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Title: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 09, 2008, 11:35:33 am
I'm exceedingly proud of the contribution that I make to the sound of a nine-piece touring band. I battle smilingly against impossibly tight small-festival time constraints, whittle channel lists down to the barest minimum and beyond, and laugh in the face of gear inventories that would embarrass an underfunded high school. Come showtime I mix with both hands, constantly fighting to balance 3 lead vocals, ad-libbed BVs, 3 brass, drums, keys, bass and various guitars whilst adding carefully chosen spot delays and reverbs to a constantly evolving setlist. I sing and dance and smile while I'm doing it, and I get respect from the local crew.

But when I walk up and see a digital desk at FOH I feel physically sick. I'd rather mix from side-of-stage on a B*******r analogue desk with one semi-para per channel, budget FX and no gates/comps/31s than do another show from the best position in the house on another Yamaha digi or anything else that doesn't give me one controller per function. Seriously, honestly, really, I've been there and done it several times.

If providers are going to insist on deploying these abominations I'm going to have to start saving for one of those APB pro-racks or something. Even the Midas XL8 looks like a big pile of expletive from where I'm sitting.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on June 09, 2008, 11:46:30 am
I love mixing rock and roll on digital boards. Smile

Gates and comps where ever you want them, fully parametric EQ anywhere, built in EFX, and anything else you could ever want. Analog desks are cool and all, but Ill take a digital desk any day. Smile





Evan
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) on June 09, 2008, 11:47:35 am
Thank you for sharing.

Hopefully your band doesn't have any of those new-fangled electronical guitars yet - those things will really cause you grief.  Wink
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Eric Simna on June 09, 2008, 11:58:25 am
I know what Mark's sayin'.  I am a lot alike.  I'd rather have nothing than have to page through screens on a small LCD to set everything.  And I do mostly musical theatre where the automation could help.

We just like being able to look at a channel and know exactly whats going on, without having to turn a page.

That being said, I haven't had the chance to mix on a digi yet, and like the idea of the feature sets.  But I'd still rather racks of equipment than the small "next to nothing" footprint.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS on June 09, 2008, 12:15:57 pm
Sorry to hear that our touring career will be coming to an end in the next few years!

I just did one of those little festivals with six bands and and a super low budget using a tiny Yamaha digital desk and it was terrific.  I had all the control I needed with regards to dynamics.  The Rev-X reverb was great sounding and the different tap tempo delays that I was able to do made for same tasteful effects.  I only had to run a snake and a single 20 amp circuit to FOH.  There was one band that brought thier own BE and he was able to walk up and mix with no problems at.  

I was better able to meet the budget constraints because it was way less labor to setup, saves over 800 lbs in the trailer and that saves in fuel costs which are out of control.  When it was time to tear down the rig we were able to get the whole P.A down and get on the road in less than two hours!  I am trying to find a new place to hide my big analog board so that I wil have more room for small digital consoles that will make me a ton more money!
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Dave Dermont on June 09, 2008, 12:24:10 pm
Hey Mark,

I respect your opinion and it's good to have favorites, but you need to get with the freakin' program.

No, really.

I understand the mixing with both hands and all that, but how hard is it to press a 'select' button?

Do you EQ more than one channel at a time too? THAT I gotta see!

Anyone who has been to Yamaha Digi Console School will tell ya...

Select - Tweak - Store

I hope the Yamaha people don't get pissed I have revealed their secret.

Rock On!

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mac Kerr on June 09, 2008, 12:25:39 pm
I hope your retirement fund is well paid up.

Mac
Title: Experience vs rumor
Post by: Mac Kerr on June 09, 2008, 12:30:35 pm
Eric Simna wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 11:58

I know what Mark's sayin'.  I am a lot alike.  I'd rather have nothing than have to page through screens on a small LCD to set everything.  And I do mostly musical theatre where the automation could help.

We just like being able to look at a channel and know exactly whats going on, without having to turn a page.

That being said, I haven't had the chance to mix on a digi yet, and like the idea of the feature sets.  But I'd still rather racks of equipment than the small "next to nothing" footprint.
When you have worked on a digital desk, let us know what you think. what "pages" do you think you have to turn? In what way do you think you need to look at a screen? You don't look at a screen to make adjustments on an analog board, why do it on a digital? You are still turning dedicated knobs on all but the very cheapest.

Mac
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mike Christy on June 09, 2008, 12:36:07 pm
Digital, sounds like the path I want to go, I should go, but with eye sight fading, I like the big knobs and silkscreen on my outboard gear. My distand of being at the mercy of some embedded programmer and having everything in one critical package is unnerving as well. Im also thinking the the brown outs in 100 degree weather on Saturday I experienced would have caused alot more havock with digital than just temporarily reseting my PLXs...

