At the recent AES in New York, DiGiCo officially unveiled its brand new D5T Digital Theatre Mixing System, a console geared specifically to the theatre market. Built with the input of several top theatre sound designers, including Andrew Bruce and Lew Mead, the D5T is based on the award-winning D5 Live platform; the console worksurface is accompanied by the DiGiTRACS Rehearsal Recorder, D5-TM and D5-RC system expanders and the forthcoming Cue Composer software to create a versatile, modular system for theatre sound programming and operation.

With a 72 buss DSP engine, a 32 x 32 matrix, 41 fader surface and up to 128 channels with full dynamics processing or 96 channels with onboard effects, the DiGiCo D5T combines a wealth of facilities in a compact, 1484mm W x 868mm D (58.43in W x 34.17in D) worksurface that potentially will give back hundreds of seats a year to large productions.

Key features include dynamics processing with side chain EQ; up to 240ms of delay: four bands of parametric EQ, high and low pass filters; 72 user-assigned busses; 32 x 32 output matrix; group outputs each with delay; six bands of parametric EQ and a compressor and pre-equalizer group outputs for use by measurement systems such as SIM™; dedicated illuminated Next/Previous Cue buttons; full off-line DiGiCo Cue Composer Show Programming software; user definable I/O specification and high-quality on-board digital effects.

The D5T software allows communication with Cue Composer running on an external PC, and the console recognizes Channel Aliases and pre-defined sets and responds accordingly when synchronising with the Cue Composer.

First introduced with Version 2 software on the D5 Live, the D5T also has the ability to configure multi-console setups to share common I/O within a redundant fiber loop, with the added advantages of remote control and console mirroring. This allows stage-monitoring consoles to be connected to the same digital inputs, but with independent control, utilizing the automatic Gain Tracking™ (Patent Pending) and also allows either console operator to alter input gain without affecting the mix on either console.

The optional DiGiTRACS hard disk multitrack recorder is a 56-track record/playback system, which allows audio playback, settings storage and even, if circumstances allow, complete show recording. More than one DiGiTRACS can be synchronized together for an increased track count.

The optional D5-TC (Theatre Masters Controller) provides alternative control over the 24 control group masters, outputs and cues, as well as all the normal display modes from the D5T master section on a TFT touchscreen. A row of 16 widely-spaced master faders with scroll function buttons display either the first 16 or the last eight control groups and include a bright, eight-character alphanumeric display above each fader showing master channel names independently of the LCD buttons.

Eight programmable, interactive LCD macro buttons (and access button) allow access to pre-defined user macros in three banks of eight, and there are four Mute-all buttons (inputs, auxes, subs and groups) and five Safe-all buttons (inputs, subs, groups, MIDI and events). Other features include a built-in permanent script tray to ensure that the controls are not obscured, while the tray conceals a lit internal QWERTY keyboard. The D5 Live’s meterbridge is absent on the D5T, allowing a clear view of the stage.

The optional D5-RC (Remote Controller) is a space-saving show operator’s console which gives full control over the D5’s facilities, as well as providing a portable worksurface for show programming. It features an identical 8-fader screen section to the D5T with six fader bank switches allowing blocks of any eight input channels or group outputs to be assigned to the worksurface, complete with full functionality. To the right of that is a full-featured master section including the matrix screen. A single Ethernet connection and mains connection allow the operator’s console to be moved around the theatre during rehearsals and control the main console from almost anywhere.

The offline Cue Composer will give console programmers all the advanced programming facilities that they have come to expect of a dedicated theatre console – and more. It will complement the D5T’s own offline editor which is designed for setting up console parameters, and is supplied as standard with the D5T. Using a familiar spreadsheet-style graphical interface, the Cue Composer, which requires a Windows PC or Mac running Windows emulation software, will allow complete pre-programming of cues, aliases, sets, and more.

In an intriguing twist in connection with the rollout of the new D5T, Autograph A2D, a new company formed by the UK-based Autograph Sound to develop and promote the sales of selected digital products specifically aimed at the theatre market, has secured the exclusive distribution rights for the D5T in the United States and will be working very closely with DiGiCo to promote the D5T in the UK and the rest of the world. In the UK, the company will draw on the combined experience of Andrew Bruce, Duncan Bell of Autograph and Nigel Olliff, co-founder of BSS Audio. The US company will be led by Lew Mead, former owner of ProMix. DiGiCo will also be showing the D5T at LDI in Orlando.

For more information on the D5T, check out the DiGiCo website at www.digiconsoles.com.