Even before the 2015 NAB show started, Avid announced a series of new initiatives and solutions, including the new Venue S6L Live Mixing System with an intuitive touch-based interface able to handle large shows, tours and events. Being an AVB based solution, the S6L offers Thunderbolt options for recording and a Dante option card.
The new Avid Venue S6L live sound mixing system features a massive mix bus capacity to handle dozens of stereo in-ear monitor mixes, wedge mixes, and backline mixes and is tightly integrated with Pro Tools for multitrack recording and playback. For recording, the new S6L Venue Link feature automatically creates a Pro Tools session from a current show file in seconds, complete with all track names and patching.
The new Venue E6L mixing hardware engine uses state-of-the-art real-time processing dedicated to handling all routing, channel, and mixing functions for maximum stability and power, while the HDX-powered DSP engine manages all AAX plug-in processing, with full automatic delay compensation. This means mixing hundreds of processing channels and mix busses with robust Avid and third-party 64-bit AAX DSP plug-in performance and the lowest possible latency — with no round trips to external servers.
The Venue S6L control surface was designed for intuitive control with visual feedback and information available through high-resolution OLED displays and meters that are visible in even the brightest outdoor conditions. Plug-ins can be adjusted from the touchscreen and inserted from the surface, with instant insight and access to every input, aux, group, VCA, and more through the Universe screen. Still, the S6L is powered by the same familiar Venue software as other Avid live sound systems and existing show files can be imported.
The system is fully modular and allows configuring as little or as much I/O as needed on the Venue Stage 64 racks, featuring a new high-performance preamp design. Each Stage 64 can be configured with up to 64 inputs and 32 outputs, selecting from a variety of analog and digital option cards. The S6L control surface offers additional I/O, including 8x8 analog I/O, 8x8 AES I/O (4 pairs), two headphone outputs, and ancillary I/O such as MIDI and GPIO for added flexibility. All audio signals are processed at 96 Hz, and support for higher sample rates is possible given the immense processing power available.
With this modular system architecture, combining control surface, processing engines, and I/O, the S6L is able to support practically any live sound application. There are three control surface configurations for different channel count requirements, the plug-in processing power can be expanded with up to four HDX cards and the 64 mic inputs on each Stage 64 rack can be multiplied up to hundreds by connecting additional boxes.
All processing units and I/O racks are connected as a networked system without any loss of audio quality. That means an FOH engineer, monitor engineer, and remote broadcast mixer can all use the same set of stage inputs — without splitting signals —while True Gain technology automatically manages gain compensation to ensure the proper signal levels in each engineer’s mix.
“In the ten years since we first introduced the VENUE live sound mixing system, Avid has continued to be on the forefront of live sound innovation, and now we are setting an even higher benchmark with Venue S6L,” says Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Technology, Avid.
Internally, the Venue S6L uses Ethernet AVB connectivity across all of its components, with lightweight, inexpensive Cat5e cables for runs up to 100 meters, or fiber-optic cables for longer runs up to 500 meters. But the modular system is capable of supporting Dante, MADI, Thunderbolt, and other technologies to ensure compatibility with third-party products.
Avid partners with Audinate
At the NAB 2015, Avid also announced that by partnering with Audinate to develop a new Dante option card for the Venue S6L live sound system, Avid intends to provide its customers with additional flexibility for connecting to a wide range of devices and networks.
“Integrating technology across a variety of manufacturers often imposes a number of challenges on customers,” says Chris Gahagan. “The Avid Connectivity Partner Program ensures that live sound professionals can easily integrate technology like Dante audio networking into the Avid MediaCentral Platform. The addition of Audinate to the Avid Connectivity Partner Program further expands the Avid partner ecosystem, and continues the ongoing momentum of Avid Everywhere.”
The Avid Venue S6L system features a modular platform connected via an Ethernet AVB backbone, with hardware expansion options to connect to a wide variety of formats, including Dante. The new DNT-192 Dante Option Card, currently in development, will provide an integrated solution to connect to networks running the Dante protocol, connecting to microphones, speaker processors, power amplifiers, and personal monitoring systems from over 200 manufacturers.
The Avid Venue S6L can be ordered now, and units will be shipping to customers in Q3 2015. The DNT-192 Dante Option Card will be available in the second half of 2015.