Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: September 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

Yamaha QL5–First Impressions


Photo courtesy of Yamaha.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha.

The Yamaha QL. It’s a console that I’ve been interested in since we first saw it at InfoComm in June. Unveiled without a lot of fanfare, it appears to be a replacement for the LS9. Or maybe the M7. Yamaha hasn’t said that, and both those consoles are still for sale. It is definitely the little brother to the CL series. 

Based on the same basic architecture as the CL, the QL is sort of the Toyota to the CL’s Lexus. The QL has essentially the same drivetrain, but the interior is value engineered. Whereas the CL is mostly useless without a Rio box or two, the QL houses 32 inputs and 16 outputs on the surface. The CL can mix 72 mono plus 8 stereo channels and the QL can do 64/8. The CL has a total of 35 mix busses, and the QL has 27. They both have 16 DCAs and 8 mute groups. They can both use Dante to access Rios and other Dante devices. 

I should mention here that throughout this article, I am referring to the QL5 and CL5. There are other variants with similar features, but reduced channel count. But here, we’er talking 5’s. The CL has more controls on the surface, including the 8 fader CentralLogic bank. The QL makes do with 32 faders plus 2. The 2 are by default Stereo & Mono, but can be customized to anything on the user layers. The CL has more faders and it’s more customizable. But they use the same 10” touch screen and the same software interface. The CL has more GEQs, effects and options for larger shows. But the QL will fit the bill nicely for many churches. 

A Great Starter Car

I keep using car analogies mainly because we just had to by my youngest a car. After she learned she wasn’t getting a 3-series or C-Class, we began looking for a good, reliable and safe first car. The QL is kind of like that first car. For many churches graduating from an old analog board, the QL looks to be a great step into the digital world. According to Yamaha, it has the same user-friendliness we’ve come to love about the M7 with much improved sound quality, and Dante integration. 

In theory at least, it’s easy to use, powerful and expandable. You get start with just the surface and use your existing copper snake then upgrade to Rio racks as you have the funds. I like systems that can do this, and the QL does it well. I’ve spent a lot of time on the QL last week as we just installed one in a church here locally. 

While Yamaha desks are not my personal favorite to mix on, I’ve probably mixed as many services on them as I have anything else; and that includes a PM3500, DM2000, M7, 01V and PM5D. The QL probably stacks up as the best Yamaha desk I’ve used to date, and it makes me really want to get on a CL now. 

The Impossible Review

It’s really hard to review a console in this space, because there are so many things to talk about. I’m not going to waste space giving you all the specs and details of the desk. For that, visit the Yamaha website and look at the CL/QL feature guide. It’s all there. What I want to focus on are my impressions of the desk, what I liked about it and what I didn’t like about it. 

First off, I’ll say that for a relatively affordable desk, it has a lot of power, and is built well. It’s very compact, and not hard to move around. It would make an ideal portable church board. The controls are for the most part legible and easy to see, and the touch screen is bright and fairly responsive. It’s a step up from the M7 in terms of responsiveness. 

Being part of the Dante ecosystem is cool. I’ll probably have to write a post or two about Dante, so I’ll hold off on delving too deep into that for now. I will say this; Dante is both easy and hard. In theory it’s pretty plug and play, but there are a few “gotchas” that if they get you will hose you for a while. 

Complex Simplicity

The great thing about the M7 was that it was so easy to use. All the faders were right in front of you, and the OS was pretty easy to get around on. It didn’t do all that much; it was really almost a digital front end to an analog board. For that reason, it was easy to train novices on. The QL is a different breed, especially when you add Dante. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a knock on the console; it’s just that it does a lot, and is therefore more complicated. There are many ways to do the same task, and again, while that’s good, it’s more complex. 

This is true of most digital consoles, especially the second and third generations. They do a lot more, bring more power to the table than ever, but the trade off is complexity. This is a good thing, but when you put one in, plan on spending a good bit of time learning your way around, especially if you are new to digital. 

