Live Sound System Controllers

Apr 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Steve La Cerra

POWERHOUSE TWEAKS FROM A RACKMOUNT BOX

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The Meyer Sound (www.meyersound.com) Galileo 616 has six balanced analog inputs, three of which are individually switchable to AES/EBU digital inputs, enabling the unit to simultaneously accommodate analog and digital sources. Its 16 balanced analog outs deliver signal levels up to +26 dBu, driving self-powered loudspeakers to full output. Each audio I/O includes Meyer's CP-10 complementary phase-parametric EQ (five bands on inputs, 10 bands on outputs), with TruShaping filters to avoid the phase shift that can degrade intelligibility and signal clarity. Ethernet enables remote control via PC/Mac running Meyer Sound Compass control software, while bidirectional communication ensures that the user is always viewing active settings. Galileo 616's AC power switch is software-activated, so accidental button-pushes cannot turn off the unit's power.

Nexo's (www.nexo-sa.com) NX 242 ($3,170) is a 2×4 processor with electronically balanced, 24-bit analog I/O and a latency of only 2.2 ms. The NX 242 was designed to support all Nexo GEO, Alpha and PS loudspeakers, providing crossover, driver protection and system alignment matched to each Nexo component. An EtherSound interface ($5,170) enables connection to the NXtension-ES4 for remote control and distribution of digital audio, while Nexo's ND 242 TDController supports monitoring of amp status and I/O levels via PC. The NX 242's onboard Flash EPROM allows system firmware to be updated by the user.

The Digitool MX ($1,699) from Peavey Architectural Acoustics (aa.peavey.com) is a programmable system controller employing 32-bit parallel SHARC processors. Audio I/O is 8×8 on balanced Euro connectors, with inputs accepting mic or line-level. Sample rates up to 96 kHz are supported with 24-bit conversion. In addition to input high- and lowpass filtering, the Digitool MX features a noise gate, shelf and parametric EQ, compressor, 5-band paragraphic EQ, output filtering, output delay and a signal generator. Access to internal settings can be restricted with a user-defined password.

Peavey's (www.peavey.com) VSX26 ($559.99) programmable processor has 3×6 balanced audio I/O. A front panel XLR input with phantom power can be used for measurement mic input or as an extra audio input. DSP capabilities include input graphic EQ, dynamics and delay, plus five independent filters for use on the audio outputs, including parametric, notch, horn EQ, low- and highpass filters with varying slope, bandpass, and high- and low-shelf EQ. Front panel USB ports allow the VSX26 to manage presets with a memory stick or connect to a PC for use with graphic editing software.

Boasting presets customized for its loudspeakers, the SC28 System Controller ($1,331.66) from QSC (www.qscaudio.com) is a 2×8 device with 32-bit, floating-point processing with 24-bit/48kHz conversion. DSP tunings incorporate IIR (Infinite Impulse Response) and FIR (Finite Impulse Response) filtering for compensation of inherent transducer and waveguide response anomalies. System configurations are selected by scrolling through a list of QSC loudspeakers and selecting the desired crossover profile (two-way, three-way, etc.). A similar process is used to identify QSC amplifiers in the system, taking into consideration the amp's sensitivity. A rear panel USB port allows new tunings to be easily loaded into the SC28.

Rane's (www.rane.com) RPM 26z ($999) can be drag-and-drop-configured on any PC with Ethernet and Windows XP using Rane's Drag Net software. The device provides a 2×6 analog I/O and an AES-3 digital input. All I/O has a user-defined processing path that can include gain, parametric, bandpass, all-pass, high- and low-shelf and -cut filters; crossovers with varying slopes and characteristics; compression; limiting; and automatic gain control. Rear panel Euroblock connectors and ground screws for direct connection to chassis help solve EMI issues due to shield wiring. Multiple units are controllable from a single PC via Ethernet.

Sabine's (www.sabine.com) Navigator Series ($995) are available in configurations ranging from 2×4 to 8×8 with Ethernet capability. Every Navigator features front panel control and 24-bit conversion with 40-bit extended processing via SHARC processor. Each audio channel has control over gain and polarity, up to eight parametric filters, a variety of crossover filters and slopes, high- and low-shelf EQ, FBX Feedback Exterminator, comp/limiter and delay adjustable in 21ms increments. Navigator Remote Control software displays system status and provides access to all parameters via PC.

