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Author Topic: Digidesign Profile giggin' fun  (Read 19730 times)

Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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More observations...
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2007, 04:31:39 pm »

I'm noticing a few things that are unique to the Profile interface, some of which are really good and some I would want to change if it were possible.

One thing I'm seeing is that it's not super clear how to copy one channel and paste it to another (or to a group of others.) The copy button is labeled "3 F3" instead of Copy. The paste button is labeled "4 F4"... You press a Function button and the F1-F8 buttons change from being mute groups to being certain common functions. It would be more clear if the English words were there. This particular engine already has it set up (in the Events tab) so that you could install two 1/4" footswitches to double as Copy and Paste. You could hit one footswitch to copy a channel and hit the other to paste it on a group of selected channels. Trick. I wonder who programmed that feature in?

Another thing I'd like is a button that flattens a plugin EQ or resets a plugin dynamics unit to its default.

A Help menu on the VGA display would be good. A complete copy of the user manual residing onboard might serve as second best option.  Smile

I'd like to see a main Mono fader separate from Main L/R.

I'd like to have the tone generator send tone ONLY to the selected output as opposed to sending tone added on top of whatever else is running through that bus. This is a universal complaint of mine.  o_O

An incredibly awesome feature is that your onboard gates have a Key Listen feature that does not interrupt the show. You press Key Listen and the channel you are gating (or about to gate) continues to make its normal noise in the PA but in your headphones you hear the Key Listen soloed. You can do this whether the gate's turned on or not. Neat-o.  Cool

When I turn up an input really hot and listen to its noise floor, I hear nothing ugly, nothing like chirps or whines or clock like you get on cheaper engines. The noise on this baby is nice and neutral. Can I say extremely neutral?

I wish audio didn't cut out on the entire engine when you call up (instantiate) a new plugin. It would be much more handy if I could bring up plugins out of the blue and apply them to the show in progress. To be certain, the DShow interface makes it impossible for you to NOT know that you are going out of Show Mode to call up a plugin. You have to doubleclick on the bold green word SHOW and change it to orange CONFIG before any new plugins can be loaded to the virtual rack. There's no way you can accidentally interrupt your show.

What's really cool is that you can patch an existing (instantiated) but unused EQ or comp or whatever into a bus and there's no noise or gap in the audio at all. That is, if your new patch is set for unity in and out and doesn't have filters or processing applied. The patching is glitch free. Can't do that in analog.  Very Happy  

-Bink

P.S. A couple of times I've reached for a channel's Low Mid EQ and ended up adjusting its High Mid EQ.  Crying or Very Sad  The problem is that on the LCD screen the EQ layout is vertical with High on the top like on an analog board. On the surface it's horizontal with Low on the left where a Westerner would read it first. Since I read High on top first I'd prefer High first on the Left making the EQ go High, High Mid, Low Mid, Low from left to right. A change like that would entail a firmware update and a silk screen redesign... perhaps even little stickon plates to swap EQ labels on existing surfaces.   Neutral  Channel EQ on the surface would have been even more clear if it were vertical from the get-go.   Razz

Edit: multiple additions
Edit2: EQ layout
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles
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Tony Peaker

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Re: Digidesign Profile giggin' fun
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2007, 07:42:23 pm »

Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Tue, 13 March 2007 02:19

If you like displays (who doesn't?), the Digico beats. In terms of 'feel', it's very subjective and I have to admit that I like the Digidesign more than the Digico.

To be honest, the displays are what sold me on Digico over the Digidesign and any other digital console for that matter. (The Vi6 wasn't available when I was buying)  I love having almost every detail about all the channels on the layer visible while I'm mixing as opposed to selecting each channel just so I can see what the EQ settings or compression settings are.

I really liked the plugin concept in the Venue line and there are plenty of shows where I think, "If only I could put (insert funky studio plugin here) on that" but for the most part it's a luxury rather than a requirement on my gigs.

For it's cost though, I would have to say that the Profile is well placed to step into the market. It's definitely cheaper than a D1 Smile
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Sheldon Radford

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Re: More observations...
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2007, 07:44:17 pm »

Hi Bink,

Glad to hear you’re having fun with the console. Here are a few comments on the points you brought up.

Quote:

 One thing I'm seeing is that it's not super clear how to copy one channel and paste it to another (or to a group of others.) The copy button is labeled "3 F3" instead of Copy. The paste button is labeled "4 F4"...

You’re correct in that there isn’t a dedicated copy/paste button on the console surface. Instead, the user can choose (via the Events list) to assign the copy/paste operations to whichever function switch they’d prefer – or even a footswitch if so inclined. It’s also possible to access the copy/paste functions by right-clicking on the screen.

Quote:

Another thing I'd like is a button that flattens a plugin EQ or resets a plugin dynamics unit to its default.

Me too. In the meantime, holding the ALT key on the keyboard and clicking on any plug-in control resets that control to its default value. Some plug-ins (such as the Serato ones, I believe) also include a “default” preset for quickly resetting all controls.

