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Author Topic: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities  (Read 11189 times)

George S Dougherty

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 05:58:40 pm »

Similar experiences with the O1v here.  It was a decent board but a little less user friendly for live use.  Didn't like being in the sun and the newer boards had a number of features that were well worth the upgrade.  Pricing and feature set is what made me end up with SAC.  Of course the typical LCD monitor doesn't like sitting out in the sun either.  Matte finishes help with glare but the real fun thing is when they get coated with dust.  Have a microfiber cloth on hand to dust them.  Used an M7CL at a festival the other week and the screen was near unusable with a days worth of dust on it.

Anything that spends any amount of time outdoors is going to need regular maintenance.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2010, 11:46:46 pm »

A typical computer also won't take ambient temps of over 100.

I've done shows for a week at a time where it's been 105 - 115 every day.  No computers would tolerate the heat of the day where we were.  Not even in the shade.

That sort of temp requires some cooling.  At least dry ice and fans.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
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Mark Simpson

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 07:52:14 am »

Lee Buckalew wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 20:46

A typical computer also won't take ambient temps of over 100.

I've done shows for a week at a time where it's been 105 - 115 every day.  No computers would tolerate the heat of the day where we were.  Not even in the shade.

That sort of temp requires some cooling.  At least dry ice and fans.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.


It gets that hot here, especially in the valley, where most work would likely be...

I was wondering about the possibility of using a small window A/C unit and flexible hoses to direct the air where needed.. I could point one of them at 'me'...  Very Happy

As it is, it's SOP to already put a box fan at the back of the amp racks on stage to draw air through them....

The 02r96's are out of my price range for a while...

What I don't like about the presonus units is the lack of motorized faders.. If I'm going to be using layers, I want the fader positions to reflect the current layer in use, so that 'at a glance' I can see what's going on... And I don't want to have to move the fader a lot, to get to the current fader position to make a minor adjustment...

Not to mention, they are even more out of my price range...
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Brad Weber

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2010, 08:59:23 am »

Mark Simpson wrote on Sun, 13 June 2010 10:05

My personal system is getting close to the point where maybe I can start hiring it/me out for live events.

Mark Simpson wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 07:52

The 02r96's are out of my price range for a while...

What I don't like about the presonus units is the lack of motorized faders.. If I'm going to be using layers, I want the fader positions to reflect the current layer in use, so that 'at a glance' I can see what's going on... And I don't want to have to move the fader a lot, to get to the current fader position to make a minor adjustment...

Not to mention, they are even more out of my price range...

I don't know exactly what you envision doing or what your potential competition is doing and this is getting more into a LAB Lounge rather than Church Sound topic, but if you are planning on doing this as a business then you need to look at the equipment as an investment.  That does not mean necessarily having to buy the latest and greatest, but it can mean making sure that whatever you purchase supports the envisioned use, is reliable and is acceptable to your potential clients.  It's sometimes not so much what you can afford as it is what is required to be viable from a business perspective or what offers the greatest return on investment.  Rather than purchasing based on what you think you can afford now, you may find that a viable business plan means either scaling back your initial goals or scaling up your initial investment.  Put simply, if this is really a business venture then buy equipment that makes sense from a business perspective and not just what fits whatever budget you happen to have at the time.
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Brad Weber
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George S Dougherty

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2010, 09:36:38 am »

Lee Buckalew wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 21:46

A typical computer also won't take ambient temps of over 100.

I've done shows for a week at a time where it's been 105 - 115 every day.  No computers would tolerate the heat of the day where we were.  Not even in the shade.

That sort of temp requires some cooling.  At least dry ice and fans.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.


Tell that to the guys who've done week long festival events in that kind of summer heat.  

My 32 channel SAC rig typically coasts along in terms of CPU use and the CPU only dissipates 65W at full load.  With adequate airflow, 100 degrees will still cool down a 150 degree part.  Not as well as 65 degree air will, but it will.  With SSD's for your boot drives there's less worry about the heat effects on mechanical parts other than fans.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2010, 12:42:19 pm »

I am not aware of any computers that are rated for ambient air temperatures over 100 degrees but it sounds like there are some that will work.  The cooling requirements would be massive.  I would be curious to know what the core temperatures are when those systems are running in 110 degree ambient air temperatures.  In 75 degree temps most of these systems that I have seen run around 110 - 140 degrees.  I would anticipate that, without liquid cooling or some type of AC that the cores, in 110 degree ambient temperatures, would be running over 200 degrees.  But, I may be off.

Possibly a topic for a different thread butI am being told that SSD's actually lose drive space over time, with use.  Have you run into this being a problem or seen it having any effect yet?

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
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Brian Ehlers

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2010, 01:23:50 pm »

George S Dougherty wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 09:36

 With adequate airflow, 100 degrees will still cool down a 150 degree part.  Not as well as 65 degree air will, but it will.  

What is "adequate airflow?"  I'm pretty sure that you are not qualified to answer that question.  I don't mean that as a slam;  I'm saying that you were not the designer of the motherboard, you don't know enough about the thermal properties of the CPU's die, its package, the heatsink, and the fan, and you don't posses the thermal modeling software necessary to guarantee reliable operation.  (Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of that.)

There are two main concerns when running components at high temperatures.  First, the timing characteristics (both inside and outside the chip) are affected, generally getting slower.  At some point, a critical timing parameter may be missed.  The result could be anywhere from an insignificant data error to a complete crash.  Second, a component's lifespan is exponentially reduced by high-temperature operation.  So your failure may be looming on the horizon.

