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Author Topic: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)  (Read 17146 times)

anonymous

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Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« on: October 06, 2013, 09:27:54 pm »

Yes, first post here and already looking for trouble. :)
I hope somebody can get me out of this endless decision loop.

First of all: A big THANKS to Bennett Prescott for his really kind help! What a nice person!
And thanks too to Bob Leonard!

It would be nice if someone else could bring in his experience.

I'm trying to decide between these two consoles. What I need in terms of channel count, EQ bands, aux count, weight, size etc. is covered by both mixers. I need the new mixer for a trio, 6 mono inputs, one stereo, two stereo fx, three monitors, always mixing from stage.

So far I've tested:
Dynacord CMS (ok but only 3-band EQ)
A&H MixWiz 4 (ok)
Midas Venice U 16 (good sound!)
Soundcraft SiEx1 (weird sound...)

The SiEx1 reminded me of the multi amp/cab/speaker/fx/cable/weather digital simulator devices for guitar. You can do EVERYTHING you want, like the whole world in one box. The only problem is unfortunately the sound.
So, digital is not an option for me, at least not in the -range I can afford. I understand the audio pros that don't want to be hauling so much gear around, of course. I'm just a musician wanting to mix his own little band. My needs are really tiny in comparison.

So far I did like the Venice, although the EQ had something difficult in it. I was easier to set a balanced vocal sound on the MixWiz, but the overall sound of the Venice was warmer and more pleasant, but it took more time to get it as nice balanced as with the MixWiz. So somehow the EQ was a bit less precise, but I could use it.

So now the only option left is the ProRack. Here's my pro/cons:

ProRack:
Pros:
 - presumably better sound (it's unfortunately impossible to get to hear one here in Europe)
 - presumably better build quality
 - slim form factor
 - variable HPF
Cons:
 - almost double the -price than the Venice in Europe!
 - no mutes on outputs
 - no group/aux switchover function for the group faders
 - plop sound at power on
 - no freq sweep for the low and high EQ bands

Venice U:
Pros:
 - almost half the -price of the ProRack
 - mutes on groups and all outputs
 - group/aux switch over (for controlling monitors with the faders)
 - cinch inputs and level knob for pause music
 - sweepable freq on high and low EQ bands
 - USB record and playback (this is only a minor pro for me)
Cons:
 - bulky
 - fix HPF at 80Hz!
 - EQ presumably not as good as on the ProRack (?)

I can live with these cons in both mixers (altough the group/aux switchover function on the venice is nice as well as a presumably friendlier EQ on the ProRack). The only thing I don't know yet is....

.... is the ProRack worth almost the double for a Venice U16? I'd have to pay for two Venices to get one ProRack. Considering what I need: do you think it would be worth the money? Does it sound THAT better than the Venice U?

Thank you very much for you help!!
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 04:53:57 am »

Luis, if the mix Wiz sounded OK and the Soundcraft Expression sounded weird, I can only think of a few possibilities.

1) The Soundcraft was broken
2) The Soundcraft was programmed 'weird'.  Weird routing, effects you didn't know where enabled, effects loops that 'feedback' into an aux channel,..  Digital boards allow for a lot of capabilities, and with this power and flexibility comes the ability for the operator to screw things up.
3) The pristine quality of the Soundcraft signal allowed you to hear 'weird' stuff in your signal chain that you never heard before.
4) Your doctor needs to review your current prescriptions

THere are plenty of reasons to prefer an analog solution, but I don't think the SI emitting a weird sound is one of them.

If the 'weird sound' is truly the reason for rejecting the SI, or digital boards in general, you owe it to yourself to re-listen to the board in the presence of an operator qualified and experienced using whichever board you are auditioning.  Often that will disqualify the guy at the local music store.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 04:56:19 am by Mark McFarlane »
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Mark McFarlane
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 07:39:08 am »

As a long time  A&H user and a current Soundcraft Si user, I must agree with Mark.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 09:40:08 am by Chuck Simon »
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anonymous

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2013, 10:16:01 am »

