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 Post subject: Shopping for a New Mixer
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:02 am 
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I currently have a Presonus 16.4.2. I'd like to get a larger board with at least 24 channels and 10 monitor mixes. It would be nice to also have full DSP on the mains to allow me to ditch the DEQ and DCX outboard units. I'd like to keep a physical interface but have ipad control available. What board would you recommend or steer me away from and why?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:38 pm 
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There really aren't any consoles which tick all of your boxes in the entry-level realm. The one that comes closest is technically the X32, BUT... there are caveats.. You can use the Matrix outputs to do rudimentary crossovers but there are not many choices for slope, and no brickwall limite. You have up to 8 graphic EQ modules, however, if I recall correctly, using all 8 GEQs takes up all of the effects slots, so you have no reverb, delay, chorus, etc. There is a parametric EQ for each mix bus output, but those will not be sufficient for BF cabs alone, and are somewhat lacking even with commercial cabs that don't need corrective EQ to sound right. X32 has official control apps for Windows, iPad and Android devices, it being the only one to officially support Windows and Android, and the apps are fairly good.

The Soundcraft SI Impact has everything you want EXCEPT the crossover. You could eliminate the DEQ (as long as you're not using feedback filters on it) and use the graphic eqs and parametric EQs in the console. It is expandable to 64 channels with a stagebox, and has a fully customizable surface. The iPad app leaves a bit to be desired, but it is possible to mix a show mostly on the app. The Si series is the most basic of all the consoles in processing capability, but the needed elements are there - Gate, Comp, and 4 band fully parametric EQ (with independent HPF), delay, and pad and phantom controllable per channel. All outputs have 30 (yes, 30) band GEQ and you can use all bands of all EQs simultaneously, as well as the 4 band parametric and a compressor across each output. The Si series also has the distinction of being the only console in its class not to include a recorder on the console, but it does come standard with a 32x32 USB interface to record on a PC or Mac.

The Allen & Heath Qu-24 or Qu32 are similar in most aspects to the functionality level of the Soundcraft except they don't have 10 discrete monitor mixes, and they have a few more goodies in software. They have 4 mono and 3 stereo mixes, as well as subgroups and FX sends. The app is considerably better than Soundcraft. There is some limited third party support for an Android app. There are no scribble strips, but the faders are always 1:1 so you can label with board tape, just like an analog console or your Presonus.

Yamaha TF is in the same price range, as well as the new Presonus series. Both are inferior in feature set to the three above. For instance, TF has a GEQ across each output, but you can only use 15 out of the 31 bands in each EQ. I owned one of these for a while, and it's really not too horrible, but there were plenty of times I had to go through and rethink my EQ strategy to open up a band or two to notch out feedback. Yuck.

My recommendation would be the Si Impact. It is by far the easiest to use, and has the most growth potential. X32 gets a lot of good press, and it is a capable console, but the lack of a GEQ across each output and the (more) complicated (than other consoles) layering and inflexibility of customization, lack of a touch screen, etc, just makes it less desirable to me. With the Si Impact, you have all necessary tools on board except the crossover. To me, that's a reasonable compromise.

Final thought: I would, keep the DEQ and treat it as a "system processor" that goes in line to correct your FOH speakers, and then use the GEQ on the console for shaping. It's like the Bose controllers... you run them inline and just forget about them, and they fix the problems inherent in the box design so you don't have to think about them. This is (more or less) the standard way of doing things - have a DSP outside of the mixer to do all the corrective work, and use the console's onboard bus EQs to make any changes, so they can be easily wiped away at the next gig.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:02 pm 
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Thanks Brent! The Soundcraft was high on my list. I'm not opposed to keeping the outboard gear, it's already racked up and works just fine. I do really like the A&H for the interface, but didn't realize it only had 7 aux mixes. The X32 just seems too much and unnecessarily complex, although I see more and more of them in use.

Do you know if the Soundcraft will support multiple ipad/iphone connections to allow performers to mix their own monitors?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:44 pm 
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Preston wrote:
..multiple ipad/iphone connections to allow performers to mix their own monitors?


*Warning*: Severe Training Headache Ahead

:wall:


(hehe)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:59 pm 
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If you like the Presonus, then check out the new Series III. That's next on my list as soon as they come out with a stage box to go with it. I can run with an iPad and has built in recording of all tracks to an SD card - no PC necessary. I have a fair amount of time on the X32 and it's fine....I just prefer the Presonus workflow. I haven't run a show through the Series III, but I did get a pretty extensive demo from the Presonus rep for a few hours back in the spring.

I would not give up the Berry crossover....keep that for limiting and xover. Personally, I wouldn't give up the EQ either. My mains rack is controlled by a driverack. The EQ on the Driverack is set to get the system correct outside. Then I use the EQ on the mixer for venue settings. That way, in a new venue, the system is starting off correct....then I only have to correct for the room. Many times that has to be done quickly and by ear, so having the system flat to start with sure helps.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:13 pm 
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James Champer wrote:
Preston wrote:
..multiple ipad/iphone connections to allow performers to mix their own monitors?


