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Author Topic: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?  (Read 8970 times)

Dave Pluke

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2017, 02:02:36 pm »

Jeff,

My only suggestion would be to research the Product Life Cycle for A+H's dLive series before investing.

This is coming from the perspective of someone trying to help a House of Worship with a misbehaving iLive T112 surface and iDR64 mix rack.

Granted, we're somewhat apples-to-oranges and past performance is no indication of future earnings, but how a company EOL's a product could give one an idea.  A+H's last three firmware updates for the dLive have been released about 5-7 months apart.  Their last update for the iLive was January 2014.

This may be the nature of the beast with digital consoles, but if the last public release of firmware isn't rock solid, there isn't much an end user can do.

According to my quick googling, the iLive series was released mid-2009 and left to wither on the vine at the beginning of 2014 (less than 5 full years).  Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Considering the dLive was released in mid-2015, how long before one might need to be concerned?

I haven't had the opportunity to drive one, but personally like the looks (and specs) of the dLive surfaces.

Dave
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2017, 05:50:31 pm »

Looks matter, to me at least. Especially when there are so many competitive products to choose from, why get something you think is ugly?

It sounds like you have considered the use cases and alternatives thoroughly. I, too, am not wild about iPad mixing, although I've done it. For bands it's a lot to handle on a small screen and for talking heads/playback, where the input count is small but the stakes are high, it makes me nervous that I'll fat-finger a fader and cause feedback, etc. I also have trouble seeing the screen in full sun, especially after the finger prints build up.
 
I went with the C class as it is the least expensive entry into dLive, and I was already feeling guilty spending so much on what is, for me, essentially a toy. I'm also not convinced that redundant power supplies adds as much system redundancy as on a traditional analog console, on which all the channel strips and masters are pretty independent modules and one failing doesn't take down the others. That leaves the power supply as the single point of failure that can kill the whole board and a spare makes a lot of sense. On a modern mixer such as dLive there are a bunch of independent mic pres and ADCs, but then everything goes into a big DSP block. If that fails you're screwed, too. So redundant supplies help, but, from my point of view, don't provide complete redundancy as in an analog desk.

I'll add that I think A&H's marketing strategy is great. (And they may not be alone in this regard.) Develop a pro-level system that competes at the top of the market. Price it accordingly. Then release a family of products that share everything but a few features that the pros insist on (such as redundant supplies), but at a substantially lower price. Wannabes, like me, will succumb to their vanity and stretch to buy the lower price system (when a brand B, for example, would suffice) feeling that we bought a "true pro-level" system. And I bet they get more revenue from the C-series than from the top end.

On C1500 vs C2500, I compared the differences in price, weight, and width, all of which are modest increments, and ended up with the C2500, even though when I started shopping mixers I was sure I wanted a "rack mount" (narrow) surface.

Thanks for the excellent input Frank.  Yes, I try to sort out the options and trade-offs a little before posting for help - want to keep things from getting too down in the weeds!  I sympathize with your concern of fat fingering a slider on the iPad, or in my case, palm-pressing a mute.  I've never done it during a gig, but still...  I also agree with your analysis of the added features on the S Class.  I don't really need all the option cards and definitely don't need the redundant power supplies.  Are there any other additional S Class features that I'm missing here besides the slight difference in the surfaces?

I wanted the S5000.  Coming from the A&H GLD side where I much preferred the 3 banks of faders on the GLD-112 over the 2 banks on the GLD-80, I knew that I had to have the S5000.  I spent hours and hours looking at all of them at this year's NAMM show.  What did I end up with?

The C1500.

I don't regret it in the least.  The fader banks are quick to maneuver through.  I have them logically laid out.  There are a few features of the S Class that I wish were in the the C Class, but the price difference ruled the day.  I did add an IP-8 for use with both the console and dLive Director in small venues.  But I do enjoy running these mixers on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and will even suffer running them on an iPad (not their best app).

I can't believe that I went with a system with only 12 faders in its banks.  But I'm thrilled that I did!

I can tell!  This is really where I think a demo will work wonders for me.  I already "think" I know what I want, but many times that'll be the case walking into a demo only to come out wanting something completely different.  My only concern with the 1500 is the 12 faders.  It'd be fine for 75% of the work I do (and so would an IP-8), yet I think I'd struggle on the larger jobs, especially when I want both inputs and outputs on the same fader page.  We'll see how long that mentality lasts though!