Thank you both for your answers!
I guess then "weird" was not the right word. English is not my native language and I guess I was just trying to be cool :)
My problem with the SiEx1 was something unnatural in its sound. I tweaked the EQ for hours (it was my first time at a digital console) and managed to get a vocal sound that was ok from the point of view of balance. But it wasn't tasteful. I tried many times during almost one month (I really wanted to like it). The result was always the same: the sound was just *almost* good. Something strange in the high mids or in the highs kept in it. No matter what I did, I couldn't dial it out. I even took it to a rehearsal. After tweaking the EQ again we all agreed: It sounds good from a pure objective point of view. That means, balance, also the compressor worked well, HPF etc. But: it just sounded plain dead.
I guess it is like having a virtual kitchen in which you can do EVERYTHING you could on a 100m^2 real kitchen. The problem is: the soup isn't bad but it isn't tasty either. And it has something strange, something unreal in it.
To me the SiEx1 sounded like a fake. But I'm not an audio pro, I never hear the PA from the other side. It might be true that it's impossible to hear that in a venue. I don't know. I've spent a lot of time in the past choosing my musical instruments because for me it was always very important how they sound. My instant reaction hearing the consoles I have tested until now was: Midas Venice -> nice! SiEx1 -> hmm... what do I have to do to make this thing sound lively?

I cleared the memory of the SiEx1, the unit didn't seem to be broken. Everything worked well.
If the SiEx1 allows me to hear strange things coming from a mic, and the Venice doesn't: why should I use the SiEx1? I don't understand the idea that the signal coming from a vocal mic (for example) has to be the 'right' signal to be amplified. As I see it, the musical instrument in this case begins with the singer and ends just before the summing device, not before the preamp of the mixer. So why would I want a mic channel on a mixer so reproduce the mic signal exactly? It did sound nicer on the Venice, that's what counts, I think.
I don't drink and I'm not taking any pills :) I can't explain myself why so many audio pros think the SiEx1 sounds good other that this way: a musician sees sound from the point of view of a gourmet, a audio pro sees it from an engineering point of view. So the audio engineer says: "this tool reproduces accurately what comes in and has this and this very valuable technical properties". But if you think in terms of "too much 200Hz" or "lower compressor ratio" it might be more difficult to focus on something like "soft highs that sound natural". How do you measure that?

Ok, I will give this digital units one more shot. Unfortunately I can't ask anybody to set it up for me, so I will have to try alone or with the band. In three weeks the QU16 should arrive, I will post here my impression.

By the way, I contacted my old college professor for recording & arrangement and wrote him what I heard from the SiEx1 which he did recommend me in the first place for it's huge functionality and sound being "good enough". His answer was: "That's the price you have to pay for digital!".
So, I'm not so alone with my feelings about this simulated stuff. Why not the real thing? Ok, it's heavy. Being a audio pro that could mean like a truck full of gear. For me that argument doesn't weight so much because my setup is really small.

Thanks again for you replies!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 10:33:15 am by Luis Tinoco »
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2013, 10:36:40 am »

I'd love to know what you and your old college professor are hearing.  Do you use digital delays?  Digital speaker processors?  Do digital recordings sound "weird" to you?
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2013, 10:40:45 am »

Thanks Luis for taking the time to explain, you seem like a thoughtful and intelligent guy.  Although I've never worked on a Venice, it's not unreasonable to believe that a particular analog console colors the sound in a way you find desirable, and the fixed EQ points may be to your liking. 

However, depending on your setup, the final sound to the audience may depend on channel processing, bus processing, effects, maybe different effects or bus processing for different songs,...  Digital recall makes all this a lot cheaper and a lot easier.

If your processing needs are simple, and you are happy with the Venice, be happy.

FWIW, I own some costly analog processing, like an EQ that cost as much as the SI Expression, various compressors with tubes and transformers, fancy shmancy preamps,..  I don't miss any of these in a live venue, where speed, flexibility and recall are much more important to me than perfect sound that people are usually talking over, or the wind is blowing, or the room reflections are messing up the high end,...

