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Church and H.O.W. Forums for HOW Sound and AV - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Church and HOW Forums => Church Sound Archive => Topic started by: Oran Burns on December 31, 2008, 10:42:02 am

Title: Digico SD8
Post by: Oran Burns on December 31, 2008, 10:42:02 am
Hey,
Has anyone got any experience using the new Digico SD8?
Im curious to know how it is performing?
How does it compare to the M7CL?
Regards,
Oran
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Brad Weber on December 31, 2008, 02:30:45 pm
Oran Burns wrote on Wed, 31 December 2008 10:42

How does it compare to the M7CL?

Well, list price for the SD8 is twice that of an M7CL-48.  Very Happy

Although that large a cost difference would seem to be a factor in any comparison and I have not actually seen or used an SD8 yet but any comparison implies some basis for the comparison, so is there anything in particular that you are wanting to compare?
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on December 31, 2008, 02:49:05 pm
Brads question is dead on. For twice the price its obviously going to be better, or at very least should be.

You need to tell us why you are comparing these two before we can give you any decent help.

If you are looking for people who have used them there are some people who have already purchased, received and posted their impressions of the console on the main LAB board and the SR Reviews sub forum. I would go there for their first impressions.

I can tell you as a company and generic reference I very much like Digico products and the company. But that is me, in my situation, and with my criteria of needs. Yours may (will?) differ.

Karl P
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Aaron McQueen on December 31, 2008, 03:05:31 pm
There's a thread over in the LAB about the SD8:

SD8 Thread
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Oran Burns on December 31, 2008, 07:17:16 pm
Gentlemen,
My church will be moving building this year and an M7 CL or maybe a SD 8 will be a FOH option.
I did not realize that the SD8 was twice the price of the M7 CL, i thought that there was a "few" thousand in the difference.
In my mind with Live Digital consoles there is what i call an acceptable level.
In my opinion some of the cheaper digital consoles sound "digital".
They have a particular sound to them, it doesn't sound natural and all the processing can be heard.
I understand that "you get what you pay for"
In my opinion the acceptable level for digital consoles is when you listen and you dont really know whether it is a digital or analog console.
D Show Profile is well above the "acceptable level" and in my opinion the M7 CL falls below it.
It doesn't sound natural and the processing is audible.
So what im getting at is whether the SD 8 is above the "acceptable level"
Is it the cheapest digital console on the market that doesn't sound digital?
Even the Roland V mixer (which is cheaper than the M7 CL) made a good attempt at reaching the "acceptable level"
Regards,
Oran
p.s. i will review the SD 8 thread, the purpose of this "new topic" was to get some feedback from people in churches who are using the SD 8.

Title: Re: Digico SD8-Acceptable level?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on December 31, 2008, 08:08:14 pm
I am confused by your definition of "acceptable level".  There are many different factors regarding digital consoles.  Functionality is one of the biggest differences.

If your defintion of acceptable level is sound quality, then could you give us a few examples of what is and is not up to that "level"?

Are you sure you are are not confusing a dry/sterile/uncolored type sound with one that has "warmth"?  And is not the one with "warmth" actually coloring the sound?

I have installed many hundreds of digital consoles (mostly Yamaha-from the the 01v up to PM5d) and have not yet experienced what I would call a "digital sound".

Then again, maybe by the time you put a console into a large room, with multiple loudspeakers, general acoustic issues, loud HVAC and amature musicians the "subtle neuances" of the console go away. Laughing

Personally I would be much more concerned with the quality of your loudspeaker system than the "sound" of your console.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on December 31, 2008, 09:47:57 pm
Woops, I meant to post this a few hours ago and forgot to hit the button....

A few things:

There is nothing wrong with the M7.

While I agree that the main D/A's aren't the greatest in the world one could argue that only matters in rooms with well above average PA's. If you do have an above average PA all you need is a better D/A which could be done in the system processor or a dedicated device.

Let me repeat that again. There is nothing wrong with the M7.

That said I have a Digico D1 and it works and sounds great. While it doesn't have the plugins that the Venue platform does, it easily sounds just as good. It is also a very standards compliant desk, so that is nice as well.

The early reviews I have heard say the SD8 sounds just as good as the D1/D5.

All that said, whether you use an LS9, an M7 or an SD8 is, to me, a question of needs, budget, and how this piece fits in the entire system.

If you really, truly, need 56+ channels then a large format surface is a pretty good place to start.

If you have a top of the line PA that sounds fantastic and you also have the money to spend on the SD8 with the talent to run it - then go ahead and get one.

If you don't have a world class PA, buy an M7 and spend the difference on PA.

If you don't have a great PA and can barely afford the M7, then buy an LS9 and spend the difference on the PA.

If you have to buy a 1v and spend the difference on the PA.

Do you get my drift here?

I will quite literally mix on a Behringer if it means I can get a good PA.

The choice of PA and all the A/V/L infrastructure is what should be concerning you now, not the choice of mixers. A mixer should be an easy decision that can be made at any time based on need and budget. Any mixer from a reputable manufacturer will "sound" just fine and they should all work and perform equally well.


Karl P
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 01, 2009, 12:01:04 pm
Fully agreed.  When it comes to a sound system, the worst performing piece of gear is the loudspeaker system-by far.

I am willing to cut costs in all kinds of places in order to keep the loudspeaker system the best the budget will allow.

Once everything else is "perfect"-including the room itself-THEN I would worry about which console sounds "digital".

Console choice should be more about FUNCTION and real needs, than anything else.

My console choices for a particular customer are based on what they need-along with the reliability of consoles- that meet those needs.

I can honestly say that in the last almost one thousand installs, the "sound" of the console has never come into play.  And we have never had anybody complain about the "sound" of the console.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Oran Burns on January 01, 2009, 01:24:38 pm
Folks,
To try and explain better what i am talking about let me share this "real life" experience with you.
My church (where i do sound) has an analog Soundcraft GB 8 console.
We have various bits of outboard mainly Klark technik Square One dynamics, some DBX comps and TC M-One reverbs.
One day about 18 months ago i took in an M7 CL to try it out. So i replaced the GB 8 at FOH with the Yamaha board.
I spent all day Saturday setting up and playing with the board to get it ready for Sunday morning service.
I sound checked the worship group on the Sunday morning and was ready to go for 2 services that day.
When worship started i knew within 30 seconds that this was not the board for me.
I didn't like what i heard at all. There was a particular sound to it which is hard to describe.
Un-natural, clinical, harsh, comes to mind.
It was as if all the processing in the board could be heard and it didn't sound natural at all.
Even the GB 8 which i was used to hearing in this environment gave off a more neutral sound.
I did enjoy all the features on the board and was happy with how i got worship sounding that morning, it was just the overall sound quality that i didn't like.
So the conclusion that i came to was that unless you have a few quid to spend then a digital console is not the best choice.
D Show Profile which i know is more expensive than the M7 CL does not have a "sound" to it. It sounds natural and doesn't color things like the M7 does.

So the "acceptable level" in my opinion is above the M7 because those consoles like the D Show, PM-5, Digico D series etc sound natural and you dont hear the sound of audio being processed.
So unless you can afford one of these consoles then in my opinion you are better off
sticking with an analog board as even a budget analog board like the GB 8 sounds neutral.
The LS 9 has the same issues (except much worse)
I mean if i was in the installation business i would happily install these boards if they suited the application and budget.
But my job is to make things sound good!
Im surprised to hear that some of you folk have done multiple installations of M7s and LS9s and never heard a complaint about the sound of the board!
Do people not listen anymore?
Or do the many features available hide some stuff?
In Ireland i regularly hear complaints about the sound of the M7 and particularly the LS 9.
Regards,
Oran

Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 01, 2009, 02:59:00 pm
Is it the console or the "system" or how it is aligned/setup etc that  you are hearing?

I have no problem with the M7 or the LS9 or even the less expensive Yamaha digital consoles.

People may be complaining, but are they legitimate complaints?  It is an all to common situation in which people who do not know how to mix complain about the equipment.  If only they had "so and so" it would sound better.  NO it wouldn't!

I can't count the number of times I have run into this.  Yet a different operator on the exact same rig the same day can get a good "sound".  Somehow I don't think the console "changed sound" from band to band.

I have heard heard a couple of side by side comparisoms in which two consoles sounded different.

HOWEVER when they were setup the same, those differences went away.  Can you say "fixing" the demo?
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Oran Burns on January 01, 2009, 05:45:38 pm
Hey Ivan,
In the example that i listed above i swapped the soundcraft console for the M7, so the only thing that changed here was the board so i dont believe that there were other factors at play.
The "complaints" that i mentioned were from reputable Pro engineers who can mix and that i trust.
Getting a good sound is not the issue, anytime i have every used an M7 CL i got a "good sound".
Thats not to say that i like the sound of the board.
Which is a different matter altogether!!!!
Regards,
Oran
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Brad Weber on January 01, 2009, 06:37:39 pm
Oran Burns wrote on Thu, 01 January 2009 17:45

Hey Ivan,
In the example that i listed above i swapped the soundcraft console for the M7, so the only thing that changed here was the board so i dont believe that there were other factors at play.

That is exactly the point, not every console is the same so how it interfaces in the system is different, the console is part of a system and if you just swap consoles without accommodating these differences then you are likely not providing a fair comparison.  And comparing a M7CL with the other consoles you noted is sort of like comparing a Cobalt to a Corvette and surmising from the comparison that the Cobalt has unacceptable acceleration and handling, do you really think you should expect the same performance for a fraction of the price?
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Rob Warren on January 01, 2009, 10:21:45 pm
Oran,

If it helps I can say I've recently demo'd the M7 and the
Venue Profile Mix rack systems.

