Setting up a system that will deliver audio mixing with video switching can be a little challenging. With so many different components to interface (DVD player, VTR, audio/video switcher, power amp, EQ, etc.) the setup can take forever and get pretty messy. Thankfully, the nice folks at Sony have their fingers on the pulse of the end user. Their attentiveness is reflected in the feature-packed SRP-X351P ($1,299).
Product PointsApplications: Contracting/installation, audio/visual presentation
Key Features: Four-channel microphone mixer ; three-channel stereo line mixer with four-channel video selector; 170 watts per channel stereo into 4 ohms.
Contact: Sony at 800-472-7669, Web Site
The SRP-X351P is an all-in-one presentation system combining four balanced XLR mic channels, two fixed stereo line input channels, a third stereo line input channel that is an “audio follows video” selector, and a 170 watts per channel stereo power amp.
At first glance the SRP-X351P looks like a rackmounted powered mixer. Seven faders control audio channel output. The first four are for mic level channels, complete with 48 volt phantom power.
Each channel is accessible through balanced XLR connectors on the rear panel. Channel 4 also has a 1/4-inch TRS input jack on the front panel. The next two faders are for two stereo line inputs accessible through four RCA connectors on the rear panel. The last fader controls the audio level coming from the onboard video selector. Directly to the right of this fader are four buttons, labeled A through D, corresponding to four sets of input connectors on the back panel.
Each set includes a stereo pair of RCA connectors for L-R audio, an RCA connector for composite video, and a 4-pin mini DIN connector for S-Video. Each channel has an input trim knob and signal present LED located directly above it.
The Mic Group knob controls the master level of a separate mic group bus that allows you to send only the mic channels to an RCA connector on the back panel. This could be useful for making transcription tapes or sending only voice to the ceiling speakers in a PA system. Separate bass and treble and balance controls as well as a master mute switch are all included on the front panel.
The back panel exhibits two BNC antenna connectors that service two optional user installable Sony Freedom Series (WRU-806B) wireless microphone receivers. Insert points are also present on the back panel for the mic group bus and main outputs. Connections from the power amp are made through four screw-type binding terminals.
I was amazed by the wealth of features included in such a compact (only three rack-spaces) and affordable package. One look at the back panel and I knew this thing was much more than your average powered mixer. I set up a small system using a Shure Beta 58 microphone, a Sonotrim omnidirectional lavalier microphone, a Sony DVD player, two VTRs, a Sony WEGA 27-inch television, and a pair of JBL LSR32 studio monitors. The setup went quickly. All of the connectors are clearly labeled and intuitively positioned. I used the S-Video connectors whenever possible.
The picture coming through the SRP-X351P from the DVD player looked as if it were coming directly from the DVD player. The same rang true for the VTR signals. Switching between them was smooth and unobtrusive even though audio signals from different video sources inherently have varying levels. Listening to the system through my reference JBL LSR32 speakers brought to light a minor weakness.
The equalization controls were not quite effective in shaping the sound to my taste. Feedback from the lavalier microphone also became a problem. I added a stereo graphic equalizer on the master insert bus and it was sounding great in no time. The wireless remote was also easy to operate and worked as well as you would expect from a company like Sony. I then connected the system to a pair of Peavey SP5 loudspeakers. After some adjustment of the graphic equalizer. I had a system worthy of any small conference or training facility.