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Author Topic: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?  (Read 4558 times)

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2014, 10:10:27 am »

I am repeating myself but IMO this is an old tools vs new tools issue.  Modern light weight amplifiers using class D (analog) and switching power supplies (analog), are significant size, weight, and cost savings vs old heavy iron.

Powered speakers don't have to use digital crossovers, but they are crazy not to. They will use modern light weight switching amps inside.

Mixers are where there is a significant apparent divide between analog and digital technology. With analog it is literately WYSIWYG where every feature has a 1:1 relationship with the physical means to execute that function. Digital mixing is very non-linear, the means to execute a digital mixer involve the conversions into and out of the digital domain, an engine or processors to perform glorified math calculations, and then controls (with display for feedback). The conversion into digital is a sunk cost that all digital mixers need, and the cost to perform more math calculations is modest (and falling), but the control and display facilities are what separates premium from value digital mixers. Impressively we can now get motorized faders in value digital mixers but there are still going to be highly shared multi-purpose interface and display resources to save cost.

Something else I am repeating myself about we are not yet taking full advantage of the digital processor's ability to make decisions. It should not be rocket science to anticipate if some level jumps suddenly, or feedback is occurring, that you might want immediate access to that EQ or gain trim. Carrying this theme to a logical extreme, I expect future digital mixers to handle some such emergencies themselves, based on what we tell them we want. (Of course this is easier to predict than deliver).

Do what makes sense for you, but understand you will end up paying a premium for using fading technology. Perhaps not immediately in out of pocket acquisition cost, but eventually in feature content, size, weight, etc.

JR

PS: I was an old analog circuit designer who has gone over to the dark (digital) side. I just can't do with analog components what I can do with digital technology for a fraction of the cost. 
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2014, 10:16:35 am »

Sorry if I'm missing something, but what mixer are you referring to that does all this for $1000, and does it allow mixing WITHOUT the iPad?    Please advise...

Mackie DL1608. Can not mix without the Ipad (so there's another $400-500 you must spend).
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2014, 10:31:52 am »

Brian has  stated that he has already purchased a lot of gear, so this is a moot point for him, but there are powered speakers out that with DSP that offer delay for alignment purposes, built in crossovers and built in feedback suppression. If you go 100% powered, in a bar band situation, you could do it with zero rack equipment and mixer the size of a briefcase. (Of course, with no rack, you'll need something to sit your mixer on)  ;) 
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dick rees

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2014, 10:59:21 am »

I am repeating myself but IMO this is an old tools vs new tools issue.  Modern light weight amplifiers using class D (analog) and switching power supplies (analog), are significant size, weight, and cost savings vs old heavy iron.


Not to swerve the topic too much, but could you shed some light on using Class D amps vs using heavy iron like MacroTechs with power supplied by something like a Honda EU3000i? 

There's another thread regarding quiet generator power where the OP was experiencing some "sagging", not enough info from him on his setup and how he was running, but I have a nagging suspicion that old, heavy iron "smooths out" the power draw and might possibly give better performance when used with power sources such as small generators.

TIA, JR.

DR
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2014, 11:18:41 am »

Not to swerve the topic too much, but could you shed some light on using Class D amps vs using heavy iron like MacroTechs with power supplied by something like a Honda EU3000i? 

There's another thread regarding quiet generator power where the OP was experiencing some "sagging", not enough info from him on his setup and how he was running, but I have a nagging suspicion that old, heavy iron "smooths out" the power draw and might possibly give better performance when used with power sources such as small generators.

TIA, JR.

DR
Power factor correction is material here, and the presence or absence of this doesn't fall along class D/not class D lines.  An amplifier with power factor correction means that it can draw current over the whole AC waveform.  An amp without power factor correction only draws power on the peaks of the waveform - when the supply voltage is higher than the reservoir voltage (amp's capacitors). 

Crown ITechs have PFC, and a few analogs do as well, and these, notwithstanding other factors, should behave well on generators.  Cheaper digital amps likely don't have PFC, and this may contribute to generator woes.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2014, 11:26:26 am »

Not to swerve the topic too much, but could you shed some light on using Class D amps vs using heavy iron like MacroTechs with power supplied by something like a Honda EU3000i? 

There's another thread regarding quiet generator power where the OP was experiencing some "sagging", not enough info from him on his setup and how he was running, but I have a nagging suspicion that old, heavy iron "smooths out" the power draw and might possibly give better performance when used with power sources such as small generators.

TIA, JR.

DR

I am not aware of any benefit to the mains service from "heavy iron" vs a properly executed modern technology amp. Further, advanced modern technology, like "power factor correction", will smooth out the power draw making it an even easier load. Class D is more efficient than even multi-rail (Class G/H) so will generate more sound power and less waste heat for the same mains current draw as old heavy iron.

