Old Console: Yamaha DM2000

Old Input Section: Yamaha AD8HR units (x4) plus the Apogee Big Ben master word clock


We will be working with the McKinney Performing Arts Center to replace their aging Yamaha DM2000 digital mixing console and associated input/output gear with a Behringer X32 console and S32 I/O unit.

The challenge with this transition isn't just with the mixing console itself, but the associated methods of getting signals in and out of it. The Yamaha solution used Yamaha AD8HR 8-channel analog to digital head units, which converted microphone inputs from the stage snakes to multi-pair AES channels. You'd have four 2-channel AES pairs coming out of each unit and sent via conduit to the mixing booth to be attached to an input card on the DM2000.

For the output side, the DM2000 was sending the feeds using CobraNet. These were received by a set of QSC BASIS units that perform cross over, delay, and mixing functions before sending the signal (as analog) to the various power amplifiers. The BASIS units themselves do not have (to a significant degree) any analog inputs - they only receive input via the CobraNet digital interface.

So, in order to swap out the mixing console, we had to replace the A/D input stage and the D/A output stage.

To do that, we elected to use the Behringer S32 input/output unit, which is located in the theater's amp room. This connects back to the X32 console using a shielded CAT6 cable (which we double for redundancy sake) using AES50. This gives us 32 analog inputs in the amp room (and there happens to be 32 snake channels at the stage) and 16 analog outputs in the amp room.

Because the QSC BASIS units were, among other things, performing the cross over functions necessary to feed the biamped speakers, we had to add an analog cross over (the Behringer CX3400) for the stereo mains. We are leaving the center cluster unconfigured for the time being (and we'll explain the reasoning behind that). The subs will be fed directly from one of the outputs. Another output will actually feed into a distribution amplifier that is sitting unused in the rack. That DA then feeds to the front-fills and the bathroom / green room 70V system. The monitor amplifiers are also feed directly from the outputs.

A separate Behringer DEQ2496 stereo EQ and notch filter is inserted into the analog path of the stereo mains at the mixing console itself. This allows room EQ to be adjusted and for the flexibility of using both the house PA and any external PA stack that is brought in.

The project is being implemented in two phases. The first is the initial cutover. Here we'll be disconnecting and storing the DM2000. We will also disconnect all of the AD8HR units and all connections from the BASIS units to the amplifiers (which use a QSC proprietary HD15 connector). We will also dismount the AD8HR unit that has failed to the point where it will not power on any longer, as well as a few blank face plates in the amp room rack.

We'll then mount the S32 and CX3400 in the amp room and connect them to the stage inputs and amplifiers. We will also place the X32 console and DEQ2496 in the booth and connect everything together.

Should the need arise to revert to the DM2000, the process is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished easily enough - just reconnect the AD8HR units and the QSC amps and return the DM2000 to the booth and hook it up.

The second phase of the project is where we permanently remove or repurpose the old DM2000 input/output units. The AD8HR units will be dismounted. The malfunctioning BASIS units (and those that are CobraNet only) will be removed. Any remaining BASIS units that allow for analog input will be repurposed to provide support for the center and surround channels and hooked up. Additionally feeds into the VRAS system will be configured (and the VRAS itself reprogrammed) to support the new solution. At this point, there's no going back (as we don't have the original code for the old setup).

All in all, a fairly simple cutover process and this should breathe some new life into the sound system at the theater.

New Mixing Booth Layout: The Behringer X32 sits in its new home. The DEQ2496 is sitting on top of the existing CD player on the right. This board is a lot smaller than the DM2000, so the desk has plenty of extra room!

New Input / Output Section: In the amp rack, the Behringer S32 acts as the primary input/output device for the facility. The theater has three stage boxes (12 inputs/8 inputs/12 inputs) that we wire in to inputs 1-32 on the S32. The output section has us currently using 8 channels (Left/Right, Subs, Front-Fills, and four monitor feeds). We'll eventually wire up three more (Center, Surround Left/Right), but we have some open channels, so that makes operations easy to handle.

We'll remove the Big Ben and the AD8HR units as a part of cleanup during Phase II of this project.

Main Crossover: The Behringer CX3400 unit is sitting above the main amplifiers in the rack. The BASIS units you see above will be removed or repurposed as a part of Phase II. The Left/Right main outputs from the S32 are wired into the CX3400, which is configured as a stereo 3-way cross over. The highs and mids go to the amps for the left and right clusters while the lows are summed and sent to the subwoofer. That output is ultimately summed with the dedicated subwoofer output from the S32. This allows us to have a full sound for just stereo presentation and the ability to add "kick" to the low end on a per-source basis.

This may end up getting replaced by one of the BASIS units (which we'll definitely need for the center cluster in Phase II), but this unit suffices for the time being.