Newtek VT: Working with the SX-84

The NewTek VT is an all-in-one solution to provide a fully functional television control room right on your desktop. The system is unique in the sense that it provides a great deal of flexibility to you as a production studio, by proving to be a highly affordable live and post production solution. The NewTek VT allows you to jump any and all production barriers by providing native support for a lot of the standard features that the big boys play with.

Step 1: Understanding SX-84

The SX-84 is an optional breakout box that provides VT [5] with 36 audio connections and a large variety of input choices and output mixes. There are a total of 18 audio inputs on the SX-84. The first four use XLR connectors, allowing you to plug in up to four microphones or two stereo, balanced-line level signals. The remainder use RCA connectors, and provide you with six pairs of stereo line inputs, and a pair for the stereo Aux Return (usually from an effects unit, like reverb).

With the SX-84, you can create two different stereo mixes (Main and Aux), which become the four channel inputs in your VT [5] (stereo Front/Back).

Step 2: Setup

When you add audio devices to the SX-84, they are automatically patched to their respective channels on the Audio Mixer. Therefore, if you add cables to audio input 5, that input is patched to Channel 5 of the Audio Mixer. The signals for the left and right channels are represented in the VU meters.

To use Four Channel audio input, plug your Front stereo channels into any “odd-numbered” pair of inputs (1, 3, 5 or 7). Then, plug your Back channels into the next “even-numbered” input, so you could plug 4 XLR line connections into channels 1L, 1R, 2L and 2R, and three other Four Channels decks into channels 3+4, 5+6 and 7+8.

Step 3: Selecting Input Mode

The audio mixer is designed to control four channels of audio. With the SX-84, these inputs can either be used for a stereo/aux mix, or a front/back 4-channel mix. Let’s see how this works.

  1. Launch your Audio Mixer from the Menu bar if not open yet.
  2. Look for the “Display Mode” control and select “Full”. Now you see all the mixer controls available to you.
  3. Find the Input Mode buttons and select “2 ch” if not already lit. Examine the mixer on screen.
  4. Now change the Input Mode control and select “4 Ch”. In 4-channel mode, the mixer presets (and hides) some of its controls to help you input four discrete audio sources. With 4-channel mode, each input is pre-patched to its appropriate channel (front left, front right, back left and back right). Stereo balance controls and Aux controls are hidden.
  5. Click on the channel name “3 4” just above that volume controls to link the channels.
  6. Change Input Mode back to “2 Ch” so you can explore every control on the input channels.

You will continue along similar lines to tune and setup XLR and RCA inputs and Aux Mix. Once done, you will be ready to start working with the SX-84.