The Integrator Series Deuce 722 ($849) from Symetrix (www.SymetrixAudio.com) is an audio DSP toolbox with two analog ins and outs accommodating mic or line-level input. Mic preamp, compression, expansion, de-essing, AGC, ambient noise compensation, feedback elimination and EQ are all performed in the single-rackspace unit. A rear panel Ethernet jack combined with a Windows interface facilitates setup and editing of parameters. Applications for the Deuce 722 include front-of-house speaker management, monitor EQ and feedback elimination, voice processing for P.A. and paging over background music.

The EQ Station ($5,245 to $9,345, depending on configuration) from TC Electronic (www.tcelectronic.com) runs eight channels of analog I/O on balanced XLR connectors, sampling at 6.1 MHz with 24-bit resolution. Dedicated front panel encoders for frequency, bandwidth and gain provide control over graphic, parametric and dynamic EQ. Each channel has 6-band parametric EQ, 29-band graphic EQ with four types of filtering, 3-band dynamic EQ or 2-band “paradynamic” EQ, peak limiter and delay. Channels may be linked for stereo operation, and an optional expansion card accepts AES/EBU digital I/O. VirtualEQ Station software allows the unit to be remotely controlled from a PC using standard TCP/IP protocol. MotoFader 64 is a companion remote featuring 29 motorized faders with instant access to 64 channels of graphic EQ. The EQ Station ($5,245 to $9,345, depending on configuration) from TC Electronic (www.tcelectronic.com) runs eight channels of analog I/O on balanced XLR connectors, sampling at 6.1 MHz with 24-bit resolution. Dedicated front panel encoders for frequency, bandwidth and gain provide control over graphic, parametric and dynamic EQ. Each channel has 6-band parametric EQ, 29-band graphic EQ with four types of filtering, 3-band dynamic EQ or 2-band “paradynamic” EQ, peak limiter and delay. Channels may be linked for stereo operation, and an optional expansion card accepts AES/EBU digital I/O. VirtualEQ Station software allows the unit to be remotely controlled from a PC using standard TCP/IP protocol. MotoFader 64 is a companion remote featuring 29 motorized faders with instant access to 64 channels of graphic EQ.

XTA's (www.xta.co.uk) DP448 ($5,795) has a 4×8 audio I/O with 96kHz/24-bit processing. To facilitate configuration of new systems, it features templates with preset system routing and crossover points that can be user-tuned. Any audio output may be fed from any input, or combination of inputs, forming a flexible matrix. Input functions include 28-band graphic EQ and eight bands of parametric EQ, while output processing features nine parametric bands per output and crossover filters with slopes ranging from 6 to 48dB/octave. Also available is high- and low-shelf EQ, look-ahead limiting and phase adjustment in 2-degree increments. Audiocore PC software provides quick linking of I/Os, and up to 128 units are networkable using standard XLR cables.

The DME Digital Mixing Engine Series of controllers from Yamaha (www.yamahaproaudio.com) combine mixer, EQ, crossover, dynamics control, feedback suppression and even WAV file players. The DME64N ($6,500) and DME24N ($3,600) feature 24-bit/96kHz DSP using Yamaha's DSP7 chip for audio processing. The DME64N has four rear panel Yamaha Mini-YGDAI expansion slots, allowing up to 64 I/O channels to be added. The DME24N features eight built-in analog I/Os and one Mini-YGDAI slot for an additional 16 channels. Expansion card options include analog or digital I/O in a variety of formats. DME Satellite Series network interfaces can be used to expand a DME system to CobraNet or EtherSound networked audio protocols, enabling remote-control I/O and distributed processing for increased system flexibility. DME Designer software runs on most Windows-based computers, allowing a user to graphically compile the audio components required for a particular system.


In addition to being Mix's sound reinforcement editor, Steve La Cerra mixes front of house for Blue Öyster Cult.






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