Clearwing Productions has added 10 new MX36 DSP-enabled console switching systems from XTA to seasonally share between its Milwaukee, Phoenix and Denver operations.
Designed to offer a solution to the problem of routing multiple mixing console outputs to a system processor and/or loudspeaker system, the dual-rack-space MX36 can accommodate as many as nine consoles via 36 inputs across analog, AES and Dante networks. Inputs are arranged in sets of four to support standard left, right, front-fill and sub feeds from each individual console. All AES inputs have sample-rate conversion, and there is one set of four outputs available simultaneously across analog, AES and Dante networks, with word clock output sync also available on AES.
“On the first day of InfoComm, back in June, I was on the show floor when a colleague of mine contacted me about this awesome new thing that XTA was introducing,” Clearwing Productions director of operations Bryan Baumgardner says. “I immediately ran over to the Group One booth where Richard Fleming gave me a great demo and a chance to really explore it. Right away, I knew this was going to be a necessity for replacing our aging inventory of analog-only console switchers. The MX36 was rock-solidly built and sensibly laid out — as expected with anything that comes from XTA — and my initial impression was, ‘Yep, this is what we’ve all been wanting.’”
XTA was able to provide Clearwing with a pre-production model a few weeks later for evaluation. “We had a DiGiCo SD10 and SD9 going into that demo MX36 unit for the last few days of Summerfest 2019,” says Clearwing Productions systems technician Allen Gerhardt. “All of the engineers were really pleased with how it performed and had no issues going through it.”
Taking delivery of its 10 units in late-October, Clearwing immediately started putting them into service, including on a festival in Live Oak, FL known as Hullaween. “I had three consoles going into the MX36 on each day of the festival, and had the chance to use pretty much every flavor of console — Avid, DiGiCo, Midas, et cetera — all at different sample rates while maintaining full redundancy on each input,” says Clearwing Productions chief engineer of audio Robert Hegge. “The XTA unit vastly simplified my drive system at Hullaween and entirely eliminated the need for a production console. The ability to easily switch between AES inputs is something we’ve been waiting on for a long, long time. Engineers seemed vastly more comfortable plugging into the MX36 versus other console switching methods that could degrade or modify the signal. And the unit’s microphone input also came in extremely handy for various changeover announcements.”
In the coming year, Clearwing Productions Milwaukee audio operations and logistics manager Andre St. Pierre says that he expects the XTA’ devices will be busy. “We plan to deploy the MX36 on most of our upcoming tours and festivals that require ‘live transitions’ between consoles,” he says. “It will certainly prove to be a staple item on most of Clearwing’s multi-console projects in the future. At Summerfest 2020, we plan on deploying the MX36 at most, if not all, of the major stages there. In the past, we’ve used various other methods, ranging from multiple loudspeaker processors to digital consoles, but the MX36 will greatly simplify and standardize our stages in 2020.”
“The MX36 has filled a void left in the market after things started moving away from analog,” says Baumgardner, sharing several more reasons why the XTA console switcher is an ideal fit for Clearwing. “There are other solutions out there, but none that hit the simplicity and price point that the MX36 offers. And from a staff-training standpoint, it’s a breath of fresh air that there is no real ‘software’ to train everyone on. Most products require complicated software to use, which increases our costs on training, as well as adoption with non-computer-savvy users.”
Go here for more details on the XTA MX36.