New consoles revealed at ProLight+Sound show

Musikmesse, Europe’s largest trade show for the pro audio market, saw the release of several new mixing consoles this week. Now known primarily as ProLight+Sound, the show is always a launch point for major new products, and this year’s edition is no exception, with major console announcements coming from DiGiCo and Yamaha, both known for their innovative approaches to digital audio technology.

Yamaha, the perennial sales volume leader in digital consoles, announced its long-awaited response to the intense competition that has developed around its successful live sound and installation desks with the launch of the new CL Series. This new platform-based series is bases on Audinate’s Dante network protocol and offers three models, differentiated by frame size and I/O capability.

The flagship is the Yamaha CL5, which offers 72 mono and eight stereo inputs on a 34-fader frame with built-in output metering. The CL3 is a 64-input version with 26 faders, while the compact CL1 has 48 mono inputs and 18 faders. All models feature 16 DCAs, channel encoders, and support sampling rates of 48 and 44.1kHz. The larger models feature a built-in iPad shelf, while the CL1 accommodates an iPod. All feature a central bank of eight Centralogic faders and the ability to connect up to eight external Rio (Remote I/O) boxes for 256 channels.

DiGiCo also made a splash with its new SD5 console, replacing its D5 Live desk on its 10th anniversary. The new SD5 comes with a 2GB fiber system capable of running 448 channels at 96kHz. The base system features 124 input channels with 56 configurable busses and a wide range of onboard EQ and effects. Physically, the SD5 features a low-noise, heat dissipation work surface with five color TFT screens, three of which are touch-driven. The SD5 also features DiGiCo’s “hidden-til-lit” technology along with two interactive metering displays, while retaining the integrated light bar from the original D5 Live design.

DiGiCo also announced a series of software and firmware upgrades for existing customers of the SD Series desks from SD7 through SD11, expanding their capabilities with access to more inputs and DSP power. The details of each update are model-specific, addressing customer requests to expand capabilities without expensive hardware additions. The new upgrades are being integrated into the models now for sale, and available to existing registered owners at no cost.

The console world has clearly moved toward a platform-based digital architecture, and these new product announcements stand as clear evidence that customers are getting a lot more bang for their buck in today’s market. Both Yamaha and DiGiCo will be showing their new consoles at the upcoming NAB Show.