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Author Topic: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor  (Read 17396 times)

Bennett Prescott

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Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« on: July 21, 2010, 07:46:49 pm »

Josh Evans made the unfortunate mistake of letting me know that he's working for TC Group now, so I browbeat him until he shipped me one of the new LM26 processors. Or whatever they want to call it... Lake? Lab.Gruppen? Processor? In any case, I imagine this will be of interest to those of us who already have an investment in Lake processing, which has been in limbo for over a year now unless you want to make an investment in Lab.Gruppen amplifiers. Since I represent a powered loudspeaker manufacturer, I have no way to make that work for me, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this standalone processor.

The unit arrived yesterday, packed in this attractive box, which contained the processor, ethernet cable, power cable, software CD, quick start manual, and AES breakout which I thought was a nice touch.

http://bennettprescott.com/images/lm26/Thumbnails/1.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/lm26/Thumbnails/3.jpg

Functionally, the unit appears to be a return to the Lake processor's origin: a 2x6 processor that networks, updated to the 21st century. You can tell that Lab.Gruppen has redesigned it after the slick look of their amplifiers, but unless I'm missing it nowhere on the unit does it actually say "Lab.Gruppen". Every effort has been made to make this a Lake processor, not a "Lake Processor by X". The most noticeable updates are 1000-T ethernet on the back for running audio and control down, a lockable IEC inlet, and front panel controls. They claim that LCD display is "daylight viewable"... we'll see about that.

http://bennettprescott.com/images/lm26/Thumbnails/4.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/lm26/Thumbnails/5.jpg

Fired up, it's got some pretty lights, which seems to be one of the continuing selling points for the Lake processor. At least these lights make some more sense than the DLP... those front panel meters were pretty, but told me almost nothing about my actual drive levels. Oh, and here's a peek inside.

http://bennettprescott.com/images/lm26/Thumbnails/6.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/lm26/Thumbnails/8.jpg

The LCD display is a little cramped, but conveys plenty of useful information. You'll just have to get close to read it. Unfortunately, the tradition of useless front panel controls is continued from the DLP. It is possible to reset the processor, set delays, levels, and polarity, set input sources and priorities... but not possible to change EQ parameters, crossovers, etc. This was somewhat possible on the DLP, but the interface sucked. This interface is somewhat better, but now you can't change any of those parameters. I'd just like to have an emergency backup in case my laptop goes down, and I have to rough in settings the hard way.

Otherwise, it seems by all accounts to be... a Lake processor. With Dante built in the 2 input limitation doesn't really bother me. It certainly doesn't bother me anywhere near as much as the three outputs to a processing block limitation. If I need to process one input to four outputs, I have to burn an entire module. This isn't Lab.Gruppen's fault, but an annoying inflexibility that was inherited from the original Contour and hasn't changed. If I wanted to process passive boxes, I could just buy your amps, people! This would be less annoying if the software made it easier to group sets of outputs, but it doesn't. While the Lake is a fantastic processor with the killer app interface that lets me get more done in less time, I sure have to fight with it to get it to do what I want.

Bitchfest over, I'm going to rack this puppy this weekend and use it for some additional subwoofer processing.
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-- Bennett Prescott
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"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

Evan Kirkendall

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 12:39:35 am »

Hey Bennett,
You don't need that junky thing. Send it to me so I can put it to real use. Razz




Evan
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Not all change is good change.

Ryan Garnett

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 09:48:29 am »

Looking at that PCB, one has to wonder if they couldn't make the thing a quarter of the size?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2010, 09:50:34 am »

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 08:48

Looking at that PCB, one has to wonder if they couldn't make the thing a quarter of the size?
The 4.75" rack format was never very popular.
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Ryan Garnett

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2010, 09:52:16 am »

TJ (Tom) Cornish wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 09:50

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 08:48

Looking at that PCB, one has to wonder if they couldn't make the thing a quarter of the size?
The 4.75" rack format was never very popular.


Depth...which means a smaller chassis which means lighter weight which means my rack might be a couple pounds less of a pain in the ass.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2010, 09:53:44 am »

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 08:52

TJ (Tom) Cornish wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 09:50

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 08:48

Looking at that PCB, one has to wonder if they couldn't make the thing a quarter of the size?
The 4.75" rack format was never very popular.


Depth...which means a smaller chassis which means lighter weight which means my rack might be a couple pounds less of a pain in the ass.

It's a joke, son.
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Silas Pradetto

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2010, 11:56:33 am »

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 09:52

TJ (Tom) Cornish wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 09:50

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 08:48

Looking at that PCB, one has to wonder if they couldn't make the thing a quarter of the size?
The 4.75" rack format was never very popular.


Depth...which means a smaller chassis which means lighter weight which means my rack might be a couple pounds less of a pain in the ass.


I HATE shallow rack gear. When it's racked with a bunch of deeper stuff, like 16" deep amps, you can no longer reach the XLRs to plug or unplug anything.

I'd prefer a standard depth like 16" even if it's full of air. Maybe put in a trap door for "storage" Laughing
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Randy Pence

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2010, 01:47:39 pm »

+1, it is quite annoying to have to repatch shallow controllers
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Bennett Prescott

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 06:17:41 pm »

I only need about four more of these and I'll really be able to have some fun.

index.php/fa/31776/0/

Spent some quality time with the LM26 this weekend, and I'm all smiles. As I've said before... it's a Lake Processor. It does what a Lake Processor does. If you are familiar with a Lake Processor, you will be able to use it to do Lake Processor sorts of stuff.

I am using Dante for the first time. Very cool, and it answers all my questions about input routing. I have nothing but an Ethernet cable going between the DLP and the LM26, and I have it set up so the LM26 can pick up any of the four inputs going into the DLP and process them. Since the LM26 has 6 input routers, I can still process (for example) a mono mix of L&R for my fills as well as a subwoofer feed. I seem to have incurred .8 milliseconds of latency for this privilege, which is inconsequential for my application.

Aside from one small setup hiccup on my part, configuration was extremely easy. The new zero-conf auto configuration just works. Everything talks together, talks to my Cisco access point, and talks to the laptop.

The LM26 has a few new features that I don't need to mess with, like GPIO for contact closures.

Otherwise, I'll spend some more time kicking it around and listening starting Thursday, when I'll really be able to make use of the extra processing available to me. I'm also going to try and take some measurements to confirm that the latency matching is working properly, since in that case .8ms could be a very big difference!

So far my verdict is: Buy 12.
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-- Bennett Prescott
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"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

Andy Peters

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Re: Lab.Gruppen Lake LM26 Processor
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 12:22:42 am »

Ryan Garnett wrote on Thu, 22 July 2010 06:48

Looking at that PCB, one has to wonder if they couldn't make the thing a quarter of the size?


Because if the PCB was a quarter of the size, it'd likely have eight layers, and that's a lot more expensive than a larger four-layer board.

A larger PCB with the parts spread out doesn't get as hot as one with everything crammed all together.

Also, the stuff in the lower center/right are all parts of a switch-mode power supply, and they kept that stuff away from the analog electronics (top to the right). All of the digital stuff (the DSP, and FPGA, the Ethernet, their associated power supplies) and the mains power supply are on the other side of the PCB from the analog. Keeps everything quiet.

-a
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