My only suggestion would be to research the Product Life Cycle for A+H's dLive series before investing.
 
Thanks Dave.  That was my thought when asking about the age of the Soundcraft Performer.  Given the nature of digital products I don't want to get stranded a year or two after making the purchase!  dLive C Class came out at the beginning of this year if I remember correctly, so I'd hope it still has long life ahead of it.  I'd also hope that A&H would provide reasonable aftermarket support for their Flagship and Flagship Jr. desks for a good while.  Time will tell though, and while it's fun to debate the what-ifs, I'll need to settle on something and get it deployed for next year's season.

Thanks again!
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Peter Morris

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2017, 11:59:49 pm »

Jeff,

My only suggestion would be to research the Product Life Cycle for A+H's dLive series before investing.

This is coming from the perspective of someone trying to help a House of Worship with a misbehaving iLive T112 surface and iDR64 mix rack.

Granted, we're somewhat apples-to-oranges and past performance is no indication of future earnings, but how a company EOL's a product could give one an idea.  A+H's last three firmware updates for the dLive have been released about 5-7 months apart.  Their last update for the iLive was January 2014.

This may be the nature of the beast with digital consoles, but if the last public release of firmware isn't rock solid, there isn't much an end user can do.

According to my quick googling, the iLive series was released mid-2009 and left to wither on the vine at the beginning of 2014 (less than 5 full years).  Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Considering the dLive was released in mid-2015, how long before one might need to be concerned?

I haven't had the opportunity to drive one, but personally like the looks (and specs) of the dLive surfaces.

Dave

Dave the iLive is more than 10 years old, during that time A&H even updated the CPU/ mix engine at a very minimal cost to ensure the desk remained state of the art (so to speak).

The Dlive has been designed for a long like cycle and A&H have invested a huge amount of $$$ in developing the hardware and software. So far all of the Firmware updates have been rock solid ... and you can always roll back to the previous version.

http://www.etnow.com/news/2006/2/allen-heath-to-show-digital-products-at-pro-light-sound-2006
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Peter Morris

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2017, 12:09:37 am »

Also in the next firmware will be the ability for 2 surfaces to share a single mixrack.

Actually it can do 4 surfaces with a single rack  :)  With firmware 1.6's release what this desk can do is ridiculous.

And ... using a fix point 72 bit signal path with a 96 bit accumulator give it possible the best sound quality out there. Its hard to put your finger on it, but there is just something nice about the way it sounds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfixqpw_tWc&feature=em-uploademail&app=desktop
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 01:23:22 am by Peter Morris »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2017, 08:03:12 pm »

Thanks again Peter.  I'm definitely going to give the product a demo and see what I think!  It looks to be all "pros" and very few "cons" with this one.  I'll just have to think hard about the financial aspect of the purchase and how it'd benefit my company compared to the more mainstream budget options, but all the input here has been wonderfully helpful!  I'll follow up with my eventual purchase decision! 
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Scott Bolt

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2017, 11:31:29 am »

Hi all,

As the title of this post suggests, Iím finally making the jump to the digital world of mixing and looking for some suggestions.  Hereís the backstory and details:

At the moment, I still mix analog with a basic Mackie 1402vlz3.  The majority of my work is of the corporate/municipal nature, so as such Iím only usually mixing a few mics and some filler music (hence being able to get by with such a tiny mixer for so long).  As my business and revenue continue to grow, so have the needs of my mixer.  Last year I got a simple A&H Qu-Pac to help get me a few features that I needed for the short term (Delay, GEQ, better PEQ, etc.), and I used this in tandem with my Mackie to still get me tactile control of my inputs (I know itís a bit strange but it works well enough).  All of that said itís time to finally get the board I really need and do away with the analog + digital setup.

A year ago at this time I was pretty sure Iíd be getting a Soundcraft Performer and thatíd be that.  I demoíd a few different boards and really liked the Soundcraft product over the other usual suspects like a Qu32, X32/M32, etc.  Then A&H released dLive C ClassÖ  I have yet to see this product in person, but the whole dLive Series seems like a really fantastic concept that lets the board scale between jobs, and thatís really why Iíve held off so long on getting a digital console Ė I really donít want to haul a massive desk to an event just to mix 3 inputs.  At the same time, if Iím going to spend the money, I want to get something that wonít restrict me on larger jobs.  Iíve liked my Qu-Pac for what it is and would be excited to keep a similar architecture, just with a much more capable product.

