Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these blogs. I looked it up—the last one was in 2020, just before the universe decided to give us roadies a couple of years off without pay. Crikey, that was a weird period.
We’re back—live and direct—juggling gigs and schedules to fit it all in! Live sound has exploded, and doesn’t it feel great? We are all back at work with not enough microphones, cables, desks, speakers, amplifiers, or crew to get us through the summer because it’s crazy out there. It’s made me truly appreciate the joy of standing behind a desk, in the middle of thousands of people, who just want to share the experience of enjoying music.
Anyway, I’m here to talk about a new bit of kit from Avid. Yes, we were still working on ideas during the lockdown. Just remotely on Zoom and stuff. Surprisingly, the smartest, most tech-savvy people I know also forget to unmute themselves half the time just like grandad. I spend a huge amount of my time speaking with S6L users. It’s my job and my pleasure to keep in touch with their thoughts, criticisms, and suggestions. I can honestly say that there is one thing we all agree on; the preamp in the Avid VENUE | S6L Stage 64 is a thing of beauty. Even outside the S6L user community, it’s widely agreed to be the clearest, most open sounding preamp in live sound. It’s been the front end for so many important recordings, from opera to heavy metal. Thanks Jeff R.
Our flagship stage box, Stage 64, is modular and has lots of option cards you can configure to tailor it exactly to meet your needs. Some of our customers, though, just need a fixed-configuration analog in, analog out device that is budget-conscious.
So that’s exactly what we challenged the engineering team to come up with. Use the exact same preamps and convertors as Stage 64 to create the exact same sound, but make the whole machine more affordable by removing the configurability. And here it is—the Avid Stage 48. It’s a fixed-format version of its older brother with that same inspiring sound in a slightly smaller box (8U), but with the full specs, including redundant power supply, redundant network connectivity over Ethernet or fiber AVB, and head amp MADI split.
This project enabled us to reduce the cost of our acclaimed I/O rack without compromising the build or audio quality. So just to be clear, every preamp in a Stage 32, Stage 48, Stage 64, Local 16, and all S6L consoles are the same. They are built to help you craft the I/O you need, where you need it in your system, whatever your project, but we never compromise on the sound. This also means that you have Show file compatibility from any version of VENUE software, no matter which stage boxes you are using, in whatever configuration. The audio quality of our products is central to everything we do. We’re all audiophile freaks on the Live Sound Team just like the people who work day in, day out on our systems.
Stage 48, which requires VENUE 7 or later software, connects to and works with all S6L components on the platform and supports the same feature set, including True Gain gain sharing.
Technical Specs & Measurements
|Connectivity||2 x Ethernet (AVB), 2 x Fiber (AVB)|
|Form Factor||8U Rackmount|
|Simultaneous I/O||48 x 24|
|Sample Rate||96 kHz|
|Number of Preamps||48 x mic preamps|
|MADI connectivity||2 x 48 at 48 kHz, 1 x 48 @ 96 kHz|
|Weight (Packed)||88.2 lbs (40 kg)|
|Weight (Unit)||80.2 lbs (36.4 kg)|
|Dimensions H x W x D (Packed)||19.7 x 23.9 x 25.1 in (501 x 608 x 636 mm)|
|Dimensions H x W x D (Unit)||14 x 16.9 x 22.4 in (355 x 430 x 568 mm)|
There you have it. Stage 48 is a high-density, compact stage rack designed to connect with any S6L system—perfect for smaller venues and houses of worship. Designed with 100% reuse of Stage 64 components—the exact same much-admired audio quality of Stage 64 at a more competitive price. Enjoy Stage 48 whether it’s the heart of your new system or an affordable way to expand your current systems.
Robb Allan is the senior principal product manager for live sound at Avid. As a live sound engineer, he’s had the privilege to work with some amazing artists, including Radiohead, Coldplay, Massive Attack, Manic Street Preachers, Natalie Imbruglia, Richard Ashcroft, and Lisa Stansfield. He’s also mixed broadcast sound on Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The BRIT Awards, MTV Music Awards, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert.