Venue (sound system)

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Venue is a brand of live sound digital mixing consoles introduced by Digidesign in February 2005. The system now includes three different consoles and a number of ways they can be configured. They can all be connected to Pro Tools, the audio editing software also created by Avid/Digidesign, to provide recording and 'Virtual Soundcheck' facilities. One of the system's key marketing points is its use of the same TDM plugins as Pro Tools, an industry standard digital audio workstation (DAW). This is designed to enable the sounds recorded by the artist in the studio to be easily recreated on stage, and to allow for greater flexibility in signal processing without heavy and mechanical-shock-sensitive racks of external processors. There is also a PC-based offline editor for creation and editing of show files, although there is no audio processing in the editor.

Digidesign was owned by Avid for several years. Following the rebranding of Digidesign as a division of Avid, the Venue line was sold under the Avid name, with the elimination of the Digidesign logo.

Console products[edit]

Venue is a system that is assembled from components as needed, with components further expanded and customized with DSP (processing) and IO (input-output) cards. The heart of a system is either FOH Rack or MIX Rack, both based on a CPU running Windows XP, with numerous expansion cards. They both can be used with two control surfaces or consoles: the larger D-Show and the smaller Profile (the latter is seen more on band riders).

The difference between FOH Rack and Mix Rack is that FOH Rack uses one or two remote Stage Racks (up to 96 stage inputs total), while Mix Rack has processing and IO cards built in the same rack and typically requires a traditional analog snake between stage and the MixRack. Mixrack is limited to 48 inputs.

D-Show[edit]

This is the largest control surface in their range. The main unit, which includes a trackball, master controls, faders and meters, can be expanded with up to three sidecars to give a maximum of 56 faders. One sidecar is included in the standard package.

The console can either be connected to the Mix Rack, which contains all FOH I/O, DSP and stage I/O in one rack, or to the combination of an FOH rack and a Stage Rack. The FOH rack contains the DSP and a small amount of inputs and outputs, and the Stage Rack contains the main stage I/O. They are linked using a digital snake cable, with an option to use a redundant cable in parallel. There can be a maximum of two Stage Racks linked to one FOH rack.

D-Show Profile[edit]

Venue Profile at a corporate event

This smaller console contains all of the features of the larger console, and is smaller. Though it has fewer input faders, it can still run the same show, as it can be connected to the same combinations of inputs and outputs described above.

The Profile carries 33 motorized faders: 24 to address banks of inputs and effects returns, eight to address banks of outputs and VCAs, and one to control the master Left–Center–Right output, also configurable as Left–Right plus Mono.

Profile itself is just a control surface that must be used with either local and remote stage racks, or with one MixRack that combines processing and inputs/outputs. MixRack is essentially a SC48 without control surface.

SC48[edit]

Venue SC48 in a warehouse shop

The SC48, the smallest console in the range, is all-in-one box Venue system, where all processing, inputs and outputs is built into console. This feature allows it to 'drop into' existing wiring systems where an analogue console had been used. Outwardly it appears quite similar to a smaller version of the D-Show Profile, and is aimed as the 'starter' console in the range. Recenttly a remote rack option became available for SC48, either add-on to existing system in form of an empty rack where user can relocate I/O boards from main SC48 unit, or order new system (SC48 with remote stage rack)with remote I/O preinstalled.

As with its larger predecessors, the SC48's master output section can be configured as Left–Center–Right or Left–Right plus Mono. The control surface has 26 motorized faders: 16 to address banks of inputs and effects returns, one to link to any desired input, eight to address banks of outputs and VCAs, and one to control master output. An expansion slot at the rear panel allows one of several options: 16 analog outputs can be added; eight analog and eight AES3 digital outputs can be added; or A-Net connectivity can be achieved with external Aviom Pro16 personal monitor mixers.

Common features[edit]

All the consoles create show files that are inter-compatible, however due to the numbers of inputs and outputs being different on other systems, some files may require edits to fit a new system. All the consoles run Windows XP Embedded and use the same TDM plugin architecture as Pro Tools HD. The consoles are all compatible with Pro Tools for recording directly off the console with one cable, and also to enable a 'Virtual Soundcheck' feature, where the recording is played back through the inputs, in effect reducing the need for the band to actually be present for soundcheck.

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