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Author Topic: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?  (Read 14954 times)

Brian Marshall

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Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« on: March 26, 2014, 07:12:21 am »

Hi Guys, first post here! I am building a small system to (hopefully) provide SR services to small bands/venues in my area who are trying to move up from the dreaded "on-stage mixing" to a real FOH provider. I'm not new to this, having done it for a few years back in the late 90's as I moved from a position as musician to sound guy. Here's my question...why am I encountering so much resistance, and in some cases outright condescension from sales people and other pro-audio people when I insist on rigging my system with analogue gear? All I keep hearing is the words DIGITAL, DIGITAL, DIGITAL...as if the last 60 years of live and recorded acts on analogue equipment meant nothing or didn't exist. I mean, if I believed what everyone is saying about me building an analogue system; I'm either supremely stupid, too old, or like to break my back lifting thousands of pounds of gear unnecessarily! I am sick of having to defend myself to guys who can't fathom why I don't want powered cabs or a rack-free FOH. Maybe I won't get any love here either, now that I've admitted to being an "Old School Fool", but if there is anyone here who still operates gear old enough that it's not ipad controllable, please let me know I'm not being stupid. I'm hoping that I can learn from the fine folks here without being flamed for refusing to mix in a virtual world. Thanks for letting me vent!
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 07:20:25 am »

If you want to see some real digital vs. analogue arguments, you should look at some of the photography forums!!

I also started in the 1990s (well, late 1980s) and am more than happy using analogue.

I might also be an 'Old School Fool' but there is room for both as far as I am concerned.

I have two friends with medium sized concert systems (who I occasionally work for/with).  One is fully digital, the other fully analogue.  They both seem to get work.  The guy with the analogue system says that he still gets riders with 'no digital' on them.

I also think there are times when an analogue mixer is preferable.  There is a club near me with a different band on every night which means a different person doing the mixing each night.  They have recently installed an X32.  There is nothing wrong with the X32 and their's was the first digital mixer I used, but due to the range of experiences the users of this mixer will have, I think something like a Mix Wizard would have been a better choice for this club.


Steve.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 07:48:09 am by Steve M Smith »
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Thomas Le

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 07:24:55 am »

Hey you're not alone! My analog gear still get used when the gig might be overkill for digital. I also do the mix at my local church that still has an analog board, if that counts...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 07:57:56 am »

Welcome to the site Brian,

Starting back into the business with an analog system is no crime, and in many ways may be of benefit to you depending on your use or needs. I have been and remain a fan of analog gear since day 1 some 45+ years ago. All of my passion for analog is based on the warmth and tone of a good analog system. I even found myself not caring about the weight of four (4) 12U cases full of heavy hardware supporting monitors and FOH.

I started looking at digital boards to replace an almost new APB Pro House a couple of years ago, budgeted $10K, and still couldn't find anything that sounded as good as the APB until recently. My search was lengthy, my requirements demanding, and nothing would do the job unless the board I bought could sound as good or better than the APB, had a simplistic analog type look and feel, could expand past it's base channel count, was manufactured by a trusted company, and was built with quality. So in the end I bought an Expression which had recently been made available.

What I have found is I no longer need racks of outboard gear, can work the board faster than I ever believed I could, can recall anything at the push of a single button, can expand to 66 channels, can recall any settings from the past, and most of all the Expression (and all of Soundcrafts digital boards) sounds as good if not better than my beloved APB. And the best part? The Expression cost me less than I paid for the APB alone.

You'll still need a good DSP, you'll still need good speakers, mics, amplifiers and cables, but my four (4) racks can be reduced to one (1) and this old guy is grateful for that.

Analog will live forever, and analog will always have it's place in the scheme of things, but digital is here and is the future, so you might as well climb aboard. (I can't believe I just said that.)
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BOSTON STRONG........
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Robert Weston

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 08:36:43 am »

Hi Guys, first post here! I am building a small system to (hopefully) provide SR services to small bands/venues in my area who are trying to move up from the dreaded "on-stage mixing" to a real FOH provider. I'm not new to this, having done it for a few years back in the late 90's as I moved from a position as musician to sound guy. Here's my question...why am I encountering so much resistance, and in some cases outright condescension from sales people and other pro-audio people when I insist on rigging my system with analogue gear? All I keep hearing is the words DIGITAL, DIGITAL, DIGITAL...as if the last 60 years of live and recorded acts on analogue equipment meant nothing or didn't exist. I mean, if I believed what everyone is saying about me building an analogue system; I'm either supremely stupid, too old, or like to break my back lifting thousands of pounds of gear unnecessarily! I am sick of having to defend myself to guys who can't fathom why I don't want powered cabs or a rack-free FOH. Maybe I won't get any love here either, now that I've admitted to being an "Old School Fool", but if there is anyone here who still operates gear old enough that it's not ipad controllable, please let me know I'm not being stupid. I'm hoping that I can learn from the fine folks here without being flamed for refusing to mix in a virtual world. Thanks for letting me vent!