If I had to guess, some newer amp is probably capable of more output power, so drawing more power from the generator due to that. The old iron amp may be current/power limited so not passing the same current draw back to to the generator.  The lower power clipped and/or current limited audio signal may not sound that different, but the generator will notice.

or not...

JR
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Art Welter

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #46 on: March 27, 2014, 11:31:50 am »

There's another thread regarding quiet generator power where the OP was experiencing some "sagging", not enough info from him on his setup and how he was running, but I have a nagging suspicion that old, heavy iron "smooths out" the power draw and might possibly give better performance when used with power sources such as small generators.
Dick,

This is a case of "it depends", some class D amps are more efficient at converting electrical energy to output power than classic heavy metal amps, so for mid-high operation can do more with less.

For low frequency short term peaks, the large capacitor storage of (some) classic heavy metal amps can smooth out the demands, which can prevent a generator from bucking or stalling on the peaks. The large capacitor storage can also reduce voltage drop on land lines as well.

So average power demands can go down using class D, while peak demands go up, requiring a "stiffer" power source, lighter amps but heavier AC cords and generators.

Art
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Steve.Oldridge

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #47 on: March 27, 2014, 11:55:18 am »

WOW!

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.

Brian, it's never too late.. while budget is ALWAYS a factor, the decision is yours. I have 3 consoles - 1 digital, 2-analog (which is something of a misnomer since even an analog board is full of digital components! :) )
My Presonus 16.4.2 (not AI) gives me so much more control - and I've never had an issue with it.  I can run 6 Aux feeds for individual wireless monitoring or monitor mixes (and route effects busses there also), put 2 sets of effects on any channel, compression, EQ, routing, etc.. all without a single outboard device.. then save (and recall) it all (or parts) based on the band, venue, etc. Remote control with iPad, etc.

The new digital consoles offer more features now... To me, the difference is that "analog" consoles have been around so long that they ALL have a consistent format/interface. So, it's really about getting used to the different interfaces that each vendor is providing and the features each has and how comfortable you are with them. I'm not sure I'd be OK with an X32 rack and an iPad (current band I'm in mixes from stage).. but as a weekend warrior who now plays more than running FOH, I love the digital features. YMMV.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2014, 12:09:52 pm »

Dick,

This is a case of "it depends", some class D amps are more efficient at converting electrical energy to output power than classic heavy metal amps, so for mid-high operation can do more with less.

For low frequency short term peaks, the large capacitor storage of (some) classic heavy metal amps can smooth out the demands, which can prevent a generator from bucking or stalling on the peaks. The large capacitor storage can also reduce voltage drop on land lines as well.

So average power demands can go down using class D, while peak demands go up, requiring a "stiffer" power source, lighter amps but heavier AC cords and generators.

Art

This has been addressed several times before and is a fairly persistent myth about HF switching power supplies vs 50/60 Hz conventional power supplies.  Yes in the very early days, high voltage capacitors were very expensive and relatively rare so some early designs were under-capped. Note: conventional supplies can also be under-capped too in deep value brands (look at 20Hz power vs 1kHz power spec).

This is a non-issue IMO for properly designed amps. Regarding the amount of reservoir capacity of value for an amplifier, the PS caps are getting refilled every 16 mSec or so. The design issue is how much sag you will accept between these 16 mSec re-fills. Low frequency audio is the worst case for this since a waveform top at 20 Hz can persist longer than a full charging cycle.

This is academic for PFC supplies, that pull current from the full waveform and often include regulated voltage, so when they run out of power supply current is just a design decision (and mains supply limitation).

YMMV as a cheap value switching amp may have cut more corners. But I am still not aware of any inherent limitations of the technologies, just design decisions.   

JR
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dick rees

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Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2014, 12:59:16 pm »

Dick,

This is a case of "it depends", some class D amps are more efficient at converting electrical energy to output power than classic heavy metal amps, so for mid-high operation can do more with less.

For low frequency short term peaks, the large capacitor storage of (some) classic heavy metal amps can smooth out the demands, which can prevent a generator from bucking or stalling on the peaks. The large capacitor storage can also reduce voltage drop on land lines as well.

So average power demands can go down using class D, while peak demands go up, requiring a "stiffer" power source, lighter amps but heavier AC cords and generators.

Art

Thanks, Art.  This is kind of what I've experienced....the possible critical area being the LF.
Of course it all depends on system config, type of music and so on.

Thanks also to JR. 

Now down the basement to snake out a drain line.

Oh joy...
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