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Real World Gear: The Latest Compact Consoles & Mixers

Compact digital mixers and consoles keep growing in capabilities.


Jade Payne (FOH/monitor engineer – Khruangbin, Bikini Kill) with the ultra-compact dLive CTi1500 control surface.

Allen & Heath dLive CTi1500

dLive is Allen & Heath’s flagship mixing system. The power of dLive emanates from the XCVI core, pioneered by the Allen & Heath R&D team using next-generation FPGA technology, with 36 parallel virtual processing cores generating enough power for 160 x 64 channels of processing at 96 kHz. From the ultra lightweight, rack-mountable CTi1500 up to the largest S7000, all dLive surfaces are fully compatible with dLive C Class and S Class MixRacks.

Seven control surfaces and seven MixRacks, support for leading audio networking protocols like Dante, MADI, and Waves, plug and play ME personal monitor mixers, an array of compact TCP/IP network remotes, I/O expanders, iPad and Android apps, and Mac and PC online/offline editor software all combine to rethink and redefine the ultimate in scalable and versatile audio mixing systems.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: All dLive systems utilize the XCVI FPGA core to calculate over 10,000 cross points per sample, while the FPGA router has capacity for 3,000 x 3,000 audio paths. XCVI (25 billion operations per second) allows dLive to deliver 128 processing inputs and 16 stereo FX returns, a configurable 64-bus architecture, variable bit depth for exceptional precision and noise performance and more.

OF NOTE: CTi1500 has been engineered across the board to ruthlessly strip out as much weight as possible, while ensuring tour-grade structural integrity and a first class user experience. Engineered with Titanium side panels, new alloy metal work and a “superleggera”-inspired chassis, CTi1500 weighs only 25.4 pounds (under pounds in flight case).

Faders: 12 faders, 6 layers (72 fader strips)
Mix Inputs: 160 (128 plus 16 stereo FX returns) with full 96 kHz processing
Aux/Group: 64 mix outputs with full processing
Matrix: User configurable 64 bus architecture | FX: 16 stereo | DCA: 24
Mains: LR, LCR, LR+Msum, LR+M and 5.1 Mains mode
App: dLive Director for macOS and PC; dLive MixPad iOS; dLive OneMix iOS; Custom Control for macOS/PC/iOS/Android
Screen: 12-inch capacitive touch screen with gesture control
Local I/O: (control surface) 6 XLR mic/line inputs, 6 XLR line outputs, stereo AES input and stereo AES output, 2-track USB
Physical: 25.4 x 17.4 x 13.3 inches, 25.4 pounds

Standard Listings

SSL Live L100
Faders: 12 + 2
Mix Inputs: 96 mix paths (inputs or outputs)
Aux/Group: 96 paths (inputs or outputs)
Matrix: 4 x 32 In/12 Out | FX: 24 | DCA: 12 (VCA)
Mains: Mono, Stereo, LCR, 4.0, 5.1
App: TaCo for IOS or Android
Screen: 17-in multi-gesture
Local I/O: 12 Mic/Line In, 12 XLR Out, 2 Talkback, 3.5 mm In, 2 Headphone Out, 4 AES/EBU I/O, 4 MADI Ports (coax/optical), 1 MADI FX Loop, Dante
Stage Boxes: SB8.8, SBi16, SB 32.24
Also: Remote Tile 12-fader extension, external monitor available stem groups Expansion Slots: 2
Physical: 27.2 inches wide (height, depth N/A), 115 pounds
Additional Models: L200, L300, L500

Yamaha Pro Audio TF5
Faders: 33
Mix Inputs: 48 input channels
Aux/Group: 20 | FX: 8
DCA: 8 | Matrix: 4
Mains: L/R
APP: TF Editor for Mac and PC, TF StageMix for iPad, TF MonitorMix for IOS Screen: Color multi-touch
Local I/O: 32 XLR mic/line inputs, 2 analog RCA stereo line inputs, 16 XLR outputs
Stage Boxes: TIO 1608-D
Also: 34 x 34 digital record/playback channels via USB 2.0 + 2 x 2 via a USB storage device; Quick Pro presets
Expansion Slot: 1
Physical: 8.9 x 34.1 x 23.6 inches, 44.1 pounds
Additional Models: TF-Rack, TF1, TF3

