With a growing demand for smaller-footprint boards that consume less real estate in main floor spots, the hot console debuts in London at last month's PLASA show were the DiGiCo SD8, Midas PRO6 and Soundcraft Si3.
DiGiCo's (www.digiconsoles.com) SD8 provides the major functionality and remote preamps of its D Series in a smaller, entry-level package.
The SD8 features 37 touch-sensitive moving faders, multifunction control knobs, electronic labeling and a 15-inch touch-sensitive, hi-res TFT display that acts as the console's primary command center. All 24 channel faders and 12 assignable aux/master faders can be instantly assigned as channels or masters, allowing 36 main faders to control inputs. Also standard is a 12×12 output matrix; its 12 buses are in addition to the board's 24 stereo, solo and master buses.
There's also a full-function 48×8 Stage Rack with remote control of its studio-grade preamps and 100-meter MADI digital snake, and the SD8's onboard local I/O has eight mic/line inputs, eight line outputs and eight AES/EBU I/Os.
Sixty mono or stereo channels — the equivalent of 120 channels — can run full DSP simultaneously, with reverbs, dynamics, matrixing and other functions available to all channels simultaneously, thanks to its Stealth Digital Processing.
Adapting technologies from Midas (www.midas consoles.com) XL8, the new PRO6 offers similar audio performance in a package that combines digital mixing/processing and comprehensive audio distribution.
The PRO6 system comprises a Control Centre and two seven-rackspace units handling DSP and I/O. Despite its small 54×36-inch footprint (about the size of a 32-channel Verona), the PRO6 can deliver up to 80 simultaneous input channels and as many as 32 discrete mixes in Monitor mode, with all channels having full EQ and numerous dynamics processing options. The standard PRO6 provides 56 channel inputs, eight returns and 41 buses (16 auxes, 16 matrix, three masters and six solos). Also included are eight internal stereo FX processors, parametric EQ, eight standard (up to 36 max) 31-band graphic EQs, 5.1 surround panning and automation.
Also standard is a 192×192 100-meter digital snake using Cat-5e cabling. With more I/O hardware, the modular PRO6 is expandable up to 264 inputs and 264 outputs, and the Klark-Teknik DN9696 recorder adds live multitrack recording and virtual soundcheck.
Soundcraft Si3 Live Console
The mid-market Soundcraft Si3 (www.soundcraft digital.com) shares much of the technology of its larger-format cousins, but takes a decidedly different twist on ergonomics.
The Si3 comes in one flavor, with 64 mono inputs, four stereo ins and 35 output buses (24 aux/group, eight matrixes and L/C/R main mix outs) — all in a single chassis including the control surface, I/Os and internal power supply. It also includes four onboard Lexicon effects processors, 12 VCA groups, eight mute groups, bar graph metering for all 35 bus outputs, talkback, tone oscillator, eight analog insert points for using outboard processing on the outs and balanced rear panel XLRs for all channel I/Os and buses.
A Virtual Channel Strip with rotary encoders and OLED displays offers analog-style control of gain, EQ, dynamics, auxes, pans, etc. The Si3 uses Soundcraft's FaderGlow™ system, which puts a multicolor LED along the fader track to indicate which function is active.
The Si3's compact (66.3×32.1×13.3-inch), single-unit design will appeal to users seeking an easy replacement for an analog desk. Options include a redundant power supply module and four slots to accommodate MADI interfaces or AES/EBU input cards.