Had the Line 6 Stagescape M20d in my sights since it came out. I had many questions about it: Is it worth the money? Will it do what I need it to do? How easy is it to operate? Has the sales rep tried it? Any feedback from purchasers who haven't written a review? And seems like a lot more questions. John, my sales rep, answered every last one of them.
The Stagescape is geared toward people like me: a musician who wants a quick PA setup & mix, but who doesn't want to take the time away from the music, and really not that good of an engineer.
Is it worth the money?
I had my eye on other mixers as well, so first of all, the price: It's high for a regular 16 channel digital mixer, BUT, it includes a lot of effects onboard that the purchaser would otherwise spend a lot of money on. Adding up the cost of mic processors, compressers, gates, reverb, delay, doublers, preamps, and a lot more that would one would normally stack up in a rack, it came out to cost a lot less than the costs of the outboard equipment I had in my rack, and a lot of my rack mounted gear is low-end equipment!
Will it do what I need it to do? Is it easy to use?
Experimenting with the Stagescape at home, yes, but the real test came with an event that featured multiple bands, where setups and tear-downs had to be quick, with on-the-fly soundchecks. Being it that I was still learning some of the ins and outs of the Stagescape, it was very easy to use in that situation, as it has auto recognition of which cable is plugged-in, then shows a list of icons that can be chosen for the equipment that is actually in that channel, with each icon coming with automatic presets. There are several of each type to choose from, from male or female vocalists and the vocalist's role, acoustic and electric guitars and basses, to drums and percussion, and even external playback devices. Each can be put on the "stage" just using touch and sliding the icon into position No need to look at a list written on tape on the mixer. Once chosen, it is easy to Tweak each icon with simple and easy to use parameters. Even getting in and changing some of the "advanced" settings was made simple.
It did, for that event, what I needed it to do.
It was basically an assistant engineer for me that I could just set-and-go on-the-fly. Was easy to adjust, on-the-fly, using only the touch screen. Didn't have to mess with settings on rackmount gear as it's all onboard the Stagescape. Also, doesn't need Direct Boxes.
What else can it do?
It can save all of those settings that you've made so you won't have to redo them at the next gig. It can save all of those settings so you won't have to redo them at each venue. It can also record, live, each of the 12 mic-input channels and the 2 main output channels, each remaining separated when recording, which makes it easy to make small edits if one is releasing a "live album". Monitors are easy as well. No having to try to find which bus the channel is on, it is simply touch the icons, and use the lighted knobs to adjust the monitor mix.
It can also do a lot of things that I haven't discovered or haven't needed to use yet.
It's that easy.
It's also very light and easy to carry/move around. I bought a road case with the Stagescape to protect it. The screen, after all, is a touchscreen.
My questions were all answered by my sales rep, as well as another rep. They took the time to answer all of my questions, even though it took a few phone calls and emails.
If you are a musician, like me, who wants easy setups, this is for you. If you are a band who wants to just play, this is for you.
If you are an house band and don't want to have to redo your sound checks every time you play, this is for you.
If you are a not-so-good sound engineer (like me), this is for you.
If you don't want to lug a rack around that is loaded with heavy gear, this is for you.
If you're used to all of the touchscreen devices that are being used pretty much everywhere, you will feel right at home with the Stagescape.
There is so much more I could say about Line 6's Stagescape, but this review is long enough already.
So, simply put: I recommend the Stagescape. It is a fun, simple to use, and awesome device!