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Author Topic: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks  (Read 33048 times)

Mark Hadman

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #130 on: June 18, 2008, 05:07:32 pm »

Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.


There are an massive number of combinations of things that I've found it convenient to do simultaneously or in very quick succession, and your examples brilliantly illustrate the point, Patrick (see page 2 for my own example). Often one hand will stay as a 'marker' for a particularly edgy channel (one finger on a monitor aux knob, with my thumb on the fader) while the other hand goes wandering around the desk adjusting less crucial things. I've sometimes found myself stuck with crossed hands!

The Luddite comparison is very interesting. To quote from our friend wikipedia "In recent years, the terms Luddism and Luddite or Neo-Luddism and Neo-Luddite have become synonymous with anyone who opposes the advance of technology due to the cultural and socioeconomic changes that are associated with it.". The savings in time and space (= money) made by digis are paralleled with those made by replacing skilled labour with drone-operated machines, the common drawback presumably being that the artisan becomes a low paid drudge who loses some/all of their ability to create something unique and full of flair. The comparison holds some water, and we would do well to think hard before seeing the word Luddite as an insult. It's hard to interpret the tone of the written word, but it almost seems as if some on here are gloating at (rather than commiserating with) those of us who in certain situations feel hamstrung by the very real loss of control forced on us by current digis, even when we have RTFM'd AND used them before.

--------

I got to use an absolutely brand new and lovely Audient 328 at a festival the other day!  Very Happy  On the other hand... someone pulled the plug as the band were trying to persuade the crowd that there wasn't time for a second encore. 30 seconds later the system guy started unpatching and I headed off towards backstage. Halfway through the crowd, I noticed the band were back on stage and gearing up for another song. You've never seen me run so fast! If it had been a digi, all my processors might still have been patched in for that last song...  Crying or Very Sad But at least he hadn't been able to unhook a single optical multicore cable, throw the desk in a rucksack and start folding up the table Laughing

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"But you can do everything that you do on a normal guitar! Just turn the knob to the 'string' that you want and press the button, and if you really want to play chords, let me show you a little trick: hold down the button and quickly sweep the knob through all six positions, see? You'd better get used to it, cos it saves money on strings, and it doesn't need all those untidy leads and pedal things that you've been carting around!"
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #131 on: June 18, 2008, 06:12:06 pm »

Mark-

I think the real issue here is mostly one of work flow.  If you're working with the same artist(s) most of the time, you already know where the cues are and what kinds of things make the performers ask for changes.

Analog is a fairly standard and consistent user interface, and once you've found the minor variations in control placement you're good to go.

The digital surface/user interface dictates what you can do simultaneously, and some are much more flexible than others.  Some require very intimate knowledge of a mixer's control structure to make these things happen.  Not all are created equal and there is limited uniformity even within a manufacturer's product lines.

In most of the examples that have been cited, I've come up with a way to do them on a Yammy M7cl.  We provided a rig for an a Capella act that insisted on an analog console.  It's not that I couldn't make an M7 do what the BE needed, but rather that using an M7 would require he re-think or re-order his way of doing something.  Having to do that at show time isn't a good idea.  Having to figure out how to do this on every conceivable digital mixer could be daunting for him and the SE du jour.

That's why as a provider, we offer analog and digital choices to our clients, most of whom are rockers BTW.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc

ps.  In this case, Luddite applies to folks who fear changes to their thinking.  The "machines" vis a vis digital mixers require the same ear-to-hand inspiration from a human as do analog mixers.
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Kyle O'Connor

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #132 on: June 19, 2008, 07:38:43 pm »

Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.



All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.
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Toby Mills

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #133 on: June 19, 2008, 08:14:49 pm »

Quote:


All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.


I agree, I reckon I could do everything listed there in about 3 seconds on just about any digi console.

First of all..

I'd split the vocal mic across two channels so that one was feeding monitors and one FOH, then gate the monitor send with a low threshold and make sure there was no compression so if he plays silly buggers and points that mic at the monitors it doesn't need my intervention as the mic will basically be off in the monitors. If its EQ'd properly it shouldn't need adjusting anyway because I would have walked the stage with the mic to make sure it didn't feed back and used the extensive graphic and parametric EQ to kill any nasty frequencies.

Then I'd have the aux send for the effect on one fader with the guitar panning on the fader next to it so I could do both with one hand or even better I'd split the guitar channel into two strips and have one panned left and the other right. That gives me the Aux send and the panning effect on three faders all under three fingers without needing to move my hand an inch.

The bass player can can wait 2 seconds while I press his mix button and bring up his fader with the other hand and then give him the thumbs up.

I'd find this scenario easier on a digi console because I could save it as a scene if the FX were one off for a single song and then return the guitar to a single channel for the next song (you can't do that on analog).

In analog, you also don't have the option of setting the Aux send on a fader which means there is a greater distance to move if you are doing the panning and aux send with one hand (especially if they are not side by side on the console). Having three faders side by side is a lot easier in my books than two knobs in amongst a sea of other knobs in a dim lit environment.

