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Title: Large format analog boards
Post by: Lachlan Manns on May 17, 2012, 08:46:03 am
I was just wondering, do nay manufactures still make large analog boards like 40ch+ or have they all gone digital.
I now see a lot of digital boards being made and only small analog boards like 16ch or 24ch being made, and now the only the large analog boards are avabile second hand.

I still prefer analog over digital compared to other people only because it's what I've learnt on, it's easier to use and I prefer to see everything at once in live sound.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on May 17, 2012, 08:52:19 am
I was just wondering, do nay manufactures still make large analog boards like 40ch+ or have they all gone digital.
I now see a lot of digital boards being made and only small analog boards like 16ch or 24ch being made, and now the only the large analog boards are avabile second hand.

I still prefer analog over digital compared to other people only because it's what I've learnt on, it's easier to use and I prefer to see everything at once in live sound.

APB Dynasonics
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: brian maddox on May 17, 2012, 08:55:21 am
APB Dynasonics

which are awesome!
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Lachlan Manns on May 17, 2012, 09:02:25 am
APB Dynasonics
Never heard of that company
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on May 17, 2012, 09:04:37 am
Never heard of that company

Go thou and Google.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: brian maddox on May 17, 2012, 09:07:40 am
Never heard of that company

if you do a search on this forum of APB, you should find quite a lot of info.  it's a newer company started by some very well respected console designers from Crest IIRC.  regardless, they've garnered a very strong reputation for their products and support in a very short time.  if you're serious about a new large format analog desk, they are the place to start...
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on May 17, 2012, 09:16:44 am
I was just wondering, do nay manufactures still make large analog boards like 40ch+ or have they all gone digital.
I now see a lot of digital boards being made and only small analog boards like 16ch or 24ch being made, and now the only the large analog boards are avabile second hand.

I still prefer analog over digital compared to other people only because it's what I've learnt on, it's easier to use and I prefer to see everything at once in live sound.
The market has spoken - the advantages of weight savings, sound quality, enormous processing capacity, digital snakes, etc. have moved a huge part of the industry towards digital. 

If ROI matters to you at all and you're stuck on analog, take advantage of the incredible prices on used analog consoles.  If you watch around you can get Yamaha PM4000s for a couple thousand bucks.  Even Midas boards are selling for pennies (or maybe nickles or dimes) on the dollar.  If you need a new one, then APB is your choice.

If you're willing to learn something new, after even a gig or two on a digital board you will start to see the advantages.  I'm much faster on a digital board than an analog board.  Sends on faders, scene recall, integration of things like tap tempo on the surface rather than reaching to a rack, not to mention VASTLY more tools - better EQ, dynamics processing on everything, graphic EQs on everything - make the move to digital a one way street.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: john sanders on May 17, 2012, 09:20:36 am
A big +1 for APB products.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Ivan Feder on May 17, 2012, 09:47:05 am
Soundcraft?:http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=123 (http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=123)
I was just wondering, do nay manufactures still make large analog boards like 40ch+ or have they all gone digital.
I now see a lot of digital boards being made and only small analog boards like 16ch or 24ch being made, and now the only the large analog boards are avabile second hand.


I still prefer analog over digital compared to other people only because it's what I've learnt on, it's easier to use and I prefer to see everything at once in live sound.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Thomas Lamb on May 17, 2012, 10:01:14 am
I was just wondering, do nay manufactures still make large analog boards like 40ch+ or have they all gone digital.
I now see a lot of digital boards being made and only small analog boards like 16ch or 24ch being made, and now the only the large analog boards are avabile second hand.

I still prefer analog over digital compared to other people only because it's what I've learnt on, it's easier to use and I prefer to see everything at once in live sound.

+100 for APB

If your looking for smaller "buss" large ch count I think Allen & Heath is still making the GL2800.

edit: for clarification
Title: Large format analog boards
Post by: Samuel Rees on May 17, 2012, 10:54:24 am
Soundcraft GB is still going as well, in the A&H GL class.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Tom Burgess on May 17, 2012, 12:25:00 pm
The latest (May 2012) price book for Soundcraft shows GB4 up to 40 ch., GB8 up to 48 ch., and MH2 up to 48 ch. as current product.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Bob Leonard on May 17, 2012, 01:24:03 pm
Never heard of that company

The best analog boards made, bar none, and that means Midas, Toft, or anyone else.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Greg_Cameron on May 17, 2012, 02:27:10 pm
(APB) The best analog boards made, bar none, and that means Midas, Toft, or anyone else.

That may be true of current production models since Midas no longer produces large frame analog consoles. But if you're going to compare the APB with a now out of production Midas Heritage 3000 or XL4, the latter are still superior boards just in feature set alone.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Bob Leonard on May 17, 2012, 06:59:58 pm
Best is quantitive and includes not only features but build quality and sound. I agree with you on the 3000 features.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Micky Basiliere on May 17, 2012, 08:37:13 pm
The market has spoken - the advantages of weight savings, sound quality, enormous processing capacity, digital snakes, etc. have moved a huge part of the industry towards digital. 

If ROI matters to you at all and you're stuck on analog, take advantage of the incredible prices on used analog consoles.  If you watch around you can get Yamaha PM4000s for a couple thousand bucks.  Even Midas boards are selling for pennies (or maybe nickles or dimes) on the dollar.  If you need a new one, then APB is your choice.

If you're willing to learn something new, after even a gig or two on a digital board you will start to see the advantages.  I'm much faster on a digital board than an analog board.  Sends on faders, scene recall, integration of things like tap tempo on the surface rather than reaching to a rack, not to mention VASTLY more tools - better EQ, dynamics processing on everything, graphic EQs on everything - make the move to digital a one way street.
Sound quality??? Digital?? ..i beg to differ my friend!  I would take the sound quality of an APB over a digital console ANYDAY!!!
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on May 17, 2012, 08:46:36 pm
Sound quality??? Digital?? ..i beg to differ my friend!  I would take the sound quality of an APB over a digital console ANYDAY!!!