*Warning*: Severe Training Headache Ahead

:wall:


(hehe)

We are already doing this with the Presonus 16.4.2, which allows you to "lock out" each device so that the performer can only change the assigned aux mix. It works OK. I've used the A&H app as a performer and it's really good. But (and this is a big but) the 16.4.2 requires and external computer via firewire and a dedicated router to supply wifi. Presonus app only support Apple and as far I can tell Presonus is no longer supporting the older 16.4.2.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:15 pm 
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I'll have to look at the Series III, thanks! Since I'm already familiar with the Presonus workflow, it might be an easy transition. I'll plan on keeping the external possessing.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:25 pm 
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Preston wrote:
I'll have to look at the Series III, thanks! Since I'm already familiar with the Presonus workflow, it might be an easy transition. I'll plan on keeping the external possessing.


Once they get the stage box (which is due any day now...), you can drop the snake (if you use one) and just use a Cat 5 cable. The great thing about the stage boxes is that they will allow you to run up to 32 channels off the stage with the 16 channel mixer by utilizing the layers on the mixer. Small footprint, but the same functionality of the 32 channel mixer....or you can just go 24 or 32 channel.

No PC is necessary, just a router that runs straight out of the mixer for connecting wireless devices.....and being able to record right on the mixer is pretty cool.

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4 - OT12 2512 Melded/NSD2005
1 - T24
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"A system with a few knobs set up by someone who knows what they are doing is always better than one with a lot of knobs set up by someone who doesn't."


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:18 pm 
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Preston wrote:
Do you know if the Soundcraft will support multiple ipad/iphone connections to allow performers to mix their own monitors?


It does, and there is an iPhone app specifically for that.

The Qu supports the ME1 for personal monitor mixes in addition to the mix busses. You can use as many of those as you want. Unlike Aviom systems, you can get all of the mixer channels on them, and each one can be configured for the user's specific needs. Great product...

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Given your requirements, I guess the Mackie Axis system is a potential contender as well:
http://mackie.com/products/mackie-axis

DL32R + a control surface...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:46 am 
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Grant Bunter wrote:
Given your requirements, I guess the Mackie Axis system is a potential contender as well:
http://mackie.com/products/mackie-axis

DL32R + a control surface...


That's a much more expensive solution, and it has a less complete control surface. Granted, it includes the stage box, which is an additional $1500 on the soundcraft, but in that price range, a used GLD system might be an option too. If the budget allows it, the GLD is a great option with tons of flexibility. I use one for my main console, and it has been a very good thing for me.

Do spend a lot of time considering the interface. Of all of them, the soundcraft interface is fastest, it it has the fewest options. That seems to be the trend. Additional options tend to complicate the interface and mean you have to dig deeper to get to where you want to be.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:18 pm 
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I was a Yamaha digital mixer user for many years, 01v, DM1000, DM2000, M7CL, PM5D. The x32 was sort of forced upon me and I have used both the Soundcraft and A&H digital desks form time to time. For the money I would go with an X32 rack and a digital snake. In fact I bought my own after operating a full x32 for 4 years. Each output has a 6 band parametric EQ, and you have 4x 31 band EQ's you can patch anywhere. You have 6 Aux In and out if you need to patch external ones in, and if you want a Waves card is available to let you run an external computer for additional processing with your favorite plug-in. I use the Windows desktop app from Behringer mostly for routing and offline preset storage, and Mixing Station on an android tablet, which allows me to create custom fader layers, and using fine mode I can grab a fader strip anywhere and adjust with very fine resolution, something even a physical fader does not provide. One of the bands I work with has 5 members on stage controlling their own IEM mixes with their phones. The A&H doesn't have enough DCAs for my liking (only 4 compared to 8 on many other desks) and the Soundcraft sound pretty good, but I don't care for their work flow. I would NOT give up a digital crossover however, and try to use an X32 or M32 (or any digital desk) to do that job. The wrong scene recall and can get you into serious trouble. Just my two cents.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:06 pm 
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I keep my DCX in the amp rack.... always. It has its job to do, no matter what console I use.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:08 pm 
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David Raehn wrote:
I keep my DCX in the amp rack.... always. It has its job to do, no matter what console I use.


I agree, what if your console takes a crap and you need to borrow one for a show. At least the pa is looked after.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:17 pm 
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CoronaOperator wrote:
David Raehn wrote:
I keep my DCX in the amp rack.... always. It has its job to do, no matter what console I use.


I agree, what if your console takes a crap and you need to borrow one for a show. At least the pa is looked after.


+1

My rack keeps my PA flat and ready to go. Board is just an input device (with EQ for the venue).

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4 - OT12 2512 Melded/NSD2005
1 - T24
2 - XF210


"A system with a few knobs set up by someone who knows what they are doing is always better than one with a lot of knobs set up by someone who doesn't."


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