Quote:

I'd like to see a main Mono fader separate from Main L/R

This is admittedly more of an issue on D-Show Profile than on the larger D-Show Main unit. On the D-Show Main unit there are three buttons immediately above the Mains fader that allow you to quickly assign LR or Mono to the fader. Due to space constraints these buttons were removed on Profile and exist only in the software interface. This can be a bit burdensome if you need completely separate (unlinked) control of LR versus Mono.

Quote:

I'd like to have the tone generator send tone ONLY to the selected output as opposed to sending tone added on top of whatever else is running through that bus.

The tone generator is injected post-fade, which has its advantages and disadvantages. In your case it’s an advantage, as it allows the bus output to be muted without muting the tone generator (so it effectively does what you’re asking, at the small expense of needing to first mute the bus output. This is much better than needing to mute every input channel feeding the bus, which is what would happen if the tone was summed at the top of the output bus).
The disadvantage is that the inject point is also post- the matrix pickoff point, which makes it harder to quickly calibrate distributed systems. In these cases it's easier to insert a signal generator plug-in on an input channel and route that channel as needed.

Quote:

I wish audio didn't cut out on the entire engine when you call up (instantiate) a new plugin.

This is a great example of how things in the DSP world often have analogs in the…well...analog world. Adding a new plug-in to the rack is much like adding a new piece of gear to an outboard rack – you have to first unpack the device, then shuffle things around a bit in the rack to make it all fit, change a few patch cables here and there, find a spare AC outlet, etc.. It’s pretty much the same from the DSP perspective. That said, once the plug-in’s in the rack you can change its patching without any real disruption of audio – just like you can patch in that spare outboard channel of analog comp in a hurry if needed…but only if it’s in the rack to begin with.

In a corporate gig or one-off it’s best to add few extra plug-ins to the rack prior to the show, in order to have them at the ready when the unpredictable inevitably happens.

Sheldon Radford
Digidesign
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Re: More observations...
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2007, 08:00:54 pm »

Sheldon Radford wrote on Mon, 12 March 2007 16:44

...Adding a new plug-in to the rack is much like adding a new piece of gear to an outboard rack – you have to first unpack the device, then shuffle things around a bit in the rack to make it all fit, change a few patch cables here and there, find a spare AC outlet, etc...


I've heard you bring up this explanation before but I could point to a couple of times in my gigging career where I called the shop for an EQ, then some minutes later an EQ was brought in from outside my gig, plopped down on top of the existing rack, powered up and patched without the show's audio stopping for a second. You guys have a great explanation but it doesn't match my experience.

Absolutely agree with your recommendation to instantiate more stuff than you think you'll need. You should see how many EQs I've got lined up here in the virtual rack. It's ridiculously luxurious.    Cool  

Thanks again for your company's support in this demo. Hats off.

-Bink
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles
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Robert Scovill

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Re: More observations...
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2007, 09:22:38 pm »

BINK SAYS --
[[I've heard you bring up this explanation before but I could point to a couple of times in my gigging career where I called the shop for an EQ, then some minutes later an EQ was brought in from outside my gig, plopped down on top of the existing rack, powered up and patched without the show's audio stopping for a second. You guys have a great explanation but it doesn't match my experience.]]

Hey Bink,
Just wanted to throw my two cents in here with "tongue firmly planted in cheek" ...   Very Happy

Let's see, if you called the shop, on Monday at 12:00 and said "I need another "whatever" -- and they packaged it up and sent it to you via Federal Express and you received it the next day by 10:00 AM -- well after you initially needed it BTW --- and you spent time unpacking it and plunging it in etc. --- I think our instantiation has the analog model beat by almost 23 hours.  Laughing

Seriously though -- this speaks directly to mind set. In this case you have to treat the DShow racks just as you would treat any analog set of racks. i.e. you would not show up at a gig with all the gear sitting in boxes outside of empty racks waiting to be installed before you start the event. Likewise you would not have piles of gear waiting to be installed into your setup at a critical moment or while the artist is on stage etc. In the analog world, you would have those devices racked, powered and awaiting patch in the event you would need them.

Try to take that same approach with digital racks and you'll find them to be very flexible and 'nearly' instantly gratifying. Obviously, there's no substitution for preparation -- but in the digital model, it's also nice to know that if you need a quick fix or an extra device it is only a few seconds away --- not hours of shipping and additional time trying to find adaptors, ground lifters and power outlets. Smile

Hey BTW --- if I haven't said it already -- thanks a ton for offering to do the 'Road Test' --- nice work and we very much appreciate the unbiased perspective.
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Tony "T" Tissot

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Re: More observations...
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2007, 09:59:54 pm »

Sheldon Radford wrote on Mon, 12 March 2007 16:44

In a corporate gig or one-off it’s best to add few extra plug-ins to the rack prior to the show, in order to have them at the ready when the unpredictable inevitably happens.



If it's inevitable - it's easily predictable! Laughing
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Robert Scovill

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Re: More observations...
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2007, 10:40:17 pm »

Tony Tissot wrote on Tue, 13 March 2007 01:59

Sheldon Radford wrote on Mon, 12 March 2007 16:44

In a corporate gig or one-off it’s best to add few extra plug-ins to the rack prior to the show, in order to have them at the ready when the unpredictable inevitably happens.



