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Author Topic: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments  (Read 2894 times)

Ryan M. Fluharty

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Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« on: July 21, 2011, 07:53:02 pm »

Pardon me if it sounds like I'm thinking out loud, but I want to see if my thoughts are on the right track.

Right now my church has a 32 channel Behringer board (MX3282 to be specific).  When we upgrade the board, we will most likely be going digital, probably with a Presonus 24.4.2.

I have some reserves going down to a "24" channel board (even though both boards have 24 mic pre's), although my thought is that with a digital board, you wouldn't need any more channels than what you would ever need to run at once.  I feel this way because you can store and bring up presets right from the board, compared to having to dial in each channel every time the input changed.

Take, for example, around Christmas time.  One Sunday we might have the worship team play (about 15 inputs or so) and then the next week the team doesn't play, but instead we have a choir sing and drama skits (let's say we're using 15 inputs between everything that week as well for simplicity's sake).  I feel that through the use of a digital board it would be easier to just reset everything up using saved presets (understandably tweaking would need done).  The same scenario on an analog board would be easier, imo, to have each input dedicated to its on channel (30 total) so time wouldn't have to be spent setting and resetting the gain, eq, etc from week to week.

I hope this rambling makes sense and would like to see if you agree/disagree with my thinking.

Ryan Fluharty
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2011, 08:28:41 pm »

Ryan....

You've got it right.  As long as you are going from week to week, day to day or program to program the scene recall will work just fine.

What it won't do is switch scenes without muting the audio for a second and a half, then require you to manually reset the faders as they are not the motorized faders of the more expensive digital consoles.

I own and use an SLive 16:4:2 and don't really use the scenes that much in the work that I do.  When I do use them they work fine......for me.  The one thing I cannot tell you for sure is the "recallability" of the input gain knobs.  Everything else is recalled as you set it up to do in the recall section of the scene menu.  It does allow you to say "yes" to input gain recall, but I'm uncertain is to how that works.  For the channel faders you simply raise the faders one at a time  to match the LED indicator on each channel.  I suspect that the gain recall requires you to turn each trim knob until the board recognizes the proper "recall" point.

But I prefer to reset (or recheck) the input gain settings each time anyhow as they are critical settings and subject to change from different cables, instruments, individual instrument output settings or any number of other on-stage variables.

It is not the greatest for complex audio, but for your stated use it should work exactly as advertised.

DR
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 08:40:13 pm by dick rees »
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Brad Weber

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 07:11:12 am »

Take, for example, around Christmas time.  One Sunday we might have the worship team play (about 15 inputs or so) and then the next week the team doesn't play, but instead we have a choir sing and drama skits (let's say we're using 15 inputs between everything that week as well for simplicity's sake).  I feel that through the use of a digital board it would be easier to just reset everything up using saved presets (understandably tweaking would need done).  The same scenario on an analog board would be easier, imo, to have each input dedicated to its on channel (30 total) so time wouldn't have to be spent setting and resetting the gain, eq, etc from week to week.
So are you saying that in this example you actually have 15 physical inputs and with an analog console you would physically connect those to inputs 1-15 on the console for one week and then move them to inputs 16-30 on the console the next week, with those channels simply having different settings?  If so then, yes a digital console could address that.
 
However, physically moving the connectivity would be an unusual approach to this.  When I was mixing in clubs and concert venues it was common to have maybe 15 minutes between bands and by charting the console at sound check it was routine to reset a 32 or 48 channel console from the previous band in just a few minutes.  If you have two or three 'standard' setups that would seem to take less time, and be fewer potential problems, than physically moving all the connections on the console.
 
In the case of the StudioLive you would have to recall a scene, manually set all the master faders and then remember to make the changes live, so the difference from an analog console is not that great.  Perhaps the greatest advantage would be in being able to have processing for the channels and outputs that is part of the scene recall rather than in having to adjust external processing rather than in the basic console setup.
 