How would a digital board reduce event bidding/quote amounts, when 2% or 3% of $4000 digital equipment cost, is more than 2% to 3% of $2000 analog equiment cost? The dig/analog gear weights about the same, with the large gas-hogging gear being cabinets and power amps mostly... you always need them, dig or not.

Mike
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Ivan Beaver on June 09, 2008, 12:38:13 pm
Me thinks you are "mixing" to much.  You can adjust levels as you want to with any digital console WITH BOTH HANDS Laughing  on the fly and in real time.

Yes you can only tweak individual channel controls one at a time, but you should not be messing the individual channel controls all that often.  If you are then something else is wrong-either with the band (source) or the mixing style.

I did a gig once many years ago that had two "sound guys".  Right after this gig I moved my crossover.  I ususally kept it at FOH.

One guys "job" was to run the console.  The other guys "job" was to constantly-I MEAN CONSTANTLY adjust the house eq and crossover to "make it sound right" Shocked   DO WHAT?  Yeah-I don't make this stuff up Rolling Eyes

The sound was a total wreck.  I would put the crossover back to where it should be and the house eq, and a few minutes later he was screwing with it again.  I was running monitors and could tell at monitor land the house was screwed up.

It was amazing that nobody had shot these guys yet Laughing   The band had a HUGE local following and that is just they way they did it-or so I was told.  It just goes to show what good drugs will do for ya Laughing
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Dick Rees on June 09, 2008, 12:41:16 pm
Hmmmmmm.....what to say.....

Do you have trouble with the rest of the world driving on the "wrong" side of the road???? Rolling Eyes  
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Eric Dodson on June 09, 2008, 12:53:33 pm
I got on the digital bandwagon about 10 years ago on a Yami O2R and never looked back. Oh sure, analogue isn't going away and I'm just as comfortable on a analogue console but I saw back then where things were going and got up to speed... Now being comfortable on most digital surfaces, showing up as a BE at a club, festival, ect, there's no drama and my job is secure now and in the future....
Get with the times. Like or not; Digital Is Here To Stay!
Good Luck.
Eric Dodson
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: JoshRice on June 09, 2008, 12:58:34 pm
I moved from analog world to digital about a year ago.  I can tell you that it does take a few times out to get the hang of it, but if you want full control of each sound source, which it seams as that is the case, the digital will provide you with all of this control in one place.  As Even pointed out, every channel has everything you need right in the board.  Hey, if you don't want to use the internal gates, comps, effects, etc.  There are still insert jacks and auxs to send to your outboard gear.  Then you would not need to use the screen for anything but basic setup and eq freq. selection on the parametric.  

Oh yeah, next time you need to re-route inputs and outputs on your analog desk, I would love to race you with my digital.

All in all, I think you need to look at what the bigger bands are using who are making money and doing shows with much larger budgets then your low budget fair.  They are using digital for a reason.

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Scott Smith on June 09, 2008, 01:05:07 pm
Well, there is nothing wrong with being "old school"...but digital is obviously taking over.  I prefer knobs too.  I'm a rock'n'roller, and I'm also one of those people who still drives a classic convertible as well.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS on June 09, 2008, 01:15:20 pm
Mike Christy wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 09:36

How would a digital board reduce event bidding/quote amounts, when 2% or 3% of $4000 digital equipment cost, is more than 2% to 3% of $2000 analog equiment cost? The dig/analog gear weights about the same, with the large gas-hogging gear being cabinets and power amps mostly... you always need them, dig or not.

Mike



Easily....LABOR and CARTAGE!

Let's see, for me I could have brought my Yamaha PM3500 which I think the list price for that was something like $39,900 or something.  Of course I then would need a couple racks with power supplies, 8 channels of graphics, a ton of dynamics and multi-effects, all the patch cables to connect them, etc.  The Power suppies are 80 lbs each and there are two of them, the console in the case is proably close to 350-400 lbs.  The racks alone are 125 lbs each, all the patch cables probably weigh a good 100 lbs, the processors and EQ proably add up to 100 lbs.  It takes two people to lift the lid off.  It also takes a lot longer to patch everything in.

Or, I could take a tiny little O1V96V2 with the VCM effects and  16 extra mic pres all in one rack.  The entire rack probably weighs about 150 lbs.  I don't have to patch anything other than the snake, it's already done.

