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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB Lounge => Topic started by: Brian Marshall on March 26, 2014, 07:12:21 am

Title: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Brian Marshall 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!
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Steve M Smith 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Thomas Le 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
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Bob Leonard 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.)
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Robert Weston 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... 

Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Brad Weber 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Robert Weston 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!  :)
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Steve M Smith 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Rob Gow on March 26, 2014, 09:52:22 am
It's a good day to be into analog. Lots of big consoles out ther for sale for dimes or pennies on the dollar...
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on March 26, 2014, 10:19:24 am
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.

We're up to 6 or so band engineers who've come through who've NEVER mixed a show on an analogue FOH setup.  NEVER.  What do you say to them, "suck it up"?

I also disagree that analog mixers are inherently easier to understand.  IF you didn't learn to mix on analog I submit it will be more difficult simply because it's not what you learned on.  It's not part of your initial experience.

I'm mixing analog today on a Midas Legend for a corpy gig at our city Performing Arts Center.

Switching back to analog was more difficult than I recall because my workflow and mix standards for corporates depends on having lots of insertable dynamics and parametric EQ on groups, none of which exist here in the PAC.

Analog is going away.  Those with legacy issues will do well to acquire the skills and workflow to deal with digital mixers or die waiting for the Great Analogue Revival.

YMMV and all that, but the Good Ship Analog has made it's last voyage for almost all commercial uses and most professional applications.  I can count on 1 hand the number of touring FOH setups I've seen in the last 2 years.  If we include the analog monitor positions, I can use all the fingers on that hand.

In bars and clubs, perhaps less so, but as that equipment dies off it will not be replaced with analog except in rare circumstances.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Scott Olewiler on March 26, 2014, 11:11:34 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!

I just switch from analogue to digital.  I miss having every single control in front of my eyes at one time. I do NOT miss running snakes and power to the FOH board and/or finding a place to set it up in the first place. Very few venues in my area a have a decent place to set up front of house so I put all my digital stuff next to the stage and mix 100% from an Ipad. 

Of course you can put your digital mixer there as well, but either way you're often going thru menus to find what you want. Many times I miss having that board in front of me.   I think you should mix on what you're comfortable mixing on. Most people who think your nuts for wanting analogue are probably hung up on the financial end of it.

Think about it. You can buy a $1000 Ipad controlled digital mixer which has everything you'd have on an analogue mixer. In addition to that it has a gate and compressor for every single channel. That's equal to 8 Stereo Gates/Compressors.  It also has a stereo 31-band EQ for mains, plus 6 additional 31 band EQs for each of the 6 Aux sends. On top of that it also has alignment delay for every output.  That can not be done in analogue for $1000 plus a $400 Ipad.

Now if my digital mixer fails on me, I have lost ALL of that functionality as well. I think a case for analogue can be made right there.  (Of course I carry a back up analogue board.)  Like most people who've switch though, I'll never go back. And for one important reason: I simply can not get an analogue system that sounds as good as my digital system for the same money.  Since I get paid to make the artist sound good, that's what drive my decision to stay digital.

And a very good point was made earlier that engineers who can have any piece of equipment they want are choosing analogue. I think you should give digital a serious look before going with analogue, especially if it's just because you're comfortable with it. My guess is that if you used digital for one show, you'd never go back. 

Powered cabs is another thing. I just switched from passive to powered for my monitor system and  I have also two different sub set-ups, one passive and one powered. I see no difference in actual set up time between the two. The argument that powered is somehow automatically better is ridiculous in IMO. The only thing it is for certain is more expensive.   



Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: James A. Griffin on March 26, 2014, 11:29:00 am
Analog is going away.  Those with legacy issues will do well to acquire the skills and workflow to deal with digital mixers or die waiting for the Great Analogue Revival.

YMMV and all that, but the Good Ship Analog has made it's last voyage for almost all commercial uses and most professional applications.  I can count on 1 hand the number of touring FOH setups I've seen in the last 2 years.  If we include the analog monitor positions, I can use all the fingers on that hand.

+1.   

The OP is not empirically wrong in his stance.   He has simply made the choice of a wooden schooner when others are driving cigarette boats.   The schooner's inherent beauty is appreciated by everyone, but it won't win the race.

I've noticed that those most resistant to digital mixers are folks who have never actually operated one.  When time is taken to understand and properly use it, the digital will sell itself.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on March 26, 2014, 11:42:10 am
The issue is not analog vs digital but old vs new. New tools are better and often cheaper for the same capability.  Using old tools may make sense when starting out on a budget, but lets not get too philosophical about this.

