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Author Topic: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?  (Read 4200 times)

Bob Leonard

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2014, 09:01:59 pm »

If you don't like pages and menu's buy an Expression.
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James A. Griffin

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2014, 09:14:06 pm »

.I get irritated playing with menus and pages when all I want to do is something simple.

Not having all the faders on one page is a comment often heard from the Digital Resistance Movement (DRM).

Pages are there for a reason and they are your friend.    My computer keyboard has 47 keys capable of putting a character on the screen.  If it weren't for the SHIFT key, 94 keys would be required to accomplish the same thing. None of us think twice about hitting the SHIFT key.   That is much easier than trying to find one key in 94.     

It's exactly the same thing on a digital mixer.  On an 80-input mixer, it's much easier to find Page 4, Fader 11 than it would be to find Fader 71 on a 7 foot long analog mixer.

Once you learn your way around, hitting the proper page button is no more burdensome than hitting SHIFT on your computer keyboard.   It becomes second nature pretty quickly.
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2014, 12:07:15 am »

I understand that digital systems offer some advantages.  But some of my concerns with digital are longevity, long term compatibility with control systems and software and the general troubles that go with failures on any integrated electronic system.  How many analog systems are still working after 10 or 20 years?  Will a digital system really be usable in 20 years?  Are you going to have a working ipad to run your system 10 or 20 years from now?  Maybe that is OK if you replace all your equipment every few years but I hope to keep the same system going for longer than that.     



Thanks Mike for sharing your concerns. 

FWIW, not all digital systems require an iPad, for most they are an option, and often using that option is *very* convenient, e.g. setting up monitor mixes from the stage while standing next to each musician so you hear exactly what they hear, or mixing out in the audience at the wedding where you are not allowed to use any space in the audience area.

There is a post on the forums now about the value of a 15 year old Yamaha 01V that is still chugging along like new.  It's hard to say of a Mackie 1608 will be working in 20 years but many Yamaha's probably will.  There are also lots of frequent problems with nAnalog condoles like loose ribbon cables, failed power supplies,.. they aren't immune.

Also, as TJ said, you get about $30K of analog equivalent sound in a $3K X32, Expression,...  That makes replacing the digital board every 5 years more easy to stomach.

Although you can mix a show with a straight analog console, but you also may quickly outgrow not having gates and comps and full parametric EQ's on every channel.  That deesser you need for the spitty father of the bride, time delays on the outputs when you need them for a field gig with speakers out in the crowd, 31band EQs for every monitor wedges,...  Most of this 'extra stuff' comes in really handy after you spend the time learning how to use it. 

If you end up with racks of analog gear, your setup and takedown time increases.  Its is awfully nice dropping a small rack on stage and running a skinny little Cat5 cable 100' back in the audience, and your are done.

A final note: In the next few years I expect most small venue bands are going to expect to be able to mix their own monitors from their telephone.

Anyway, welcome back to live sound.  A lot has changed, mostly for the better. Expectations are higher, sound quality is higher.

My summary: You can do analog and have fun but I predict you will either outgrow a console only solution or you will end up spending much more money on a lot of external gear.  You may also limit your marketability by not having a wide palette of tools.

Oh ya, you also mentioned powered speakers. There are lots of discussions available to search on that topic.  Modern speakers designers actually do a lot of useful stuff in the DSPs imbedded in powered speakers to make them sound good, get loud, and avoid self-destruction. It takes a fairly serious investment and a lot more skill to get passive speakers to sound as good.  The digital console choice is a no brainer for many of us here. active versus passive is still an ongoing debate.

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Steve M Smith

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2014, 02:32:34 am »

Yes!  Get someone to show you around on a digital board and mix on it for a while, and I think you might be convinced!

Good advice.  The first time I was set loose on a digital mixer, I thought I was going to get hopelessly lost.  I had printed out many pages from the instruction manual and written out some notes of my own.

When it came to actually using it, I found it very intuitive and never once had to refer to my note - which was very lucky as I had accidentally left them at home!

If you don't like pages and menu's buy an Expression.

I like the way the Expression and Compact have a separate button for every bus you can send to in order to activate sends on faders.  When I first saw this it seemed so obvious and logical and much better than having to select the bus first then select sends on faders.


Steve.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 02:36:16 am by Steve M Smith »
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2014, 04:14:46 am »

Brian where do you live. If you live in the Boston area I would be more than happy to give you time on a fully functional digital system if you like in the privacy of my home. And my wife will make coffee. Actually, that offer stands for anyone who cares to drop by.
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Brian Marshall

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2014, 08:17:25 am »

WOW!

I never imagined I would receive such an overwhelming response! Thank you everybody for your extremely thoughtful words. You are a very intelligent bunch around here! I feel like I am in very good company. With all of the suggestions, opinions and questions asked; I will have a difficult time replying to everyone specifically, so I will attempt to touch on most points. I'm in the Midwest, attempting to work with no-name bar bands. I'm talking gigs that pay the band less than $500! I have no illusions about doing concert level gigs. This is something I want to be able to do from the back of a pick-up truck. For example; 16 inputs, 2-4 monitor mixes, 15's on a stick over single 18's per side at FOH. 8 channels of inserted comps and gates. Basic Lexicon verbs. Crown DSP amps so I can control para-EQ and limiters/crossovers from a laptop. Yamaha Club series cabs...you get the picture. I'm not trying to be a mix engineer to the stars. I've just noticed that a lot of bands that I've seen mixing themselves from stage sound horrendous, and I thought I could offer an affordable solution.

