The World's Finest Automatic Microphone Mixers
Model E-3 Automatic Mixing Controller - Brochure - Manual
Model E-1A Automatic Mixing Controller - Brochure - Manual
What is an automatic microphone mixer?
An automatic mixer controls a group of live microphones, turning up mikes where someone is talking, and turning down mikes that aren't being used. This is a real-time voice-activated process, completely different from studio automation that only plays back pre-recorded moves. People have tried to do automatic mixing with gates, but experience has shown that in most live situations it isn't possible to find a gate threshold that will work without obvious chopping. This is because sometimes, when the room is noisy, the noise level at the microphone is higher than the voice level will be at another time when the room is quiet. An automatic mixer can adapt to changing conditions, whereas a gate can't.
Another problem that automatic mixers must solve is the additive effect of multiple mikes being on at the same time. If one mike is on at maximum gain, opening up another one will make the system feed back. So an automatic mixer must also keep track of the gain of the whole system to prevent feedback or excessive noise pickup.
A final problem that automatic mixers should solve is maintaining a natural ambience from the room. This is especially critical in recording and broadcasting. A good automatic mixer should be able to make rapid and dramatic changes in the gains of the input channels while maintaining the sonic illusion that nothing is happening at all.
It's important to understand that automatic mixing is not limiting, not compressing, and not automatic gain control (AGC). Automatic mixers may incorporate these functions, but the term automatic mixing per se means controlling multiple mikes so that the system gain goes where it's needed.
A Brief History
As the result of six years of work, Dan Dugan found an elegant solution to all these problems, a patented process he called the Dugan Speech System.™ Dugan began manufacturing his Dugan System Model A mixer in 1971. After building 60 units, he licensed his patents to the Altec Lansing Corporation. Altec produced the embarrassingly poor 1628, then the improved 1674, followed by the incrementally improved models 1674B and C. The final version, the 1684A, when it was properly calibrated, did Dugan's function almost well enough to merit his approval.
All of the Altec mixers were designed for one type of application, "installed sound." This means equipment that sits unattended in the church or courtroom closet. Dugan had dreams of seeing his excellent function in action anywhere that multiple mikes were used, but his deal with Altec prevented him from marketing new products. In the meantime, ten other manufacturers created automatic mixers. Since Dugan had patented the best way to do it, few of them worked very well, and automatic mixers in general got a mixed reputation.
In 1993, Dugan celebrated the expiration of his Speech System patent. Free of contractual obligations, he determined to become the source for the world's finest automatic mixers, bringing them out of the church closet into the world of professional live audio mixing.
In 1997, Dugan licensed Protech Audio to produce automatic mixers for the installed sound market, and designed the Protech 2000.
Automatic Mixing Controllers and Live Mikes Processors
Dan Dugan's Model D series, Model E series, and Dugan-MY16 are not mixers in themselves; they are accessories to sound mixing consoles. These units patch into the input insert points (the send and return loops) of the individual input channels of a mixing console. This gives the board operator all the features of the board, like EQ and sends, plus Dugan automatic mixing. The board operator doesn't have to worry about cueing the mikes in and out. The faders can be left on their marks, and simply adjusted as needed when people are using the mikes. This frees the operator from being chained to the faders. It gives him or her the freedom to pay more attention to quality, and even to get up to fix something if necessary.
The Model D Automatic Mixing Controller - Manual
The Model D (discontinued) is an eight-channel VCA controller providing the Dugan Speech System™ plus two other Dugan patented systems which work together for musical stage applications, the Dugan Music System™ and Dugan Gain Limiting.™ It has a comprehensive control panel that allows the operator to fine-tune it to the most artistic applications. Units may be linked together for up to 96 inputs.
The Model D-1 Live Mikes Processor
The Model D-1 (discontinued) is identical in its Speech System function to the Model D. It is more economical because it omits the music systems. The control panel is simpler. The remote control connectors are optional on the D-1. The name "automatic mixing controller" was changed in the D-1 to "live mikes processor" after requests from some union control rooms, where the mixers wanted to use the Dugan process, but without the word "automatic" on it.
