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Author Topic: The future of digital consoles  (Read 17381 times)

Don Boomer

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2013, 01:58:58 pm »



Don't shoot the messenger

JR ... you seem to be taking a lot of arrows to the back 

Me, my mouth is shut  ;)
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Don Boomer
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2013, 02:49:43 pm »

JR ... you seem to be taking a lot of arrows to the back 

Me, my mouth is shut  ;)
I understand... was wondering where you were.  8)

It is human nature for people to resist change and feel a little threatened by my predictions.

You can get less arrows doing "good for the money" me-too products, like a certain digital console that is getting a lot of love, and make a nice pile of money, if you get it very right, but it is about as exciting as kissing your sister (or so I'm told).  8)

Lots of pioneers die alongside the wagon trail from those arrows.

I worry you may still be a little ahead of the market with your smart mixer product. I have been thinking about this stuff for decades, but that doesn't mean it will happen any time soon. Every year the technology gets cheaper so more doable.

A great product that doesn't match up with the market's willingness to adapt and  embrace (and spend), is not a great product by definition. I recall several products at Peavey that were ahead of their time, and/or mismatched to the distribution, so poor sellers in their time, and then passionately missed when they were no longer available (some midi products come to mind, an old monitor console, that stand-alone feedback detector, etc). Peavey was making class D power amps before even they figured out how to do it.  ;D ;D 
 
But that's life out in front of the pack ... The scenery is better but you don't have a cleared path to follow. Sometimes you have to remove the obstacles, sometimes just go around. 

Good luck.

JR
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Bob Leonard

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2013, 03:16:18 pm »

JR,
In my daytime world I spend every minute of the day insuring that the largest companies in the world have access to their data, central services, mission critical systems, etc. . Every day I live with the stress of system failures, and that stress is costly in many ways.

My thoughts concerning digital (And you thought I didn't have any) have pretty much been the same since day one. First and formost regardless of the level of automation there will ALWAYS be a wizard behind the curtain, and to be more specific, the more complex the solution, the more support staff required, each person with an area of expertise.

I've read the replies concerning layout and features. Some I can agree with, other are a fignewton of the imagination. What will eventually work IMO, is a logically designed analog type surface coupled to a very capable processor and operating system that allows for an open interface to all manufacturers software and hardware products. In other words a desk that has all the features of any digital desk but with an analog look and feel, few if any layers for the channel strips, one screen for the channels, one screen for the effects/outboard plug-ins, 20" minimum touch or mouse controlled.

What I've just described is my recording system, Cubase, or any number of quality DAW interfaces. So that begs for the next question, which has to be "Why not use a Cubase or equal ?? The answer is because the software is only a small part of the solution. The current leaders in combining our prized hardware with a usable software solution seem to be Avid, DIGICo, and Yamaha, with DIGICo leading by a mile.

What DIGICo has done is present their product correctly. They don't specifically state their systems are a mixer, but more correctly state their systems/consoles are comprised of a work surface and engine. They have taken digital to an extreme above most others allowing for the possability of expansion and creative expression.

Unfortunately none of the leading manufacturers has embraced an open architecture and therefor the costs for these systems remains, and will remain high. Until such time that manufacturers embrace an open interface and allow third party vendors to interface with their product without penelty high prices will remain. Oh, and I'm not talking about Ipads of Iphones here.

Full automation can be acheived, but at what cost, and why? would a fully automated system help "A" class touring acts the likes of Clapton, the Stones, etc.? My answer would be no, but I'll bet someone out there will say yes.

And the one critical piece in a fully automated system has been overlooked. Even on the smallest scale anything electrical or mechanical can and will fail. Joe the bartender won't be able to fix the system, so Joe the bartender is once again dependent on the system engineer. The system engineer, according to some of the above responses, is sitting at home. Even with a 4hr contract the parts and engineer still have to arrive on site. Good for me because I'm being paid, but bad for Joe the Bartender because everyone left once the entertainment stopped.

You could of course build a fully fault tolerant system, but the money would be huge for the small time Mom and Pop. You could start with a small two system cluster running the OS of your choice, each system running through a pair of redundent fiber switches to an EMC Clariion storage device and then to a control surface, for which there is a spare in the back room. $500,000 should be about right for that technology. Anyway, I'm rambling now and I don't like to do that. So, IMO and in the end, an automated concert is still very, very far away.
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BOSTON STRONG........
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I did a gig for Otis Elevator once. Like every job, it had it's ups and downs.

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2013, 04:22:40 pm »

just to clarify, I am not talking about fully automating the mix process in yours, or my, lifetime.

I am talking about a paradigm shift to take more advantage of digital technology's decision making capability. We all know how dependent this is on the programming (HAL?).