The M7 was replacing a DDA Q2 Monitor board doing about 14 mixes
some stereo Ears and some wedge mixes.  
The M7 was way better sounding to me than the DDA.
It had so much more gain I really had to keep that in mind,
and back off the Head Amp on the M7.  
In that respect, I would say I had to keep in mind I did NOT have
to push this console at all.  It was different getting used to EQ'ing things but it was just something I had to hear and not see.
I wonder how hard your M7 was driven?  I really had to keep telling myself to keep the Head amp around -20dB on the input meters.
Actually I was looking more at -24dB but if it hit -18dB it still was going to be okay.  More than that though would have been way too much.  

the Profile Mix Rack was at FOH.  Replacing Midas XL-200. (a very tired One)  
It was a great improvement.  I really enjoyed working on this desk. The selling point for me was the onboard Pro-tools capabilities and being able to use the virtual soundcheck.
I see this as a priceless training tool for having the volunteers come over one evening or Saturday afternoon and they can mix the last couple of services on virtual soundcheck and not need to have the band or singers there.  
So when I was able to demo the unit and verify the sound was good and I liked the layout and work flow that was all I needed to say this is what we need at FOH.  Again with this console,
I really had to make sure my gain was down.  I didn't have to push this console much at all.  

hope this helps,  
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 01, 2009, 10:29:06 pm
Another thing when "all you do is swap consoles" is there is no way you are going to get all the eq's/levels etc the same.

A tad bit more here + a smidgen less there x a couple hundred=a good bit of difference in the overall "tonality" of a console.

Very often the difference between a good mix and a great mix is a bunch of seemingly insignificant changes in eq and level.

I remember a long story at a nightmare gig where we had to move the entire rig (PA/monitor/lights etc)to an indoor venue due to weather and started the move about 1 hr AFTER the show was supposed to start Shocked .

The Headliner did the system setup (I was busy doing other things) and with the warmup bands (who I worked with all the time) never sounded better Very Happy .

When the headliner came on he did not touch the house eq or crossover and only did a few "little" tweaks here and there on the console.  When they started playing I said to myself "WOW who brought in the new PA system"  Mine doesn't sound that good Shocked .

Same PA, Same console, but with an operator who REALLY knew his stuff.  My hats off to him.  He was from the PA area (I think) and was known as "Doc".  This was back in the late 80's.

Without a doubt the best live sound operator I have ever met.  His "sound" was in his ears/fingers- NOT the gear he used.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on January 02, 2009, 12:15:06 am
If you read through the OP's posts he is using phrases like clinical and harsh. My best guess would be that the m7 isn't providing the same distortion or coloration as he is used to on other consoles. This could be fixed with a simple "boutique" D/A or could (maybe should?) just be lived with.

In all seriousness to the OP, I have listened to a lot of consoles from boutique to bog-standard. While all consoles have a "voicing" of their own, all of them are workable and at the end of the day you will get used to what you have.

Maybe you should try the m7 again and this time do some experimenting with your gain stages and having a more open mind to the fact that it might be MORE pure than anything you have ever used before. Thus if you are looking for a certain sound you will have to create it yourself.

On the other hand, as I said earlier, I would get an LS9, or even an 01v if it meant I got the right PA and/or room acoustics work.

All these consoles sound just fine and they will all let you get the job done.

Karl P
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Oran Burns on January 02, 2009, 07:57:42 am
Quote:

Without a doubt the best live sound operator I have ever met. His "sound" was in his ears/fingers- NOT the gear he used.

Sounds like me!!!
I bet this gentleman also had his favorite and least favorite consoles etc.
Its like food we all have our likes and dislikes, its just a matter of opinion.

Quote:

do you really think you should expect the same performance for a fraction of the price?

I had no expectations it was simply a demo but afterwards i preferred to go back to the Soundcraft analog with the analog outboard.

Quote:

fraction of the price?


When you factor in outboard the price difference is not that much (bout 4000 euros)

Quote:

I will quite literally mix on a Behringer if it means I can get a good PA.

The choice of PA and all the A/V/L infrastructure is what should be concerning you now, not the choice of mixers. A mixer should be an easy decision that can be made at any time based on need and budget. Any mixer from a reputable manufacturer will "sound" just fine and they should all work and perform equally well.



Im not so sure? I mean the console is the engineers work palette! its how one shapes their sound. I realize that the PA is very important but i think the console is very important as well.
Its got to be something that you like the sound of!
I use the M7 alot at different events etc and i can get a "result".
I just wouldn't put it in my church where sound quality is most important.

Going back to the original point?
How is the SD 8 sounding?
Anyone?

Regards,
Oran




Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: David Sumrall on January 02, 2009, 08:48:58 am
Hey Oran,

I had a response yesterday but somehow that dot deleted before I sent it so I will try again.

I am still not sure exactly what the issue is you seem to be having.

But there is a world of difference going from a little analog desk to a full functioned digital desk with every setting and function behind a screen. There could be all kinds of things in the setup that are contributing to what you are not liking.

One problem could be gain structure for example.

Maybe something got over tweaked.

No offense intended but anyone can make any desk sound like crap!

My initial experience with the M7 was the opposite. I got a demo desk and used it for several events over a two week period. Those event included, Casting Crowns, Crystal Lewis, Russ Taff, Dallas Holmes, Aaron Shust etc. For the first gig I had very little time for pre production and had about two hours prior to sound check once we got an idea of what the input list might look like. The desk and system worked out great and again everyone was happy.


In regards to the M7 being an acceptable desk, it is!

In the states lots of churches have it and so do lots of touring christian artists.

Here at FBCO when we provide M7's for concerts we have never had one turned down, and those M7's come with a d&b PA system of some sort. When we do this it always sounds great and everyone is happy.

Now understand that my perspective comes from a person that mixes on and Midas Xl4 everyday in our big worship center. Of course the Xl4 sounds better, that is no suprise. But the M7 sounds fine too.

Would most people in our church know if either sounded better or why? Probably not.

Are there things that could be better on the M7? yepper, but you have to spend a lot more money to even try.

You mentioned the smaller soundcraft that you are looking to replace. Our church has gone on tours in Ireland several times over the past 7 years. Our experience is that Churches in Ireland are smaller then  mega churches in the states and that the systems and budgets are smaller too. We have seen a lot of Allen and Heath with most being GL and under and 32 inputs and under.

That being said an M7 might cost as much as what most of these little systems cost in total, not to mention the SD8.

I say that to get us to the point to keep some perspective.

When looking for a console.. what are the real specs needed?

what is the budget?

Is the the SD8 even in the budget??

If it is not then we and you could be wasting a lot of time even talking about it.

I have heard that the SD8 has a lot of stuff in it functionality wise for the price. But for the rooms I need digital consoles for it is either to big and over budget, or way too small. So knowing that, I don't waste my time worrying about it that much.

For me the next "acceptable" solution about the M7 would be the Venue Mix Rack that Rob mentioned. Yep it sounds better then the M7 and cost more too.  There are lots of Venue systems out there touring as well that sound great! Plus as Rob mentioned you get the plug in and pro tools options. I would have loved to have considered the Venue route but it was not in the budget even in the mix rack set up.

It may be too early for most here to give you a very good assessment on the SD8, as it is so new and there just are not that many of them out there yet.

In the words of the Rolling Stones....

"You can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes, well you might find, that you get what you need"

Good luck!

David
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 02, 2009, 09:08:27 am
[quote title=Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 07:57]
Quote:


Quote:

I will quite literally mix on a Behringer if it means I can get a good PA.

The choice of PA and all the A/V/L infrastructure is what should be concerning you now, not the choice of mixers. A mixer should be an easy decision that can be made at any time based on need and budget. Any mixer from a reputable manufacturer will "sound" just fine and they should all work and perform equally well.



Im not so sure? I mean the console is the engineers work palette! its how one shapes their sound. I realize that the PA is very important but i think the console is very important as well.
Its got to be something that you like the sound of!
I use the M7 alot at different events etc and i can get a "result".
I just wouldn't put it in my church where sound quality is most important.

Going back to the original point?
How is the SD 8 sounding?
Anyone?

Regards,
Oran



I agree totally with Karl.  Geting the PA/room right is waaaaayy ahead of NY very subtle console "sounds".

If the PA/room is "off" then lots of people will notice.  If the console "sound" is off, there will probably be only one person (the mix guy) who would even notice.  Is that putting importance where it needs to be?  I asume you already have the "best" mic available and all your musicians play only top of the line instruments-because those are the "paints" that a true artist uses.

If you are looking for people to tell you how a particular console "sounds" on the internet, that is going to be wrought with all sorts of different opinions.  As you have already seen.

Maybe YOU need to go listen to one yourself to make up YOUR mind.

Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Jeff Ekstrand on January 02, 2009, 09:24:18 am
I'll put in another note in favor of the M7. Of course, if you're already set against it, then I don't expect anything.

I just had a national touring band come in the other day, Seventh Day Slumber played New Years Eve at our church. They actualy tour with a Soundcraft GB8 on their smaller tours. They have a custom-designed PA that consists of about 12-18 10" per side with 8 18" subs per side. All in-ears, run in mono, as the GB8 doesn't have stereo aux mixes anyway. Interestingly enough, their processing on this show was Behringer... which I guess the PA manufacturer dialed-in for them because their Driverack is down right now.

Anyway, these guys rolled-in, and their tour manager/FOH A1 quickly informed me that he'd been begging (in vain) for an M7. I think that, after hearing some of the sound-check, the owner/lead vocal of the band/ministry was in favor of pursuing the purchase a little further.

They mixed a rock show at 105-110dBc and we all (including the band's "entourage" thought it was great. I mixed the opener at 100-105, so as not to overshadow the headliner, and it sounded equally as good. That's slightly louder than we run our Sunday morning services with our PA.

My bottom line is that I can get great sound out of an M7 on multiple different rigs with different processing, and different mics. I can also do the same with multiple bands on the same stage on the same night.

I did have a chance to hear the SD8 a little. I didn't get to mix on it, and it wasn't a band. I had a chance for a somewhat private viewing of the console about a month or so ago. Great console, by the looks of it. Although I wasn't sure it was CRAZY good enough to justify the price increase.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Brad Weber on January 02, 2009, 09:50:06 am
Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 07:57

Im not so sure? I mean the console is the engineers work palette! its how one shapes their sound. I realize that the PA is very important but i think the console is very important as well.
Its got to be something that you like the sound of!
I use the M7 alot at different events etc and i can get a "result".
I just wouldn't put it in my church where sound quality is most important.

