Installation Audio MixersIt is unbelievable how many powerful features are now a part of audio mixers designed for installation. 8/13/2013 11:03 AM Eastern
Installation Audio Mixers
Aug 13, 2013 3:03 PM, By Mike McIntyre, CTS-D, EST-L2+
It is unbelievable how many powerful features are now a part of audio mixers designed for installation. From digital signal processing to recording studio quality microphone preamplifiers, these “compact mixers” give contractors tools that use to mean racks full of outboard gear, and some features that were not even possible just a few years ago.
Allen & Heath’s Qu-16 digital mixer aims to create a professional mixing experience in a compact, rackmountable form. Outfitted with 16 mono inputs, three stereo inputs, and four stereo FX returns, the Qu-16 also features moving faders and recallable analog preamps. An 800x400 touchscreen provides control, with a companion iPad control app also available.
The ZEPHYR ZMX164FXU by Alto is a 16-channel, four-bus mixer that features 10 microphone inputs with balanced TRS jacks and insert points, a three-band EQ with a sweepable mid-frequency on eight channels, four channels of stereo inputs with four-band fixed EQs, and a four-bus assignable sub mixer. It also has 60mm high-precision faders and four AUX sends per channel (two pre/post switchable ports). Featuring 256 onboard 24-bit Alesis DSP effects, you may choose from room and space delays, small and large hall acoustics, plate and spring reverbs, flangers, choruses, and more. This USB-enabled mixing console features a USB port that streams two channels of 24-bit audio out to your computer (main mix or sub mix 1/2), and since this USB connection is bidirectional, you can also stream audio from your laptop to the ZMX164FXU for audio and music playback.
APB Dynasonics’ ProRack-House H1020 packs a punch. Outfitted with 20 microphone preamplifiers, the H1020 is also equipped with mono input channels that feature fixed high- and low-frequency EQ bands and two mid-sweep EQ bands with a LED EQ On switch and six aux sends that are switchable between a pre- or post-fader source. All channels on the unit can be assigned to the left-right, center, and mono mix bus with additional assignment switches to subgroups 1-2 and 3-4. The chassis design features an adjustable connector assembly that freely rotates and can be set to three different angles relative to the front panel. This allows the input and output jacks to be properly positioned whether these mixers are mounted in a vertical rack, slant rack, or used on a desktop.
The 12-channel RX1202FX by Behringer is not only rackmountable but also comes loaded with a 24-bit multi-FX processor and eight built-in, studio-grade IMP “invisible” mic preamps. Mono channels feature a trim control and clip LED to adjust the input gain; a two-band EQ (high, mid, and low controls); FX control to determine how much of an effect to apply to the channel; a pan control; and a smooth 60mm fader to determine the channel’s level in the mix. The FX/CTRL section puts sophisticated digital effects at your fingertips. Use the Program dial to scroll through the effect presets, and then use the FX to Main dial to govern how much of the effect is heard in the summed signal of the mixer. Push “FX Solo” to hear only the effects signal in your monitors or headphones.
Crest Audio’s X-Series features a modular design and an extensive feature set suitable for any application. Available in main and monitor configurations, X-series models feature up to 14 mono and four stereo inputs. Long-throw faders, versatile four-band semi-parametric EQ, channel inserts, and high-quality microphone preamplifiers are standard. The X 18R and X 20R consoles have six configurable aux buses and three main buses that provide plenty of FOH mixing configurations, while the X 18RM and X 20RM have up to 12 mono or six stereo mix buses for floor or in-ear monitoring.
DiGiCo’s SD11 is a compact, 19-inch rackmount or tabletop mixer delivered at a reasonable price point. Using DiGiCo’s Stealth Digital Processing and featuring the flexibility of a true FPGA-based digital audio console, the SD11 has 12 touch-sensitive moving faders below a 15in. touch-sensitive screen, making it simple to use for less experienced operators. Sixteen microphone preamps, eight line outputs, and two mono AES I/O are provided, with an option to connect a DiGiCo D-Rack to the Cat-5E port. This provides a remote I/O rack frame with an additional 32 microphone inputs and up to 16 outputs.
Installation Audio Mixers
Aug 13, 2013 3:03 PM, By Mike McIntyre, CTS-D, EST-L2+
Ideal for commercial solutions where space is at a premium, Mackie’s DL1608 iPad-controlled digital mixer offers 16 Onyx mic preamps and 24-bit Cirrus Logic AD/DA converters along with a large choice of plug-ins on every channel that include four-band EQ, compression, gates, reverb, and tap delay. Up to 10 iPads can be simultaneously supported on the DL1608, allowing multiple engineers to control the mix and musicians to adjust their monitors, while the total snapshot recall feature allows users to save sound-check settings for multiple bands, complex song mixes, previous mixes, recall scenes for theater productions, and more. Mixes can be recorded from the L/R stereo output directly to an iPad. An additional Wi-Fi router is required.