However, I'd personally rather have all the inputs you might need in place at all times and you might consider increasing the physical connectivity from the 'stage' to the console so that you have an input for each purpose at the 'stage' and don't have to routinely make significant changes to individual inputs.  The reason I would consider this is that it would not limit you in the way having fewer physical inputs would, for example if someone got a wild idea like having the worship team and a choir in one service. 
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Ryan M. Fluharty

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2011, 02:08:31 pm »


So are you saying that in this example you actually have 15 physical inputs and with an analog console you would physically connect those to inputs 1-15 on the console for one week and then move them to inputs 16-30 on the console the next week, with those channels simply having different settings?  If so then, yes a digital console could address that.

That's kind of what I was getting at.  More so that with an analog board, the all 30 inputs would have a dedicated channel (snake input too) and their channels would go unused except for the few times they get used, or if we rented extra wireless mics, etc for a play.  The thought was with a digital board, its more cost effective to recall scenes/settings and switch the inputs the few times they may need changed a year.

We are a smaller church that currently runs about 15 input channels per service (7 mics, 2 earsets, 2 drum mics, bass guitar, electric piano, acoustic guitar and acoustic piano).  I can't see running more than 24 channels per service without more growth in the church, and at that time we would probably have the budget to buy a 2nd 24.4.2 and link them together.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 03:26:17 pm »


Right now my church has a 32 channel Behringer board (MX3282 to be specific).  When we upgrade the board, we will most likely be going digital, probably with a Presonus 24.4.2.

Ryan Fluharty

Your looking at digital and thinking scenes and that is great.  I think scenes are a great advantage of digital boards.  I use them extensively during practice and the service.

A few examples to get you thinking.  As the Worship team practices I change the names of the one or two people who are different this week and update the scene after I get the mix right.  If they have a song that is a lot different, (different lead, reverb, ETC I make a new scene and save it.  When the soloist practices her part using one of the worship team mics, she gets a scene.

During the service I have the above scenes and a number of others such as Podium, Pastor, Chior, ETC.  If the pastor stands and faces the congregation at the end of a song I punch his scene button muting the WT and turning him up.  If he prays and asks for another song, push the WT button and I am set.

In short, I change scenes often during the service.  I think this is common for users of digital boards, but it requires a number of features.

1. Scenes must change instantly with no loss of audio or audio effect (snap pop ETC.)
2.  Scenes must be easy to recall with clear labels.
3.  Scenes must be easy to make, and label
4.  The board  including the faders must represent the scenes.

Many boards do all of this but the Presonus does not.

Also it looks like you would benefit from a board that can be expanded from 24 to 32 or more preamps.  There are a few that can do this.

Also, try to predict if you will need IEMs,  IEM mixers, recording, recording mixer, how many auxes? and more.  This could effect what mixer is best for you.

Frank
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Brad Weber

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2011, 10:16:06 am »

That's kind of what I was getting at.  More so that with an analog board, the all 30 inputs would have a dedicated channel (snake input too) and their channels would go unused except for the few times they get used, or if we rented extra wireless mics, etc for a play.  The thought was with a digital board, its more cost effective to recall scenes/settings and switch the inputs the few times they may need changed a year.
I guess I'm missing something.  If you may need some number the inputs then you may need them, the console being analog or digital will not affect that.  Otherwise you would typically simply document the analog console settings for the various applications and manually configure the channel settings as required rather than trying to have 'redundant' channels already configured for every possibility and then physically rewiring the console connectivity.  If you are currently creating mutliple channel configurations for a single physical input because your operators are not capable of or comfortable with resetting a channel for different uses then I'm not sure the StudioLive would address that as much as you might be envisioning.
 
