DiGiGrid, the love child of Waves, the world’s leading developer of audio plugins, and DiGiCo, one of the largest manufactuers of mixing consoles in the world, is certainly a behemoth to be reckoned with. With the two companies joining forces to create new audio interfaces that integrate award-winning preamps with the ability to connect multiple hardware devices, we thought it was time to catch up with DiGiGrid’s Brand Manager, Dan Page.
Tell us a little about your background as well as that of the company.
I’ve been working in the audio industry now for nearly 25 years. I studied the Tonmeister degree course here in the UK, which was at the time the only undergraduate qualification for our industry. This combined a classical music and performance degree with electronics, acoustics, maths and of course sound recording. After finishing my degree, I spent more than ten years designing and building recording studio systems and live playback systems for touring artists. In 2008 I moved to DiGiCo, working with their Digital mixing consoles as a product specialist. In 2013 I took responsibility of the new DiGiGrid brand - an extension of the SoundGrid audio technology Waves had developed, but now much more focused on delivering our solutions to their core studio market as well as the existing live market.
What inspired these products?
We always felt we had something different to offer the studio market. We knew from our experience leading the live digital mixing console market that we had some great sounding products. Our mic amps, converters, and experience building properly engineered products are all highly respected. Waves as the leading plugin developer had developed an amazing ‘plug and play’ audio networking and DSP technology. And we totally believe that the combination of our strengths, these two technologies combined, really does offer all users something amazing. The original rackmount range was squarely aimed at the pro-user, delivering the DiGiCo sound and the Waves real-time DSP and networking to a new user base. The new Desktop series, a smaller series of interfaces, brings this to a much wider user base. No manuals are required, you can just look at the unit and understand what it’s for. Intuitive and simple control interfaces.
What are some of the main advantages of opting for DiGiGrid products?
We have a number of advantages over the traditional audio interfaces that many other companies make. Firstly, we offer users a premium audio quality. For us this is the most important thing - the dynamic range of the inputs, the performance of the AD and DA converters, the quality of the headphone outputs - true high performance components. One of the key things that many users look for in the recording market is low latency monitoring, and sometimes DSP for running additional plugins. Our integrated SoundGrid Server allows users to add both of these functions to their system. Our DSP provides a total analogue in to analogue out latency, with real time plugin processing, of less than two milliseconds at 96kHz.
How will home studio users benefit from DiGiGrid's products?
From a home users perspective, our desktop series offers a quality that they probably won’t have experienced before, but without having to spend premium money. It’s a competitive part of the audio interface market and users are very keen to ensure they’re investing their money wisely. The D and M smaller interfaces provide a feature set aimed strongly at this home user market, and while they’re getting a smaller unit, they’re not having to sacrifice on the sound. And if they need to expand, they can easily connect any other DiGiGrid audio interface using our simple Ethernet cabling system. If users are recording at home and want to make the best use of their space, it’s so much easier to setup a system using the DiGiGrid units. We use PoE (Power Over Ethernet) technology to power our interfaces, so if you want to run a cable up to a spare bedroom, or down the garden to an outhouse to make extra recording space, a single CAT6 cable delivering digital audio and power to and from the remote location is much easier than expensive long audio cables and power extension cables. Plugins have become so affordable and offer easy to use production benefits, so combining our interfaces with affordable DSP solutions provides the home user with everything they need to record and mix like a pro.
How will professional studio users benefit from DiGiGrid's products?
In many respects, the professional user benefits in much the same way as the home user, but on a larger scale. In larger recording scenarios, our multi-input rack mount mic pres provide top quality input options for any recording studio. The Ethernet network cabling also allows the user to place our mic amps and A-D converters closer to the musicians, eliminating long and noisy analogue cable runs. And with the network essentially providing a full digital patchbay, there are some real cost savings to be had using our audio networking technology. Interfacing in the professional environment is hugely important, and we have a range of interfaces that allow all users to take advantage of our benefits. Our DLS and DLI products connect with Avid HD based systems. The IOS, IOX and IOC deliver analogue and multiple digital formats, and the MGB and MGO each offer 128 channels of MADI connectivity essential for broadcast and live integration. And since users can combine any of these interfaces together to build their perfect custom interface, DiGiGrid delivers a complete recording and processing solution for the recording market, the live market and the installation market.
DiGiGrid is distributed in Australia by Sound and Music. For more information head to sound-music.com.