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Tech Roundup: Mixing Consoles and Audio Processors 2022

Whether the project is live or installed sound, whether it calls for a customized solution or an off-the-shelf option that provides ease of use and no learning curve, there are a number of consoles and processors that fit the bill.

At NAB 2022, Allen & Heath showcased the V1.13 firmware update for the Avantis 96kHz digital mixer. With the release of Avantis V1.13 firmware, engineers can monitor and control supported Shure wireless systems from the mixer, or from the new Avantis Director software. Allen & Heath and Shure have recently deepened their integration to enable native monitoring and control of Shure’s ULX-D, QLX-D, and Axient Digital wireless systems; Avantis consoles autodetect any supported Shure wireless systems on the same network and, with compatible hardware, Dante can be used for the transport of both audio and control data. Likewise the A&H dLive got a major firmware release with V1.9 with new features including RTA and sonogram tools, new DEEP expander and compressor models, a 12-band PEQ option for mixes, and Sennheiser wireless integration.

NAB also saw the recent expansion of the Allen & Heath range of AHM Audio Matrix Processors used in fixed installation projects for multi-room audio distribution. The original AHM-64 has been used at the heart of many installations from churches to large global media networks, and with the recent introduction of the smaller footprint AHM32 and AHM-16 matrix processors, integrators can quickly create systems that build from a single boardroom to a complete campus. Supported by scalable I/O, control and Dante solutions, optional Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) module, and including 8-band PEQ, gate, compressor and delay on all input channels, and 8-band PEQ, 30-band GEQ, compressor, ANC, source selector, limiter, and delay on all zone outputs.

In May, the new ATEN Podcast AI Audio Mixer | MicLIVE 6-CH UC8000 was announced. Its all-in-one design simplifies the audio mixing workflow for podcasting, offers up to 6-channel audio inputs, DSP and AD / DA converter, and adds audio up to 24-bit / 96 kHz to any USB-C-enabled laptop or tablet. In addition, it features enhanced microphone audio quality with enhanced acoustic models, and SmartEQ to produce a real-time high-quality recording, an autoducking function, and jingle pads that save up to 8 sound effects that can be customized from audio sources from a computer, microphone, and other audio inputs for a professional radio programming experience.

The Audio-Technica ATDM-0604 is a six-channel automatic mixer ideal for meetings, conferences, courtroom proceedings, and other applications involving the use of multiple microphones or other media inputs. AudioTechnica’s SmartMixer technology allows channels to be mixed automatically in gate or gain sharing mode, ensuring consistent, highquality audio output from all inputs in a setup. Controls and LED indicators on the mixer’s front panel allow users to easily adjust input/ output and gain levels; set and recall presets; turn on/off phantom power, low-cut filter, automatic mixing and acoustic echo cancellation; change IP configuration; and more. A full complement of digital signal processing is available for inputs and outputs, including parametric EQ, compressor, limiter, and feedback control. Control and monitoring tools are accessible locally on the front panel or via the Web Remote interface, which allows users to handle the adjustments from a Windowsbased PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, plus make additional changes to settings.

With conferencing on everyone’s mind postpandemic, Biamp announced in May that their conferencing solutions based on the Biamp TesiraFORTÉ X and Devio SCX conference room processors were certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms. Biamp introduced both processors in January of last year. Devio SCX leverages the popular Devio platform, which debuted five years ago to automatically tune audio for BYOM. Originally designed for huddle rooms and smaller conference spaces, Devio SCX expands the range to medium and large conference spaces with two different channel count models. TesiraFORTÉ X Series is a range of premium open-architecture meeting room processors designed to accommodate demanding conferencing applications in which customization is essential, bringing TesiraFORTÉ systems to a single compact device available in three different channel counts and with Dante and AVB support. Both TesiraFORTÉ X processors and Devio SCX are simple to set up with Biamp Launch.