I think that David made the point, but do you really think that in real world use the average church member is going to notice the difference?  I don't think anyone is arguing that there is not some difference in the sound but if an M7CL functionally serves the purpose and virtually none of the membership would notice the difference, does your thinking it sounds better justify the additional investment, which would be considerable here but may be less of a difference there?

I think a great example of some of the issues is that you note the M7CL sounding "digital" but say that "Even the Roland V mixer (which is cheaper than the M7 CL) made a good attempt at reaching the "acceptable level"."  Yet the demo I heard of the Roland digital snake left me considering it unacceptable due to it having a very harsh and "digital" sound.  Whether it was the demo setup or personal preference, we apparently had exactly the opposite impressions.  That happens and listening to comments from others since then I have realized that what I heard is not be the impression most people have, sometimes it takes listening to other people's perspectives to know that what you heard was an anomaly or to refine your own views.

Big picture here, first you were discussing the d&b Q series and the need for the sound quality you associated there, while also identifying at that time that you had no budget, and now you are worried about the difference in sound between an M7CL and an SD8.  No arguing that a d&B Q series and DigiCo SD8 based system could be very nice sounding, but at least in my experience it is also rather impractical and unrealistic for most churches.  To be rather blunt, and not knowing your actual role in the church, does your perspective represent that of the church?  Are subtle sound differences and the absolute highest fidelity really that high a priority and a practical goal?  Do you have the budget this requires?  In my experience most churches have to make some compromises and functionality and budget often take precedence over subtle sound quality differences.  Maybe you are lucky and have the resources and support to not have to consider such compromises but I just want to be sure that issues such as those raised are of practical concern and that you are focusing on the factors that really matter for your application.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on January 02, 2009, 10:01:42 am
Jeff Ekstrand wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 09:24

Great console, by the looks of it. Although I wasn't sure it was CRAZY good enough to justify the price increase.



The SD8 can do like 80 mono OR stereo channels. If you need the I/O this is worth it right there.

The digital snake is worth something if you can use it.

I happen to like the interface a lot better than the M7.

The I/O choices of the desk is also nice. With Yamaha  I get a few card slots* in which to use anything from digital audio network cards, to aviom cards, to whatever I may want to do for recording solutions. However in the SD8** I can use any number of cards of my choosing***, whether they be Analog, AES, ADAT Optical, T-DIF, Ethersound, or Aviom.

Also, because the digital snake is a standard MADI Implementation with the addition of the ADK MADI recorders it is _very_ easy to do full system recording and then use it back as a "virtual soundcheck" or import it on into protools.

Now, all of this means jack squat to most churches looking at an M7.

It all just comes down to what do you need, how much can you spend, what does the rest of the system look like.

Karl P


*Not counting the 1d with appropriate cages of course......
**If I get the bigger full digirack......
***Up to the limit of the two racks.....
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on January 02, 2009, 10:02:47 am
David Sumrall wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 08:48


I have heard that the SD8 has a lot of stuff in it functionality wise for the price. But for the rooms I need digital consoles for it is either to big and over budget, or way too small. So knowing that, I don't waste my time worrying about it that much.




No...... But the SD7 is nice....... *nudge*

Karl P
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 02, 2009, 10:15:32 am
Oran Burns wrote on Thu, 01 January 2009 22:45

Hey Ivan,
In the example that i listed above i swapped the soundcraft console for the M7, so the only thing that changed here was the board


When someone says "the only thing I changed was the board", I almost fall off of my chair. The only thing????

Unless every trim, fader, aux send, and eq setting is identical within 0.1 dB and 1 Hz on the two boards, they *have* to sound different. While setting within 0.1dB is just a clerical operation on a digital board, its mission impossible on almost all analog boards.

Furthermore, the channel strips on the two boards have completely different equalization paradigms. Unless all eq controls are bypassed on both boards, they are going to sound different. If you aren't using the eq but are complaining about warmth or sterile sound, you just aren't trying. If you are using the eq on the LS9, and didn't previously use parametric eq all the time on some other board than the GB8, you are seriously underestimating the difficulty of getting the sound you want in a completely different world of knobs.

Furthermore, mixing on a digital board with a lot of virtual controls like a LS9 is a major paradigm shift from a 1 control per function analog board like the GB8.  

Call me stupid and/or lazy but I played around with my 02R96 for about 2 months with a test system before I was willing to actually do the swap into the sanctuary. The first Sunday was about the longest Sunday of my life. Max anxiety. And 3 years later, I'm still getting really intuitive about some of the more detailed and subtle things that only exist in digital land.

If you haven't already learned this just remember, anxiety tends to make things sound like crap. Wink
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on January 02, 2009, 11:05:33 am
Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 07:57


Quote:

I will quite literally mix on a Behringer if it means I can get a good PA.

The choice of PA and all the A/V/L infrastructure is what should be concerning you now, not the choice of mixers. A mixer should be an easy decision that can be made at any time based on need and budget. Any mixer from a reputable manufacturer will "sound" just fine and they should all work and perform equally well.



Im not so sure? I mean the console is the engineers work palette! its how one shapes their sound. I realize that the PA is very important but i think the console is very important as well.
Its got to be something that you like the sound of!
I use the M7 alot at different events etc and i can get a "result".
I just wouldn't put it in my church where sound quality is most important.

Going back to the original point?
How is the SD 8 sounding?
Anyone?

Regards,
Oran



If you want to call the console your palette, then we will need to finish the analogy by calling the mics your brushes, the pa your canvas, you the painter, the infrastructure your easel, the onstage talent your model, and the room is your light-source from which to view the model, what you are painting, and what colors you are using. Finally the end painting is judged not by yourself, but by the audience.

Do you see what we are all trying to say? The system is only as good as it's weakest link* and very seldom is the week link the console. In fact** I would go so far as to say that if you were to put an M7 in every venue on the planet, the number of systems of which that would become the weakest sonic link could probably be counted on one hand. If there are any at all.

Now, I appreciate you beginning to admit that the only issue at play here may be personal preference. With that said it may be time to just soldier up and realize what all great mixers do. So long as the tools are workable - I am one happy camper.

Seriously, this mindset of "lets make it work" or more appropriately "I am happy to be alive and any problems in this situation are merely opportunities I must work through or with on the way to sonic excellence for this show" is what makes a truly great mixer. Heck, change a few words and that is the basis for a truly great person.

I really can understand wanting to have what I want as well, I have sure made some decisions that way myself. But you have to realize that we are here for God's glory and what type of console we are mixing on is truly second if we think about it. (In fact it is actually lower than that, being that PA, infrastructure, video, and lights come before the console Very Happy)

Now, there is no doubt that it takes awhile to transition to a new console, especially if you typically mix on just one type/model. But after you get used to the M7 you will then, if hundreds of other users are anything to go by, start to love it and get used to its power and its possibilities over what you currently have.

Now, finally, just to throw a wild guess out there, do you even have budget at the moment for an M7? Are you sure that there isn't some pipe dream here and we should actually be talking about an LS9 or V-Mix, versus an A&H with B-Grade outboard?

How big is your church and what is your overall audio budget? Do you have a contractor/consultant onboard for the acoustic/PA design? How many seats do you currently have? Who is in charge of your purchasing and budgeting decisions?

I am continuing this conversation because I believe there are a lot of people here who could use to read this and hopefully will learn what we are trying to show you.

I do however truly hope I am wrong and you have the means to purchase what we are talking about, along with that d&B system................

Karl P


*I am going to leave out the obvious week link of the painter..... If we are all being brutally honest the weakest link in any system will always be us, the idiot with two ears (aka "the painter"), as rarely will anyone ever be good enough to truly use a system to its capability. Even after 100's (1000's?) of shows I rarely do "great" work. Took me awhile to learn that.

**WARNING: Generic comparison ahead, specifically concerning sound quality _ONLY_. I am perfectly aware how many shows couldn't function without XYZ, we are talking sonics here. mmmmkay?
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 02, 2009, 01:37:13 pm
Karl P(eterson) wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 11:05

[*I am going to leave out the obvious week link of the painter..... If we are all being brutally honest the weakest link in any system will always be us, the idiot with two ears (aka "the painter"), as rarely will anyone ever be good enough to truly use a system to its capability. Even after 100's (1000's?) of shows I rarely do "great" work. Took me awhile to learn that.



As I have said before, after the thousands of gigs I have done I have only gotten what I consider to be "perfect" snare sound-once.  Good and accpetable lots of times- but "perfect" only once.  Was it the console-the mic-the sound system-the efx-NO.  It was my normal rig that I used all the time. And it was not a great snare either.  Just the local opening band.

When it happened, everything all lined up correctly.  My lucky day. Very Happy   I know it can happen-I have heard it-but only ONCE.  Maybe if I used a different console that had a better "sound" I could get that "perfect" sound more often. Laughing

It was even a stressful day in that I had already unloaded and started setting up for a concert when the promoter said he needed me at a different venue-an hour away Shocked .  So we packed it back up and went and set it all up again.  We basically "threw" the PA together with no "tuning"-we just ran with it-being a couple of hours late.

Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Oran Burns on January 02, 2009, 03:03:20 pm
Folks,
I seem to have "rattled alot of cages" with this post!
Which was never the intention by the way.
I do appreciate all the input.
Please forgive me if i did not explain clearly from the outset that my dislike for "budget" digital consoles was indeed MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION
After all it is not in the bible!
Or maybe???
Only joking.
One of the recurring themes here is people suggesting that the "issues" i had with this console may have been user error?
WHAT?
NO WAY!!!
Im perfect!

No not really, like all of us i certainly aint perfect and do get it wrong sometimes.
On this particular day when we did the demo of the M7 alot of people in the room were blown away by what they heard.
The band were delirious (in a positive way of course)
The pastors wife (who didn't even know what was goin on and who never speaks to me about sound) came up to tell me that the sound was "great"
The main man himself the Pastor, his first comment was " as soon as i heard the music i knew we had to get one"
So if user error was the issue here then would all of this have happened?
I think not.

