Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: October 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

How Do I Get My Worship Leader To…

Image courtesy of  wEnDy

Image courtesy of wEnDy

Last week at SALT, I had the great opportunity to lead a panel discussion called, “The Same Kind of Different as Me.” The premise is that we have all these different creative disciplines working in the church—music, tech, media, programming and such. From the outside, those teams all get lumped together as the “creatives.” We’re all viewed as somewhat weird by the “normal” folks of the church. 

But internally, we are each a bit different. Musical and technical artists are perhaps the greatest example of this. While they are both completely dependent on each other, they can also be at odds with each other. One of the most frequent questions I receive on this subject is a variation of, “How do I get my worship leader (or tech person) to do what I want?” My answer usually surprises them; I typically ask, “When was the last time you went out to lunch with them?” 

Great Production Comes From Great Friendships

The best services, special events and even corporate gigs I’ve been a part of were all ones where I truly enjoyed working with everyone else on the event. When you are really good friends with your worship leader, something changes in the way worship happens. When you two don’t get along, everyone knows. They may not know that you don’t get along, but they know something is wrong. 

But when there is a deep level of friendship, mutual respect and admiration between tech and music, worship is better. That takes work, but it’s so worth it. 

It’s Not Complicated

Building a great relationship with your counterpart is not complicated, but it can be hard. Depending on how strained the relationship might be, you may need to bring in some help. But if you’re like most teams, and you’ve just never thought about it, start with food. Food makes everything better. There is something magical about breaking bread with someone that automatically deepens a relationship. That’s why so many first dates are over dinner. Food brings people together. 

If you’re struggling with some issues with your tech guy (or worship leader) go out to lunch with them. Not with an agenda to try to fix it, just go eat a great burger together. Not the same burger. That would be weird. You get the idea. Go to lunch and ask them about their family. If they don’t have one, ask them about their guitar, where they grew up, what music they like, what movies they enjoy, maybe even what sports they follow. Get to know them, you know, like you would another human being. Crazy, right?

Do this for a few months, then start talking about how you can work together to develop a better team. 

Get Out of the Booth, or Off The Stage

One of the best things you can do to build relationships is to leave your comfort zone, and meet someone in theirs. For tech guys, that means get out of the booth and be on stage when the band arrives. Ask them about their week, help them set up, and find out a little more about them. Do this for a few months and you will have a great relationship with your musicians. Music guys, get off the stage once in a while and go hang out in the booth. Ask the team there how they are doing. Get to know them. We will all serve each other better when we’re friends. 

Just Talk To Them

My friend Dave Stagl said it best one time on a podcast some years ago. We were talking about how to help drummers play to the room. A bunch of suggestions were offered then Dave piped up and said, “I don’t know, how about walking on to the stage and talking to them like they’re a human being.” In the pressure of getting a service ready, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the people there are simply filling a role. We can forget that they are human beings with feelings, struggles, hopes and dreams. When we treat them like a role, we will not get the results we want. 

But when we address them as real people, things change. Yes, this is harder and takes longer than just issuing edicts from on high. However, the results are much better and long-lasting. And besides, who doesn’t love a good burger?

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

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Be Honest

Image courtesy of  rik-shaw

Image courtesy of rik-shaw

Last week we enjoyed the SALT conference. I’ve said before it’s probably my favorite conference of the year. In addition to the great content, there is a tremendous opportunity to rub shoulders with like-minded people. Not only did I meet some great new friends this year, I got to catch up with some old friends. One interaction in particular reminded me of something I haven’t thought about in a while; that is, the importance of having some people in your life you can be honest with. 

The Christian Lie

One of my biggest frustrations about being involved with a mid- to large-sized church is that so often we lie to each other. Now, I’m not talking about lying about things like stealing, cheating on your wife, or being habitually in sin. What I’m referring to are the little lies that are usually precipitated by the question, “How are you?” 

Now, you know what I’m talking about. There are two kinds of answers to that question—no, three kinds. I’ll come back to the third. The first answer is—of course—“Fine.” Or any variation thereof. We’re great; better than ever; busy, but good; hanging in; doing well; keeping on; whatever the phrase is in your town. To be sure, sometimes we really are great. In fact, for many of us, life really is good. Sure, there are small struggles, but overall, things are going in a positive direction and we are content. And that is truly great.

