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Author Topic: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company  (Read 4189 times)

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2019, 02:29:37 pm »

I use a M32, DL32 and tour Grade CAT5 and it works stellar!  I put the board out front when I can or mix with an iPad when necessary! Tough to beat the Midas preamps and motorized faders!  I'm just getting started with Mix Station Pro and I think that will simplify things for me out front?

No, it's not tough to beat Midas preamps.  I have a 10 lbs hammer that can lay waste to them in 1 blow.  It works on Soundcraft and Yamaha, too!  Equal opportunity for every pre in the biz!   8)

So tell me, Mark, how do *you* isolate the preamps from the AD conversion and subsequent digital summing algorithms and final DA conversion?  By what process or technique were you able to make measurements or audition the signal at those points?  How do you exclude power supply and internal PC board trace contributions to noise floor and digital cross talk?  The honest answer is that for 99.997% of end users, those aren't doable.

Since about 1975 most of the talk about preamps is, frankly, bullshit.  If you prefer a certain coloration (which is not what preamps are about, IMNSHO) then fine, but for those of us who waited decades for "straight wire with gain" performance there is nothing about Midas preamp behavior that is exciting or worthy of note, other being more forgiving of over-level operation.  There is no mystery or secret sauce; when operated within their linear range pretty much all preamps sound the same, i.e. they don't have a sound.  It's what happens at the edges of performance that we hear things that are different.  FWIW, if you don't operate your preamps at the extremes a 59 cent preamp chip sounds identical to the $1.99 preamp chip in live use.  Audible differences in situ are the result of the overall cheaper design/build/price point of a console using the cheaper chips, and it all works until you try "this one goes to 11" or have an old ribbon mic that needs another 20dB of gain to be useful, and then you're at the edges of design performance and all bets are subject to call...

John Roberts designed a number of consoles and has been a frequent contributor to these forums.  You might enjoy reading some of his posts from the designer/manufacturer perspective. (search hint)

There is a whole lot more to a console's perceived sound quality than preamps.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2019, 03:19:18 pm »

Thank you everyone for the replies!

Big thanks to everyone who brought up the Automix feature. That definitely should have been in my list of requirements for what this company is doing.

The reasons I'm going for the digital mixer over upgrading the speakers and mics are multiple.

  • I know they won't upgrade the speakers or mics because they just pull them from the DJ systems (yes this is a DJ company trying to get into the production market and they are doing fairly well).
  • I could really use some processing to get everything to sound better.
  • The mix position is sometimes behind the speakers, so having a tablet to mix on would be great in those instances.

Thanks again for all the opinions!
They will need to upgrade their speakers and microphones eventually if they want to get better paying gigs.  As the income goes up, it does so because clients are paying for better service and that includes how the gear looks, smells (not kidding), functions, and how well the crew meets the client needs.  Better tools can make better results easier and faster to achieve and that benefits clients, too.

What kind of processing?  Basic system EQ?  Subs on Aux?  Group or input inserts?

Those and remote operation are best dealt with by replacing the ol' Mackie with something digital.  There have been good recommendations up thread and it's up to you to evaluate those to find what really fits your situation, but pretty much all of them will give you more EQ and dynamics control than you've had (which looks like almost none).  I've been in your situation (with some outboard EQ, though)...

{optional story, a repeat}

My into to digital mixing - about 12 years ago - was via a Yamaha 01v, the silver-face original; an eBay find for $400.  I called it my tuition to the Skool of Digitale.  I set it up in the shop with a mic and a CD player, figured out how to make sound come out of L/R, an aux mix for monitors, and a reverb on the mic.  Yippee!  I've graduated!  Then I bagged it up and put it on a shelf for almost a year until it was time to do youth conference for long term client.  I took the 01v and the usual analog stuff, vowing to use the 01v.  I did, successfully in the end, but I spent some quality time with the manual at the gig.  No disasters but I certainly wasn't fluent... but by the last day of the conference I was able to deliver a sonically better product than in the past and it was noticed by the client.  That was it, my digital conversion was completed in 72 hours.

{/optional story}

... oh, the flashback is over?  ;D  Anyway, in the bang for the buck dept I think console will more impress your employer and build some street cred for you in guiding their wireless mic and speaker system upgrades.

Now back to my "better tools" comment.  I've worked with world class gear and some "proprietary" speaker systems that were pretty bad, and almost every grade or level in between.  If you come from an experiential world where you have to fight the gear to deliver decent intelligibility or gain before feedback, working with stuff a couple notches up is an ear and eye opening experience... and when you don't have to do battle with the PA system you can spend more time working on the input side of things or interfacing with your client.  When the first things the client hears just sound right, out of the box, it's a confidence builder, too.