DiGiCo S31
Faders: 31
Mix Inputs: 48 Flexi (stereo or mono)
Aux/Group: 16 Flexi aux or sub group
Matrix: 10 x 8
FX: 8
Mains: LR
Screen: 3 multi-touch screens
Local I/O: 24 XLR inputs, 12 XLR outputs, AES I/O
Stage Boxes: D-Rack, D2-Rack, SD-Rack
Also: 4 assignable DiGiTuBes; integrated USB2 audio I/O interface for recording and playback of up to 48 channels; optional Waves integration
Expansion Slots: 2 DMI (for Dante, MicPre, AMM, ME, etc.)
Physical: 11.6 x 40.3 x 23.1 inches (H x W x D), 55.1 pounds
Additional Models: S21, SD11, SD11i

Mackie Axis (DL32R rack-mount mixer & DC16 surface)
Faders: 17
Mix Inputs: 32 | Aux/Group: 14
Matrix: 6 | FX: 3 | DCA: 6
Mains: LR
App: Master Fader app for IOS
Screen: DC16 includes color backlit TFT screens; system uses iPads (not included) for additional visual information
Local I/O: 32 XLR mic/line inputs, 14 XLR outputs, stereo AES output
Also: 32 x 32 direct to disk recording and playback; 32 x 32 to Mac and PC; supports up to 20 IOS devices controlling mains or monitors
Expansion Slot: 1
Physical: DL32R – 5.4 x 19 x 17.5 inches, 18 pounds; DC16 – 3.3 x 36.8 x 17.6 inches, 38 pounds (both measurements H x W x D)
Additional Models: DL1608, DL806

Ashly Audio digiMIX18
Fader: 1 (Assignable to 18 inputs, 8 AUX, 6 DCA, 2 FX and main)
Mix Inputs: 18 (16 mic/line, 2 stereo line)
Aux: 8 | DCA: 6 | FX: 2 stereo engines
Mains: L/R, control room outputs
App: Ashly digiMIX18, free for Apple iPad
Screen: 7-inch LCD touchscreen
Rack-mount: Yes (ships with rack-rails)
Local I/O: 16 Neutrik combo jack mic/line inputs, TRS inserts on channels 1-8, 2 TRS line inputs, XLR and TRS main outputs, 8 TRS aux outputs, L/R TRS control room outputs, front/rear headphone outputs, Ethernet and USB ports
Expansion Slots: One (Dante and USB 18-channel option cards)
Physical: 19 x 14.5 x 5.5 inches (H x W x D), 17.4 pounds
Additional Model: digiMIX24

Soundcraft Vi1000
Faders: 20
Mix Inputs: 96
Aux/Group: 24 mono/stereo
Matrix: 16 mono/stereo
FX: 4
DCA: 16
Mains: LCR
Screen: Vistonics II
Local I/O: 16 XLR I/O, 2 pairs AES/EBU I/O, 2 Dante
Stage Boxes: Mini, Compact, VI Series
Expansion Slots: 2
Also: Automatic mic mixing; FaderGlow; can act as remote for larger consoles
Physical: 13.8 x 31.6 x 33.2 inches (H x W x D), 55 pounds
Additional Models: VI1000, VI2000, VI3000, VI5000, VI7000

Studiomaster digiLivE 16
Faders: 9
Mix Inputs: 16 channels
Aux/Group, Matrix: N/A 36
FX: Up to 8 assignable effects modules
Mains: LR master bus
App: iPad iOS via digiLivE Blackbox app
Screen: 7-inch touch screen
Local I/O: 12 mic inputs (8 XLR/4 combo XLR), 2 stereo inputs, 2 master outputs (left/right balanced XLR), 6 smart outputs (assignable balanced XLR), AES/EBU output (XLR), S/PDIF input/output (RCA phono), 2 USB interfaces
Stage Boxes: digiRACK 3216 (32 inputs/16 outputs), digiRACK 1632 (16 inputs/32 outputs)
Also: Networking via included WiFi module; AD/DA – 192 kHz/24-bit; 40-point float point, SHARC processor
Physical: 18.9 x 14 x 5.7 inches (H x W x D), 11 pounds

Midas M32R
Faders: 25
Mix Inputs: 40
Aux/Group: 16
FX: 8
DCA: 8
Mains: LCR
App: M32-Mix IOS
Screen: 7-in
Local I/O: 32 XLR In, 16 XLR Out, AES/EBU Out, AES 50, UntraNet I/O, 12 TRS I/O, RCA I/O
Stage Boxes: DL16, DL32
Also: 32×32 USB I/O, 500 internal show automation structured cues
Expansion Slots: 1
Physical: 10.1 x 25.1 x 24.1 inches (H x W x D), 55 pounds

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