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 latest addition to the dbx (www.dbxpro.com) line of DriveRack processors is the DriveRack PX ($599.95), which is designed for use with powered loudspeakers. This 2×2 controller has supplemental subwoofer outputs, and a Setup Wizard includes profiles for JBL and other powered speakers; patented AFS Advanced Feedback Supression kills problematic frequencies, allowing higher gain-before-feedback. DSP includes dual 28-band graphic EQ, stereo multiband parametric EQ, PeakStopPlus limiting, classic dbx compression and sub-harmonic synthesis from the dbx 120A. A front panel mic input allows performing RTA with the (included) dbx M2 measurement mic.

The 4800 ($4,999.95) is the flagship of dbx's DriveRack Series, boasting 4×8 analog and 4×8 digital I/O. The 4800 may be run at sample rates of 48 or 96 kHz for a dynamic range of 116 dBA. In its complement of DSP are 31-band graphic and 9-band parametric EQ per input; crossover routing configurations with Bessel, Butterworth or Linkwitz-Riley filters; 6-band parametric on every out; loudspeaker cluster; and driver alignment delays, plus selectable inserts on every channel. The 4800 is compatible with HiQNet control and offers a CobraNet option.

The DLP (Dolby Lake Processor) from Dolby (www.dolby.com) is a sophisticated audio processor “main frame” for live and studio apps. Combining proprietary technology from Dolby Labs, as well as Lake Contour and Lake MESA EQ, the DLP comes in configurations ranging from the LPD (digital I/O only) up to the LP4D12 (4×12 analog I/O). The rear panel features balanced analog XLR I/O, and eight channels of AES/EBU and S/PDIF optical I/O. The DLP performs crossover, delay and limiting functions, as well as convolution reverb for creating natural-sounding impulse responses without the need to sample spaces. Recent updates include Dante, a digital audio networking format that addresses some of the weaknesses of other audio networks, and a firmware upgrade for 8×16 digital audio networking at no additional cost. Ethernet ports connect the DLP to a network. Price varies with configuration.

The Dynacord (www.dynacord.com) DSP 260 ($980) is a 24-bit system controller with 2×6 audio I/O. In addition to EQ, delay and limiting per channel, it offers global parametric and graphic EQ, delay and crossover. DSP 260 presets can be written from the front panel or via companion editing software, and presets that are compatible with Dynacord's DSP 244 are available for the company's loudspeaker systems. An RS-232 interface allows slave operation of multiple devices, and a 6dB pre-A/D pad switch prevents input overload.

EAW's (www.eaw.com) UX8800 ($3,325) 4×8 incorporates two distinct modes of operation. In System Processor mode, user-adjustable functions include EQ, filters, delay, gain, crossover, limiter and polarity. In Loudspeaker Processor mode, preset processing is available for EAW loudspeakers and arrays with Gunness Focusing. In this mode, the UX8800 corrects loudspeaker anomalies that cannot be corrected with conventional DSP. Standard Ethernet protocol and hardware-enabled computer control are offered through EAW's Pilot software for easy plug-and-play Ethernet communication. Audio and control signals can be transmitted between up to 254 additional devices using the built-in 32-channel U-Net network.

The MX8750 ($2,775) was designed to complement EAW loudspeakers. Functions for the 2×8 unit include crossover (seven types) parametric and shelf EQ, high- and lowpass filters, delay, polarity and limiting. Six bands of parametric EQ are available per input, as are five bands per output. Analog audio I/O is on balanced XLR connectors with 24-bit/48kHz conversion. The MX8750 may be controlled using EAW software and a PC with an RS-232 interface or via MIDI.

The DC-One ($980) 2×6 system controller from Electro-Voice (www.electrovoice.com) has analog I/O on balanced XLR connectors, with DSP being 24-bit/48kHz with 32-bit, floating-point internal processing. Loudspeaker presets are available for automatic configuration of EQ and crossover settings, providing enhanced sonic performance while protecting loudspeaker components. Analog inputs feature Thru connectors for distribution of audio to additional DC-One processors for use with larger systems. A front panel USB interface with the company's DC-One Editor software supports advanced editing and control via PC.

Klark Teknik's (www.klarkteknik.com) Helix DN9848E ($5,250) system controller is fully programmable, with input processing of gain, compression, parametric EQ and delay. Output processing includes configurable routing, delay, cascaded all-pass phase-correction filters, low- and highpass crossover, filters with a variety of slopes and characteristics, and six bands of parametric EQ. AES/EBU digital inputs are standard and are 96kHz-compatible for connection to external devices with high sample rates. Dual-port Ethernet increases communication speed over serial ports, while the company's proprietary ELGAR software can be used for remote access and control over the DN9848E.






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