And mahogany before rosewood......
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Dave Bigelow on May 17, 2012, 08:50:48 pm
I really hope this doesn't turn into a pre-amp discussion...

Since we only hear those and nothing else in the signal chain in a console. :D
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Doug Fowler on May 17, 2012, 09:07:06 pm
Sound quality??? Digital?? ..i beg to differ my friend!  I would take the sound quality of an APB over a digital console ANYDAY!!!

OK, so you own both or use both on a regular basis?

Just checking.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Micky Basiliere on May 17, 2012, 09:54:09 pm
OK, so you own both or use both on a regular basis?

Just checking.

Used an LS9 many times.. like the onboard thing, disliked the pre amps and sound quality! chose to buy an APB... sound quality was night and day!!
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Samuel Rees on May 17, 2012, 10:04:05 pm
Used an LS9 many times.. like the onboard thing, disliked the pre amps and sound quality! chose to buy an APB... sound quality was night and day!!

The LS9 is not representative of digital consoles as a whole in terms of sound quality.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Micky Basiliere on May 17, 2012, 10:31:42 pm
The LS9 is not representative of digital consoles as a whole in terms of sound quality.
Very true... but it put a bad taste in my mouth! glad i chose to stay analog, and the APB is incredible! i and alot of other "small companies" around here DO NOT have 20 or 30k to spend on a high quality Digital... would be nice tho! :)
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 17, 2012, 10:42:50 pm
I am more than a causal student of circuit performance and how that relates, or not, to perceived sound quality.

As far as i can determine there is no inherent flaw or limitation to digital audio conversion that would limit sound quality compared to an all analog path. So pretty much analog or digital technology does not define sound quality. There is surely a continuum of sound quality from analog desks, ranging from poor to excellent. I would expect digital paths to vary in execution also.

APB is inarguably a very good sounding audio path. I don't recall ever hearing an unkind word about them. I do not expect there to be significant objective (measurable) differences between premium console paths. I do expect subtle differences in ergonomics and sundry pot/gain/boost/cut  laws that help the operator get a good result. As the saying goes if it sounds good it is good, and they sound good.

Sorry about this circuitous path to say nothing, but at that level we are dealing with subtle differences. The combination of a bunch of small subtle differences and attention to detail that move the operator in the right direction, and help deliver a good overall result.

I suspect APB could replicate 99.9% of that magic in a digital audio path. While it is not the canvas they have chosen for their art. I kind of wish they would, but that's no secret, I nag them all the time. Digital has the potential to spank analog on features and flexibility.

JR
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Bob Leonard on May 17, 2012, 11:17:44 pm
Here's the deal as I see it and saw it. When I opted to buy my last board I had my choice of digital or analog, and, I had the money to buy whatever I wanted. I gave good hard thought to going digital with my entry level board being an LS9-16. That's ENTRY level, and everything else up from that point. I weighed my options carefully. I'm 60 now, I select the jobs I want to work, I have my own band, I select the jobs I want to work, I'm lazy now, so I select the jobs I want to work. See a pattern yet?

I decided that my primary needs didn't amount to a digital board. I have very good external hardware if needed, good DSPs, EQs, compressors, amplifiers, etc.. Not THE best, but as good as any.

I don't care about hauling additional gear, I don't care about powered faders, I don't need 1000 pre-set venues, shows, or multiple pages. I absolutely refuse to buy anything remotely related to an 01V, 02v, Presonus, or other digital board simply so I can say I have a digital board. I especially don't have a need to jump on a bandwagon just so I can say look at all the shit I have in one box that I don't even fucking use. There are very few Mac Kerr's or people in his position, those who truely understand and benefit from the use of a digital board. I know who they are, they know who they are.

My whole, entire, total deal is the sound derived from the system as a whole. I have owned and used many boards in my life. I've used so fucking many that I can't remember half of the manufacturers names. I can't remember those names because the sound from those boards didn't impress me. And for those of you who are jumping into the deep end of the digital entry level pool, have you ever worked a Ghost, Midas, Toft, APB, or anything capable of reproducing sound at that level. No? Thought as much, because if you had you wouldn't be running out to spend good hard earned money on entry level digital boards.
 
So, after using, searching, listening to boards, and listening to people who REALLY know what a good or great board should be, I bought what most say is one of the best sounding boards available today, an APB. My first hour on the board proved the claims were true. It was if a blanket had been taken off of my speakers. I was able to ELIMINATE half of my outboard gear, and I had all the features I needed to perform at a professional level. So, when all is said and done if you feel the need for a budget digital board make sure you're not blinded by the lights, make sure you have a very reliable UPS, and make sure you're ready to live with it's functions or malfunctions even during those times when they won't work or do the job you need done. Analog boards are never going away. There will always be a need, and they will usually sound better.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on May 18, 2012, 08:54:49 am

I don't care about hauling additional gear, I don't care about powered faders, I don't need 1000 pre-set venues, shows, or multiple pages. I absolutely refuse to buy anything remotely related to an 01V, 02v, Presonus, or other digital board simply so I can say I have a digital board. I especially don't have a need to jump on a bandwagon just so I can say look at all the shit I have in one box that I don't even fucking use. There are very few Mac Kerr's or people in his position, those who truely understand and benefit from the use of a digital board. I know who they are, they know who they are.
...
 Analog boards are never going away. There will always be a need, and they will usually sound better.
Either too much or too little coffee I think.  :)

I'm sure the APB sounds great, but to be fair, that's not a low-end analog board either.  Low end digital gear generally competes with MixWizards, Mackie 1604s, and other stuff where the sound quality is equal or better on the digital side.