So really getting to the point here, Iím considering something like a CDM32 or DM32 MixRack paired with either an IP-8 and Laptop or the C1500.  Thatíd be my go-to for the average corporate/municipal job with a larger surface being rented for the handful of larger jobs I play until if/when ownership of the larger surface makes financial sense.  Since the brain of the board lives in the MixRack, itíd be nice to not have to worry about moving showfiles between big boards and little boards and whatnot, which is really what attracts me to the system.  Itíd be used on every outing and is almost a 3-in-1 product, which to me justifies the higher price tag. 

My question is Ė to the regional operators out there, is something like the dLive worth the substantially higher cost compared to a more budget option such as an M32 for work like what you do?  Though in either case I wouldnít necessarily expect a raise in revenue as a result from the purchase itself (aside from potential rentals), at this point I know a digital board is something I really need to have to properly do my job both at and beyond the level I currently operate.  Would I be better off getting a higher-end product here that I can grow with or would that money be better put towards higher performance loudspeakers, as discussed in the other thread I recently started.  I expect the mixer purchase to be first (probably by the end of this year), but given that none of this is cheap I need to understand my entire needs and then properly plan my businessís financial investments over the next few years to get the most out of my growth strategy.  Iíve already reached out to a dealer for quotes on the various system components, but also donít want to waste anyoneís time with a demo if this isnít the product for me.  Hope this is enough detail to get some conversation started and any input would be much appreciated.

Thanks! 
-Jeff
No offense intended, but if you are currently working with a Mackie 1403VLZ or a QuPac, I am curious as to the jump to such a high dollar mixer as the dLive? 

Can you outline the rest of your equipment (speakers, amps, cross-overs/speaker processors, microphones, etc)?

Also, do you have a budget you would like to stay in, and what your goal is (what do you feel you need to improve on over your current rig)?
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Martin Morris

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2017, 05:42:45 am »

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2017, 07:13:51 pm »

No offense intended, but if you are currently working with a Mackie 1403VLZ or a QuPac, I am curious as to the jump to such a high dollar mixer as the dLive? 

Can you outline the rest of your equipment (speakers, amps, cross-overs/speaker processors, microphones, etc)?

Also, do you have a budget you would like to stay in, and what your goal is (what do you feel you need to improve on over your current rig)?

No offense taken Scott, you ask a very valid question and one that I've been pondering myself.  Not to repeat my first post but to add some details, I've gotten to the point where the need is there to finally convert to a "proper" digital mixer.  I don't necessarily mean high dollar, but I need things like much better PEQ control, variable high pass, more inputs, etc.  Things that the Mackie just doesn't give me...and for a 10 year old $400 unit I really can't complain.  I added the Qu-Pac at the beginning of last year as a gap filler to help condense my FOH and take over for GEQ, delay, etc. while I still mixed anything more than a single channel background music gig on the Mackie, feeding into the Qu-Pac.  It served its intended purpose, but now I'd like to do away with that and use a proper digital desk.

What draws me to the dLive is its modular setup.  Unlike a lot of us here, I don't actually mix bands (or when I do, it's rare).  Most of my work is corporate/municipal/theatrical, so things like benefit fundraisers, city festivals, standard theater...  Things where reliability is important and there is no tolerance for mistakes.  At the same time, the scope of my work changes drastically from one job to the next, so I need a product that can scale and adapt to a wide variety of applications, often on the fly.  What's so attractive with the dLive architecture is how I can just use it in rack configuration for one job, hook up an IP-8 for another, and bring a full surface to yet another...all while still mixing on the same desk.  I see it as essentially 3 products in one and thus possibly worth the higher cost.

As far as the rest of my sound rig goes, it's a typical "lounge level" rig - QSC HPR assortment for mains and monitors, Yorkville UCS1s for subs, BBE DS-24 for crossover, mics are all over the place depending on their intended purpose - everything from $10 to $600/ea., wireless is 4 channels of EW100 kit (both handhelds and beltpacks), etc.  I'm considering expanding the speaker end of things over the next few years as discussed here, but otherwise it's a fairly standard rig for this level of work.  Being predominantly a lighting guy, I know as you shop lighting consoles there are very distinct "levels" of desks that come with certain features more or less standard at the different levels.  The purpose of this thread to me is to understand what (if anything) I'd really gain from the high dollar dLive product when compared to something more affordable like an M32, aside from the ecosystem architecture. 

