At typical multi-band concert festivals, various consoles must be mixed, merged or switched to the loudspeaker controllers and crossovers at the main mix position, with some acts bringing their own desks, while other artists’ engineers use consoles provided by the vendor.
The traditional approach has been to use a master “production console” to mix the other desks, along with other festival production inputs.
Alternatively, something like a Midas XL88 8 x 8 matrix mixer is combined with a separate small production console.
In the first case a less expensive desk mixes several high-quality large format consoles.
In the second case, a purpose-designed high-quality matrix accommodates just four stereo sources and feeds up to eight outputs.
Both ways, the mixing happens in the analog domain, and connections from digital consoles to digital processing suffer from round-trip conversions to analog.
Today analog consoles are the exception, and mainstream crossovers are digital.
Further, typical concert mixers supply four channels - left, right, subs and front fill - instead of simple stereo.
It’s detrimental to modern festival productions to require multi-channel digital consoles to go through an analog bottleneck that forces additional A/D and D/A conversions in addition to accommodating a limited number of console inputs.
Yamaha DME64N and Apogee Big Ben in digital festival console matrix rack.
Let’s look at a solution by Louis Adamo of Hi-Tech Audio that’s designed to handle multiple analog and digital consoles - even those of different sample rates - using a Yamaha DME (digital mix engine) to provide a 32 x 24 matrix that can handle the demands of modern festivals while maintaining sonic quality.
Starting with one console two decades ago, Hi-Tech Audio of San Francisco has grown to become a premiere live sound console company, specializing in the sale and rental of digital consoles worldwide and with dealerships including Yamaha, DiGiCo and Avid.
They’re familiar with the needs of touring vendors through long-term relationships they maintain with industry leaders, and provide a breadth of knowledge acquired from extensive experience with a wide variety of consoles and the hundreds of audio engineers who use them.