Having mixed on so many Yamaha consoles before, I picked it up fairly quickly. But my clients had to work hard mentally to get past the basic tasks. Mixing is easy; set up can be challenging. 

OK, this is already longer than I intended for part one. Next time, I’ll talk about the things I liked about the console, and on Friday, follow up with the things I didn’t like. So my friends at Yamaha can sleep at night, I’ll end with this; I like the console. So, good job!

Roland

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Disconnecting


We all know what happens when we disconnect a signal line; the signal stops flowing. Unplug a mic and it doesn’t work anymore. Unplug a speaker and it doesn’t make sound. Unplug power from a board, and it just sits there. I don’t think is coincidence that often the fix for a computer is to shut it down, or unplug and power it back up. Sometimes, you just have to shut it all down, clear our the registers and start fresh. 

I think we all need a reboot once in a while, too. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to do just that. 

Running Hard and Fast

As TDs I think most of us are pretty driven people. We like to work hard, and enjoy the challenges we are faced with. But sometimes, it can get to be too much and we need some down time. Down time can be a challenge, too, because we really don’t know what to do with ourselves. My current job has me running pretty hard. I have installs and proposals stacked up like flights coming into LAX. It’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.

When I was a TD, life was similar but different. The weekly pressure of weekend services, special events and maintaining all the equipment and systems could be exhausting. And when the big weekends rolled around, it was crazy time.

While I can take weekends off now, I still find myself working on something. It’s easy with all the connectivity we possess. I have two laptops and a Mac Mini, an iPad and iPhone. Broadband and VPM access lets me work from home as efficiently as at the office. As a result, I rarely unplug and reboot. 

Off the Grid

But a few weeks back, I actually did. About fifteen years ago, my Dad, brother and I started rebuilding an old fishing camp on a tributary to Upper Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Park in New York. After a few summers of hard work, we had a great camp to enjoy. I haven’t been there since I moved to Minnesota in 2007, and I was missing it dearly. Thankfully, we have a great client in New York, not far from White Plains. As it turns out White Plains is only about 4.5 hours from our camp. So I did what anyone who travels a lot would do. I extended my return flight and planned on driving up to camp after the install was done. 

It was actually fantastic to drive up into the mountains. There was almost no traffic and the trees were just starting to turn. Once I arrived at camp, I had no cell signal, no wi-fi and no real way to connect with the outside world. It was just my brother and me, sitting by the lake. 

Real Interaction

As my brother lives in NY and I in CA, we don’t see each other much. Through Facebook, we keep up with what we’re doing, but our schedules don’t give us much time to talk. But up in the woods, with nothing around to distract us, we could just sit in the great room, and talk. Face to face. I think this is becoming a lost art in today’s hyper-connected world. We can reach out to all 500 of our “friends” at a moments notice, but we have a hard time sitting and talking for a few hours without checking in on our network. 

I found this weekend to be incredibly refreshing. Between the interaction with my brother and the downtime in the car (almost 10 hours in total), it was a great way to recharge. I’ve talked about the needy to get away and get refreshed before, but it’s become ever more apparent that when we get away, we really need to go off grid.

My friend Stephen told me he was going to go off grid for a week just to recharge. The thought is probably terrifying to some of you, but I know he’ll come back more refreshed, more creative and more ready to do what God has called him to do. This is something we all need. We can only run so hard for so long before we need to reboot. If you’re feeling foggy and like you need a restart, plan the time away and do it. But don’t cheat; leave the phone off, the laptop at home and disconnect. You’ll be the better for it.

“Gear

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Input Sheet Examples

Last time, we talked about some reasons to use an input sheet. That post was prompted by a post the previous week on console layouts. The goal with this whole concept is to organize our set up so that it is more productive, efficient and user-friendly. The easier we can make the mixing process for our team, the more successful they can be. We already know mixing is hard, but let’s not make it harder with poor organization. 

