Installation Audio Mixers
Aug 13, 2013 3:03 PM, By Mike McIntyre, CTS-D, EST-L2+
It is unbelievable how many powerful features are now a part of audio mixers designed for installation. From digital signal processing to recording studio quality microphone preamplifiers, these “compact mixers” give contractors tools that use to mean racks full of outboard gear, and some features that were not even possible just a few years ago.
Allen & Heath’s Qu-16 digital mixer aims to create a professional mixing experience in a compact, rackmountable form. Outfitted with 16 mono inputs, three stereo inputs, and four stereo FX returns, the Qu-16 also features moving faders and recallable analog preamps. An 800x400 touchscreen provides control, with a companion iPad control app also available.
The ZEPHYR ZMX164FXU by Alto is a 16-channel, four-bus mixer that features 10 microphone inputs with balanced TRS jacks and insert points, a three-band EQ with a sweepable mid-frequency on eight channels, four channels of stereo inputs with four-band fixed EQs, and a four-bus assignable sub mixer. It also has 60mm high-precision faders and four AUX sends per channel (two pre/post switchable ports). Featuring 256 onboard 24-bit Alesis DSP effects, you may choose from room and space delays, small and large hall acoustics, plate and spring reverbs, flangers, choruses, and more. This USB-enabled mixing console features a USB port that streams two channels of 24-bit audio out to your computer (main mix or sub mix 1/2), and since this USB connection is bidirectional, you can also stream audio from your laptop to the ZMX164FXU for audio and music playback.
APB Dynasonics’ ProRack-House H1020 packs a punch. Outfitted with 20 microphone preamplifiers, the H1020 is also equipped with mono input channels that feature fixed high- and low-frequency EQ bands and two mid-sweep EQ bands with a LED EQ On switch and six aux sends that are switchable between a pre- or post-fader source. All channels on the unit can be assigned to the left-right, center, and mono mix bus with additional assignment switches to subgroups 1-2 and 3-4. The chassis design features an adjustable connector assembly that freely rotates and can be set to three different angles relative to the front panel. This allows the input and output jacks to be properly positioned whether these mixers are mounted in a vertical rack, slant rack, or used on a desktop.
The 12-channel RX1202FX by Behringer is not only rackmountable but also comes loaded with a 24-bit multi-FX processor and eight built-in, studio-grade IMP “invisible” mic preamps. Mono channels feature a trim control and clip LED to adjust the input gain; a two-band EQ (high, mid, and low controls); FX control to determine how much of an effect to apply to the channel; a pan control; and a smooth 60mm fader to determine the channel’s level in the mix. The FX/CTRL section puts sophisticated digital effects at your fingertips. Use the Program dial to scroll through the effect presets, and then use the FX to Main dial to govern how much of the effect is heard in the summed signal of the mixer. Push “FX Solo” to hear only the effects signal in your monitors or headphones.
Crest Audio’s X-Series features a modular design and an extensive feature set suitable for any application. Available in main and monitor configurations, X-series models feature up to 14 mono and four stereo inputs. Long-throw faders, versatile four-band semi-parametric EQ, channel inserts, and high-quality microphone preamplifiers are standard. The X 18R and X 20R consoles have six configurable aux buses and three main buses that provide plenty of FOH mixing configurations, while the X 18RM and X 20RM have up to 12 mono or six stereo mix buses for floor or in-ear monitoring.
DiGiCo’s SD11 is a compact, 19-inch rackmount or tabletop mixer delivered at a reasonable price point. Using DiGiCo’s Stealth Digital Processing and featuring the flexibility of a true FPGA-based digital audio console, the SD11 has 12 touch-sensitive moving faders below a 15in. touch-sensitive screen, making it simple to use for less experienced operators. Sixteen microphone preamps, eight line outputs, and two mono AES I/O are provided, with an option to connect a DiGiCo D-Rack to the Cat-5E port. This provides a remote I/O rack frame with an additional 32 microphone inputs and up to 16 outputs.
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