From my perspective whist the console delivered a clarity which we never had before and gave me the flexibility to process everything that required "help", the overall sound quality was too clinical, too harsh and sounded processed and not natural!!!
I always ask myself this question when evaluating Live digital consoles.
If someone was to bring me into a room blindfolded and let me listen to a band playing through a system and ask me the question "is the console digital or analog"?
If i knew that the console was digital then there is a problem.
If i couldn't tell whether it was digital or analog then to me the digital console is worth it.
If it was D Show i wouldn't know whether it was digital or analog but i would know if it was the M7.
On this day when we did the demo im certain that if i was brought in there blindfolded i would say straight away "digital board"
Its just got that sound to it that doesn't sound natural, and all the processing is audible.

One of the other interesting points in this topic is regarding "whose opinion matters?"
Some of you folk pointed out that the congregation wouldn't know the differences between different consoles and the only one in the room who will notice anything is the engineer.

Quote:

but do you really think that in real world use the average church member is going to notice the difference?


No, some may but most wont.

But here is the deal, God put me in position to do sound in his house and he gave me a talent and an anointing to carry it out. Im responsible and accountable for how things sound in our church and my job is to carry that out to the best of my ability.
So my opinion on how things sound is therefore important. Im not there to please the congregation.

Have a look at the approach to digital consoles from Midas.
They basically refused to bring one out on to the market until they were happy that digital technology was advanced enough.
I admire that, and i do realize that we are talking about the "high end" here.
Other companies have flooded the market with digital consoles that were designed to fit in a "price bracket" and have no regard for sound quality!

Interesting that on another forum on this very site today i read a quote in one of the topics which said that you dont see M7s on artists riders!!!
I wonder why?

David you are right (as per usual)
Quote:

But the M7 sounds fine too.


Yeah it sounds fine but it just doesn't sound good!!!!

Why should God settle for less than the best?

Regards,
Oran





Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 02, 2009, 03:35:48 pm
Good luck in your pursuit of "perfection".

Maybe the "digital" sound is actually one that "has no sound".

Maybe you are looking for colored sound.  If so, is that "natural"?

If you are wanting a "natural" sound, I certainly hope your guitar player never uses any distortion or special effects-because those are not "natural".

Maybe the Yamaha is just to "accurate" for your tastes.

In the case of your M7 demo, maybe it is YOU who are wrong.  If the people in attendance liked it better, but you thought it was to "digital", does that make your opinion "better" or right?

If you are not there to serve the congregation, then who are you there to serve?  If you say God, then how do you know your opinion is more important than that of the congregation or your Pastor?

Is it YOUR money that is going to buy an upper end console or the congregation/Gods money?  If it is your money then go for it, but if you are spending others money-I suggest you strongly look at what is most important.  Is anybody going to get saved by having a digital console that does not sound "digital".  I think not.  So is it worth it-for your own personal pleasure and satisfaction?  After all it is not about YOU, why people are in church.

It appears that you are in the minority-at least in your demo with the M7.

You must really have a very nice PA and very well behaved room to hear such differences.  Most churches are not afforded that luxury.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: David Sumrall on January 02, 2009, 04:33:24 pm


No...... But the SD7 is nice....... *nudge*

Karl P



Hey Karl! I laughed out loud at that one:O)
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Jeff Ekstrand on January 02, 2009, 04:48:40 pm
I can see your point of wanting the best sound possible, with that pursuit of perfection... although Ivan is also right that perfection simply does not exist. We, as humans, will never design a system that can perfectly reproduce the original sound of an instrument or vocal, and we as humans would never be able to operate that system to the point where it actually does recreate that sound perfectly. That's an important distinction to make. It's the very reason why I tell my team that we don't strive for perfection, we strive for excellence. If we strive for perfection, we're never going to be satisfied, and most of us type-a guys would probably end-up leaving the business because we'd be in a constant state of depression.

The point of digital or analog being more natural is also a good question to ask. I can guarantee you that the GB8 colors the sound. While it has good preamps, the Soundcraft will, by nature, change the sound of the signal simply by sending the current through any one of its components. The very fact that it has groups as opposed to VCAs means that the signal is now passing through even more components, and the tone is being altered further. At no point, even with EQ bypassed, and being sent straight to the main mix, would you get the exact same signal out as you brought into the console. At the same time, a GB8 is going to sound different than an Allen & Heath GL3800 or another similar console. Each console, analog or digital, will alter the sound, color the tone, in some way.

Perhaps any one of us could walk into a room and tell whether or not the mix was digital or analog. However, even Matt Larson from Midas would tell you (and has told me) that there is a difference between the sound of a Pro6/XL8 and a Heritage series. And, while the difference may be less noticeable, it's still there. Which brings me back to my original point:

You will always be able to hear the difference, on some level, between your GB8 and an M7CL, or the SD8, or the iLive, or an Si6, Pro6, XL8, you name it.

The key here is this, what is the best use of the church's money? Can you still deliver excellent sound for God's people with an M7? I've delivered excellent sound from a Mackie SR32x4...I know, blasphemy!!! Granted, it wasn't the same level of excellence as my mix from an MH4, PM1D, etc., but that's the thing about excellence, the definition changes based upon the circumstances. I don't have a Meyer Array, PM1D (or comparable analog board for the sake of this thread), BSS or Meyer processing, or all the other best toys. Does that mean I'm going to give-up because I can't deliver the same "quality" sound? I'd still be mixing on a Mackie SR32x4 if that were my attitude. I'd still be mixing on an A&H GL4000 if I didn't care about getting something that's really going to make my ministry thrive to its fullest capacity.

I know that I can get a volunteer up and running on my M7CL in a matter of hours, as opposed to days and weeks on an all analog system. I can preset the console and he can get around the necessary day-of controls with 0 problems. The studio manager is so easy to use that I can even help make changes on the fly if they are hidden in multiple menu layers on the console.

That, to me, is excellence (or as close as I can get right now) in ministry. I have three volunteers who do something completely different in their day-jobs, who can come in and rock my face off with a great, nay, excellent mix on Sundays. Now, maybe the SD8 would sound a little better, and might be just as easy to use, but the M7 fits our ministry needs and I didn't have to pay twice the price to get it. And it is most certainly not the weak link in my system... that, again, is the P.A., or the room, depending on how one looks at it. I'm most certainly not going to be able to change the room anytime soon, so I might as well identify the weakest link that I can influence. Smile

Lastly, we're not all pointing-out the potential flaws in this ideology to flame this post or make you feel bad. We are doing this because someone else may see the title of the thread and think that they are going to get a definitive answer on whether the SD8 is worth buying. It's important for all of us who act as consultants, contractors, designers, and FOH engineers, to give the best information possible. I don't want a potential client of mine to come in here and read that the M7 is a bad console, or it's sound is unacceptable, when in all reality it is a great console and can provide many churches with more features than they could hope for with a price-tag that sometimes seems too good to be true.

I reserve my gear bashing for Mackie and/or Behringer. Smile And even those two have had their redeeming moments in my career. I wouldn't have a career today if it weren't for Mackie, mixed my first shows on their boards.

*end diatribe*
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Kent Thompson on January 02, 2009, 05:07:57 pm
Quote:

overall sound quality was too clinical, too harsh and sounded processed and not natural!!!


Buy 32,48 channels of API pre-amps that should sweeten things up. Seriously though at some point you have to look reality in the eye and say "this is the best we can do we will have to make do with this one." We all would love to mix on a Midas but few of us have the budget for one.

My personal experience has been if you want it noticeably better you have to spend a boatload more money to do so which is not practical. An M7 is at least approaching practical for most churches while and SD8 is not for most churches but, if you have the budget go for it Smile.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: David Sumrall on January 02, 2009, 05:08:32 pm
Hey Oran,

I think you might be stirring things up a bit simply because you might be only looking at your perspective.

And your original perceived personal venting did not tell a complete story.

It is fine to have an opinion and a preference.

You expressed yours here and now others have given theirs. With lots of other wisdom attached.

You painted a picture at first that made it sound like the M7 was worse then the soundcraft, when now we see that was the opposite.

Yes you might be put in a place to listen and consider all things audio for your church.

But, so does everyone else here.

I agree with the earlier statements that it can be hard clearly communicating and understanding via the internet.


Our job is to consider everything when making any purchase because as said before it is not ours.

And yes, our job is to serve. We serve god, our church leaders, and we do serve the congregation.

If it ever becomes totally about what we want then we should get ourselves out of the way.

Also in the real world we don't mix for ourselves either. We mix for the audience that is paying the tickets that is paying the promoter that is paying the band that is paying us. Or some variation.

Trust me you are not the only person that has to deal with this and we are here to support and help you bro.

All of us here desire to have the best to help us to our job.

But that usually means the best that we can afford.

Considering more or better is not bad, but again it could turn in to a waste of time and resources.

Also when I said the M7 sounded fine. I did not say it sounded bad at all. It did sound good. On a d&b Q rig and me mixing of course it better sound good:O)

For the rider stuff my experience had been the bands that would have M7's on their riders already have them and bring them. That level of group usually specifies things like stage space, power etc and brings a lot of stuff with them.

Most of the rest of the riders I see just specify how many channels of this and that. Those groups have always been happy with an M7. But never have i read a rider say NO M7's where I have seen NO PEAVY, MACKIE, BERRHINGER, very often:0)

My hope is that you will see through the questions of which console is better, costs more, or each person likes this or that better.

It is about which pieces help us to do our job well and fit in the picture of our situation.

The quandary here now is that you have a church full of people and a staff that were very happy with what YOU did with the M7 during the demo.

I think you may find it easy to now get them to consider an M7, but you may find it difficult in getting THEM to understand the differences if any that THEY might notice with and SD8 or that they might want to spend twice the price to acquire.

I do wonder if some of your personal taste things have more to do with that "british" sounding preamp and eq vs the "japanese". Since you are in Europe I can totally understand your preference.

If only Midas could come out with an affordable M7 range desk. Of course it would only have 4 faders:O)

Good luck my friend!