One last point. If you are always mixing from the stage (as stated in the OP), it is impossible for you to hear what the audience is hearing, so no matter how great an analog chain you put together, the sound is going to suffer from your inability to hear what the audience hears, how the room changes over the night as people come and go, how temp and humidity changes effect the highs, how background noise changes,... Digital wont help here either, but a mix-from-stage approach makes the quest for 'perfect' less meaningful.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 10:47:33 am by Mark McFarlane »
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Mark McFarlane
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Art Welter

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2013, 11:23:24 am »


My problem with the SiEx1 was something unnatural in its sound.
If you use in ear monitoring or headphones, the latency inherent in the digital console will make your own voice sound "weird" and unnatural.

Lack of latency and good sound are the reasons Bono of U2 uses a Venice for his monitor mixes, even though they use Midas XL8 in the house and for other mixes.

As far as "color", the Venice has a better sound when clipping than the Mix Wiz, which may be an advantage mixing from stage.
I have not heard the APB, but I wouldn't pay double the cost of a Venice for it even if it sounded a little bit better.

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Samuel Rees

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2013, 01:35:34 pm »

You are the only person I've ever known to speak badly of the sound of the Si series. There has been a lot of discussion about them on this forum, but I don't ever recall that complaint. I have had an Si compact for some time now, and I consider the sound one of its best qualities. I find the compressor to be excellent, specifically. It is my understanding that it uses the same preamps as the Vi1, a much more expensive and well regarded desk.

Bob recently switched from an APB to a Soundcraft and was very satisfied with the sound. That's a pretty big endorsement, I think we all take Bob pretty seriously around here.

I agree that is something about the Venice sound tickles your fancy and it fits your needs, go for it. But, I have to chime in on the Si. I don't mean to be rude but I can't help but wonder how your expectations played into what you heard. We've all been victim to that before.
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anonymous

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2013, 04:20:10 pm »

Thanks Luis for taking the time to explain, you seem like a thoughtful and intelligent guy.  Although I've never worked on a Venice, it's not unreasonable to believe that a particular analog console colors the sound in a way you find desirable, and the fixed EQ points may be to your liking. 

However, depending on your setup, the final sound to the audience may depend on channel processing, bus processing, effects, maybe different effects or bus processing for different songs,...  Digital recall makes all this a lot cheaper and a lot easier.

FWIW, I own some costly analog processing, like an EQ that cost as much as the SI Expression, various compressors with tubes and transformers, fancy shmancy preamps,..  I don't miss any of these in a live venue, where speed, flexibility and recall are much more important to me than perfect sound that people are usually talking over, or the wind is blowing, or the room reflections are messing up the high end,...

One last point. If you are always mixing from the stage (as stated in the OP), it is impossible for you to hear what the audience is hearing, so no matter how great an analog chain you put together, the sound is going to suffer from your inability to hear what the audience hears, how the room changes over the night as people come and go, how temp and humidity changes effect the highs, how background noise changes,... Digital wont help here either, but a mix-from-stage approach makes the quest for 'perfect' less meaningful.

Mark, thank you so much for such a eye-opening post. I think I did know all that, but somehow it is clear now. What I'm trying to do is a bit of a contradiction. Best possible sound (thinking as a musician) but no audio tech at the console... Nobody hearing what the audience is hearing...
I think you are absolutely right. You wrote it so clear, I fully understand. It looks to me like I got a bit lost in this new matter, approaching it the same way I do music.

If your processing needs are simple, and you are happy with the Venice, be happy.
Yes, the only obstacle to that happiness is the option of the 'perfect' :) But...

but a mix-from-stage approach makes the quest for 'perfect' less meaningful.
I'm really blown away by the clarity of your arguments.
Thank you very much for this post!
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2013, 04:43:34 pm »

Yes, the only obstacle to that happiness is the option of the 'perfect' :) But...
There is nothing even remotely close to perfect in live sound.  Speakers and microphones have an order of magnitude more impact on sound quality than the mixer, cabling, DIs, DSP, or other doodads.

Lots of folks think the Venice sounds great, but it is a fairly limited board functionally, and makes a number of compromises that I find a poor value, particularly in the last 2 years when several other great options for the same or less money have presented themselves.  Take a look at the A&H Qu-16 as well before deciding.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Midas Venice U16 vs APB ProRack (APB-blasphemy inside)
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2013, 04:43:34 pm »


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