The Bose ToneMatch eight-channel T8S ToneMatch mixer and the four-channel T4S ToneMatch mixer are compact and portable. Their enclosures have a protective, magnetically-coupled cover to protect controls and connectors. A chassis-bottom insert allows the use of standard mounting accessories to keep the mixers in reach during performances. The T8S is intuitive to operate, with illuminated, stage-friendly tactile controls, an easy-to-read display, and scene recall. ToneMatch processing provides presets with the DSP engine, including effects and Bose zEQ equalization. The T4S offers most of the same features as the T8S, but also includes dual ToneMatch links, designed to send digital audio to L1 Model 1S/II systems while receiving power on the same provided ToneMatch cable.

The ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 48VTD includes VoIP, Telco, and Dante interfaces in a single CONVERGE Pro 2 unit. The 48VTD pairs well with ClearOne’s BMA CT and allows integrators to simplify system designs, increasing installation flexibility and reducing costs. The four-input CONVERGE Pro 2 48VTD can also lower costs when paired with the P-Link-based BMA CT, allowing integrators to bring a low-cost Dante interface to the BMA CT. It functions the same as ClearOne’s existing V and T offerings providing a 10-Watt amplifier, four configurable mic/ line audio inputs, and 8 configurable mic/line outputs. Additionally, all models are Avaya, Cisco, and ShoreTel compliant, and support built-in USB audio, and built-in Skype for Business along with interfaces for VoIP, Telco, and Dante. The VTD series works with all existing CONVERGE Pro 2 units and all existing P-Link peripheral products.

The Crest Audio XD-16 and XD-28 digital mixers are small format, 2U rackmount mixers available in either 16- or 28-channel frames. XD Series digital mixers offer optional Dante networking as well as realtime remote control and monitoring from any Android, Windows, or iOS device. The range of configurations available enables use as a simple FoH mixer, a monitor mixer, a personal monitor mixer, or a combination of all three. An integrated WiFi module enables real-time control and monitoring of the mixer processing functions, either by acting as a WiFi router for direct connection of up to four external devices for remote control, or alternatively by connecting to an external WiFi network. The optional 4×4 Dante network module allows up to eight channels (4-in/4- out) of audio streaming over a Dante network, and also extends the physical inputs of the XD-16/XD-28 by four aux channels as well as adding four outputs. Control is provided via the Dante Controller application.

The DiGiCo SD7 Quantum supports more than 640 channels of processing in 96kHz operation that can be connected in the outside world to approaching 3000 potential I/Os. The engine is also equipped with eight newly assignable MADI connections and two DMI slots (DiGiCo Multi-Channel Interface) for AoIP and other connectivity options from the complete family of DMI card options. There are other enhancements, too, including Nodal Processing and True Solo. Nodal Processing means that processing can be applied to any node on the auxiliary section of the console, allowing engineers to send unique processing on each aux send from a single, or multiple, channels. The True Solo system allows the operator’s monitoring system to solo almost any section of the console, and how that source is being processed and heard. This saves time and speeds up the process of managing the potentially daunting number of channels and busses available to the user.

The Electro-Voice N8000 NetMax 300 MIPS digital matrix controller delivers full IRIS-Net supervision, control, and scheduling along with up to 32 input channels, extensive DSP, and CobraNet audio and control connections. It offers support for ethernet, RS-232, USB, and CAN, and Dante audio networking options are available. Four slots with 8-channel audio modules form the foundation for flexible customization, and each slot can house input or output cards. It includes internal 48-bit processing, and the auto-compiling DSP engine has ultra-low fixed latency. One time or regularly scheduled events can be arranged and reactions to certain events or system states can be configured. Any system problems can be detected automatically and can be displayed on the PC screen or transmitted to external sites.

Extron announced last month that the Extron DMP 128 Plus and DMP 64 Plus audio processors were certified for Microsoft Teams. The DMP 128 Plus AT models support Dante Domain Manager, compatibility with the VoIP MS cloud-based VoIP system for the DMP 128 Plus V models. Extron DMP processors are also compatible with the Avaya XI workplace solutions. Extron is committed to broad compatibility for these processors.