Digital consoles (just like analog) are tools.  One may be better than the other in certain areas; digital is NOT the answer to everything.  Marketing hype and uninformed users of digital consoles (i.e those whom have low or no hours in the analog world) is why you hear (and see) DIGITAL everywhere.  It's just like hearing all about Microsoft Windows and how "great" it is... when there's actually other, and better, alternatives (i.e. UNIX and Linux).

We use analog consoles for our rig and will not be changing.  We also use digital at customer locations because that's all they have.

Others may feel differently (and all things being what they are), but our experiences have shown analog consoles (w/outboard) is a lot easier to run/manage for events/fairs where multiple bands share one stage.  Using Digital for these types of events (yes, not all digitals are the same...) works, but has proven exhausting with the amount of time it takes to flip through layers to access a channel/monitor send/gate/compressor/etc... 

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Brad Weber

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 09:06:39 am »

Brian, in my view there is nothing wrong with an analog system, however if you are looking at this as a business venture then from a digital console likely costing less than a comparable analog console and rack full of outboard effects and processors to the physical size and weight of the equipment to the simplicity of the system setup to general acceptance by the market, for the market you identified there do seem to be pretty good arguments for considering digital mixers and powered speakers.  I'll just say that as much as I personally like analog systems, if I were starting from scratch to serve the market you noted and were doing it as a business rather than as a hobby then I would probably be looking at a digital console and powered speakers.
 
Steve brought up a point regarding some operators not being familiar with digital consoles.  However, due to many churches and schools moving to digital consoles and the proliferation of low cost 'prosumer' digital audio systems for personal use it's also not that unusual now to encounter operators who have never used an analog console.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 09:09:23 am »

Digital consoles (just like analog) are tools.  One may be better than the other in certain areas; digital is NOT the answer to everything.  Marketing hype and uninformed users of digital consoles (i.e those whom have low or no hours in the analog world) is why you hear (and see) DIGITAL everywhere.  It's just like hearing all about Microsoft Windows and how "great" it is... when there's actually other, and better, alternatives (i.e. UNIX and Linux).

We use analog consoles for our rig and will not be changing.  We also use digital at customer locations because that's all they have.

Others may feel differently (and all things being what they are), but our experiences have shown analog consoles (w/outboard) is a lot easier to run/manage for events/fairs where multiple bands share one stage.  Using Digital for these types of events (yes, not all digitals are the same...) works, but has proven exhausting with the amount of time it takes to flip through layers to access a channel/monitor send/gate/compressor/etc...
With respect, this is a rather limited viewpoint, and a little bit ironic comparing analog mixers to Linux.  :)

If a user has many years of experience on analog gear and is resistant to change, analog is a fine choice and can get the job done.  Implying that most digital users are uninformed or have been sold a bill of goods is just not the case.  The advantages of digital speak for themselves - processing power, size, sound quality, I/O, digital snakes, etc.  If those things aren't important to you, then fine.  The general population disagrees - even the not stupid ones, as evidenced by the fire sale on any analog board with more than about 16 channels, and digital's presence on virtually all large events where the operators get any tool they want to use.

My offer from previous posts stands - I'll race you with my GLD-80 against any large format analog board in any test you want.  The more bands in a festival slot the better.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 09:12:50 am »

Hi Guys, first post here! I am building a small system to (hopefully) provide SR services to small bands/venues in my area who are trying to move up from the dreaded "on-stage mixing" to a real FOH provider. I'm not new to this, having done it for a few years back in the late 90's as I moved from a position as musician to sound guy. Here's my question...why am I encountering so much resistance, and in some cases outright condescension from sales people and other pro-audio people when I insist on rigging my system with analogue gear? All I keep hearing is the words DIGITAL, DIGITAL, DIGITAL...as if the last 60 years of live and recorded acts on analogue equipment meant nothing or didn't exist. I mean, if I believed what everyone is saying about me building an analogue system; I'm either supremely stupid, too old, or like to break my back lifting thousands of pounds of gear unnecessarily! I am sick of having to defend myself to guys who can't fathom why I don't want powered cabs or a rack-free FOH. Maybe I won't get any love here either, now that I've admitted to being an "Old School Fool", but if there is anyone here who still operates gear old enough that it's not ipad controllable, please let me know I'm not being stupid. I'm hoping that I can learn from the fine folks here without being flamed for refusing to mix in a virtual world. Thanks for letting me vent!
Why don't you want digital and/or powered cabs?  You've offered no reasons other than "that's what I decided".  Not flaming, just curious?  You're more than welcome at PSW with a digital mixer, an analog mixer, or no mixer at all.
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Robert Weston

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 09:26:01 am »

With respect, this is a rather limited viewpoint, and a little bit ironic comparing analog mixers to Linux.  :)

Ironic... yes!  :)
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 09:30:43 am »

Steve brought up a point regarding some operators not being familiar with digital consoles.  However, due to many churches and schools moving to digital consoles and the proliferation of low cost 'prosumer' digital audio systems for personal use it's also not that unusual now to encounter operators who have never used an analog console.

Whilst that is a good point and is true, the people I was referring to who might be using the mixer in the club I mentioned probably have little or no knowledge of any type of mixer, analogue or digital.  In that case, I think an analogue mixer is easier to understand.


Steve.
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