Today I’m going to show you a few examples of input sheets so you have some ideas on what information to include and how to organize it. This first one is one of the first I did. Looking back on it, I already see some issues that I would address today. But it served it’s purpose back then, and was a huge improvement over what we had (which was nothing). 


The Basic Sheet

This input sheet could be divided into three groups of information. The first 3 columns provide the patching information. Here, you find the board channel, the stage input and any sub-snake assignment. The next 3 columns provide application information. What type of input is it, who will be using it and are there any special notes to be aware of. Finally, we see routing, monitoring and bussing information, along with a note on phantom power. 

Armed with nothing but this input sheet (and a stage plot), my volunteer set up crew could completely wire the stage for me during the week, and I could quickly verify it on rehearsal night. 

Looking back on it, I would change some things if I were doing it today. I would rearrange the console to follow a more conventional layout, and would color code more. But at the time, it worked well. Equipment-wise, we were using a 32-channel analog console and an Aviom system for monitoring. 


An Intermediate Sheet

This next sheet was developed by a friend of mine, Tyler Kanishero. He’s using an M7 with a couple of cards, and did a great job of putting all the information you’d need on a single sheet. On the left side, you see all 48 input channels on the console and what plugs into them. Inputs are direct, stage and cards. In the middle you have the mixe and matrix assignments. On the right, the Aviom and output assigns are clearly listed. 

This example goes into more detail, but still keeps the information clearly and easy to find. About the only thing I would change on this is to add color. As you can see, he has the same information I had in my basic example, but it’s organized differently. Like a console setup, it doesn’t matter so much how you do it, as long as it makes sense in your context. Of course, there are advantages to doing things similarly to industry standards. But make sure it works for you. 


The Advanced Sheet

This is the sheet I developed jointly with Isaiah Franco. I started it, he did a lot of work on it, then I tweaked it some more after he left. I wrote a series of posts on it some time back if you want to know more about how it works (Part 1, Part 2). We use a lot of cool Numbers features for drop down menus, and a ton of if-then statements to auto-fill much of the content. 

This sheet is four pages long and presents the information in a few ways. The first two pages are for the stage team. They get all the information for patching and set up through the patch list and stage diagram. All the wireless mic and IEM assignments are also clearly spelled out. The second two pages are for the FOH engineer. In reality, most of that info was already dealt with in the baseline show file, but it’s good to know what is there. 

This one was tweaked and massaged over five years, and I’m pretty happy with it. It’s overkill for many situations, however. If you have a smaller set up, you don’t likely need this much information. However, there are principles that should be useful. 

Remember, it’s less important how you do the input sheet, and more important that you do it. Figure out what works for you and start. You’ll be glad you did.

Here are the sheets in PDF version. Everyone is going to ask for the originals; I don’t have all of the, so just build them yourself in Excel or Numbers. It’s good practice. 

Intermediate Sheet

Advanced Sheet

Roland

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Using Input Sheets

As you may have noticed, last week didn’t go quite as planned. I had fully expected to get a few posts up about input sheets, as well as another topic. I ended up getting to enjoy a week up north at my family’s camp in the Adirondack Mountains in NY. As I haven’t been there in 7 years, I took advantage of the opportunity. It threw off my writing schedule, but the weekend off was worth it. But we’re back now, and we’ll jump right back in. 

In my last post, we talked about setting up your console. Now that I’m traveling to even more churches than ever, I’ve seen some very creative console layouts. And pretty much everyone looks at me funny when I ask them for an input sheet. I used input sheets every weekend for over eight years—even though most weeks we could have gotten away without one. But I’m a big fan of consistency, and once I settle on a good way of doing things I like to keep doing it.


Input Sheets Keep You Organized

As I said, I’ve seen some interesting console layouts. Sometimes, those things happen because it’s the fastest way to something done, and it just stays that way. But when you put it on paper, it’s easier to see that having the drums scattered all over the console doesn’t make sense. I also find that putting things on paper is a great way to think through better ways of doing it. Sometimes, we get in such a routine, that we don’t even notice there is a better way of accomplishing a task until we write it down. Then it leaps off the paper to us. 

