We received our Studer Vista 9 demo this week. This was our chance to get hands on with it in our facility at our own pace. First off, that’s a BIG crate, ha ha. The unit is assembled studio console style with the legs attached, not as portable as a dedicated live console, but it’s not meant to be portable.
The demo system we received consisted of a local I/O processor rack, a 64×32 remote input rack, and the Vista 9 console itself. In a Studer system the console is really just a control surface, no audio processing takes place in it, that’s all happening in the process rack. The console is your interface to control what’s going on.
Everything is built with reliability and redundancy in mind. Everything has dual power supplies and stuff that handles audio processing has dual redundant processors. This means that you would have to have multiple failures at the same time before audio would go down. Good to know when it’s all software running everything.
One big difference between analog and digital is if you have a failure. In the analog world you would have multiple power supplies in ahigh profile event so a power failure taking down audio would be rare. Fail in the analog world in another way and you typically lose just one channel. Since a software crash in digital would take down everything at once, it’s very important to have full, simultaneous, redundancy for high profile events. Our campus ultimately feeds over 50,000 people in a weekend when you add up campuses, internet, and radio, we need reliability.
So we got everything set up. It’s a little extra work since the processing isn’t built into the console but once you’ve connected it once it’s 5 minutes to set up again. First you boot up the desk and then on the computer monitor you open of the software. Once the desk boots up and the software loads you’re ready to control audio. It’s a little slow but as long as you’re on a UPS and you don’t have to reboot during a show it’s not that big of a deal.
Once up and running you’re met with some nice huge meters, lots of knobs for direct access, and lots of touch panels. The console we had to demo was 30 input faders, 10 master section faders, and 2 master faders. You can have up to 6 layers for the input channels and 4 layers in the master section. This gives you a good amount of faders for quick access. Personally I would want more in the master section to be able to have groups and VCA’s on the same layer at the same time. You can put any fader anywhere on the desk though so you could sacrifice some input faders for VCA’s or groups.
Once we got the console up and running we did run into some issues. My guess is that this console does not like to be moved. Our console went from Korea, to the UK, then to us in Fort Lauderdale. The problems we experienced with this demo console are kinda typical of connectors or cards rattling loose. I’m sure that these are all fixable but several things accumulated and kinda left us nervous about this particular console. So for many reasons, we’re sending it back and the search continues!