Nice idea, but unfortunately it will not work. All PreSonus mixer families (including Series III) are limited to 16 auxes/flex mixes and there is NO WAY TO EXPAND it. The AI family of mixers allowed the expansion of INPUT CHANNELS up to 64, which was done via FireWire for the AI consoles and AVB cascading for the RM/RML rack mixers. With the Series III mixers PreSonus keeps the tradition of the 16 auxes, but inputs are limited to 32, regardless if you use one, two, three or four mixers in a network. A Series III network will never be 48 or 64 inputs...
The only option you have is to cascade two RM mixers via MOTU AVB switch, which I did with RM32AI and RM16AI (on sale now). I used a CS18AI as controller. With the beta firmware (released in April 2018, see forum "StudioLive AI Public Beta") some problems became obvious, which first seemed to be related to the PreSonus AVB switch. Meanwhile it is reported that the MOTU AVB switch is no "solid bank", as it used to be before. I don't know if PreSonus is able to get this straight again.
A second RM/RML mixer is definitely no option at the moment, if this means to invest money (to buy the stuff new, if you still can get it in the shops). If you get the gear second hand for really small money and if you're willing to deal with some problems, this might look different.
IMHO the only way to increase the amount of auxes is to split the input signals (all, or the ones you need) and use a second RM/RML32AI as additional and separate monitor mixer.
Some more very special insider tips...
You will need an AVB switch for three devices, and of course a router for the IP addresses. If you are not planning to cascade RM mixers, the PreSonus AVB switch is a good choice because it has internal power supply and Ethercon connectors on board. Connect all four devices to the switch and allow the router to boot fully. The rack mixers show up automatically in UC Surface, the CS18AI needs to be dialed in (button UCNET).
When you see both rack mixers, they - of course - have no connection and therefore you need to think in two different directions. One direction is FOH, the other direction is monitor mix. Your CS18AI allows you to "switch" between the two directions simply by choosing one or the other rack mixer in the UCNET ("Mixer Control") menue. This means that you can mix (or check or control) monitors at FOH - including listening via headphones. But keep mind that switching the mixers takes about 5 seconds, so give your CS18AI enough time. I would not recommend to switch the mixers during an event, because FOH needs your attention.
In this scenario the second RM mixer is used as monitor mixer, but not technically. It is not running in "monitor mode", so it is fully functional, which means that you can use the Main Mix bus (stereo and mono) for additional purposes. Probably you might want to use Mains as an additional stereo monitor mix, so now you have 16 + 16 + 2 = 34 monitor mixes aka 17 stereo InEar mixes avalaible...!
If 32 input channels are not enough, the rackmixer used as "monitor mixer" might add more inputs. This depends on the question, how many inputs must be heard in the monitors. Very often musicians do not need to hear all the inputs available or involved. There is also often the question WHERE inputs need to be located. If you need more inputs at FOH, you should use the AVB options of your CS18AI. There are four audio inputs available and stereo signals can be returned via channels 31 and 32 or Digital Return (DigRet).
If the source for DigRet is set to Network, any rack mixer in the AVB network receives this stereo signal, so just connect the stereo outputs of the third RM mixer to the line inputs of the CS18AI. You are now sending the FOH's additional mix digitally to the two rack mixers on stage, making it available simultaneously for FOH (first RM) and monitor mixes (second RM).
There is not really a limit how many mixers can be part of an AVB network. It's possible to digitally connect (cascade) only two mixers, but why not have three or four RM's available in the UCNET menue of your CS18AI? Also UC Surface is able to handle multiple mixers, even a mix of AI and Series III mixers, as the photo in the next post shows. They all show up as rider in the settings menue, so it's very easy to switch from one mixer to another.
Be creative! The CS/RM system is an incredibly flexible and expandable system with a great sound. Adding one more RM32 (on stage) and one RM16 (at FOH) to your AVB network will definitely give you more inputs and outputs. You can also add another CS18AI as physical monitor mixer (no audio functions)...
And did I mention that you can copy settings from any mixer to any mixer - and load presets and scenes...?
Last edited by wahlerstudios on Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Two families in the "old" AVB network...
I have a question sir. I haven't been able to get the "monitor mode" to work without cascading, then uncascading the mixers. Is there a way to use the network inputs on the second mixer without first cascading them? I do wonder if that capability only natively exists between the 32 and a smaller mixer... I have two RML32AIs.
I guess this "trick" with cascading and de-cascading works for both mixer models, but you can not trust the results. Sometimes it works, sometimes not... Therefore I haven't used it in a live environment, because you need to know what your machines do - more or less... There is no "monitor mode" for RM rack mixers and AVB involved, but you can run one RM rack mixer in monitor mode in connection with a SL AI mixer, which then needs to be equipped with an AVB option card.
The solution I have described in this thread is based on the use of microphone splitters, which can include all 32 input channels or just the inputs the musicians need to hear. The less faders there are to handle, the better it is for musicians.
This is the set-up:
a) SPLITTER for 1-32 input channels
b) RM/RML32AI No. 1 = PA & 16 additional monitor mixes
c) RM/RML32AI No. 2 = Monitor Mixer (16 + 2 monitor mixes)
d) RM/RML16AI = 16 additional inputs + 2 RCA inputs, sent to the network via DigRet as stereo audio signal, using the line inputs of CS18AI (AVB inputs 3+4). You can use any mixer for this purpose, but a RM can be part of the AVB network and therefore be controlled via UC Surface (computer & FireWire/remote device) or CS18AI.
You can now feed the main mix and the musicians' monitors/in ears with an additional stereo mix (CD, video, radio/TV, playbacks), which is generally important for the event. But there might be more signals to send like a click for the musicians or talback/intercom. This is where AVB inputs 1+2 of the CS18AI come in handy. These are individual input channels with preamps, which can be used individually (you don't need to use both channels). The only thing you need to know is that AVB inputs 1+2 occupy channels 31+32 in your AVB network, which makes the signals available for all mixers connected. But it also means that your inputs on stage are reduced to 31 or 30. The 16 additional inputs on the RM at FOH probably are a good "balance" for the loss of one or two channels...
There is one detail to mention, which I happened to find out by chance when testing this set-up today: To make the DigRet signal available on RM/RML rack mixers in the network, you have to connect your CS18AI to the mixer once via UCNET (button). I think this has to do with the concept of "talkers" and "listeners" in AVB networks. If there is a third RM rack mixer feeding additional input at FOH connected and addressed in the network, be aware of possible feedbacks. DigRet should be muted on the third rack mixer.
Hope this helps.
This photo shows a possible use of the four AVB inputs of the CS18AI: AVB 1+2 ("Mic-Line") receive a stereo signal from a (sub)mixer, while AVB 3+4 ("Line") are connected to a CD player. There are many ways to connect various things here. You can also connect a submixer to AVB 3+4, for example.
AVB 1 is labeled "TB" (talkback), but it makes more sense to use AVB input 2 for a talkback microphone, because then fader/channel 32 will be used instead of fader 31. Simply select "CS18 TB 2" in UC Surface. You don't need to use both inputs. If one is enough, it's just fine.
AVB 1+2 have preamps and Fat Channel processing, so they are the more "valuable" inputs for the network, especially because they appear as inputs/channels 31+32 on all mixers. You need to select "Network" as input source for channels 31+32. Now you can add some FX to inputs which are located at FOH...
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