The L-Acoustics L-ISA Processor II is a second-generation hardware solution that provides advanced object-based mixing for immersive audio productions. Like its predecessor, it supports spatial audio processing and virtual acoustics for up to 96 audio objects based on speaker positioning information and mixing parameters—including pan, width, distance, elevation, and aux send—the new L-ISA Processor II doubles the original unit’s potential output count of 64 up to 128 outputs for greater power and versatility on larger, more complex events. Seeing that most productions are unlikely to utilize 100-plus outputs, L-Acoustics is offering L-ISA Processor II in a choice of four output counts—16, 32, 64 or 128—from the same device, with various capacities accessible via different lifetime licenses at tiered pricing levels. For example, a small club or theater may need no more than 16 outputs, while a mid-sized house of worship or performing arts center might require as many as 32. With L-ISA Processor II, those customers now have access to all of the very same immersive tools, 128 inputs and premiumquality 96 kHz sampling as large-scale musicals or massive tours running triple-digit outputs, but at a scalable cost.

Lectrosonics had versatility in mind when it developed the Lectrosonics Aspen SPN2412, with its 24 inputs and 12 outputs, which can be expanded to many more. The Proportional Gain Algorithm allows it to work seamlessly with other sound gear, while data, audio, and control signals are carried through a single Cat-6 cable. Setup is aided by automatic master/ slave detection and its automatic mixing parameters and presets are extensive including multizone mix minus configuration. The Phantom Mix mode lets the mixing come from multiple zones and fed back into only those zones that are selected for the feed. And with TCP/IP addressability for control through ethernet, it can be part of your network.

In January, Mackie introduced a portable streaming mixer that targets social streamers, gamers and podcasters. The Mackie M•Caster Live Portable Live Streaming Mixer is pitched as a simple way to connect with a streaming platform. It retails for $259. The mixer connects to the user’s smartphone headphone jack, or via USB to a computer running OBS or similar software. It can be powered with an external battery. Features include preset-based ContourFX to shape the voice with a knob. The StreamFX voice changer lets the creator disguise their voice or do characters. M•Caster Live comes with a software bundle from Accusonus, including a perpetual license of the ERA Voice Leveler and De-Esser plugins, and a three-month All Access Suite subscription that adds audio repair tools such as Noise Remover, Voice Deepener, Mouth De-Clicker and Reverb Remover

With the StudioLive 64S, PreSonus brings the power of a large production console to small-format digital mixing, with 76 mixing channels, 43 buses, and 526 simultaneous effects thanks to the quad-core FLEX DSP engine. StudioLive 64S mixers feature an independent main Mono/Center bus; each channel has a dedicated level control and a Center Divergence control that allows users to control the pan placement in their LCR mix. Powered by the PreSonus FLEX DSP Engine, it features state-space modeled Fat Channel plug-in processing on every input and bus; up to 32 FlexMix buses that can be individually configured as Aux, Matrix, or Subgroup buses; and flexible digital patching. It delivers 128-channel (64×64) USB recording, plus multitrack SD recording and extensive 128-channel AVB networking.

The RCF MZ8060 is a versatile 8×6 digital audio matrix mixer built on the foundation of RCF’s RDNet DSP platform. RDNet is a proprietary protocol for RCF loudspeaker products that provides dedicated networking software that makes is possible to control and monitor all system components and parameters. The DSP allows for configurable system programming including room combining, automatic level control, along with all audio input and output criteria including EQs, gates, compressors, limiters, delays, priorities, and levels. The MX8060 features eight universal mic/ line inputs with six balanced outputs along with 10 programmable logic inputs and six programmable logic outputs. It features eights universal mic/ line inputs with 48V phantom power and full audio processing, six hi-level routable balanced outputs with full audio processing, 10 programmable logic inputs (GPI), and six programmable logic outputs (GPO).