Please have some fish and chips for me!Surprised)

David
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Oran Burns on January 02, 2009, 05:37:08 pm
Ivan,
Quote:

Good luck in your pursuit of "perfection".

Im not looking for "perfection"
Just a good sound.

Quote:

n the case of your M7 demo, maybe it is YOU who are wrong. If the people in attendance liked it better, but you thought it was to "digital", does that make your opinion "better" or right?



Quote:

then how do you know your opinion is more important than that of the congregation or your Pastor?

I dont see my opinion as being any more important than anyone else's however when it comes to the area where i am held accountable (sound) then my opinion is important.
My pastor trusted my recommendation to keep our finance until we could afford a system like D Show Mix Rack.

Quote:

Is anybody going to get saved by having a digital console that does not sound "digital".

People are saved by making Jesus the Lord of their lives, however i do believe that the church and all the staff there have a responsibility to present the Kingdom of God in the best manner possible.

Quote:

It appears that you are in the minority-at least in your demo with the M7.

Thats right a bit like in this discussion actually! However the important thing here is that the Leadership of the Church backed my recommendation.


Jeff,
Excellent post, there are many words of wisdom in there!

Quote:

The point of digital or analog being more natural is also a good question to ask. I can guarantee you that the GB8 colors the sound. While it has good preamps, the Soundcraft will, by nature, change the sound of the signal simply by sending the current through any one of its components. The very fact that it has groups as opposed to VCAs means that the signal is now passing through even more components, and the tone is being altered further. At no point, even with EQ bypassed, and being sent straight to the main mix, would you get the exact same signal out as you brought into the console. At the same time, a GB8 is going to sound different than an Allen & Heath GL3800 or another similar console. Each console, analog or digital, will alter the sound, color the tone, in some way.


This is a very good point and i do accept that.
Sorry if it looked like i was trying to argue a case for the M7 being inferior to the GB8, its more like i felt we as a church should aim for a better digital board like the D Show Profile.

Also i hope it didn't sounded like i was gear bashing i would not get into that kind of thing i was just trying to explain what happened during this particular demo.
Regarding your clients i hope i wouldn't put any of them off an M7 as it is an ideal board for lots of applications and at the same time isn't this the point of these forums to hear differing opinions?
Regards,
Oran








Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 02, 2009, 05:55:40 pm
How do you know the D show is a better board-sonically anyway?

I know that is your question, but it sounds like you are automatically assuming that it is a sonically better console already, without having actually heard it Rolling Eyes .

Yes it is more expensive, but that may be due to a feature set or something else.

One of the complaints of the upper end Yamaha analog consoles was that they were to "sterile".  Yet they cost much more than other consoles.  You cannot automatically equate price with quality.

You say you are in pursuit of "a good sound", yet an M7 is unacceptable to you, so that tells me that you think an M7 sounds bad.  Or I am reading it wrong?
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Oran Burns on January 02, 2009, 06:12:30 pm
Ivan,

Quote:

How do you know the D show is a better board-sonically anyway?

Because i have one in my class room where i spend 10 months of the year!!!!

Quote:

You say you are in pursuit of "a good sound", yet an M7 is unacceptable to you, so that tells me that you think an M7 sounds bad. Or I am reading it wrong?

Not bad just digital.

Regards,
Oran


Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Ivan Beaver on January 02, 2009, 08:54:27 pm
Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 18:12

Ivan,

Quote:

How do you know the D show is a better board-sonically anyway?

Because i have one in my class room where i spend 10 months of the year!!!!

Quote:

You say you are in pursuit of "a good sound", yet an M7 is unacceptable to you, so that tells me that you think an M7 sounds bad. Or I am reading it wrong?

Not bad just digital.

Regards,
Oran




Then why are you asking what we think about it, if you already have one.  Can you not judge for yourself?  Does it sound digital to you-surely you know by now.

You asked about opinions of the sound of digital consoles.  It appears that there are many people here who think the M7 is a fine "sounding" console, but you do not think it is so.  Then why ask opinions?

Apparently your opinion is different.  Asking what people think about a particular "sound", be it a console-mic-loudspeaker etc on a forum is asking for a very wide range of opinions.  Some founded, some not.  

Some people have real experience with the particular product, some just like to "play" like they have real experience and have probably never even touched the product, but act like they do.

They will all respond, and you really have to take the responses with a grain of salt.

The best opinion is your own.  And I think you have already determined that.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 03, 2009, 10:23:27 am
Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 20:03


Why should God settle for less than the best?



Well, at my church, every Sunday morning lastly, God in his marvelous and infinte wisdom and grace *settles* for me. No bolts of lighting come down and evaporate me. Clearly, I'm not the best.

So, while I can't explain why God doesn't refuse to settle for less than the best, he's got a track record of doing exactly that.

Next!
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 03, 2009, 11:53:37 am
Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 23:12

Ivan,

Quote:

How do you know the D show is a better board-sonically anyway?

Because I have one in my class room where i spend 10 months of the year!!!!



IOW, you don't want to train yourself to bounce between two different consoles.

Interesting - if you say class room, than that makes you a teacher. So, what you're saying to your students and congregation by example is that they should be as inflexible as they can get other people to pay for?

Quote:


Quote:

You say you are in pursuit of "a good sound", yet an M7 is unacceptable to you, so that tells me that you think an M7 sounds bad. Or I am reading it wrong?

Not bad just digital.



And the D Show isn't digital?


Facts of the matter - other than the converters, one has to go out of his way to make a digital console sound bad. In this day and age, converters are among the most perfected of all audio components in a sound reinforcement system.


Bottom line, there are far more people who blame bad sound on their tools when the problem is them, than there are people with unmanageably bad tools.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Brad Weber on January 03, 2009, 01:50:45 pm
Oran Burns wrote on Fri, 02 January 2009 15:03

Im not there to please the congregation.

I'm sorry to hear you feel that way, I believe that most people in your position feel they are there because they were called to serve others.  However, that does perhaps explain some of our earlier discussions as my perspective is that I am there to support my clients and their audiences while you apparently have a slightly different perspective.

One of the reasons behind my approach was recently a topic of discussion on another forum.  As noted there, the potential problem when you base a long term system or facility primarily on any single person's personal preferences is that there is no guarantee how long that person will be there and the people taking their place may have very different preferences.  With that in mind it seems more effective in the long run to base decisions on the needs and preferences of the group rather than on any one individual's preferences, the preferences of a group are usually much less dynamic and capricious then those of individuals.

While striving to do your best is commendable, in my experience being a good steward for the church typically means considering what best serves the church overall and operating the sound to the best of your ability usually means doing what you can with what is available to you in that context.  Maybe you have a fairly unique situation where it is possible for everyone to indulge in their own individual goals.  However, just about every church I have dealt with has required individuals to make compromises in order to serve the church as a whole.  Since I don't think it has been directly addressed, maybe this can be clarified if you explained your actual role in the decision making process and identified how issues such as budget, integration with other building elements and so on will be addressed in order to avoid conflicts down the line.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Oran Burns on January 03, 2009, 09:17:22 pm
Brad,
Thanks for your post, I had noticed that you have been unusually quiet during this discussion which I now feel has been drawn out a bit much.
The reason I like your post is that it is dealing with relevant stuff and it doesn't nitpick and run aimlessly over the same ground again.
So far we have learned that im not the worlds biggest fan of the Yamaha M7.
Just to clarify some stuff which has got "misunderstood".
I dont think I explained the demo process properly.
After we did the M7 demo my recommendation was to keep our existing console and wait until we were in a better position financially and aim for a console like D Show.
This was not to say that I thought that the M7 was inferior to the GB8 just that the GB8 in my opinion sounded more neutral and didn't have the harsh digital characteristic that the M7 had.
So by that reckoning I decided that we should hold off until there was a better digital option available.
Another factor in this is that digital consoles are always falling in price and D Show for example (because of mix rack) is now half the price that it used to be.

Things in Ireland (as David already said) are vastly different than in the states.
We dont have mega churches, we dont have huge congregations and when it comes to purchasing we dont have huge budgets.
The plan is to move to a 1000 seater auditorium this year.
The plan from an audio perspective is to design a sanctuary and a system that is excellent.
My role in this is to run the sound department.
We dont have the same structure that there seems to be in churches in America.
I work under my pastor and i report directly to him.
He is in charge.
He has to make decisions for the whole church whilst my perspective is totally selfish and only considers the sound department.
As i said before we will have to be creative in raising the finance to do all that we hope to do.
The worst thing that we can do is to "limit" God.
He can provide all of what we require and then some!
All he requires is a faithful people who trust him.

Regarding my earlier comment:
Quote:

Im not there to please the congregation.

I guess i should have been more specific in what i was saying.
My first priority is to try and please God.
For years in our church i listened to nothing but complaints from the congregation about the sound quality of our Praise and Worship.
Its too loud, its too quiet!
That kind of thing!
People were never happy.
I guess those negative experiences caused me to focus on the real reason that i was there, to serve God.
Thankfully these days our Worship sound is much more acceptable and we dont usually have any complaints.
The fact that these days our congregation enjoys the worship experience makes me happy, like it would for any servant in the Kingdom.

Regards,
Oran
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds"
Post by: Oran Burns on January 03, 2009, 10:04:12 pm
Quote:

Interesting - if you say class room, than that makes you a teacher. So, what you're saying to your students and congregation by example is that they should be as inflexible as they can get other people to pay for?


WHAT??????
No actually,im saying to my students that they should be diligent and listen for themselves to form opinions and not just accept what people with business interests say about products.

Quote:

Then why ask opinions?


Simple answer here, to hear other people perspectives.

Speaking of other people perspectives.
Spoke to a friend of mine today who does FOH for some of the biggest bands in the world and i asked him what he thought about how the M7 sounds?
He backed what i have been saying all along.
I mention this to try to bring some balance to the discussion and in the hope that it will "quiet" some of the people on this forum who have actively been trying to discredit my views.
Its fine to have differing viewpoints and to express that and to debate with each other.
However it is not good to try to "discredit" someone just because they have a different view point than you.

