Beverly Hills-based Design Sound is the primary sound provider for West Coast Music, event-orchestra impresario Jim Eppolito’s company that provides live music for A-list Hollywood film and television celebrities, sports stars, and corporate events.
Design Sound’s array of clients includes wedding events for Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Kevin Hart and Eniko Parrish, Kim Kardashian, and Jessica Simpson, as well as fundraisers for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and product introductions for Apple and Google. When doing live events at that level, Design Sound utilizes DiGiCo’s SD7 Quantum desk.
“We’ve had our SD7 and SD-Rack loaded with 32-bit I/Os for almost a year now and we couldn’t be happier with the setup,” says Design Sound chief engineer Davis Jones. “It brings the level of redundancy that you have to have when you’re doing live events for clients like these. Everything has to be perfect.”
The SD7 Quantum’s high channel-count capacity and operational flexibility has made it the hub for Jones’ workflow. Using an Optocore network to minimize cabling, the SD7 Quantum lets him not only manage very high channel counts—a recent event that featured performances by both Jennifer Lopez and WCM Orchestra required over 200 inputs—but be able to put multiple setups on the same show file for a very quick changeover.
“We often don’t get a lot of setup time or the opportunity to do sound checks, so having the kind of power that the SD7 gives us in a package that can be deployed quickly and efficiently is very important,” he explains. “We can run a fiber-optic cable from the stage box to the console and we’re virtually ready to go.”
Similarly, the SD7 Quantum can work with the Pro Tools HD system in a separate building at Design Sound, connected by a fiber-optic link, allowing for live video and audio recording between the two spaces. In the same way, the DiGiCo Orange Box multichannel interface allows Jones to connect and manage all of his Aviom in-ear monitors from the SD7.
And DiGiCo SD-Range consoles are the choice of many top touring artists, which means that their front-of-house engineers simply bring in a thumb drive, and the easy setup that Jones finds so useful has become even easier for everyone.
“Especially in situations like that, where the artist is coming in as a fly date, and where they’re often bringing backing tracks and there may not be time for a sound check, the SD7 lets us go into performance mode with a high degree of confidence,” he says. “We have SoundGrid and a full complement of Waves bundles, so we’re always ready for whatever is needed.” That same readiness also extends to smaller, less-demanding events, for which the company owns a pair of compact DiGiCo S31 desks.
It does not hurt that the SD7 Quantum is a good-looking piece of technology, either. Jones says that Design Sound was born on the principle of combining premium sound quality with premium aesthetics, delivering the best sound while seamlessly integrating its systems into the decor of the event.
“We have used the SD7 and our new L-Acoustics Syva portable sound system together and they just look fabulous,” he says, noting the sleekness of the SD7’s dynamic worksurfaces and the Syva’s sinuous shape—they have speakers in white and black—a combination recently deployed at the museum gala, and both were part of a recent Vogue magazine spread. (“They’re in the picture; you just had to know what to look for,” quips Jones.)
“Design Sound started out from the beginning to work with this very high level of client, and we’ve always chosen our equipment with that in mind,” says Jones. “It has to sound great, look great, and never, ever fail. The SD7 Quantum fits right in with that.”