JR
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Brad Weber on March 26, 2014, 02:09:42 pm
The issue is not analog vs digital but old vs new. New tools are better and often cheaper for the same capability.  Using old tools may make sense when starting out on a budget, but lets not get too philosophical about this.
Trying not to get too philosophical but I think it often also comes down to whether what you want is also what your clients want and which should take precedence in any decisions.  If this is for a business then personal preferences may need to be secondary to the preferences of your potential clients.
 
I also think that while those coming from analog backgrounds likely find analog consoles more intuitive, those that have grown up with most things they use being processor based with mouse or touchscreen interfaces may not feel the same.  It seems hard to argue that a graphic representation of a compressor or equalizer may be more intuitive to someone who has never used one than a bunch of kobs or faders with numbers by them.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Steve M Smith on March 26, 2014, 02:17:36 pm
I have only ever worked on other people's equipment.  I don't own anything myself (apart from a Behringer MX3282 - Don't judge me - I only paid 21/$30 for it!).

Despite my pro analogue bias in previous posts in this thread, if I were looking to set myself up with equipment, it would be a digital desk (probably Soundcraft Si Compact) and powered speakers.  Mainly for the easier transportation.


Steve.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 26, 2014, 02:30:03 pm
As TJ asked, why don't you want powered cabs or a rack-free FOH?  With this information we can provide a better discussion.

FWIW, I went digital and powered a decade ago and wouldn't do it any other way.  However, I have spec'd analog boards for other users.  Both can make sense in different applications.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Mike Scott on March 26, 2014, 02:30:38 pm
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.     

Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on March 26, 2014, 02:40:50 pm
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.     
10 years isn't going to be a problem for well-made digital desks.  Consumer-focused products like the Mackie IPad mixer that had the old dock connector - crystal ball is fuzzier on that. 

People used to pay $6,000 for an IBM PC made out of space-grade components.  It was obsolete long before it was unreliable.  Like it or not, that's true of digital devices of all kinds.  A <$3K Behringer X32 has more functionality (and sound quality) than $30,000 worth of mid-grade analog gear.  Which one has to work longer to make a return on the investment?

We can wax poetic about the analog glory days of being to impress your friend with a board the size of a mid-size car and outboard racks the size of refrigerators, but those days aren't coming back - the only company I'm aware of that even makes mid-large analog desks is APB.  At some point there won't be any analog choices at all, though there could be a boutique revival kind of cottage industry for people chasing a certain intentional distortiontone.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Bob Leonard on March 26, 2014, 03:04:36 pm
TJ,
Being the last of the analog Mohicans taught me two things. 1) I'm glad I waited until there were a number of choices in desks, 2) Even with a board like a Pro House and all of it's capabilities it still couldn't do what my Soundcraft does.

I have outboard gear everywhere I look. Good outboard gear, nothing cheap, and every bit of it is collecting dust. Why do I keep it? Because I still own an analog board that could serve a purpose if needed. Other than that a good board, and a good DSP are all you need in todays world.

Another fact of the matter. I could setup for ten bands with a digital board in less time than it takes to patch monitors on an analog board. It can't be denied. I won't bash the technology that loved me back for all these years, but it would cost more to put a good analog rig together today than it would cost for any of the sub $3K boards available. My APB Pro house cost me $2200. My Soundcraft Expression cost me $2200. It's a no brainer. 
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on March 26, 2014, 03:13:19 pm
TJ,
Being the last of the analog Mohicans taught me two things. 1) I'm glad I waited until there were a number of choices in desks, 2) Even with a board like a Pro House and all of it's capabilities it still couldn't do what my Soundcraft does.

I have outboard gear everywhere I look. Good outboard gear, nothing cheap, and every bit of it is collecting dust. Why do I keep it? Because I still own an analog board that could serve a purpose if needed. Other than that a good board, and a good DSP are all you need in todays world.

The Pharoahs were buried with all their analog gear.  The Alien Overlords took the digital stuff with them when they left... 
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Jerome Malsack on March 26, 2014, 03:43:41 pm
The Pharoahs were buried with all their analog gear.  The Alien Overlords took the digital stuff with them when they left...

Did they actually depart or do you think the FEDs hide them in section 8?  Did the find the digital chip from a terminator and are learning from them? 