I hope there are some lessons for people to learn in reading this topic.

Regards,
Oran


Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: John Ward on January 03, 2009, 10:50:59 pm
Lesson #1: Shhhhhh.............
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Jeff Ekstrand on January 04, 2009, 01:05:36 am
Quote:

Spoke to a friend of mine today who does FOH for some of the biggest bands in the world and i asked him what he thought about how the M7 sounds?
He backed what i have been saying all along.


Again, compared with the Midas XL8, etc., which "some of the biggest bands in the world" would be using, the M7 is a budget console. I don't think any of us have said that the M7 sounds identical, better, "less digital," or more natural than the D8. We're just giving honest feedback based upon experience, theory, and the reality of the ministry world.

If I were mixing FOH for the "biggest bands in the world," I too would expect better than an M7, just because the tour could probably afford it. Although I personally wouldn't scoff at the M7 if it showed-up at a venue or on a rider because I've gotten amazing sound to come out of it, so I know it would be less of a limiting factor to my mix than other pieces of the system.

Bottom line is this: Very few, if any of us on this forum, are mixing for "the biggest bands in the world," and thus the XL8, PM1D, Pro6, etc., etc., etc., will fall outside the realm of reality for many people in a church setting.

To expect all of us to make choices in churches based on the fact that a touring guy with "the biggest bands in the world" has his preference, is comparing apples to oranges. I'm going to bet that 60-70% of the systems belonging to members of this forum who work in churches aren't high-fidelity enough to audibly notice the difference between an M7 and D8.

Side-bar question: do "the biggest bands in the world" have names? Some of us have worked with some pretty big names ourselves, and maybe we know the FOH guy, too. Sometimes it's a small world.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: John Ward on January 04, 2009, 10:55:40 am
This past July our church hosted Worship Leader Magazine's National Worship Leader's Conference. All in all 24 acts on the bill; close to two thousand in attendance.
I personally mixed 18 of those acts. (Talk about 'big' names, some of the biggest Christian artists - Isreal Houghton, Leeland, Matt Maher, Ce Ce W., Rush of Fools, P. Balache, Lincoln Brewster, J. Butler). Only praise for the sound / mixes from the sponsors, attendees, artist management. Zero complaints from the guest / artist engineers. All on M7's - both house and monitor. I know many of the artists tour with more expensive digital and analog consoles. Nobody whined; nobody complained about a mediocre sounding console. There was plenty to moan about - the mix position certainly is not ideal. Only one act brought in their own console - a Mackie, if I remember correctly. To my ears, that mix sounded a bit harsh and gritty, although that may have been in part a stylistic sort of mix. But I doubt that was due to the console being used.

It's all perspective. As stated anyone can make a console / system sound less than optimum. Or more 'optimum' than expected. There are other key elements within the system that has much more impact on the final product.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Lee Buckalew on January 05, 2009, 07:18:00 pm
I do have to pipe in about converters.  The converters themselves matter as do the conversion type.  Qualities of converters vary tremendously.  
The best sounding digital consoles out there (and recording systems by the way) utilize full floating point computation.  Fixed point or fixed point with accumulator sound worse and worse the more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor.
The SD-8 is the first console in it's price range that uses full floating point computation.  That said I have only had the chance to play on one but not critically listen.  This should put it closer to the digital sound of the Midas live digital offerings but, until I can critically listen I won't say that it does.

Ther are definitely differences in sound quality among other digitals.  I have done head to head critical listening between various consoles.  One big comparison was DM2000 (with built in pre's) vs. M7CL-48.  The DM2000 sound better hands down but...it won't fill every need.  Limited number of faders up at any given time so grouping and mixing can be very effective but grabbing individual faders can be tough.
Again, the first thing that needs to be considered are the requirements.  From there you can list the consoles that fill these requirements and begin to make comparisons.  No one factor typically determines the choice, it is all about compromise among sonic quality, budget, processing and channel needs, bussing, etc.

One other thing alluded to but maybe not fully explained was the idea of swapping out consoles in a system without retuning the whole system.  I don't know how this system was tuned but I tune through the console in order to take into account all of the coloration of various components from console through speaker processor and amplifiers.  
If the Soundcraft added a warmth to the system that was partially tuned out for a flat(ter) response and the Yamaha was then inserted and it leaned toward a more neutral or a brighter sound then the compansation made for the Soundcraft would actually incorrectly sway the perception of the Yamaha as being brittle or overly bright.  
To restate the thought from other posts, you can not change out one component of the system and then see what you think of that component, you can only tell what you think of that component within the context of the entire system.

I would also add, which was stated in at least one other post, I will always try to get a client to get much better and more expensive speakers even if it means getting a slightly lesser console, amplifiers (price, not power rating), etc.  The speakers are going to be the weakest link in system and have the greatest impact on overall sound quality of the system.  The room itself is another story and has been discussed in other threads.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Jeff Ekstrand on January 05, 2009, 11:09:25 pm
Great points, Lee!

With the full floating point computation, now I'm intrigued to hear what the SD-8 can really do in a real show situation. Very, very intrigued.

I also agree with tuning the system through the console. It is important to get your tuning using every piece of gear associated with the system. I installed an LS9 at a church to upgrade from a MAckie SR32x4 (I've been mentioning that console a lot in this thread, I should be careful about that association). Smile We immediately retuned the system to account for the new console. We also did a few small pieces of the system processing on the console itself, to allow for easier access to some changes. That system used a DFR22 and a P4800 for processing, so on-the-fly changes were a little cumbersome without a laptop, and nobody from that team ever brought a laptop anyway.

The sound of that system, while not the greatest specs., was more than acceptable, and was a HUGE upgrade, given that we installed new QSC PL3 amps simultaneously. The console and amps, paired with a previously but recently upgraded MacPhereson speaker combination, provided a quite enjoyable listening experience, and was immediately noticed by more than just "key leadership."

Sure, any number of consoles would have been an improvement over the LS9, but again:

Right tool for the job.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Andy Peters on January 06, 2009, 05:02:41 pm
Lee Buckalew wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 17:18

The best sounding digital consoles out there (and recording systems by the way) utilize full floating point computation.  Fixed point or fixed point with accumulator sound worse and worse the more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor.


As the members of my tribe are wont to say: "Oy, gevalt! Where DO people get their fakakta ideas?"

Anything you can do in floating-point can be done in fixed point, and the converse. It is just that the floating-point processors can do a lot of the hand work (scaling, etc.) for the programmer. The floating-point processor is just faster and as such one can do more in a given time.

It is also worth noting that both fixed- and floating-point processors have accumulators. The accumulator is, like, you know, the most basic of all ALU elements. Without an accumulator you do not have a number-crunching machine.

As for the second point about "more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor" -- the people who do the actual coding recognize that they have a "CPU budget," meaning that they know how much processing they can do within a sample period. The processing doesn't "degrade." You can either do what is called for, or you can't. And any reasonable system will not give you the option to do what it can't do.

Some systems have pre-set "configurations" where you choose to have a certain number of EQ filters and a particular number of outputs or dynamics processors, or what have you. That way, the user can select the best way, for a given application, to utilize the available processing.

-a
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Lee Buckalew on January 06, 2009, 11:40:18 pm
Quote:

Anything you can do in floating-point can be done in fixed point, and the converse. It is just that the floating-point processors can do a lot of the hand work (scaling, etc.) for the programmer. The floating-point processor is just faster and as such one can do more in a given time.



True but, per "Handbook for Sound Engineers", Glen Ballou, chapter 25 by Steve Dove section 25.19.3 paragraph 2;
    "Perhaps the minimum for processing audio dat is a 24 bit word width and correspondingly wider accumulators and registers.  As such the Freescale devices just about fit the bill.  They are fixed point processors, which directly limits their dynamic range to the number of bits (144 dB for 24 bits, 336 dB for the accumulators); fortunately, this is plenty for most real-world audio processing.  Some applications, like some filters, demand wider immediate dynamic ranges in their calculation and intermediate-value data storage, and for those instances long or double-precision arithmetic is used.  The down side is that such filters can take up to twice as long (twice as many cycles) to calculate as single precision.
   
    25.19.4
   
   Floating point processors (floaters) as exemplified by Analogue Device's "Sharc" series avoid this problem by representing numbers internally in exponent/mantissa format, having far more involved internal processing to handle the complexity of dealing with these numbers...Since the dynamic range of a floater is as good as infinite regardless, none of the dancing around one sometimes has to do with a fixed point applies."


Quote:

As for the second point about "more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor" -- the people who do the actual coding recognize that they have a "CPU budget," meaning that they know how much processing they can do within a sample period. The processing doesn't "degrade." You can either do what is called for, or you can't. And any reasonable system will not give you the option to do what it can't do.



As noted from the text quoted above there are some processes (complex filters for instance) which tax fixed processing more than floating point processing.  I should not have oversimplified it by just saying additional channels.  As the fixed point engines are forced to run long or double-precision arithmetic, In my experience, the sonic quality degrades.  

Perhaps the differences have to do with other design features but, in my experience, quality floating point audio processors sound superior, sonically to their fixed point relatives.  That is not to say that fixed point processing devices sound bad, just not as good as floating point devices in my opinion.

As far as the SD8 goes, I still reserve judgement until I get to play with it where I can really critically listen.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Andy Peters on January 07, 2009, 01:26:13 am
Lee Buckalew wrote on Tue, 06 January 2009 21:40

Quote:

Anything you can do in floating-point can be done in fixed point, and the converse. It is just that the floating-point processors can do a lot of the hand work (scaling, etc.) for the programmer. The floating-point processor is just faster and as such one can do more in a given time.



True but, per "Handbook for Sound Engineers", Glen Ballou, chapter 25 by Steve Dove section 25.19.3 paragraph 2;
    "Perhaps the minimum for processing audio dat is a 24 bit word width and correspondingly wider accumulators and registers.  As such the Freescale devices just about fit the bill.  They are fixed point processors, which directly limits their dynamic range to the number of bits (144 dB for 24 bits, 336 dB for the accumulators); fortunately, this is plenty for most real-world audio processing.  Some applications, like some filters, demand wider immediate dynamic ranges in their calculation and intermediate-value data storage, and for those instances long or double-precision arithmetic is used.  The down side is that such filters can take up to twice as long (twice as many cycles) to calculate as single precision.
   
