Sir Tom Jones takes Tactus™ on Tour

Sir Tom Jones takes Tactus™ on Tour

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival. It’s therefore a fitting stage for the world’s most advanced and efficient digital audio mixing system, the Crest Audio Tactus. With its elegant integration of hardware, software and touchscreens, Tactus heralds the next generation of modular, scalable digital mixing solutions. Sound engineer, Matteo Cifelli, talks about mixing Tom Jones’s latest tour on Tactus.

THE TECHNOLOGY
Even at 78 years old, Tom Jones is the consummate showman. Over the span of his long career he has been through many incarnations, but what has remained unchanged throughout is his unmistakeable vocal signature, and his evident delight at being on stage.

Sir Tom’s long-time FoH engineer, Matteo Cifelli, has been using Crest Audio’s Tactus digital mixing system with integrated Waves eMotion LV1 mixing software on all of Tom Jones’s recent shows. This included a sold-out Summer Sessions gig against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh castle as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

First launched in 2016, Tactus is a modular mixing system that comprises a front-of-house audio processing core powered by Waves SoundGrid and a 32-in/16-out remote stagebox plus an optional external control surface which acts as a physical extension of the Waves LV1 touchscreen mixer application.

Cifelli has been a fan of Waves since the beginning. “I was at Waves in 2014 and saw the prototype of LV1 and was instantly hooked,” he recalls. “I’ve had it with me as a support desk ever since. I love the way the software works and the fact that it is based on
plug-ins to extend functionality.”

“There is a huge selection of plug-ins so it’s incredibly versatile, and the integration with the Tactus hardware is just a fabulous solution because it opens up the software for use on much bigger shows.”

“The main gap for me using LV1 was the controller – or rather lack of it,” he continues. “It was great for small shows, but anything over 16 channels becomes difficult to manage on a touchscreen as there just isn’t enough real estate. The integration into Tactus has changed all that – now that Crest have brought out their controller, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. There is perfect physical alignment between the faders on the screen and the physical faders on the controller, and if you need more channels, you can just connect a second control surface. It’s a fantastic feature for me and one that makes it possible to use as a primary mixing console on bigger shows. What’s more, the build quality is amazing and that’s really important when you’re working on live shows. You need to know that when you plug it in and turn it on, it’ll just work, even if it’s taken a few knocks as things often do on the road.”

Something else that Cifelli appreciates is the modularity of Tactus and the fact that it is ultra-portable. “Even compared to a standard digital console, the footprint is tiny,” he asserts. “Our next gig after Edinburgh was in Jordan just two days later, so the timeframe was pretty tight, but Tactus is so compact, we checked it in as hand luggage!”

THE EVENT
In Edinburgh, Cifelli’s setup was straightforward with one Tactus FOH processing core connected to a Lenovo Touchscreen laptop PC and a Tactus Stagebox by a single CAT5 cable. The monitor engineer was responsible for establishing the gain structure, so Cifelli used a MADI stream from a DiGiGrid MGB to take a feed from the monitor desk. The MGB is an interface that lets you plug any coaxial MADI-enabled device into the Waves SoundGrid network. The PC running LV1 was connected to a touchscreen and the Tactus control interface, and that was it – all very simple. “Where I can I like to run everything on two computers for redundancy,” he says. “I’ll have a main PC connected to a touchscreen and the Tactus control surface plus a laptop also running LV1. That way if the external touchscreen goes down for any reason, I’ve still got the laptop touchscreen. There’s no redundancy built into the system yet, so it’s safer to do it yourself! On the other hand, when you consider the cost of a Tactus and everything you get for your money, it’s no big deal to bring along an extra laptop…

For Cifelli, the modular approach is definitely the way forward. “In its simplest form, all you need is the FoH unit and a laptop and that’s it, but of course you can add elements however you like to support larger configurations. I love that I can increase or reduce the number of interfaces, as well as inputs and outputs, and the different connectivity options provided by Tactus gives me compatibility with interfaces from other brands which is just great. I can use SoundGrid, MADI, AES, and now Crest have just come out with a SoundGrid-to-Dante bridge which means I can connect to Dante-enabled PA systems (or other Dante devices) as well. Personally, I think this is the future of digital mixing.”

THE RESULT
He believes that Peavey’s decision to build Tactus based on the Waves LV1 software was simply inspired. He is certainly not alone in considering LV1 to be the best software mixing platform available. “It’s the only mixing system that is 100% customizable,” he says. “The concept is revolutionary, and its plugin architecture gives me unlimited sound-shaping abilities. Combined with Tactus hardware, I have a rugged, road-worthy mixing system that takes up a tenth of the space of anything else currently available and offers me ten times the functionality and scalability. And sound quality-wise, we are at the top!”

Speaking of sound quality, one of the main priorities for the Tactus engineering team was preserving the vintage Crest Audio sound in a completely modern digital format. “We didn’t just want to be a vehicle for LV1, even though that’s what makes Tactus unique,” explains PCA operations manager, James Kennedy. “We also wanted to mark our identity by adding the warm, vintage Crest Audio analogue sound that was our trademark during the 70s, 80s and 90s to the thoroughly 21st century functionality of the LV1 software. In short, you’re getting completely cutting-edge technology combined with our legendary build quality and sonic signature in a totally modular, scalable package. We think it’s a fabulous combination.”