You apparently don't do events where scene recall is valuable.  I do, and would struggle to live without it.  But thank you for the compliment that you know who I am and the promotion to Mac's level of skill and professionalism.  :)

You must be in very good shape where hundreds of pounds of gear and heavy snake slinging don't matter.  Now that I have my GLD, half my truck is freed up - smaller console case, no outboard (actually I haven't hauled outboard in years due to my "crappy sounding" 01v96 boards I've used with great success for 9 years), and now now analog snake.  I will have to cut back on the donuts due to the loss of winding up a 150lb snake.

I'm very glad that APB exists, and I don't disagree that there will likely always be applications where analog boards serve just as well if not better than digital.  I do disagree that analog generally sounds better, though the world is big enough that each of us can find examples to support our hypothesis.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on May 18, 2012, 09:19:02 am
By the way, now that Soundcraft has dropped their previously astronomical price of their SiCompact, there is another choice in the quasi-budget realm that apparently sounds a lot better than low-end Yamaha (no first hand experience).
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Chuck Simon on May 18, 2012, 10:33:25 am
Quote
There are very few Mac Kerr's or people in his position, those who truely understand and benefit from the use of a digital board. I know who they are, they know who they are.
A very strange quote from a very strange post!  So Bob knows all the people that have "jumped on the bandwagon", probably thousands of them, and which ones understand and benefit from the use of a digital board? Bob, would you share your list with us? 
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on May 18, 2012, 10:58:04 am
Cadac is still (ostensibly) building new J-Type consoles (http://www.cadac-sound.com/product-views.php?id=1&t=j-type), but only up to 256 inputs, so I'm not sure that they are large enough for your shows.

Also, I believe that Allen and Heath is still selling the ML 3000 (http://www.allen-heath.com/uk/Products/pages/ProductDetails.aspx?catId=MLSeries&ProductId=ML3000&SubCatId=), and that Soundcraft is still selling the MH4 (http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=123).

The main benefit of a digital console for me is that I don't have to spend 45 minutes hauling the fucking behemoth around the building to get the thing inside and that I don't need eight guys to help lift the god damn thing onto the four road cases that it sits on.

Since the OP posted this in the lounge, he clearly doesn't understand the benefits of a digital console either, nor does he have the experience or knowledge to know better than to post a question like this. If he did, he would have known what companies are still producing analog consoles anyway.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 18, 2012, 11:00:58 am
It's not like he said jumped the shark... :-)

I'm an old analog engineer so if anybody would be biased against digital it would be me. I have tried to find something wrong with the technology and there is no obvious smoking gun flaw...

I like to joke that consoles are the most difficult "simple" product to design. The general concept of simply summing a few stems together, adding some EQ is trivial, but there is a world of difference in the details. Digital like analog has it's share of detail work that must be well executed for superior results. 

Digital is the only way to get certain functionality, Bob doesn't need or want that functionality. He is free to make that choice.

There is no us/them here, just the right tool for different jobs, and the APB is the right tool for Bob, not for Tom...    YMMV

JR
 
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on May 18, 2012, 11:20:33 am
Digital is the only way to get certain functionality, Bob doesn't need or want that functionality. He is free to make that choice.

There is no us/them here, just the right tool for different jobs, and the APB is the right tool for Bob, not for Tom...    YMMV

JR
"All generalizations are wrong."

I'm not sure what the OP's definition of large format is.  A 48 channel GL2X00 series board is a very different beast than a 48 channel H3000.

My only agenda here is for folks to try and see.  A large number of folks who said "I'll never go digital" 10 years ago, now have crossed the aisle, because the advantages of digital got to be too great to ignore.  For them.  Clearly Bob has tried (at least the LS9) and came up with a different result.  That doesn't bother me at all.

I do wish folks like the OP whose main reason for preferring analog seems to be "I have used it before and therefore am more comfortable" would live a little and give digital a shot.  The rise in popularity of digital consoles especially at the large end, and extending down into the medium and even low end is undeniable.  I doubt they're all stupid (though I concede the recent external clock threads may cast a little doubt on my assessment), and speaking from my own experience, I'm never going back.

If the OP disagrees - that's fine by me.  He's free to use one of the excellent APB offerings, or to take advantage of the precipitous fall in value of 2nd hand real large format boards.  Maybe he'll even pick up the PM4000 in the marketplace right now for $1000.  A year or two and 500 chiropractor visits after that, maybe he'll realize why the current value is only $1000.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Micky Basiliere on May 18, 2012, 11:59:16 am
"All generalizations are wrong."

I'm not sure what the OP's definition of large format is.  A 48 channel GL2X00 series board is a very different beast than a 48 channel H3000.

My only agenda here is for folks to try and see.  A large number of folks who said "I'll never go digital" 10 years ago, now have crossed the aisle, because the advantages of digital got to be too great to ignore.  For them.  Clearly Bob has tried (at least the LS9) and came up with a different result.  That doesn't bother me at all.

I do wish folks like the OP whose main reason for preferring analog seems to be "I have used it before and therefore am more comfortable" would live a little and give digital a shot.  The rise in popularity of digital consoles especially at the large end, and extending down into the medium and even low end is undeniable.  I doubt they're all stupid (though I concede the recent external clock threads may cast a little doubt on my assessment), and speaking from my own experience, I'm never going back.

If the OP disagrees - that's fine by me.  He's free to use one of the excellent APB offerings, or to take advantage of the precipitous fall in value of 2nd hand real large format boards.  Maybe he'll even pick up the PM4000 in the marketplace right now for $1000.  A year or two and 500 chiropractor visits after that, maybe he'll realize why the current value is only $1000.

