The Vision 1008 stereo powered mixer and the Drive 4 two-way passive loudspeakers together make up a compact portable PA system powered by the Vision 1008’s twin 500 watt Class-D amplifiers.
In this issue's Live Sound column, Bob Thomas gives his verdict on two highly anticipated products from Studiomaster: The Vision 1008 stereo powered mixer and the Drive 4 passive loudspeakers.
UK-based Studiomaster has built up a strong reputation over the years for their range of well-built, great-quality mixing consoles, power amplifiers, and loudspeakers that have consistently hit the price points that make their products affordable to gigging bands and smaller venues alike. The Vision 1008 stereo powered mixer and the Drive 4 two-way passive loudspeakers together make up a compact portable PA system powered by the Vision 1008’s twin 500 watt Class-D amplifiers.
The Vision series is made up of three models, the unpowered Vision 8, the 1000W Vision 1008 that we’re looking at here and the Vision 2008 which, as its name implies, can pump out up to 2000 Watts. All three models share the same mixer layout; 6 mic/line channels and two stereo input channels, 9-band graphic, two identical DSP processors, two auxiliary sends (one of which can also be used as an additional monitor send) and one monitor send per channel, plus two USB digital record/replay ports and analogue playback and record connectors. One useful feature is the capability to change the input to the Vision 1008’s Left and Right power amplifiers from main PA to either main PA (R) and monitor (L) or Monitor (R) and Aux (L). You can also reduce the level of the power amplifiers’ output from 100% down to 40% or 15%, which allows you to keep the mixer correctly gain-staged for optimum sound quality in smaller venues.
The mic/line and stereo input channels both have 3-band EQ (12kHz Treble, 2.5kHz Mid, and 60Hz Bass), with the mic/line channel also featuring an 80Hz high-pass filter to help eliminate stand-borne low-frequency noise and also to clean up the low-end in general. Unusually at its price-point, the Vision 1008 also features faders not only for Aux and Monitor sends but also for its onboard DSP mix returns.
Both DSPs feature the same reverb and delay programs and one great feature is that you can cascade the output of DSP1 into the input of DSP2, giving you the ability to create some great reverbed delays, or creatively delayed reverbs. Another useful feature is that, in addition to the normal DSP return to the main mix, you can also send the DSP outputs to the monitor send, allowing you, for example, to give the singer reverb and delay in his or her monitor. The inclusion of two-channel computer recording and playback facilities is a useful addition to a feature set that seems to be ideal for small bands and small venues alike.
Finally, as with all Studiomaster mixers, the Vision 1008 is extremely well built, with a steel chassis. In a handy piece of ergonomics, the underneath of the end cheeks features a contoured finger rest, which allows you to slide your fingers easily underneath the mixer to picking it up. If you need to rackmount it, you’ll find that a pair of 19” rack ears are included in its box.
The Drive 4 passive loudspeaker that Studiomaster sent along with the Vision 1008 is an ideal partner for it. The Drive 4 is a two-way loudspeaker that delivers a 50Hz to 20kHz response (-10B), and that can handle 1000W peak power. Its 12” bass driver produces plenty of accurate, well-defined low end and the treble driver with its 34mm voice coil takes care of frequencies above 2kHz. The Drive 4 features a very sturdy molded cabinet with integral 80x40 degree horn flare and is equipped with 10 M10 flying points alongside its built in speaker stand “top hat”, making it ideal for use in both installation and mobile settings.
The Vision 1008 stereo powered mixer and the Drive 4 two-way passive loudspeakers demonstrate exactly why Studiomaster products are becoming ever more highly-regarded by gigging bands, both in the UK and in export markets. Delivering high-quality sound in a powerful, punchy package that fits comfortably in the back of a small car, this compact system offers great value for money both for small gigging bands and for small venues. If you’re involved in either of these, you need to check out the Srudiomaster Vision 1008 and the Drive 4.