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Author Topic: Digital mixer?  (Read 13156 times)

Mac Kerr

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2004, 06:27:18 pm »

ericj wrote on Thu, 28 October 2004 17:45

 Yes, very true about the Aviom system.  The 16 channels are really a limitation, but we've made do with it.  We currently use the Aviom system from a board using about 28 channels.  We do all sorts of hodge-podge stuff to mix it together, including submixing onstage for the keyboard/turntablist, horn players, etc.  Although we still have to submix down to 16 on the Aviom, the musicians are much happier having separate control themselves.  

If only A-Net was 32 channels, it'd be a non-issue.   Smile

Eric
Yea...Yea...that the ticket, let every musician mix 32 channels while they are trying to play.  Very Happy

Mac
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Karl P(eterson)

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #41 on: October 29, 2004, 02:08:33 am »

Depending on your budget (Which I will say is at very least respectable seeing as you "probably" couldn't get a pm1d) you might look at using the new digidesign venue (assuming it is proved stable by then).

I know there are some mixed opinions on this particular console at the moment. Rather, there are mixed opinions as to if this vendor can make a good stab at this market. In any case I believe this shall be a capable console to mix on and good in a variety of niche markets. One of those is church mixing.

A few reasons why this console I believe shall be of special interest to churches:

1. Direct Compatability Into Pro-Tools. - Avilable now is 16 (soon 32) direct digital channels into Pro-Tools. Soon direct TDM will be available so you can channel up to 96 channels at a time. For a large church without an already established recording studio, and even some with, this functionality is worth gold. (It is true that digico has this as well, but at a far far greater cost, although that cost does come with some perks.)

2. P(ersonal)Q monitoring boxes. These are in some ways like Aviom boxes in that they allow individuals to control what is in there monitors, but the similarities end there. I have not been given a thorough walk through on this board yet, but from what I have been told and explained to, these boxes form a "quasi-personal type system" a major perk of this (in your situation) is that you can use there PQ boxes instead of Aviom. While it is true they both (Aviom/PQ) allow you to do roughly the same thing the difference end at both allowing the performer to control what is in his or her mix. With the PQ system, since it is so tightly integrated into the control surface, they can be thought of as "extensions" of the surface, and thus are able to be part of scene changes (they have digital scribble strips, so you can setup for this song or that purpose and the next one they have new options, based on what they need) and due to its programming, you have some "common" busses from which to choose, then each has a "more of me" where "me" is determined based on who has the box. Because they integrate into, as opposed to sit behind, a control surface, this allows the monitor system to be control from behind the console or from the boxes, or both, at the same time. I personally think this has the potential to be the best of both worlds.

3. Surface Options - Aside from being able to plug in another mixer to the onstage preamps, there is options of surface size with this console. Some people like a really compact mixer, while others like to be able to see what is going on at the expense of moving a bit. One thing I appreciate about this mixer is that you can leave it as stock, or take it up to a 56 fader surface if you wish. Depending on your style and what type of events you do most often, each can have its advantages.


I don't work for digidesign, nor is this supposed to make you drop other options to consider this. I simply feel this console *assuming it proves reliable* would be a strong contender for the church market.

Karl P
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ericj

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2004, 02:20:28 am »

Hey Karl-

Yes, well, I was probably a bit premature in stating that we probably couldn't afford one.  The truth is, we have a significant budget for all AVL equipment, so a lot of things had "budge-room" initially.  Now that we've spec'ed things out a lot more (like the always-expensive video equipment), the PM1D is definitely no longer within our range.

That said, we were able to meet with an InnovaSon rep. yesterday.  I feel like I was able to get a much better handle on what the new Sy48 can do.  It is indeed an impressive piece of equipment.  I do appreciate the Xfade feature very much especially.  However, my concern lies with the following two things:

1) It runs on Windows XP.  Regardless of if you can plug in another computer from the back or not, something just concerns me incredibly about the fact that a mission-critical piece of gear is running on an operating system I do not trust even for basic web hosting duties.  Somebody earlier mentioned that they're aware of three InnovaSons crashing.  Care to expand?