Pitched as a “digi-log” mixer, Midas’s VeniceU follows in the footsteps of the company’s VeniceF mixer by bridging the gap between analog and digital consoles. Featuring an 8x8 USB digital audio interface that provides outboard digital processing flexibility, the VeniceU is equipped with a four-band equalizer with swept filters and an EQ in/out switch. Four stereo input channels feature an analog or input select switch, which allows for plug-in FX and multitrack record mix down. Although the USB interface will work with nearly all computer-based DAW audio processing software, every VeniceU package includes a free 60-day trial version of the music production software, Reason.
Peavey’s FX2 Series mixers feature new technology to enhance live sound reproduction, including Silencer mic preamps, which allow very high gain with low noise and distortion for crystal-clear signal reproduction. The four pre-fader auxes per channel provide four monitor mixes, while the two post-fader auxes are ideal for adding effects (built-in or outboard). These mixers also include dual DSP engines that allow multiple simultaneous effects assignable to any channel via aux 5/6. The digital output processing section includes Feedback Ferret, dual five-band parametric EQ or dual 28-band graphic EQ, digital delay lines, and dynamics/limiters. The output section can be configured for stereo, dual mono, or subwoofer mode with a built-in electronic crossover. The mixer features dual USB 2.0 ports, and the “A” USB connector allows streaming of digital audio directly to a computer or memory stick, as well as exclusive, built-in MP3 compression.
Expanding on the L series mixers, Samson Technologies has created the L1200, a 12-channel/four-bus professional mixing console. It provides eight mono mic/line channels with studio-quality microphone preamps and three-band swept mid EQ. In addition, the console features two stereo line channels with mic preamps and four-band EQ, along with three aux sends plus an EFX send. The L1200 also offers XLR and 1/4in. stereo main outputs, as well as insert points for mono mic/line inputs, group outputs, and stereo main outputs. There are large, backlit mute buttons that make console navigation in a dimly lit environment. Additionally, there are two large 12-segment LED meters for the main mix and PFL/Solo. Like the larger L series consoles, the L1200 includes USB functionality for computer recording and playback, and offers the capabilities to build a completely independent stereo mix specifically for your USB digital I/O.
The Soundcraft FX6ii mixer uses the same AudioDNA processor featured in many of the Digitech and Lexicon outboard equipment, including the Lexicon MX400 processor. Offering a combination of live and recording features, each channel of the FX16ii has a direct output channel that is individually switchable pre- or post-fader to enable use with 16-track recording systems. The Lexicon effects work just as well in both live and recording environments with a tap tempo function, three parameter controls, user effects settings store ability, effects clip LED, and 32 powerful and editable effects to choose from. The use of the latest PCB surface-mount technology means that the Soundcraft FX16ii fits all of these features into a rugged, compact frame, which can be optionally rackmounted into a 10U space via Soundcraft FX16ii’s rotating connector pod that allows cables to be connected conveniently behind the rack and save rack space.
The M-864D by TOA Electronics is a 4RU rackmountable digital stereo mixer with eight monaural mic/line input channels, seven stereo input channels, and six output channels including four bus assignable monaural output channels and one stereo recording output channel. It is equipped with digital signal processing functions such as automatic resonance control, feedback suppressor, automatic stereo input mute, and equalizer. Advanced acoustic compensation can be automatically performed without using an acoustic measuring instrument. Furnished with various function setting buttons and 14 analog volume faders, the M-864D can be operated without a PC. However, it can also be operated by connecting the PC or optional remote control panel. It can be mounted in an EIA standard component rack (4RU size).
Yamaha’s IMX644 digital mixer is well-suited for permanent installations. In a compact 2RU size, it offers multiple mono and stereo analog inputs and outputs, as well as digital inputs that allow flexible integration in a wide range of audio systems. In addition to detailed setup and control from a computer running the dedicated IMX644 Manager application, front-panel control of basic functions and memory recall capability allow for effective operation by users who have no specialized knowledge or experience. With six mono analog inputs, four stereo analog inputs, and two stereo analog outputs plus a dedicated stereo output for recording, the IMX644 offers a good I/O configuration for small- to medium-size installations. The internal memory can store up to 16 mixer setups, four of which can be recalled directly from the front panel. Feedback suppression is provided on all six mono inputs. Both pre-settable filters and automatic detection systems are implemented for feedback suppression under widely varying acoustic conditions.
Never before have so many of us done so much with so little. Advanced processing power, improved manufacturing, and superior feature sets have all combined to give us the best installation mixers ever.