FIrst off, let me just say, I love this school . Jack Alexander set up a demo for us with the rep for Bosch Communications (Midas, Klark-Teknik, EV, Telex) with the XL8. He spoke in class this morning about the field, which turned into a BS session with Jack (the kibitzing kind, not the other meaning). I just got back from the demo with the surface. Let me jsut say, this is one amazing piece of equipment. I've been on a D5, been on Yamaha 01V96, and will be on an LS9 in a week or two, but nothing compares to this. The demo was in our dance center's receital hall, a very nice space. Mains were some flavor of Meyer, can't recall the model off the top of my head, probably UPM's. Subbage was some one-note wonder Bag End I was told, and were probably unplugged. This surface is increadible, if I haven't mentioned that already, I'm running out of adjectives. Things are pretty easily figured out by a trained monkey, and it's all wehre you'd expect it. THe only thing that threw me for a loop were the recall safes. They were at the top of what might be considered a channel strip to the right on each bay, directly under the direct out section. You can also get to them through the menus in the master section. A handy little feature I found was the keypad on each bay. I had been scrolling through the layers with the left/right arrows, but you simply need to punch in what channel you wanted to go to, hit enter, and the layer it's on would pop up with said channel selected. There's more than one way to get things done, case in point being the EQ section. I can select which band, high, high-mid, low-mid, low, by the buttons in each channel, or by simply clicking the up/down buttons by the knobs themselves. Holding those two buttons in for a few seconds sets your EQ flat. Here's the meat of the input bays . I apologize, I only had my camera phone with me. And its corresponding screen. Also, the knobs are touch sensetive. If I put my finger on the pot, a little box does a little dance on the screen in front of me. Handy if I'm watching the stage and don't look down to see what knob I'm on, since the way I set up, those screens are in my field of vision. Also, each channel's scribble strips (which double as select buttons, sort of like the D5 IIRC) have a little horizontal bar on them that shows the pan. When the knob turns, a little arrow moves to the left or right. VCA assignment is a breeze too. Just hold down that VCA's scribble strip, then push the scribble strips of the channels you want assigned there. You can obviously write what the fader does on each scribble strip. They're also color codeable, something I really use a lot when mixing, only I'm used to doing it with colored sharpies. THis saves people from the fumes, unless that's your thing . You have the ability to put your entire script on the surface in a digital form that shows up on the screen wth the master section. Each screen also has a help function where if something breaks, you can see exactly what. I was told the next release of software would also spit out information about each CPU's power draw, temperature, etc. I asked about how it would adapt to the world of theater, and I wished I had a tape recorder with me. From what I can remember, Jim (the rep) said they were going to up the matrix outs for it. There's also be features that would let you track understudies filling in for the lead, and also track mic changes where two actors/actresses swap body packs. THey do have a smaller version of the surface in the works, it has the VCA section, the master section, and a single input bay. Jim also mentioned the ability to run a sort of cue light system off the console. He gave the example of having the patch monkey by the input rack, and a light to cue him when to make a re-patch of something. I walked in at that point so I might have missed a few details. I'm kind of drawing a blank right now on anything else. Oh yes, plug ins can be manipulated by the knobs already on the surface. I'm trying to figure out if the graphics can be manipulated by the faders. It slipped my mind to ask. Here's the Flickr album for it. XL8 Demo All in all, I had a blast. I realize few here can afford such a desk right now, but it's fun to dream, and to show off cool toys. Anyone wanna lend me $300k? I promise to let you play on it EDIT: Forgot to mention, the control latency was incredibly little, to the point of not being noticeable when using the pots. You could sort of tell with the track pad on each bay. There's tons of USB ports to plug peripherals into, including a mouse or joystick to play asteroids on during boring parts of the show, as Jim put it. You can also slave your laptop to it and control it from the desk, letting you browse the web on the surface through your computer (though of course no one would ever do that...right?). Supposedly the pots are actual pots, and the faders are actual faders, neither being encoders. There's a circuit in there that measure the voltage/current/whatever and that's how the DSP gets its commands. Both felt very nice when manipulating. Though I don't think he understood my question about if someone were to accidently set their script or something on the fader tray, then switch cues, if that would damage the motorized faders. I heard a rumor that doing that can seriously eff up a D-show.