2) The stagebox option for the Sy48, from my understanding, has three split digital outputs, (not unlike the two split digital outputs the Yamaha AD8HD.)  However, it sounds like it's some proprietary format over coaxial cable.  Is this true?  I really would like to pull standard AES/EBU off of the preamps directly, to go to a multitrack recording system.  It sounds like if we want to do this with InnovaSon, we'd need to buy another Sy48 console.  Not cool at all, if this is the case.


Any clarification on these two points?

(As an aside, we spoke briefly about the new Digidesign board.  We do have a project-size recording setup already, but are running on a MOTU system.  While I do appreciate the strengths of ProTools (and used it way back when with an AudioMedia III card), I personally feel that the price/benefit ratio is not good enough w/ DigiDesign equipment.  Not that it sounds bad, it just isn't worth the cost IMO.  That said, what does this new "Venue" board run, baseline and loaded?)

Thanks-
Eric
 
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Karl P(eterson)

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2004, 01:26:57 pm »

ericj wrote on Sun, 14 November 2004 02:20

Hey Karl-

Yes, well, I was probably a bit premature in stating that we probably couldn't afford one.  The truth is, we have a significant budget for all AVL equipment, so a lot of things had "budge-room" initially.  Now that we've spec'ed things out a lot more (like the always-expensive video equipment), the PM1D is definitely no longer within our range.


Well, just a thought, but if you start doing planning, and it ends up that a pm1d or the like is really what you need, but the budget isn't there (not because of overall funding, but because of the video equipment) Maybe it would be worth meeting with the video people and seeing if they could cut back, or expanding the budget a bit more because video is costing you more than you realize.

Quote:


That said, we were able to meet with an InnovaSon rep. yesterday.  I feel like I was able to get a much better handle on what the new Sy48 can do.  It is indeed an impressive piece of equipment.  I do appreciate the Xfade feature very much especially.  However, my concern lies with the following two things:

1) It runs on Windows XP.  Regardless of if you can plug in another computer from the back or not, something just concerns me incredibly about the fact that a mission-critical piece of gear is running on an operating system I do not trust even for basic web hosting duties.  Somebody earlier mentioned that they're aware of three InnovaSons crashing.  Care to expand?



Now, with the exception of Yamaha (who runs on a home brew setup) Most of the other major players all run on one windows variety or another (I know for a fact innovason, digico, mackie (at least there older stuff did.), digidesign, gamble (i guess they dont quite count as major) etc. All that to say that while there is potential for problems, it isn't a practice that they (innovason) are alone in. I think it was phillg who mentioned the crashing, and while I trust his word on that, it is also the first time I have heard of there being any problems with them. I also don't know which board it is exactly they had a problem on, and if it was an older one, if it is/was a problem that is even applicable to there current offerings.

Another point I would have to make is that I oversee hundreds of machines, and I would say that your comments about not being able to trust xp are a little unfounded in this application. While its true that xp isn't as good as some alternatives, it isn't a slouch. Its also important to remember that this "install" of xp in the board will only be used for its intended task, and very rarely - if ever - changed. It is also pretty much isolated from the rest of the world. In applications such as these I have up-times of xp boxes that go for a year or more.

Quote:


2) The stagebox option for the Sy48, from my understanding, has three split digital outputs, (not unlike the two split digital outputs the Yamaha AD8HD.)  However, it sounds like it's some proprietary format over coaxial cable.  Is this true?  I really would like to pull standard AES/EBU off of the preamps directly, to go to a multitrack recording system.  It sounds like if we want to do this with InnovaSon, we'd need to buy another Sy48 console.  Not cool at all, if this is the case.

Any clarification on these two points?



The cable is proprietary in-so-much-as any other manufacturers different digital audio transmission technique. What you can do is load up one of your i/o boxes with AES outputs and route stuff to those outputs as needed. Or you can get another console. This is true with innovason, yamaha, digico, etc etc. The only way that you can get around that is using the ad8hr's in place of the standard inputs on a pm5d and using the B output to pinout to your motu. Of course this makes adding a second pm5d at anytime a little more complicated. There is also the issue of people messing up your gain, but this is true on everyones platform (except for digico). If you were set on using motu, and didn't want to pay anymore for it than necessary, I would recommend that you go ahead and split the signals and run some of them through preamps controlled by motu itself. In any case, this whole conversation is a further example in why I believe digidesigns board will have desirable qualities for this type of install.