Like Bob said... Analog is NOT going away anytime soon! and..+1000 for his comments. Nice,high end,fully functional,great sounding digital consoles are still way out of range for most small to mid sized sound co's.. and settling for "entry level crap" to be a part of the "boyz club" is rediculous considering all the the great analog gear still available for fantastic prices!! i for one WILL go digital when the price points come down, till then i'll stay analog with great sounding "high end" gear!!
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on May 18, 2012, 12:04:35 pm
Like Bob said... Analog is NOT going away anytime soon! and..+1000 for his comments. Nice,high end,fully functional,great sounding digital consoles are still way out of range for most small to mid sized sound co's.. and settling for "entry level crap" to be a part of the "boyz club" is rediculous considering all the the great analog gear still available for fantastic prices!! i for one WILL go digital when the price points come down, till then i'll stay analog with great sounding "high end" gear!!
I have found a lot to like in my new GLD - 48 channels, digital snake, good sound quality, nice usability, and the surface weighs 60lbs including the roadcase.  There really aren't too many compromises.  Price is ~$10K, which I agree is too much for some folks.  The price of decent digital HAS come down though, and if you're starting from scratch, a 48 channel APB and even a few channels of appropriately good quality outboard gear plus a snake will make the GLD seem a VERY good value.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS on May 18, 2012, 12:06:52 pm
Nice,high end,fully functional,great sounding digital consoles are still way out of range for most small to mid sized sound co's.. and settling for "entry level crap" to be a part of the "boyz club" is rediculous considering all the the great analog gear still available for fantastic prices!! i for one WILL go digital when the price points come down, till then i'll stay analog with great sounding "high end" gear!!

I don't have golden ears but I know a good sounding console when I hear one.  Lots of analog consoles sound good.  All the patch points lead to noise. 

You can now get a great sounding digital console at an affordable price!  Allen and Heath GLD sound great, has all the features that you will use everyday and most of the features you will use occasionally.

BTW,  If you want analog, I got something for sale, just like everyone else trying to clean shop!
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 18, 2012, 12:09:03 pm
it is human nature to look for validation of large purchase decisions one way or the other.

I am an old analog dog, but these days find myself designing with digital microprocessors because they are the most cost effective tool for the job. Bob may have some insight into that from his day job. I expect digital technology to eventually eclipse even premium analog consoles but it hasn't happened just yet.

For some applications, the only choice is which digital console to use. if not forced by the application to use a digital console, a premium analog path still has merit. This evolution is already causing some price erosion of used analog consoles. My crystal ball does not paint a pretty picture for analog long term. But for the record I have been arguing that all consoles will go away. 8)

JR
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Greg_Cameron on May 18, 2012, 12:19:28 pm
Used an LS9 many times.. like the onboard thing, disliked the pre amps and sound quality! chose to buy an APB... sound quality was night and day!!

Try mixing on an Avid Venue or a Midas digital desk. Really, sound quality is not much of an issue once you get out of the lower dollar digital desks. Even Dave Rat copped to that in a recent PSW article, and he's a still a dyed-in-the-wool analog guy. His complaints nowadays center around console navigation, which I do agree is an issue, rather than sonics. I'm not saying APB doesn't make a fine desk, they do. But you might be hard pressed to find a SC48 doesn't stand up to it sonically.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Tim Halligan on May 18, 2012, 02:21:07 pm

I'm an old analog engineer so if anybody would be biased against digital it would be me. I have tried to find something wrong with the technology and there is no obvious smoking gun flaw...

JR, respectfully I've got no dog in this fight, but there are plenty of people of the opinion that say that digital summing is fundamentally broken.

There are many studios out there that are recording and editing in digital, but when it comes time to mix they are choosing an analogue path...either an actual console, or via a summing box solution like a Dangerous 2-buss or similar.

You'd think that if digital really had no smoking gun flaws that more studios would use digital consoles.

You'd also wonder why so many plug-in manufacturers are jumping onto the bandwagon of making more "analogue sounding" plugs...if it wasn't broken, these bandaids wouldn't be necessary.

I remember reading a paper that had been presented at either a SMPTE or AES conference some years back - I can't recall - in which someone had done a test of the physiological effects of digital audio on humans. The upshot of it was that digital audio had the same effect on people as working under flourescent lighting.

FWIW, I work in a variety of settings - primarily studio based...some ITB, some digital console (AMS-Neve, Calrec etc), and some DAW feeding analogue, and to my ears, the DAW feeding the analogue console is the most emotionally satisfying to work with...and when it comes down to it that's the business we're in - conveying emotions.

When considering dropping serious coin on a console for use in a live production environment, sadly sonics are not always at the top of the list of criteria being considered. Rider acceptability is a big issue, as is seat kills/footprint, and then all of the accountancy stuff - depreciation etc.

Where digital does win is with its flexibility - want fewer groups but more auxes? Sure! Want more eq bands on this particular channel? Sure! Want dynamics on auxes? Sure! Want more I/O in the same footprint? Sure!

Great digital is great...but sadly many will never hear great digital.

Great analogue is stunning.


Cheers,
Tim
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 18, 2012, 03:38:54 pm
JR, respectfully I've got no dog in this fight, but there are plenty of people of the opinion that say that digital summing is fundamentally broken.
Opinions vary.  8)

If this was a dog fight, I'd surely be betting on not only an analog dog, but "my" analog dog. Back in 1980 I published an article about console design in RE&P magazine (a studio magazine) about my improved current source summing topology.  I actually have an analog summing technology that is marginally better than most analog consoles (almost as good as digital), but guess what, it doesn't matter for analog or digital. The S/N of mixes is dominated by one mic preamp and room noise (or microphone self noise in a quiet enough room).

