Line 6 Soundscape M20d - feature by feature

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


by Doug Doppler, ChristianMusician.com

The Line
 6 StageScape 
M20d does a fantastic
 job of addressing the 
challenges we face each week, 
and it does it all via a touch-sensitive user interface that can be mirrored on one or more iPads.

WORKFLOW
One of the biggest challenges we face on Sunday mornings is developing a streamlined workflow for sound check, monitor levels, and front of house mix. Workflow is an integral part of how this unit was designed, and is key to its effectiveness in a worship environment.

MODES
The five Mode Buttons allow you to toggle between the Setup, Tweak, Record, Monitor, and Perform views in the UI. With the exception of Record Mode, these buttons trace the exact production path you’d follow on a Sunday, making for a streamlined approach on an architectural level.

SETUP MODE
While the M20d helps configure smart workflow, it also offers an extreme amount of flexibility in approach. From within the Setup View you can use one of three approaches to configure a channel. While these channels have the traditional functionality associated with channel strips, the M20d makes a paradigm shift away from this workflow via contextual menus, which are more effective in a touch screen environment.

Setup from Input Jacks

The 12 combi-jacks, 4 balanced TRS jacks, and Aux In audio sources are all auto-sensing and their status appears in the Main Toolbar at the top of the Setup View. Once an input source is active it shows up as a basic icon on the seven-inch touchscreen, including input number. Selecting a basic icon triggers a contextual menu enabling you to name the input source and associate an input-specific icon. While there are icons for nearly every type of input source, in the background they load editable source-appropriate signal processing presets.

Setup from Icon Strip

You can also create a setup by selecting any of the icons in the Icon Strip and dragging it to the desired location on the stage for a visual representation of the actual layout of the instruments on the platform. Once again, this automatically loads the appropriate channel type for the input source. It also associates an input source that is editable on the fly in case of a patching error. While you can easily do a physical re-patch via the top mounted input jacks, being able to reroute input sources internally is particularly valuable when leveraging the remote iPad functionality. While the free iPad app (you’ll need to purchase a Line 6-authorized WiFi USB stick) mirrors all functionality, it is also
screen independent, which means that two people can be working on setups simultaneously. Being able to re-route inputs from the platform will be a huge time saver on Sunday mornings.

Setup from Memory

Selecting the Setups tab allows you to save, load, and edit Setups, ideal for teams with instrumentation that varies from week to week. Production-wise, this allows you to map and save individual “stations” into a Setup and recall them when that team is scheduled.

TWEAKMODE


Once you’ve selected an icon on the stage in Setup Mode, hitting the Tweak Mode button allows you to edit that channel. Selecting the Quick Tweak Tab from the Toolbar calls up a sleek touch and drag UI for a visually-driven approach to tweaking effects. The Deep Tweak Tab loads a traditional UI. What is wonderfully unique about the Deep Tweak UI is how it color maps functionality to the twelve Rotary Encoders, taking the guesswork out of adjusting parameters.

 

 



MONITOR MODE

If you move directly from Tweak to Monitor then the same channel will be active, supporting a seamless workflow. Selecting the Mon (monitor) Tab in the Toolbar allows you to select which of the four monitor mixes you want to edit. Once you’re done you can select and edit the other Icons on the stage.

Effects

You can assign any of the four global effects to each of the monitor sends. Adding some reverb to the BVs (background vocals) or choir can be a big help in establishing a better blend in the lead vocalist’s monitor.

Channel Link

Defeat-able Link functionality enables both the FOH and monitor levels to be tethered together, making for faster, more intuitive monitor setups. Icon-driven sources like vocals are automatically Link-enabled, while electric guitars are not, noting that guitar players are most likely getting stage volume from their amps.

PERFORM MODE

Once again, the last Stage Icon you selected will be active when you enter Performance Mode.

Scenes

Selecting the Scenes tab from the Toolbar enables you to save, recall, end edit scenes. In combination with Setups you can dramatically reduce setup time, reducing user error in the process.

Level

Selecting the Level Tab pulls up a contextual menu from which you can adjust Level, Pan, Trim, and the four Global Effects.

RECORD MODE

Whether for rehearsal, service, or songwriting, the M20d also offers smart, easy to use recording integration, the most basic of which requires no connection to a computer or hard drive.

Quick Capture

Once you’ve got the monitor and FOH mixes dialed in, Quick Capture allows you to record twenty second snapshots of any one or more instruments. This kind of virtual sound check is priceless for fine-tuning EQ on competing instruments like guitar and keys. It’s also great for shaping the how far you want the BVs to sit behind the lead vocals. The best part is that all of this can all be controlled from the platform via iPad, with no need for an external media source.

Recording

What virtual sound check does for a mix, Recording will do for your rehearsal. You can record up to 18 channels of 24-bit uncompressed audio at 48k including aux inputs and main mix to an SD Card or USB drive. If you’re using Planning Center, you can post the mix file online and add performance and production comments.

Recording to Computer

After installing the Line 6 M20d driver Pro Tools was immediately able to recognize the M20d as an audio interface. You can record up to 18 channels of 24-bit uncompressed audio at 48k as well as the main mix. The audio quality was excellent on my test tracks. This opens up highly effective workflow for worship leaders or MDs looking for a robust way to document and share arrangements with their teams.

 

L6 LINK

Line 6 first introduced this proprietary data-networking format with the POD HD series. This allows you to digitally connect, configure, and feed audio and data to multiple StageSource speakers via a single daisy chain of AES/EBU XLR terminated cables.
As an end result these systems are easy to setup and configure.

KEY FEATURES

In addition to the Mode Buttons, twelve encoders, and top mounted i/o, there are several other noteworthy features.

Feedback Suppression

Each channel features per-channel multi-band feedback suppression.

Auto-sensing Mains and Monitors

One of the key benefits of the UI is the ability to see which of the auto-sensing input and outputs are active. A Monitors Icon automatically appears on the Stage upon input, and small Speaker Icons fully illuminate when mains are connected.

Mute Mics

The Mute Mics button is highly visible on the interface and is easily programmed within Perform View to cue any combination of mics and instruments.

Mute All

There may be time you want total P.A. silence and this button will get you there fast.

Master Level Encoder

If every device we used had a big giant volume knob, the world would be a better place. This is a great example of how the shift away from the channel strip paradigm is particularly effective.
 

While the M20d is the first StageScape mixer to hit the market, it is one of the best realized products I’ve come across. Everything about the M20d was brilliantly designed and executed—especially for a House of Worship.