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Author Topic: APB Pro Desk 4  (Read 56272 times)

Tom Young

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #50 on: June 25, 2009, 06:23:57 am »

I trust you on this.
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Tom Young
Electroacoustic Design Services
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John Petrucelli

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #51 on: June 26, 2009, 06:26:05 pm »

Drew,
We design our products with the flattest freq & phase response that we can. With the ProDesk-4, we use the same plug-in circuit modules that we use in the ProRack series, so overall the response and "sound" should be very similar across the 2 products.
Here is the freq response of a ProDesk-4 Mono Input channel routed to the Main Left Output.
30dB of channel gain with the channel mixed to the output at unity gain: -20dBu input level, +10dBu output level.

index.php/fa/23432/0/

As you can see, we're pretty flat within (and well beyond) the audio band. That may have something to do with the overall sound...  Rolling Eyes

PM me if you have any questions.

Thanks,
JP
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John Petrucelli
APB-DynaSonics

Jason Dermer

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2009, 08:35:44 pm »

That model rack has quite a few offspring and does not lend itself to close operation.
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John Petrucelli

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #53 on: June 28, 2009, 11:13:38 pm »

LABsters,
Although some of you already know of his involvement, I wanted to give a public  Surprised -THANK YOU- Surprised  to JR for his contribution to the ProDesk-4 console.
I think most everyone on the LAB (at least) suspects that JR is a pretty smart guy. We first met during the Peavey/Crest "Strategic Alliance" and have kept in touch after we both left the PV family. When I was planning the PD-4 meters, I asked him for some advice on micro-controllers (he uses one in his Resotune drum tuner).
After talking a bit, he said that he always wanted to resurrect a meter design he first implemented (and patented) in the 70s. It was able to display Ave and Peak simultaneously; he could now do it "easily" with a micro. How could I say no?
We worked together to produce the meter sub-assembly below; JR wrote the code and came up with the basic HW design, we did the layout & packaging.

index.php/fa/23476/0/

JR was even able to incorporate some later suggestions Bennett made at a trade show (hey, it's only software... Rolling Eyes )
The ProDesk has been very well received and everyone LOVES the metering.
So once again, Thank You, JR! Couldn't have done it without you.

JP
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John Petrucelli
APB-DynaSonics

Teri Hogan

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #54 on: June 29, 2009, 01:20:11 am »

I used our ProDesk 4, Phil Junior, as a monitor desk this weekend and I ditto everything Bennett said above.  The band loved it so much, they asked if they could buy it for their future plans of going in-ear.  I explained that they couldn't get five stereo mixes out of this desk and that they DEFINATELY did NOT want to go mono.  But there is always the option of a ProRack Monitor, which would sound exactly the same as this desk.  They were sooooo impressed, and so was I.  But I expected to be.  I used our Spectra-T as a monitor desk for a week when we first got it two years ago.  Piece of cake!
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2009, 12:02:26 pm »

John Petrucelli wrote on Sun, 28 June 2009 22:13

LABsters,
Although some of you already know of his involvement, I wanted to give a public  Surprised -THANK YOU- Surprised  to JR for his contribution to the ProDesk-4 console.
I think most everyone on the LAB (at least) suspects that JR is a pretty smart guy. We first met during the Peavey/Crest "Strategic Alliance" and have kept in touch after we both left the PV family. When I was planning the PD-4 meters, I asked him for some advice on micro-controllers (he uses one in his Resotune drum tuner).
After talking a bit, he said that he always wanted to resurrect a meter design he first implemented (and patented) in the 70s. It was able to display Ave and Peak simultaneously; he could now do it "easily" with a micro. How could I say no?
We worked together to produce the meter sub-assembly below; JR wrote the code and came up with the basic HW design, we did the layout & packaging.



JR was even able to incorporate some later suggestions Bennett made at a trade show (hey, it's only software... Rolling Eyes )
The ProDesk has been very well received and everyone LOVES the metering.
So once again, Thank You, JR! Couldn't have done it without you.

JP


While Peavey/Crest was indeed my first face to face meeting with JP, IIRC he bought some stuff from my kit company decades earlier so this is truly a small world. Chuck is well known to anyone in the console business, and I met Taz on my several working visits up to Crest in NJ. I used to escape into JPs office to talk circuits and other fun stuff to take a break from the BS I was working on. I wasn't up there in a strictly engineering capacity and that's enough about that.

Indeed this meter project was a labor of love for me. My old patent is now expired so even I can use it now.  Rolling Eyes  I am an old analog dog who has been turned to the dark (digital) side... I have been trying to drag the APB guys into the digital world and consider this a limited victory. If you think about it even analog LED meters are digital output, so this just pushed the A/D conversion further upstream.