Just because you've gotten away with it once or multiple times doesn't mean that you, or anyone else, won't have problems the next time.  Operating any device outside the manufacturer's recommendations (perhaps more accurately called the engineer's limits) is asking for trouble.  If you buy a new sports car whose manufacturer specifies premium fuel, but you decide to run it on 87 octane, because it seems to work fine, you're playing with fire and likely causing damage you won't see until the day it finally breaks.

Please note, my comments are not directed at SAC or PCs but at all electronics.  If you use beyond recommendations, it would be wise to have a back-up plan.  Actually, this is one area when you could make a strong case for SAC.  There are many manufacturers of ruggedized PCs intended for harsh environments.  You could create a mixing rig much better suited for hot and dusty use than any mixing console with faders.  But your average PC is not intended for such usage.  Do you have any idea how much money corporations spend keeping their IT equipment in perfectly air-conditioned rooms?
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Kent Thompson

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2010, 07:31:49 pm »

maybe a computer case like this would work?

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9734/cst-959/Custom_Frozen CPU_Liquid_Cooled_Corsair_Obsidian_800D_Full_Tower_Chassis.h tml?tl=g1c2
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George S Dougherty

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2010, 01:22:20 am »

Lee Buckalew wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 10:42

I am not aware of any computers that are rated for ambient air temperatures over 100 degrees but it sounds like there are some that will work.  The cooling requirements would be massive.  I would be curious to know what the core temperatures are when those systems are running in 110 degree ambient air temperatures.  In 75 degree temps most of these systems that I have seen run around 110 - 140 degrees.  I would anticipate that, without liquid cooling or some type of AC that the cores, in 110 degree ambient temperatures, would be running over 200 degrees.  But, I may be off.

Possibly a topic for a different thread butI am being told that SSD's actually lose drive space over time, with use.  Have you run into this being a problem or seen it having any effect yet?

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.


The 65W Core2Duo's will easily run about 100F or lower at normal room temps.  They're rated to run up to about 160F.  I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed within that range in 110-115F weather.  Sure, cooler would be better and I'd be leery of running it outdoors in that kind of weather for a full year but at the cost of CPU's and motherboards, you could replace it annually before it became a major issue.

The newer SSD's have overcome that issue and they don't really lose space, they just don't truly delete things and so the older units would suffer from performance degredation once they ran out of clear space to work with.  In a SAC system that'd likely not be a major issue anyway as the amount of writing is limited to session operations, new plugins and upgrades.  Given that SAC itself will fit in 5MB and sessions run about 2MB each plus about that for individual scenes, your storage demands aren't very heavy.  
The solution to the performance issue is to do a low level format and rewrite all your data to the drive which would be simple enough maintenance.
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George S Dougherty

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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2010, 01:36:37 am »

Brian Ehlers wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 11:23

George S Dougherty wrote on Tue, 15 June 2010 09:36

 With adequate airflow, 100 degrees will still cool down a 150 degree part.  Not as well as 65 degree air will, but it will.  

What is "adequate airflow?"  I'm pretty sure that you are not qualified to answer that question.  I don't mean that as a slam;  I'm saying that you were not the designer of the motherboard, you don't know enough about the thermal properties of the CPU's die, its package, the heatsink, and the fan, and you don't posses the thermal modeling software necessary to guarantee reliable operation.  (Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of that.)

There are two main concerns when running components at high temperatures.  First, the timing characteristics (both inside and outside the chip) are affected, generally getting slower.  At some point, a critical timing parameter may be missed.  The result could be anywhere from an insignificant data error to a complete crash.  Second, a component's lifespan is exponentially reduced by high-temperature operation.  So your failure may be looming on the horizon.

Just because you've gotten away with it once or multiple times doesn't mean that you, or anyone else, won't have problems the next time.  Operating any device outside the manufacturer's recommendations (perhaps more accurately called the engineer's limits) is asking for trouble.  If you buy a new sports car whose manufacturer specifies premium fuel, but you decide to run it on 87 octane, because it seems to work fine, you're playing with fire and likely causing damage you won't see until the day it finally breaks.

Please note, my comments are not directed at SAC or PCs but at all electronics.  If you use beyond recommendations, it would be wise to have a back-up plan.  Actually, this is one area when you could make a strong case for SAC.  There are many manufacturers of ruggedized PCs intended for harsh environments.  You could create a mixing rig much better suited for hot and dusty use than any mixing console with faders.  But your average PC is not intended for such usage.  Do you have any idea how much money corporations spend keeping their IT equipment in perfectly air-conditioned rooms?


Adequate airflow depends heavily on the design and layout of the casing.  Most rackmount server cases are designed to move air through them with fan mounts at critical points to exhaust heated air.  As I noted in my comment to Lee, yes, this is probably pushing it in terms of thermal capabilities and I'd be leery of running it day in and day out like that but unlike a high-end console, all my replacement parts are relatively cheap, readily available and easy to keep on hand.  For about $1600 I could have a complete secondary system on-hand to swap optical cables and bring live.  With optical splitting devices I could even have it sitting as a cold spare and my downtime would be as long as it takes to boot.

Having worked in those environments, yes I know exactly how much is spent on cooling, power protection, backup generators, redundant network links and more.  It can be a very substantial sum.  We had more than a few million worth of gear in the credit union data center I worked at.

Thankfully, a SAC system is a bit of a commodity compared to server grade hardware.  I've priced fault-tolerant SAC systems and it can easily be done for less than $2K in parts.  The price gets better for a backup system since all you need is the base system and removable drive bays.  If you went with MOTU hardware rather than RME optical cards the downtime becomes pretty short since you only have to reconnect a handful of firewire type cables and the host cards are much less expensive than the RME's.
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Re: Digital Mixers... Considering possibilities
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2010, 01:36:37 am »


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