I hope prices continue to drop on the digital mixers and I can afford one soon. 
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Russ Davis on March 26, 2014, 04:12:00 pm
You can buy a $1000 Ipad controlled digital mixer which has everything you'd have on an analogue mixer. In addition to that it has a gate and compressor for every single channel. That's equal to 8 Stereo Gates/Compressors.  It also has a stereo 31-band EQ for mains, plus 6 additional 31 band EQs for each of the 6 Aux sends. On top of that it also has alignment delay for every output.  That can not be done in analogue for $1000 plus a $400 Ipad.

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...
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: James A. Griffin on March 26, 2014, 04:14:14 pm
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 1608.  iPad required
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Russ Davis on March 26, 2014, 04:29:05 pm
Mackie 1608.  iPad required

Ah.  That one escaped me.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: John Chiara on March 26, 2014, 04:30:10 pm
Mackie 1608.  iPad required

X32 rack.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on March 26, 2014, 06:32:15 pm
OP, Have you ever mixed a show an a digital console? If not, it might behoove you to rent one or two from a local shop and try it. I think you will find the benefits of digital on your own.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Chuck Simon on March 26, 2014, 07:58:12 pm
OP, Have you ever mixed a show an a digital console? If not, it might behoove you to rent one or two from a local shop and try it. I think you will find the benefits of digital on your own.

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!
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: sam saponaro on March 26, 2014, 08:07:24 pm
I prefer analog its what I know and at the level I plan on providing sound its all I need.
My little small scale rig I use a Mackie 1604 vlz and a couple older boards I have.
I don't like the digital age period I don't like smart phones,ipads pods etc....I get irritated playing with menus and pages when all I want to do is something simple.
I have run digital mixers a couple times but it was just mixing on someone elses system and I didn't reallt care for it.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Bob Leonard on March 26, 2014, 09:01:59 pm
If you don't like pages and menu's buy an Expression.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: James A. Griffin 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Mark McFarlane 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.

Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Steve M Smith 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Bob Leonard 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Brian Marshall 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!
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Steve M Smith 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Brian Jojade 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
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: James A. Griffin 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} 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. 
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Scott Olewiler 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).
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Scott Olewiler 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)  ;) 
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees 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
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} 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
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Art Welter 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
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Steve Oldridge 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.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} 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
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees 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...
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on March 27, 2014, 01:15:09 pm
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

Great explanation, John.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on March 27, 2014, 02:50:46 pm
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.

{big ol' snip}

You folks are wonderful!

Hi Brian-

Welcome to the LAB Lounge and thanks for not being a drive-by poster.  Stick around, there are a lot of smart(ass) folks here that give this place a definite "community" flavor.

Also, thanks for posting more about how you intend to use your system and what some of the practical factors are.  That provides some direction for suggestions and discussion.

The subject line about D v A and 'contempt' is last century's argument, IMNSHO.  I'm not a kid, the first mixer I lusted over was a PM1000. ;)  I remember when channel strip preamps were built from discrete components; I remember when AM radio was king and FM was mostly "educational radio" or "beautiful music" formats.  Apologies if the beautiful music reference sends anyone back into therapy...  but the main reason to dislike digital today is when the UI is poorly done.   Audio quality?  Just like in analog, there are levels of audibility that scale with price to some extent, but in digital that's mostly about how the peripheral analog circuits are designed, not how the 1s and 0s are manipulated.  To a large extent you get what you pay for.

For most users making the transition the stumbling blocks are 1) user interface and 2) console configuration & routing options.  They are related to a great extent, as you found out with the X32 you used.  {HINT- on the X32, use the "VIEW" button to take you directly to the control page for that item; it toggles back if you push the button again}.  Most recent digital mixers leave the factory set so you can pretty much plug in: there are outputs labeled left and right, aux outputs are usually routed to correspondingly numbered output connectors, etc.  But once someone has messed with the routing it can be a pain to figure out what they did.  Why?  Because we aren't tracing physical cords and cables.  In the Ye Olde Analogue Dayz that's what we did if something didn't work or work the way we expected it to.  In Digital Mixer Utopia, finding that "virtual patch cord" becomes the problem... but if you're using your mixer, who's to blame?  8)  Learning any console's UI sufficient to trouble shoot a human-induced routing problem or to change console configuration is ultimately necessary for mastery of the mixer, but not needed to simply walk up and mix on a desk that is already configured and working.  Knowing how to access input gain, EQ, monitor/FX sends, FX returns, and channel dynamics is typically sufficient.  As I posted earlier, our firm has had at least 6 Band Engineers young enough to have never mixed a concert on an analog setup, so can you imagine how much hand-holding could be required?  It's the same for us old analog dogs going digital for the first time...