Digital summing is not only "not" fundamentally broken, in theory it is superior to analog summing. If you don't trust me on that you can do a search from any responsible technology source. I won't waste even more bandwidth on the theory. Like console clocks this too has been vetted, and disproved while apparently not adequately. 
Quote
There are many studios out there that are recording and editing in digital, but when it comes time to mix they are choosing an analogue path...either an actual console, or via a summing box solution like a Dangerous 2-buss or similar.
Never trust anybody who can't spell (bus). 8) I have researched this modern phenomenon of ITB mixing vs, passive or  "outside the box", These range from passive sums with a mic preamp for make up gain to correct for insertion loss, or repurposed old school mixers/consoles. My thesis is that studios want to use their old school legacy outboard effects and this is simpler on an analog platform, and they probably benefit from KISS, when they have less options to mess up the finished product if there are less knobs within their reach.   8)
Quote
You'd think that if digital really had no smoking gun flaws that more studios would use digital consoles.
Why? Studios want, no need, to differentiate themselves. They are already losing too much business to low cost digital gear. If they admit you don't need them, the rest of the world will finish mixing on their bedroom MAC.
Quote
You'd also wonder why so many plug-in manufacturers are jumping onto the bandwagon of making more "analogue sounding" plugs...if it wasn't broken, these bandaids wouldn't be necessary.
Are you arguing that digital is too clean, too pristine, so needs to add "analog sound flaws" to finish it?   Don't confuse EFX fashion trends and coloration for effect, with baseline performance. The best chef starts with a clean cooking pot and clean utensils, then adds spice to taste... you don't begin cooking with a dirty pot, and popular spices change from time to time.
Quote
I remember reading a paper that had been presented at either a SMPTE or AES conference some years back - I can't recall - in which someone had done a test of the physiological effects of digital audio on humans. The upshot of it was that digital audio had the same effect on people as working under flourescent lighting.
yes, that (those) was/were disproved. i recall one in the '80s that digital made your muscles weak.  ;D nonsense.
Quote
FWIW, I work in a variety of settings - primarily studio based...some ITB, some digital console (AMS-Neve, Calrec etc), and some DAW feeding analogue, and to my ears, the DAW feeding the analogue console is the most emotionally satisfying to work with...and when it comes down to it that's the business we're in - conveying emotions.
Your emotions or the listener?

You should do what feels good to you, just don't try to justify it with bad science. There is no there there. I would love and profit from something being there. I have even tried to steer my friends still making analog gear to service that niche market while it lasts, but without technical justification to exist, to is hard to make a business argument to pursue what appears to be a fad.
Quote
When considering dropping serious coin on a console for use in a live production environment, sadly sonics are not always at the top of the list of criteria being considered. Rider acceptability is a big issue, as is seat kills/footprint, and then all of the accountancy stuff - depreciation etc.

Where digital does win is with its flexibility - want fewer groups but more auxes? Sure! Want more eq bands on this particular channel? Sure! Want dynamics on auxes? Sure! Want more I/O in the same footprint? Sure!

Great digital is great...but sadly many will never hear great digital.

Great analogue is stunning.


Cheers,
Tim

Great analog and great digital should both sound like exactly nothing. A straight wire with gain, and eq and whatever (a clean palette).

As I have offered before, not all consoles are built to the same performance standard. I even suspect some cheap digital mixing software, may screw the pooch on summing (among other functions, like bit rate conversion), but don't damn the technology because of a few bad examples. Based on that, analog would be damned too because there are crap analog consoles out there too.

JR
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Micky Basiliere on May 18, 2012, 05:04:51 pm
Opinions vary.  8)

If this was a dog fight, I'd surely be betting on not only an analog dog, but "my" analog dog. Back in 1980 I published an article about console design in RE&P magazine (a studio magazine) about my improved current source summing topology.  I actually have an analog summing technology that is marginally better than most analog consoles (almost as good as digital), but guess what, it doesn't matter for analog or digital. The S/N of mixes is dominated by one mic preamp and room noise (or microphone self noise in a quiet enough room).

Digital summing is not only "not" fundamentally broken, in theory it is superior to analog summing. If you don't trust me on that you can do a search from any responsible technology source. I won't waste even more bandwidth on the theory. Like console clocks this too has been vetted, and disproved while apparently not adequately.  Never trust anybody who can't spell (bus). 8) I have researched this modern phenomenon of ITB mixing vs, passive or  "outside the box", These range from passive sums with a mic preamp for make up gain to correct for insertion loss, or repurposed old school mixers/consoles. My thesis is that studios want to use their old school legacy outboard effects and this is simpler on an analog platform, and they probably benefit from KISS, when they have less options to mess up the finished product if there are less knobs within their reach.   8)Why? Studios want, no need, to differentiate themselves. They are already losing too much business to low cost digital gear. If they admit you don't need them, the rest of the world will finish mixing on their bedroom MAC. Are you arguing that digital is too clean, too pristine, so needs to add "analog sound flaws" to finish it?   Don't confuse EFX fashion trends and coloration for effect, with baseline performance. The best chef starts with a clean cooking pot and clean utensils, then adds spice to taste... you don't begin cooking with a dirty pot, and popular spices change from time to time.yes, that (those) was/were disproved. i recall one in the '80s that digital made your muscles weak.  ;D nonsense. Your emotions or the listener?

You should do what feels good to you, just don't try to justify it with bad science. There is no there there. I would love and profit from something being there. I have even tried to steer my friends still making analog gear to service that niche market while it lasts, but without technical justification to exist, to is hard to make a business argument to pursue what appears to be a fad.
Great analog and great digital should both sound like exactly nothing. A straight wire with gain, and eq and whatever (a clean palette).

As I have offered before, not all consoles are built to the same performance standard. I even suspect some cheap digital mixing software, may screw the pooch on summing (among other functions, like bit rate conversion), but don't damn the technology because of a few bad examples. Based on that, analog would be damned too because there are crap analog consoles out there too.

JR
Digital people defend Digital.. Analog people defend Analog.. there is a definite need for both! I believe "preference" will come full circle back to analog, just like the tube Amp did over transister... so before i blow 30k on a Digital board, i'll wait and watch the riders...If i were to buy a new kick ass "large frame" console right now, it would definitely be the APB Spectra VCA !!!
just my 2 cents...
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Samuel Rees on May 18, 2012, 05:29:14 pm
I believe "preference" will come full circle back to analog, just like the tube Amp did over transister... so before i blow 30k on a Digital board, i'll wait and watch the riders...

