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Author Topic: Xilica XP-4080  (Read 367 times)

Jonathan Woytek

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Xilica XP-4080
« on: September 22, 2017, 03:56:35 pm »

Quick background: I'm building a new PA system after not being a "provider" and being only an "operator" for a while. More details and a review of the QSC amp I have paired with this processor here:
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,164934.msg1519910.html#msg1519910

What follows is a short review of the Xilica XP-4080 system processor.

The XP-4080 is Xilica's mid-line unit DSP for general system processing. It is a 4-in/8-out unit with analog-only I/O. Control is available via front panel buttons and knob, and computer via USB or ethernet. Front panel controls include individual mute buttons for inputs AND outputs, plus a single wheel and buttons to navigate the menu system. Displays include individual meters for inputs and outputs, and a two-line dot matrix backlit text LCD. The USB connector is on the front panel. The back panel includes the audio I/O on XLR connectors, ethernet jack, and IEC power receptacle.

I'm using the XP-4080 in several configurations, including stereo + sub in/stereo + sub out, mono + sub in/2xmono + sub out, mono in/2xmono + sub out, stereo in/stereo + sub out, and a few varieties of full-range output with no separate sub output.

I ordered the unit from Mike Pyle here, and it arrived quickly and without fuss. Everyone knows this already, but Mike is a great guy to work with and knows a lot about the gear he sells. The unit came with a small USB stick that contained firmware and software and a little documentation. The unit is pretty easy to figure out, though, so I jumped right into building some configurations.

I chose to use the software via ethernet as my primary configuration interface, as that is going to be my normal use case. The front panel is usable, if not overly friendly. I had no trouble decyphering what it was telling me, but I wish they had charged me an extra $50 and put the better display in there, like they have on the up-model X series processors.

The computer software (XConsole) is OK. It is available for Mac or Windows, which makes life a little easier for me as a Mac user. Once I got through the hoops of setting the IP address on the device (easy) and getting the software to connect to the device (which took a few iterations, mostly because it was unclear what options had to be chosen in the software to get it to connect), it is pretty easy to understand. It is not nearly as well done as the software that QSC provides for their amps, for instance, but everything one can do is fairly easy to see and understand. My only real gripe, and this can be a big one for me, is that the "dialog boxes" that pop up when one goes to set a parameter seem to end up behind other elements on the screen. They're not really dialog boxes, either, just boxes that appear in the configuration window where one is working. Sometimes they're not visible at all, which means one must just use the backspace key to remove whatever is in the box, and then type a new value. This isn't the case for all input areas, but I noticed it especially in the boxes to enter names for inputs and outputs. It was easy enough to work around, but I really wish that was better.

Setting up and saving presets to the device is pretty easy. Naming is a little odd, as one is limited in how many characters one can enter, but the interface doesn't make it clear how many one is allowed. So, one can type a longer name for an input/output or preset name, and it will cut it off at some point while saving.

I set up presets for most of the configurations I had listed above, some with crossover filters and some without. I plan to eventually move the crossover filters to the DSP on the amplifier, and use the Xilica for system processing that I might want to adjust for specific events. At the moment, having the crossover filters in the Xilica is allowing me to tune those while I get used to the system. I have limiters set up on the amps for system protection, so I'm not using any additional limiters on the Xilica. Experimenting a bit with them, though, they sound pretty good and respond as I would expect. I was happy to see lots of choices for crossover filters in terms of type and slope. Additionally, I was happy with the matrix-like routing and mixing features that were available in the unit, which made my configurations pretty easy to implement and tune.

I came to the Xilica from years of using a DriveRack PA (the old version). While that was a great unit for what it was when I bought it, moving to the Xilica is a whole different world in terms of capabilities and quality. The DriveRack had noticeable artifacts and audio problems, but I was willing to deal with them because it was what I had. In this case, though, I'm quite glad I made the decision to get the Xilica. I evaluated the newer DriveRack units, as well as processors from Ashly. The XP-4080 delivered everything I needed at the right price. Chief among those were computer control available on the Mac, ethernet connectivity, and 4-in/8-out I/O. I didn't have a Lake budget, but I still wanted something that sounded good and gave me the control I wanted. At the time I made the choice, I wasn't sure what audio network I would have in place. Now that I've chosen Dante, I do wish I had been able to get a processor with Dante, but this is simple and allows me to keep the system flexible, which was a key design goal for the entire system.

I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have, or provide more information. Please feel free to ask here or PM me.

jonathan
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Jonathan Woytek
Dryrose Productions
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