The desire to get under the hood and fix things?  Ummmmm maybe 30 years ago, but today even analog mixers have lots of SMD (surface mount devices) that will challenge your eyesight and require new tools and training to service.  The days of wiggling ribbon cables and exercising insert jacks are still with us in analog mixers, but those techniques are about all that's left for user service... those and swapping out power supplies.  Both of my grandfathers were farmers and mechanics and I got a tiny bit of their talent & knowledge (I'm not afraid to open up stuff or try to fix it), but these days my soldering station spends most of the time in my tool box.

At the bar band level, powered speakers (or not) is pretty much a wash.  The money works out about the same by the time you buy an amp rack and other kibbles and bits, the weight of powered speakers is somewhat greater but you lose the amp rack and it's footprint in your truck and onstage.  Space may be an issue in some of the venues (or not).

Ultimately, selling your services to bar bands is a frustrating hobby.  You'll bring in $15k or more in gear, spend 2 hours setting it up, then 3 hours or more for the show followed by an hour to take it down (after the band moves their shit), pack it up and drive home.  You've got a minimum of 8 hours, non-stop, plus transportation expenses, insurance on your gear and for liability, you need a return on your investment (or some $$ to send your spouse on a spa vacation) once in a while, too.  You should be getting $250 or more.  You won't, though, because most bands don't care about how they sound sufficiently to cut their pay in half (there won't be enough left to clear their bar tabs).  In fact, if the bands are getting booked now and sound like ass, what incentive do they have to cut their own pay?  So back to the 8 hours of your life - for $100, do they get your labor for free, or the gear?  Taking no money for your labor, it would take 3 years to pay for the gear (at $15,000) if you worked 50 gigs a year and you'd still be out for transportation, maintenance and insurance.  Only you can decide what is important to you, though, and you don't have to justify your hobby so long as you don't significantly undercut prices of folks doing this for a living.

So here's another long post.  :)

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Tom Roche on March 27, 2014, 04:09:09 pm
Ultimately, selling your services to bar bands is a frustrating hobby.  You'll bring in $15k or more in gear, spend 2 hours setting it up, then 3 hours or more for the show followed by an hour to take it down (after the band moves their shit), pack it up and drive home.  You've got a minimum of 8 hours, non-stop, plus transportation expenses, insurance on your gear and for liability, you need a return on your investment (or some $$ to send your spouse on a spa vacation) once in a while, too.  You should be getting $250 or more.  You won't, though, because most bands don't care about how they sound sufficiently to cut their pay in half (there won't be enough left to clear their bar tabs).  In fact, if the bands are getting booked now and sound like ass, what incentive do they have to cut their own pay?  So back to the 8 hours of your life - for $100, do they get your labor for free, or the gear?  Taking no money for your labor, it would take 3 years to pay for the gear (at $15,000) if you worked 50 gigs a year and you'd still be out for transportation, maintenance and insurance.  Only you can decide what is important to you, though, and you don't have to justify your hobby so long as you don't significantly undercut prices of folks doing this for a living.

Tim Mc
This really puts it in proper perspective in my opinion.  I look at gigs with my band in much the same way.  I figure most bars don't know or don't care that the typical 4-hour gig is at least an 8-hour effort that includes prep, driving, load in/out, etc.  Most band gigs in my area pay $300 no matter how many members.  A handful pay more and a couple pay even less.  Sound person?  Ha ha ha...not gonna happen unless the venue has their own, which is just as funny.  ;D

I also agree about not undercutting the folks who do this for a living.  We experience this from a band perspective when amatuer musos "want to get their name out there" and play for free, or beer, or for 1/3 the going rate.  Of course, they don't last but then some of the bars get the idea that bands don't need to be paid more than gas money.  After all, they get to do something that's fun.  ::)

Speaking of setting "new" expectations, there's a rather large music fest put on every summer in my area.  They were looking for someone to provide sound (equipment & operation) over three days and their budget is somewhere between $900 - $1900.  Good luck with that.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Tom Roche on March 27, 2014, 04:18:35 pm
Mackie DL1608. Can not mix without the Ipad (so there's another $400-500 you must spend).
My band leader bought the DL1608 at GC for $800 and found a used Ipad for $250, so we were up & running for just over $1000.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on March 27, 2014, 04:25:06 pm
My band leader bought the DL1608 at GC for $800 and found a used Ipad for $250, so we were up & running for just over $1000.