Quote:


(As an aside, we spoke briefly about the new Digidesign board.  We do have a project-size recording setup already, but are running on a MOTU system.  While I do appreciate the strengths of ProTools (and used it way back when with an AudioMedia III card), I personally feel that the price/benefit ratio is not good enough w/ DigiDesign equipment.  Not that it sounds bad, it just isn't worth the cost IMO.  That said, what does this new "Venue" board run, baseline and loaded?)

Thanks-
Eric
 



The price/benefit ratio hasn't been the greatest, I agree (although, arguably still better than a mid line analog setup), but it is getting better and protools does have a good product on there hands. I am not aware of the pricing on this board, I know someone suggested it would be somewhere between a pm5d and a pm1d, but when i was talking to my digidesign rep about something else and mentioned that, he implied that while he wasn't at liberty to say what the pricing will be (hasn't been cast in stone yet) that it should be more in line or lower than a pm5d for base setup, with expansion being lower than average. Whatever that all means, It has been some time since i talked to him, its probably all set by now, maybe call your people and look for a "real street number"



Hope some of this helps,

Karl P
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2004, 01:41:47 pm »

Karl P wrote on Sun, 14 November 2004 13:26

Snip
The cable is proprietary in-so-much-as any other manufacturers different digital audio transmission technique. What you can do is load up one of your i/o boxes with AES outputs and route stuff to those outputs as needed. Or you can get another console. This is true with innovason, yamaha, digico, etc etc. The only way that you can get around that is using the ad8hr's in place of the standard inputs on a pm5d and using the B output to pinout to your motu. Of course this makes adding a second pm5d at anytime a little more complicated. There is also the issue of people messing up your gain, but this is true on everyones platform (except for digico). If you were set on using motu, and didn't want to pay anymore for it than necessary, I would recommend that you go ahead and split the signals and run some of them through preamps controlled by motu itself. In any case, this whole conversation is a further example in why I believe digidesigns board will have desirable qualities for this type of install.
Snip
Karl P
If you are talking about taking additional digital outs directly from the preamps, the problem of the console changing the channel gain exists on the Digico as well. The Digico "gain tracking" causes an inverse gain change on the digital attenuator of the matching channel on the other consoles on the loop. The preamp gain is still affected by whichever console is specified as the master.

Mac
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ericj

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2004, 03:21:37 am »

Karl P wrote on Sun, 14 November 2004 10:26


Well, just a thought, but if you start doing planning, and it ends up that a pm1d or the like is really what you need, but the budget isn't there (not because of overall funding, but because of the video equipment) Maybe it would be worth meeting with the video people and seeing if they could cut back, or expanding the budget a bit more because video is costing you more than you realize.


That is true.  As much as I can get tunnel-vision at times (as I'm more comfortable in the audio realm than the video/lighting), I have to keep in mind the "whole picture" for this church's vision for worship.  But this may be a possibility.  

Quote:


Now, with the exception of Yamaha (who runs on a home brew setup) Most of the other major players all run on one windows variety or another (I know for a fact innovason, digico, mackie (at least there older stuff did.), digidesign, gamble (i guess they dont quite count as major) etc. All that to say that while there is potential for problems, it isn't a practice that they (innovason) are alone in. I think it was phillg who mentioned the crashing, and while I trust his word on that, it is also the first time I have heard of there being any problems with them. I also don't know which board it is exactly they had a problem on, and if it was an older one, if it is/was a problem that is even applicable to there current offerings.

Another point I would have to make is that I oversee hundreds of machines, and I would say that your comments about not being able to trust xp are a little unfounded in this application. While its true that xp isn't as good as some alternatives, it isn't a slouch. Its also important to remember that this "install" of xp in the board will only be used for its intended task, and very rarely - if ever - changed. It is also pretty much isolated from the rest of the world. In applications such as these I have up-times of xp boxes that go for a year or more.



