Benchmark: Studiomaster Club2000 102 DSP Audio Mixer

Soundboard Fun

If you do live multi-camera shoots, you are going to need a mixing board for your sound. The only way to properly coordinate multiple audio sources on-the-fly is by using a soundboard. Studiomaster is a British company that makes sound equipment, particularly mixers. The Club2000 will appeal to serious videographers who intend to shoot multi-camera productions and to videographers editing in the linear world.

Join the Club

The Studiomaster Club2000 102 is a 10-channel soundboard with six mono inputs and two stereo inputs. This is more than enough to handle most live video shoots and what you need in linear post-production suites.
The mixer has comfortable volume sliders, instead of those tiny knobs that some cheaper soundboards use. The sliders move smoothly, without being too loose. The knobs all feel secure. In fact, the whole construction of the Club2000 feels solid, with the unit weighing in at 11 1/2 pounds. Some of the other soundboards we’ve had in the Videomaker test bay have felt like you have to treat them gently to keep the knobs from falling off. With the Studiomaster, you’ll feel like you have a soundboard that can go into the field and not fall apart. It was clearly made for the real world where roadies drop equipment and soundmen spill beer. This type of construction will make this a durable tool for location productions or studio use.
Bear in mind that this is an AC-powered mixer, so don’t get any ideas about taking it into the field and using batteries. If you want to use it far from a power outlet, you’ll need to pack some extension cords.

It’s About Control

The mono inputs on the Club2000 have balanced XLR plugs. This allows you to use professional microphones with long cables that won’t hum like cheaper unbalanced counterparts. The stereo inputs have 1/4-inch plugs that run balanced and unbalanced. These plugs have a locking toggle button that lets you switch between +4dB and -10dB. There are also a pair of stereo RCA jacks, that allows the mixer to receive a signal from home stereo equipment, the other to run the output of the mixer to a VCR or tape deck for live recording.
Each mono input includes a three-band equalizer that allows you to tweak the sound of each channel. Each channel has a gain control, and a knob to control the strength of the auxiliary sends or the built-in effects processor. The mixer has a cool feature in the form of a button on each channel that lets you monitor the sound of that channel in your headphones. That way you can hear what each individual input sounds like, in case you are having trouble pinpointing an annoying hum or some random ambient sound bleeding into your sound track.
The Club2000 has phantom power. This means that if you are using high-end condenser microphones that need power, you can run them with an active cable right from the soundboard. With it, there’s no need to waste batteries powering your microphones.

Putting the Club to Work

We put the Club2000 to test with a pair of microphones, a CD player for background audio and a VCR to add in some sound from videotape. We hooked the output of the Club2000 to the input of our camcorder, simulating a remote shoot with multiple audio sources. We had to use a few adapters to plug the RCA outputs of the CD player and the VCR into the 1/4-inch inputs on the mixer, and we needed another adapter to get the output of the board into the camcorder’s mike jack, but that’s par for the course in the world of consumer video.
The board manipulated our sound well. We were able to smoothly fade the sound of the different sources in and out and monitor each channel individually with headphones. The output sounded good. This board is capable enough to handle most videographers’ audio chores.


Results

The Club2000 might be a little more soundboard than some videographers need. However, if you plan to mix audio on the fly, in the field or in the studio, a tool like this is exactly what you need. This soundboard has many nice features, and the price is reasonable. Be warned though, you can’t power it with batteries. You’ll need to mix your sound within reach of an extension cord. If you have the need, though, you’ll be pleased with the results you get from the Club2000.

TECH SPECS

Studiomaster Club2000

102 DSP audio mixer

Frequency Response 10Hz-100kHz (+0 -3dB) stereo line limited to 10Hz-90kHz

Signal to noise 84dB

Max input level Mike +16dBu, line +35dBu, stereo line +25dBu, aux input +23dBu (all at minimum gain)

Mono channels 8, XLR and 1/4-inch inputs

Stereo channels 2, 1/4-inch inputs

Aux sends 2 per channel

Dimensions 13.6 (w) x 3.5 (h) x 12.3 (d) inches

Weight 11.5 pounds

TEST RESULTS

strengths

  • Solid construction
  • Auxiliary sends
  • Phantom power
  • Single-channel monitoring

weaknesses

  • AC power only

summary

  • A solid mixer that will easily handle most video chores.

Club2000 102 DSP Audio Mixer
($630)
Studiomaster Inc.
22885-D Savi Ranch Pkwy
Yorba Linda, CA 92887
(800) 878-7883
www.studiomaster.com

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