Just bought a brand new iPad2 today for $299.00.  Used should go for much less than that.

On the side:

I swapped a DBX 266 (the wall wart edition) for a MacBook Pro with a non-functioning keyboard/mouse pad.  $12 for a wireless mouse/keyboard set (USB) and I've got a functioning Mac which I use for various audio applications including Nicecast for live radio remotes.  All that requires is the mouse.

Not bad for $12.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Scott Olewiler on March 27, 2014, 04:33:25 pm
Most band gigs in my area pay $300 no matter how many members.

Very true where I'm at as well. 

This is the reason A). My band doesn't play bars ( and it was really tough getting started, refusing to play for free in bars to get exposure, but it's working out now with private clubs paying a  lot better and the occasional $1000 wedding gig)
B). Most of my sound income comes from private functions,church events, or renting out equipment to the DIY DJ for a night.  Hard to believe someone will pay you $250 for something to plug his laptop into for the night but a band doesn't want to fork out more that $150 to be fully mic'd and be given a great mix all night.

If you want to recoup some of your money quicker go after these jobs. 
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Russ Davis on March 27, 2014, 05:08:27 pm
Most of my sound income comes from private functions,church events, or renting out equipment to the DIY DJ for a night.  Hard to believe someone will pay you $250 for something to plug his laptop into for the night but a band doesn't want to fork out more that $150 to be fully mic'd and be given a great mix all night.

I don't bother with bar bands any more, for that very reason.  Sure, it was fun back when I was young and bored, and figured it'd be cool to hang out in a bar and get paid.  Now my back and I would much rather get double the money for two-hour corporate SOS gigs requiring one speaker's mic, sometimes a wireless handheld or two for Q and A, and possibly CD or mp3 background music.  And these clients are still OK with analog boards (swerve back to original topic...).
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: James A. Griffin on March 27, 2014, 05:16:46 pm
And these clients are still OK with analog boards (swerve back to original topic...).

It's not about the client being OK with it.  Given competent operators and equipment, the client probably doesn't hear any difference twixt the 2.

It's more about how hard to you have to work (and how much gear you have to haul around)  to produce what the client expects.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Russ Davis on March 27, 2014, 07:57:33 pm
It's more about how hard to you have to work (and how much gear you have to haul around)  to produce what the client expects.

SOS corporate speaking gigs?  These are a piece of cake, and precious little gear is needed - small analog board, 4-space rack, and maybe wireless receiver(s) and CD/MP3 player at FOH.  If a lectern mic is used, a single XLR cable is needed (plus returns).  I have 48' and 250' (on a reel) 3-XLR snakes for these jobs.  Since it's all paid for, I feel no immediate need to race out and spend money to go digital for these jobs.  When the time comes I'll take the plunge, and by then today's products will be old news...
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: James A. Griffin on March 27, 2014, 08:06:13 pm
SOS corporate speaking gigs?  These are a piece of cake, and precious little gear is needed - small analog board, 4-space rack, and maybe wireless receiver(s) and CD/MP3 player at FOH.  If a lectern mic is used, a single XLR cable is needed (plus returns).  I have 48' and 250' (on a reel) 3-XLR snakes for these jobs.  Since it's all paid for, I feel no immediate need to race out and spend money to go digital for these jobs.  When the time comes I'll take the plunge, and by then today's products will be old news...

I understand your situation.   But taking a broader view,  even some corporate gigs are in rooms with challenges. Never hurts to have graphics available on mains, monitors (if any).. .. or some other random gadget that is in the dig mixer.   Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Mac Kerr on March 27, 2014, 09:09:07 pm
I understand your situation.   But taking a broader view,  even some corporate gigs are in rooms with challenges. Never hurts to have graphics available on mains, monitors (if any).. .. or some other random gadget that is in the dig mixer.   Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it

Amen. I do almost exclusively corporate gigs, and I wouldn't do a show on an analog console anymore. No post fader inserts for an automixer, no scene recall to eq for before and after coffee presenters, no input delay to make video playback be in sync, etc

I started with Shure VocalMaster and moved on up through Yamaha PM180, PM430, PM1000, and we had PM3000 #003. I was very used to the analog workflow, but when the PM-1D and DM2000 came along in 2000 and 2002 I never looked back.

