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Author Topic: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!  (Read 15372 times)

George S Dougherty

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2010, 11:41:45 am »

And thank you Frank for making the very relevant point that SAC doesn't have to be a $10-40K system.  Both the install system and my two portable rigs were all around $3K and besides the preamps, all of them are using top quality components.  The "cheap" preamps in the rig still sound better than what's in an M7 though.  My 8-24 channel laptop based setup could be duplicated for about $2K or less.
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Jordon King

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2010, 02:39:26 pm »

George S Dougherty wrote on Wed, 14 July 2010 09:41

And thank you Frank for making the very relevant point that SAC doesn't have to be a $10-40K system.  Both the install system and my two portable rigs were all around $3K and besides the preamps, all of them are using top quality components.  The "cheap" preamps in the rig still sound better than what's in an M7 though.  My 8-24 channel laptop based setup could be duplicated for about $2K or less.

I'm starting to give this some serious thought.  I really don't want our operator really messing with anything besides faders anyway.  I'm guessing this has multitrack live recording capabilities built into the software.  Have any of you guys used this?  Has anyone used the digimax FS preamps?  A little more in my price range.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2010, 04:47:03 pm »

Multi track live recording (and the software to mix down later) is not included. but can be added from a number of vendors.  SAW is made by the same company and integrates well with SAC http://www.sawstudio.com/  It doesn't require any more hardware.

Right now we mix our recording live on a second mixer. (a PC connected to the SAC system by a private network) and record it on that PC using EZ tracker (http://eztrackercd.com/)

SAC supports up to 20 mixers running simultaneously.  

We do it this way because we hand out CDs right after church and we had the PC already from the other system.

BTW  It is important to think of the SAC computer as a part of a digital mixer.  It doesn't get email, it doesn't go to the internet, it doesn't play CDs or videos.  All it does is run your mix. This is important.  I first tried it on my office PC that does everything.  Not good.  It needs a dedicated PC for the engine.  The PCs for other mixers are different. They are just a GUI and they can be anything you have as long as they run windows and can network.

Frank



Brad Weber

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2010, 10:13:10 am »

Frank DeWitt wrote on Wed, 14 July 2010 10:15

Now I can do the same with pre amps, control surfaces, screens. and the other parts of my "board".

The last comment hints at something I believe is often very important to consider.  How one approaches a system that serves a group or venue is not always the same as how one might approach a personal system.  The mixer in a church usually belongs to the church and thus I think it often needs to be approached with a different perspective than one might apply for their own personal system.

In general, while an individual can think in terms of themselves, a church often has to consider a bit different perspective of how it can potentially affect the church as a larger entity.  I have personally been involved in church projects where the primary sound representatives left during the middle of a project or even before it ever got started.  Churches often need to consider what happens if 'the expert' there today was no longer around.  Can they run the system?  Could a typical tech with some experience step in?  Do they have a reliable system?  Do they know where to go if there is a problem?  Do they have any account information, passwords, etc.?  Are critical pieces belonging to individuals potentially going to be missing?

I have spoken with some of the companies that offer packaged SAC systems for which they will provide support and warranty.  All the vendors I have discussed this with have been very clear that their support is limited to what they provide.  If the system is significantly modified then that support is either limited or terminated.

I think one has to look at each application.  For some churches the approach Frank noted may be advantageous.  However, others may have to consider the issues noted above and for some the idea of a constantly changing system known primarily by one person may not be a desirable approach.  You simply have to look at each situation and determine what best serves that church.

George, yes, the 1788A is what I think of when someone mentions Aphex preamps and I believe I noted that.  The Aphex 188 is a relatively new product and the pricing I find is around $1,350, so considerably less than the $4,500 or so of the 1788A, which definitely does make a difference!  Would SAC communicate directly with the Aphex 188 via MIDI or the Yamaha or ProTools protocols or would you have to run both SAC and the Aphex software concurrently?
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Brad Weber
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2010, 10:56:04 am »

Brad Weber wrote on Thu, 15 July 2010 10:13

Frank DeWitt wrote on Wed, 14 July 2010 10:15

Now I can do the same with pre amps, control surfaces, screens. and the other parts of my "board".

The last comment hints at something I believe is often very important to consider.  How one approaches a system that serves a group or venue is not always the same as how one might approach a personal system.  The mixer in a church usually belongs to the church and thus I think it often needs to be approached with a different perspective than one might apply for their own personal system.

In general, while an individual can think in terms of themselves, a church often has to consider a bit different perspective of how it can potentially affect the church as a larger entity.  I have personally been involved in church projects where the primary sound representatives left during the middle of a project or even before it ever got started.  Churches often need to consider what happens if 'the expert' there today was no longer around.  Can they run the system?  Could a typical tech with some experience step in?  Do they have a reliable system?  Do they know where to go if there is a problem?  Do they have any account information, passwords, etc.?  Are critical pieces belonging to individuals potentially going to be missing?

