Peer Review: Roland Rss S-4000
Bruce Lee reviews the Roland RSS S-4000 32x8 digital audio snake system.
My Pick: Roland RSS S-4000 32x8 digital audio snake system, $7,995 MSRP
What I Like About It: In this application, the job demanded an alternate solution to an analog snake, and the quality and pricing of the Roland RSS S-4000 system fit well. It was an easy setup. There was just one minor issue, which is amazing because this was the first installed RSS snake in North America. The S-4000R remote controller for the power amplifiers worked well, but gave no light indication. RSS sent a new one overnight with updated firmware, and its current sales and marketing director, Doug Swan, met us on-site to make sure the issue was resolved. There was one other problem with a termination with the main Cat5 cable, but the backup on the RSS system worked exactly like it should have.
I Would Change: There isn't much I would change about the system, other than providing more options for mounting the S-4000R remote controller. I wanted to mount the S-4000R at the top of the Yamaha O1V96 console, which was mounted in a portable rack with a slanted top for mounting mixers, but using the rack-mount for the S-4000R interfered with the outputs on the back of the O1V96. It had to be modified to sit above those connectors.
Where I Used It: I installed the RSS S-4000 digital audio snake system at the Family Life Center at the Grace Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, FL. This was the first installation of the RSS snake system in North America.
My Results: Once the two minor issues were resolved (with the remote and cabling), the system performed exactly as advertised. It provided a good quality signal from the stage to the Yamaha digital console. It also provided good flexibility, allowing the client to quickly set up the system each week without the typical issues of dealing with bulky analog snakes. To have the snake operable for services, the church tech team only has to connect two Cat5 cables at the mix position and two at the stage position. They have two areas that can be used as a stage, and we installed connections at each location. With the Cat5 hookups, it's easy for the client to use either one.
With the two stage locations, the system was a perfect fit for this application, and the client has been pleased. Digital snake options are still expensive, but in the right application they can be cost effective solutions. In this project, where it replaced an analog snake that uses expensive mass pin connectors and external microphone preamps, it was the right solution at the right price.