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Author Topic: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?  (Read 17290 times)

Tommy Peel

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2017, 12:43:55 am »

I had been looking at an Digico SD-9 but had been holding back as I was concerned who would be able to use it except for a few folks.  I am going to give the C-Class a really hard look.

A church I mix at irregularly just switched from the SD-9 to a GLD for their contemporary worship space because they were constantly having trouble getting people that could mix on it. I had gotten reasonably competent on it before they switched, but it took a while. The GLD I was mixing on just fine very quickly and was mixing a service barely having seen the board before. I realize the 2 consoles are in different classes, but I do feel that someone who wasn't familiar with Digico would have a hard time with the SD-9.

Rack mount mixers are a fad that started decades ago...

They will fade away when racks go away too...

JR

I recently moved my XR18 out of a rack case into a pelican style one to save space and protect it better.  ;D Guess the racks are already on the way out at least on the small end of things.
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Randy Pence

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2017, 07:17:18 pm »

My back certainly thinks so ;)

I've let wheels and reels do much of the work for me, but its more of the time and stress factors routing them around without interfering with where the audience will flow
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Scott Bolt

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2017, 08:40:19 pm »

I've let wheels and reels do much of the work for me, but its more of the time and stress factors routing them around without interfering with where the audience will flow
Had wheels on my MixWiz rig, but I still had to lift up and down stairs.  The box was still as big as any 15" 3 way speaker..... and as you mention, the 100' reel snake wasn't light either.

Another advantage of digital mixing in general is that I find my starting point for the mix is always very good since no knobs get moved about.

I also don't get the occasional unplugged cable inside the instrument rack causing various hard to diagnose issues (that have to be fixed in the dark corner of a bar with a flashlight under the gun trying feverishly to get the system ready for an on-time sound check).

Ahhhh.... the good ole days ;)
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Randy Pence

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2017, 06:40:49 am »

Had wheels on my MixWiz rig, but I still had to lift up and down stairs.  The box was still as big as any 15" 3 way speaker..... and as you mention, the 100' reel snake wasn't light either.

Another advantage of digital mixing in general is that I find my starting point for the mix is always very good since no knobs get moved about.

I also don't get the occasional unplugged cable inside the instrument rack causing various hard to diagnose issues (that have to be fixed in the dark corner of a bar with a flashlight under the gun trying feverishly to get the system ready for an on-time sound check).

Ahhhh.... the good ole days ;)

The only mixer I ever bought for myself was an original 01V, so I've never been much into outboard, but at this point, I can't even be bothered to run a cat5 cable to a digital surface if I don't have to
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Mike Karseboom

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2017, 04:17:55 pm »

IOW, the Behringer/Midas version of a PreSonus Cs18ai.  I think they'd say, the current X32/M32 line is inexpensive to the point that they wouldn't save you a lot of money if the preamps and mic inputs were stripped out to create a "control surface only" module.

http://www.presonus.com/products/studiolive-cs18ai


I don't want them to gut it, I want them to enhance the firmware so the x32 has the option of just being a control surface and sends the  instructions out through the ethernet port.  The X32 rack on the other end would receive these instructions the same as if they came from a PC, iPad, or whatever.



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Rob Gow

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2017, 09:14:18 am »

As far as rack mixers go, I see more going in that direction, and I really hope that more players get into the physical surface controlling said rack units.  A&H iLive has it, and does it quite well.  ALL of the processing is in the rack, and the mixer is just a dummy controller.  disconnect the mixer, and sound still passes.  It's what others have with tablet control, but with a physical surface involved.   I'm surprised that isn't a more common approach.

This is what I do with my Presonus RM32AI/CS18AI combination.  When mixing other bands I opt for my iPad to control the rack mount mixer on stage. When in playing with my band the physical controls are easier to use during a gig while I'm playing. I don't want an iPad attached to my mic stand. The CS18AI is handy as heck for this purpose.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2017, 10:13:12 am »

This is what I do with my Presonus RM32AI/CS18AI combination.  When mixing other bands I opt for my iPad to control the rack mount mixer on stage. When in playing with my band the physical controls are easier to use during a gig while I'm playing. I don't want an iPad attached to my mic stand. The CS18AI is handy as heck for this purpose.

This ^

I don't want them to gut it, I want them to enhance the firmware so the x32 has the option of just being a control surface and sends the  instructions out through the ethernet port.  The X32 rack on the other end would receive these instructions the same as if they came from a PC, iPad, or whatever.

And this ^

I will NEVER and I repeat NEVER like running sound from a touch screen device. I want physical faders that I can put my hands on and watch the stage without having to look down to make sure I'm moving the right fader, there's too much looking down already with the infinite amount of DSP to play with.

I love the idea of a rack mixer that has a physical surface that can automatically switch processing; redundancy!
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Scott Bolt

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2017, 11:38:36 am »

Hey Nathan,

I hear you, but ....

For small to medium clubs, there is rarely a dedicated FOH position.  In the past, most people just put the mixer on the side of the stage.  You just end up running out front, running to the mixer, tweaking, running out front, rinse, repeat ....

