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Allen & Heath Avantis Digital Console

George Petersen • October 2019Technology Spotlight • October 15, 2019

Allen & Heath Avantis begins shipping this month (Oct. 2019)

The Third Chapter in the Company’s 96k Hz Mixer Trilogy

There’s a new entry in Allen & Heath’s story of FPGA-driven, 96 kHz resolution digital console line, and it will be welcome news to fans of the popular mix platform. In a move vaguely reminiscent to Goldilocks’ saying “this one is just right,” the new 64-channel/42 configurable bus Avantis console falls right between the company’s 48-channel SQ and flagship 128-channel dLive models. And this is no stripped-down version — serious sound reinforcement professionals will surely appreciate how Avantis takes full advantage of Allen & Heath’s XCVI FPGA engine, while offering two large, bright, 1080i HD touch screens, extensive I/O options and processing from the company’s flagship dLive mixing system.

“Avantis completes our trilogy of next-gen 96k Hz consoles,” says company managing director Rob Clark. “Avantis takes many of the features that have made SQ and dLive so popular, putting them in a standalone 64-channel mixer that offers a new UI experience, connectivity with our Everything I/O ecosystem, and the dPack option which gives you access to our advanced dLive processing options if — and when — you need them.” “On top of that,” he adds, “we’ve taken a new approach with the industrial design, coming up with a full-metal alloy chassis and tubular frame exoskeleton that’s super-strong, lightweight and looks fantastic.”

Although packing substantial mix and DSP power, Avantis requires only a fairly modest 36.1 x 24.7-inch footprint, something with obvious appeal in live theater and installation applications, while its manageable 57.4-pound heft is sure to be appreciated by road crews everywhere.

The rear panel has all the connections for the local I/O, gigabit Ethernet control ports, SLink and two expansion slots for optional digital I/O modules.

‡‡         Need for Speed

Surrounded by that rugged exterior, operations focus on the twin massive 15.6” (diagonal) displays with 206 square-inches of total screen space, combined with 24 assignable softkeys and motorized faders that react on touch to immediately highlight the active channels for instant visual feedback. The 24 individual channel rotaries offer quick tweaking gains or pans, then at the touch of a button, can dynamically fold the display to show EQ or compressor parameters across the whole bank.

Fader strips can be configured as input channels, mixes, FX sends, FX returns, DCA masters or MIDI strips. Each fader strip has dedicated PAFL, mix and mute buttons with indicators and a rotary controller. Six buttons with indicators provide global mode for the rotary controls, as gain, pan, sends and up to three custom functions.

Everything is built for speed — and efficiency. Continuity UI lets users see and instantly interact with more of what matters, enabling a seamless connection between the physical controls and the displays. A FastGrab tab on the right side of each screen provides split-second access to parameters such as aux sends, EQ, dynamics and FX on the currently selected or specific channel. The name blocks display each visible channel’s name, color, type, number, status, pan, gain, trim, metering, processor gain reduction and other data.

One of the mixer’s 15.6-inch HD touch screens with gesture control and rotary encoders for fast, easy access to parameters

‡‡         I/O — To Go!

While many users will pair Avantis with the 48 in/16 out GX4816 audio expander, Avantis supports Allen & Heath’s “Everything I/O” ecosystem, connecting to a huge range of audio expander hardware — including any of the existing Allen & Heath stageboxes already in your inventory. Avantis is also compatible with Allen & Heath’s range of ME Personal Mixers and IP hardware remote controllers.

In terms of local I/O, Avantis is well equipped, with 12 XLR analog mic/line inputs, 12 XLR analog outs, plus AES (stereo in and two stereo outs). The digital outs default to 96k Hz sampling rate but are globally switchable to 48k Hz or 44.1k Hz if required. The fully recallable onboard mic preamps offer ultra-low-noise performance (-127 dB EIN) and feature individually switchable phantom power.

Two rear panel I/O expansion ports allow Avantis to benefit from the full range of current dLive option cards, including Dante (64×64 and 128×128), Waves, gigaACE, MADI and more, expanding the scope for system integration, FOH/monitor splits and multi-track recording. Word clock I/O is also standard.

Avantis’ “exoskeleton” frame design provides a strong, rigid structure but also offers secure handling when moving the mixer

‡‡         Need More?

Right out of the box, Avantis is loaded with processing tools designed to meet the demands of most users and applications, including compressors, EQs and Allen & Heath’s acclaimed RackExtra FX units (12 slots). Upgrading to dPack expands Avantis further with additional dLive processing including the Dyn8 dynamics engine (up to 16 instances), DEEP Compressors, and the Dual-Stage Valve preamp. dPack purchasers will automatically receive all future DEEP and FX updates free of charge, future-proofing their investment. And all FX have dedicated stereo returns so you don’t need to “waste” input channels.

USB recording/playback to/from stereo WAV files is standard, as is an built-in signal generator (sine waves, white noise, pink noise and band-pass) that’s routable to any input and output mix and onboard graphic EQs with RTA function on all output mix channels. Avantis also features 16 DCA groups (with DCA Spill functionality) and eight mute groups along with Automatic Mic Mixing (AMM) of up to 64 microphone sources into 1, 2 or 4 zones.

“There are still a number of DSP-based ‘old-school’ 48k Hz desks plunking along out there,” says Jeff Hawley, Allen & Heath USA marketing manager. “With Avantis, forward-thinking house of worship, touring and rental customers will be excited about the leap into a much more modern and efficient and expansive mixing ecosystem.”

Initial deliveries of Avantis systems begin this month (Oct. 2019); more info is available at allen-heath.com.

Check out a video overview of the features here… https://youtu.be/K4jkiTzdvjM

At a Glance

The New Mid-Line Entry

This British console manufacturer launches a new model that bridges the gap between its SQ Series and its flagship dLive with a 64-channel desk intended squarely for the portable, install and touring markets.

Allen & Heath Avantis

STATS

Configuration: 64 input channels; 42 output buses

DAC/ADC Resolution: 96k Hz; 32-bit

Layers: Two banks, each with six layers

Faders: (20) input, (4) bus output; motorized

Outputs: 12 XLR analog, (2) AES/EBU stereo pairs, USB, Dante (optional)

Scene Memories: 500

Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 30k Hz (+0/-0.8 dB)

Footprint: 36.1” x 24.7” (WxL)

Weight: 57.4 pounds

AC Power: 100-240 VAC; 50/60 Hz

Prices (MSRP): mixer only $9,999; dPack add-on, $1,399; GX4816 Remote Expander, $3,999

Manufacturer: Allen & Heath

More Info: www.allen-heath.com

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