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Road Test: Roland Systems Group M-480
Checking out key components of the V-Mixing System
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A week later I did a luncheon award banquet in a ballroom that I’m all too familiar with.

The best place for front of house is usually in the rear right corner of the room where’s there’s power and a house audio tie-in panel available, as well as house lighting controls.

Unfortunately, this requires a 250-foot snake run through the back service hallway, with lots of ladder work running the cable up and over the many doorways between the kitchen areas and the ballroom.

Normally it takes two people about an hour to run an analog snake, but in running Cat-5 from the reel, I did the job myself in less than 20 minutes.

Final Analysis

The final show included a 5-piece dance band performing after a corporate presentation. The load-in schedule was tight, and when the band showed up late, we were really crunched for time. The pre-set libraries of the M-480 provided a great starting place for getting a sound quickly.

Then it was just a matter of tweaking the sound to taste, instead of starting from scratch for every channel. The effects units sound great, and it was simple to adjust any parameter.

The M-480 easily integrates with other components such as the M48 personal mixer. (click to enlarge)

Mixing on the M-480 is easy. Unlike some consoles that require you to go through menu after menu to get to certain parameters, on the M-480 the most often used features are available directly via dedicated buttons and knobs on the surface itself. Then if you need to adjust a parameter, it’s usually only one click to bring up that screen and all of the controls are clearly displayed. 

The M-480 also offers some features I didn’t really get a chance to explore including 2-track recording direct to a drive via USB, remote access and offline editing, and the ability to cascade two consoles together to make a much larger desk.

Overall, I’m impressed with the console as well as the entire V-Mixing system. It offers tons of features in a compact package, and at a good price point. MSRP for the system tested: M-480 is $11,795; S-4000S is $6,495; S-1608 is $2,095.

Also note that a new version of the M-480, available as a free update, was announced at the recent Prolight + Sound show last month.

To read Craig’s full review of the M-480, and check out other comments from the community as well as to ask questions, go to the Road Test Forum here on PSW.

Craig Leerman is senior contributing editor for Live Sound International and ProSoundWeb, and is the owner of Tech Works, a production company based in Las Vegas.

Source: Live Sound International

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