Installation Audio Consoles
Jul 31, 2012 3:49 PM, By Bennett Liles
It’s a very interesting time in the evolution of installed mixing consoles, with digital boards of every size and shape touting among their many features the ability to operate with an “analog feel.” The analog machines themselves haven’t gone extinct. In fact, they are still thriving and allowing churches and smaller venues to get perfectly good functionality at a lower price point. The consoles surveyed here are used for live FOH, stage monitor, location recording, or broadcast roles.
The GL3800 from Allen & Heath is an eight-bus dual function analog console for FOH, monitor mixing, or location recording. Available in 24-, 32-, 40-, and 48-channel frames, the board has 10 aux outs, a dedicated stereo send, and a 12x4 matrix. Each input channel is equipped with a direct out, and the matrix external inputs have level trim and common input function. Along the top of the mixer is an integral LED-illuminated moving coil VU meter pod. There are mutes and meters on all fader masters along with recessed pre/post-EQ aux switching on each channel. The talkback channel is assignable to all outputs, and the features include a 1kHz tone oscillator and pink noise generator with an external output.
Using the same plug-in power supply modules as the Spectra series of consoles, the ProDesk-8 medium-format front-of-house console builds on the experience of APB Dynasonics with the company’s Spectra and ProDesk-4 mixers. The ProDesk-8 is available in modular blocks of 24, 32, 40, and 48 mic/line input channels with the 100mm fader input strips providing phase reverse and 48V phantom power. The board has digital USB stereo input and record output along with the ability to remotely mute all primary outputs with a single opto-isolated Phoenix connector in response to an open or closed external relay. There are direct outs on all mono input channels, and the eight aux outputs are pre/post fader switchable in pairs.
Avid offers a variation on its proven SC48 all-in-one mixing console with the new Venue SC48 Remote System, which adds the Venue Stage Remote Box, connecting the two on Ethernet with Cat-5e. The remote unit may be added to an existing SC48 console by moving the I/O cards from the mixer frame to the remote stage box. The box can handle up to 32 inputs and 16 outputs. The mixer offers 16 aux sends, eight groups and eight mono matrixes with 26 touch-sensitive motorized faders and 16 assignable, push-switch rotary encoders with multi-segment LED rings. For Pro Tools, it includes a FireWire port in addition to a GPI port, two footswitch connectors, and five USB 2.0 ports.
The compact new X32 digital mixer from Behringer is a 32-channel, 16-bus console with programmable Midas preamps, 100mm motorized faders, eight DCA groups, and a 32-channel audio interface and iPad remote control. The board’s rotary knobs have LED collars for low ambient light viewing, and the 800x480 color TFT display allows instant access to eight control screens. The console includes user-definable knobs and buttons along with the capability to save mixes and setups to a USB stick. There is also UltraNet connectivity for the Behringer P-16 personal monitoring system, and each input channel and bus features an LCD scribble strip for identification. The X32 also provides six aux inputs on 1/4in. TRS, 16 balanced XLR outputs, and balanced control room outputs.
Designed by Calrec primarily for live broadcast operations, the Artemis Light is the newest member of the Artemis family of Bluefin2/Hydra2 audio consoles and uses the same surface as the larger Artemis consoles, the only difference being the size of the processor rack. The router has eight Hydra2 ports for interfacing with the Hydra2 I/O range, as well as other Hydra2 routers and their I/O. Bluefin2 architecture is used in the Artemis Light DSP to provide 240 input channels that can be assigned as mono, stereo, or surround paths. Up to 16 main outputs and 48 audio groups can be assigned as mono, stereo, or surround from a pool of 72 busses, as well as 48 track and 24 auxiliary output busses.
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