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Author Topic: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report  (Read 164541 times)

The Guy

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APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« on: May 22, 2006, 09:54:14 am »

Brian Bolly and myself just did a show this weekend and the people of APB were nice enough to lend us a demo APB Spectra-T console.  It was only a 24 channel model, but was adequate for the show.  The gig was a large dance in a huge (~100x300') tent.  

The Basics:
The console is a smaller-format VCA desk.  Physically, it reminds me of my Verona in terms of size and weight.  The console features a 4-band sweep EQ, 10 auxes, and 8 VCA groups.  Also, a 24 channel console gave us 24 real channels, with an additional 4 stereo inputs that didn't cut into the channel count.  The fader feel is nice, and the layout is easy to get around on.  The Spectra has 2 internal PSU slots and indicator lamps on the meterbridge to display PSU status (our demo only had 1 PSU installed.)

In Use:

The band was a rock outfit, featuring an excellent acoustic guitar, a Sax player, an aux percussion section, and a female vocalist/flautist.  Mics were fairly standard Shure Betas, Audix OM7s, small dia. condensers.  High quality mics, but nothing exotic.

Preamp quality of the console is EXCELLENT.  Super clean, transparent; what you'd expect from a touring-quality desk.  I noticed this as soon as the first parts of soundcheck were underway.  The EQ section is excellent sounding and responsive, with an interesting feature:  When engaged, the console has a wide-Q curve when EQ is boosted and a somewhat more narrow-Q when cut.  I found myself using less EQ than I normally would on this desk.  Whether or not this was a function of the different EQ feature of the desk, I'm not sure, but I liked it Razz .  

The 10 aux sends are switchable (first 4 in a group, then in subsequent pairs) pre/post.  Furthermore, you have the option of selecting pre/post EQ for a pre send, a feature that could come in handy whilst mixing monitors from FOH (which we did not do at this gig.)  Faders are provided on the aux send outputs.

The VCA section was a great thing to have, especially on a console of this size.  VCA assigns are via latching switches on the channel strips (ala PM4K) but are not soft-recallable.  There is an indicator LED on the VCA masters for "VCA Unity," another neat feature.

The master section features a nice complement of standard features, 4 matrix outputs, and dual 1/4" and 1/8" headphone jacks.  No more lost adaptors!  The Spectra-T has clearly been designed by those who have had experience behind a console.

As I said before, sound quality was beyond excellent.  After listening to the 2-track board mix after the show, the clean-ness and transparence of the console became even more apparent.  This is just MY opinion, but based on my significant experience on the Verona, the APB sounds noticeably better in just about every department.

Now for the airing of Grievances:
-Above each fader, there are the routing assignments:  L/R, Mono, Center, and one more I can't remember.  These are little tiny buttons with no indication lamp, and it's somewhat difficult to tell where your channel is assigned.  During soundcheck, my talkback mic rolled down and hit one of these buttons, taking it out of the L/R mix.  Also, the VCA assign buttons are right next to the channel faders and are also small/short travel buttons.  There's no real way to see what channel is assigned to what VCA other than soloing or muting a VCA group and then looking for the respective lights for solo or mute on the channels.  Other than that, I had no major complaints.  

I think this console can satisfy a real niche of the small-format VCA console.  It's a high end mixer in a small package, and I think it'll be a great addition to the market.


Show Report PA:
-APB Dynasonics Spectra-T Console
-PCM91/M3000/D2 EFX
-BSS 402 and DBX 1066 Comps
-KT 504 Gates
-DBX Driverack 480 Main DSP
-QSC PL6.0/PL236 FOH Amps
-Yorkville TX4/TX9 Main speakers

Monitors:
-A/H GL3300 Console
-QSC PL236 Amps
-Rat Microwedges/EAW SM500 Wedges


-JB



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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2006, 11:33:55 am »

Thanks for the update.

It looks like their experience is showing, and that's a good thing. Very Happy

JR

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Bennett Prescott

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2006, 12:04:33 pm »

Jim Bowersox wrote on Mon, 22 May 2006 09:54

  When engaged, the console has a wide-Q curve when EQ is boosted and a somewhat more narrow-Q when cut.  I found myself using less EQ than I normally would on this desk.  Whether or not this was a function of the different EQ feature of the desk, I'm not sure, but I liked it

Hey, Jim, that asymettrical cut/boost is just on the high and low sweeps when you've got them in bell mode, as opposed to shelf mode. The two swept mids have the option of symmetrical cut/bost either wide or narrow... I think they're 1 octave and 1/3 octave, respectively, but don't hold me to it. The cut on the high and low shelves is 1/4 octave. That EQ went through a lot of different techs' hands before the various frequency points, bandwidths, and other esoterica were decided upon... APB really does their homework.

