You know Elite Core for their great PM16 personal mixing system, and maybe their snakes and cables. Oh, and the headphone extensions; can’t forget those. But the guys have been busy coming up with even more stuff that will make our lives easier on the stage. We shot a video of these new products, but it didn’t turn out well so I’m writing it up instead.
Converta-Shell Ethernet Cables
Most personal mixers use Ethercon connectors for the RJ45s. They’re more rugged and lock in place more securely. But sometimes you need to connect an Ethercon on one end but you need a standard RJ45 on the other. In the past, that meant disassembling the Ethercon (and probably losing some of the parts…), but you no longer have the strain relief, and it’s a bit sketchy.
Now, with the new Converta-Shell cables, you simply twist off the locking housing and the end is a standard RJ45. The great part is, you still have the full strain relief and protection of a professional end. The cable is extremely high quality, fully-shielded and has a drain wire soldered to both ends. The cables lay out nicely and are fully ruggedized for the rigors of stage use. They available in lengths ranging from 3’ to 200’.
PMA—Personal Monitor Amplifier
Let’s say you have a fancy new digital mixer that offers an iPhone app for mixing monitors. You think you saved a bunch of money not having to buy personal mixers or a monitor desk. But where do you plug the headphones in? Sure, there are some cheap headphone amps out there, but what if you want a good one but don’t want to spend a ton of money? Now you can get the new PMA.
Based on the same high-power headphone amp from the PM16, the PMA is a box about the size of a DI with a mic stand threaded hole in the bottom. It has volume and pan knobs, a stereo/mono switch and headphone jack on the front, and a pair of XLR/TRS combo jacks on the back. In can be powered from a supplied wall wart of 9V battery. Best of all, it’s $80! They are also selling bundles with things like stand adapters, extension cables and earbuds.
Like other Elite Core products, it’s built like a tank, too. You’ll want a few of these, just to have I suspect.
HA4X4—Four Station Headphone Amp
So if you like the PMA, but want say, 4 of them, check out the HA4X4. It’s essentially 4 PMAs, in a single rack mount unit. For $120. That’s right, at a MAP of $120, you can power four headphone mixes with high-power, great sounding headphone amps. There are four sets of TRS stereo inputs on the back, and each headphone channel can select from any of the four mix inputs. They even included TRS Line outputs on each channel, so it can function as sort of a matrix router.
Again, Elite Core has gone bundle-crazy and are offering this unit in a rack case, with a drawer, four headphone extension cables and four sets of ear buds for $500.
I can see using one or two of these for our Good Friday service where I have 6-8 vocalists upstage. They don’t move, so they don’t need to be wireless, but we’ve always had to figure out how to get the mixes from the console to the singers. Problem solved. Check another thing off the list for this year!
Many have been asking for a digital interface for the PM16 mixers. While we had hoped for a Dante or perhaps even MADI version, we got an ADAT for now. A lot of companies go with ADAT for their first digital interface because it’s common, easy to implement and doesn’t come with high licensing fees. It’s also pretty easy to get from many digital consoles to ADAT. The IMA-16A is a simple box with two ADAT ports (8 channels each) and an RJ-45 that goes straight to the mixers. It’s going to sell for about $700.
Elite Core has also gotten into building PowerCon Cables. Available with both grey and blue (in and out) ends and Edison male and female configurations, they are using very high quality cable and Hubble Entertainment grade (all black) ends. You can get them in 14 and 12 gauge cables, and while not cheap, they are not much more expensive than you can build them yourself; and you don’t have to build them yourself. Or source the ends, which can be a pain.
Procat Ethernet Cables
I’ve been building my own Ethernet cables for our M-48 mixers for years. And I’ve hated everyone I’ve built. The tactical cable we use is very hard to strip and terminate, and while it’s extremely rugged (we’ve run over them with the lift a time or two), they don’t really lay out or coil well.
Again, Elite Core to the rescue with their new Procat Ethernet cables. Using rugged but flexible cable, these cable lay out well, coil like mic cables and are plenty durable. You can order them in custom lengths with any combination of Ethercon and/or RJ45 connectors on the ends.
Like the PowerCon cables, they are not cheap per se. However, when you take into account the time it takes to make them, these are a good value. I plan on ordering some to replace some of our cables, especially the ones that we need to get to lay nicely.
If you haven’t been by the Elite Core website lately, you should check it out. They have a ton of stuff available, and it’s a selection that might surprise you.