With the price and capability of the low end digital mixers available today there isn't a price small enough to justify an analog console that isn't a Midas XL or Heritage, a Gamble or a Harrison, and I am not even interested in those high end analog consoles.

Mac
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Luke Geis on March 27, 2014, 11:03:28 pm
I feel that cutting your teeth on analog is a smart move. One of the things that make me rather employable is that I can walk up to any mixer and use it, be it analog, or digital. If you can't understand how an analog signal flows, it will be really hard later when your thrown back a decade and have to set up an analog desk, especially if you've only ever worked on a digital one.

I started analog and still have two analog rigs which collect dust more than anything now. The two digital rigs I own now simply bring the win for me. They take half the time to set up, make my clients feel all warm and fuzzy and can run circles around my well suited analog rig! The ROI is great and I love the work flow of the digital systems. It makes sense to me. But then again I spent a good 10 years in the analog world to really get an idea of signal flow and how to make intricate use of it in the digital world!

In the OP's case I think he is best off keeping in the analog world until it makes sense and he can see where digital replacements will pay off. It is not wise to work on something that is difficult to grasp to begin with and then increase the challenge even more with something that requires about 2 button pushes to get to in order to fix. I feel SOOOOOO lucky that I can quickly get from point A to B without much thought on my digital desks now. When I first started on them, I had to think about my every button push.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Russ Davis on March 27, 2014, 11:29:36 pm
I feel that cutting your teeth on analog is a smart move.... If you can't understand how an analog signal flows, it will be really hard later when your thrown back a decade and have to set up an analog desk, especially if you've only ever worked on a digital one.

Occasionally I see news items about car thefts and carjackings that are thwarted when the miscreants mistakenly try to make off with a manual-transmission vehicle.  Then there's the momentary look of terror when a young person is confronted with a rotary-dial phone for the first time...
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Bob Leonard on March 27, 2014, 11:59:18 pm
Jeez, I feel very, very old right now.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Ray Aberle on March 28, 2014, 12:14:55 am
Occasionally I see news items about car thefts and carjackings that are thwarted when the miscreants mistakenly try to make off with a manual-transmission vehicle.  Then there's the momentary look of terror when a young person is confronted with a rotary-dial phone for the first time...
I'm still trying to figure out how to text with a rotary phone... They MUST have done it somehow??
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Tim Padrick on March 28, 2014, 01:52:40 am
I was a "no digital, I want all the knobs" guy until I was hired to mix a couple of rehearsals on a DM2000.  I was hooked.  Now, "ya got no snake - I gotta mix on an iPad?  No problem!".  The Mackie that was mentioned has a very nice app, as do the Presonus (buy used - no longer a good value at new prices) and Behringer (I've not looked at the A&H or Soundcraft apps).
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Scott Olewiler on March 28, 2014, 06:56:25 am
Amen. I do almost exclusively corporate gigs

Any advice on how to get in front this crowd?  So far all my business has been drummed up with a website, facebook page and Craigslist ads. 10 years ago I would have put an ad in the Yellowpages, but no one uses them anymore. I have been looking for ways to target corporate clients and have yet to find a decent avenue. Any advice would be helpful.

( I actually wish I had more bar band gigs, just for the fun of it. Speaking, dancing, talent showcases get really old after awhile. There's one band of 19 year olds I do sound for free, just because they're so freaking good and I want them to sound as good as they can.)
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue
Post by: Ray Aberle on March 28, 2014, 12:09:29 pm
Any advice on how to get in front this crowd?  So far all my business has been drummed up with a website, facebook page and Craigslist ads. 10 years ago I would have put an ad in the Yellowpages, but no one uses them anymore. I have been looking for ways to target corporate clients and have yet to find a decent avenue. Any advice would be helpful.

( I actually wish I had more bar band gigs, just for the fun of it. Speaking, dancing, talent showcases get really old after awhile. There's one band of 19 year olds I do sound for free, just because they're so freaking good and I want them to sound as good as they can.)
Well, the gigs Mac is a part of are high high high level corpy gigs. Think multi-day (or week) with large networked amount of consoles -- I know he's used Studer a bunch but has been getting CL5s as well lately. He posts pictorial reviews of his events sometimes. I don't know how he got into that level of the playing field, but he's definitely sought after.

