CueMix FX gives you comprehensive graphic control over your mix. CueMix FX is a completely new software front-end with attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all 828mk3 mixing features, digitally controlled trims and other settings.
CueMix FX can be operated side by side with any host audio software for Mac or Windows, and it can be controlled from the Mackie Control Universal Pro automated worksurface.
Three separate tabs show inputs, mix busses and outputs. Click the “Focus” button on any channel or bus to edit its settings in the area on the right-hand side, which provides separate tabs for graphic editing of parametric EQ, compression and other effects. Each channel strip displays a graphic thumbnail of EQ curves, compressor settings and other channel specific parameters. There is also a section for talkback and listenback.
The 828mk3 supports up to eight separate stereo mixes assigned to any eight digital or analog output pairs. For example, you could set up separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphone outs, while two additional stereo buses could be used for send/return loops to reverb units or other outboard gear. Each mix can support all 28 inputs (8 TRS analog, 2 mic, 16 ADAT optical digital and stereo SPDIF digital).
The 828mk3’s flexible effects architecture allows you to apply EQ and compression on every input and output (a total of 58 channels), with enough DSP resources for at least one band of parametric EQ and compression on every channel at 48 kHz. However, DSP resources are allocated dynamically and a DSP meter allows you to keep tabs on the 828mk3’s processing resources.
Each input, output and mix bus provides a send to the Classic Reverb processor, which then feeds reverb returns to mix buses and outputs, with a selectable split point between them to prevent send/return feedback loops.
CueMix FX provides Talkback and Listenback features. Talkback allows an engineer in the control room to temporarily dim all audio and talk to musicians in the live room. Conversely, Listenback allows musicians to talk to the control room. For Talkback, you can set up a dedicated mic in your control room and connect it to a mic input on your 828mk3. For Listenback, you can set up a dedicated listenback mic in the live room for the musicians and connect it to another mic input.
Two channels can be grouped to a single fader for stereo operation. Two stereo panning modes are available: balance and width. Balance mode works much like a normal stereo balance control, one channel fades in and the other fades out. Width mode collapses the stereo image to mono by adjusting the relative pans of each channel gradually to center.
For stereo inputs, an optional M/S (mid-side) decoder can be enabled with adjustable width control and software-swappable inputs.
Signal activity of all inputs, busses and outputs can be monitored via the meters pane. In addition to the meters present on individual channels, a high-resolution meter and output bus activity associated with that channel can be displayed in the primary status window.
The EQ, compression and reverb tabs give you complete access to the 828mk3’s on-board effects, and because they are driven by hardware DSP inside the 828mk3, they won’t tax your host computer’s CPU. You can even use the effects without a computer connected.
The tabs shown above let you focus on one channel at a time and edit its settings using the high-resolution graphic display. But EQ and dynamics settings can also be edited on all channels in line (within each channel strip), where you can compare critical settings side-by-side, as shown below.
All of the mixing features described on these pages are available during stand-alone operation, and all of them can be accessed from the front panel LCD. This means you can program your mixes with the CueMix FX software in the studio and then take the 828mk3 on the road as a stand-alone digital mixer. Tweak your mix on location from the front panel.
- One window with convenient tabs
- Eight stereo buses
- DSP resources for mixing and effects
- Talkback and Listenback
- Stereo operation
- Software metering
- Effects programming
- Front-panel LCD access to all mix settings
As anyone who works with computers and recording knows, latency is always a problem, but with CueMix FX, you can set up a record path which is close to zero latency, add a small amount of compression going into your host audio package, whilst treating your performer to a splash of reverb in the cans – ideal!
I immediately plugged in a mic and tested the theory and was immediately struck by the cleanliness of the signal. I have used other bus powered devices in the past, which have often suffered from lack of headroom or the odd buzz and whistle, but with a U87 on the front end, powered by 48V, delivery was clean and clear. I tracked up a few vocal takes to find real depth to the recordings. Replaying recordings on other devices can often sound sterile, but besides crisp and clear accuracy there was also real richness in the lower frequencies of my recorded voice, but with real clarity, presumably down to the 24bit conversion, and also in part to the quality of the Mic pre-amp. If you want to, you can drive this box up to a sampling rate of 192Khz, although I was working at the lower and more usual 44.1kHz.
Although the FX side of this device is most welcome, I did grapple for a few minutes to hear the Reverb. This, so it turns out, was just down to a switch on Cue Mix, which needed to be engaged, but it wasn’t that obvious to me.
The compression and limiting options are incredibly useful, the compressor being based on the legendary LA-2A. Recording in the knowledge that I won’t be peaking, and allowing me to concentrate on my score rather than checking the meters, is crucial for me.
Review from Absolute Music