This meter project worked because it does everything the old analog approach did, better, for the same price or less, in less real estate, and provided the flexibility to add new features and tricks. We came very close to being able to release the first cut PCBs to production but extra features were added to the design, so we could ignore any mistakes I made. Rolling Eyes

For those not familiar with my greatest hits song book, this meter invention displays peak and VU (ave) simultaneously as a single LED for Peak, and bar graph for VU. This is easy to read because peak with even a modest hold duration will always be higher than VU. Many people associate this approach with Dorrough but his is pretty much a curved version of mine which was patented before his.

link to video of meter working
http://www.johnhroberts.com/Candy.wmv

The notorious "Bennet" LED was something I was thinking about but it was crystallized by an exchange with him.  In effect, when the meter is in VU only mode, the top LED is still responsive to Peak level with some extra hold, so even when mixing in VU mode you still get visibility into headroom status. This is similar to the practice of adding a peak LED to a mechanical VU meter.

It is the true benefit of digital, that you can do all kinds of related manipulations on the data in parallel just by writing code. I won't bore you with the other tricks which are designed to be transparent to the end user, just providing information they can use when they need it (Ignore the man behind the curtain).

It was a pleasure working with JP who is no slouch. His rigor in the hardware effort made it a better product.  I love (almost) all of my old inventions, so it is rewarding to see my meter back in the game. When it was new in the '70s this may have been too much complexity for old school mixers to embrace, but in this modern day of so much clutter on computer screens and TV tubes, this display is relative simplicity for the information it contains. Of course I may be a little biased..  Laughing

JR
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drewgandy

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2009, 10:50:34 pm »

Hi John,
I wouldn't expect any funny business with APB.  I was just joking about an eq boost. But I am very curious about these kinds of descriptions.  From an engineering standpoint I would expect these kinds of comments concerning different speakers or mics.  But the difference a console sometimes makes is hard for me to grasp.  I've been there though.  There are a few lower end boards that, no matter the speakers being used, just don't result in as pleasing a sound as other boards.  For awhile I thought it had something to do with that silky smooth fader thing that uber expensive consoles might sport.  You think that the sound is somehow better on account of the feel of the controls.  I had a recording guy once comment that he tried the mackie onyx 8 channel mic pre box and thought it sounded "steel gray" or something like that.  Well, that's pretty much the color scheme they went with.  Maybe it needed some red or brown on the front panel to "warm it up".  I worked with a band where a couple of the guys said that they could often walk into a bar or club and within a minute or two of listening decide which mixer they were using without ever seeing the FOH.  They said they had gotten pretty good at it after several years of playing 3-4 nights a week in places all over and hearing their own monitor mixes through various consoles.  I certainly don't dispute that we can be trained to hear certain things that the "average" person wouldn't pick up on but when a different mixer is like taking a tarp off the speakers, what's really going on?  

The graph that John Petrucelli posted is pretty impressive.  They obviously don't have a problem with the center detents on the eq not being flat.    

drew

John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 24 June 2009 11:24



I have had some private conversations with JP on this subject. I am pretty sure there is no funny EQ tricks involved, but this would be simple enough to test. Note: I once encountered a european powered mixer that had some bass boost when set flat, but that turned out to be because they were using a knob designed for vertical instead of horizontal orientation on the tone control, so it was a half spline off. Despite being unintentional (?) it sounded audibly different at point of sale.

My suspicion with the APB is that there is a cumulative effect of decades of solid electronic design practices, and good ergonomic design. How a product responds when you twist the knobs will impact perceived and real results.

JR

PS: I always thought that "air" knob on the mackies was to compensate for the suck.  Cool

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Jamie Taylor

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #57 on: July 19, 2009, 02:45:10 am »

I had the great fortune of meeting Chuck A during the 'Integrate' expo a few weeks ago, and had a chance to put my hands on one of these.

They looked amazing, and felt amazing.  I didn't get the opportunity to have a 'play', but I'm sure they sound brilliant.  Chuck also took the time to have a chat to me, and show me the Mixswitch, which I'm very interested in.

