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Author Topic: Large format analog boards  (Read 13647 times)

Micky Basiliere

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2012, 11:59:16 am »

"All generalizations are wrong."

I'm not sure what the OP's definition of large format is.  A 48 channel GL2X00 series board is a very different beast than a 48 channel H3000.

My only agenda here is for folks to try and see.  A large number of folks who said "I'll never go digital" 10 years ago, now have crossed the aisle, because the advantages of digital got to be too great to ignore.  For them.  Clearly Bob has tried (at least the LS9) and came up with a different result.  That doesn't bother me at all.

I do wish folks like the OP whose main reason for preferring analog seems to be "I have used it before and therefore am more comfortable" would live a little and give digital a shot.  The rise in popularity of digital consoles especially at the large end, and extending down into the medium and even low end is undeniable.  I doubt they're all stupid (though I concede the recent external clock threads may cast a little doubt on my assessment), and speaking from my own experience, I'm never going back.

If the OP disagrees - that's fine by me.  He's free to use one of the excellent APB offerings, or to take advantage of the precipitous fall in value of 2nd hand real large format boards.  Maybe he'll even pick up the PM4000 in the marketplace right now for $1000.  A year or two and 500 chiropractor visits after that, maybe he'll realize why the current value is only $1000.

Like Bob said... Analog is NOT going away anytime soon! and..+1000 for his comments. Nice,high end,fully functional,great sounding digital consoles are still way out of range for most small to mid sized sound co's.. and settling for "entry level crap" to be a part of the "boyz club" is rediculous considering all the the great analog gear still available for fantastic prices!! i for one WILL go digital when the price points come down, till then i'll stay analog with great sounding "high end" gear!!
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2012, 12:04:35 pm »

Like Bob said... Analog is NOT going away anytime soon! and..+1000 for his comments. Nice,high end,fully functional,great sounding digital consoles are still way out of range for most small to mid sized sound co's.. and settling for "entry level crap" to be a part of the "boyz club" is rediculous considering all the the great analog gear still available for fantastic prices!! i for one WILL go digital when the price points come down, till then i'll stay analog with great sounding "high end" gear!!
I have found a lot to like in my new GLD - 48 channels, digital snake, good sound quality, nice usability, and the surface weighs 60lbs including the roadcase.  There really aren't too many compromises.  Price is ~$10K, which I agree is too much for some folks.  The price of decent digital HAS come down though, and if you're starting from scratch, a 48 channel APB and even a few channels of appropriately good quality outboard gear plus a snake will make the GLD seem a VERY good value.
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2012, 12:06:52 pm »

Nice,high end,fully functional,great sounding digital consoles are still way out of range for most small to mid sized sound co's.. and settling for "entry level crap" to be a part of the "boyz club" is rediculous considering all the the great analog gear still available for fantastic prices!! i for one WILL go digital when the price points come down, till then i'll stay analog with great sounding "high end" gear!!

I don't have golden ears but I know a good sounding console when I hear one.  Lots of analog consoles sound good.  All the patch points lead to noise. 

You can now get a great sounding digital console at an affordable price!  Allen and Heath GLD sound great, has all the features that you will use everyday and most of the features you will use occasionally.

BTW,  If you want analog, I got something for sale, just like everyone else trying to clean shop!
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2012, 12:09:03 pm »

it is human nature to look for validation of large purchase decisions one way or the other.

I am an old analog dog, but these days find myself designing with digital microprocessors because they are the most cost effective tool for the job. Bob may have some insight into that from his day job. I expect digital technology to eventually eclipse even premium analog consoles but it hasn't happened just yet.

For some applications, the only choice is which digital console to use. if not forced by the application to use a digital console, a premium analog path still has merit. This evolution is already causing some price erosion of used analog consoles. My crystal ball does not paint a pretty picture for analog long term. But for the record I have been arguing that all consoles will go away. 8)

JR
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Greg_Cameron

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2012, 12:19:28 pm »

Used an LS9 many times.. like the onboard thing, disliked the pre amps and sound quality! chose to buy an APB... sound quality was night and day!!

Try mixing on an Avid Venue or a Midas digital desk. Really, sound quality is not much of an issue once you get out of the lower dollar digital desks. Even Dave Rat copped to that in a recent PSW article, and he's a still a dyed-in-the-wool analog guy. His complaints nowadays center around console navigation, which I do agree is an issue, rather than sonics. I'm not saying APB doesn't make a fine desk, they do. But you might be hard pressed to find a SC48 doesn't stand up to it sonically.
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2012, 02:21:07 pm »


I'm an old analog engineer so if anybody would be biased against digital it would be me. I have tried to find something wrong with the technology and there is no obvious smoking gun flaw...

