Zaxcom Oasis

I had a chance to get some hands-on time with Zaxcom's Oasis today on the 2015 AES floor in NYC, and I was quite impressed. 

The software is incredibly intuitive (same with Nomad Touch), and using a touch screen is nice enough that I think a lot of people may opt to stop using keyboards for input altogether on their carts. While I do type much faster than I can use a touch screen, the ease of the touch screen and the simplicity of having one less piece of hardware on the cart may override the desire to use a keyboard for many users.

I very much like that the screens are fully customizable, and each cart will look slightly different with it's chosen tablet-to-Oasis pairing. In my case I don't need a massive screen, so I simply won't buy a massive screen. Problem solved. The software is also very nice looking. Really, it looks great in person and I'm sure it's going to turn heads on location and be a joy to work with color coded tracks and customizable layouts. Also, the layouts that you design will remain after reboot, so a company move or even a change of day is no problem once you are set up and comfortable. 

The form factor of the machine was at first curious to me when I saw it online ('deeper' or 'longer' instead of wider and shorter), but in person I don't mind it at all. Powering Oasis and it's interface to Nomad is all incredibly simple. My current cart build is of the bag-cart nature and I was worried about interfacing my Nomad with Oasis. However, I was happy to find out that the USB cable between the two can essentially be as long as I need it (I believe 10' or less is not a problem). For my setup in particular, this means I can set my Nomad a bit farther away from Oasis than is standard for many permanent cart fixtures and there should be no problem at all. Good news for those of us who may be building non-standard carts. 

I like the motorized fader banks as well. Some may opt for a board without the multiple banks and instead go for more physical faders and preamps, but I'm sure there are many people who will find this setup just fine.

Also, I spoke with Glenn today about how the Oasis software communicates with Nomad and it's very comforting to know that Nomad and Oasis are always on the same page once paired and functional. In other words, there is no way to perform an action through the Oasis software and have that action not happen in Nomad and vice versa. For all intents and purposes it's WYSIWYG when you're looking at your Oasis screen. 

The output level controls on the Oasis are a tad idiosyncratic at the moment since they are not linked and are also variable (what if you want both outputs 3&4 attenuated to the same level quickly?), but then if I'm hard-lined and feeding cams they are getting line level anyway so it's a non-issue. Plus, you could always just dig into Nomad's standard menu screen for output levels and make the adjustments there. 

With some keys on the Oasis not currently user assignable or in use, I'm sure there is more to come over time with this machine. It's already incredibly robust, and the price is right for the feature set. 

Overall my experience was very positive and this machine is a 'buy' for me.