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Afrikaans is Groot keeps getting better with DiGiCo consoles

Afrikaans is Groot keeps getting better with DiGiCo consoles
Afrikaans is Groot keeps getting better with DiGiCo consoles

South Africa – Afrikaans is Groot (AIG) celebrates the deep connection and love that people have for Afrikaans music, whether it's enjoying it around a braai, rugby game or singing along in church. The production, held at Time Square in Pretoria at the close of 2023 pulled out all the stops incorporating two DiGiCo Quantum 338, a Quantum 225 and an SD10 into the audio set-up.

AIG stands alone within the genre as a flagship event and enhancing the experience every year takes planning and determination. Thanks to technical partnerships and excellent service providers this year saw improvements in all production values, especially the quality of audio provided by the fleet of DiGiCo consoles.

Ian Vos, technical director of Africaans is Groot, serves as the technical director at Coleske Group, a subsidiary of Warner Music Africa, ultimately owned by Warner Music Group in the United States. He oversees all technical aspects of the show, from design to execution, including budgeting.

“The technical team are amazing,” says Vos. “Coming to the Sun Arena improved the show as we had hit a bit of a ceiling, literally! In our previous church auditorium, the ceiling couldn’t handle any more rigging, we never expected it to get this big. If you look at Afrikaans as a language and the demographics of the people who listen to Afrikaans music, it’s quite small compared to other genres.”

Despite its size, Afrikaans music has a fiercely loyal fanbase who take ownership of the production and are very honest with their feedback

“It’s actually so cool,” Vos continues. “They give us advice on what they like and don’t like and we enjoy it, it’s something to be proud of and is an important part of the production planning.”  

When it came to selecting DiGiCo for AIG, it's worth noting that Vos has always been deeply invested in exploring new technologies, it was a deliberate choice. As a seasoned music producer, having worked at three of the biggest music labels EMI, Universal and BMG, his passion lies in music and the pursuit of sonic excellence.

“I can really hear the difference with DiGiCo,” he explains. “It’s the clarity of the 32-bit preamps on the SD-Rack and the full integration of DiGiCo mixing consoles in the digital network. It’s made a massive impact on the whole sound system, especially the improved workflow.”

The system comprised Quantum 338 and Quantum 225 consoles at the front of house position and a Quantum 338 with SD10 at the monitor position. The consoles were all connected via Optocore with multiple SD-Racks and Günther Müller, project manager at MGG, one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of technical services and equipment was impressed with the ease of set-up inside the venue.

“Usually, we would spend two or three days loading in and checking audio equipment with all the various consoles and protocols that have to talk to each other, but this year we just spent a morning setting up the DiGiCo network,” he says. “We spent a few days at the office to make sure the network worked, but once on site it was seamless. It made a huge difference, not just in the set up time, but also for operators. Knowing the system is less complex and more reliable is a huge benefit. Support was incredible not only from our internal experts but also from DWR Distribution’s DiGiCo trained Kyle Robson and Jaco Beukes.”

This support meant that audio engineer, Murray Lubbe, felt completely comfortable taking a leap of faith to the DiGiCo platform and grasped the workflow in a very short time. Lubbe has been with AIG since day one working as pre-production for the very first show. He plays, sings and is a freelance music producer, regularly working with Coleske artists, providing a trusted face at the front of house position.

“The DiGiCo console proved to be fantastic. It's a bit more modern than I’m used to and adjusting to the workflow took a little effort,” Lubbe recalls. “The end result is that it sounds great and I can hear the difference in quality. We opted for a Dante solution on wireless microphones for vocals and wired microphones passed through the 32-bit preamps on the SD-Rack which also sounded superb.”

Looking to the future, the planning for Afrikaans is Groot 2024 is well under way and DiGiCo remains an integral part of the audio set-up as Lubbe concludes.

“Painting an audio picture that sounds as good live as it does in the studio has its own challenges” he says. “I want our live sound to be as good as a production built in the studio, that’s the end goal for me and our DiGiCo consoles are central to building that audio quality into every performance.”

photos: Anriette van Wyk

Afrikaans is Groot keeps getting better with DiGiCo consolesAfrikaans is Groot keeps getting better with DiGiCo consoles

4th June 2024

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