Glad to hear you were thrilled with the console... I'll be getting one in a few weeks to beat up for Road Test, but I don't know how much more there is to say! Analog ain't dead yet, folks, and with the team at APB's help it's got a lot more to go.

DISCLAIMER: I have a close relationship with APB, and I am on the design team for their future products. I was not, however, in any way involved with the creation of the Spectra series, and I am not in their employ.
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Rick Stansby

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2006, 12:17:41 pm »

Great review.  I can't wait to use one of these boards.  

I know I'm not the only one wondering how much these things cost.  So I emailed Chuck Augustowski who told me.

The spectra-C is almost identical to the T except it has a simpler - dual sweep - channel EQ.
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Rick

The Guy

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2006, 01:07:29 pm »

Bennett Prescott wrote on Mon, 22 May 2006 12:04

 that asymettrical cut/boost is just on the high and low sweeps when you've got them in bell mode, as opposed to shelf mode. The two swept mids have the option of symmetrical cut/bost either wide or narrow... I think they're 1 octave and 1/3 octave, respectively, but don't hold me to it. The cut on the high and low shelves is 1/4 octave.




Thanks for the clarification.  I was trying to decipher what the little graphics next to the EQ buttons meant.  RTFM, right!

I'll bet the APB design team all have small fingers...those little buttons take a little getting used to by a large-handed individual like myself.

-JB
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Andy Peters

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2006, 01:40:00 pm »

Jim Bowersox wrote on Mon, 22 May 2006 10:07

I'll bet the APB design team all have small fingers...those little buttons take a little getting used to by a large-handed individual like myself.


I bet they wanted to reduce the footprint/size/weight as much as reasonable.  Your fingers may not like it, but your back will.

-a
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Dave C(arugo)

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2006, 01:42:42 pm »

Can I ask is it a 2 man lift in the case?
Thanks and Regards,
Dave C.
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The Guy

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2006, 01:46:41 pm »

Believe it or not, the demo model didn't have a case.  

Bolly will disagree, but it was a 1-man lift for me without the case.  Then again, this was only a 24.  

A 40/48 in a nice doghouse case would probably be manageable for two vigorous young go-getters.  Then again, no one can argue with EZ tilts.

-JB
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Alexandre Richer

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2006, 01:49:48 pm »

For those looking at http://www.apbdynasonics.com/products.html, the pictures are actually very neat once you right-click and use "Show image" (and maybe click on it so it shows full size).
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Brian Bolly

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Re: APB Dynasonics Spectra-T - Show Report
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2006, 02:58:54 pm »

Let me add my $0.02...

I got a chance to talk with Chuck Augustowski a week or so ago when he brought this desk into our office along with our local rep.  We didn't have any chance to pass audio through it, but he also brought an 8-channel block so that we could see the construction of the desk and its layout.  I knew I had a relatively high-demand gig coming up and it was during this time that I was able to arrange the demo.

I was aware of some of the feature set for the console before it was even released to the public, and know some of the people that were consulted for the design - this console is no slouch.  As such, I had high expectations for the desk, but was still blown away with its ease of use and, above all, sound quality.  The things that make it especially nice are the finer points that are overlooked on some other designs.  Sound quality aside, I think my favorite feature is the mute light status - no more guessing if the channel is muted via its own switch or via a mute group.  

Even though it is a 1-man lift for a 24ch frame not in a case, I don't forsee it being liftable for one person when properly cased, especially in a larger frame size.  Could one person flip it on an easy tilt?  Probably.  Push it up a truck ramp?  Sure.  But, for safety reasons I wouldn't want to do it.

I'll openly admit that I'm a large fan of digital desks.  In fact, my next purchase was slated to be a Yamaha M7CL-48.  However, after using and hearing this console, I'd say that it's now on my (short) list of desk choices, arguments about digital vs. analog aside.

I've attached a photo of the desk in action.  The blue LED's aren't really as painfully bright as they may appear to be in the photo.
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