Consoles: The Trend Is Small

By Dan Daley

Packing more into less is a recurrent mantra for consoles at NAB this year. Wheatstone Corp. introduced its cost-effective D-8 digital audio broadcast console at the show on Monday. It’s targeted at small to medium-size broadcast markets and OB trucks, where cost and weight are issues. The D-8 features 30 motorized faders for 24 input channel strips, discrete 5.1 surround capability, four submasters, two main busses, two aux sends, and substantial onboard DSP, including four-band parametric EQ, high-/low-pass filtering, comp/limiting, and de-esser.

The D-8’s control surface is just that: all audio is stored and processed in the Wheatstone Bridge networked routing and mixing system, which handles multiformat (analog, digital, SDI, MADI, GPI) audio formats.

Studer today introduced a modular version of its OnAir 2500 broadcast console for installation in custom studio furniture. The OnAir 2500 Modulo has separate modules for fader bays and master section, along with a rack-mountable mainframe, which houses the power supply and host processing. These modules can be recessed into a desktop with all cables integrated within the furniture and the mainframe hidden. The Modulo version retains the OnAir 2500’s features, including fader strips that use a graphical OLED (organic LED) screen, which contains a channel label, level and gain-reduction meter, and parameter readouts, adjustable via rotary encoder and two pushbuttons below the display. The touchscreen can also display all the relevant settings and configurations for each channel in addition to the OLED displays — a touch on one of the eight small channel pushbuttons immediately opens the corresponding page on the main screen.

And the already small has gotten a bit better. Euphonix’s already diminutive MC Pro and System 5-MC DAW controller/consoles saw a release of software version 1.4.1, which adds features and includes support for MOTU’s Digital Performer 6, the latest DAW software application to include full EuCon protocol for the ultimate integration with Euphonix controllers. The software also includes Vista operating system compatibility along with updated support for Pro Tools 8 and Pyramix version 6.1.3 via EuCon. Version 1.4.1 will ship in April to MC Pro and System 5-MC studios throughout the world and is a free upgrade.

Soundcraft announced a software revision for its compact Si2 mixer, which debuted last month, adding graphic equalizers on the desk and the availability of an offline editor, Virtual Si, for the platform. Si software version 2.0 also adds the capabilities to display composite EQ curves on the touchscreen for any channel or output and provides a BSS Audio 30-band graphic equalizer on every output (groups, auxs, and matrices), controlled by the faders in the same way as on the larger Soundcraft Vi Series platforms. Completing the new software functionality is the ability to integrate with a Harman HiQnet system and send Venue Recall messages to equipment in the network.