I get around 10 miles to the gallon with the trailer totally full with analog gear.  I get closer to 13 miles to the gallon with the weight savings using the tiny digital console.  

While some people look at the cost of the gear when bidding one events, I don't.  I look to see what is needed and what the budget is and try to find a compromise that will make me profitable.


Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Hasse Queisser on June 09, 2008, 01:18:51 pm
Mike Christy wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 18:36

How would a digital board reduce event bidding/quote amounts, when 2% or 3% of $4000 digital equipment cost, is more than 2% to 3% of $2000 analog equiment cost? The dig/analog gear weights about the same, with the large gas-hogging gear being cabinets and power amps mostly... you always need them, dig or not.

Mike




I went from a Soundcraft MH3 with two 26-space racks of outboard to a Yamaha M7CL-48 at FOH.

MH3+case = 160 kg
M7CL+case = 100 kg

Outboard racks+multipins = 180 kg
M7CL outboards = 0 kg

After this summer I will replace the old copper snake with an optical snake system. That will save me another 200 kg.

Total difference = 420 kg. That's almost half a TON folks.

Almost the same thing is true about the second M7CL in monitor world (a little less racks and copper though). Total weight reduction in the truck ends up at about 750 kg. Now lets talk about the space saved....

Not only will digital consoles take up less space and weigh a lot less, they are also cheaper to buy when you start adding outboards and multipins.

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mike Christy on June 09, 2008, 01:24:49 pm
Of course, the PM3500, but Im refering to something like a Soundcraft GB series or a A&H, approx. weight as a digi, could eaily be done with those boards as well. Sorry for the confusion.

I do look at the cost of gear when bidding, and size the gear to their budget/needs. It is dynamic when working with the client. I think we agree with this.

Regards,
Mike

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Tony "T" Tissot on June 09, 2008, 01:50:15 pm
Mark Hadman wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 08:35


If providers are going to insist on deploying these abominations I'm going to have to start saving for one of those APB pro-racks or something. Even the Midas XL8 looks like a big pile of expletive from where I'm sitting.


I sort of agree - but only when I get "surprised" with a desk I am not familiar with. My fault for not checking.

But.... "can you please help me?" always works to save me from my ignorance. I have NEVER found a sound guy that won't.

It's rare in my league to get anything upscale decent - PM5, (and never an XL8) but LS and MC are starting to pop up.

If - (when) - I can justify the cost - it's digital all the way (even without the inexpensive, fully integrated, remote pre's with full recall, digital snake).
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Lester Moran on June 09, 2008, 01:51:30 pm
Dave Dermont wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 17:24

Anyone who has been to Yamaha Digi Console School will tell ya...

Select - Tweak - Store

I hope the Yamaha people don't get pissed I have revealed their secret.


Cat's outta the bag now.

Seriously, Yamaha's factory-staffed digital console school was two days well spent for me.  I did one day on the PM5D and followed by one day one the M7CL.  It's become a necessary skill-set and one might as well get comfortable with it asap.

Les

p.s. I also remember when I thought email was "stupid".

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Dave Bigelow on June 09, 2008, 02:11:13 pm
Wow, like other have said, times are changing. You'll want to get used to digital (or travel with your own FOH) if you want to keep going.

I love the ability to throw a comp or gate anywhere without reaching for cables. Not having to chart shared channels after soundcheck is a nice feature too.

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jeff Babcock on June 09, 2008, 03:12:09 pm
I find I can get a "basic" mix up and running a little faster on an analog desk if I'm in a festival type situation with only a line check etc, but the difference is not that much.

HOWEVER I'd much rather have the digital features as well as not having to scan through a huge rack of knobs and buttons to find a comp or gate or whatever rack item - from a pure ergonomics perspective it's so much faster to pull it up on a screen that is in the same place every time - and I can also keep focus on the band better.  And once you do that show, save yourself a file and the next time you hit that desk you have a starting point that may save you time.

Not that I enjoy sitting down at a digital desk I've never used before.... analog can be easier in that regard..... but you'll quickly run into enough digital desks that it will become very natural using them after a while.  Just deal with it and take advantages of the new capabilities.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Milt Hathaway on June 09, 2008, 03:26:13 pm
Whatever, dude.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jake Scudder on June 09, 2008, 03:26:11 pm
Preferences are preferences and you are certainly entitled to yours.  I just wonder how employable the guys who still hold onto "no digital" clauses are going to find themselves in the very near future if not already.  

The thing about surfaces is once you have a handle on a couple it is a 10 minute process at most to get up to "make the show happen well" speed on anything new you might come across.

