Compact Powerhouses | Live Sound Digital Consoles 2009

Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By George Petersen

DIGITAL LIVE SOUND CONSOLES COME OF AGE

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Profile Mix Rack ships with the VENUEPack 3.1 plug-in collection, which includes: Focusrite's d2 and d3; Digidesign's Impact, Reverb One, Smack! and ReVibe; and Bomb Factory's BF-3A, Slightly Rude Compressor and Classic Compressors/MoogerFooger/Pultec Bundles. Among the upgrades in D-Show V. 2.7 software are cue workflows for monitor mixers, system lockout to prevent tampering in consoles located in public areas, real-time viewing of VCA automation tweaks and a comprehensive database for automatically updating plug-ins.

EAW (www.eaw.com) is finally shipping its UMX.96 24-bit, 96kHz digital live console, which features expandable 56×44 analog I/O, 3×12 integrated loudspeaker processing and full integration of SmaartLive, giving users immediate access to system measurement and calibration.

Software/firmware, V. 1.1, is now available, which brings many enhancements, such as effects and preset libraries, more snapshot capabilities with filtering and preview modes, improved file management, channel- and fader-safe modes, meter peak hold and screen-follows-selected channel options. Users will also appreciate the new UMX.96 Control Setup software. This gives users the offline ability to prepare shows in advance and transfer all necessary files to the console once they arrive at the venue.

Offered in versions for film/video post, broadcast and live, Harrison's (www.harrisonconsoles.com) Trion features a traditional surface rather than a central, shared-knobs approach. Hardware enhancements include transformer balanced mic preamps with a High-Z input setting for line-level and wireless mic inputs, and a Combo IO Unit intended for smaller configurations with 24 A/D converters, 16 ADCs and 16 AES I/Os, with MADI (optical or copper) interfacing to/from the board's MADI router, which now has 12 4×1 summing points.

This lets the user select various mic inputs, sum them within the router and send them to recorders, trucks, etc., thus freeing more console inputs for mixing. Additonally, the MADI router can be set up with up to eight partitions, allowing router crosspoints to be stored/recalled independently, which is ideal for routing stage monitor or truck feeds without affecting console recalls. Harrison also offers new plug-ins for live users, including 2- and 6-Band DeNoisers, DeEsser, Sub-Harmonic Generator and Analog Tape Saturation, while adding FFT displays to its Harmonic Notch Filters and Buzz/Hum Killer. Other effects planned in the coming months include chorus, flange Stadium Simulation and more.

Keeping with the trend of smaller, high-power systems, Innovason (www.innovason.com) will soon be shipping its Eclipse digital control surface, the company's first new console release since it unveiled its flagship Sy80 in 2004. The Eclipse DSP engine lets users mix up to 104 inputs simultaneously into 48 mix buses with the capacity to manage up to 320 inputs on the console, using up to five remote audio racks. Eclipse is also the first live digital console with onboard multitrack recording, thanks to the MARS (Multitrack Audio Recording System) option, where 64-track audio can be recorded directly onto a hard disk plugged into the back of the console.

The compact (45.75×30.4-inch) surface has 48 faders and 48 configurable rotary knobs spread over four layers. The concept — called SmartPanel — effectively provides 96 “faders,” taking Innovason's original SmartFAD concept to the next level and making the console equally at home at FOH, monitors or in a remote van. An ID LED on each channel strip provides at-a-glance indication of the bus or function assignment to any channel.

Eclipse is compatible with all existing I/O and effects modules and comes with a dual redundant power supply as standard, along with the new NOVA operating software, featuring a modern, user-friendly graphic interface. The Muxipaire interface connects via co-ax or fiber-optic cable to the 64 I/O Stage Box up to 500-meters away, and a Cat-5 port ties into a 64-channel bi-directional EtherSound network. MADI and Aviom connect modules are optional.

The big news at Lawo (www.lawo.de) is the smaller-surface mc256, which uses the same Lawo HD core as the other mc2 models, with up to 512 DSP channels, 144 summing buses and 8,192-crosspoint routing capacity. Key to the mc256 is its new control surface, which provides direct access to essential operating elements. Rarely used functions are handled via the touchscreen interface, for fast operation and a short learning curve. In addition, the new design reduces fader width to 30mm for efficient, ergonomic production. Every 16-fader bay has full-function, high-res TFT metering.

As in other mc2 models, the mc256 combines modularity with options for a second fader row and PPM insertions. With frame size choices from 32 to 80 faders and special flight-case versions, the console is adaptable to a wide range of applications.

In other news, Lawo announces Release version 4 software for its mc2 consoles. Besides adding features such as direct-out mute by fader, mix-minus self monitoring and tweaked graphical interface with more mouse functions, V. 4 adds Surround Fader Hyperpanning with a rotary knob twist for moving surround elements to any desired position with detailed metering in the AES-defined colors and the ability to offset any parameter.

CueStation 4.6 programming and control software for LCS Audio's (www.lcsaudio.com) flagship Matrix3 digital audio system, adds new features, including Macintosh OS 10.5 Leopard support, multiple cue lists, a light-on-dark color scheme and a redesigned SpaceMap window, in addition to many other updates and improvements to audio processing, automation and the user interface. Also new is the Meyer Sound-certified version of JazzMutant's Lemur tablet, providing state-of-the-art programmable touchscreen control of the Matrix3.

Mackie's (www.mackie.com) TT System32 combines its TT24 digital live mixer, DS3232 digital snake, Cat-5 cable and U100 Network Card into a complete, 32×32 I/O plug-and-play mix system — just add stacks and racks. Recent system updates include the $1,199 LP48 Dolby Lake speaker processing card, adding two/three/four-way crossovers with delay, with all outputs assignable to the back panel of the TT24 or DS3232 and Dolby's Ideal Graphic EQ™ and Lake Mesa™ parametric EQ. The user-configurable card has a full library of Mackie and EAW presets for easy system integration, and functions are controllable from the TT24.






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