Now there's a really easy way to make great live sound, thanks to Soundcraft's new integrated mixer/amplifier GigRac. Whether you're a solo performer or a in small band, you'll appreciate not only GigRac's cool, stylish looks, but also its portability, and the ease with which you can connect your microphones, instruments and loudspeakers to deliver a punchy performance every time. GigRac comes from Soundcraft, the name behind the live sound mixing consoles used on many of the world's major tours and festivals, so you can be sure that the sound quality is going to be absolutely staggering.
GigRac makes it easy to set up your own PA, needing just speakers and cables to complete the system. Get from mic or guitar to a great sound in no time at all. Everything you need is provided, from high-quality mic preamps to make your voice clear and effective, a great sounding 2-band EQ to cope with demanding sources, a 7-band graphic EQ designed by professional audio industry leaders BSS Audio, and a selection of preset digital effects to give you major stage presence, and all this in a drop dead gorgeous package that you can carry over your shoulder.
Amplifier Assignment Switch
The amplifier assignment switch on the GigRac 600 allows both the main and monitor mixes to be powered through the internal 300 Watt amplifiers, giving you completely flexible monitoring options for any performance situation.
In small venues, it may be desirable to use one of the internal amplifiers to power a monitoring wedge for the band to hear, while the other amplifier powers a speaker for the audience. This is simple to set up on GigRac, by pressing the amplifier assignment
For larger venues or outdoor use, it will be preferable to provide as much front-of-house (audience) sound as possible. In this case, both internal amplifiers can be used to power the main mix, by having the amplifier assignment switch out.
To further enhance monitoring options, additional main and monitor mix outputs for the connection of additional 'powered' speaker cabinets are provided on GigRac's front panel.
Soundcraft's Studio digital quality effects
GigRac has a total of 8 studio-quality digital effects built-in, adding a professional finish to your performance. You can select from 5 reverbs simulating 5 different room sizes, a chorus/reverb and 2 echo/delays, used to thicken' vocal performances.
Crucially, GigRac allows the digital effects to be added individually to the Main and the Monitor mixes, so you can hear the mix dry' on headphones and via monitors, while the audience hears the Main mix complete with stunning digital effects. And by connecting a footswitch, it's possible to turn the effects on and off during a performance.
Tip: Digital reverb is best used in venues which don't have a big acoustic - i.e. where the sound stops immediately after the signal source is taken away. In these cases, adding reverb enriches the performance. However, if you're performing in a venue which is already quite reverberant (such as a large concert hall), don't add any more reverb. This will just make your performance sound 'muddy'.
Tip: Avoid adding too much reverb to the monitor mix. While the audience may benefit from reverb, it is better for the band to hear their performance 'dry' - without too many effects added.
FX outputs and Submix input (Send and Return)
In addition to the GigRac's own built-in digital effects, it's also easy to connect an external effects processor via the FX outputs on the front panel. The FX send level controls on the channel strips can then be used in the usual way and the output of the external processor can be plugged into either a channel or the submix input.
If you want to turn the effects on and off during the performance, GigRac's FX footswitch socket makes connection easy. It accepts all standard single-throw footswitch designs.
The Submix input can be used as either a return for an external effects processor or as an additional, fixed level input for equipment such as CD and MP3 players.
7- band Graphic EQ
Even with the same setup, a performance can sound very different from one venue to the next. The way in which sound waves reflect and interact with surfaces and objects within a room (the acoustics) change the tonal quality of the overall sound, boosting some frequencies (sometimes to the point of feedback) and reducing others.
That's why the GigRac is equipped with a graphic equaliser, enabling the operator to boost and cut frequencies at 7 points to 'tune' the overall sound to suit the acoustics of the particular venue. At the touch of a button, the graphic equaliser can be switched into the monitor mix for the band to hear or into the main mix for the audience to hear.
It's a process that professional sound engineers are familiar with as they tour from venue to venue. And because GigRac's so easy to use, a little practise is all you'll need to achieve professional results too. If you've never used a graphic equaliser before, follow these guidelines:
Start with all sliders on their '0' mark. Now listen to your overall mix and analyse what the sound lacks or has too much of. If it sounds too piercing, that's an indication that the high frequencies are too loud. If it sound boomy, it's an indication that the low frequencies are too loud. Next, use the faders to boost or reduce the level of the fader that most closely matches the frequency you think is a problem. The trick is to move the faders by small amounts initially. Don't push them too far or you'll end up with an unbalanced mix.
To get rid of feedback, start with all sliders on their '0' mark and set the master volume to a level just below where feedback occurs. Moving only one slider at a time, slowly boost the level until feedback occurs (if at all) and then move it back to '0'. Do this for all 7 sliders. Now reduce the level of the slider which had to be boosted the least before feedback occured. It will now be possible to increase the master volume without feedback.
Professional Equipped Input Channels
Soundcraft equalisation (EQ) is a legend amongst professional sound engineers and renowned the world over for its precision and musicality. At the top of all 8 GigRac input channels you'll find a classic Soundcraft 2-band EQ section comprising of treble and bass rotary controls, allowing sophisticated tone shaping of the microphone or instrument connected.
Next comes a line of 8 FX controls, used to set the signal level sent from each channel to the GigRac's digital effects processor (see Studio Quality Effects). The higher the FX send level, the more of the effect is added to the sound of that channel. For example, you may want a lot of reverb on the vocal mics plugged into channels 1 and 2, less on the vocal mics plugged into 3 and 4, and less still on the instruments plugged into the remaining channels. With GigRac, you're in control.
Beneath the FX controls are the blue and red Monitor and Main channel level controls. These control the individual volume levels of all eight channels in 2 separate overall mixes: Monitor being what you and the band hear on stage via your monitor speakers and Main being what the audience hears via the main speakers. It's important to have independent Monitor and Main mixes as performers often need to hear certain elements of the mix louder (for example a piano or main instrument for reference), whereas the audience would require a balanced mix. The overall volume level of the Monitor and Main mixes is controlled via the master volume controls to the right of the channel strips.
All 8 GigRac input channel have combined balanced jack/XLR input sockets to accommodate the widest possible range of microphones and instruments, and to minimise distortion and noise.
The Pad switch at the bottom channels 1 to 4A is used to cut the level of particularly high output microphones which can cause distortion by overloading the input.
Channels 5 and 6 of the GigRac feature alternative stereo phono inputs beneath the combined XLR/jack connector, making it easy to plug in a CD player, record deck, MP3 player of MIDI file player. Perfect for playing pre-recorded music before and after your performance, this facility als