Cifelli couldn’t agree more. “I like to say that this system is the internet of mixing consoles – in the same way as the arrival of digital technology revolutionised the live mixing industry, the Tactus/LV1 concept will change the game yet again but this time moving us into an IP world. I believe that in years to come we’ll be seeing more and more Tactus/LV1 or similar systems around the world with the ability to talk to and exchange data with different devices from different manufacturers all over simple network cables, and maybe even Wi-Fi and 4 or 5G! – that’s the future I see in a digital world.”

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Versarray™ PRO powered line array from Crest Audio® makes North American debut at InfoComm 2018

Versarray™ PRO powered line array from Crest Audio® makes North American debut at InfoComm 2018

Crest Audio’s revolutionary Versarray™ PRO powered line array, makes its US debut at InfoComm 2018. Comprising the Versarray PRO 112 line array element and the PRO 215 subwoofer, Versarray PRO is an ideal choice for all mid-sized line array applications including live entertainment, theatres, houses of worship and more. With integrated Dante audio networking, built-in DSP, innovative flying hardware and world class components, the Versarray Pro powered line array delivers premium quality audio in a versatile, easy-to-set-up, networkable package.

The Versarray PRO 112 benefits from Crest Audio’s latest-generation Mark III ribbon drivers and proprietary CLEAR FORM™ Waveguide for crystalline high end reproduction. The low end is served by the 12” NEO Black Widow neodymium loudspeaker with dual 4” voice coils which works in conjunction with Crest’s patented Ram Air Cooling™ (RAC) design for even greater efficiency and power handling. The compact, flyable Versarray PRO 215 sub, also with RAC design, features dual 15” Black Widow Low Rider drivers and delivers full power down to 35 Hz and a peak SPL of 135 dB. Both elements benefit from 3000 Watts of available dynamic power.

In terms of rigging, Versarray PRO is a fully articulating array thanks to an ingenious, easy-to-adjust 3-pin system on the back, which enables a range of configurations that are simply unachievable in other comparably priced systems. The result is near-perfect coverage and audio quality across a vast range of applications. Furthermore, Versarray PRO includes Auto-Hang DSP technology, a quick and easy push-button control option that allows you to adjust the array according to the number of cabinets in the array, speaker positioning and more. Combined with the innovative FlyQWIK™ hardware, a Versarray PRO system can be accurately deployed in a fraction of the time required by competing systems.

As an active system, Versarray PRO features sophisticated on-board DSP processing including FIR filtering. Certain parameters may be accessed from the back panel for quick and easy initial set-up, or indeed the whole system may be configured and controlled remotely via a dedicated Window-based software utility. Dante network control and audio are delivered via a single CAT5/6 cable, and redundant analog connections have also been included for rock-solid reliability.

Versarray PRO is the perfect solution for pro audio applications requiring high output, flawless coverage and pristine high fidelity audio in a compact, easy-to-deploy package.

Visit Peavey Commercial Audio in the central hall, booth C1822 at InfoComm 2018 for more information or contact your local authorized reseller.

Latest Tactus™ digital mixing system gets first showing at ISE

Latest Tactus™ digital mixing system gets first showing at ISE

Crest Audio®, a division of Peavey Commercial Audio®, will be showcasing its latest Tactus™ digital mixing system at ISE 2017, along with a new dedicated Tactus microsite.

Industry leader Crest Audio has partnered with Waves® to create the Tactus™ Digital Mixing System. A modular touch-screen based mixing system kicking off a new revolution in live performance digital mixing.

The Tactus system consists of both hardware and software components incorporating the Waves eMotion LV1 software – fast becoming an industry standard for professional audio mixing processing and control. The Waves eMotion LV1 mixer application runs on a Windows® PC or Mac® with one, two or three multi-touch screens.

Utilising Waves Soundgrid audio network protocol, the Crest Audio Tactus systems comprises of three hardware units, the Tactus.FOH, Tactus.Stage and Tactus.Control, with each addressing the input and output, monitoring and control plus synchronisation requirements of audio signals at the stage and front of house points.

The system’s modular approach provides unprecedented scalability for any size event, meeting a wide variety of applications including touring, corporate events, houses of worship, performing arts venues and live music concerts.

James Kennedy, operations manager for Peavey Commecial Audio EMEA said: “We have spent time listening to our customers and have worked with them to develop what we believe to be the ultimate in modular digital mixing. The latest version that we’ll have on show at ISE boasts revised faders and slider control on the Tactus.Control as well as an improved dedicated master on/off switch.”

The Tactus Digital Mixing System redefines mixing by providing a simple, customisable touch-screen operating interface that puts all of the audio routing, processing and mixing tools within easy and immediate reach. Designed to work with the new Waves eMotion™ LV1 Mixer for SoundGrid®, the Tactus Digital Mixing System is one of the most innovative and feature-rich digital audio mixing platforms ever devised. In addition to providing a full complement of professional features, the Tactus system allows the use of Waves audio processing plug-ins for live events.