I’ve also realized that we have been doing something the hard way for a while, and it’s time to simplify. Again, this comes from writing it down and looking it over. 

Input Sheets Help You Spot Problems Ahead of Time

Ever show up for a weekend service and find you are short a few vocal mic’s? Or perhaps you don’t have enough DI’s to cover all the keyboards and guitars. Or maybe you’re just out of channels on the console. Those issues are a lot easier to solve on Tuesday than they are on Sunday morning. Making up an input sheet earlier in the week will head those issues off at the pass. Even if your set up is relatively stable week to week, it’s still nice to know that you have what you need. 

Input Sheets Help You Communicate with the Team

When you have an input sheet, you can hand a copy to someone on your team and they know how to set up the stage. Everyone knows what plugs into what. I figured I could either spend my set up time answering questions from my guys on where to plug things in, or empower them to do it themselves. I always prefer the latter. 

Input Sheets Help With Troubleshooting

Have you ever been working your way through soundcheck only to find you have no signal from the acoustic guitar? After checking the tuner, we tend to start looking at all kinds of exotic problems that it might be. But before doing that, make sure it’s plugged in to the right input. An input sheet will help you verify that you’re in the right snake, sub snake or stage input, and patched into the right channel on the board. Instead of tracing wires, you can quickly verify patching. Often, that solves the problem. 

I really can’t find any downside to using an input sheet each week. They only take a few minutes to make and often save a lot of time during the weekend. Next time, I’ll give you a few examples of input sheets so you have some ideas for creating your own.

“Gear

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Audio Console Layout


Photo courtesy of  Chris Costes

Photo courtesy of Chris Costes

Based on some of the consoles I’ve seen lately, audio console layout is something that doesn’t seem get a lot of thought. However, a properly laid out console not only makes mixing more fun, it can keep us from making big mistakes during a service. 

Legend has it that in the early days of mixing, as analog consoles got larger, engineers noticed that channels farther from the master had more noise in them. So it made sense to put the money channels—the vocals—nearest to the master. As the master was typically on the right, that meant the left-most channels became home of the drums—who would notice noise in the drum channels? 

Somewhere along the line, a somewhat common layout emerged: drums, bass, guitars, keys, vocals. As consoles and input count continued to grow, we started seeing the master section land in the middle of the console instead of on the right. In that case, usually the band fell to the left while vocals and effects fell to the right.

Back then, where channels showed up on the console was completely dependent on what inputs they were plugged into. Today, with digital consoles, it’s easy put any channel on any fader. But before we do any patching—digitally or analog—it’s important to spend some time thinking about why channels go where they do. 

Why You Do Is More Important Than What You Do

I’ve seen all sorts of…shall we say, interesting channel layouts on consoles. Drums spread all over the place, the lead guitar next to the pastor’s mic, vocal effects in the middle of the keyboards. It’s as if someone just patched inputs into the first open channel or floor pocket without any thought at all.

And while there are all sorts of ways you can lay out your console, the first consideration is to make sure you do it on purpose. Don’t just shove inputs into any old channel. Take some time to think about it and patch it in a way that makes sense. Keep all the drum channels together, and then keep the band together. Having all the vocals next to each other makes it a lot easier to find them. Put the channels you adjust all the time closest to you, so you’re not reaching all the way to the end every time. Think about how you mix, then organize the channels in a way that supports what you do.

For Example…

There is no “right” way to organize a console. But here are some ideas of how to do it. Personally, I like to start with drums (kick, snare, hat, toms, overheads), then bass, guitars, keys, vocals and finally effects. Other channels like speaking mic’s, music playback, video and other utility channels are either to the right or left of effects depending on the console. 