JR, respectfully I've got no dog in this fight, but there are plenty of people of the opinion that say that digital summing is fundamentally broken.

There are many studios out there that are recording and editing in digital, but when it comes time to mix they are choosing an analogue path...either an actual console, or via a summing box solution like a Dangerous 2-buss or similar.

You'd think that if digital really had no smoking gun flaws that more studios would use digital consoles.

You'd also wonder why so many plug-in manufacturers are jumping onto the bandwagon of making more "analogue sounding" plugs...if it wasn't broken, these bandaids wouldn't be necessary.

I remember reading a paper that had been presented at either a SMPTE or AES conference some years back - I can't recall - in which someone had done a test of the physiological effects of digital audio on humans. The upshot of it was that digital audio had the same effect on people as working under flourescent lighting.

FWIW, I work in a variety of settings - primarily studio based...some ITB, some digital console (AMS-Neve, Calrec etc), and some DAW feeding analogue, and to my ears, the DAW feeding the analogue console is the most emotionally satisfying to work with...and when it comes down to it that's the business we're in - conveying emotions.

When considering dropping serious coin on a console for use in a live production environment, sadly sonics are not always at the top of the list of criteria being considered. Rider acceptability is a big issue, as is seat kills/footprint, and then all of the accountancy stuff - depreciation etc.

Where digital does win is with its flexibility - want fewer groups but more auxes? Sure! Want more eq bands on this particular channel? Sure! Want dynamics on auxes? Sure! Want more I/O in the same footprint? Sure!

Great digital is great...but sadly many will never hear great digital.

Great analogue is stunning.


Cheers,
Tim
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2012, 03:38:54 pm »

JR, respectfully I've got no dog in this fight, but there are plenty of people of the opinion that say that digital summing is fundamentally broken.
Opinions vary.  8)

If this was a dog fight, I'd surely be betting on not only an analog dog, but "my" analog dog. Back in 1980 I published an article about console design in RE&P magazine (a studio magazine) about my improved current source summing topology.  I actually have an analog summing technology that is marginally better than most analog consoles (almost as good as digital), but guess what, it doesn't matter for analog or digital. The S/N of mixes is dominated by one mic preamp and room noise (or microphone self noise in a quiet enough room).

Digital summing is not only "not" fundamentally broken, in theory it is superior to analog summing. If you don't trust me on that you can do a search from any responsible technology source. I won't waste even more bandwidth on the theory. Like console clocks this too has been vetted, and disproved while apparently not adequately. 
Quote
There are many studios out there that are recording and editing in digital, but when it comes time to mix they are choosing an analogue path...either an actual console, or via a summing box solution like a Dangerous 2-buss or similar.
Never trust anybody who can't spell (bus). 8) I have researched this modern phenomenon of ITB mixing vs, passive or  "outside the box", These range from passive sums with a mic preamp for make up gain to correct for insertion loss, or repurposed old school mixers/consoles. My thesis is that studios want to use their old school legacy outboard effects and this is simpler on an analog platform, and they probably benefit from KISS, when they have less options to mess up the finished product if there are less knobs within their reach.   8)
Quote
You'd think that if digital really had no smoking gun flaws that more studios would use digital consoles.
Why? Studios want, no need, to differentiate themselves. They are already losing too much business to low cost digital gear. If they admit you don't need them, the rest of the world will finish mixing on their bedroom MAC.
Quote
You'd also wonder why so many plug-in manufacturers are jumping onto the bandwagon of making more "analogue sounding" plugs...if it wasn't broken, these bandaids wouldn't be necessary.
Are you arguing that digital is too clean, too pristine, so needs to add "analog sound flaws" to finish it?   Don't confuse EFX fashion trends and coloration for effect, with baseline performance. The best chef starts with a clean cooking pot and clean utensils, then adds spice to taste... you don't begin cooking with a dirty pot, and popular spices change from time to time.
Quote
I remember reading a paper that had been presented at either a SMPTE or AES conference some years back - I can't recall - in which someone had done a test of the physiological effects of digital audio on humans. The upshot of it was that digital audio had the same effect on people as working under flourescent lighting.
yes, that (those) was/were disproved. i recall one in the '80s that digital made your muscles weak.  ;D nonsense.
Quote
FWIW, I work in a variety of settings - primarily studio based...some ITB, some digital console (AMS-Neve, Calrec etc), and some DAW feeding analogue, and to my ears, the DAW feeding the analogue console is the most emotionally satisfying to work with...and when it comes down to it that's the business we're in - conveying emotions.
Your emotions or the listener?