I have spoken with some of the companies that offer packaged SAC systems for which they will provide support and warranty.  All the vendors I have discussed this with have been very clear that their support is limited to what they provide.  If the system is significantly modified then that support is either limited or terminated.




Good points all. We addressed these before we (the church) committed to the new board.  I recommend it.

What we did.

Make sure there are at least two people who are interested and will learn the system.
Find a local sound contractor who uses it and will service it.
The above provisions were part of my presentation to the board.

What we have done now that it is installed.

Two people are fully up to speed on it both using it and setup.
The local contractor has been out to teach us best practices, and check out our system.
Two more are being trained as volunteer operators.
One person has been lined up to be trained on operation and setup pryer to school starting.
The School IT guy / computer teacher has agreed to receive full training and provide support as needed.

The above is identical to what we did for the 15 year old Tascam board it replaced except that no one but me would service the Tascam.

Frank

 

Lee Buckalew

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2010, 12:01:12 pm »

I'll throw in that the Digico SD9 is just a little more than this price range (the pricier pre's range, mid $20k).  Excellent sound quality (better than Venue, up with XL8).  

I have not used SAC but, in a live situation, not having knobs and faders for control of all parameters would be problematic for me.  I rarely get more than an abbreviated rehearsal and then have multiple different acts to mix.  I need rapid and consistent access to eq, compression, gate, etc. controls in addition to faders for mixing.  I also adjust multiple parameters at once such as sweeping a filter while adjusting Q or boost cut.  I also prefer, although many digitals will not allow for this, to be able to adjust multiple channel's filters at the same time. I.E. sweeping the bass gtr and kick drum simultaneously in order to better hear their relationship.

Are there any control surfaces that can be utilized with SAC that will allow for this level of control?

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
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Jordon King

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2010, 06:01:56 pm »

Frank,  
How long have you and your church been utilizing a SAC system?  Could you give me a quick hardware run down of what you're running for the Main machine, and your preamps?

One major advantage I see to a SAC system for me is that I'm pretty good with computers.  If a component goes out I can diagnose it and repair.

The gain control might be an issue.  I guess we could still utilize a snake and have the preamps in the sound booth.  The digital snakes & remote control preamps are way out of our price range.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2010, 06:49:39 pm »

I PM Jordan with a long reply.  To much detail for the list.

Frank

Brad Weber

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2010, 11:10:13 am »

Jordon King wrote on Thu, 15 July 2010 18:01

One major advantage I see to a SAC system for me is that I'm pretty good with computers.  If a component goes out I can diagnose it and repair.

This is exactly what we were discussing, you may be able to do that but if for any reason you were not there, where does that leave the church?  Think about the type of planning that Frank noted and be sure that your decision is what is right for the church and that their interests, both short term and long term, are covered.

A bit off topic, but this is the type of factor where a Consultant or design/build Contractor sometimes has an advantage as they are often more easily able to step outside any personal or political factors, as well as applying experiences from multiple churches.
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Brad Weber
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George S Dougherty

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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2010, 12:01:54 am »

Brad Weber wrote on Thu, 15 July 2010 08:13


George, yes, the 1788A is what I think of when someone mentions Aphex preamps and I believe I noted that.  The Aphex 188 is a relatively new product and the pricing I find is around $1,350, so considerably less than the $4,500 or so of the 1788A, which definitely does make a difference!  Would SAC communicate directly with the Aphex 188 via MIDI or the Yamaha or ProTools protocols or would you have to run both SAC and the Aphex software concurrently?


Yeah, very nice difference, especially for gear that would be located across a sanctuary anyway.  
There isn't any built-in support for the Aphex protocol.  You'd still have to run the Aphex app separately.  In most cases, like for me, I could set the preamps or recall a given template and be done with the Aphex software for the day.  It's not ideal, but it would allow remote control and recall ability.  For the price difference I'm happy to live with non-remote preamps and just manually recall typical settings for instruments.  For the basic user it's also one less piece of software to learn.

Supposedly, the most recent Infocomm brought the developer a number of possible options for NIC based access to network audio systems like Dante or the Momentum gear.  Nothing definite, nothing beyond possibilities and rumors at this point, but it's where RML Labs would like to head with it.  At that point the preamp control would likely be built into SAC.  It'd have to be something a bit more "industry standard" though since one of the ideas behind SAC is not to tie the product to any single piece of hardware.
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Re: Much needed upgrade. Please give advice!
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2010, 12:01:54 am »


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