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Audio Review: Aviom 6416m

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin

Great-sounding input unit allows you to network 16 microphones.

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Audio Rev 6416

Recent years have seen the introductions of numerous audio networking and distribution solutions, and there is no reason to believe we've seen the end of it. As computer experts continue to develop increasingly sophisticated technology to keep the business world wired together and to transfer more data at a faster pace, the audio world will continue to benefit. Aviom, which has developed a strong reputation in the domain of personal monitor systems, boasts its Pro16 and Pro64 series Cat-5-based digital audio networking systems. It has recently added the 6416m, a 16-channel microphone-input unit that facilitates the introduction of 16 microphones to a network. Combined with Aviom's 6416o analog output interface, the Remote Control Interface (RCI), and the Mic Control Surface (MCS), this four-box system is likely to be used to transmit signals from the stage to FOH and/or a monitor desk up to 400ft. away via Cat-5e cables. Nevertheless, the system could be used for any number of applications requiring the transfer of high-resolution, uncompressed digital audio from point A to point B or distribution to points B, C, D, and beyond. I was recently able to spend time with such a system.

The Aviom 6416m mic-input module is the newest addition to Aviom's line of products intended for use within the Pro64 and Pro16 networking and distribution systems. It is composed of 16 quality mic preamplifiers, along with all the attendant technology necessary to introduce the signals from these preamps to a Pro64 or Pro16 network. One thing to like about the 6416m is that it incorporates not only 16 pres, but also the interfacing necessary to network them. It is convenient to have it all integrated into a single box, despite the loss of one level of modularity (which, frankly, is not that important anyway). The front panel features mute, edit, and activation buttons for each of 16 channels, along with link buttons for each of eight pairs (1/2 through 15/16 to be exact). Each channel also has a six-segment LED meter and indicators for polarity, HPF insertion (-3dB @ 85Hz and 18dB/octave), a 24dB pad, and +48V phantom power. There are also controls and indicators relating to a channel's assigned A-Net slot and digital clocking (with all the common sample rates from 44.1kHz to 192kHz). Aviom distinguishes clearly between channels and slots, which is very important with a network that can represent a 64×64 matrix. Control master and cancel/enter buttons are also featured on the front panel, as are controls and a display for the system's Virtual Data Cable (VDC) slots. VDC is very clever and useful, with dedicated bandwidth over 14 channels for MIDI I/O, RS-232, and General Purpose I/O (GPIO), which can handle both contact closure and time TTL. A knob in the lower-right-hand corner of the front panel determines mic gain on any given channel in 1dB increments.

The 6416m's rear panel is mainly dedicated to I/O, with the obvious inclusion of 16 XLR mic inputs along with two female DB-25 connectors, which are intended as alternate inputs or audio through ports for channels 1 to 8 and 9 to 16, respectively. A likely use for the DB-25s is as a passive split for monitoring or recording. Connection with the A-Net is facilitated by two EtherCon RJ-45 ports (A and B), and a section is dedicated to VDC I/O — including MIDI in and out, an RS-232 port, Euro-type blocks for contact or TTL, and dip switches that determine the behavior of the VDC ports. An IEC connector accepts AC power, and there is a 4-pin DC power input if you'd like to physically separate the power supply from the unit.

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