You should do what feels good to you, just don't try to justify it with bad science. There is no there there. I would love and profit from something being there. I have even tried to steer my friends still making analog gear to service that niche market while it lasts, but without technical justification to exist, to is hard to make a business argument to pursue what appears to be a fad.
Quote
When considering dropping serious coin on a console for use in a live production environment, sadly sonics are not always at the top of the list of criteria being considered. Rider acceptability is a big issue, as is seat kills/footprint, and then all of the accountancy stuff - depreciation etc.

Where digital does win is with its flexibility - want fewer groups but more auxes? Sure! Want more eq bands on this particular channel? Sure! Want dynamics on auxes? Sure! Want more I/O in the same footprint? Sure!

Great digital is great...but sadly many will never hear great digital.

Great analogue is stunning.


Cheers,
Tim

Great analog and great digital should both sound like exactly nothing. A straight wire with gain, and eq and whatever (a clean palette).

As I have offered before, not all consoles are built to the same performance standard. I even suspect some cheap digital mixing software, may screw the pooch on summing (among other functions, like bit rate conversion), but don't damn the technology because of a few bad examples. Based on that, analog would be damned too because there are crap analog consoles out there too.

JR
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Micky Basiliere

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2012, 05:04:51 pm »

Opinions vary.  8)

If this was a dog fight, I'd surely be betting on not only an analog dog, but "my" analog dog. Back in 1980 I published an article about console design in RE&P magazine (a studio magazine) about my improved current source summing topology.  I actually have an analog summing technology that is marginally better than most analog consoles (almost as good as digital), but guess what, it doesn't matter for analog or digital. The S/N of mixes is dominated by one mic preamp and room noise (or microphone self noise in a quiet enough room).

Digital summing is not only "not" fundamentally broken, in theory it is superior to analog summing. If you don't trust me on that you can do a search from any responsible technology source. I won't waste even more bandwidth on the theory. Like console clocks this too has been vetted, and disproved while apparently not adequately.  Never trust anybody who can't spell (bus). 8) I have researched this modern phenomenon of ITB mixing vs, passive or  "outside the box", These range from passive sums with a mic preamp for make up gain to correct for insertion loss, or repurposed old school mixers/consoles. My thesis is that studios want to use their old school legacy outboard effects and this is simpler on an analog platform, and they probably benefit from KISS, when they have less options to mess up the finished product if there are less knobs within their reach.   8)Why? Studios want, no need, to differentiate themselves. They are already losing too much business to low cost digital gear. If they admit you don't need them, the rest of the world will finish mixing on their bedroom MAC. Are you arguing that digital is too clean, too pristine, so needs to add "analog sound flaws" to finish it?   Don't confuse EFX fashion trends and coloration for effect, with baseline performance. The best chef starts with a clean cooking pot and clean utensils, then adds spice to taste... you don't begin cooking with a dirty pot, and popular spices change from time to time.yes, that (those) was/were disproved. i recall one in the '80s that digital made your muscles weak.  ;D nonsense. Your emotions or the listener?

You should do what feels good to you, just don't try to justify it with bad science. There is no there there. I would love and profit from something being there. I have even tried to steer my friends still making analog gear to service that niche market while it lasts, but without technical justification to exist, to is hard to make a business argument to pursue what appears to be a fad.
Great analog and great digital should both sound like exactly nothing. A straight wire with gain, and eq and whatever (a clean palette).

As I have offered before, not all consoles are built to the same performance standard. I even suspect some cheap digital mixing software, may screw the pooch on summing (among other functions, like bit rate conversion), but don't damn the technology because of a few bad examples. Based on that, analog would be damned too because there are crap analog consoles out there too.

JR
Digital people defend Digital.. Analog people defend Analog.. there is a definite need for both! I believe "preference" will come full circle back to analog, just like the tube Amp did over transister... so before i blow 30k on a Digital board, i'll wait and watch the riders...If i were to buy a new kick ass "large frame" console right now, it would definitely be the APB Spectra VCA !!!
just my 2 cents...
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Samuel Rees

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2012, 05:29:14 pm »

I believe "preference" will come full circle back to analog, just like the tube Amp did over transister... so before i blow 30k on a Digital board, i'll wait and watch the riders...