Transistor amps were cheap to make, there were not serious technical advantages like recall and compactness like in digital desks. To each his own certainly, but digital is here to stay IMO. The StudioLive, the Si Compact, the GLD and the X32 are just the first wave of digitals moving into the small format. Imagine a third generation GLD product?
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Bob Leonard on May 18, 2012, 07:21:51 pm
Either too much or too little coffee I think.  :)

I'm sure the APB sounds great, but to be fair, that's not a low-end analog board either.  Low end digital gear generally competes with MixWizards, Mackie 1604s, and other stuff where the sound quality is equal or better on the digital side.

You apparently don't do events where scene recall is valuable.  I do, and would struggle to live without it.  But thank you for the compliment that you know who I am and the promotion to Mac's level of skill and professionalism.  :)

You must be in very good shape where hundreds of pounds of gear and heavy snake slinging don't matter.  Now that I have my GLD, half my truck is freed up - smaller console case, no outboard (actually I haven't hauled outboard in years due to my "crappy sounding" 01v96 boards I've used with great success for 9 years), and now now analog snake.  I will have to cut back on the donuts due to the loss of winding up a 150lb snake.

I'm very glad that APB exists, and I don't disagree that there will likely always be applications where analog boards serve just as well if not better than digital.  I do disagree that analog generally sounds better, though the world is big enough that each of us can find examples to support our hypothesis.

Yes Thomas, I put you at a level above most, and yes, you are on that list.
 
Let's be clear please. I am not defending analog boards with my statements, and I will apologize for my uncontrolled rant. I am also not promoting APB with my statements, and now that I've said all that you're saying then WTF do you mean.  ;)
 
Let's put a dollar figure on some hardware and attempt to classify my statements. My current production board is an APB Pro house. 16/20 channels, pristine channel strips, quality features, flexible. My needs are simplistic at this point in my life where most venues are 1000 or less peeps.
 
If I work a larger venue then I'm dependent on someone elses board. I'll take my backline with assorted amplifers and sound modules and send my mix to the venues board. Vocals, monitors and everything else belongs to the house and I place my faith in those people, please try to make my backline mix sound like it does on stage.
 
I can do that and more with a small quality analog board. I can support the occasional openers with my rig. work the promotional gigs and fairs, etc. All I have to do is load the truck, unload the truck, load the truck, and unload it one last time. I'm not in great shape but at 60 I'm in great shape for the shape I'm in. I can also tell you that 30 pieces of outboard gear weigh almost the same as a SRX725, 100lbs. So, lifting a rack of outboard gear doesn't bother me in the least.
 
I said let's start with a cost or price so here it is. One APB Pro house, $3000, rounded up.
 
I don't think I need to say how much time I spent searching the universe for the right fit for my applications, and I'm pretty sure this group knows how anal I am concerning tone and sound overall. Ask Rob Spence, he's heard the system.
 
So now that we've established a break point please give some thought to what tour quality digital boards can be purchased NEW for that amount. ....................... Done thinking??  ;)
 
Let's double or even triple the figure which will bring you to a point where you can start to enter the world of digital quality. I was willing to spend up to 4x what I spent on the APB, and I didn't even care about the ROI, but the truth of the matter is I didn't need need to spend 12-20K on a QUALITY digital board to get the job done.
 
So once again it comes down the end users needs. Back under the 3K figure ask yourself how many people buying a used 01V, Presonus, etc, boards of that quality, really need or will use the features of the board. 50% ?? Maybe. Is it fun to play with all the bells and whistles?? You bet your ass it is. Is it disappointing to read of the problems people have with digital boards at this level? Yes it is.
 
So TJ, my goal here is not to re-convert the world. My mama didn't raise a dummy, and I truely believe digital can be, and is, a blessing, but for those who need the real features of QUALITY digital boards, you being one of those people.
And for those keeping count the APB Pro House sounds better IMO than an LS9, Verona or Venice, as good, maybe better than a Soundcraft SI, and far better than any Mixwiz, 1640, Presonus, 01V, and 02V. And if I were to pull the trigger on or had the need for a digital board it would be a Midas Pro, SI, Yamaha or Avid board, and last I checked they cost a little more than 3K. However if I needed all the functionality I would be more than willing to spend the money.
 
However, if I were an FNG entering the world of sound, or interested in making my band sound great, not just good, if my new reputation was to depend on reliability, then I would consider the cost of a great analog board and MAYBE a couple of outboard pieces vs that of an entry level digital board. But hey, I'm an old guy and have used analog gear for 45 years. Maybe those things mean more to us old timers.
for the sake of argument I will also bow to the fact the 01V has proven itself as a more than capable board.
 
Rant over, please continue normal broadcasting in your area.
 
 
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Jay Barracato on May 18, 2012, 08:48:43 pm
I'm with you guys...(joke from "Oh Brother").

Actually I am a hardcore analog guy who effectively learned to live with and then like digital.

Unfortunately that means due to my karma I am probably going to be provided 3 band eq tackies for my next ten shows.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: kristianjohnsen on May 18, 2012, 10:13:23 pm
The main benefit of a digital console for me is that I don't have to spend 45 minutes hauling the fucking behemoth around the building to get the thing inside and that I don't need eight guys to help lift the god damn thing onto the four road cases that it sits on.

Those "new" console tilters are great... ::)

I can tilt and uncase my Yamaha DM 2000 by myself if I have to.

All I need is one helper to tilt and uncase my Yamaha PM1D.



Since the OP posted this in the lounge, he clearly doesn't understand the benefits of a digital console either, nor does he have the experience or knowledge to know better than to post a question like this. If he did, he would have known what companies are still producing analog consoles anyway.

