Digital Consoles for Live Sound
Mar 22, 2010 12:00 PM, By George Petersen
Innovason's Eclipse digital control surface, which has 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. The Multitrack Audio Recording System (MARS) option allows 64 tracks of audio to be recorded directly to a hard disk plugged into the back of the console.
The compact (46"x30") surface has 48 faders and 48 configurable rotary knobs spread over four layers. An LED on each channel strip provides at-a-glance indication of the bus or function assignment to any channel. The Muxipaire interface connects via coax 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 bidirectional EtherSound network. MADI and Aviom connect modules are optional.
Lawo's smaller mc256 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. The mc256 has a new control surface that 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. With frame size choices from 32 to 80 faders and special flight-case versions, the console is adaptable to a wide range of applications.
Also new is version 4.8 software for the mc2 consoles. A new channel display features additional color and textural information for the VCA and Link displays. Now, any number of channels can be interconnected with an almost unlimited number of link groups. Each link group can be linked with different modules—such as fader, mute, or EQ—with a color and name assigned to each group. Each channel can even meter one of the first eight linked channels, comparable to a VCA master. And the Couple function can temporarily link multiple channels for quick adjustments of all grouped channel parameters. Changing the level of Aux-Send 1 or Input Gain for a large number of channels can, therefore, be completed with only three moves.
The latest update for Mackie's TT24 digital console is version 1.7.1 software, which, among other enhancements, improves functions such as channel copy/paste, touchscreen scrolling, and snapshot naming. A recent LP48 Lake loudspeaker processing card option adds onboard two-, three-, and four-way crossovers with delay and limiting (with outputs assignable to the back panel of the TT24 or DS3232 expansion card); Ideal Graphic EQ and Lake Mesa parametric EQ; and integration of the Lake Controller interface with Mackie's PC-based TT Control software.
The big news at Midas was the sale of the company to The Music Group (the parent company of Behringer and a number of other associated companies) from Bosch Communications Systems. North American distribution of the brand is now via American Music & Sound, which also handles Allen & Heath, Turbosound, Beyerdynamic, Focusrite, Klark Teknik, and other brands.
Midas recently launched offline editor software for both its XL8 and PRO6 digital consoles. The application runs on any Intel-based Apple Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.5 or higher and is currently in free beta release from www.midasconsoles.com. The software lets users prepare shows in advance or migrate an XL8 show to a PRO6 (or vice-versa) from anywhere—all without having access to the board. It enables full control of all parameters, including creation of show files, management of preset libraries, system setup and patching, etc.—essentially running the same as the console software. The offline editor also has a training function so novice users can learn XL8 and PRO6 operations prior to operating the consoles.
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