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August 2012 l 35


livefeature THIS YEAR’S MODELS AT A GLANCE


ALLEN & HEATH: The new GLD-80 is Allen & Heath’s smallest footprint to date, achieved with a state-of-the-art computer, touchscreen and DSP processor system and a new custom channel display. Also, A&H now has an extensive range of network modules, including Dante and Waves, making complex systems easier to cable with Cat5.


The high-input count, compact CDC8 from Cadac


COMPONENT PARTS Richard Ferriday, brand development manager at Midas, identifies three essential hardware components. “Firstly,” he says, “moving faders: just about all digital consoles which have more channels than faders rely on these heavily, so a reliable, accurate motor fader is essential. Secondly, the large, daylight-visible, full-colour TFT screen, common to our entire digital range: we choose not to use touchscreens, which are frequently unreliable and obscure when mixing outdoors in daylight. The size of our screen allows us to provide the operator with a huge amount of information regarding the current state of the entire mixer. It’s the equivalent of a visual scan of an analogue console at a single glance. “Thirdly, the large, colour- changing LCD buttons: because we use the faders to perform multiple functions, clear and obvious visual support for what the fader is up to at that moment is crucial. As the industry designs ever-smaller consoles for increasingly larger mixers, the UI has to work harder to provide the operator with adequate visual support, and fast access to the control parameters. To make this possible, we developed VCA- centric navigation, POPulation groups and now the advanced navigation concepts pioneered on the PRO2 – retro-fitted to PRO3, 6, 9 and XL8.” “Smaller end products are made possible by our commitment to Digital Snake solutions,” confirms Simon Kenning, sales manager at Roland Systems Group, “based on the REAC protocol and the ability to connect everything via Cat5. That’s what we’ve developed and we’re sticking to it. We’ve just launched the iPad app, so we’re looking at how we


AVID: The manufacturer has added a remote stage box option to the VENUE SC48, Avid’s most compact desk to date. The Stage 48 remote stage box uses the open Ethernet AVB standard for its digital snake, allowing the use of Ethernet cable in place of bulky multicore.


“Being able to ride the


processor wave has been key to reducing the size and cost of digital desks” Sheldon Radford, Avid


can integrate that into other market areas.”


“Going to a compact design without making any compromise on our DSP algorithms and audio quality is a challenge,” reveals Innovason’s product manager Hervé de Caro. “There’s no trick piece of component technology: it all starts with the right people providing the right ideas. Innovason has been lucky to have passionate designers. At the end, when you look at the product, you realise how this makes the difference.” It seems customers agree.


Clark says it’s “the ability to mix and match MixRack and surface sizes, saving space in venues and on tour freights. The standalone MixRack concept has led some engineers to mix without a physical surface and use the iLive PC Editor software, iPad app, and/or a PL-Anet controller. Customers are also enjoying the inclusion of FX and channel processing in the mixer: we’re typically finding setups where outboard processors are not specified, even on big tours.”


DIGICO: Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt saw the all-new SD5 large-format console, and just introduced is the small USB-MADI unit that takes standard MADI and converts it to USB2.


INNOVASON: The Eclipse platform’s PANDORA algorithm (PANorama Digitally Optimised for a Real Acoustic), available this autumn, will allow panning of any source fully left or


right without “hiding any information for the opposite audience”: a naturalistic ‘panorama’ of sound based on psychoacoustics.


SOUNDCRAFT: The Si Compact continues its assault, especially since V2 software: V2.2 made it compatible with the Soundcraft ViSi Remote app.


“People don’t want to think in


terms of linear channel assignments, or even in layers,” adds Radford, “so being able to offer new, innovative ways of approaching a mix that seem natural and easy removes mental friction and makes for a much better user experience.” “Customers love the large


screens and the clean graphics – the glass cockpit – approach we’ve taken with the user interface,” says Cadac’s Hearl. “We decided not to go down the route of 3D-rendered analogue graphics. Instead we copied the aviation industry: clear, precise information when the user wants it.”


CADAC: Current compact standard-bearers are the CDC4 (pictured) and CDC8 while expansion is promised “both at the top and middle parts of the market”.


MIDAS: The


VeniceU and PRO1 (pictured) are “defining new levels of portability and performance for the compact console market”.


ROLAND: The M-Series is the template for the next generation, with “no sudden change of direction in ergonomics, operation or design”.


YAMAHA: The CL Series is the major new product introduction from Yamaha this year, with a choice of three different models. A key design criterion was “to retain the core elements of the Centralogic UI while also refining it in several ways”.


CUSTOMERS & EXERCISE John Stadius attributes DiGiCo’s widening customer base to “the fact that users at more entry levels can hear and appreciate the difference between floating point processing and touchscreen interface. It’s also rewarding to see engineers moving through the consoles in the range and taking their settings with them. The fact all our consoles operate identically and allow file transfer makes this very straightforward.” The reaction to compact Midas’ is best illustrated by “the PRO2/PRO2C experience”,


according to Richard Ferriday. “These two products are identical except that the C has eight fewer faders, and a correspondingly smaller footprint,” he says. “Existing Midas users invest in the C, saving them space and around $5,000 (€4,000). Users who are new to our way of doing things feel more comfortable with the larger PRO2, because they ‘want’ more faders. “When an operator asks for


more faders they actually don’t want them. What they have is nostalgia for an analogue console, where things stayed in one place. What they really


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