Photo: Instructor Mike Sokol (yellow shirt) and workshop attendees pose with the DiGiCo SD9 during a recent stop at Sterling, Virginia’s Galilee United Methodist Church (credit: Lloyd Stone)

For more than 15 years, Fits & Starts Productions’ HOW-TO Sound Workshops have been traveling around the United States providing pro audio training sessions for houses of worship and schools/colleges. Visiting approximately 36 cities each year, Chief Instructor Mike Sokol and the F&S team provide a comprehensive, full-day, hands-on opportunity to learn the essentials of setting up and running a sound system, and one of the primary tools they rely on is DiGiCo’s SD9 mixing console.

“We first took the SD9 out on the HOW-TO tours more than three years ago, and it’s been a prominent part of our setup since then,” says Fits & Starts Managing Partner Hector La Torre, who notes that the console serves as the workshop’s featured instructional digital mixer. Aside from carrying the main PA for the instructor, the SD9 is also is used to run music and signal so that attendees can see and hear how the console works and just how a digital console provides flexibility and overall cost-saving.

When asked why the DiGiCo desk was selected again this year, La Torre responded, “The SD9 showed us its excellent capabilities on a couple of our previous tours, so it was a simple choice this time around. The board has operated flawlessly despite being banged around in our road truck for months, so why take a chance on another console that might fail? I don’t want to see 40-50 frowning faces at any of my workshops. DiGiCo’s equipment is robust and cost-effective for the primary markets we serve, plus the manufacturer has always been sensitive to the market’s needs and delivered solid support. I have nothing but praise for them.

“We also used this console again to let attendees know a smaller frame size and lower price range mixer, the S21, was going to be hitting the market soon. Folks could see that DiGiCo offered options for different budgets while maintaining high quality.”

He quickly adds that attendees have loved getting their hands on the SD9, and that several universities and churches have even chosen to purchase their own based on their positive experience with the product at these sessions. “While we work mostly as hands-on sound trainers we also do system design and organizational consulting,” La Torre adds. “Many, many churches and schools often don’t know what they need in terms of audio gear, and consequently make terrible, costly choices. We help them clear that hurdle.”

“Traveling with the SD9 has been a real pleasure,” shares HOW-TO’s Chief Instructor Mike Sokol. “It’s powerful enough to mix the largest church venue I was in, but small enough to fit anywhere. And every sound technician, from the newest entry level to the seasoned veteran, was impressed by the SD9 workflow as well as the sound. It’s a real class act. This is going to be hard to top with their new S21, but I’m confident that DiGiCo has that one dialed in as well.”

Fits & Starts has served as the nation’s leading provider of professional audio training workshops for the worship and education markets for over 15 years. For details on the company and its schedule, visit