When I was at Coast Hills, I had my current console set up with my VCAs on the right, which put my vocals right in the middle in front of me. My preference is to mix more on channel faders than VCAs, but I know others who prefer the opposite.

I also know guys who put the bass right next to the kick because they like to work those two together. I keep my bass in my guitars VCA; others put in with the drums or dedicate a VCA to just kick and bass. 

Stay Consistent

When I mix on analog consoles, I still follow the same basic layout. The advantage of a consistent layout is that I can mix almost any band on any console and without looking know where the faders are. In contrast, I’ve watched other guys mix and spend half their time searching the board for the guitar fader, only to miss the solo. 

Regardless of how you choose to layout the console, once you come up with a plan, stick with it. Adapt and change as needed, but maintain as much consistency as you can.

Small Digital Consoles are Tricky

The current trend toward smaller mixers (i.e. fewer faders) with higher channel counts makes smart layout absolutely critical. If you only have 16 handles to deal with, you simply must be intentional about what you put where. In that case, I would most likely not use up the first 8 faders on the top layer for the drums. 

In that case, it might be more prudent to put a drums VCA on channel one and treat it as one instrument (which, arguably, you should do anyway). As you fill up your fader bank and channels spill into another layer, it is often a smart idea to duplicate a few channels on every layer. For example, you might want to have the worship leader’s mic on the same fader of every layer so you can get to it quickly regardless of the layer you’re on. 

The fewer faders you have, the more strategic you need to be with grouping channels into VCAs. How  you group the channels will be dependent on your band and your workflow. 

I once mixed a 28-input CD release party on 12 faders. I built multiple layers that were very similar, but expanded various sections. For example, layer one had the drums as a single VCA. But layer two gave me all 8 drum channels. Layer three split out all my effects, which were a single VCA on layer one. Things that didn’t get used often were down on layers four and five, but the lead singer’s vocal and guitar were always in the same place on every layer. 

I spent about 30 minutes initially setting up the board, then tweaked my layout during rehearsal based on how the set unfolded. Of course, this is easier with a digital board than analog, but the principles remain. Think about your layout and adjust it until it makes sense and works for you.

Next week, we’re going to revisit the concept of input sheets. I’ve written about them before, but I think the topic bears repeating. Plus, I have some new stuff to share. Have a great weekend!

“Gear

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CTA Review: Digital Audio Labs Livemix Pt. 4


This is our final installment of the Livemix system from Digital Audio Labs. We’ve taken an overview look, dug into the system components, looked at some features and today we’ll wrap it up with the remaining unique features and a conclusion. 

On the Beat


The Livemix also includes a built-in metronome. One person can configure it and trigger the start stop while all others have individual volume control. Actually, anyone on the network can run it, but I suggest leaving it in one person’s hands. 

Load and Save

It’s easy to save and later load mix settings. If you have some musicians who rotate in and out, they could save their presets and quickly load them back up. The presets are global, so it doesn’t matter which mixer they get when you set up. You can also load and save presets from Mirror Mix mode, which means if you have a mixer at FOH, you could quickly configure everyone’s mixer during the week without leaving the booth.

 What’s Not to Like?

As I said at the beginning of this, I really like this system. Overall, it’s very solid, and I’m sure I will be recommending them often. There are a few things I’m not crazy about, however. First, like the dreaded Aviom, when the system first boots up, all the channels are at half volume. I understand the reasoning for this, but it is a bad idea. Most people forget the volume knob also goes down, and as they try to build a mix, they will end up with all channels at full, not being able to hear anything.

I would use one of the presets to turn all channels off, except for the talkback. It would be easy enough to use Mirror Mix to turn up each person’s channel(s) before rehearsal starts so they at least hear themselves. But let them start at 0 for everything else. 

