Crest Audio Tactus by Table Syrup Records
I rated as follows:
Sound Quality: **1 (I couldn't test preamps, or quality monitoring at NAMM... system was on headphones)
Ease of use: 5
Features: 4 (Docked 1 for no pans on each channel of control surface)
Bang for buck: 5
**I am told that Waves said the Pre's and Conversion are very good, but I was unable to properly test this for myself. This could easily be a higher score, but I am forced to give it a 1 due to the circumstances.
So, Got to get my hands on the Crest Tactus at NAMM.... seriously cool rig.
We had discussed Waves LV1 here a bit a while back... this is the same software, but running on Crest hardware.
The 'Stage Box' is 32/16 with remote controlled pre's, and the 'FOH' box is 8/4 with remote controlled pre's and an internal DSP server which offloads plugin processing to the server. I call them ' ' because they really could just go anywhere you want em....
All you need to add is a computer and screen/s (personally I would run the controller and two multitouch monitors, as a minimum.... more to taste). The system requirements for a computer are also pretty lax, as the heavy lifting is done with the integrated server. You can run these systems from a laptop, or all in one, or mini machine. There is Mac and Windows support, however, it should be noted that Mac's OS is currently not NATIVELY supporting multitouch - HOWEVER AGAIN - I can tell you personally, there is a way around this, and you can in fact run multitouch on Mac WITHOUT a Slate Raven. I promise.
Personally I would run all 40 inputs on stage, in addition to my IOS (for 8 more inputs/pre's, and also a redundant server), and run one of the new DiGiGrid mini interfaces with 4 inputs, monitor outs, talkback, and headphones, at FOH (for TB, HP, and tracks/house music) - The system also includes Waves LV1 64, which also includes the Waves EMO plugins - so, even if you do not have any Waves plugins currently, you can still get started with some great plugins (It should also be noted that Plugin Alliance and FLUX are both releasing SoundGrid compatible plugins early 2016, which were demonstrated at NAMM)
The Tactus also comes with Crest's own control surface. 16 faders + master. Some buttons and knobs mapped to specific functions. 8 user keys mapped to the assignable user keys in LV1. Scribble strips. On odd thing is it has no knobs on each channel. So, pans are handled by screen, or by focusing a pan and using the 'one touch' type knob. I could do with a pan per channel, but honestly, when you put your hands on this, it isn't as odd as you may thing it would be.
One cool thing about their surface is they wrote their own driver, and being 16 channel, and only using one controller port, is that you could run two controllers if you wanted to. Two of the Crest controller for 32 faders, or one Crest and one other third party. Plenty of options. Pretty slick actually, cause I am unaware of any generic MIDI or Mackie Control protocol controllers that use 16 in one port (LV1 supports MC and MIDI natively... the Crest controller is the only other I am aware of outside these). So far, for LV1, this is the largest controller option available. - technically, LV1 supports 3 controllers natively, 2x Mackie Control ports, and one MIDI port. So, technically you could run two Crest controllers for 32 faders, and map a MIDI controller for another 8
The build quality of the controller seemed pretty decent. Motorized. Handled and responded pretty well, with only a couple minor quirks that will be addressed before release. It was around 2 feet wide, but don't quote me, that's not specific, but approximate. It was pretty lightweight, but metal construction. It had 'legs' to lift the rear, nice and solid, but also removable.
The build quality of the I/O units seemed very good. I wouldn't be concerned with tossing them around on the road, or in flight.
I was unable to actually use the preamps, so I can't personally speak to their quality, or the quality of the conversion (which does 44.1-96KHz), but I am told that Waves said they were very good.
Virtual sound checks are killer with LV1 and Tracks Live. I have been running and testing a small system as I gear up to go full on and choose a direction (I WILL STRONGLY CONSIDER TACTUS).... Feeding multitracks from Tracks into LV1 is a snap. Switching between physical and virtual inputs is as simple as the click of one button (user assignable). Very very cool and very streamlined integration. *Tracks Live would not be required for this.... anything that can use a Core Audio or ASIO driver patched through SoundGrid can be used. Very Cool.
As far as the rest goes, it runs Waves LV1.... so it operates like anything else you could use for LV1. LV1 is great, and super easy to use and navigate, and feels very natural and traditional, so this makes a very familiar system and workflow even for your first time on one.
They said these should be out by mid 2nd Quarter.
I am unable to disclose the proposed pricepoint, but I can say it is VERY reasonable and makes this a great option!!!
All things considered, this ends up being a pretty legitimate contender. The Waves LV1 platform is incredibly awesome, therefore anything running it ends up being pretty rad. period.
If you are considering an LV1 rig, or on the fence, or against the idea of a software based mixer (your digital console is running software by the way lol), I strongly urge you to go test the 7 day demo of LV1 from Waves !!!!!!!!