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Author Topic: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks  (Read 39938 times)

Alex Schultz

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #60 on: June 11, 2008, 07:33:31 AM »

Hiya John,

In the 5D class of digital surfaces, the Digidesign Profile/Venue sound really close to an XL3 in terms of "warmth" and "clarity" and easily match it from a "gain available" standpoint.

The Digi stuff is also way easier for someone unfamiliar with digital to get rolling. Best of all, the software editor looks/feels more like the surface than the yamaha version.

MNSHO and YMMV................

PS. Tell Pig I said hello...................
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #61 on: June 11, 2008, 09:44:18 AM »

Toby Mills wrote on Wed, 11 June 2008 00:31



Minor point, but its physically impossible to overdrive a digital signal.
No matter what digital system you use, if you go over peak it will sound BAD.

However, its very easy to make the peak lights come on 6 clicks below digital peak to give the impression something is being overdriven, but its absolutely impossible to apply the same overdriving techniques often used in analog and still get a good sound.

If the bit depth is deep enough then digital peak may well be higher than the point where the preamps start sounding bad and the metered level appears to be peaking. So in that case it can give the impression that you are overdriving the channel and it doesn't sound bad. Practically speaking there is little point in this though as it just wastes headroom. Most engineers now know that you keep the gain well below the red line on a digital console.

I don't see many engineers these days that overdrive channels just to get the 'sound'. DSP and plugins can now achieve equally good results without any risk of killing anything.




Any audio path, analog or digital, that has more gain available than needed can be overdriven. Some very early digital systems sounded truly nasty when overdriven since instead of squaring off the top of a waveform they would roll over and start from zero code again. Modern digital paths just square off like an analog path.

Anyone using the new generation mic preamps with digital gain control would be well advised to detect clipping and back off automatically, but I don't know who is using or doing what, where.

JR
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Scott Helmke (Scodiddly)

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #62 on: June 11, 2008, 11:56:28 AM »

Art Welter wrote on Wed, 11 June 2008 00:06


As far as what is so great about an XL8, it still sounds good when it is overdriven. There may be other alternatives that would save 200K, but dang, it’s the real thang.


Man, $200K for a distortion generator?  I just use consoles to mix audio.

David A. Parker

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #63 on: June 11, 2008, 06:37:33 PM »

My LS9 has digitally controlled head amps (input gain). They have plenty of headroom, but if something gets away and it goes over, ugh! it's nasty. Had a drummer get crazy all of a sudden on his floor tom. It sounded like every speaker I had came apart at the same time. No damage, but it sounded like a train wreck.
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Mark Hadman

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #64 on: June 11, 2008, 08:36:40 PM »

The sound quality thing isn't really an issue - for me it's totally about tactile control and having everything in front of me. My issue is all about the step backwards in real-time control offered by (all?) digital consoles.

Over in the Lab there's sad news about Cadac going into administration, and the issue of component cost has come up. It seems that, with the whole world (not just audio industry) buying digital components and almost nobody wanting analogue stuff (except a dwindling number of us in our little sound corner), combined with the higher fault tolerance needed by analogue electronics means that it's just less and less financially viable.

OKAY, so which manufacturer is going to step up a give me (& the world) a small-medium format DIGITAL console with every knob, fader and button that we expect to see on our small-medium format ANALOGUE consoles? Take a look at the APB Dynasonics ProRack House, or, if you prefer, the Midas Venice. What if the insides were digital? Would that lower the cost? And presumably some of the savings can go into a little screen poking out the top where we can set up the internal comps/gates/FX/channel delay/etc etc... I'm sure it's not quite that straightforward, I haven't thought it through, maybe it IS the knobs and faders that cost all that money... do we lose total recall by using 'proper' knobs instead of soft knobs with rings of LEDs?... let's see...

This was never about the sound of analogue vs digital, it's about staying in control and not giving up what we've always had. If digital is going to dominate, then shouldn't we demand that it give us the best of both worlds?
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Dee Kyle

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #65 on: June 11, 2008, 09:33:59 PM »

Mad, mad, mad.

As a house guy I look back and wonder how I managed without digital for all those years.For the many bands who play the venue 3 or 4 times per year, the regular friday night club, comedy club, DJ nights, even freakin' plays, Vaudeville acts and operas - I have two words... STORE - RECALL!