If it's inevitable - it's easily predictable! Laughing



Consider it the analog equivalent of having a device sitting ready to go -- with patch cables hanging over the meter bridge just waiting to be plugged in.  Cool

Scovill
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Current state of automixing on the Profile
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2007, 10:51:19 pm »

Tomorrow, my gig will have a panel discussion of six or seven folks. I patched an 8-banger analog Shure SCM-810 automixer in to deal with the situation. There were several choices for patching the device:

Inserts: The Shure doesn't have NOM when you switch it to insert mode so I'm not going this way. The Profile is ready for it, though. It can do automixing off inserts via the 8x8 inputs and outputs on the standard FOH rack. You can also add the optional IOx card to your FOH rack to make it 16x16 at FOH--this is what I'm looking at with the demo Profile. Or you can use as many ins and outs you want on a Stage Rack positioned at FOH or wherever it's convenient for you to have your automixer placed. If I were automixing 8x8 I'd want the IOx card anyway because I usually have some other I/O at FOH: things like CD player, Instant Replay ins and outs, SmaartLive outs, Laptop audio editor ins and outs, Foyer zone outputs, etc. etc. I wouldn't want my 8x8 all used up with automixing. If I were automixing 16x16 or more via inserts it would be very jammed up--I would absolutely need to go with a second Stage Rack next to the FOH Rack.

Also--the Profile offers global pre- or post-fader pickoff points. Your channel inserts can all be post-fader which allows a normal feel to your Dugan-style automixing experience. No need for one of your hands to hover near the Dugan's mute buttons just in case someone coughs or starts to whisper 'off camera' to their neighbor.

Direct Outs: The Shure I have can take Direct Outputs per input channel on the Profile. The Profile's Direct Outs can be routed in the virtual Patchbay to the FOH Rack or wherever. They are globally pre- or post-fader and they are individually selectable per channel to be Top of channel or Post-Insert Return or Pre/Post fader, depending on the global pre/post setting. Even if all your Direct Outs are globally selected for post-fader you can get any combination of Direct Outs to be taken from Top of Channel which is effectively pre-fader, pre-insert and pre-EQ. If I were trying to save my Auxes for reverb efx and various routing zones I would have used Direct Outs for my automixing.

Auxes: On this event I don't have any singers or any need for mondo Echo-O-o efx. And I'm doing all my speaker zone routing in the matrix. I'm recording off the Main L/R bus. That means ALL my Auxes are freed up! I can set the Profile for 8 or 16 Auxes--I selected 8 since my needs are very modest. I decided to send the 8 Auxes to my 8x1 automixer since this method allows me a little more flexibility as to which mic goes into the automixer. I can double-mic Mr. VIP with a main and a backup if I want to and both of his mics can be routed to Aux 1, for instance. Or I can quickly bring a new mic in on Aux x to replace a bad mic. Lastly, on the Profile there's a main meter setting which lets you watch all 8 Aux levels but there's no setting for watching your first 8 Direct Outs (why would there be?  Razz  ) So on this gig, I'm taking 8 Auxes into the Shure SCM-810 and returning its mix to an unused channel where it gets routed to the appropriate subgroup(s).

Matrixes: There are 8 "User Assign" inputs to the Matrixes--these special inputs can be taken from 8 input channels if you wish. If your gig needs all the Auxes for EFX, all the Directs for multitrack recording and if you don't use Matrix for speaker zones then you can use your Matrix outputs to feed an 8x1 automixer. All my Matrixes are speaker zones so I didn't do it this way.  Razz

Next up: Dan Dugan writes a ProTools plug-in. I wish.  Surprised

-Bink
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles
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Philip Roberts

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Re: Current state of automixing on the Profile
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2007, 11:07:10 pm »

Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Mon, 12 March 2007 22:51

Next up: Dan Dugan writes a ProTools plug-in. I wish.  Surprised


I seem to recall that some where in the AES 2006 thread some one mentioned that Dugan has licensed/got a dev kit/ ... for Digidesign system.

Now if only he'd to a version for Yamaha digital.
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Ducking Key source question
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2007, 11:37:58 pm »

I have hooked up a room/ambience/applause mic which only gets sent to the recording. I want to get it to run on autopilot so I don't have to bring it up and down constantly. What I just tried doing is inserting it into a Serato RS Gate set to DUCK. I set the Key source of the ducking to be the main record bus which means if there's a significant amount of signal going to the record bus then the ducker will kick in and reduce level on the room ambience mic. What I'm not seeing is how to make an output or mix bus be my Key source. I'm only seeing inputs and EFX returns as choices.  Razz  

My workaround is to make FOH input 8 be my Key source and to route record bus to FOH output 8 (like a virtual 'Y' cable.) I then take a balanced analog audio cable and patch FOH 8 output into FOH 8 input. This takes the output bus and routes it to the Serato RS Gate key source. Is there a better way that stays within the engine?

-Bink
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles
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