It's true that these crashes may have happened on the older Sy40 or other products.  However, it still doesn't put to rest my concerns upon their choice of OS.  My degree lies in Computer Science, and I've been in the software industry for the last 10 years.  I honestly try to be as unbiased as possible when looking at options.  Yet my experience tells me that choosing to run very-much a mission-critical application on what's essentially a consumer-based operating system (regardless of the marketing spin attached to such products) is just a bad design decision early on in the development process, IMO.  I believe that there are workable solutions in enginnering, and then there are correct ones.

Does that mean XP won't work in this case?  Nope... it will probably do just fine for most installs.  But I think there are better alternatives.  The InnovaSon rep I spoke with last week explained that they went this route for the added benefits of networking, file-sharing, etc.  If they required this functionality, then they could have gone with any number of industry-standard RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) products such as QNX or VxWorks.  Those products would have also supported the added benefits that InnovaSon sought, while retaining the real-time response and solid stability that these products offer.  

But OS guts aside, the InnovaSon product is very intriguing (especially the XFade feature.)  


Quote:


The cable is proprietary in-so-much-as any other manufacturers different digital audio transmission technique. What you can do is load up one of your i/o boxes with AES outputs and route stuff to those outputs as needed. Or you can get another console. This is true with innovason, yamaha, digico, etc etc. The only way that you can get around that is using the ad8hr's in place of the standard inputs on a pm5d and using the B output to pinout to your motu. Of course this makes adding a second pm5d at anytime a little more complicated. There is also the issue of people messing up your gain, but this is true on everyones platform (except for digico). If you were set on using motu, and didn't want to pay anymore for it than necessary, I would recommend that you go ahead and split the signals and run some of them through preamps controlled by motu itself. In any case, this whole conversation is a further example in why I believe digidesigns board will have desirable qualities for this type of install.


Yes, I do see the advantage of Digidesign's product, especially since it will (hopefully) integrate so well.  I planned on going the AD8HR route, and run AES straight to a MOTU DAW with three Lynx 16ch. AES PCI cards, just using the preamps of the AD8s.  Any necessary post-production can run through outboard during mixdown.

Unless I have it wrong in my head (which is definitely a possibility), it seems that any number of PM5Ds could be daisy-chained together (not cascaded) if they all had three MY16-AE cards installed, and each digital input channel was patched to a direct-out via the AES outs (on to the next PM5D, or any digital mixer.)  And I don't think there would be coloration introduced in the chain, since everything remains digital at that point, (as long as gains remain at unity on all slave boards.)  But theory and practice are usu. different things, and maybe there would be a phenomenon that would degrade the signal eventually (not unlike daisy-chaining too many wordclock items together, rather than a distribution schema.)  If we get to the point of needing more than two PM5Ds in our situation (unlikely, but never say never!), then we'd probably just bite the bullet and go the PM1D route at that point.

Quote:


The price/benefit ratio hasn't been the greatest, I agree (although, arguably still better than a mid line analog setup), but it is getting better and protools does have a good product on there hands. I am not aware of the pricing on this board, I know someone suggested it would be somewhere between a pm5d and a pm1d, but when i was talking to my digidesign rep about something else and mentioned that, he implied that while he wasn't at liberty to say what the pricing will be (hasn't been cast in stone yet) that it should be more in line or lower than a pm5d for base setup, with expansion being lower than average. Whatever that all means, It has been some time since i talked to him, its probably all set by now, maybe call your people and look for a "real street number"



My apologies for the long response.  This is as much "thinking-out-loud" as it is replying to you.  Thank you very much for the response.  I appreciate your viewpoint.

Eric
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Karl P(eterson)

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2004, 02:06:08 pm »

I have enjyed the little exchange as well, gives me a moment to think about something more enjoyable than active directory schemas.

The only other thought I have on this right now is that wouldnt the ad8hr route eventually be rather limiting? Maybe I am being overly optimistic here, but in a healthy and growing church, I would want to make sure that on a digital board a healthy (30~50%) room for expansion is available, something that I don't know you have planned for (or care to plan for).