But sometimes, we’re not great. But we say we are. Correction, we lie and say we are. There is an unspoken rule in church that we need to be great, because if we’re not, there is clearly a problem with our faith. So to avoid the potential confrontation, we lie and say we’re fine. And too often, the person asking the question is also anything but fine, but they accept the lie because they don’t want to dig much below the surface.

The second way to answer the question is to start in a detailed description of every struggle in your life. We all know people like this. They have no filter. If they spilled their milk while getting their Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast, you’re going to hear about it. If their husband just left them, you will know all the details. We tend to avoid people like this. The challenge with these folks is they often don’t want any resolution or improvement in their lives, they just want you to know how hard their life is. 

A Better Option

The better option is to be able to answer honestly, with the right amount of details for the level of relationship. Last week, an old friend, one who I spent a some time with in an encouragement group some years back asked me how I was doing. I was able to tell him of some of the joys and struggles of the last 12 months. While I didn’t go into all the details, we have enough of a relationship that I could share enough to get the point across. That prompted a very sincere and heartfelt prayer, right there in the lobby. Those kind of interactions are priceless. 

Who Can You Be Honest With?

This brings me to my point; who can you truly be honest with? I have about 8-10 guys in my life that I can be really honest with. They know not only the good stuff I’ve experienced in the last 12 months, but the really hard stuff as well. When they ask me how I am, I can tell them honestly. And they get it because I can do the same for them. 

We say this all the time, that it all comes down to relationships, but it really does. Working in a church can be one of the loneliest jobs because people assume that because you’re on a church staff, you have it all together. Most people never see the tears that happen just behind the veil. It is imperative that you find someone you can be honest with. Someone other than your spouse. You should be honest with them, but you need someone else, too. And it doesn’t matter if your on staff or not. We all need someone in our lives we can be honest with.


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Better Sounding Video, Pt. 2

As I mentioned last time, in honor of my SALT class on getting better audio for video, I’ve dug up some of the very first posts I wrote for ChurchTechaArts, way back in 2007. The previous post focused on the reason for close-mic’ing your talent, and how to use handheld and shotgun mic’s for that purpose. Today, we’ll consider a few other options. 

Wired Lavaliere

My second favorite way to mic interviews (after a shotgun mic), is the wired lavaliere. I have used these extensively professionally with great results. You don’t have to worry about interference and the sound quality is excellent. For wired mics, I really like Sony’s ECM-77, though the ECM-66 and 55 are pretty good too. The 77 is great because it is tiny, can be hidden almost anywhere and sounds terrific. If you can’t find those, the Countryman B3 or Tram TR50 are great options. DPA also makes some fantastic (and fantastically small) lavs, though they are spendy. 

Wireless Lavaliers

Ideally, you would use a wireless mic that has a camera mount receiver, such as the Shure FP series. The wireless option gives you the most flexibility because you have no wires to connect you to the talent. As long as you stay in range, and choose a clear frequency, things work great. Be wary of cheapo wireless mics, however. If a camera mounted receiver and body pack combo doesn’t cost $400-500 at least, keep looking.

The other big downside to wireless is the simple fact that the RF spectrum is shrinking as the Federal government keeps selling it off. We already lost the entire 700 Mhz band, and it looks like we have about 3 years to vacate the 600 Mhz band. When you use a wireless mic, you’re competing with everything else in the area for clear spectrum, and that’s going to become harder. My rule of thumb is that if the talent isn’t moving, there’s not reason to not wire them. 

Another Wireless Option

A final option is to use a wireless mic that you would use in a live sound application. I used to do this a lot at church because we didn’t have a camera mount wireless system. I’d just take one of the Shure ULX-P (back in the day) mics, set the receiver on the floor next to my tripod, and strap the transmitter on the talent. It works great, though it is a bit of a pain every time I move the camera.

Plugging It All In

All of the applications are assuming your camera has XLR inputs to work with (though the camera mounted receivers usually come with an 1/8″ cable). Each of these mics are professional grade solutions for prosumer cameras and above. If your camera has only a 1/8″ mic jack, all is not lost. You might be tempted to make up an adapter to take XLR to 1/8″. Don’t do it. The pre-amps on consumer grade equipment will not function well with these types of microphones.

The better solution is to use an adapter box made just for this purpose, such as the ones from BeachTek. They have a variety of solutions that include phantom power, metering and variable gain. They are well worth the investment (as low as $199).

