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SD11 Does Active Duty Aboard the Navy’s USS Stennis ‘Tiger Cruise’

The rugged portability of DiGiCo’s SD11 was never utilized to fuller effect than on its latest voyage aboard the United States Navy’s active-duty USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier from Hawaii to San Diego. In one of its more unusual gigs, Broadcast Support designated the SD11 in tandem with a full dB Technologies PA—to handle all the audio functions for the seven-day Tiger Cruise, open to the aircraft carriers crew family and friends (aka “tigers”) as a reward for excellent service.

The $19,950 road-cased mixer was so ultra-compact that MacWest rep Steve McNeil, who aided Broadcast Support in the production, was able to check it as luggage on his flight from Long Beach, California to the ship, which was docked in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The mixer and PA were both craned aboard the ship and hoisted off again in San Diego when the return cruise ended a week later.

For the event’s myriad productions, a stage was built in an enclosed steel room below deck in the ship’s hangar where planes and helicopters were stored. The SD11 was rolled in and out every night to handle the musical entertainment for the troops provided by the Kelly Bell Band, and presentations which included two air shows, a 26-act talent show performed by service members, a “rap-off” hosted by the band, readings, and an awards ceremony commending top sailors presented by the commanding officer.

“The SD11 was pressed into service handling diverse audio tasks from mixing the front of house PA, monitors and IEM, to the delay speakers from a matrix,” explained McNeil. “Being that this was a working ship, this gig was challenging on so many levels, as we were at the mercy of the ship and the operations crew and therefore our schedule needed to be flexible. Needless to say, the week-long festivities turned out amazing and the console, operated by our engineer Karl Weidman, performed flawlessly. Karl hung out after every performance to play more with the SD11. He had quite a bit of fun mixing on it and was amazed at the big, open sound he was able to get from such a compact mixer. An SD9 is now his next purchase.”

“The SD11 is the perfect mixer where tons of performance is required in a very compact footprint,” offered Broadcast Support’s founder and President Scott Ramsey. “The show simply wouldn’t have happened with a conventional analog console and racks of effects, which the SD11 replaced. We love the console so much that DiGiCo should change the name from the ‘SD11’ to the ‘SD!!’”

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