My current tour is my first serious encounter with an M7CL.  It's quite different than the PM1D, 5D, and DM series stuff I'm used to from Yamaha and yet I felt totally comfortable with the desk in about 3 minutes.  Now I just have to remember not to be poking at the PM1D screen when I go back to it.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Dick Rees on June 09, 2008, 03:39:28 pm
Hey.....

I'm still having trouble remembering the boost/cut and sweep on my Venice are backwards to my A & H!!!!
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: bruce reiter on June 09, 2008, 03:56:03 pm
hi ya'all,

my opinion is if you want to work and get paid well you should become a master of all of the current equipment and digital mixing consoles are on the list of current equipment.
my first taste of digital mixing was with the showconsole on the extreme steel tour in 2001 since then almost every tour i have done has used a digital console ...

my favorite 2 are the digidesign venue and the yamaha pm5d these seem to be industry standard and i advise anyone who wants to work now or in the coming years to really get to know these consoles. of coarse you should also make yourself familiar with the other digital options that are out there because you will be thrown on one for a massive festival at some point on your tour.

jump on the boat Razz  Smile

having said that i do love a xl4! with drawmer ds201 gates and some summit tla 100's and some fx like h3000se, tc2290, lexicon pcm 70 ... ahhh the sweet sounds.

best,

bruce
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Loren Aguey on June 09, 2008, 05:56:10 pm
I just started a casino gig with an LS9 and that my first experience with digital. So far I love it.

I'm glad the first show I did there was literally one channel and the duo mixed everything themselves, which gave me time to familiarize myself with the desk, without having to do any actual mixing.

Once I became "officially" comfortable on it(which was today actually, 3rd gig there) I think  its awesome. I love having all of that processing at your disposal with no outboard gear. And I also love having completely separate channels for monitor sends, basically like a separate monitor desk in the same console. No complaints so far.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: BarryWillems on June 09, 2008, 07:16:28 pm
Um .. where to start.

Like was said earlier, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But give me a break. I've worked on a lot of different FOH consoles from the crappiest 8 channel analog Peavey to the latest top-of the line digital Venue in our church (love it). I've been using an 01V96 in a weekend band project for about 2 years now (love it). For all the reasons mentioned in this thread, there is no comparison and no going back when it comes to digital vs. analog.

I can make just about anything sound pretty good if it's not total crap, but it is so much easier to do it all in the digital world. And anyone who thinks digital is about pages and screens and menues to get lost in needs to work on the latest stuff. I can see WAY more and tweak WAY more WAY easier in the digital world than in the analog world, especially with the elimination of all that outboard gear.

Time to move forward.  Very Happy
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 09, 2008, 08:26:05 pm
Wow.

Dave Dermont wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 17:24

Hey Mark,

I respect your opinion and it's good to have favorites, but you need to get with the freakin' program.

No, really.

I understand the mixing with both hands and all that, but how hard is it to press a 'select' button?

Do you EQ more than one channel at a time too? THAT I gotta see!




Hey Dave, you're probably right, I probably do need to just get with the freakin program, if I don't want to be carrying a desk around the rest of my life. I might just quit before I roll over and take this crap though.

No, I've probably never EQ'd two channels at a time, but I *often* tweak the LVs balance, send a single snare hit to a reverb, adjust the delay feedback, reach for the guitar that's about to hit a lead part and maybe steal a quick look at the setlist, all in the space of one bar. I need a spare brain if I'm going to keep track of which auxes my faders currently represent and which other auxes I've left faders open on. It feels like going backwards, not forwards.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of technology, and I know some desks are closer to usable than others, and circumstances make a lot of difference. First time I used an O1V (the old model I think) live was in France a few years back and the house guy didn't speak a word of English. But we had a soundcheck, and it was a very different band requiring much less mixing even though I had to mix mons too, and I had a few hundred hours' experience using Yamaha digis in a studio, and the gig worked. It was, however, frustrating having to stand 4 feet away from a GL2200 that was being used to record the gig! I've since (as house engineer) done an hour or two on monitors on one of the newer bigger Yamahas, which was fun, and mixed FOH for a couple of support acts on traveling Digidesign and A&H iLive consoles. It doesn't faze me and I'm grateful for the opportunity to get some practice in with relatively low expectations from an unfamiliar band. And, let's face it, I would actually like to get my mitts on an XL8 for half an hour just so I can say I've used it.