The Shure IntelliMix P300 conferencing connects up to 10 Dante audio inputs, two analog inputs, a USB soft codec, and mobile device. Each input channel can be auto-mixed and provides acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, automatic gain control, matrix mixing, delay, compressor, and PEQ. An additional 3.5mm connection enables attendees to join by tablet or phone, and all this fits into a half-rack space package. It connects to room systems through two input and two output terminal blocks while its ethernet connection can use PoE to eliminate a separate power supply. Additionally, a predefined matrix and presets can simplify the setup process. Zoom and Teams certified.

At ISE 2022, Solid State Logic featured the company’s significant new product launch, the new SSL Live L650 console and V5.0 software. The new SSL Live 650 console and its smaller L450 sibling— combined with the new SSL Live V5 software — deliver all the power needed for the next generation of installed sound, event space audio, and touring productions. The layout of both desks will be based around the triple-wide fader bank configuration currently found on the L200 console. Cutaways for external screens are also incorporated to help maintain line of sight to the artist and stage, creating two areas of focus for the operator. The L650 console shares the same knob-per-function Channel Control tile as the L550 Plus, while the L450 features a tablet panel for use with SSL Live’s control app, TaCo. While no set timeframe has been announced for the new consoles’ release, an SSL statement says the company “will begin rolling out” the desks as more tours and events come back. In addition to the new consoles, ‘Plus Processing Packs’ are now available for the existing SSL Live console range as users look to keep their current SSL Live inventory at the cutting edge of production capabilities.

Soundcraft by HARMAN offers the Vi1000 digital mixing console, a 34in. x 32in. compliment to its two larger siblings, the Vi2000 and 3000. The Vi1000 employs Soundcraft’s Vistonics II channel strip user interface, as well as SpiderCore, a built-in DSP and I/O engine based on STUDER technology, offering 40-bit floating point processing. The Vi1000 features an additional remote-control surface for any of the larger consoles in the range using their Mirroring feature. The Vi1000 comes with rear panel local I/O featuring 16 HQ mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs, and two 64-channel expansion slots that allow up to two MADI-based Stageboxes to be connected, or alternatively the slots provide access to an extensive range of D21m I/O option cards that address all industry standard audio formats. Four channels of AES/EBU I/O plus USB and MIDI connections complete the back panel. The total I/O count of the console is 212 in x 212 out.

TASCAM’s Dante Compact Processor series comprises seven half-rack Dante audio converters featuring onboard digital matrix mixers with signal processing. These Dante-enabled input/output endpoints deliver up to 24-bit, 96 kHz audio conversion. Dante Compact Processors can be freely combined to create custom systems and are easily installed under desks or on walls with the included surface rack-mount angles or rack-mounted with the optional AK-RS1 rack shelf. All models offer the flexible routing of Audinate’s Dante controller, and are compatible with Dante AES67 mode and Dante Domain Manager. They offer remote control via GPI, Dante, and Solid State Logic L650 Stage Tec AVATUS Soundcraft by HARMAN Vi1000 TECH SHOWCASE either of two free TASCAM control software applications, one for integrators and one for end users.

The Xilica Solaro QR1 is a quarter-rack Linux-based DSP processor has eight modular card slots that accept 2-channel audio input and output cards and 4-channel GPIO cards selectable as input or output. The ability to use any card type, in any combination, in any card slot maximizes I/O flexibility, and allows designers to specifically customize I/O without waste. A 4×4 Dante card is built-in. Supported by Xilica’s drag-and-drop Designer, it is compatible with various Xilica control interfaces as well as any third-party control system. External power supply included; also PoE. Optional AEC mic inputs up to [email protected] and [email protected]

The Yamaha TF Series Digital Mixers with touch-panel operation gain enhanced control and versatility with firmware update version 4.0. Firmware update V4.0 adds a Selected Channel View that provides access to the main parameters for the currently selected input channel in a single display. Combined with the mixer’s Touch & Turn Knob, this new view provides even more intuitive, efficient operation. V4.0 also adds a scene fade time function that offers new flexibility for scene management, particularly in theatrical applications. Support for DZR-D and DXS-XLF-D Series speakers has been expanded with speaker amp mute control directly from the mixer display.

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