I should also mention that I still play out occasionally myself, so one could say this might double as a personal system with semi-professional aspirations. As others have pointed out, the analogue gear prices are crashing thru the floor. I am grabbing up gear left and right for a fraction of what it was offered for at retail 3 years ago. I know some may think that is false economy based on the mathematics of scale that were presented; but I cannot possibly afford to drop $3K on a digi-mixer, then another $1K on a snake, before I've even begin looking at $1K each powered cabs. I also love the idea that I can still service an analogue mixer and amps. I'm willing to bet that the insides of powered cabs are not user serviceable. And certainly, NO ONE is going to open up a digital mixer and root around in there with a screwdriver or soldering iron. I guess you can surmise that I am a gear head. Mechanic by trade, so I like knowing I can "lay hands on" and make repairs.

Again, I realize this notion flies in the face of continually burgeoning technology...but I am old enough now, that I will probably expire before every last piece of analogue gear is put in landfills. It's kind of analogous (like how I used that?) to classic cars. Sure, there are "greenies" who would like nothing better than to turn every '57 Chevy and '68 'Cuda into a washing machine (or Prius) in the name of progressive technology...but there will always be people who appreciate the antiquities of our post-industrial era, and will fight to keep the "old junk" around for future generations to learn from/experience. Not to push my point too many more steps further...BUT, look at how many guitarists still DEMAND tube driven heads! Well, gee...that is super old man technology (1910-1950's) and yet it is a thriving business. Why hasn't every guitar player on planet Earth simply accepted technology, and moved to fully transistorized amps? It's because there is something very organic about that "ancient" tube technology. Kind of like using your hands to write with pencil on a piece of paper, instead of typing on a cell phone screen to communicate a thought. I know I've gone off on a tangent and lost most of you waxing philosophical, but I guess I must confess, I am indeed part of the DRM. (digital resistance movement)

Now, without going on much longer in this post...yes, I have mixed on an X32 in church. For the first hour, I was absolutely floored by the menu driven system and all of the options. It took another hour before I even began to feel comfortable about making changes to the settings; and finally after 2 rehearsals of an hour each, I felt confident enough to mix live during a service. It was a nerve racking experience, but I got through it. Did I enjoy the ability to do anything I wanted in the space of a 16 channel analogue mixer? Absolutely! Was I intimidated by the necessity of having to flip through pages to find EQ, or other processors while live with feedback rearing its ugly head? You better believe it! I know that if I spent every weekend on it, I would become comfortable, and eventually come to even love it perhaps, but it's the initial cost of ownership compiled with the steep learning curve that has me reticent to take that leap.

I VERY much appreciate every comment given both for and against the technology! You guys have given me much to consider, and I may have already started making purchase mistakes, as I have several $K in FOH gear already. It may simply be too late to back pedal into the digital realm. Unless I can unload everything I have for equal coin and start over. Sorry for the ultra-long post.

You folks are wonderful!
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2014, 08:56:40 am »

Brian, you're very welcome, both to PSW, and for any collective wisdom the forum brings.

We all face the reality of needing to balance the short/long term while having finite resources.  As you said, you can get great analog gear for next to nothing.  If you're starting from scratch, I still submit that digital is probably cheaper, even with current analog prices, but there's no reason to change your direction if you have a plan and specific desires, and I'm confident that your analog gear will work fine.

As you make purchases and think about your future, try to map a plan to wherever you are going, and try to get there with the minimum number of "re-buys" possible, as every transaction is expensive - depreciation on the outgoing gear, etc.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2014, 09:10:17 am »

If you already have a fair amount of equipment then that will initially dictate the direction you should go in as something you have is infinitely cheaper than something you have to buy.

You can always digitise* yourself later, especially if you are successful in this venture.

(*is that the right word?  digitalise... digify... digitalificate?)


Steve.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2014, 09:18:08 am »

I am grabbing up gear left and right for a fraction of what it was offered for at retail 3 years ago. I know some may think that is false economy based on the mathematics of scale that were presented; but I cannot possibly afford to drop $3K on a digi-mixer, then another $1K on a snake, before I've even begin looking at $1K each powered cabs.

Your numbers are WAY off on the prices for digital gear.  You could get a fully functional digital mixer that does everything you need for your type of shows in the $1000 price range.

The X32 rack lives very nicely along with my power amps in the same rack.  Roll in one rack, and setup is done.  No snakes, no cables, nothing to FOH.  Mixing a bar band on an iPad should be a non issue.

You'll likely spend about the same amount or more if you're getting anything more than the most basic analogue setup.  Heck, just the cost of the snake is a significant chunk towards a digital console
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Brian Jojade

James A. Griffin

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2014, 09:26:03 am »

You could get a fully functional digital mixer that does everything you need for your type of shows in the $1000 price range.

The X32 rack lives very nicely along with my power amps in the same rack. 

Behringer just dropped the price of X32 rack to $1200.   They are on backorder right now, but worth the wait.  As others have said, TONS of features in a 3 rack space unit.  Out of the box it has 16 XLR in, 8 XLR out + 6 1/4" in.  IF you ever outgrow it, add an S16 for $900 and you'll have 32x16.   And it will sound better than any $1200 analog board you can buy.
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