DiGiCo consoles deliver gigantic step up in sound quality for Netherland pop venue GIGANT

Partially funded by the municipality of Apeldoorn, GIGANT is a versatile cultural centre in the heart of the Netherlands.

As of 1995, the venue features: a cinema, a Pop stage, a City stage, two theatres a café with a terrace, and a Course House hosting educational workshops in various art forms, including visual arts, circus, ensembles and orchestras, contemporary music and theatre amongst others.

Since it was established in 1977 in an old school building, GIGANT has focused on popular music and art-house performances, with international artists such as U2, Nirvana, Herman Brood, Golden Earring and UB40.

Recently, the venue’s technical team has upgraded its console fleet by adding a DiGiCo SD12 and Quantum225 digital mixing consoles, supplied by Ampco Flashlight Sales to replace its existing console setup.

Whilst Ampco recognises the SD12 as the ‘all-accepted and multifunctional workhorse’, used on FOH at the venue, the powerful yet compact Quantum225 is ideal for on-stage monitoring with its perfect monitoring workflow.

Bart van der Smissen, Audio Product Manager at Ampco Flashlight Sales, and Simon Kemme, Technical Coordinator at GIGANT, have known each other for a long time, having held similar roles in the event industry.

Prior to his current position, van der Smissen served as the Head Technician at Nobel Bros, the renowned pop stage venue for Leiden and the surrounding area.

“Throughout my time at Nobel Bros, I’ve had numerous encounters with Simon. For more than ten years, he has been a devoted DiGiCo enthusiast,” van der Smissen recalled.

Having utilised its previous consoles for the past 14 years, the venue’s team aspired to elevate their console fleet with DiGiCo’s superior sound quality and workflow. 

“We reached out to several vendors to request product demonstrations and provided them with a comprehensive checklist of our requirements, with the primary objective being to find a solution that could seamlessly interface with our Clair Systems PA using digital redundancy, eliminating the need for external components like a protocol bridge,” explained Simon Kemme, the Technical Coordinator at GIGANT. 

Additionally, the team was seeking a fast turnaround from the planning phase to delivery, and most importantly, a platform with robust hardware that could remain efficient and relevant for at least a decade, without becoming slow or outdated due to inadequate processing power.

“After considering several competitor options, DiGiCo was the one brand that ticked all of our boxes as we felt it would offer us the best-quality sound for many years to come,” he added. According to Kemme, the choice for the SD12 “was a rather easy one”. 

“Having worked as a sound engineer for the past 16 years, I have been using the SD Range since the beginning of my career, and I can confidently say that DiGiCo has established an enduring legacy with this platform,” he noted.

“Despite the console’s continuous advancement, it still retains the same familiar feel as the first time I laid my hands on one. It’s undoubtedly a reliable and proven solution with a plethora of interfacing capabilities, which were the fundamental factors in our decision to opt for the SD12.”

The Quantum225, on the other hand, was a new experience for Kemme, but upon witnessing the console’s performance during the demonstration, the venue’s team immediately recognised its potential.

“It was as though we were shown a new platform that retained the recognisable look and feel of a DiGiCo console but with enhanced capabilities and an exciting future of possibilities with each update, it’s like having DiGiCo on steroids!” exclaimed Kemme.

“The addition of the Quantum225 to the setup also provided us with extra flexibility, not only for the in-house tech team but also for visiting engineers to decide how to operate both consoles.”

One of the key benefits of Quantum225 console is its native Mustard Processing and nodal processing, which delivers superior signal processing and is “a perfect fit for the venue’s needs, particularly with the Quantum225’s external screen which the team can fully utilise in its workflow when doing monitoring,” explained van der Smissen.

He also noted that two people, an in-house and visiting engineer, can work simultaneously at the SD12. “This is particularly useful for touring bands who bring their own monitoring but not their own consoles. With the Quantum225, the console can easily be tailored to meet the band’s requirements, ensuring they are fully supported in the best possible way.”

The decision to opt for DiGiCo was also significantly influenced by the importance of having a console that ensures bullet-proof performance and caters to the specific technical requirements of visiting artists’ riders.

“Having DiGiCo on board has transformed GIGANT’s sound system into a truly rider-proof installation, with visiting artists and bands all thrilled by it,” said van der Smissen.

“The consoles deliver everything on the artist’s engineers’ wish list and, more importantly, they can do so flawlessly. They surpass the capabilities of other consoles, with DiGiCo becoming the top choice for performers worldwide.” 

With the Quantum225 installed last September and the SD12 in February this year, the Ampco Flashlight Sales team not only delivered the consoles in good time but also provided comprehensive training to the venue’s technical team, ensuring a seamless transition to the new system.

Also, when it comes to the ongoing support provided to GIGANT, van der Smissen is unequivocal. 

“As the audio sales representative for DiGiCo in Holland, and with our extensive list of customers, a significant part of our work involves providing ongoing support and services to our clients, including training and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

“Our commitment to excellent support is a defining aspect of our work. In fact, I believe we offer one of the best support services for brands in Holland, which has earned us a reputation for outstanding service. We never keep our clients waiting, and if they need our help, we make sure the show goes on. That’s what we stand for,” he said.

Whilst mostly used for performances on the Pop stage, the consoles can also be moved around the venue if need to be. Typically, if there is a need to move the consoles, it is usually between FOH monitors, as the Quantum225 is the preferred console for dance nights because of its Spice Rack, Multiband Compressors and Multiband EQ.

“For GIGANT, having the DiGiCo consoles has been an incredible asset,” said van der Smissen.

“It’s great to see how DiGiCo and Ampco Flashlight Sales have worked hand in hand over the years, delivering top-of-the-line sound technology to multifunctional venues like this. We’re all still doing what we love, and there are many exciting projects involving DiGiCo on the horizon!” 

Kemme echoed van der Smissen’s thoughts and concluded: “We have had the pleasure of working with Ampco for many years and are familiar with their high level of professionalism and expertise.

“It was the obvious choice for upgrading our facilities to meet modern-day standards. Looking towards the future, it was essential to have a partner who could provide adaptable solutions for any situation, ensuring that our systems would remain future-proof for years to come.

“Ampco excels in audio networking and PA solutions, and it was able to deliver on all fronts.

“With both consoles up and running, we have received positive feedback from both internal and external teams, with several technicians who had never used a DiGiCo console before stating how impressed they were with the desks’ sound quality and how they could easily rearrange the consoles to suit their work style.”