X32 COMPACT: How do I share signals over AES50 Supermac network?

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In many live sound situations, a single mixing console is used to cover both the front of house (FOH) mix that the audience hears, as well as all the individual “monitor mixes” that are sent to stage wedges or transmitters for in-ear monitor systems.

However, in larger live sound situations, it is common to operate two separate consoles, one that covers the FOH mix, and a second, completely independent console that covers just the monitor mixes that are sent to the talent. This makes a lot of sense, because the FOH engineer can concentrate 100% on the audience mix, while a completely different monitor engineer can dedicate himself to the thankless task of crafting great monitor mixes for the different musicians.

With an analog console, operating separate FOH and monitor consoles can be quite expensive, because the original stage microphone signals have to all be “split” into two copies, using an expensive multi-channel microphone splitter. The splitters ends one set of mic signals to the FOH console and the other set to the monitor console. Microphone splitters are a specialized piece of equipment and ones that work reliably and sound good are very expensive.

The X32 family of products, however, makes using separate FOH and monitor consoles easy and affordable. This is due to the fact that the microphone signals, once digitized, can be easily duplicated and sent to multiple locations, using a single off-the-shelf shielded shielded Cat-5e Ethernet cable. Now, an expensive and bulky microphone splitter can be replaced by a couple of low-cost S16 digital stage boxes, and running separate FOH and monitor consoles is within reach of even the most modest production.

This is an example for using 2 consoles and 2 stage boxes (possible are up to 3 per AES50 port) in a monitor/FOH setup:

1. Connect the AES50 A port on the first S16 to the AES50 A port on the X32 on-stage console via Cat-5.

2. Connect the AES50 B port on the first S16 unit to the AES50 A port on the second S16 via Cat-5.

3. Connect the AES50 A port of the FOH X32 unit to the AES50 B port of the on-stage X32 via Cat-5.

4. Now the configuration of the monitor console has to be set. Keep in mind that in this configuration, the on-stage console will be the one controlling the input gains of the mic preamps, so a good and intensive soundcheck should be done.

5. Press the ROUTING switch next to the display on the on-stage console. On the HOME tab select “AES50 A 1-8” as source for “Inputs 1-8”, “AES50 A 9-16” for “Input 9-16”, and accordingly for channels 17-32.

6. To route the channels through the on-stage console to the FOH console, switch to the AES50 B page and set “Output 1-8” to “AES50 A 1-8”, “Output 9-16” to “AES50 A 9-16”, etc.

7. On the FOH X32 console, press the ROUTING switch next to the display. On the HOME tab select “AES50 A 1-8” as source for “Inputs 1-8”, “AES50 A 9-16” for “Input 9-16”, and accordingly for channels 17-32.

8. To get the main out from the FOH back to one of the stage boxes to feed the PA, the main outs of the console which are routed per default to OUT 7 and OUT 8 have to be routed through the on-stage X32 console. To achieve this, select the AES50 A tab and set Out 1-8 to “OUT 9-16”. On the on-stage console, choose the AES50 A tab and set Output 1-8 to ”AES50 B 1-8”.The Main Outputs of the FOH console are now available on the first S16 on OUT 7 and OUT 8 to connect your main PA system.

9. Ready to rock!