Category Archives: Music General

Blogs about any and all things music related from the perspective of working sound engineers (who are also performing musicians.)

PA hire upgrades

Continuumusic is excited to announce that we have upgraded our mixing technology for our PA hire department.

We’ve gone completely digital on all our hire systems….. and wireless!  (*except for the smallest rig which is just designed for a single mic and an iPod connection.  It’d be overkill to change that so we are keeping it an analogue system.  Other than that though, all our hire systems feature this new gear!)

If you have a smart phone, tablet or laptop computer, you can now hire one of our PA systems that are powered by our brand new Soundcraft Ui16 mixing systems.

The Ui16 consists of a digital “stage box” that you connect your device to via wifi, offering you the ability to use all the powerful mixing functions of a full digital audio workstation right on your phone, tablet or laptop

ui16-hero
ui-control ui-iphone ui-laptop

​​The features on this rig are truly amazing and will please both the professional engineer and novice alike.  The simple to use interface works in any internet browser.  There are no apps or programs to download.  You just connect your device via the inbuilt hotspot, wifi or ethernet cable and you will be up and running.  You can even connect multiple devices so your band can adjust their own foldback straight from their phone on stage!

You can connect up to 12 microphones or instruments plus a CD player or iPod.  There’s even a USB slot that you can stick a thumb drive full of Mp3s or .wav files in for background music.

There are four separate aux sends for foldback or in ear monitors plus built in effects including reverb, delay and chorus.  There’s even an inbuilt DigiTech amp modeller available on two channels so you guitarists can just plug straight in and dial up your favourite amplifier. 

There’s full parametric EQ and dynamics for every channel and all outputs have their own 31 band graphic eq’s plus a feedback supressor!,

AND you can even record the main outputs directly to a USB thumb drive to capture your show!

Don’t know much about mixing?  Don’t worry.  The interface can be operated easily for even the most inexperienced budding engineer.  We’ve even loaded in a bunch of preset “shows” that will cover most types of set ups so that you can just plug in and play with a minimum of fuss. AND, if you give us the specs of your band lineup before you hire, we’ll even make you a tailor-made setup that will have all the basic settings you will need (give or take some tweaking at the show). You can then save that on a USB stick, upgrade a “snapshot” of the settings after your first gig and have it ready for your next hire so that you will have that same mix ready to go at your next gig.

Our Ui16 mixing units are replacing our old analogue mixers and make up the “heart and brains” of all our driveway hire systems.  Whether you only need a couple of powered speakers for a bash in your lounge room, through to a full rig with fold back for that big show you’ve got coming up, The Ui16 will give you everything you need to make your gig a success.

Here’s a list of the specs.

  • Tablet/PC/Smartphone Controlled Digital Mixer
  • Integrated Wi-Fi
  • Cross-platform compatibility with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux devices
  • Use up to 10 control devices (tablets, phones, PCs) simultaneously
  • Legendary Harman Signal Processing from dbx®, Digitech®, and Lexicon®
  • Fully recallable and remote-controlled mic preamps
  • 4-band Parametric EQ, High-Pass Filter, Compressor, De-esser and Noise Gate on input channels
  • 31-band Graphic EQ, Noise Gate and Compressor on all outputs
  • Real-Time Frequency Analyser (RTA) on inputs and outputs
  • 3 dedicated Lexicon® FX effects processors: Reverb, Delay and Chorus
  • Subgroups, Mute Groups, View Groups, and more mixer controls
  • Show/Snapshot recall with channel safes and security lockout
  • 2-channel USB audio playback and recording

If you don’t feel comfortable mixing yourself and you’d prefer someone with some ‘sound knowledge’ (pardon the pun!) to do the job for you, we can provide that too.  Our fully operated systems also offer up to 24 channels of input if required so even the biggest of shows can be catered to, indoor and out!

We love these things and we are sure you will too. So far, I think we are the only ones in town offering this kind of technology for hire and we are doing it super cheap so that you get to experience the fun we are having without it breaking the bank.

This is Soundcraft equipment. You may not have heard of them but if you’re an engineer you will have known their reputation. It’s a solid and sought after brand amongst those in the know and having now tested it thoroughly, I can tell you with true conviction that it sounds awesome and is as solid a platform as it gets. Seriously, these things do almost as much as my recording software (but for live stuff). If you were to try and set up the analogue equivalent that could do what these babies can do, you’d need a truck. A big truck! Apart from the lug, the setup would take ages and probably fry your brain. With the Soundcraft Ui16, it all comes in a neat little box that’s no bigger than the stage box at the end of my multicore. And you just plug your mics, instruments and speakers into it and you are ready to rock.