Compared to that work flow, the tablet at a table with a beer sure seems like a pretty good deal ;)

I can't even give my 100' reel snake away.  It is still gathering dust in my basement storage :(
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jeremy Young

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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2017, 01:44:29 pm »

When I started building my own "lounge level" rig (my work is mostly cover bands and up-and-coming original bands, no theatre or talking heads stuff for the most part), I bought into the DL1608 because it was the cost of an analog snake, and I got to dump the Mackie VLZ analog I'd been using in my band rehearsal room.  Sold all my TC and DBX racks, and LOVED being able to walk the room and mix from wherever I wanted.  Everything is at my fingertips; I don't miss crouching below the mixer to adjust a compressor and then standing up to listen.

After about 20 gigs, I realized that having the preamps on the other end of the room was annoying, and although I got quite good with the iPad, I still couldn't manage 16channel 6 monitor shows very fluidly. Plus I was running out of channels constantly. Flipping through screens on the tablet to see or access what I want feels absolutely blind, and that darn tap tempo menu that flies out so you can adjust it, just happens to land right over the permanent home of the MUTE button for the main mix, so when it disappears again you do NOT want to be tapping there.  Nothing more embarrassing than muting everything (more than once) by accident because your 80's cover band was playing another Journey tune.

Coming from an analog world at the company I used to work for (Soundcraft K2/Midas Venice/A&H GL and MixWiz) I missed the tactile feeling of a fader under my hand or a dedicated encoder that's always in the same spot.  Swiping and tapping a tablet with sweaty fingers trying to get to where you need to be (quickly) takes practice and is no doubt cumbersome at times. 

At outdoor events I found myself stationary under a tent most of the time so the sun didn't make my iPad unreadable.....   then let's talk about iPad battery life for a moment.  If that's your only control surface, you'd better have two, and a portable charger for long events.  Oh and if your venue happens to have a busy WiFi environment, you might experience some surprises like I did.  Say, bringing up an acoustic guitar fader in the monitor via the iPad, and not realizing it has disconnected itself momentarily, but when it reconnects moments later, my finger is a few inches higher on the fader and suddenly there is screaming feedback.... it's a great way to make an impression :(

So I started shopping.....didn't want an X32, I've mixed on a number of them and every one had at least one physical item (input jack, encoder, etc) broken, which didn't make me feel very good about build quality.  I have a friend who runs his X32 on the side of the stage for monitors and as a snake, and mixes FOH exclusively from his tablet which certainly packs a lot of punch in setup for the money but I just can't get behind the B name for spending my own money.

I thought about the Midas M32, Pro1 or Soundcraft Si series, but then I found the A&H GLD series and fell in love with the features and flexibility of setup.  Just before pulling the trigger I found a second-hand iLive rig for what a GLD80/AR2416 would have set me back new, and am now in paradise. Thanks Ted! I can roll my iDR32 rack into the venue for small gigs, patch in some powered speakers and be mixing with double the I/O of the Mackie in basically the same footprint (in fact less since I can stack things on top of it). Throw the rack in one stage corner with it's router, and run three 8-channel sub-snakes to the other three corners, and I now have 8 inputs in each corner, or 7 plus a DMX out for a very clean stage.


For bigger events I haul in my amp rack and the larger surface.  There are certain things you need a laptop or surface for on the iLive platform that you can't do from the iPad, but in the package I got both an R72 and a T112 surface, so it's scalable depending on the event, and so far I've always brought the R72 at a minimum (because let's not forget why I wanted faders in the first place).  Both surfaces have excellent visual feedback including meters for the layer you're on.  I don't find the GUI to be challenging in any way, but after years of guitar FX processor menus on dark stages I guess I'm easy to please. 

One cat5 snake plus power and I'm ready to go at FOH.  I can have one hand on a vocal fader, the other tapping in a tempo or adjusting FX through the touchscreen, and still have one-knob-per-function encoders to grab on the fly (with the t112 anyway).  I can still use the iPad to dial in quick monitors standing next to the talent and hearing what they hear, or if the surface isn't in an ideal mixing position I can walk the room and make adjustments to FOH.  The iPad app for the iLive has the ability to display faders AND parametric EQ at the same time..... what a breathe of fresh air!

I don't think I need to mention this, but the sound quality between these two isn't comparable.  Obviously they are in separate leagues, but WOW the iLive sounds incredible.  Reminds me of the first day I mixed on the Midas Venice after years on an A&H GL series.  One day IF I ever hire a helper and need a second mixer to grow my business, I'd probably go to the D-Live and put the T112/iDR on monitor duty, but for what I'm doing right now I'm happy as a clam. Oh, and my clients happily pay for the difference, and my mixes are better (which helps me rationalize my GAS I suppose).


To bring this back to the point, I could see the tablet-only thing being OK for small input channel counts or where you are only running a few mixes, but from my experiences they are no replacement for a desk for my needs.
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Brown Bear Sound
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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2017, 02:22:15 pm »

When I hear the term "rack mountable" it brings back some fond memories...
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Re: Rack mountable mixers the future or a trend?
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2017, 02:22:15 pm »


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