From sticky notes to rolling luggage, every once in a while a new product comes along that is so uniquely simple in its function and usefulness that engineers everywhere slap their own foreheads and ask, “Why didn’t I come up with that?” In the world of professional concert sound reinforcement, audio engineers are already quickly recognizing XTA’s newly launched MX36 DSP Enabled Console Switching System as the next solid contender for that distinction.
Designed to offer a solution to the longstanding problem of routing multiple mixing console outputs to a system processor and/or loudspeaker system, the dual-rack-space MX36 can potentially 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 available on AES.
All switching takes place in the digital domain with soft crossfades, primarily to switch up to three consoles, each with up to three levels of redundancy. The primary and secondary sources may be selected depending on the availability of support on each console—so AES or Dante, or even just Analog—and the MX36 constantly monitors signal integrity and will auto-select the selected highest priority secondary source seamlessly should the primary fail. If failover with redundancy is not required, the MX36 can handle up to nine consoles, accommodating three each on Analog, AES and Dante. Furthermore, the Dante buss allows for units to operate in either cascade or parallel modes to extend the input set sizes or number of consoles that may be simultaneously switched.
Photo: Audio Plus System Tech Kris Hayes giving his approval of the new XTA MX36 on Glastonbury’s Glade Stage
In addition to the quad channel sets for the consoles, there is a fully featured, high quality mono mic preamp for announcements. This has selectable routing, as well as clarity filtering in DSP and switchable 48V phantom power. A stereo line input for background music is also available, again with “sweetening” filtering, selectable routing and fully balanced rear XLR inputs, plus an unbalanced 3.5mm jack front panel input. Just as important as the extensive switching and automatic routing capabilities, the MX36 also has full headphone monitoring of every line individually, including redundancy channels, and is visualized on extended PFL style metering.
All of this is fully user-configurable via front panel controls, with no need to connect a computer or depend on an app with a wireless connection. There’s no way for the device to be tampered with remotely, and once settings are locked down, the engineer can step away, safe in the knowledge that the MX36 will keep the music playing, backed up with dual redundant power supplies and XTA’s 25-plus years of robust, quality DSP design.
“The MX36 is a perfect choice for festival sound companies and engineers that require a sonically transparent processor to patch and mix front-of-house consoles without requiring a computer,” says XTA Sales and Application Manager Richard Fleming. “It’s also ideal for those not wanting to be forced into using DSP that’s not designed for their needs, or which might be reliant on a complex remote setup.”
“The response from the engineers that have seen the MX36 so far at InfoComm, Glastonbury and Summerfest has been overwhelming,” he adds. “They’ve told us, ‘It’s a switcher by engineers for engineers to make console management easy.’ And the most common thing we’ve heard over and over is, ‘Why hasn’t someone come up with this product before now?’ That tells us we’ve got a real winner on our hands.”
For details and specs on XTA’s new MX36, visit www.audiocore.co.uk/products/mx.