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Author Topic: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks  (Read 33557 times)

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: consumer vs enterprise
« Reply #100 on: June 16, 2008, 09:57:43 am »

Steve Syfuhs wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 02:07

One of the biggest issues I see with the use of WiFi (CE or Commercial) is that of security.  We in IT have made the realization that its really freakin easy (well, not really, but sorta) to change data before it reaches it's intended AP.  As a result, we encrypted the stream... WEP was broken shortly thereafter; then WPA, then WPA-2, etc.  As a result, the basic idea was to change the protocols higher in the stack to prevent authentication and what not, so we now have things like NAC (Network Access Control)/NAP (Network Access Protection) which prevents the offending AP access to resources on the network...

Point being: If we use WiFi to control the systems, any schmuck with a laptop could do some damage, even if encryption was used.  My thinking is that if more and more people hop onto the wireless bandwagon a major change is going to have to take place for security.

Perhaps a modified version of WiFi specfically designed for show control is in order?


This is no less a concern for consumers and I expect that marketplace to deliver a solution, perhaps something along the lines of secure websites.

JR

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Robert "Void" Caprio

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #101 on: June 16, 2008, 11:11:02 am »

All I can say about this is I just got to mix on a Midas XL8 and holy cow... what a great console. Intuitive, easy to use and learn and sounded fantastic. I loved it and can't wait to get on another one. To my ears I would have thought it was analog... smooth, clear, not harsh or brittle sounding whatsoever. If I had concerns about going from analog to digital (which I don't) the XL8s and Digidesign consoles would have me converted.
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Steve Syfuhs

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #102 on: June 16, 2008, 12:57:57 pm »

Nnnyesssss...and no.  It's possible you don't need a laptop, just a blackberry with WiFi, etc  (I was refering to things like corporate sabotage, where cutting some wires would be immediately noticable).  In any case, it's not that big of an issue, I just don't ever want to see it get to that stage.  Pundits in the 80's and 90's said security would never be an issue...now look where we are.

As John said it is up to the marketplace to deliver a solution.  Unfortunately, I don't think the same principle of encrypting web traffic is going to work.  Thats the point of WEP/WPA-2, except websites use much larger encryption keys on a higher level in the stack...performance issues are immediate.

To OP's comments:  it sounds as if you haven't truly worked with a digital board in a manner becoming of a digital board.  If you tour with any of the band(s) you mix, as an experiment, try and borrow a PM5D or an LS9, or even a Digidesign if your lucky for a week or two...or maybe the entire tour.  It's very eye opening to go from an all analog system to digitally controlled, even if you don't actually like the feel of it.

I went from working with sh*t Mackies, to working with my first digi...a DiGiCo D5, and wow...what a difference.  A year later I worked with a Digidesign Venue.  Even though the D5 is 6x the cost of the Venue, I prefered the layout of the Venue.  Now my analog desk of choice is from APB, but because of the modularity and flexibility associated with digital, I would trade up and go with a Venue any day.

When it comes to the major fundamental differences, my perception is of when the work is done.  With analog it takes some time to set up, but its a simple step of logical wiring and patching.  With digital, its more than wiring...you have to program the board properly per channel, set up cues, set up FX, set of EQs etc before show time which is 10x more time consuming.  Once the show starts with analog you are ready to go manually moving faders, tweaking pots for EQs, panning, switching auxes, etc.  With digital, you all ready have the show programmed, so you have the option of just hitting "GO" and switching between cues, or you can manually control fader groups, and do really cool things like use macros to increase the lead vocals IEM 10% by the touch of a button, etc.

When it comes down to it, prep for digital is huge.  Less than analog.  My opinion is, if digital prep is done improperly, it compounds the intial complexity tenfold.  But, get it right and its smooth sailing for the rest of the tour.

Give 'er a go.  But make sure you have enough lead time to do proper prep.  </rant>  Smile
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Toby Mills

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Re: consumer vs enterprise
« Reply #103 on: June 16, 2008, 05:31:26 pm »

I don't think security is that big a deal in sound reinforcement applications.

Firstly, if someone was going to cause a problem, hacking a WiFi access point and breaking into the stream would be about the most complicated way of causing chaos there is. Seeing as most of us broadcast radio mics on unencrypted channels that would be a much easier point of entry.

Do you use a special "Pro Audio Grade" sharpie for writing on tape.
Do you use a special "Pro Audio Grade" cap for keeping the sun off you.
Perhaps we need special "Pro Audio Grade" cars for driving to the gig.

My point is that you should use the right tool for the job and if the right tool happens to be consumer grade equipment then I say go for it. Its cheaper, much more readily field replaceable and realistically is probably much more secure than a less common proprietary system because its flaws are a known quantity.

I think sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously.
Sure, you wouldn't mix the grammy awards over a WiFi link, but for most situations I'm sure it would be fine.
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Toby Mills

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #104 on: June 16, 2008, 05:35:23 pm »

Robert Caprio wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 03:11

To my ears I would have thought it was analog... smooth, clear, not harsh or brittle sounding whatsoever.


Robert, can you tell me which digital consoles you have used that do not sound smooth and clear and that do sound harsh or brittle.

