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Technology Showcase: Live Digital Mixers

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Kent Morris

Improved user interfaces combine with expanded feature sets and reduced prices.

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The DM-3200 mixer was Tascam's digital foray into the arena it knew well: production consoles. With the addition of the upscale DM-4800, the return is complete; Tascam has shown once again why it has been successful in formats as removed as cassettes and hard drives. The DM-4800 features 24 mic pres, expandable in 8-channel groups via four rear-panel card slots; a dozen aux sends to accommodate the most demanding monitor requirements; four-band EQ and gating per channel; and 24 busses to cover delay towers, cry rooms, balconies, and streaming. For recording-savvy HOWs, the DM-4800 provides a remote-layer control surface to handle digital audio workstations (DAWs) such as Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Nuendo and Cubase, and Cakewalk Sonar. Tascam sought out the renowned effects gurus at TC Electronic for the console's internal dual-effects processing and gave each aux, bus, and main output a variable compressor. Tascam offers a generous array of expansion cards — including FireWire interfaces; surround-sound monitoring; analog mic inputs; and separate cards for TDIF, ADAT, and AES/EBU formats.

With its new Commercial Audio division, Wheatstone is now addressing the live-sound installation market with the iXO processor. For hands-on mixing, the firm's D-10 console delivers all its primary controls in a single surface without needing to resort to layering or function sharing for everything aside from EQ and dynamics. Strictly speaking, it's a TV console, but the D-10 can easily fit into a live-performance format given its four-band parametric EQ with variable HPF and LPF per channel, eight subgroups, and comprehensive talkback section. For applications in which the house engineer is familiar with broadcast control or the venue is engaged in broadcasting its services or events, the D-10 can simplify the learning curve by providing a single point of audio control.

Yamaha M7CL

Yamaha M7CL

For a soup-to-nuts digital console menu, Yamaha is hard to beat. From the original flagship PM1D in all its updated glory to the recently introduced LS9 series of bantamweight champions, Yamaha delivers a smorgasbord of delectable dishes. The mid-line M7CL, with 32-channel and 48-channel models, has become a favorite of medium-sized churches and clubs by offering reliable performance in a single-layer (no menu pages) package. The M7CL's touchscreen allows novice users to instantly grasp the console's methodology, while a simple Centralogic section provides control from a single location on the board. USB ports are used to assign user hierarchy as well as off-site storage of system configurations. Meanwhile, the derivative LS9 models retain the M7CL's layout in an even more compact footprint. Both 16-channel and 32-channel versions are available, each with dual-layer channel expansion control via rear-mounted card slots. Fully developed SPX-type effects are included, as well as graphic and parametric EQs and a host of compressors, limiters, and gates.


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