Now that many people are shooting with DSLRs, a better solution is to buy a small recorder from Zoom or Tascam and capture your audio that way. I’ve shot quite a few trade shows with a Tascam DR-40, and it works great. I have a headphone Y-cable on the headphone output jack and take one side to the mic input on my DSLR (for later audio synchronization) and use the other for monitoring.

Listen Live 

Finally, when you are recording, plug some headphones in and listen to what you are recording. I am amazed and confused when I see people recording audio, but not monitoring it (and I’ve seen it with professionals as much as non-professionals!). When you listen in, you can hear trouble before it is too late. Make sure you use good headphones that provide good isolation. I’ve been burned before using cheap “walkman” type headphones and thinking I was hearing clean audio, when what I was really hearing was the person talking in the room.

Hopefully you’ve found this helpful and you will be on your way to making better, more effective videos that will tell the story without being distracting.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

Better Sounding Video, Pt. 1

This week, in honor of SALT and my class on getting better audio for your videos, I’ve reach back into the archives—way back to May 2007. This was part of a series on making better videos. I’ve updated it to include some new equipment, but the basic principles are still sound. That’s the great thing about solid fundamentals; they are timeless. 

Repeat after me—I will not use my on-camera mic for anything other than general sound. I will not use my on-camera mic for interviews. I will not use my on-camera mic for short films. On-camera mics have one major drawback that simply cannot be overcome—they are too far from the sound source. I don’t care if it’s the cheap built-in mic on your DSLR or a $3,000 Schoeps, too far is too far.


Let’s talk physics for a moment. There is a law in physics known as the “inverse square law.” It has many different uses, but for our purposes in sound reproduction, it applies thusly: As the distance from a sound source is doubled, the acoustic energy is reduced by 75% (or 6 dB).

So, let’s say you have someone speaking on camera, and that person is 8 feet away. A mic right next to their mouth may receive a signal of, say 65 dBA SPL (normal talking). As the mic moves from 3 inches away to 6 inches away, the signal level drops by 75%, or to 59 dB. When we get to 1 foot away, it’s in down 75% again, or 53 dB. At 2 feet it drops by 75% again, to 47 db. By the time we get to 8 feet (where the on-camera mic is), the once strong 65 dB signal is now down to 35 dB. Now, this is all true in free space; but in a room, there are reflections which will minimize the drop. But it’s still significant. 

Can an on-camera mic pick this up? Sure, but the problem is the noise floor of everything else in the room is at or above the signal level of the talent, including the sound of the tape transport in the camera! To paraphrase Alton Brown, that is not good sound.

Always Close Mic the Talent

The answer, of course, is to get the mic closer to the sound source. If you can’t get the camera to within 6 inches of the talent’s face (and you probably shouldn’t for other, non-sound reasons), you need a remote mic. You can use something as simple as a hand-held dynamic mic (like an SM 58) and use it like a television reporter. If you are going to do a lot of “reporter” type shots, the hands down way to go is a noise canceling mic like the EV 635 or better yet, its shock mounted cousin, the RE50. Long favorites of ENG news crews, these mics will allow the talent to stand in the middle of a football stadium and will still deliver great sound of just the talent.

If you want to be a little less obtrusive, you can use a shotgun mic (like the Audio Technica AT 8035), and either suspend it from the ceiling, a mic stand or a fish pole. A fish pole is an extendable aluminum or carbon fiber pole that is designed to be held overhead by another person, and allows the mic to be placed just out of the frame above or below the talent.

If you plan on using the shotgun on a fish pole, make sure you use a shock mount.

The purpose of a shock mount is to isolate the mic from the inevitable handling noises that a fish pole will cause. The shotgun on a fish pole gives you a lot of options if you have a second person to hold it. That person had better have strong arms though. I really like this option because the sound quality is generally pretty good, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. I recently purchased a shotgun mic, shock mount and fish pole for our church and spent less than $300.

Of course, you can also put the shotgun mic on a mic stand. We shot more interviews than I can count when I owned my video production company, and we almost always used an AT853a on a boom stand right over the subject. We set it so it was just out of the shot, and got great audio every time. Sometimes, if the shot required it, we would position the mic below frame and point it up; this was key if we were shooting in a room with concrete floors. I still recommend the shock mount, even if you’re using a tripod, though. 

