- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
Trying to find a PA mixer/rig that works in a live setting and as a recording interface is a tough proposition. In most cases, with a unit like this, there are compromises in both worlds. Soundcraft seems to have turned a great interface into a live rig, or is it the other way around?
Name a connection, and it’s here. It all starts off with 24 channels, with 10 combo XLR and 1/4” connections, and 10 regular XLR connections. There’s an HDMI connection for video, as well as Ethernet, and dedicated USB connections for recording and playback.
Since there’s no physical faders and controls, this is all done via software connected via Wi-Fi. It acts as a router; just connect any device, and open a browser, and boom, it’s there. No software to install – and it’s incredibly quick and responsive on tablets, smartphones or laptops over Wi-Fi. Regardless of the OS, or device type, it’s all controlled from a browser, making this hyper flexible and platform-independent, which we appreciate.
Using it in a live setting means the FOH mix can be tuned in a portable sense with a tablet, simply by walking around the venue, adjusting and dialing in the overall sound as needed, and as observed from multiple points in the room. Awesome. Artists can adjust their monitor mixes via a smart phone or tablet individually, as well. It can handle nine individual mixes, as well as one for the FOH. The powerful nature of the machine impressed us, as did the speed at which controls respond through the browser-based interface. Without checking the price tag, we estimated the unit at about $2499. Not even close; this checks in under a grand.
With all of the connections, it can easily be integrated as DAW interface, in a live setting, as well as a studio. Included is a copy of Ableton Live, but it has no issues with other software. Soundcraft has several sister companies through Harman, and loaded inside is DBX’s compression, noise gate, feedback eliminator, and feedback suppressor. Reverb and delays are handled by Lexicon, and there’s guitar amp modeling and processing by DigiTech. If all that seems too modern, the input preamps are by Studer, and have a nice and organic response.
For a band who goes on the road regularly, and wants total control of their individual and FOH mixes, this can make life a lot easier. When it comes time to record, there’s no need to use a whole other set of gear to tackle that. The street price is $999, and considering the number of channels on other manufacturers’ devices, this is about half the cost to get twice as much.
The only real negative is that the sides have a few of the connections, one of the Wi-Fi antennas, as well as the power button. Depending on how it’s mounted in a rack system, access to these connections might be a bit problematic. Bummer. But overall it brings a lot of high-end features and ultra-modern functionality to the working band, both live and as a recording interface.
great for live or studio use, powerful and impressive, innovative feature set.
side buttons and connections might be tough to reach, depending upon how it’s rack mounted.