Arousing the most curiosity in the CX readership, the new DiGiCo S21 features an all-new operating system, small frame and much lower price than other desks in the DiGiCo stable. Those familiar with the SD range will notice that the interface changed completely. Compared to the SDs, the S21 has flat, simplified graphics, colour-coded to their functions. It gives the S21 a much more ‘tablet’ feel than their other desks, but is much clearer for it. Due to the new software, show files won’t be tranferable form SD desks, but it’s a small price to pay for what you get.
With 24 mic/line inputs and 12 analogue outs on board, the S21 can also be connected via the two new ‘DMI’ card slots to existing DiGiCo racks (SD-Rack, D-Rack, DiGiRack etc) via MADI or Optocore. There are 10 DMI cards in the range, including Dante and Soundgrid. Mixing at 96kHz, 40 mix channels (all capable of running stereo) mix to 46 busses; 16 stereo, stereo Master, two stereo solo buses and a 10 x 8 Matrix. The two touch screens offer comprehensive operation of the desk, and make the new ‘drag, swipe and drop’ channel layout system easy and intuitive to use. There’s processing for days, with gate and compressor available per channel or bus, eight FX engines and 16 GEQs.
A lot of care has gone into the industrial design of the S21, making it look sturdy, understated and more ‘pro’ than some of its predecessors. The high-grade aluminium extrusions, encoders with ‘HTL’ (Hidden Til Lit) LEDs and its polycarbonate overlay all make you feel like you’re in front of an expensive, reliable bit of kit. And that’s the surprising part. DiGiCo staff on the stand were saying that the pricing should come in ‘sub £5,000’, or around $10,000 AUD.