The Model D-2 Automatic Mixing Controller - Article - Brochure
The Model D-2 Automatic Mixing Controller leads the evolution of the famous Dugan live mikes processing into the digital domain. This new 8-channel insert device replaces the flagship model D and the D-1. A separate ergonomic control panel connects to the processor unit with a single cable. The D-2 includes all the functions of the D (Dugan Music System,™ Dugan Speech System,™ Dugan Gain Limiting™) plus the ability to use up to three control groups for multichannel or multi-room applications.
The Model D-3 Automatic Mixing Controller - Article
- Brochure - Manual
The Model D-3 (discontinued) Automatic Mixing Controller is a companion to the D-2, offering all the same functions (except the analog link input) but with AES digital inputs and outputs. Inputs have integral sample-rate converters. Every possible digital synchronization option is provided. The D-3 processor uses the same control panel as the D-2.
The Model E Automatic Mixing Controller - Brochure - Manual
The Model E (discontinued) Automatic Mixing Controller is an economy model that provides the Dugan Speech System™ (only) in a compact half-rack package. It connects to a mixer's insert points with standard TRS patch cables. The front panel has the essential mute and bypass buttons for each channel, five-segment automix gain displays, and level LEDs indicating when the signal is within range for correct operation. The Model E is functionally identical to the Models D-2 and D-3, set for the Speech System, without the bells and whistles.
The Model E-1 Automatic Mixing Controller - Article - Brochure - Manual
(discontinued) An incremental advance on the Model E, the E-1 has two sets of ADAT I/O so that it can be connected digitally while being linked. Both analog and digital outputs are always active. Switching between analog and digital input is done with a physical switch on the back panel. The E-1 can be remote-controlled with the Dugan Control Panel for Java (included) or the Dugan Control Panel for iPad (purchased separately).
The Model E-1A Automatic Mixing Controller - Brochure - Manual
Another incremental advance in the Model E series, The E-1A adds the capability of 16-channel operation when using ADAT digital I/O, three input groups, input and output level meters, a locking power connector, and an improved cabinet and rack mounting hardware. The E-1A can be remote-controlled with the Dugan Control Panel for Java (included) or the Dugan Control Panel for iPad (purchased separately).
The Model E-3 Automatic Mixing Controller - Brochure - Manual
The Model E-3 replaces the D-3 as the AES digital I/O Dugan. There are three main modes of operation: eight channels AES I/O with Speech System, Music System, and Gain Limiting; fourteen channels AES I/O with Speech System or sixteen channels ADAT I/O with Speech System. The E-3 can be remote-controlled by the Model CP-2 Control Panel, by the Dugan Control Panel for Java (included) or the Dugan Control Panel for iPad (purchased separately).
The Dugan-MY16 Automatic Mixing Controller Card for Yamaha Mixers - Brochure - Manual
The Dugan-MY16 plugs into the accessory slot of Yamaha digital audio mixers. It has three modes of operation: 1) sixteen channels of Dugan Speech System automixing at 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rate, 2) eight channels of automixing at 88.1 or 96 kHz sample rate, or 3) eight channels of automixing plus eight channels of general-purpose ADAT I/O. Multiple Dugan-MY16 cards can be linked to make larger systems, which can also include external Dugans including Models D-2, D-3, E, and E-1. The Dugan-MY16 can be used "out of the box," or for enhanced features, remote controlled by the Dugan Control Panel for Java (included) or the Dugan Control Panel for iPad (purchased separately).
Dugan Automixing Applications
- Broadcast news panels & discussion programs
- Television talk shows & game shows
- Conference sound reinforcement and video trucks
- Dialogue recording for film and television
- Multiple wireless mikes on stage
- Houses of worship
- Boardrooms and civic meeting rooms
- Community Television
- Distance learning