The Editor Module and CueStation 4.1 software are the final products in Level Control Systems’ (LCS) CueConsole 2™ series. They join the CueConsole family of modules–Transporter, Faders, and Meters+– any combination of which can be used in a system. This second-generation modular mixing console is changing the way Las Vegas and Broadway productions approach Front of House and Monitor mixing.
LCS is well known for its innovative audio control systems that use software interfaces with the look and feel of a sound reinforcement console. These systems have been very successful in themed-entertainment installations and live theatrical productions worldwide.
LCS's CueConsole 2 is a control interface meant to replace the traditional FOH or monitor console. In Las Vegas, LCS has done just that by providing FOH and monitor mixing consoles to three resident Cirque du Soleil extravaganzas: O at Bellagio, Zumanity at NYNY, and the newest Cirque show (not yet named) due to open at the MGM Grand in June 2004. In addition to its use in Cirque du Soleil productions, CueConsole 2 is a veteran on Broadway, most recently used in Taboo.
Simon Matthews, FOH mixer for Taboo says he couldn’t imagine mixing the show on anything other than CueConsole. "CueConsole has many benefits over a traditional console," he says. "I was able configure the work surface layout to my own particular taste. The ability to place the CueConsole modules around me means that all mixer settings and meters are within easy reach and view."
Matthews is referring to CueConsole's unique approach to digital control surfaces–its adaptable modularity. Four types of control modules interface with the core of the system: the Matrix3™ audio engine. These flexible modules can be configured in whatever way is most convenient for the sound designer/engineer. Because CueConsole is a control surface without any audio passing through, the interface back to the audio engine is a standard Ethernet cable. As a result, the modules can be set up in the conventional FOH position or different modules can be located in different locations. In addition, the modules can be in use at the same time, ultimately optimizing rehearsal time.
With regard to CueConsole’s capabilities, Matthews comments, "CueConsole sounds great; the EQ and compression are smooth and responsive. Furthermore, the length of cable needed to hook up a system is dramatically reduced which means less signal loss, less noise, and less ground loop potential. CueConsole makes it easy to say, ‘Sure, we can do that,’ when [for instance] the director wants a voice to come from the back of the theatre and then pan smoothly to the stage. Try that on a conventional console."
With CueConsole’s design, if the sound quality of the mix needs to be improved in the balcony, one can move an editor module to the balcony and solve the problem there. If close communication between the director and sound designer is a priority, the rehearsal mix position can be set up right next to the director and the lighting programmer. The CueConsole 2 eliminates the usual downtime caused by waiting for each person to complete his or her piece of the sound design puzzle. When the show opens, the necessary modules can be reconfigured at the FOH position.
The recently introduced, CueStation 4.1 software, adds to the flexibility of the CueConsole by allowing multiple users to access the system simultaneously, whether via CueConsole, CueStation on the system’s Macintosh G5, or CueStation on a laptop connected via wireless ethernet.