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Sabine Navigator NAV4800 System Processor

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The Guy:
The good folks at PSW Road Test sent me a nice new Sabine NAV4800 Navigator 4x8 DSP Unit.  I've had the chance to put it to work at a few shows so far and the experience has been positive.

Initial impressions:
Build quality of the unit is fairly solid.  From my understanding, these units are very similar if not identical to the Xilica DLP4080 processors.  It comes shipped with a copy of the control software and all the paperwork.  Right out of the box the unit is easy to navigate (as the namesake would suggest.)  It does seem to take a long time to boot compared to the XTA and DBX Driverack units.  

In Use:
I programmed it for my first show via the front panel with ease.  As many of you know, some DSP units are a bit clumsy to work with if you're not programming them on a PC, but this wasn't the case.  The first show was a simple rig...a GL3300 console to the navigator to a couple compact speakers on poles and a pair of SB1000 subs.  The navigator performed well.  

I decided to program it for a stereo 4-way system (Turbo Flashlight) via the control interface software (see screenshots below.)  The software is easy to use and is very straightforward.  Enough DSP horsepower is available for any application that I can think of.  

In use with the Flashlight system, unscientific listening tests proved that it sounded as good as my usual flavor of DSP (XTA DP226 or Driverack 480.)  I can't say how the EQ filters sounded, as the Flashlight boxes do not require any output EQ as per the factory settings.  I assume the output parametrics sound as good as anything.  

The Navigator offers a pretty good DSP package (4x8 in 1U of rack space) for a competitive price.  For those of us who can't afford a Dolby Lake or an XTA DP448, the Sabine NAV series are a good option.  They're also available in 3x6 and 8x8 models.

-Full featured, affordable DSP
-Flexible Routing
-Software Interface is well designed
-Decent sound quality
-Easy to use

Not as good:
-Encoder wheel on front panel seems fidgety
-Takes longer than expected to boot up

See below for some pics.  


The Guy:
Chilling in my Drive Rack:

The Guy:
Screenshot of the Navigator software with a Flashlight program:

Matt McCord:
When you say that it takes longer than expected to boot, how long does it actually take? I'm considering the NAV3600 for a system that I'm designing and so it would be very helpful to know.  Thank you for your review.

John Brearton:

I just got a NAV3600 based on the 3x6 configuration and my need for stereo 2-way plus sub mix. The specs and features are impressive for the price.

I just powered up the NAV3600.
start up: 15-20sec to  fire up with last used program
loading a new program: 15-20 sec

No huge issue but much slower that the Driveracks I am used to.

15-20 sec would seem an eternity if a power issue caused a reboot in the middle of a show... i just tried flipping the switch off and on as quick as possible to see if there was any forgiveness for a less than 1 second loss of power... nope...

You should know that the NAV3600 has only 2 lines of display as opposed to 3 lines on the 4xxx models. This makes it slower to program as you have to page more. I have only powered it up on my desk, paged through the menus and browsed the manual. I created a simple program and saved it with a name but it wont reload properly. I haven't hooked it up to anything yet. It doesn't seem to have any presets so you have to start from scratch (unless some are on the CD ROM). okay i see the website seems to have added presets...maybe new models will come loaded.
Also - i figured it out - it only saves 30 programs and I saved my test program in space 31... somehow it let's you think you are saving to #31 when it doesn't have a space for it.. (maybe it's the temporary storage space?)

I am not slamming the NAV3600, just letting you know what I noticed so far. I do not plan on doing very much programming without a computer interface.

FYI Mine is firmware v5.10... one rev behind

I am hoping the sound quality makes me forget about these EARLY disappointments (mainly because I did not realize there was such a rudimentary screen, an assumption on my part)


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