    25.19.4
   
   Floating point processors (floaters) as exemplified by Analogue Device's "Sharc" series avoid this problem by representing numbers internally in exponent/mantissa format, having far more involved internal processing to handle the complexity of dealing with these numbers...Since the dynamic range of a floater is as good as infinite regardless, none of the dancing around one sometimes has to do with a fixed point applies."


Um, what Dove says in that book agrees with what I wrote: doing things in floating-point simplifies matters for the programmer.  And one should note that double-precision arithmetic takes longer than single-precision simply because the processor must typically do two memory accesses for each data word. That's a bus-width limitation; if you only have a 32-bit data bus and you need to fetch a 64-bit word, clearly two read cycles are required.

And I suppose I should point out that the TI TMS320C30 floating-point DSP predates the SHARC by a good dozen years. I recall an AT+T 32-bit floating-point DSP from around 1990, too. None of this stuff is new.

Quote:

Quote:

As for the second point about "more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor" -- the people who do the actual coding recognize that they have a "CPU budget," meaning that they know how much processing they can do within a sample period. The processing doesn't "degrade." You can either do what is called for, or you can't. And any reasonable system will not give you the option to do what it can't do.


As noted from the text quoted above there are some processes (complex filters for instance) which tax fixed processing more than floating point processing.  I should not have oversimplified it by just saying additional channels.  As the fixed point engines are forced to run long or double-precision arithmetic, In my experience, the sonic quality degrades.

Perhaps the differences have to do with other design features but, in my experience, quality floating point audio processors sound superior, sonically to their fixed point relatives.  That is not to say that fixed point processing devices sound bad, just not as good as floating point devices in my opinion.


I would imagine that the real difference is not fixed- versus floating-point arithmetic, because as I pointed out, one can do the math with either, but rather a fixed-point machine simply has less horsepower for a given clock frequency than a floating-point machine. So with more computing horsepower, one can do a "better" job of implementing whatever is required.

And I suspect that part of the "degradation" you are hearing with certain fixed-point systems has a simple and reasonable explanation: these architectures may have 80-bit wide accumulators and results but as data are passed between processors (or processes) they are rescaled back to 24-bit precision. So if there are multiple such processing steps I would expect audible artifacts.

Finally, I would have thought that by now we wouldn't even have the fixed- vs floating-point discussion as the latter should have completely taken over for all but the simplest of applications. Alas, there are certain legacy professional tools with a vast ecosystem which remain in widespread use.

-a
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 07, 2009, 07:40:39 am
Andy Peters wrote on Tue, 06 January 2009 22:02

Lee Buckalew wrote on Mon, 05 January 2009 17:18

The best sounding digital consoles out there (and recording systems by the way) utilize full floating point computation.  Fixed point or fixed point with accumulator sound worse and worse the more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor.


As the members of my tribe are wont to say: "Oy, gevalt! Where DO people get their fakakta ideas?"




Marketing blurbs, I fear.  People seem to be running around casting stones in ignorance. The whole fixed point/floating point digital audio battle has been fought once already in the realm of DAW software. The outcome was that different developers make different choices, but all competent developers end up making stuff that works very well, thank you!

BTW for the record, my DAW software of choice is 32 bit floating point under the covers, but that had nothing to do with my choice. If you are implementing on a PC base, floating point may be the better choice because PC CPU chips tend to do floating point relatively well.

Dedicated digital audio hardware and DSPs can be a different story, or not.

I understand that under the covers, Yamaha uses 40 bit fixed point data paths, and 56 bit accumulators. That's more than enough to get the24 bit job done accurately and transparently.

Quote:


Anything you can do in floating-point can be done in fixed point, and the converse. It is just that the floating-point processors can do a lot of the hand work (scaling, etc.) for the programmer. The floating-point processor is just faster and as such one can do more in a given time.



The playing field is even more level than that, as I pointed out above.

Quote:


It is also worth noting that both fixed- and floating-point processors have accumulators. The accumulator is, like, you know, the most basic of all ALU elements. Without an accumulator you do not have a number-crunching machine.



Agreed. Even computers that may appear to not use accumulators for certain functions, have accumulators under their covers.

Quote:


As for the second point about "more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor" -- the people who do the actual coding recognize that they have a "CPU budget," meaning that they know how much processing they can do within a sample period. The processing doesn't "degrade." You can either do what is called for, or you can't. And any reasonable system will not give you the option to do what it can't do.



People need to consider what the consequences are, of running out of CPU power. When a computer array (and that is what a modern digital console is) runs out of CPU power, the results are pretty catastrophic and non-subtle. There are major drop-outs, clicks and pops in the output signal.

Quote:


Some systems have pre-set "configurations" where you choose to have a certain number of EQ filters and a particular number of outputs or dynamics processors, or what have you. That way, the user can select the best way, for a given application, to utilize the available processing.



Also, converters in good modern equipment don't sound dramatically different. Virtually ever converter chip used today implements the same basic technology, delta-sigma. As a rule their outputs are all fixed-point. The good ones all have very low noise and very good frequency response compared to other audio components. Nobody is going to use too-cheap converters in something as complex and expensive as a digital console, because they are a relatively minor expense.

With most digital consoles the greater part of the cost goes into the User Interface, and the remaining analog components.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Lee Buckalew on January 07, 2009, 10:14:32 am
Andy,
I think that we are both in (or nearly in) agreement here.
My point was not that in theory both types can do the same job but that, the additional math and scalling that fixed point systems utilize can, in my experience, be heard.

I agree that the fixed point architecture, again in my opinion, should have given way by now to floating point.  Cost (simpler to program for) and familiarity have won out in many cases and, in many live systems in the real world a very well implemented fixed point system in a live console sounds great.

After I respond to Arnold I will stop taking this thread in a different direction from the original intent.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Lee Buckalew on January 07, 2009, 11:50:00 am
Arnold,

Quote:

Marketing blurbs, I fear. People seem to be running around casting stones in ignorance. The whole fixed point/floating point digital audio battle has been fought once already in the realm of DAW software. The outcome was that different developers make different choices, but all competent developers end up making stuff that works very well, thank you!


I am not relying on marketing but on my own listening experiences in the recording and live sound world.  I also listen to the opinions of other engineers/producers.
I do a lot of classical recording work, some which was a part of the grammy process this year.  One of the great things about audio is the diversity of people, equipment, technique, etc. and that we can agree to disagree and still have sounds that our audiences like.
In my experience and the experiance of many other recording engineers (certainly not all), floating point systems sound better for some reason.  I suspect, but can not empirically prove, that it has to do with the additional mathmatical processes and scaling that they must use.  I do not believe that it has to do, at least not entirely, with the bit depth capability of the processor.
This does not mean that fixed point systems don't or can't sound good, just that, in my opinion, floating point systems are more transparent and sound better.

Quote:

I understand that under the covers, Yamaha uses 40 bit fixed point data paths, and 56 bit accumulators. That's more than enough to get the24 bit job done accurately and transparently.


The Yamaha architecture in the consoles that I am familiar with (if my memory serves me correctly) is 32 bit fixed point processing with a 58 bit accumulator internal processing.  I can't say that all of their consoles use the same architecture since I am not intimately familiar with all of them.
The Venue uses dual fixed point 24 bit processors, don't know the accumulator depth.  
I am not certain on the absolute specifics of other consoles off the top of my head.

Quote:

BTW for the record, my DAW software of choice is 32 bit floating point under the covers, but that had nothing to do with my choice.


I would agree that most decisions regarding a specific piece of equipment are not made based solely upon the processor type or any single factor but also on the interface, available peripherals, plug ins, etc.  

Quote:

People need to consider what the consequences are, of running out of CPU power. When a computer array (and that is what a modern digital console is) runs out of CPU power, the results are pretty catastrophic and non-subtle. There are major drop-outs, clicks and pops in the output signal.


I was not talking about the processor running out of power and dropping out, etc.  I was talking about some audible sonic differences between fixed point and floating point based products which seem to hold true, at least predominantly, across the board.

Quote:

Also, converters in good modern equipment don't sound dramatically different. Virtually ever converter chip used today implements the same basic technology, delta-sigma. As a rule their outputs are all fixed-point. The good ones all have very low noise and very good frequency response compared to other audio components. Nobody is going to use too-cheap converters in something as complex and expensive as a digital console, because they are a relatively minor expense.

With most digital consoles the greater part of the cost goes into the User Interface, and the remaining analog components.


Now we have changed topics to Digital Audio Converters.  
Yes, most today are Delta Sigma rather than some version of a ladder type converter, that does not mean they all sound the same or we would see loads of Grace, Avalon, Benchmark, Gordon, etc. (fill in your favorite top of the line pre-amps here) connected to digital consoles or DAW's through Alesis, Behringer, Peavey, Presonus, M-Audio or Mackie DAC's.  This is not typically the case or manufacturer's of high end, better sounding DAC's would be out of business (unless they put pretty blue lights on them, but that's another story:).
Delta Sigma converters sound better than ladders but add latency.  Most designers today choose additional latency when they "choose" better sound quality because they can't have both.  They compromise.  We can make up for some latency issues by utilizing a higher sample rate, this not only decreases latency but, given quality equipment, also improves the high frequency response and "opens up" the sound.  This has benefits within the reproducable audio range even if the system being used for the live or recorded music can not reproduce the full bandwidth of what was captured by the mic and processed by the console/DAW.  But, again, slightly different topic.

Again, everything is about how the whole system (console from input to output or PA from microphone to speaker) works together as a cohesive unit.  All components within any system have had some compromises made for some reasons either in the equipment or system design stages.  The original question was a comparison between two very different consoles in terms of price point and complexity.