To make an extreme example of a simple analog computing device, that off loads decision making, when was the last time you set the choke on your car to start it when cold? Come to think of it, that might even be digital these days.  8)

It should not be that hard to imagine low level live SR tasks that could be off loaded to a cybernetic helper.
=======

I don't disagree with you about the concept of parsing out an audio system into a processing engine, and control surface. I have been whispering in the ear of some friends in the analog console business that maybe they should make a control surface designed to their very high ergonomic standards and then mate it up to the processing engine du jour (Peavey media matrix might be an option while I haven't explored this so don't know how powerful it is these days. Other companies back end could be mated to.)

My crystal ball suggests to me that the control surface does not need to resemble an old school console forever, but for now with old geezers controlling the purse strings it is a good idea to keep them happy. The kids coming up behind us might be happy with a game controller and VR glasses so they can just squeeze the performer's virtual head between their fingers to compress them (pun intended).

The processing engine, will become smaller and cheaper so eventually evolve into being built into powered speakers and other unavoidable system blocks, preferably ones having a line cord.

If we look at even a budget low cost digital console I'll bet the lion's share of the cost to manufacture is not in the convertors and digital engine, but in the displays and controls  (just like analog consoles). You want to see another gold rush price decrease figure out how to accomplish the control functions with a cheap mass produced game interface.  :o

If I could I would, but I'm not quite that clever (or actually trying).

JR

PS: How do you keep the cloud working? Some merchants that were depending on Amazon(?) for their IT/back end got screwed when they dropped the ball... No plan is perfect.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2013, 06:18:32 pm »

Two minds on the same path John, but who cares about an old geeze anyway. I hope your whispers have been heard, and if they have I hope those good folks have something for us at least before I take my dirt nap.

Ahhh, the cloud. Remember that up above I said the more complex the technology, the more dependent on capable specialists and support. The cloud is nothing more than systems in remote sites performing a specific task for one or more companies. A failure could be as simple as a failed router whose backup path or secondary did not kick in. In my mind that is inexcusable as testing and planned events should have uncovered any fault in the system which could result in an outage. I'm sure some heads have rolled for that one.

This is the accepted definition;

Cloud Computing Defined

Cloud Computing is constantly evolving.  It began life as "Grid Computing" - a technology able to solve large problems with parallel computing and resources from multiple administrative domains. Subsequently, grid computing matured to offer computing resources as a metered service, known as "utility computing".  Eventually, the aforementioned model again evolved via network-based subscriptions and applications into what is now known as Cloud Computing.
 
NIST defines Cloud computing as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

 
PS - I see more and more facilities whose electrical capabilities have been met or maxed out. I have also seen more than one facility outage due to loss of electrical power and failed generators. In those cases where everything shuts down it could and usually does take hours to bring all of the systems back on line. This then requires manual intervention to move services to a backup site and re-route data. This is the COLOs fault and there is little forgiveness when this happens. Also, before anyone asks "What about a UPS.", a COLO facility is designed as a UPS first and should never know there has been a power outage. However, the COLO will run on alternate power forever, unlike a little rack mount UPS designed to power a system down properly and with a reserve time of not much more than 5-10 minutes.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 06:30:11 pm by Bob Leonard »
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BOSTON STRONG........
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kristianjohnsen

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #55 on: January 05, 2013, 07:32:18 am »



A jam session where players just show up and play together could be challenging, if these musicians can not effectively mix themselves from stage. .......

Don't shoot the messenger

Skynet, anyone?  (Robots playing R&R).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jv_BDNc3AdE
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2013, 11:07:27 am »

Skynet, anyone?  (Robots playing R&R).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jv_BDNc3AdE

Now you're just showing your age... HAL from the old "2001" movie showing machine intelligence run amok seems a better film reference for the luddites (look it up). 

JR

PS How many here read "1984" and watched "2001" when those were both still distant future dates? The fiction must have a different impact after the title date has passed.
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Geoff Doane

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2013, 01:18:48 pm »

JR ... you seem to be taking a lot of arrows to the back 

Me, my mouth is shut  ;)

We haven't heard much from you here lately Don, but you seem to be drawing a lot of fire over at gearslutz!  ;D

GTD
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boburtz

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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2013, 08:33:13 pm »

My crystal ball suggests to me that the control surface does not need to resemble an old school console forever, but for now with old geezers controlling the purse strings it is a good idea to keep them happy. The kids coming up behind us might be happy with a game controller and VR glasses so they can just squeeze the performer's virtual head between their fingers to compress them (pun intended).
I just worked with a DJ/performer on New Years at a pretty high profile event in San Francisco. He was using an old game joystick to manipulate his dubstep sounds. It was part of his theatrical presentation and very functional. I'm sure this is commonplace these days with that genre, but this is the first time I've seen it.
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Re: The future of digital consoles
« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2013, 08:33:13 pm »


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