From Desk till Dawn

November 1, 2012 at 10:00 Leave a comment

Had the opportunity to ‘drive’ a a variety of digital desks this year with my shows & trips.
Yamaha
The predominant force and still popular choice does still seem to be Yamaha for most venues.
The M7CL. The 48 frame version seems the most popular and differs from most digital desks as you can see all 48 faders in front of you. It’s easy to use and recent software updates seem to have improved the early versions which were sluggish in processing. The addition of expansion cards to allow the use of Waves plug-ins and MADI export.

    48 or 32 mono microphone/line inputs, 4 stereo inputs, and 3 mini-YGDAI card slots (a total of 56 or 40 mixing channels).
    16 mix buses, LCR bus, 8 matrix channels, and 8 DCAs assignable to 16 omni outputs.
    Virtual effect and EQ rack: up to 4 simultaneous multi-effect processors; up to 8 simultaneous 31-band graphic EQs.
    Centralogic™ interface: central, logical, and intuitive.
    Dual power modes: use the built in power supply, or add an external PW800W power supply unit (optional) for failsafe dual-supply operation.
    Compact and lightweight: 48 channels in the space and weight normally required for 24.
With the addition of cat-5 connected stage boxes the M7CL is a good starting point for many events & venues.
Like most Yamaha desks you have to put a fair bit of signal into to get a decent sound from it but I’d still rather see one of these than an Allen & Heath.
Scenes and show construction are easy enough and the ability to set stuff up via Studio Manager (now fully working on mac) works well.
The iPad, although fiddly to set up the wifi connection, works well and the opportunity to do monitor mixes with the artists is both scary & impressive at the same time.
We had a CL5 on loan from Yamaha for the last BBC Big Band concert. Great Improvement on the noise floor front and a few nice features. More musical as well I think but I’d like another couple of gigs with it.
I don’t like the LS9… too fidly! and no touch screen 😦

Soundcraft

I have had two tours this year that I’ve been able to spec the Vi1 and got to use the Vi6 a few times as well. A relative of the Studer Vistonics family this is a pretty well thought out board with the usual Soundcraft anomalies though… Legacy buttons to be implemented at some time in the future for example.

The Vi1 is bijou and compact (it fits in the back of your average people carrier) but with the ability to create a custom fader level you can get over the not seeing all 48 channels simultaneously. It’s also pretty easy to use and the ability to gang channels is a boost. The Eq & pre amp stage is better than the Yamaha but I don’t like the ‘ auto make’ up on the dynamics…
I’ve used the Vi1 on tours with Ramin Karimloo & Ruthie Henshall and it worked very well.
The considerably bigger Vi6 we’ve used for many things. I first used it in Ethos Audio‘s broadcast truck recording Simple Minds at Hampton Court. It’s a much nearer cousin to the Studer and performs well. The features are similar from the Vi1 but it’s divided up into 8 channel sections with separate windows for each 8 faders.
It’s great for big channel counts and we’ve used it for Hooked on Classics as well broadcasts for BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Max number of simultaneous mixing channels
    96 mono inputs into 35 Outputs. Pairs of mono inputs can be linked to create stereo channels.
  • Insert points
    24 insert send/return pairs can be configured (using available I/O) and assigned to any of the 96 inputs or 35 output channels.
  • Direct Outputs
    All 96 input channels can have direct outputs in addition to their internal bus routing, assuming sufficient I/O is available (eg optical MADI card).
  • Busses
    32 Grp/Aux/Matrix, plus main LCR Mix and LR Solo busses (maximum of 16 matrix outputs can be configured).

Always happy to see either of these boards!

 

 

Digico

Had the opportunity to mix the BBC big band for Proms in the Park in London’s Hyde park. Two of the five desks in the front of house tower were SD7s. Mighty beasts indeed with high channel capacity and excellent features. Although this is the board I have used the least it is worthy of a mention as it’s stunning sound and ease of use make it a really lovely board to work with. The unreliability issues that used to surround Digico desks seem to have been resolved and I loved it’s musical sound.
It’s safe to say that digital desks have come of age and are now a very reliable force to be reckoned with.
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Entry filed under: Jazzmouse Productions, Music Events, Music technology. Tags: , , , .

KEN PEPLOWSKI AND THE BBC BIG BAND PLAY THE MUSIC OF BENNY GOODMAN. Featuring Louise Cookman (vocalist) Peoples Republic of Brightonia & Turkish food courts – The tour continues

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