"nuff said.  I have hijacked the thread for too long.  Wish I could learn to be much more succinct like a few of you other guys.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Andy Peters on January 07, 2009, 04:30:21 pm
Lee Buckalew wrote on Wed, 07 January 2009 09:50

Delta Sigma converters sound better than ladders but add latency.  Most designers today choose additional latency when they "choose" better sound quality because they can't have both.  They compromise.  We can make up for some latency issues by utilizing a higher sample rate, this not only decreases latency but, given quality equipment, also improves the high frequency response and "opens up" the sound.  


The latency is a consequence of the modulator and the antialiasing filter, and this latency is usually on the order of a dozen or so samples. Which is to say, not much.

-a
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Andy Peters on January 07, 2009, 04:33:34 pm
Arnold B. Krueger wrote on Wed, 07 January 2009 05:40

Me

As for the second point about "more channels and processing you utilize, taxing the processor" -- the people who do the actual coding recognize that they have a "CPU budget," meaning that they know how much processing they can do within a sample period. The processing doesn't "degrade." You can either do what is called for, or you can't. And any reasonable system will not give you the option to do what it can't do.


People need to consider what the consequences are, of running out of CPU power. When a computer array (and that is what a modern digital console is) runs out of CPU power, the results are pretty catastrophic and non-subtle. There are major drop-outs, clicks and pops in the output signal.


Um, you might want to read a post before you respond to it.

A modern digital console is designed such that it cannot run out of CPU power. As I've already said, the DSP engineer knows how much processing is available, and will not allow for plug-ins or whatever to exceed that limit. I mean, this is a solved problem. If more CPU horsepower is required, then additional processors are added.

Put simply: you will never hear clicks, pops and drop-outs as a result of running out of DSP horsepower.

-a
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Lee Buckalew on January 07, 2009, 06:20:54 pm
Andy,
As I am understanding it, but I am not a digital designer/programmer, one ended Sigma Delta creates, in general, around 1 millisecond of latency.  Having Sigma Delta conversion for both input and output adds about 2 milliseconds.  This depends upon sample rate so since a typical digital console has about a 2.4 millisecond latency or so at 44.1/48kHz and 1.2 millisecond latency at 88.2/96kHz that sounded about right.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Andy Peters on January 07, 2009, 06:59:30 pm
Lee Buckalew wrote on Wed, 07 January 2009 16:20

Andy,
As I am understanding it, but I am not a digital designer/programmer, one ended Sigma Delta creates, in general, around 1 millisecond of latency.  Having Sigma Delta conversion for both input and output adds about 2 milliseconds.  This depends upon sample rate so since a typical digital console has about a 2.4 millisecond latency or so at 44.1/48kHz and 1.2 millisecond latency at 88.2/96kHz that sounded about right.

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.


RTFDS. Just this past week I've been looking some Cirrus converters and they have a latency of 12 samples or less. At 48 kHz, twelve samples is 250 microseconds. Most converters have group delay of less than a couple dozen samples. So don't worry about it.

There is additional, unavoidable, latency in the console due to the actual processing.

Hers,
Andy Peters


Title: Re: Digico SD8-Console "sounds" A look inside
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 09, 2009, 08:29:54 am
Lee Buckalew wrote on Wed, 07 January 2009 16:50

Arnold,

Quote:

Marketing blurbs, I fear. People seem to be running around casting stones in ignorance. The whole fixed point/floating point digital audio battle has been fought once already in the realm of DAW software. The outcome was that different developers make different choices, but all competent developers end up making stuff that works very well, thank you!


I am not relying on marketing but on my own listening experiences in the recording and live sound world.  I also listen to the opinions of other engineers/producers.



People say the darnedest things. I can provide dozens quotes of engineers and producers unknowingly claiming to have suspended the laws of physics. Do you think that people become infallible when they take on the job title of engineer or producer? How many "hits" does one need to produce to be granted the ability to suspend or countermand the laws of physics? No such thing! Wink

Something as seemingly simple as a listening test is something that like everything else has to be done with knowledge of the pitfalls, and with craft and precision, if its results are to have broader meaning. People are forever doing alleged listening tests that fail on any number of scientific grounds.

How many live sound and audio production people are familiar with the principles and practice of experimental psychology as applied to audio listening tests?

If you're going to say "floating point systems are more transparent and sound better", you are, whether you know it or not, making a highly exceptional claim. Go to an IEEE or AES developer's forum, where the *real* experts are, and try to say it. The question will then be whether anybody will take you seriously enough to bother to answer you, given that you just said something so silly.

Quote:


I do a lot of classical recording work, some which was a part of the grammy process this year.  One of the great things about audio is the diversity of people, equipment, technique, etc. and that we can agree to disagree and still have sounds that our audiences like.



That's all fine and good, but when you're making exceptional claims, it is not about Grammy's, it is about Science.

Quote:


In my experience and the experiance of many other recording engineers (certainly not all), floating point systems sound better for some reason.



There is no scientific reason why a properly designed fixed or floating point system needs to be less than perfectly sonically transparent.

It is likely that most if not all of the music that we listen to whether recorded or live, has been processed *both* ways (however many instances of fixed-point processing, and however many instances of floating point processing) by the time we hear it.

For example, the digital filters on modern ADCs and DACs for audio (themselves small DSPs) are generally fixed point. I don't know of any that are floating point. Do you?  

Quote:


I suspect, but can not empirically prove, that it has to do with the additional mathmatical processes and scaling that they must use.



Anybody who is familiar with numerical methods, particularly anybody who has written assembly-level code to implement common numerical methods used in audio, will be shocked by this *revelation*.  Wink

Floating point processing requires *more* mathematical processing if for no other reason due to the need to take the standard fixed point audio data, and convert it to and from floating point. In fact this conversion can be done quickly and transparently, but it does amount to being an example of the dreaded (by some) "additional mathematical processes and scaling".

You do know that all common audio transmission schemes (AES/EBU, AES3, SP/DIF, TOSLINK, ADAT, etc.) are all fixed point, right?  

You do know that while floating point .wav files are possible, and used by many (including me on occasion), in fact most WAV files are fixed point?

You do know that all widely-distributed digital media (CD, DAT, SACD, DVD-A, MP3, AC/3, AAC, etc.) are fixed-point?

The bottom line is that if fixed point processing causes audible difficulties, then we are all in a world of hurt because it is endemic in the audio world.

Among truely knowledgeable people (e.g. people who tech people to write DSP code), either fixed point or floating point processing are completely acceptable for professional purposes, and can be chosen based on other considerations than sound quality.

If someone believes they heard a difference solely due to data being in fixed point or floating point, either their test has serious problems (all too common), or the equipment they are testing is poorly-designed (not likely in a modern digital console) or broken (possible).



Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Jeff Ekstrand on January 09, 2009, 10:03:33 am
Also, to say that one console sounds better/less digital than another simply because of floating-point or fixed point is to say that is the only variable that has changed.

I don't believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that anyone here has ever run the same console, the EXACT same console, in both floating and fixed-point. Mind your, that would need to be in the exact same room, with the exact same PA, with the exact same number of people, the exact same DSP (is that fixed or floating???), etc.

This is to piggyback Arnold's statements that there is no scientific proof for fixed or floating sounding better.

I'm still intrigued to hear what "so many people/experts/engineers" are hearing that makes these floating-point systems so sonically superior to their fixed-point brethren. Or maybe it's something that only "the experts/engineers" can hear, and the rest of us are doomed to listen with our puny, undeveloped, less-than-adequate heads. Which then begs the question: Is it worth it for all "the experts" to go to these lengths if "the masses" aren't going to hear the difference?

*end sarcasm*
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Lee Buckalew on January 09, 2009, 10:39:54 am
Jeff,
I was making the same point, in response to Arnold, that you just made about consoles but when I went to post it said I had been logged out.

Yes, I think the only way to test this whole idea, if we were talking about the processors, would be for two identical systems to be run, with identical consoles whose "only" difference was the processing type.

I am not saying that there is something scientific about sonic differences between processors.  I very clearly stated that it was my impression (and the impression of a number of others but certainly not all) that consoles and DAWS utilizing floating point processing had sonic qualities that they preffered over those with fixed point.  I also said that this was rarely the reason that these devices were chosen and that many very good sounding devices are out there in both processor types.  Choices are generally made for other reasons.
It is quite possible that the differences being heard are not due to the processors but that they have to due with other design or component differences.  Since there are no identical systems with only processor differences that I am aware of we can not test this.  I have had a consistent preference for floating point based systems but, there are many possible reasons for this.  

I certainly should have put "Best" in quotes in my comment about the best sounding...as that is my opinion, shared by others but my opinion in that post that many of the best sounding examples utilize floating point processing.  
I think I also clearly stated that there are many very good sounding devices out there that utilize fixed point processing.

Going back to my original point, I will be very interested to hear the SD8 and until then withold comment on how it sounds.

Now, on to an important discussion.  Which green markers make CD's sound the best and, is light a wave or particle phenomenon Very Happy

His,
Lee Buckalew
Pro Sound Advice, Inc.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: John Fiorello on January 12, 2009, 12:10:31 am
Lee Buckalew wrote on Fri, 09 January 2009 10:39

Which green markers make CD's sound the best and, is light a wave or particle phenomenon Very Happy



Marker?  Crayola.


Light?  Both. or neither.


Smile


JF
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Mike Galica on January 12, 2009, 10:08:08 am
I'm sorry but I have to ...

Light is both a particle and wave, except when you want it to be one of the options and then it is the other just to spite you.
Title: Re: Digico SD8
Post by: Jeff Ekstrand on January 13, 2009, 09:42:13 pm
SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!
Quote:


Light is both a particle and wave, except when you want it to be one of the options and then it is the other just to spite you.

And that's why we've all chosen audio. It's a whole lot less fickle/spiteful/picky. Oh... wait...
Title: Re: Brass air fittings
Post by: Karl P(eterson) on January 14, 2009, 12:24:01 am
I know this is spam, and that you will more than likely never be back again.

Nonetheless I think its cute that you have somehow managed to have less air fittings than my local mega-mart.

Karl P