Next time, we’ll look at wireless mic options, including one that might surprise you.


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Stoked for SALT

It’s SALT week, and that means it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. I have enjoyed this conference for the last two years and am even more excited to be part of it this year. If you’re coming this year, I hope to be able to meet you.

Two years, Van and I simply attended, and it was great. Last year, I was there as a sponsor, and this year, I’m there as the head of the audio track. Yes, there is an audio track at a visual worship conference! Luke and the team saw the need for a few classes on the sound side of life, and asked me to help pull some things together. 

Wednesday at 4:30, I’ll be teaching a class on how to get better audio for your video projects. Audio is every bit as important as the video, especially for story videos that so powerfully demonstrate God’s working in the Church. Sadly, audio is often forgotten, or relegated to a “fix it in post” mentality. We’re going to dispel that concept and I’ll demonstrate the power of good audio. 

Thursday at 1:30, Brad Duryea will be teaching a class that will attempt to dispel many myths of live sound. This will be a little bit like Bill Nye the Science Guy meets a really good FOH engineer. I know Brad has some fun stuff planned, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. 

Thursday at 3:00, Van, Andrew Stone and I will be presenting a panel on how to effectively work together. Often times, we hear stories of the technical, media and musical teams not really getting along. All three of us have had plenty of experience with working alongside others who are kind of, but not quite, the same as u. We’re all very passionate about this topic, and I’m sure we’ll be able to encourage you if you’re part of a team not getting along.

Thursday at 4:30, Andrew Stone, the king of Rock will talk about his process for creating an amazing broadcast or streaming mix for your church service. He does this without a dedicated broadcast mixer, and incorporates some pretty clever tricks. I’ve used and adapted his process myself, and it does indeed rock. 

Finally, Friday at 9:00, Otto Price will be teaching a great class on how to use tracks and stems in a worship setting. More and more churches are going this way, but there are some key things you should do before you just drop a laptop running Logic on the drum platform. 

Of course, we also have several cool meet ups planed around various topics that Duke will be heading up. From Stage Design, to Helping Your Pastor Understand Your Role, to Volunteers, to Multi-Campus to a behind the scenes tour of the main session room, we have something for everyone. Those are sponsored by CCI Solutions, and we’re grateful to be part of SALT this year. 

If you’re at SALT, please stop by our audio track classes, the CCI Solutions booth or just catch Van, Duke and I in the hall. We’d love to say hi and chat. 

Learn more at http://saltnashville.com/.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

When to Involve the TD in a Building Project

The other day, my friend Erik asked me if he should accept the invitation to be involved very early on with a building project at his church. He’s the TD there, and the leadership asked if he would like to be involved with picking the architect. The question to me was, is it worth being involved that early?


This could be the shortest post I’ve ever written, because I could easily end there. As a TD, staff or volunteer, if you are ever asked to be involved early on in a building project, jump at the chance. Here’s why: You will be the only person thinking about the building project from a production/lighting/acoustical/visual stand point. You know more about how that new room will need to work than anyone else on the staff. You will think of things no one else ever will. 

Not Just Tech

The funny thing is, it’s not just about the gear. This is a common misconception amongst pastors, I think. They are under the (usually false) assumption that the tech guy will just want to spend money on expensive new gear. So they try to keep them out of the process as long as possible to make sure everything else gets budget before production. This is flatly stupid, and never results in agood project. Ever. I’m feeling blunt today.

We tech guys are quite unique in our makeup and we see things differently that normal people do. When looking at the plans, we may be the only one to notice that the HVAC guy put the thermostat right in the middle of the upstage wall. We may be the only one who notices that the doors swing the wrong way in the backstage corridor, creating awkward access. We may be the only ones who note that putting glass doors at the back of the auditorium will drive everyone on stage nuts when the sun rises in their eyes. 

All those are actual building blunders that happened because no one listened to the tech guy (or didn’t ask).

We Think Different(ly)

My English major daughter would be most cross if she saw me use different that way, but you get the reference. It’s not that as tech guys and gals, we’re smarter than everyone else involved in the project, it’s that we view the world differently. That different perspective often can help stave off tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of mistakes. 

