Canary Stereo 18 Channel B Series Mixer
The increasing use being made by leading groups of large stage mixers for balancing the sound of their live music has led Canary to extend their 'B series' range of mixers. The 18 input, stereo output model, which is the subject of this test report, is a new big brother to the 12 and 15 channel units which have been available for some time. Its appearance is similar to the smaller models except the length has been increased to accomodate the extra input channels.
The facilities provided on each of the 18 identical input channels are:- (i) 200 ohm balanced line inputs through both XLR connectors and 3 point jack sockets; (ii) input sensitivity control; (iii) Bass, middle and treble tone controls; (iv) Echo send level; (v) foldback level; (vi) main fader; (vii) pan control; (viii) fade listen button; (ix) and a signal level meter.
The two main output lines are controlled by a master fader and monitored by two very large and clear VU meters.
The foldback channel has a full set of tone controls as well as a master level control. The provision of these is unusual but obviously very desirable. There is also a talkback facility. A stereo headphone monitor channel, rated at 1.5W + 1.5W, can monitor the output lines, the foldback, or any one of the input channels. The selector switch for this also selects the source to be monitored by the two large VU meters.
All 18 input channel meters and the two output meters are illuminated and there is enough light scattered across the control panel from these to see the controls in a darkened auditorium.
The construction is designed to give the unit an appearance similar to a studio mixer. The controls are mounted on a triple sloped front panel. The front section carries all the faders, the center section carries all the tone controls etc. and the top section, the meters.
One very large glass fibre printed circuit board carries the majority of the electronics including all the rotary controls. This is held in place by all the dozens of control spindles and designed so that any pot can be changed without having to remove the whole P.C. board. Other printed circuit boards hold the headphone amplifiers and a few other small components.
Components are mounted on both sides of the main printed circuit board, which is not a normal practice; but in this case the advantages of doing so seem to outweigh the disadvantages. The quality of components and of soldered joints are both good and the wiring is tidy.
Heavy components, such as the input transformers, are mounted directly to the case in order to make the equipment robust.
Two separate mains transformers were used in the unit we tested but in future production units a single transformer, with a smaller stray magnetic field, will be fitted. This will give the mixer a lower level of background hum.
The faders are of the long movement (60mm) type but short movement sliders are used for the pan controls.
The main cabinet construction is ½ inch plywood covered in soft black leather cloth with ¾ inch thick, solid teak ends. This looks very attractive against the deep blue, stove-enamelled front panel.
|Maximum gain||57.3dB.||Gains @ max, tone control central and pan control.||ie.-57.3dB. input for 0dB. output.|
|Input Saturation level||-31 dBm.||Input gain at max.||Higher inputs can be accommodated by turning the input gain down.|
|Noise referred to input||—101.3dBm.||Tone control central. Wide band measurement.||Fair. A better figure would have been obtained for a restricted band width.|
|Residual Noise||—53dBm.||Channel faders at zero, masters at max.||Could be better.|
|Input tone control range||18.9dB.||Bass @ 30 Hz.|
|16.8dB.||Middle @ 500 Hz.||Good|
|32dB.||Treble @ 10 KHz.|
|Maximum output||+13dBm||No load.||Good|
|Headphone output||2 watts + 2 watts||Into 8 ohm loads.||Loud!! ?|
|Distortion||0.4%||Total harmonic distortion through whole system at 1 KHz.||O.K.|
|Output Meters||0VU = 0dBm.||This is the British standard.|
|Input Meters||0VU = -33dBm.||This is 2dB. below saturation level with e.q. flat|
|Headphone Amp short circuit protection||OK||2 min short circuit test.|
This mixer is designed for a very specific market and offers a large number of input channels and very comprehensive facilities for a unit of moderate price. Electrical performance, though not outstanding, is adequate for the job and will not give cause for concern with a high level signal source such as a group. Background noise could however be obtrusive with a low level signal source such as a classical guitar or chamber orchestra.
The quality of construction is such that the unit can survive a life on the road without trouble. A transit case to protect the knobs and meters is, however, essential. This will also protect the mixers 'beautiful looks'.
Discussion about the merits of trading electrical performance for extra facilities on a product of a given price has to be a matter of personal opinion. Particularly when the 'extra' facilities are as valuable as talk back, tone controls on the fold back (on stage monitor) and individual meters on each input channel. In the end the question must be asked; "does the equipment do the job"? In this case the answer is yes. And you get a lot of mixer for your money.
Review by Bruce Gibbs
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