Hardware FAQ

Why would I mix on anything that uses crappy Behringer preamps?
Firstly, you don't have to use them. SAC is a piece of software that utliizes widely available common computer components and DAW audio interfaces, not a set of proprietary hardware. The only requirements to run SAC are Windows 2000 or better for an OS (XP most recommended), computer and audio components supported by the OS, and SAC itself.

If you want to use Grace, Avalon, Manley, Focusrite or any other high end preamps as a frontend to SAC, you can. Aphex, RME and others make remote controllable preamps if you want to locate your preamps backstage and eliminate long copper runs to FOH.

Secondly, despite the brand and price, they're a surprisingly decent preamp; easily as good as what's found on many mid-range consoles if not better. Many users find them to be superior to the preamps included in popular digital mixers from Yamaha like the LS9 and M7CL. The ADA8000 provides 8 mic preamps with parallel 1/4" inputs and 8 line outputs on XLR connectors with ADAT i/o. The community has found it to have good reliability when undervolted to 100V input power and even if it does fail, you can replace it or keep a spare on hand for under $200US. Yes, there are better sounding and more reliable options with comparable feature sets; just not in anything less than twice the price.

Can I use SAC with a physical control surface?
Absolutely. There are several options. The most popular for price and expandability is the Behringer BCF2000. A single unit costs about $200 and provides 8 channels of fader, pan, mute and solo control. Up to 4 units may be linked together for a 32 channel motorized control surface. Buttons on the controller itself allow you to jump in banks the size of your control surface. There is no support for other channel adjustments on the BCF2000. EQ, dynamics, auxes, fx plugin control and output assignment are all manipulated by the onscreen GUI.

Other controllers, notably the MotorMix and Mackie HCU allow control of EQ and Dynamics parameters but cannot currently expand beyond 8 channels of control. Users who've used these surfaces report the experience to be more difficult than manipulating the onscreen GUI.

Can you really mix a show without a physical surface?
The onscreen GUI itself is designed for quick and functional live operation. Almost all channel controls allow manipulation of multiple selected channels simultaneously. There are many functions in SAC that are simpler to perform without a physical surface than it would be with most digital consoles.

Many users find they can live without faders or a control surface once they familiarize themselves with the GUI and take the time to arrange multiple views to accomodate their preferred workflow.

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