Many years ago, I raised so many concerns prior to a building project that they finally put me on the building committee. I was the only one who pointed out that the architect they were considering had never, ever built a church before. I was the only one who pointed out that his initial drawings had so many acoustical problems, it would make services a nightmare for the audience. Everyone else was all starry eyed about the new building and I saw nothing but blunders on the pages before me. My natural cynicism came out and slowed everything down so it could be evaluated properly. Ultimately, Mike the “dream killer” saved the church a lot of money. 

Never underestimate your ability to keep a building project pointed in the right direction. It’s not just about gear, you will look at it differently. And that different perspective is desperately needed. Pastors, if you’re reading this, you should always involve your tech person in a building project early on. I guarantee doing so will save money and deliver a better finished product at the end.


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CTA Review: QSC TouchMix 16, Pt. 2

Last time, we started looking at the QSC TouchMix 16 digital mixer. It’s an interesting concept; a powerful mixer in a small package with no physical faders. It relies on a touch screen—and a not very good one at that—for fader control. While I didn’t love that part, there is a lot I like. Well, except for the non-recallable head amp controls. 

Why, Oh Why?

Instead of encoders, we find analog controls that sit in two rows below the two rows of mic inputs. They are not hard to use, but making them recallable would have been nice. I know manufacturers have to cut costs somewhere to keep the price point competitive, but I really wish we could do recallable head amps on all digital mixers these days. 

Sensible Controls

A series of buttons allow the user to access the mixers deep feature set quickly. Below the phantom power and mixer power buttons are five easy-to-activate rectangle buttons labeled Wizard, Info, FX Mute, FX Master and Mute Groups. The Wizard button helps inexperienced users set gain and route channels to effects. Info is basically a help menu and is pretty good. FX Mute is a nice touch, as it kills all the effects in a single button press that is always on the surface. FX Master takes you right to the FX Master page—shocking, I know. Mute groups brings up a set of on-screen buttons for the 8 mute groups. Below those buttons are the Phones, Talk and Monitor buttons. Phones and Monitor bring up an on-screen volume indication for those two outputs. Talk does exactly what you would expect it to. That’s a common theme on this mixer; it’s laid out well and acts the way you’d expect it to. Even novice users should have no trouble getting up and running quickly. I like user interfaces that are intuitive and make sense, and this section of the TouchMix is good in that regard. 

The big knob on the lower right side of the mixer has a cool blue ring around it and there are five buttons surrounding the top half. Four are user-definable and come pre-programmed for left-right navigation, cue clear and clear clip. The final button is the channel polarity flip control. Next to the touch screen we find three more buttons; Home, Menu and Record/Play. Home takes you back to the main channel display quickly, so if you get lost, that gets you back. Menu brings up the system menu, which has a bunch of controls for how the mixer behaves, sets security, gives access to aux and effects overviews and more. Record/Play brings the transport controls to the bottom of the screen.

Easy to Use

In use, the TouchMix is fairly easy to get around on, with one caveat that I’ll get to in a minute. Routing is simple and intuitive, the display is clear and bright and I never struggled to figure out how to do something. It offers two USB ports on the back, one of which comes with a Wi-Fi adapter installed. The other can be used for any FAT-32 formatted drive and can record 22 channels; all 20 inputs plus stereo mix. You can even play them back by setting each channel to take signal from the track rather than the input. It makes for easy virtual soundcheck. 

Better With an iPad

As I mentioned last time, the biggest problem I have with the TouchMix is the touchscreen. I found it sluggish to respond and occasionally overshot my targets. The version 2.1 firmware helped some, however. The best way to use this mixer in my opinion is with an iPad. While the TouchMix can be its own Wi-Fi access point, I found it worked much more reliably when I connected it to my Airport Extreme. 

The iPad app is really quite good. Where fine selections are hard on the mixer screen, it’s easy on the iPad. All functions are available—including all set up and configuration settings—from the iPad, so after gain is set on each channel, I’d walk away and use the iPad exclusively. This is really why I wish the head amps were digitally controlled; I’d never use the surface for anything if they were. It also helps that the iPad is multi-touch; the TouchMix is not. 

An iPhone app is also available, and it’s really designed for monitor mixing. You can allow a device to access all mixes (including the main) or just one through the configuration screen, making it easy for band members to mix their own ears. 

