Saturday, August 25, 2012

Soundcraft Releases Digital Desk With DMX

I've got to say that the idea has run through my head more than once. I've spent many a long night mixing a band with a little DJ light console or the remote focus unit (RFU) from a larger console balanced on my mixer. Sure there are ways to get a larger console to output MIDI notes to control a lighting console, or vice versa, having the lights trigger a scene change on a desk. That's not really what this is about though.  Here's the press release and the product page.

Before you go off to read those though, think about what this means for small venue productions. If you're the one guy in charge of sound and lights, you can stay in the same spot and page back and forth between the two. It looks like you can even have access to both on the same page in the master section if you take the time to set it up that way.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around just how much lighting control you get though.

Sound wise it looks pretty sweet. It comes with 24 or 32 mic pres and can handle up to 80 with expansion cards and digital snakes. There are also a boat load of outputs that you can configure eight ways from Sunday. I won't bore you with the details, you can go look it up if the idea of doing a bar gig with a true LCRS rig, delay lines and multiple stereo monitor mixes with matrix outs to your Pro Tools rig gets you excited. Eight VCAs, dual Lexicon processors and a nice fat channel round out the mix.

On the lighting side you only get one DMX universe so it's really out of the question for larger productions. It looks like it's set up with four scenes that you get on the channel fader pages and the masters live in the master section.  I'm not sure what you can do in terms of chases so it may be better suited to theatrical work than club shows. You can take snapshots of the lighting section independently or along with the audio section. (Sounds perfect for scene changes on that musical production.)

It's a brave new world out there Brethren of the Knob and Fader. An exciting time. It's not a time to cling to old values and methods. Although depth of experience will never be an unwanted trait in a sound guy, it's going to be important to stay up on what's new. Skill, talent and taste are the only thing that separates the Jedi-level sound guy from the paperboy with a fancy pole speaker rig that he can run from his cell phone.


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