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Author Topic: Which Mixer would you buy? why?  (Read 21035 times)

Todd Davis

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Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« on: March 24, 2011, 01:13:09 pm »

We're speaking festival, large clubs, rodeos, coporate, fairs, etc... here for our application.

Options for purchase: Soundcraft SI2, Yamaha M7 - CL, Allen & Heath I-Live T 112, Yamaha LS 9, Soundcraft SI Compact 32, Presonus Studio Live 24

Options I'm weighing? Durabilty, ease of operation, Apps for Mons to be run from FOH but can be tuned from stage and naturally sound quality.

Thank you for your input.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 01:44:09 pm »

We're speaking festival, large clubs, rodeos, coporate, fairs, etc... here for our application.

Options for purchase: Soundcraft SI2, Yamaha M7 - CL, Allen & Heath I-Live T 112, Yamaha LS 9, Soundcraft SI Compact 32, Presonus Studio Live 24

Options I'm weighing? Durabilty, ease of operation, Apps for Mons to be run from FOH but can be tuned from stage and naturally sound quality.

Thank you for your input.

If you're doing rodeo entertainment I strongly suggest a mixer with easily replaceable faders as the dirt/dust gets into them so easily... or get a console you don't mind throwing away after a couple of seasons.

If you are providing for Bands We've Hear Of you will need whatever mixers are rider-friendly.

Corporate events, where the talking heads are generally more important than the band (until band time, anyway), you may find some mixers support the work flow more readily than others.  Forum mod Mac Kerr frequently uses Yammy PM5d and PM1d to have the necessary i/o count and routing flexibility.  I have used an M7 for this too, and find it adequate for the events I have done.

You really need to understand your market better to narrow your selection of mixers.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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chuck clark

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2011, 04:36:26 pm »

If you're doing rodeo entertainment I strongly suggest a mixer with easily replaceable faders as the dirt/dust gets into them so easily... or get a console you don't mind throwing away after a couple of seasons.

+1 what Tim said. Rodeos are the wild leg here. You've gotta ask yourself how expensive of a mixer do you want to ruin by having every single fader on it feel like it's got sandpaper in it! Ditto dirt track racing. WE use old Mackies, Peavey Mark VIII's, and Souncraft 800's that are on there last legs anyway. Indoors is completely different with no dust, rain, wind, condensation or hot sun issues.  See now, aren't you glad you asked here before finding out the expensive way?!  Yikes!
Chuck
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Randall Hyde

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 07:42:25 pm »

We're speaking festival, large clubs, rodeos, coporate, fairs, etc... here for our application.

Options for purchase: Soundcraft SI2, Yamaha M7 - CL, Allen & Heath I-Live T 112, Yamaha LS 9, Soundcraft SI Compact 32, Presonus Studio Live 24
Well, if you're willing to settle for StudioLive, you may as well look at SAC, too.

Quote
Options I'm weighing? Durabilty, ease of operation, Apps for Mons to be run from FOH but can be tuned from stage and naturally sound quality.

Thank you for your input.
There is the whole "ease of operation" issue though. SAC requires a knowledgeable person to set it up. If you have physical control surfaces attached it can be easily operated (I don't recommend "in the box" [i.e., mouse-based] operation for engineers who've not had a lot of SAC experience).

SAC's advantages:
* Cost: The basic software is $500. You can spend lots more on plugins if you like. You control the cost of the rest of the system based on the quality of your preamps, the PC, the sound card, control surfaces, and stuff like that. People have bragged about building $1,000 SAC systems using parts laying around (and Behringer preamps); others have spent tens of thousands. You get to pick and choose based on your budget and your needs.

* Sounds great

* 72 Stereo channels in *and* out running on a mid-range PC.

* Modular (perfect for environmentally hostile environments as you can easily do PM on PCs when they get dirty and inexpensively replace them when they do go bad).

* Low cost enough that you can have backups of the critical units without having to purchase a complete second system (part of being modular).

* SAC runs on standard PCs. Other than a decent sound card, you don't need any specialized PC hardware or add-in cards to run SAC. Many SAC users successfully run on laptops with firewire interfaces (far less cables, clutter, and setup time).

* Supports a wide range of physical control surfaces (from Behringer on the cheap side -- perfect for those rodeo applications -- up to some much more reliable desks).

* You get to pick the quality of the preamps and other components in the sound chain based on cost and desired audio quality.

* SAC sits on the stage and you can mix remotely over ethernet (or even wireless if you're brave enough). No more huge snakes headed out into FOH.

* SAC supports wireless tablet PCs, so you can hope right up on stage and mix next to the performer/monitor to hear what's really going on. You can also move around the venue during the show to check the sound mix during the performance -- you're not tied to the FOH desk.

* SAC supports up to 24 separate monitor mixes; you can even give each performer their own netbook to mix their own monitors if you choose (recommended only for IEMs :-)

* Fairly robust. I've never had the audio stop passing through the system.

* The developer is constantly adding new features (something that you just won't get if you buy a physical console).

* The updates (at least, thus far) have all been free.

* You can use VST plug-ins with SAC.

