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Technology Showcase: HOW FOH Mixers

Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

Options abound for every type of worship service.

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Peavey S-32

Peavey S-32

EAW has accomplished the analog feel in its UMX.96 with its expandable 56×48 analog I/O, open architecture, 48 Penny+Giles touch-sensitive faders, Touch & Spin mix control, internal hard drive, and 16 VCA groups. Each 8-channel group has an associated scribble strip that displays the custom channel name and virtual potentiometer (V-Pot) information using black text on a bright-white background for clarity in low-light conditions. The UMX.96 also features 48 digitally controlled mic preamps, 24 user-assignable aux groups, and the 16×8 Matrix Plus with individually selectable input sources. Each input channel offers a balanced TRS send/return and a TRS direct out, gate, compressor, four-band EQ, and dedicated HPF and LPF. There are also eight stereo line inputs that feed a stereo compressor and EQ.

For large churches with live sound, Internet streaming, and multiple monitor feeds, the digital Euphonix System 5-B presents a mixing system that carries customization to the maximum degree. There are five different modules to choose from, and the System 5-B provides the operator with metering on TFT displays along with source IDs, channels, groups, auxes, and gain reduction. In addition, there is an LED-level meter on each input strip beside the 100mm moving fader. Twin source designation displays show the Swap function that allows an individual or global swap to a second layer. Each of the faders on the CM408T eight-fader module has eight knobs and knob-function switches. The eMix application integrates with System 5-B to provide setup, file management, and the PatchNet patchbay application.

For midsize to large church sanctuaries hosting live music events, the Harrison Consoles Trion offers its resource-sharing capability to link a FOH and monitor mixer via fiber with the Harrison digital engine. The integrated, high-resolution TFT screens above each eight-fader group simultaneously show a graphical representation of EQ, dynamics, input channel source, bus routing, panning, aux sends, input meter, and the PreView waveform display. The PreView is located on each input channel and provides a 20-second waveform view of any audio source, including the history and preview of the signal as it passes through the channel. If the Digital Tools package is added, there are 32 digital bus limiters with look-ahead and a 20-second loop recorder. For controlling Harrison consoles and other devices, Ikis is a dedicated, dual-processor, custom-configured, PC-based control and automation platform that provides graphically rich information and control screens.

With 512 DSP channels, 144 summing buses, audio follow video, external control of mic amp levels, and simultaneous stereo and multichannel mixes, the mc266 from Lawo is actually an entire sound system that consists of three parts. The mixing console surface with integrated control system is the central element. This is joined with the DSP and routing matrix that is known as the “HD core.” This works with the Digital and Line Level Interface System (DALLIS) I/O interfaces. The control system and HD core communicate over an Ethernet link and an ATM link, both with redundant design. The DALLIS stage boxes are linked by multimode optical fiber for distances up to more than 1 mile, but this can be stretched to nearly 5 miles. The dynamic automation system facilitates the comprehensive timecode-based backup of all signal-processing parameters, and stored system snapshots can be instantly recalled. Using the remote MNOPL protocol, the mc266 communicates with system components for a full range of control options including crosspoints and parameters in the matrix and in the console.

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