The Tactus hardware is comprised of the Tactus.FOH™, the audio processing core for the system, and the Tactus.Stage™, a 32-in/16-out remote stage box. The modular capability of the Tactus Digital Mixing System, which interconnects via standard Gigabit Ethernet cabling and an internal Gigabit switch, allows multiple configurations in a range of channel counts to best suit each application.

The Tactus.FOH is powered by the Waves SoundGrid audio processing/networking platform, ensuring extremely low latency with precision audio processing. When combined with the new Waves eMotion LV1 Mixer for SoundGrid, the products result in a mixing platform that is unsurpassed in the industry with regard to features, audio quality, and flexibility. The Tactus.FOH frame provides 8 local microphone/line inputs and 8 line outputs in addition to 2 AES outputs and serves as the audio signal processing engine.

The Tactus.Stage includes 32 microphone/line inputs and 16 line plus to 2 AES outputs. The digitally controlled high-quality mic preamps feature ultra-low input noise, high slew rate, very low THD, and 66 dB adjustment range in 1 dB steps to maximize dynamic range. An integrated gigabit Ethernet switch allows for easy networking. Users also benefit from the option of combining Tactus.Stage I/O interfaces for a total of 64 stereo inputs by 32 stereo outputs.

Tactus.Control is a tactile motorised fader board complimenting the eMotion LV1 touch screen by providing moving faders, lighted buttons and knobs for the most commonly used functions. It has 16 Channel & 2 Master motorized faders, with Mute, Cue and Select buttons along with a multi line scribble strip display. These can follow screen layer selections or be locked on a layer for expanded control.

The Waves eMotion LV1 mixer application runs on a Windows® PC or Mac® with one, two or three multi-touch screens. One or two Tactus hardware surfaces with moving faders can be added for tactile control if desired connected via USB to a PC running the eMotion LV1 software and connected to the Waves SoundGrid network the Tactus.Control allows tactile feedback to the sound engineer as typically required for live performances without having to look down at a touch screen. Multiple Tactus.Control panels can be used to create a high quality, flexible live sound mixing system.

James Kennedy adds: “Working closely with Waves, Tactus offers a professional sound mixing platform that is fitting for today’s digital demands, with features that will benefit all users, from the workplace to a live music venue. We’ve made connectivity and networking simple, with USB, Ethernet and MIDI all available. What’s more, Tactus is flexible to your application needs, with In/Out components, processing, touch screens and controllers all being catered for to allow easy set-up customization. Above all, of course, users benefit from the trusted Crest reputation and the sound quality that comes from being part of the Peavey Commercial Audio family.”

Discover more about Tactus on the new microsite www.tactusdigitalmixing.com – due to launch a few days prior to ISE’s opening on February 6th 2018.

Aurora Theater, Georgia, USA

Aurora Theater, Georgia, USA

The Aurora Theater is known for bringing Broadway to Main Street in the Northeast Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville, with repertory including the classics “A Chorus Line” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” and seasonal favorites like Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” When the lights go up, a Peavey Commercial audio system helps the company deliver world-class productions every night.

Housed in a modern performance theater designed as a wide, shallow room with high ceilings and balcony, the Aurora Theater is a prime use of the Versarray™ ribbon-loaded line array. Twin hangs of six Versarray 112 enclosures and one Versarray 218 subwoofer each flank the stage, providing 90 degree horizontal and 15 degree vertical coverage per cabinet. The line arrays are able to cover the substantial horizontal distance as well as target the upper seating area with articulate, ribbon-driven sound reproduction.

MediaMatrix® NION® n3 digital signal processors serve as the brains of the audio system. The NION units provide management and control for the Versarray, including essential functions such as crossover and equalization, as well as assigning delay characteristics and tailoring the response of system components to the room. A Crest Audio® HP™ Series mixing console handles a mix of microphone inputs and auxiliary audio sources – such as high-quality sound effects – that are stored on hard drives and other external devices.

Six Peavey® GPS® 3500 amplifiers provide power to the left mid, left sub, right mid and right sub area of the Versarray line array system, while three Peavey GPS 1500 power amplifiers are assigned to the high frequencies. In addition, a trio of Peavey Sanctuary Series® SA-4200™ power amps with built-in Auto Delay technology help set the proper delay time for the balcony fills, and deliver audio to public areas such as lavatories and stairways. The theater also uses a pair of Peavey PR® 15 enclosures as stage fills and a 16FX™ mixer in a rehearsal room.

  • (12) Versarray 112 line array enclosures, six per side
  • (2) Versarray 218 subwoofers
  • (2) MediaMatrix NION n3 processors
  • (2) Peavey PR 15 enclosures
  • (1) Peavey 16FX mixer
  • (1) Crest Audio HP Series mixing console
  • (3) Peavey Sanctuary Series SA-4200 power amplifiers
  • (3) Peavey GPS 1500 power amplifiers
  • (6) Peavey GPS 3500 power amplifiers