Second, while the dual mixer concept is great for many situations (and they’re really not even that expensive at $525 or so…) You’re going to have a lot more “mixers” on stage than needed. At my last church, we could have gotten away with two units for the front line—the worship leader could have shared with a BGV and the other two BGVs could easily share. But while drums and bass were right next to each other, the way the platforms were set it would have been a pain to try to share a mixer. Same with keys and perc/winds. So we would have ended up buying individual mixers for each and not using one side.

I guess the other way to look at that is you end up with more capacity for bigger events. In those cases, people just have to learn how to work together, even if it’s a bit inconvenient. With eight duo’s on stage, having 16 mixes is a nice bonus. Still, I’d love to see a single unit at some point. And while the mixers are not that expensive, the input module is (about $1000) and the Dante card will set you back another $800-900. Still, you only need one, so overall the system price is very competitive. 

The Bottom Line

The system sounds great, has a ton of features and is easy to use. I didn’t even really get into the touch screen functionality or how fast and easy it is to build a mix. If you’re interested, download the manual and read it. It’s actually well written and illustrated and gives you a great way to understand the feature set. With the analog input module, this is a good system. With Dante, it’s really good. I can see using a lot of these.

Roland

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CTA Review: Digital Audio Labs Livemix Pt. 3


 So I thought I could do this in one more post. But it turns out there is just so much to say about this cool little system that I had to break it up into two more so they don’t become too long. Today, we’ll consider how it really works. What makes this product different from the rest? Next time, we’ll wrap up with the final set of features and a bottom line. 

Remote Mixing


Select the mixer you want to work on, and you now have full access to the mix on another mixer. 

Select the mixer you want to work on, and you now have full access to the mix on another mixer. 

One of my favorite features of the Roland M-48 system is the ability to put a mixer at FOH then select any mixer on stage and hear that mix. We can even make changes if a musician is struggling with getting set up properly. Livemix takes this concept a step further allowing any mixer to control any other mixer on stage. By selecting Mirror Mix, you can listen to and adjust any mixer in the system. This would be great for a FOH engineer to help out a musician, but there are other advantages. Say you have one musician who is really good at putting together a mix. He or she could be a resource to anyone on stage with a simple button press. Or the worship leader could help a vocalist or player who can’t quite get it dialed in right. This is a cool feature with lots of possibilities. 

Share the Aux

I’m sure this has happened on your stage. The band is trying to figure out a song and they need to hear the recording. Most times, one of our singers will hold a mic to their iPhone and play it back. It’s horrible and I’ve tried to tell them we can play it from FOH, but it’s easier for them to do it this way. With the Livemix, anyone can plug a phone into the Aux In jack, then share it to the network. A separate volume control on each mixer gives the musicians individual control over how loud the aux channel is. This is another cool feature.

Built-In Ambient Mic & Intercom

Most personal mixers these days come with an ambient mic. And while they’re not great, they do give at least some sense of ambience on stage. Personally, I don’t find our folks using them much as we have house mic’s piped back into the system for ambience, and they sound much better. Still, if you don’t have that, a small mic on the mixer is better than nothing. 

Most times, our team would turn the ambience mic up only when others were speaking during rehearsal. This saves them from having to pull their ears out. Livemix obviously understood that and added an intercom function to the system. Press and hold the A or B mix button and it routes the ambient mic to everyone’s intercom channel (with a separate volume control, ‘natch). I tried this out and while not as good as say a handheld mic, it’s certainly very usable. 

More Me


Sometimes when a musician is playing along, they just need to turn themselves up a little bit, and rather quickly. The Me knob makes it easy. You can assign any of the 24 channels to the Me group and the Me knob will act as a master control for those channels. So a worship leader who plays guitar can have both his vocal and guitar in the Me group and quickly get more me. Of course, you could also use this for any other source or groups of sources that would need regular, easy adjustments, the click for example.

Speaking of Groups

You can create up to four additional groups after the Me group. You could use these for simple things like tying together two stereo channels of a keyboard, or grouping all the drums together. When you adjust the level of one member of the group, all are adjusted. You still have individual control of each channel, however, so you’re not stuck with that mix forever.

