundGrid, or Calrec’s Hydra 2 Network. All bases are covered.
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