I think the fact the XL8 does sound great has little to do with whether its digital or analog and more to do with the fact that it costs several hundred thousand dollars.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: consumer vs enterprise
« Reply #105 on: June 16, 2008, 05:43:43 pm »

Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 17:31

Sure, you wouldn't mix the grammy awards over a WiFi link, but for most situations I'm sure it would be fine.
I'm glad you're sure. Use what ever access point you want. In a professional environment, I want the most reliable connection I can get, and that is not a Linksys. If your show has an issue because you lost control of the console, it won't affect me that much. If my show does, I have a problem. I'll stick with the gear that's right for the job. I can web surf on a Linksys, I'll trust my show to a high power more reliable Cisco. In the great scheme of paying for gear, and satisfying clients, a $700 router is small change compared to RF mics and good consoles.

Mac
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Toby Mills

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Re: consumer vs enterprise
« Reply #106 on: June 16, 2008, 06:06:00 pm »

[quote title=Mac Kerr wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 09:43]
Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 17:31


I can web surf on a Linksys, I'll trust my show to a high power more reliable Cisco.



Just like in pro audio the most expensive isn't always the most reliable (think BOSE). I personally find Cisco far from the most reliable supplier of IT gear and I have a pile of broken Cisco routers to back that up. They are one of the largest suppliers and have an established reputation and probably more importantly they offer service contracts so they are therefore seen as a safe bet by people with IT budgets. However a service contact is not much good when your AP blows up in the middle of a gig and doesn't actually ensure the gear is any more reliable in the field. Nobody in IT ever got fired for buying Cisco gear so they are able to charge a premium for what is essentially the same equipment. Mac I respect you as one of the most knowlegable people on this forum, but seriously don't be fooled into thinking a Cisco wireless access point is any more reliable than anything else, it is largely marketing hype. 5 years ago maybe they were a little bit more reliable, but these days there is nothing in it.

Now that Cisco owns Linksys there are fewer and fewer differences between the product lines (sometimes the similarities are uncanny), it has merely given Cisco additional market share in the consumer market without devaluing the Cisco brand down to consumer prices.

A friend of mine works for Linksys as a Software engineer and Cisco have actually been using some of the Linksys base firmware in their more recent products because it is more stable than the original Cisco code.

If I want a reliable wireless connection then I use two cheap consumer grade wireless access points with the same wireless SID but on different channels and from different manufacturers. If one goes down it flicks across to the other in a matter of seconds. Not that I've ever had one go down. Two cheap wireless AP's are infinitely more reliable than 1 expensive Cisco AP.

Seriously, spending $700 on a Cisco Access point thinking that it is any more reliable than a $100 one is a waste of money and is providing a false sense of security that isn't there.

I remember reading this last year, it is a PC World poll that asked 60,000 IT professionals which were the most reliable brands based on their experience over the last year. Linksys and Cisco came first equal in the router section.
 http://pcworld.about.com/od/pcreliabilityservice/Technology- s-Most-and-Least.htm

Take a look at these Linksys and Cisco products, they offer practically identical features and have the same processor and internal architecture...
http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2& childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1139435695017&pagename =Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=9501747814B09

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/voicesw/ps6788/phones/ps379/ ps6513/prod_large_photo0900aecd80311bbd.jpg

The only siginficant difference is the huge price difference and the fact that Cisco offers a $8 a year service contract in order to get firmware updates. Linksys offers free firmware updates.

All is not what it always seems, Cisco are well know for fear based marketing in order to justify their excessive prices.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: consumer vs enterprise
« Reply #107 on: June 16, 2008, 06:31:43 pm »

This is sort of getting to my wider point... The technology inside will be driven by the larger market.

Linksys can probably afford to tool up some custom or semi custom parts that Cisco couldn't due to a larger customer base. That said, Cisco can put that technology inside a more robust package, with a more reliable PS, etc.  These are features, not technology, and Mac is absolutely correct that you need professional duty gear (a feature) for professional applications.

The Cisco/Linksys may be a conflicted example due to ownership changes etc.

JR
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Toby Mills

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Re: consumer vs enterprise
« Reply #108 on: June 16, 2008, 06:53:03 pm »

I totally agree that in general the Cisco cases and power supplies are more heavy duty, having 19" rack mount equipment is also much more professional.

However one of my biggest beefs with Cisco is that their power supplies are always non standard and certainly can't be bought on the street very easily.

Power supplies are the most likely component to fail and are the components that have failed on all my previous Cisco routers.

If a Cisco power supply goes down in the field, the only thing you can replace it with is another Cisco power supply.
All the consumer grade IT gear runs on standard 12v wall warts which can be found in just about any techs tool case, I find these more reliable than the Cisco power supplies which have been designed to run off highly conditioned UPS power supplies in server rooms. In general I've found the Cisco power supplies are very intollerant of power spikes and power anomolies.

I'm not trying to argue for or against Cisco or Linksys here or any other consumer brand, all I'm suggesting is that the most expensive tool isn't always the best, most reliable or right tool for a job, you need to weigh up every situation and use tools that are going to deliver the results in that situation.

In some cases, professional grade equipment is not the best tool for the job and the mass consumer market actually delivers a better tool and we need to look beyond the brand label or the asthetics and really understand what is under the hood in the engine room where it really matters.
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Andy Peters

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Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
« Reply #109 on: June 16, 2008, 07:39:08 pm »

Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 14:35

Robert Caprio wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 03:11

To my ears I would have thought it was analog... smooth, clear, not harsh or brittle sounding whatsoever.


Robert, can you tell me which digital consoles you have used that do not sound smooth and clear and that do sound harsh or brittle.

I think the fact the XL8 does sound great has little to do with whether its digital or analog and more to do with the fact that it costs several hundred thousand dollars.


And it costs several hundred thousand dollars not because it sounds good, but because it's got several hundred thousand dollars worth of encoders, switches, displays, interconnects and processing.

-a
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