I would avoid Craigslist. Honestly. I find two truths: a) the people who go there looking for a service provider are the ones who want to pay as little as possible, leading us to b) the people you want to hire you aren't going to be looking for a provider on Craigslist. Get to know corp AV companies in your area, and let them know that you're available to partner up on their larger shows. Get yourself something that is needed, and no one else around has, so they have another incentive to reach out to you. Work on business to business networking so you can meet business owners and managers who might need your service. Sometimes jumping into a Chamber of Commerce or other association and giving them some speakers-on-sticks for a networking event means they'll see you as a great opportunity to help them raise the production value of other events.

And sometimes you just have to teach people why they need to spend more on their production!

Keep in mind that there's a bunch of things that come into play with corp av things. You'll want to have some pipe and drape in your inventory, 8' 12' and 16' with associated framework. At least a couple of video projectors and fast fold screens with drape kits. Scaling/switcher/DA. Image is EVERYTHING for corp AV- they don't want to see cable runs, projectors, speakers, or -- you. Haha.

-Ray
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Spenser Hamilton on March 28, 2014, 12:09:53 pm

Occasionally I see news items about car thefts and carjackings that are thwarted when the miscreants mistakenly try to make off with a manual-transmission vehicle.

It makes me sad how few of my friends can drive a manual transmission car, much better driving experience when you have to think about what your car is doing instead of just stomping on the gas pedal IMO.

At least none of then ask to borrow my car.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Luke Geis on March 28, 2014, 03:02:56 pm
Occasionally I see news items about car thefts and carjackings that are thwarted when the miscreants mistakenly try to make off with a manual-transmission vehicle.  Then there's the momentary look of terror when a young person is confronted with a rotary-dial phone for the first time...

I have a story about both such incidents :)  And I will leave it at that. Both are funny though. All I can say is that antiquated technology is sooooooo coool and it pays to have a car to which only very few are informed enough to be able to even start..... 

Jeez, I feel very, very old right now.

Only as old as you feel :)

Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Tim Padrick on March 30, 2014, 02:59:46 am
Only as old as you feel :)

"A man is only as old as the woman he feels."  Author unknown.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Mike Diack on March 30, 2014, 04:09:26 pm
One has to wonder how many of those ridiculously overpriced W4 connectors Whirlwind are selling these days ?. Belden's big multicore cables ?. Analog comes with awful baggage (Snake wrangling is one of my most hated parts of the PA biz).
M
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: jason misterka on March 30, 2014, 05:29:05 pm
One has to wonder how many of those ridiculously overpriced W4 connectors Whirlwind are selling these days ?. Belden's big multicore cables ?. Analog comes with awful baggage (Snake wrangling is one of my most hated parts of the PA biz).
M

Serious question. So Mike, what do you use to split in and out of multiple digital snake boxes? 

It is easy to have a built-in hard wire split for a tour or a small provider with only two consoles but we are still using mults to interface our numerous digital console stage boxes with each other.

I'm curious what others are doing.

Jason
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Luke Geis on March 31, 2014, 02:03:32 pm
I get the feeling at the level that the OP is looking to run at, a 16 channel snake will be more than enough for the job. I have a 100' one and found it to be about 50' too long. I don't mind snakes as they seem to wrap fairly easy and quickly. Even the 250' 32X8 splitter snake I had to deal with a lot isn't that bad. Granted a couple of ethernet cables are much lighter and easier to deal with though. However I had a show where we had 2 300' ethernet cables that were running with many other cables in the show. It was not fun to separate them and took just as long and as much work as the much more durable multicore snakes.
Title: Re: Digital vs. Analogue. Why the contempt?
Post by: Mike Diack on March 31, 2014, 07:11:41 pm
Serious question. So Mike, what do you use to split in and out of multiple digital snake boxes? 

It is easy to have a built-in hard wire split for a tour or a small provider with only two consoles but we are still using mults to interface our numerous digital console stage boxes with each other.

I'm curious what others are doing.

Jason
My needs are fairly minimal, ie getting a monitor split (analog) out of a pair of S16 stageboxes. The S16 provides a couple of ADAT outputs for this purpose. One approach would be to use 2x ADA8000s for each S16. I'm not keen on the flaky PSU in the ADA8000 so rolled my own ohmbru solution using info from the Alesis/Wavefront page, hence 4 ADAT -> 32 Analog wizzybox.