Perhaps he currently works in a way that doesn't benefit from what a digital mixer has to offer.  Perhaps we can help him better understand the difference, this being the lounge and all? :)
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: kristianjohnsen on May 18, 2012, 10:33:54 pm
I was just wondering, do nay manufactures still make large analog boards like 40ch+ or have they all gone digital.
I now see a lot of digital boards being made and only small analog boards like 16ch or 24ch being made, and now the only the large analog boards are avabile second hand.

I still prefer analog over digital compared to other people only because it's what I've learnt on, it's easier to use and I prefer to see everything at once in live sound.

Lachlan.

A high channel-count analog mixer is usually accompanied by a lot of outboard gear for more advanced mixing, making the complete package very big and heavy.  If all you need is many channels to just sum into a mix, fine, a high analog-board with little outboard will work.

However, it has been my experience that once the gigs start to grow in channel-count, the demand for more "advanced mixing" has increased also. 

Some of the things that are very easy to do on a digital console with what's built in:

Using many channel strip compressors or gates at the same time.
Setting drastic/very precise channel strip EQ.
Changing pre/post settings for just about everything along the channel strip.

Lining up stereo channels (or bigger groups of channels) to exactly track eachother in regards to every setting, including dynamics and EQ.

Using "copy/paste" like on a computer to quickly get many channels to the same settings.

Putting EQ, filters and compressors on subgroups.

Setting up outputs with different delay times to compensate for room placement of the speakers.

Running soundcheck for several completely different bands that will play at the same event and just hitting "scene recall" during the changeover break to entirely line up the desk for the next band, including the channel names over each fader (pretty slick, just make sure the right mic gets to the right amp, etc) :).

Storing just small sections of what's inside the desk in different libraries so that you easily can recall small details that will change many times in one concert (like the channel strip settings for one vocal mic being used by two singers).

Having many reverb units, one for each lead singer, for instance.

When you additionally get remote preamps and a digital snake for a digital desk, then it gets even better as you can get rid of all that heavy multicore cable.

I think that if you venture into the digital realm, once you "break the barrier" and get a "feel" for the desk (which initially is the challenging part), you will quickly discover that it gives you access to many features and mixing techniques that you previously didn't have the tools for. 
You can try out a bunch of stuff for free if you already own the desk, but there is no way you would ever buy 7 extra reverb units just to try something new on your analog setup, for instance.

First time I got a digital mixer I used it in anger after 4 days of experimenting and reading the manual.  When I bought my first "big" digital console I had it sitting on a table for 2 weeks waiting for the case to arrive and when I first took it to a gig I felt perfectly at home on it.

By now, I'm absolutely certain that "going digital" has made me a better mixerperson!  But I still have analog setups for hiring out, I just don't use them myself anymore.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on May 18, 2012, 11:28:09 pm
Yes Thomas, I put you at a level above most, and yes, you are on that list.
 
Thank you - I appreciate the compliment.

I said let's start with a cost or price so here it is. One APB Pro house, $3000, rounded up.
 
I don't think I need to say how much time I spent searching the universe for the right fit for my applications, and I'm pretty sure this group knows how anal I am concerning tone and sound overall. Ask Rob Spence, he's heard the system.
 
So now that we've established a break point please give some thought to what tour quality digital boards can be purchased NEW for that amount. ....................... Done thinking??  ;)
 
Let's double or even triple the figure which will bring you to a point where you can start to enter the world of digital quality. I was willing to spend up to 4x what I spent on the APB, and I didn't even care about the ROI, but the truth of the matter is I didn't need need to spend 12-20K on a QUALITY digital board to get the job done.
 
So once again it comes down the end users needs. Back under the 3K figure ask yourself how many people buying a used 01V, Presonus, etc, boards of that quality, really need or will use the features of the board. 50% ?? Maybe. Is it fun to play with all the bells and whistles?? You bet your ass it is. Is it disappointing to read of the problems people have with digital boards at this level? Yes it is.

 ...

So TJ, my goal here is not to re-convert the world. My mama didn't raise a dummy, and I truely believe digital can be, and is, a blessing, but for those who need the real features of QUALITY digital boards, you being one of those people.
And for those keeping count the APB Pro House sounds better IMO than an LS9, Verona or Venice, as good, maybe better than a Soundcraft SI, and far better than any Mixwiz, 1640, Presonus, 01V, and 02V. And if I were to pull the trigger on or had the need for a digital board it would be a Midas Pro, SI, Yamaha or Avid board, and last I checked they cost a little more than 3K. However if I needed all the functionality I would be more than willing to spend the money.
Bob - I don't disagree with you. 

My only feedback is that since the thread started talking about "large format analog mixers", I'm not sure it's fair to compare the price of an admittedly very nice 16 channel board with a 48 channel digital.  I don't know what the price of an equivalent 48 channel APB is, but it's surely significantly more than $3000.  Add in a couple thousand for some decent BSS outboard gear and $1500 (or more than that) for a snake and suddenly digital mixers aren't 3X the cost of analog.

I do agree with you that low end digital boards are disappointing.  The 01v96 was an incredible value 9 years ago.  The fact that it's still a viable product shows either how far ahead it was 9 years ago and/or how stuck we've been for a long time. Now that the SiCompact is a little less ridiculously priced, there's at least one more option on the lower end of the range.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on May 19, 2012, 10:01:58 am
Those "new" console tilters are great... ::)

I have yet to see a console tilter that will support an 800lbs 60 frame Cadac J-Type. And console tilters don't help you get the nine foot long road case inside the building.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 19, 2012, 10:14:21 am
I have yet to see a console tilter that will support an 800lbs 60 frame Cadac J-Type. And console tilters don't help you get the nine foot long road case inside the building.