Parting thought on tools - video.  They'll need it.  I hear it's the Thing of the Future.  ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Josh Rawls

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2019, 04:49:58 pm »

So much to reply to!

I'm not worried about the transition to digital from analog. Everyone else there knows almost nothing about sound so I can train them. I have worked with X/M32, DigiCo S31, Yamaha QL1/5, LS9, and A&H QL series. I'm most familiar with the X/M32 but I'm using the QL1/5 often with a company I freelance with. The QL series is out of their budget, though.

I understand they will need to upgrade their mics and speakers eventually, but that is much less likely than a new mixer. So, that's where I'm getting them to spend their money.

What could have improved the dozen or so jobs I've done for them so far is all the basic processing like PEQ, compression, etc. and better EQing on the outputs will be very helpful. I have done one gig that aux fed subs would have helped considerably, but that is rare with them so far. Mute groups, custom layouts, DCA's, and all those extras a digital mixer gives you would just be a bonus.
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Josh Rawls

Scott Slater

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2019, 07:38:46 am »

Quality mics and speakers go a long way with simple analog mixers.

This!

They go a long way everywhere, including in the digital world.  With good mics and speakers you need to do very little (if any at all) channel EQing.  In many cases, using the correct HPF setting is all that is needed.
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Scott Olewiler

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Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2019, 08:06:45 am »

If I was in your exact situation and had $2000 to spend, I'd be buying a Mackie dl1608 ( or similar) and spending the rest of the money on better mics and limit yourselves to local/community type talking head type stuff.  Like you mentioned fundraisers, auctions. Real corporate works requires a lot more gear than you've mentioned.

A $2000 digital mixer solution isn't going to improve your sound any more than a $500-700 digital mixer will.  Spend the $ where it will make the biggest difference.

If you really think you'll need a larger mixer with a stage box, like for a live band situation, those ZLXs aren't going to cut it and you're either going to have rent the correct gear to do the job or upgrade to the next level which is going to mean replacing everything, plus buying a lot of stuff you probably don't already have.  Jumping from DJ to live music is very expensive even at weekend warrior level.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 08:21:53 am by Scott Olewiler »
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Chris Edwards

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2019, 12:26:34 pm »

What are the bare minimum brands and/or model numbers for wireless and speakers accepted in the corporate world? 
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2019, 12:39:22 pm »

What are the bare minimum brands and/or model numbers for wireless and speakers accepted in the corporate world?

I know some people doing corporate stuff with cheap plastic boxes.  Most clients donít give a dam unless their is a problem.  That being said, there tends to be quite a lot of money in corporate so many the companies covering that market are supplying Shure digital radios, D&B Audiotechnik, etc.  This gear is almost all you see in on the London corporate circuit.  Itís good stuff and has a high resale value.  The level of professionalism on corporate shows is surprising.  Iíve worked shows with some engineers who have impressive cvís doing this stuff.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2019, 12:56:14 pm »

Absolute minimum (IMO)?

Wireless:
Senn ew100 G4
Shure QLX-D

Speakers:
JBL SRX
Yamaha DSR/DZR
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2019, 07:51:32 pm »

What are the bare minimum brands and/or model numbers for wireless and speakers accepted in the corporate world?
I bet you will get a different answer for every city/region. Up here corporate seems to mean quantity over quality, I see providers bring 8 of those butt ugly original EON15s supplied by a couple miles of 10/3 SOOW into a 2500 sq ft ballroom(2 on each wall) for 1 guy with a handheld.  That room also had uplighting supplied by some hugh old IP65 pars with all the individual LEDs and they had gaff taped over the leds they didn't want to get the color they needed. I didn't see what the mic was but I think there was a 24ch analog desk in use. I bet they are quoting rediculous money for the service and were justifying it in cubic volume of gear.
The EV EKX system I provided for the DJ in the corner looked a ton more Pro and sounded a lot better.
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2019, 08:00:20 pm »

If I was in your exact situation and had $2000 to spend,

I am in much the same position and I'm debating between an x32 rack and a Compact. I do a few events a year where a mixing surface is needed but the rest of the time something like a Touchmix8 would do, but I'd rather have a compact solution that could be used to extend the larger console. So for me it makes more sense to get an X32r now and upgrade some of the wireless.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 08:08:03 pm by Paul G. OBrien »
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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
¬ę Reply #29 on: May 02, 2019, 08:00:20 pm ¬Ľ


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