This is much easier on a console that allows dynamic assignment of strips in a non channel order.

Each to their own though, I can see how someone who has always done this on an analog console would find my method a little tricky to setup, once you have learnt how though, its really stupid easy.
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Tony Ferrello

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #134 on: June 20, 2008, 02:14:36 am »

your a damn fool...
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Patrick Tracy

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #135 on: June 20, 2008, 02:16:00 pm »

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Thu, 19 June 2008 17:38

Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.



All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.

And easily done on most digital consoles as long as it's set up correctly, which presupposes you will know ahead of time what will be needed. If you can know that then digital is the clear winner. If not then it depends on the situation. Perhaps the couple or three seconds of getting to what you need is okay, or perhaps the half second of reaching for the knob is better. Since I often deal with the unexpected I prefer to be able to have a control surface that supports spontaneous response. When digital provides what I need in my price range I'll have no reason not to buy in. While I suspect that will be fairly soon it isn't there today.

Too Tall (Curtis H. List)

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Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
« Reply #136 on: June 21, 2008, 11:13:13 am »

Back in the late seventies right about the time I started to get interested in sound reinforcement I happened to be in a friends repair shop when another guy came in to pick up his repaired Yamaha board.
He had a very thin hard cover book with him on the subject of digital mixers.

It was written by one of the people involved with the digital board that was developed at the Skywalker Ranch for Star Wars series.

One of the things I remember in the book was a discussion on control surfaces.

While trying to figure out the control surface they tried many different types and combinations of knobs and switches while trying to figure out the most ergonomic layout.

To do this they tried to determine what was the maximum number of things your two hands could accomplish. The idea being that at some point having every possible control would not help since you still have only two hands.
Also they had to be in reach or they were not very useful.

I also remember they made a prediction on how long before we would see digital boards in wide use.
I do not remember what they guessed, but they were decades off.
On the analog front something else I just remembered was a Jefferson Starship gig at Pine Knob, Michigan.
Interested in what the big boys were doing I walked down to the mix position (before the show, ThankYou) to see what they were using.

The board was a Gamble and the guy mixing the band was very young and very small.
The board was so wide the guy mixing could have used Roller Blades. (Actually my memory is he DID use Roller Blades, but I will chalk that up to age and dying brain cells.)
This beomoth and other massive boards such as the Europa were so big that you could only run a small portion of the board at any one time.
As we demand even more channels something had to give.



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Brad Weber

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Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
« Reply #137 on: June 22, 2008, 12:02:40 pm »

The automobile did not replace the horse and buggy just because it was newer or higher tech but rather because it offered advantages in many applications, including advantages that offset the related learning curve.  I believe that what actually matters is not the technology but simply whether it better serves the specific application and presuming that any option is inherently better just limits your options.

Believing that something is inherently better because it is newer or digital technology may be just as much a fear of the unknown as is accepting something new or digital.  I think that many people who have only used digital consoles are actually just as uncomfortable with the idea of learning to use an analog console as they accuse others who have only used analog of being with using a digital console.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
« Reply #138 on: June 22, 2008, 01:41:16 pm »

Brad Weber wrote on Sun, 22 June 2008 11:02

I think that many people who have only used digital consoles are actually just as uncomfortable with the idea of learning to use an analog console as they accuse others who have only used analog of being with using a digital console.

Hi Brad-

Yes, I'm waiting for the "deer in the headlights" look from a BE when he confronts his first PM-4000 on a festival... watching him scramble in the outboard rack to find his comps and gates and exclaim "what?  Only 12 compressors?  Uh.. how do you assign them?"  This will happen.  I can see it coming. Laughing

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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Kyle O'Connor

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #139 on: June 22, 2008, 02:05:04 pm »

Patrick Tracy wrote on Fri, 20 June 2008 19:16

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Thu, 19 June 2008 17:38

Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.



All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.

And easily done on most digital consoles as long as it's set up correctly, which presupposes you will know ahead of time what will be needed. If you can know that then digital is the clear winner. If not then it depends on the situation. Perhaps the couple or three seconds of getting to what you need is okay, or perhaps the half second of reaching for the knob is better. Since I often deal with the unexpected I prefer to be able to have a control surface that supports spontaneous response. When digital provides what I need in my price range I'll have no reason not to buy in. While I suspect that will be fairly soon it isn't there today.






Whether it's mixing a festival on the fly or a full show with soundcheck, I've never done something on a dig console and then said "man i wish I could have done that quicker" I find it more time consuming (for example yesterday) on a ext frame 56 channel heritage having to run to the end of the console to get to my effect returns on a festival.

For me, the way I set up my 5d, no action is more then one button /knob twist away that I can think of.
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"Everything can not be louder than everything else?!"

Kyle O'Connor
FOH wherever the bus stops
Nashville, TN
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