This is of course a decision you need to make and figure out for yourself as "reality" requires.

Karl P
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ericj

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2004, 02:18:00 pm »

You must be reading my mind!  That was the biggest "gotcha" I had regarding the PM5D/AD8 setup.  The only thing keeping me feeling good about the whole thing is, (if I understand Mac's explanation correctly), is that I'm fairly confident that we'll never use more than 48 channels simultaneously at any one point in a production.  So if that's the case, we can expand off of the preamps on the PM5D console itself (probably with wireless mic inputs) for drama teams, hardwired for multitracks, etc, and just switch scenes (I think scene is the right terminology for this) to use an alternative set of inputs, never to exceed 48.  I was told that this is how the Sy48 works as well.

So if we had music worship for the first 20 minutes of service, we'd use one scene with 48 inputs from the remote head (AD8s), and then if a drama happened after that, we could switch to another scene where most of the inputs are switched to the onboard, (presumably hooked up to a bunch of wireless mic receivers at FOH position.)  This should prevent having to patch things in and out manually during a production.

A great point.  This will definitely need to be clarified before a final decision is made.  Thanks again for the pointer!

Eric
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #48 on: November 15, 2004, 05:43:26 pm »

ericj wrote on Mon, 15 November 2004 03:21

SNIP
Unless I have it wrong in my head (which is definitely a possibility), it seems that any number of PM5Ds could be daisy-chained together (not cascaded) if they all had three MY16-AE cards installed, and each digital input channel was patched to a direct-out via the AES outs (on to the next PM5D, or any digital mixer.)  And I don't think there would be coloration introduced in the chain, since everything remains digital at that point, (as long as gains remain at unity on all slave boards.)  But theory and practice are usu. different things, and maybe there would be a phenomenon that would degrade the signal eventually (not unlike daisy-chaining too many wordclock items together, rather than a distribution schema.)  If we get to the point of needing more than two PM5Ds in our situation (unlikely, but never say never!), then we'd probably just bite the bullet and go the PM1D route at that point.
SNIP

Eric
I don't quite see what you are thinking of here. Why would you want to daisy chain multiple PM5D's via AES I/O? That would give you multiple consoles with the same inputs. If it was so you can have a recording console seeing the same inputs as the PA console, you should think about a DM2000. It is half the cost and twice the available inputs of a PM5d, plus all the recording stuff like machine control and track arming and playback of mixes. If it is to get more available mixes you may be better off looking for a used PM1D. It can have twice the inputs, and twice the mixes, and you may find a nice one for about the cost of 2 PM5D's. If you just need more inputs at FOH you could use a DM1000 or DM2000 as a submixer and cascade the mix buses (DM2000, group 1-8 plus aux 1-12 match up with PM5D mix 1-20).

Mac
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ericj

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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2004, 06:59:51 pm »

Quote:

I don't quite see what you are thinking of here. Why would you want to daisy chain multiple PM5D's via AES I/O? That would give you multiple consoles with the same inputs. If it was so you can have a recording console seeing the same inputs as the PA console, you should think about a DM2000. It is half the cost and twice the available inputs of a PM5d, plus all the recording stuff like machine control and track arming and playback of mixes. If it is to get more available mixes you may be better off looking for a used PM1D. It can have twice the inputs, and twice the mixes, and you may find a nice one for about the cost of 2 PM5D's. If you just need more inputs at FOH you could use a DM1000 or DM2000 as a submixer and cascade the mix buses (DM2000, group 1-8 plus aux 1-12 match up with PM5D mix 1-20).



Right... I'm not sure how efficient this would be.  We were chatting about the possible need of multiple mixes of the same inputs like the PM1D does (one main engine, and then consoles for FOH, broadcast, monitoring, recording/whatever.)  I think it was somewhat speculative in nature, and probably way overkill.  You're right about the DM2000 probably being a better fit for a recording duty.  

We'll probably go minimalist on the recording end, and pull the AES straight off of the preamps into a DAW and mixdown afterwards.  We won't be doing any sort of broadcast anytime in the foreseeable future.

Eric
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Re: Digital mixer?
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2004, 06:59:51 pm »


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