* You can add SAWStudio (DAW) to your SAC system and make really great live recordings. I've been using SAW Studio to record the bands during sound check so they could come out to FOH and listen to the sound out there and make some suggestions about how they want the mix. Great tool. Of course, it also gives you the ability to add 72-channel live recording capabilities so your price list. It's also a great tool (assuming, of course, you get the performer's permission) to create a live multi-track recording that you can use to practice mixing with back at the shop.


SAC's disadvantages:
* Someone needs to be the SAC guru to set it up and keep it operating. It may be relatively easy to operate, but it is not particularly easy to completely master.

* Maximum of 72 stereo input channels (of course, if you're thinking about a StudioLive, this probably isn't an issue for you).

* Though you can pay someone to put a SAC system together for you, the best approach is to build the system yourself so you can deal with issues that might come up in the field. It really helps if you're comfortable putting a PC together from the basic components (motherboard, case, etc).

* In my experience, if you don't have a physical control surface, Guest Engineers are going to hate you; not a problem if you never let anyone else touch your system, though.

* If you have a lot of turnover with respect to your own sound engineers, training may be an issue. You can learn the basics of SAC in 6 minutes; however, it will take you 6 months to really learn it inside and out.

* The user interface could be better (though if you use hardware control surfaces, this is less of an issue).

* Though I've never had SAC stop passing audio, there have been a couple instances where the user interface froze on the host or on one of the remotes; I usually run a spare remote in case this happens (that's the beauty of having a backup) so this has never hampered my ability to do a show.

* SAC is not going to be rider-friendly (at least, not in the near future).

* SAC runs under Windows XP (lots of people run it successfully with Win 7, but it's spec'd for Win XP). Depending on how you feel about Windows, ...  To date, I've never had a problem with SAC that could be traced to Windows (generally, you have a machine dedicated to SAC, so you usually strip off all the crap that tends to give Windows fits).

* SAC runs on a PC. Granted, most digital boards these days have a repackaged PC inside them, but be careful about purchasing a cheap PC system; you want an industrial quality system that will stand up to the rigors of the road.

* Cable management can be an issue and the setup time can cost you if you don't build SAC (including monitors, keyboard, mouse, etc.) all in the same case. Many users use laptops for this reason.

SAC certainly isn't for everyone. But it's a great digital board for soundcos on a budget.
www.softwareaudioconsole.com

I bought it because of the mixer facilities. Was very impressed with how much better is sounded than my old A&H desk.
cheers,
Randy Hyde



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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 08:39:42 pm »

Well, if you're willing to settle for StudioLive, you may as well look at SAC, too

Umm, no. If you are willing to settle for a Studio Live, you should GET and 01V96 and the 8 Channel ADAT preamp of your choice.

SAC isn't a console, it's an operating system. It's like running the software that Yamaha puts on their desks on any other hardware you want. And yet no one has really been able to suggest a full featured control surface for SAC.

I think the OP would be better served by getting something in the M7CL/SC48 price range or the analog equivalent, and then getting a smaller cheapo "disposable" console like a 16 channel Mackie for those rodeo and dirt bike racing etc..
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Airton Pereira

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 09:31:56 pm »

I wound say the most expensive you can get, but the real option would be the LS9, its a great console for not that much money. The Presonus is great too, but no motorized faders and no gain and aux masters recall, I dont think it would fit your needs. 
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Gus Housen

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 09:42:46 pm »

Buy the one your clients want. The LS9 or M7 seem to be the most popular, with the M7 being the choice if you are doing anything with a rider and probably easiest to rent out to other providers.

Buy a nice used cheap analog for the rodeo's or a used 01v
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Peter Morris

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2011, 10:59:28 pm »

We're speaking festival, large clubs, rodeos, coporate, fairs, etc... here for our application.

Options for purchase: Soundcraft SI2, Yamaha M7 - CL, Allen & Heath I-Live T 112, Yamaha LS 9, Soundcraft SI Compact 32, Presonus Studio Live 24

Options I'm weighing? Durabilty, ease of operation, Apps for Mons to be run from FOH but can be tuned from stage and naturally sound quality.

Thank you for your input.

iLive sounds good, flexible, easy to use, and the cat 5 multi-core is a real advantage. Monitor tunning can be done from an iPad if you need. The only area the iLive falls short is scene management for theatre work, it is not as good as some but I expect AH will address that soon.

If you are constrained by riders the M7 is probably the go, but sound quality is not so good and there are quite a lot of limitations compared to the iLive. 

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Tim Padrick

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 11:56:44 pm »

Unless you want to spend PM5D money, I'd go M7.  Not that it's the best board for the price, but that it will be the one that BE's will most likely have a file for.
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Randall Hyde

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Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2011, 12:57:31 pm »

And yet no one has really been able to suggest a full featured control surface for SAC.

FWIW -- KUI Audio.
www.kuiaudio.com

Steve Kuithe has put together some interesting consoles around SAC using touch screens and motorized faders (using COTS components). He's currently in the process of developing a SAC-specified hardware control surface.

As for me, I'm using a Behringer BCR-2000 unit to control EQ, dynamics, auxes, and stuff like that; I'm in the process of getting a set of Mackie MCU units for the main faders.  If I were doing rodeo and other dirty outdoor events, I think I'd use Behringer BCF-2000 units for the faders -- they're disposable enough.

There's a couple of suggestions for you.

Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Which Mixer would you buy? why?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2011, 12:57:31 pm »


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