OK, we’ll call it there for today. Next time around, the rest of the cool features and a wrap up.

“Gear

Today’s post is brought to you by Pacific Coast Entertainment. Pacific Coast Entertainment is the premier event production company servicing Southern California and the western states. PCE offers a complete line of Lighting, Audio, Video, and Staging equipment for rentals, sales and installs. Where old fashion customer service meets high tech solutions. PCE, your one stop tech resource.

CTA Review: Digital Audio Labs Livemix Pt. 2

Last time around, we took a look at the Digital Audio Labs Livemix system in overview. It’s an easy to use system that offers more than meets the eye. Today, we’ll start digging into some of the features that make it unique.


DSP in the Brain

As always, there are different ways to design a system. Some systems, say the Roland M-48, use a lot of DSP in the mixer itself. This affords great flexibility and they can do a lot of things very well. But that power comes at a price. First, there is the actual price of the unit, which is on the high side. Second, they are complicated to set up to fully utilize all that power. 

The Livemix takes a different approach. Instead of loading up the surfaces with a bunch of DSP, they put most of it in the Central Mixer. This allows them to do some interesting things. For example, each of the inputs has a 3-band EQ, and dynamics control. Unlike the Roland, the channel EQ and dynamic settings are global for every mixer. This sounds like a limitation on paper, but in practice, I found our musicians rarely delved into the channel EQ on the M-48s anyway. Instead, they usually adjusted the main bass and treble controls—something the Livemix also offers. Except here it’s a 3-band EQ and mix dynamics that are local to each mixer. 

The Central mixer also offers an adjustable HPF on each channel. While not fully adjustable, there are enough set points to be useful. When using the Dante input module, you can choose any 24 inputs from the Dante network. Again, this is a global setting; all the mixers get these 24 channels. However, you can assign those channels from any mixer in the system or Dante Controller. 

More Than Meets the Eye

The Central Mixer is a simple-looking affair. It’s 1 RU high and looks like a network switch. The front panel contains eight RJ45 jacks (not EtherCon), a USB port, a power switch and data indicator. If you are using the Dante option, all you have to do is plug the Mix-16 into the Dante network, and patch the channels. It’s pretty simple. If you’re using the analog input module, a shielded Cat5 connects the AD-24 to the Mix-16 (and then it takes up 2 RU). The USB port allows you to route a 2-track mix of any of the mixers on the network to that port for recording. Plug in up to eight CS-Duos and you have 16 mixes at your fingertips. 

The Mix-16 supplies not only audio data but also power to each CS-Duo, which keeps the cable clutter to a minimum. There are also two more RJ45s on the back of the Mix-16 labeled Livemix Data Out 1-16 and 17-32. The manual states those are for future use. At InfoComm a while back, they were suggesting those could be used for sending the 2-channel mix from each mixer back to a D/A box for use with wireless IEMs. Guess we’ll have to keep our eyes open for that one. 


On the Surface…

The CS-Duo itself contains the aforementioned controls as well as a few inputs and outputs. Of course, we have two 3.5mm headphone jacks in the front, one for each side of the mixer. There is also a 3.5mm Aux In jack that can be very clever (more later). On the back, we have a pair of 1/4” TRS jacks that can be configured either as stereo headphone outs or balanced line outs (one for the A and B side). A TRS foot switch jack also hangs out back there. It’s a multi-function foot switch available from DAL that does all kinds of cool things. Finally there is the RJ-45 (non-EtherCon) for data and a USB port for loading and saving settings. 


By now, you would be forgiven for thinking this is really similar to other products on the market. The ability to mix 24 channels is a nice upgrade from other 16 channel systems, but other than the dual mixers, what’s really unique? Stay tuned!

Roland

Today’s post is brought to you by CCI Solutions. With a reputation for excellence, technical expertise and competitive pricing, CCI Solutions has served churches across the US in their media, equipment, design and installation needs for over 35 years.

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