In use, the TouchMix works well enough. When paired with an iPad, it would do well for small gigs, student rooms, ancillary rooms and the like. I suspect it was really designed for small bands to set on the side of the stage to mix their shows. It feels like a set it and forget it mixer. But it does have some cool features and the number of aux mixes is surprising for a mixer in this size and price class. I did crash it once or twice during testing, and I saw a few configuration menus that weren’t complete. A reboot cleared most of that up, and to be fair, the crashes happened right after a firmware update. There’s probably some software work left to do, but overall, it’s a decent mixer in the right application.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

CTA Review: QSC TouchMix 16 Digital Mixer Pt. 1

When I first saw the QSC TouchMix at the NAMM show in 2014, my first impression was, “Meh.” After all, here was another small mixer with a touch screen instead of actual faders. I spent a few minutes with it and came away unimpressed. So when I was asked to review one, I looked again at the spec sheet, and my interest was piqued. 

Impressive I/O

On paper, the mixer actually does look pretty good. It cones in two versions, the 16 and 8, and aside from I/O count, they are identical. We’ll focus on the 16 input here. It’s called 16, because of the 16 mic inputs, 4 of which are combo jacks. There are also 2 stereo inputs on TRS jacks that bring the total input count to 20. There are technically 10 aux mixes on it; I say technically because 1-6 are mono, and 7/8 and 9/10 are stereo. The mono mixes leave the desk on XLRs while the stereo auxes have TRS jacks, which would make it hard to break them up. So, you really have the capability to do 8 monitor mixes, which is impressive on a mixer this size.

On most small mixers, you end up burning auxes to do effects, but not on the TouchMix. There are 4 dedicated FX busses that feed a limited selection of reverb, delay, chorus and pitch change effects. There is also a pitch-corrector processor that can be assigned to any channel. This could come in quite handy for vocalists that are, how shall we say, pitch-challenged. There are also 8 DCAs and 8 mute groups, which might be overkill on a 20 channel mixer, but there you go. 

Impressive Power

Internally, the mixer uses 32-bit floating point processing and has 24-bit AD and DA converters. It also features Class-A microphone amps which sound quite good. Each input has a four-band, fully parametric EQ, variable high and low cut filters, a gate, and compressor with a de-esser. The aux outputs also have a four-band parametric, limiter, delay and 4 notch filters for eliminating feedback in wedges. The main output substitutes a 31-band graphic EQ for the parametric. 

Other goodies include a dedicated talkback mic input, separate phones and monitor outputs (on TRS jacks), and four user-assignable buttons for quick access to common tasks. As is becoming common on small digital mixers, the TouchMix features over 100 presets for various types of inputs you’d find in a live setting. I didn’t try them all, but the ones I did were good starting points. I suspect experienced sound guys would ignore them or modify the starting points, but they may be helpful for less experienced operators. If nothing else, those starting points will get you in the ballpark quicker for those gigs when time is short. I’m not opposed to preset libraries for that reason—sometimes you just need to get close, fast.  There are also Wizards that assist in gain set up and effects selection and routing.

Physically, the mixer is quite small at roughly 13”x10”x2”. It uses an external power supply and a beefy power cord. It gets quite warm in operation, which tells me there is a lot going on under the hood. The interface is dominated by the 6”x3.5” color touch screen. It’s capacitive touch, and while it works OK for most operations, it’s not great at precision selections, nor as responsive as an iPad or iPhone. Instead of physical faders, the screen presents banks of 8 virtual faders at a time. You can touch and drag the faders on the screen, or touch the channel then use the large knob to raise or lower the level.

Not So Impressive Screen

In use, I found the touch screen a bit laggy, and sometimes the fader would over-shoot my target level. The screen was honestly the biggest disappointment of an otherwise good mixer. In my view, we all carry around touch screens in our pocket that work quite well. There’s really no excuse for a lousy touch screen these days, especially when it’s the primary interface for using “faders.”

Using the knob is better, but be aware there are ballistics built in; if you spin it fast, the fader moves fast. A quick flick of the knob can take a channel from off to +10 in under a half-second, so be careful. Moving it slower is easily controllable however, and pushing down enables a fine control mode. Again, this is a miss in my book. It’s possible that a future software update will fix the ballistics, but the firmware version I tested was tenuous. I was ready to write the whole mixer off based on the poor fader controlling experience, but there is one big saving grace, which we’ll get to next time. 

You may be picking up that I’m not a fan of this mixer, but that’s not correct. I think it’s a good concept, with a few flaws. But there is a way to get around those issues, and we’ll cover that, and a lot more, next time.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

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