Transistor amps were cheap to make, there were not serious technical advantages like recall and compactness like in digital desks. To each his own certainly, but digital is here to stay IMO. The StudioLive, the Si Compact, the GLD and the X32 are just the first wave of digitals moving into the small format. Imagine a third generation GLD product?
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2012, 07:21:51 pm »

Either too much or too little coffee I think.  :)

I'm sure the APB sounds great, but to be fair, that's not a low-end analog board either.  Low end digital gear generally competes with MixWizards, Mackie 1604s, and other stuff where the sound quality is equal or better on the digital side.

You apparently don't do events where scene recall is valuable.  I do, and would struggle to live without it.  But thank you for the compliment that you know who I am and the promotion to Mac's level of skill and professionalism.  :)

You must be in very good shape where hundreds of pounds of gear and heavy snake slinging don't matter.  Now that I have my GLD, half my truck is freed up - smaller console case, no outboard (actually I haven't hauled outboard in years due to my "crappy sounding" 01v96 boards I've used with great success for 9 years), and now now analog snake.  I will have to cut back on the donuts due to the loss of winding up a 150lb snake.

I'm very glad that APB exists, and I don't disagree that there will likely always be applications where analog boards serve just as well if not better than digital.  I do disagree that analog generally sounds better, though the world is big enough that each of us can find examples to support our hypothesis.

Yes Thomas, I put you at a level above most, and yes, you are on that list.
 
Let's be clear please. I am not defending analog boards with my statements, and I will apologize for my uncontrolled rant. I am also not promoting APB with my statements, and now that I've said all that you're saying then WTF do you mean.  ;)
 
Let's put a dollar figure on some hardware and attempt to classify my statements. My current production board is an APB Pro house. 16/20 channels, pristine channel strips, quality features, flexible. My needs are simplistic at this point in my life where most venues are 1000 or less peeps.
 
If I work a larger venue then I'm dependent on someone elses board. I'll take my backline with assorted amplifers and sound modules and send my mix to the venues board. Vocals, monitors and everything else belongs to the house and I place my faith in those people, please try to make my backline mix sound like it does on stage.
 
I can do that and more with a small quality analog board. I can support the occasional openers with my rig. work the promotional gigs and fairs, etc. All I have to do is load the truck, unload the truck, load the truck, and unload it one last time. I'm not in great shape but at 60 I'm in great shape for the shape I'm in. I can also tell you that 30 pieces of outboard gear weigh almost the same as a SRX725, 100lbs. So, lifting a rack of outboard gear doesn't bother me in the least.
 
I said let's start with a cost or price so here it is. One APB Pro house, $3000, rounded up.
 
I don't think I need to say how much time I spent searching the universe for the right fit for my applications, and I'm pretty sure this group knows how anal I am concerning tone and sound overall. Ask Rob Spence, he's heard the system.
 
So now that we've established a break point please give some thought to what tour quality digital boards can be purchased NEW for that amount. ....................... Done thinking??  ;)
 
Let's double or even triple the figure which will bring you to a point where you can start to enter the world of digital quality. I was willing to spend up to 4x what I spent on the APB, and I didn't even care about the ROI, but the truth of the matter is I didn't need need to spend 12-20K on a QUALITY digital board to get the job done.
 
So once again it comes down the end users needs. Back under the 3K figure ask yourself how many people buying a used 01V, Presonus, etc, boards of that quality, really need or will use the features of the board. 50% ?? Maybe. Is it fun to play with all the bells and whistles?? You bet your ass it is. Is it disappointing to read of the problems people have with digital boards at this level? Yes it is.
 
So TJ, my goal here is not to re-convert the world. My mama didn't raise a dummy, and I truely believe digital can be, and is, a blessing, but for those who need the real features of QUALITY digital boards, you being one of those people.
And for those keeping count the APB Pro House sounds better IMO than an LS9, Verona or Venice, as good, maybe better than a Soundcraft SI, and far better than any Mixwiz, 1640, Presonus, 01V, and 02V. And if I were to pull the trigger on or had the need for a digital board it would be a Midas Pro, SI, Yamaha or Avid board, and last I checked they cost a little more than 3K. However if I needed all the functionality I would be more than willing to spend the money.
 
However, if I were an FNG entering the world of sound, or interested in making my band sound great, not just good, if my new reputation was to depend on reliability, then I would consider the cost of a great analog board and MAYBE a couple of outboard pieces vs that of an entry level digital board. But hey, I'm an old guy and have used analog gear for 45 years. Maybe those things mean more to us old timers.
for the sake of argument I will also bow to the fact the 01V has proven itself as a more than capable board.
 
Rant over, please continue normal broadcasting in your area.
 
 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 07:26:58 pm by Bob Leonard »
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Re: Large format analog boards
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2012, 07:21:51 pm »


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