As an aside, I had the chance to see an M32R yesterday.  I found it to be really quite a fantastic board!  Definitely a different impression than I got when checking out the X32 last year.  My only one gripe was that you can't freely assign content to fader strips.  Please correct me if I'm mistaken on that, but it seems like everything had to be assigned in groups of 8 and that the fader banks are restricted to the handful of various predetermined categories.  Again, as a lighting guy where almost any console will let you put what you want where you want it, this is almost a dealbreaker to me.  Examples of my situations where free patching would be wonderful are needing to add another pair of mics with no notice and wanting to keep all my handhelds on neighboring faders, wanting to have my effect return next to the channel I'm using it on, only patching one channel of a stereo pair to the fader strip...  All of this seemed possible with the Soundcraft Performer unless I misunderstood (including the ability to "ripple" fader assignments), and the same goes for my understanding of dLive patching and fader assigning.  Let me know if I'm mistaken on this, but otherwise I'll be very curious to see how I like the dLive in comparison to the other boards!     
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2017, 07:36:28 pm »

My only one gripe was that you can't freely assign content to fader strips.  Please correct me if I'm mistaken on that, but it seems like everything had to be assigned in groups of 8 and that the fader banks are restricted to the handful of various predetermined categories.  Again, as a lighting guy where almost any console will let you put what you want where you want it, this is almost a dealbreaker to me.  Examples of my situations where free patching would be wonderful are needing to add another pair of mics with no notice and wanting to keep all my handhelds on neighboring faders, wanting to have my effect return next to the channel I'm using it on, only patching one channel of a stereo pair to the fader strip...  All of this seemed possible with the Soundcraft Performer unless I misunderstood (including the ability to "ripple" fader assignments), and the same goes for my understanding of dLive patching and fader assigning.  Let me know if I'm mistaken on this, but otherwise I'll be very curious to see how I like the dLive in comparison to the other boards!   

The M/X32 "groups of 8" limitation is hardware based according to Music Group.  I'd expect this to be addressed in the next model.

Note again - major industry conventions and trade show season starts this month and basically runs through Q1 of next year.

The Soundcraft will do what you propose as far as 'any fader, any function' but I'm not familiar with the dLive UI to say.

Ultimately, even on digital mixers I still take the old analog approach of leaving a couple of empty channels in places where they make logical sense, like between PB1 and Lectern...

For music mixing, perhaps like 80s rock vocals with rhythmic echos, panning and multitudes of reverbs, having the source input next to the FX send master next to the FX return input would be a Very Fine Thing, on a scene by scene (or song by song) basis and freely assignable hardware can make that a reality.

Audio mixer UIs have been playing catch up with LX for years.  Blind write took a 20 year trip to get to the audio side of the tech riser...
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2017, 07:50:15 pm »

The M/X32 "groups of 8" limitation is hardware based according to Music Group.  I'd expect this to be addressed in the next model.

Note again - major industry conventions and trade show season starts this month and basically runs through Q1 of next year.

The Soundcraft will do what you propose as far as 'any fader, any function' but I'm not familiar with the dLive UI to say.

Ultimately, even on digital mixers I still take the old analog approach of leaving a couple of empty channels in places where they make logical sense, like between PB1 and Lectern...

For music mixing, perhaps like 80s rock vocals with rhythmic echos, panning and multitudes of reverbs, having the source input next to the FX send master next to the FX return input would be a Very Fine Thing, on a scene by scene (or song by song) basis and freely assignable hardware can make that a reality.

Audio mixer UIs have been playing catch up with LX for years.  Blind write took a 20 year trip to get to the audio side of the tech riser...

Thanks Tim, that's what I more or less gathered but it's nice to have a positive confirmation that we weren't just missing it! 

I hear you about the trade shows coming up too.  If nothing else I've been convinced to hold off on this until at least early next year to see what new products will be entering the market.  I also can see your rationale to still take a somewhat analog approach to patching.  I think I'd want to do the same thing anyways, but if I'm going digital I'd also want to get the most out of it and not be held back by things like patching/assignment limitations.  I'd rather yield on a personal "requirement" for this purchase somewhere else, which is a shame because I otherwise really like the desk!  And the price...

Thanks again!   
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Re: Guidance on new mixer - maybe a dLive?
¬ę Reply #29 on: October 01, 2017, 07:50:15 pm ¬Ľ


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