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Accomplished Quebec-based TV Mixer and Sound Engineer Maximizes DiGiCo Functionality to Ease Workflow
"What I love about DiGiCo is how fast I can put together mixes.  I've used other consoles, but it's only DiGiCo on my rider now because they're fast, they sound great, and there are so many things I can do with DiGiCo consoles that I can't with other boards."  -  Hugo Angers, Sound Engineer, Euphonie Sonorisation
10 November, 2022 by
GerrAudio Distribution Inc., Peter James

Hugo Angers isn’t shy about his preference for DiGiCo. “I love it; it’s the best desk for me,” says the co-owner of Victoriaville, Quebec’s Euphonie Sonorisation.

Euphonie serves as a rental sound/lighting house for various applications like festivals, touring shows, and corporate events. Over time, Angers has used many other consoles, but since first working on a DiGiCo console in the mid-2010s, he’s become extremely partial to their products. And, in the summer of 2022, purchased his first for the company’s inventory, a DiGiCo Quantum 225.

What prompted the purchase was his mixing monitors on an SD10 for one of Quebec’s longest-running live music shows, Belle et Bum. “I’ve been using the SD10 twice per week, every week, for two years, and learned a lot about DiGiCo on the show. We’ve got two SD10s (one for monitors, one for broadcast), three SD Racks with 56 inputs and 32 outputs, and I’ve got roughly 22 stereo and 22 mono mixes, 20 matrix inputs and 24 matrix outputs, including all of the effects (16 in total, he estimates). I’m using all inputs and outputs on the SD10. It’s full,” he adds, laughing.

Given the complexity of the show’s needs and those of the multiple artists performing on the show’s three stages, flexibility and fluency are critical, and he’s dug into the workflow and possibilities offered by the SD10 in a big way. “When I jumped to DiGiCo with Belle et Bum, it was a game-changer,” Angers notes, adding that for this show, the sheer number of mix presets he’s able to create is a significant time saver. “It’s pretty much the biggest music TV show in Quebec. The input and mix presets are a great tool because sometimes the artists will move to different stages, so we have to re-patch quickly.”

Recalling previously created presets also helps move things along more quickly when artists return to the show, or musicians or other talent sub-in – allowing Angers to recall their pre-existing mix presets immediately.

“I’ve never seen someone mix like Hugo,” puts in GerrAudio’s Quebec/Maritime Technical Sales Representative, Dany Legendre, which, given Legendre’s work as a mixer in his own right, is saying something.

Angers explains: “I’m the type of person who wants to push the machine as far as I can.” In doing so and handling those challenges and multiple stages from one SD10, he’s put together a customized setup that’s both innovative and unique.

“I’m using the SD10’s GPIO connections with a special homemade pedal board I built,” Angers explains, adding that the pedal board connects to the SD10 via a Db37 cable – an older computer cable the SD10 has ports for. The pedal board provides 16 GPIOs, although Angers only needs 8 to toggle through macros set up to allow him to communicate with other technicians, hosts, artists, and musicians, individually or as a group. “It’s for talkback, so I don’t have to put my hands on the console – I just use my foot. If I want to talk just to the band, the stage manager, the MC, or a guest on in-ears or a wedge, I have a macro for that, which is very helpful.”

The best way to describe Angers’s approach is that he uses the console in a manner similar to how musicians set up their onstage rigs – adding peripherals to perform more fluently – extending the capabilities of the console, tricking it out like a keyboard or guitar player would for extra, real-time control to make his workflow seamless and to maintain an ongoing, uninterrupted dialogue with the person he’s making the changes for. “It makes it easier because there are a lot of people to communicate with.” Additionally, it means he doesn’t use up the inputs he requires for other purposes for talkback.

Angers also utilizes a Stream Deck with a Raspberry PI computer connected to the console via Ethernet to extend and access the console’s capabilities; with each keypad or button assigned to a macro allowing him to call up roughly 50 different macros in much the same way a musician would trigger a sample or loop. “Instead of using the console, I have the Stream Deck to hear drums, keys, and guitar, or whatever I want, so I can mix with 12 Control Groups and listen to any mix I got without changing any fader bank on the console’’.

He also intends to integrate a MIDI-based peripheral specifically for the Q225 and for use on Belle et Bum with the SD10. “I’d like to use the MIDI ports to bring up the volume of the stage announcer or my talkback matrix.”

“If there’s an empty port on the console, Hugo will use it,” Legendre adds, laughing.

“I’m a geek,” Angers says. “I want to push the console as far as I can. If they have a bunch of connectors, I want to use all of them.”

While other manufacturers’ consoles may offer similar capabilities, they can’t match the extent and depth of DiGiCo. “DiGiCo’s software allows a macro to be programmed to do multiple things at the press of one button, as opposed to some other platforms where one button only has one function, Legendre notes.

As an example, Legendre cites a tour on which he mixed on an SD7 and programmed the console to dim all its lights and screens, programming macros inside the snapshot so that everything would dim for moody, slow songs. “You can do whatever you want with macros and snapshots inside the SD software. Everything can be automated, and Hugo uses the pedal board to facilitate that automation.”

Although created specifically for Belle et Bum, he’s used his custom rig on other gigs, “I did a show this summer and used my pedal board with an SD7 and just imported my macro setup. It’s pretty easy.”

Beyond flexibility, Angers continues, “What I love about DiGiCo is how fast I can do mixes. Honestly, I’ve used other consoles, but on my rider, it’s only DiGiCo now because they’re fast, they sounds great, and there are so many things I can do with DiGiCo consoles that I can’t with other boards.”

In addition, DiGiCo’s reliability is a crucial factor – for both his work as a mix engineer and as a provider of rental equipment. “I’ve never had any issues with a DiGiCo. It’s a tank,” he says, citing his work on other TV shows and Montreal’s 2022 Pride celebrations and Just For Laughs Festival, on which he had an SD7 and SD10.

His exhaustive use of the SD10 and the expansive possibilities of DiGiCo’s Quantum platform ultimately led to his decision to purchase a Quantum 225 for Euphonie. “The 225, for me, offers even more than the SD Series; the Mustard EQ, Spice Rack, and Nodal Processing are very helpful. It just gives me a lot more options. When I engaged the Mustard EQ, it was like, ‘wow – another game-changer for me. When I use the EQ, say I’m doing +3 dB on 5k, there’s even more precision than with the SD Series.”

For all the high-end functionality and options, Angers says using DiGiCo’s layout and workflow compares favourably to analogue boards. It may take a first-time user some time to understand the workflow, but regardless of the model of console, he says: “With DiGiCo, it’s the same workflow. When I jumped to the Q225, it was easy. What can I tell you? For my work, it’s the best console in the world.”

True to form, he intends to push the envelope on the Q225 and, given his propensity for maxing out any given console’s functionality, is already contemplating the addition of more DiGiCo consoles to Euphonie’s inventory. “Maybe another 225, maybe a Q338, but for now, the 225’s got everything I need, and it sounds perfect.”

“As I say, when you know how to use DiGiCo, it’s easy, but if you push the console, you’ll always learn something new, which is really fun.” That means he’s spending more time speaking to Legendre these days. While GerrAudio is well known for offering excellent and timely support to any customer who finds themselves in the weeds, Angers’ conversations with Legendre are somewhat different. “I might have a question about something, but then I go back to the console, call Danny, and say, ‘Did you know you could do this?’ I know Dany pretty well and have for over ten years, but we’ve become much closer ever since DiGiCo came into my life,” Angers sums up, laughing.

Written by:  Kevin Young