Don't forget the weight of the case as well.  Total is probably around 1200#
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Mac Kerr on May 19, 2012, 11:04:43 am
Those "new" console tilters are great... ::)

I can tilt and uncase my Yamaha DM 2000 by myself if I have to.

All I need is one helper to tilt and uncase my Yamaha PM1D.

How's that work for ya when you have to put the console on a 2m deep riser that is .5m high? The tilt stand also pretty much requires that you stand up to mix. I am not a fan. I do like a tilt stand to get the console up to a good height to lift it onto the real stand though.

Mac
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: brian maddox on May 19, 2012, 03:59:11 pm
How's that work for ya when you have to put the console on a 2m deep riser that is .5m high? The tilt stand also pretty much requires that you stand up to mix. I am not a fan. I do like a tilt stand to get the console up to a good height to lift it onto the real stand though.

Mac

agreed on all counts.  especially the standing up to mix part.  the EZ-tilt is too tall to sit, and too short to stand for me.  i'm 6'4".  and between my knees and my back, i'm a really big fan of sitting...

the other thing that sucks with the EZ-tilt is that you can get the console up with two guys, but if it's a really big desk, it's a heck of a thing to get the console lid off, over the forks next to the wheel board and on to the floor on it's wheels.  most big desks you need 4 guys for this task.  i had a PM4000M that required at least 4 big guys to lift the lid.  what a beast...
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: kristianjohnsen on May 19, 2012, 05:56:30 pm
How's that work for ya when you have to put the console on a 2m deep riser that is .5m high? The tilt stand also pretty much requires that you stand up to mix. I am not a fan. I do like a tilt stand to get the console up to a good height to lift it onto the real stand though.

Mac

I have found that a console tilter is an excellent tool for tilting the console and that it's very doable for two people to take off the lid and then slide/lift the console with the case "tray" onto something else when needed.

We have used the same type of mobile ramp that is used for rolling big cases into vans when having to roll big consoles onto risers or stages.  Depending on the situation and riser height we have also just lifted one end of the case onto the riser at a time, then tilted and uncased it.  I have found this to be easier than getting the cosole flat "in the lift" and then wrestling it up onto cases, etc.

Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: kristianjohnsen on May 19, 2012, 06:04:59 pm
I have yet to see a console tilter that will support an 800lbs 60 frame Cadac J-Type. And console tilters don't help you get the nine foot long road case inside the building.

If I routinely encountered situations where I had to gather up 8 people just for wrestling consoles up onto cases I would make sure to have a tilter around for that task alone.  Everything else regarding those consoles would still be a PITA, but it seems silly not to have a  tilter at hand.

The tilters I have are rated for 800 LBS and 1200 LBS respectively.  The biggest type is made of steel and is relatively heavy compared to the smaller, aluminum type heavy, but has casters on it for moving it around.  With a super-wide console it might get "tippy" side-to-side if a lot of people leaned onto one side at one time, but rolling a case underneath either side would be a lot easier than lifting the console onto cases in the first place.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: brian maddox on May 19, 2012, 06:25:03 pm
actually, in the interest of full disclosure, if i've got a large format analog desk, i'd rather have an EZ-tilt around than not have one.  i did the first decade of my career before the advent of said device and when it first came on the picture i thought it was the greatest thing i had ever seen.

all that being said, a big analog desk is still a PITA, even with better tools to flip it than the old fashioned '6 guys lift on 3 method' i employed for so long.  i'll take a digital surface that i can throw on a case by myself or with nothing more than a scrawny vidiot to help me any day...

still...  if i'm white gloving and can ask for anything i want [which pretty much isn't even gonna happen anymore], i might still be inclined to choose an XL4 and a whole bunch of outboard toys.  muscle memory and all that...
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Loren Aguey on May 30, 2012, 02:48:55 am
And for those of you who are jumping into the deep end of the digital entry level pool, have you ever worked a Ghost, Midas, Toft, APB, or anything capable of reproducing sound at that level. No? Thought as much, because if you had you wouldn't be running out to spend good hard earned money on entry level digital boards.


I agree for your needs the APB was the best choice given your criteria.

However to answer your hypothetical I have mixed on high end analog consoles like the H3K with appropriate outboard. And while it certainly is lovely and I have nothing to complain about with those setups, there's still no way in hell I'd ever spend any of my money on any analog console, period.

I don't own a sound company, but I do own an 01v96. I'm reminded of how glad I am that I bought it every time  spares me from being stuck with some mackie sr with no outboard or some other bs setup. And compared to that the sound I get is infinitely better given the amount of control I now have.

I believe you when you say the APB sounds better. But  I'm much more concerned with the transducers in the chain than the apparent sound of any console. And with that in mind I will always go with the option of mixer that offers me the most control and flexibilty for what I do.

And when you say the APB was 3k, and compare it to a presonus or 01v, I'd say it'd be fair to factor in the outboard that you'd need to accompany the APB. An average decent setup would be 4-6 channels of GEQ, minimum 4 comps(preferably more), minimum 4 gates, 1-3 FX units etc...Buying new respectable outboard gear that puts you well into the 5-6k range. Now that's more comparable to an LS9-16/SI Compact 24 (with the analog setup still actually having WAY less EQ, FX and dynamics). You (and I'm sure lots of others) would still purchase the analog + outboard. That's totally fine and I have nothing to argue against that if that's what fits your needs.

I just wanted to level up the playing field when comparing a really nice small format analog to low end digital, to at least have a comparable feature set.

Different strokes for different folks, all that good stuff.
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Lance Richens on May 30, 2012, 08:11:20 am
Amazing thread. As someone wanting to "go digital" soon, this is very helpful.....
Title: Re: Large format analog boards
Post by: Rob Gow on May 31, 2012, 02:28:21 pm
Amazing thread. As someone wanting to "go digital" soon, this is very helpful.....

True, there's lots to consider...