So, enough on the sales spiel. I want to tell you about our “MEGA RIG”.

Now, this is only for “operated hires”. (ie. Either Paul or I will be setting it up and running it.)

Seriously, it takes a bit of nouse to set it up and…. well…. no offence….. But I think I’m actually the first to do this (at least I can’t find anyone else who has attempted it yet and told the tale online). I’m not going to spread the word on how I did it. As far as I know, our rig is unique at the moment. I think I’d like to keep it that way. (suffice to say to those who wish to emulate what I’ve done, “yes, it can be done…. and it works. Figure it out and enjoy!” I will happily answer your questions at a thousand bucks a pop. Lol.)

Anyway, so I’m running two of these units simultaneously for our bigger shows. 12 channels is awesome and will cover you for just about any small to mid range show (even some big shows depending on the band line up) but for our “bigger” shows, we can be running a tonne of channels and we really need the extra I/O.

For example, last Thursday we were doing a musical stage show for a school. We were running 10 wireless, headset mics, 5 on-stage condensor microphones, 2 wireless handheld mics, a CD player for backing tracks, a DVD player for FX that were linked to projections, and four monitor sends.

You need a lot of ins and outs for that sort of thing. Even if you were just doing a band at a relatively big show, you could be running kick, snare, hi-hat, three toms, two overhead mics, a bass DI (maybe a cabinet mic as well), two guitar amps miked up, a stereo keyboard, four or five vocals and maybe drum triggers or FX loops (along with a click track that only the drummer can hear through in-ears).

See what I mean? It can add up!

So I’m running 24 channels of input (plus an additional stereo line in if necessary) and I’ve got a USB stick full of different styles of music to play between sets.) I have up to six auxilliary sends available. (Almost all shows only really require four maximum but if the whole band has in-ear monitors, I can probably sort it for them with six.)

In a few days, Paul and I will be using this same rig at a Festival in Narrabeen (get down there if you’d like to check it out in action.) This festival will have everything from belly dancers strutting their stuff to backing tracks through to a twenty piece orchestra. Rock bands through to Russian folk groups. We’ll need to be able to handle anything from three inputs through to twenty four and seamlessly change over acts with little to no between-set time allotted. (and take care of cue-ing backing tracks coming from anything from a USB stick or phone through to your old-school technology like CD’s and iPods. AND, we won’t know until two minutes before hand, what the line up is. (Welcome to a day in the life of Continuumusic. And we always handle it…. with style and grace and a sound that can’t be beat!)

During this time I will have full control over everything from a laptop that has an additional screen attached to it. (that’s a touch screen by the way. So I can just move the controls with my fingers rather than a mouse if I choose. I’ve also got a tablet. That allows me to wander around the venue or up on to the stage and make adjustments to anything I need. No more running back across the hall for this little black duck!

If, in a moment of stupidity, I left the tablet at the other end of the room, no problem. I can pull out my phone if I really want to slum it and still do everything from there.

Life suddenly got a whole lot easier and considerably more fun.

Kind of makes me want to get out and mix some live stuff again! So, if you need a big rig, I’m here for ya.

Still a truck load of cables going on for this rig (More than you’d ever need for your hire rig) but now it’s mostly CAT5 cable rather than multicore and mic cables.  and my laptop looks like it’s grown roots but I think I can safely say that this is “the best damn live rig that I’ve ever worked with” (and I’ve been stuck behind a few.)

But I’m in my element with it. I feel like I can finally cover all my live engineering needs without compromise (and without an army of Egyptian slaves to help me lug!

But if your show is a little smaller than that and you just want to have all the fun on your own, that’s cool too. We are happy to hire out a single unit on its own or with any speakers, amps, mics, stands and leads you need.  Check out our PA packages page for gear specs and prices.  

And, here’s the link to the Soundcraft website with the “how to” videos for operating absolutely everything if you want to work out in advance how to work it.

www.soundcraft.com/products/ui16

There are a number of videos but they’re short and informative (and don’t get overly technical.) Have a look and see for yourself. Remember, that with our custom-made presets for your band, it’s easier than it may look for you to have an incredibly awesome show all on your own and even save it so that it’s just as perfect the next time (lets see you do that with an analogue desk!).  

If you go to their “software demos” section, you can even try out the software for yourself to get some practice in for using the controls.

This is almost as good as having “your own engineer” that knows your band coming to all of your shows

Call us on 9905 0010 or email to mail@conti.net.au to find out more (I’m happy to brag and show off the gear. I’m even willing to give you a demonstration whilst you’re in rehearsing if I’m available.)

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