No more cribsheets or running out of channels.
Full parametric control of input channels and 31 band graphics as well as parametric for outputs.
No more crappy patch cables.This rules.This is rock and roll, and I ain't never goin' back.
Time is our enemy,particularly with muti band shows.
Digital gives us a chance and I'm grateful for it.
I love it.
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Andy Peters

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #66 on: June 11, 2008, 09:54:24 PM »

Mark Hadman wrote on Wed, 11 June 2008 17:36

OKAY, so which manufacturer is going to step up a give me (& the world) a small-medium format DIGITAL console with every knob, fader and button that we expect to see on our small-medium format ANALOGUE consoles? Take a look at the APB Dynasonics ProRack House, or, if you prefer, the Midas Venice. What if the insides were digital? Would that lower the cost? And presumably some of the savings can go into a little screen poking out the top where we can set up the internal comps/gates/FX/channel delay/etc etc... I'm sure it's not quite that straightforward, I haven't thought it through, maybe it IS the knobs and faders that cost all that money... do we lose total recall by using 'proper' knobs instead of soft knobs with rings of LEDs?... let's see...


Say we have an analog console with 48 inputs, and each channel strip has 24 knobs for input trim, EQ, aux sends and pan. That's 1,152 pots just to handle the inputs.

Now consider that a decent rotary encoder costs roughly about twice as much as a decent potentiometer. So purely on that basis, you might expect a digital console with 1,152 rotary encoders to cost (NB: WAG!) 50% or more over the cost of the analog equivalent.

Pots are placed near and connected to the analog electronics that they control, so  there is no additional support required to implement a design using pots. Encoders, on the other hand, require some amount of logic to read their state. That amount of logic is trivial. However, trivial multiplied by 1,152 is suddenly no longer trivial. Sure, there are clever multiplexing tricks one can do to limited the number of microcontroller pins required to scan 24 encoders per channel, but you still have to transmit each channel's control information to some master processor that has to crunch everything in real time.

So reducing the number of controls obviously reduces cost and vastly simplifies the logic (further reducing the cost) required to deal with the surface.

Obviously, not having every single control available to the operator at all times can greatly inhibit some mixing styles. But now consider that you have only two hands and ten fingers (and two feet, maybe for foot-pedals for delay time tapping or whatever) so naturally there's a limit to how many controls you can manipulate at one time. And the ability to instantly recall previous settings may overcome the lack of instant-access.

Other than the above, I have no opinion ...

-a
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Tim Padrick

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #67 on: June 12, 2008, 12:43:10 AM »

Regarding a digital console, I had always thought "no way, I want a dedicated knob for everything".  However I've always had a bit of trouble grabbing the correct knob unless that channel was right in front of me - astigmatism?  And scanning the auxes to get a general over-view of the monitor mixes - yikes!

Now that I have progressive multi-focal glasses (with which my peripheral vision is very fuzzy), grabbing the right knob on the console, and finding the right comp or gate channel over in the rack, is even more of a chore.  With a digital console, I have fewer places to look, making life easier.  Yes, I have to push a button or two, but that is at least as fast as finding the right knob, and there's lot less moving my head around so that I'm looking through the right spot in these **** spectacles.  And scanning the monitor mixes with sends on faders is so nice!  Then there's the better channel EQ and all the other goodies.


Maybe the OPs "two-fisted" approach is a great boon to the band's sound and analog is the way to go for that application.  Maybe he micro-manages his mixes and should simplify his approach, thus making digital "do-able".  Digital would be my choice, but then I can't work as the OP does - heck, I still have to glance at my keyboard occasionally whilst typing, and I still have to think a little to form the chord I play on a guitar to test an amp.  If I were more dexterous and a better multi-tasker, who knows.

David A. Parker

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #68 on: June 12, 2008, 06:39:44 AM »

for the knobs to have recall, they would all have to have motors, and that would get ridiculously expensive. Try it, you'll like it. I like having one set of knobs for everything. One hand chooses the channel, the other hand tweaks the knobs, and you have a visual representation of what you are doing. I like having a graph of what I just did with the eq. I like having a gain reduction meter right there on the mixer instead of a rack.
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David Parker
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David A. Parker

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Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
« Reply #69 on: June 12, 2008, 06:43:01 AM »

Instant access. I touch a button and that channel comes up on the screen and I tweak the knobs. I too thought that would be a problem with a digital mixer until I mixed on one the first time. I can't believe all the small inexpensive mixers aren't going digital, seems they could build them a lot cheaper with one set of knobs.
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David Parker
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