Good work APB!
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #58 on: July 19, 2009, 10:47:00 am »

drewgandy wrote on Sat, 18 July 2009 21:50

Hi John,
I wouldn't expect any funny business with APB.  I was just joking about an eq boost. But I am very curious about these kinds of descriptions.  From an engineering standpoint I would expect these kinds of comments concerning different speakers or mics.  But the difference a console sometimes makes is hard for me to grasp.  I've been there though.  There are a few lower end boards that, no matter the speakers being used, just don't result in as pleasing a sound as other boards.  For awhile I thought it had something to do with that silky smooth fader thing that uber expensive consoles might sport.  You think that the sound is somehow better on account of the feel of the controls.  I had a recording guy once comment that he tried the mackie onyx 8 channel mic pre box and thought it sounded "steel gray" or something like that.  Well, that's pretty much the color scheme they went with.  Maybe it needed some red or brown on the front panel to "warm it up".  I worked with a band where a couple of the guys said that they could often walk into a bar or club and within a minute or two of listening decide which mixer they were using without ever seeing the FOH.  They said they had gotten pretty good at it after several years of playing 3-4 nights a week in places all over and hearing their own monitor mixes through various consoles.  I certainly don't dispute that we can be trained to hear certain things that the "average" person wouldn't pick up on but when a different mixer is like taking a tarp off the speakers, what's really going on?  

The graph that John Petrucelli posted is pretty impressive.  They obviously don't have a problem with the center detents on the eq not being flat.    

drew

John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 24 June 2009 11:24



I have had some private conversations with JP on this subject. I am pretty sure there is no funny EQ tricks involved, but this would be simple enough to test. Note: I once encountered a european powered mixer that had some bass boost when set flat, but that turned out to be because they were using a knob designed for vertical instead of horizontal orientation on the tone control, so it was a half spline off. Despite being unintentional (?) it sounded audibly different at point of sale.

My suspicion with the APB is that there is a cumulative effect of decades of solid electronic design practices, and good ergonomic design. How a product responds when you twist the knobs will impact perceived and real results.

JR

PS: I always thought that "air" knob on the mackies was to compensate for the suck.  Cool




I have had to bite my tongue several times to resist making similar comments. Consoles are not supposed to make night and day differences in sound quality. I am more than an interested poster since I have designed consoles and have even had the opportunity to review some of JP's schematics.

From the MR (meter reader) POV, a review of console specs and data sheets suggest that deviation from a straight wire with gain has several zeros after the decimal point and should be inaudible. From the GE (golden ear) POV, after a succession of hands-on users report sonic improvement, there appears to be some "there" there. Trying to resolve these two world views, the thesis of some euphonious EQ is an easy guess, and easily dismissed by JP's response plots.

From my exposure to partial schematics, I am impressed with the attention to detail  I have seen in basic circuit blocks. If APB consoles sound different than the other consoles that reviewers are familiar with, I am inclined to be suspicious of the other consoles having subtle but audible shortcomings.

I have been in the business for a while and have uncovered any number of corners cut while bench testing competitors product. One observation to make about the MR's argument that the spec sheet doesn't leave room for audible deviation, keep in mind that the manufacturer gets to set the controls for published measurements. Specifications are often presented in a favorable light.

I believe there were measurable differences between the consoles that exhibited audible differences. Some of that may be from more user-friendly control laws, next perhaps some corners not cut, and finally some difficult to quantify expectation bias.

There are a number of subtle "human factors" considerations engineered into better consoles. APB is building upon decades of experience in repeating the stuff that works well, and improving what doesn't.

JR

Note: to readers and mods- I am not impartial about this company, and especially not impartial about this console, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
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David Karol

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Re: APB Pro Desk 4
« Reply #59 on: September 08, 2009, 11:31:26 pm »

We just finished our demo of the 32 channel ProDesk-4.  I had the opportunity to mix on the ProDesk for a variety of shows.   Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, and Ain't Misbehavin' were the big ones that week.  We also had a band called The Ivy League play through the console.  I've mixed numerous shows on the Spectra T.  As with the Spectra, the on board EQ is extremely responsive.  I can make a microphone sound exactly how I want it to.  The powerful EQ allows everything to just come together without a problem.  Having the two sweep-able bands and the high pass filter really helps. The faders and knobs are of very high quality.  When I'm mixing on the ProDesk, I feel like I'm on a console that costs at least twice what this one does.  It's really an expansion of the ProRack, filling the gap between that and the Spectra.  One thing I really like about this console is the new metering.  The mic preamps don't have a sound to them.  Transparency was obviously one of the focus points when designing the console.  They're just like the ones on the Spectra.  This is really a Pro Desk.  Mixing on this isn't work.  It's a breeze.   I don't know how APB managed to fit 32 channels into this console.  It's so compact, but there's really nothing missing. Every show that went up with this console was multi-tracked through a 003 into a Pro Tools LE system.  We used direct outs for the band, and then a mix of the vocals.  We recorded up to 16 tracks.  For the theatre shows, we ran up to 24 Shure ULX/P Systems with Countryman B3 lavs, and a mic'd pit orchestra.  In the next year or so, I'm hoping to install this console in another of our theatres.  Thanks Jason, Bennett, and everyone at APB!

A few pictures are below.


index.php/fa/24874/0/
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