In general, presets and scenes can be very useful but they still have limitations.  For example, if you rented some number of wireless microphones for a play then you could set up everything for that use and save it as a scene to be recalled at some later time.  But if something is slightly different, be it the person using one of the mics or the mic itself, then the scene that is stored may no longer be appropriate.  With many digital consoles you could recall a stored scene with specific channels excluded or 'safed' in order to address that.  However, I believe that the StudioLive allows you to exclude parameters on a global basis but not channels or parameters on a channel basis, thus you basically have to have a scene for every possible variation for it to work as you seem to envision.
 
In addition, not everything is saved to a scene on the StudioLive, for example I am fairly sure that the trim/gain and phantom power switch settings are not part of scenes or channel presets (a StudioLive function that is basically a series of predefined FAT Channel processing configurations that can be saved from or loaded to a channel).
 
With a StudioLive the primary advantage of Scenes and Presets would seem to relate to the processing and effects in the console, which would be part of the console and the related Scenes rather than being standalone devices that have to be manually set.  As far as the basic console setup and routing, you'd need to have an appropriate Scene saved for each different use and configuration.  If you have a Scene where the channel use differs significatly enough to have required a dedicated 'alternate' channel on an analog console then with the StudioLive you would recall a Scene, verify and possibly adjust all the trims and phantom power switches (which you'd have to document or chart manually), manually move the faders to the indicated positions and then select to make the actual Scene activation.  So in many ways it would not seem to be that much different than charting an analog console and making the same changes.  And if that is something that you think is not practical with an analog console then it may also not be practical with a StudioLive.
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Ryan M. Fluharty

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2011, 04:05:37 pm »

I guess I'm missing something.  If you may need some number the inputs then you may need them, the console being analog or digital will not affect that.  Otherwise you would typically simply document the analog console settings for the various applications and manually configure the channel settings as required rather than trying to have 'redundant' channels already configured for every possibility and then physically rewiring the console connectivity.  If you are currently creating mutliple channel configurations for a single physical input because your operators are not capable of or comfortable with resetting a channel for different uses then I'm not sure the StudioLive would address that as much as you might be envisioning.

Looking back at the menu, I believe my thoughts were more focused on "channel presets" than "scenes" which may be why my remarks were a bit confusing.

I do realize that all this can be done on an analog board, but idea of recalling eq and compression settings when assigning a particular channel throughout the year to different input sources is the main "advantage feature" of digital vs analog channel assignments I'm looking at.

Maybe the concept plays out better in my head then in reality, but I would think that being able to recall presets that could have the input closer to sounding "better" (if I may use that term), faster would be an advantage in my mind.

And just an FYI while I was doing some research, it seems that users have had success in recalling scenes w/o audio dropouts using the VSL software.
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Tim Padrick

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 10:24:30 pm »

Also take a look at the O1V96 with one or two 8 channel preamps.  The only thing you'd have to adjust would be the input gains.  I don't know if the new Soundcraft does scenes - if so, it might be worth a look.
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Chris Shaw

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2011, 07:05:04 pm »

Looking back at the menu, I believe my thoughts were more focused on "channel presets" than "scenes" which may be why my remarks were a bit confusing.

Ryan,

I've been looking at the Presonus 24.4.2 as well. The drag and drop functionality on the VSL software looks remarkably easy and I applaud Presonus for that. However for me there was one major sticking point - it is not possible to store aux levels in the channel presets. I've had this confirmed via email from PreSonus.

Depending on how many aux sends you will use, this may or may not be a problem for you. For me it is a problem, because we would be running eight or so monitor mixes and that would take far too long to re-mix each week, especially given the low resolution of the consoles displays and the fact that it doesn't have flying faders. Instead I have proposed the more expensive but more comprehensive Roland M-300 mixer with a REAC digital multicore for our upgrade.

The PreSonus is undoubtably great value for money, but I just wished they'd gone a bit further with it...
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Chris Shaw
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King's Community Church, Hatfield, England

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Re: Digital Mixer Channel Assignments
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2011, 07:05:04 pm »


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