Product Reviews

LiveMix Personal Mixing System - Part 1

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by Mike Sessler, ChurchTechArts.org

livemixThere are no shortages of personal mixing products any more. It wasn't so long ago that Aviom was the only game in town. The Digital Audio Labs Livemix is a product that I've been waiting to review for almost a year. We first saw it at InfoCom 2013. We shot a video of it back then, but it wasn't quite ready. A few weeks ago, a big box arrived on my doorstep full of personal mixing goodness.

We'll do this in three parts. First, an overview. Second, we'll dig a little deeper into the components and how they are laid out. Finally, how does it actually work. From the outset I'll say that I like the system. It's built well, sounds good and offers some unique features that no one else does - at least not the way they're implemented here.

System Components

Like most personal mixing systems, the Livemix consists of two main parts; the input module and the control surface. Here, it's implemented a bit differently. The input module consists of the Central Mixer or Mix-16 and either an analog input module, the AD-24 or a Dante expansion card. And of course, you have the personal mixer itself. Now, you might notice something right away that is unique here. The personal mixer is called CS-Duo, which I suppose stands for Control Surface, Duo. There are actually two complete personal mixers in each control surface.

While that might initially sound confusing, it's really not in practice.

Read more: LiveMix Personal Mixing System - Part 1

 

LiveMix - Personal Monitor System

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Let's just call this a pre-review because we're pretty early in the acceptance cycle for LiveMix, but all looks pretty convincing that this is a personal monitoring solution that is both affordable and effective.  As they say "Simple enough for volunteers, deep enough for professionals." 

The system is available in two packages - one with analog inputs and one with Dante for digital.  Both are $3999 for eight users with mixers, cables, a hub, mic stand mounts, and your choice of input device.  Additional personal mixers (each accommodates two users) are just $524.99. 

We were introduced to LiveMix by one of our larger church clients and also by a system integrator in the upper midwest.  Take a look at the video below (it's well thought out and tells the story pretty convincingly), and if you'd like more info, give us a call at 800-747-7301.  We'll have it up on the site for purchase soon. 

 

   

Bose L1 Compact - perfect portable PA system

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Could there be a more polarizing company in the universe of audio than Bose?  Bose's marketing slogan is "Better Sound Through Research".  Critics have restated that as "Better Sound Through Marketing" and have derided the product with chants of "No Highs, No Lows, must be Bose."  Frankly, I like Bose products, in general, and have wondered what I've been missing that others have found so easy to dislike.  Sure, they've had some dud products, but so has every other manufacturer on the planet. 

Let me introduce you to the Bose L1 Compact by telling you my story.  Several months ago, our Bose sales rep dropped off the L1 Compact and left it.  He said "Just try it someplace, and I think that you'll like it."  A week went by, and then another, and then two more.  I hadn't touched it, and I knew that he'd want it back.   Plus, I had given my word that I'd try it. 

At the church I attend, we were planning an outdoor service to dedicate our community garden and I had been asked to make sure that we had a sound system capable of accommodating both acoustically-flavored live music and the spoken word for about 150 people outdoors.  And any of you who don't have a dedicated portable sound system at your church (and who know what a pain it is to round up a system in order to take something outside) will appreciate what I'm about to write. 

I had spent the better part of two hours going down to church, looking through the youth system, the main system extra gear, even the old gear, and thinking about how to get the system outside while still being ready inside for the regular service.  That day, I would be the lone sound technician for both locations and there wasn't another experienced tech to be found, even to carry a speaker.  Thinking about what might have been unassisted set-up and tear-down, I was a little bit stressed and maybe a tad bit grumpy.  Maybe.  Most of you have probably never felt that way. 

Then it dawned on me.

Read more: Bose L1 Compact - perfect portable PA system

   

Eliminating Wireless Dropouts

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Multi-path interference is the most common cause of wireless drop-outs, and if you can get rid of multi-path, you can get rid of a good number of headaches. So what exactly is multi-path interference? 

This post explains multi-path, diversity receivers, and a new antenna for eliminating the problem.

When a microphone transmitter sends out a radio wave signal, it spreads through a room, like ripples on a pond. As the wave encounters flat surfaces, like walls and ceilings, it reflects and continues forward at different angles. Since there are multiple surfaces in every room, there are multiple reflections and hence multiple paths--some longer and some shorter--that a wave takes before reaching the wireless receiver.

Usually, the receiver is able to process two or more signals arriving at slightly different times without difficulty. But if the signals overlap in such a way that they cancel each other out (creating a “null”) you get a drop in volume or complete drop-out. Sometimes, the shape of the room can cause a multi-path null to perpetually hover over a receiver. Other times, when the speaker walks past a certain spot on the platform, a dead spot will develop and you’ll hear a quick drop-out.

Diversity receivers filter out multi-path interference by using two antennas instead of one. Most wireless receivers that have two antennas are diversity receivers. Since a multi-path null occurs only in specific and relatively small locations, it is less likely that a null will exist over both antennas. This is called “spatial diversity.”  But spatial diversity does not work 100% of the time.

Read more: Eliminating Wireless Dropouts

   

Our favorite intermediate class LCD projector - Panasonic PT-VW440U

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We like it.  It's bright - 4800 lumens, great color accuracy, wide-format projection, it has an HDMI input, and it's reasonably-priced. 

It's easy for people who sell products for a living to get excited about something they sell, but just 5 years ago, we were excited about another projector that was just as much of a relative bargain by comparison to what was out there at the time. 

At the end of 2007, my own church needed new projectors and Sanyo had just introduced the PLC-XU48.  3000 ANSI lumens, and an analog VGA interface.  3000 lumens for $1699?!  At half of what we would have paid the year before for something similar, we said "we'll take two!"  They're still doing a nice job for us on 6x8' screens.  At the time, the PLC-XU48 was one of the brighter ultraportable projectors, a class of machines that were more typically used in a boardroom than a worship space, but that's what we could afford.  And as it turned out, they were exactly what we needed. 

As we approach the end of 2013, I'm hoping to get another year or two out of those old Sanyos (and expect that we will).  But if I were choosing a new projector today, the Panasonic PT-VW440U would get my vote

You can read specs until you're fully informed (or confused), but let me tell you why I'd pick it.  First...

Read more: Our favorite intermediate class LCD projector - Panasonic PT-VW440U

   

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What others say

By the way, the M-400 is stinkin' awesome!  I always knew it could do this stuff, but I've never seen it in action.  I set the loaner board up, stuck in my thumb drive, loaded my settings, and bam, there they were!

Every tweak, every name, every setting, all right there!

Just thought I'd share that with you!

Wayne