But it was an absolutely ridiculous gig the other day - small festy, two minutes changeover, the last thing I needed was to see an O2R/96 at FOH, accompanied by an HE who couldn't (or wouldn't) set up a tap tempo delay on a soft key for me and, it turned out a few minutes in, hadn't actually got any FX returns routed anywhere anyway, and the vocals were distorted to hell because there weren't enough pres on the desk so they were using an overcooked B*******r A/D unit hidden away in a rack along with a couple of inexplicable B******r digiEQs ... the whole depressing experience got me thinking how I would have loved to have turned up with my own rack/mixer and fold-out table and just repatch the XLRs... Maybe one of the newer Mixwiz 16:2s (APB/Crest is just a dream), Digitech Studio Quad mk2, some dbx or Rane mojo EQ and a cheap nasty 4-way gate/comp and I'd have been perfectly happy and able to do my job in the fluid way that we've come to expect. Cheaper, easier and no bigger or heavier.

HE guys and gals and festy providers, what would you say if I turned up to YOUR smallish digi-equipped venue/festy with my 4U rack 'n' rackdesk plus extension looms and table? Probably 'where do you expect to squeeze THAT in?', I suppose...
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: trace knight on June 09, 2008, 08:57:24 pm
I agree in part, you can have all the latest bells and whistles on every channel, give or take, load in all sorts of plug in's and outboard digital effects, even run off a laptop using wireless........but dammit, if your gonna demand this stuff, you damm well better know how to use it, and use it well. I have to say, in the limited digital world I have had to deal with demanders, who, well basically, they know how to ask and demand, and don't have a f--king clue how to use it. It's always been a train wreck of misplaced patchs, re-organizing, and just in general plain mayhem at any show I've had to provide the wish list for.
It's great for an act who carries their own, rolls their own, and knows just what's happening. Most of the shows I have to provide for, are fast paced, promoters who have no concept of reality, promising all acts soundchecks, or should I say "rehersals" like a 15 min band change for a national act, 3 acts, then dinner, and it starts all over again, 2 shows a day. Give me a Midas anyday, I'll deal with the size and the weight. At least I can step up, and dial it in fast, and if he BE is clueless, the train wreck and insuing injuries as less painful.
God bless digital, and all it repetive savings, but god bless a good ole fashined knob desk for those times when digital just ain't the flavor this day!

tk

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: bruce reiter on June 09, 2008, 11:39:35 pm
Mark Hadman wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 19:26



Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of technology,
But it was an absolutely ridiculous gig the other day - small festy, two minutes changeover, the last thing I needed was to see an O2R/96 at FOH, accompanied by an HE who couldn't (or wouldn't) set up a tap tempo delay on a soft key for me and, it turned out a few minutes in, hadn't actually got any FX returns routed anywhere anyway, and the vocals were distorted to hell because there weren't enough pres on the desk so they were using an overcooked B*******r A/D unit hidden away in a rack along with a couple of inexplicable B******r digiEQs ...

...


hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best,

bruce
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jordan Wolf on June 10, 2008, 12:53:37 am
I have become increasingly concerned about a situation just like this.  I have never had the opportunity to work on any digital console, which will lead to problems in the future.

I love analog...consoles, outboard, whatever...it's great, so long as you know how to use it.  I look at digital as another thing to learn and master (another frontier, if you will).

There are times to embrace the advances in technology and other times when it is good to stick with what you know works and know how to work.  I know at least for me, the time has come to begin embracing that technology - for you (Mark), that time might not be here yet.

I think I might go to the local GC/Sam Ash with my 7506's and see if there are any 01V96's to mess around with for a while.  Let the discovery begin!
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Rick Stansby on June 10, 2008, 03:19:35 am
bruce reiter wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 20:39

Mark Hadman wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 19:26



Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of technology,
But it was an absolutely ridiculous gig the other day - small festy, two minutes changeover, the last thing I needed was to see an O2R/96 at FOH, accompanied by an HE who couldn't (or wouldn't) set up a tap tempo delay on a soft key for me and, it turned out a few minutes in, hadn't actually got any FX returns routed anywhere anyway, and the vocals were distorted to hell because there weren't enough pres on the desk so they were using an overcooked B*******r A/D unit hidden away in a rack along with a couple of inexplicable B******r digiEQs ...

...


hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best,

bruce


No that is actually the job of the house engineer.  It doesn't sound like Mark requested the 02R (which btw is not at all common in live sound).  A true engineer should be able to mix a show on any digital board - as long as he has the support of a system engineer who knows all the details of the entire system.

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Toby Mills on June 10, 2008, 07:08:35 am
2 years ago I would agree.
Now I wouldn't mix rock n roll on anything but digital.

I find the new digi consoles quicker, more predictable and less hassle than analog.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jamie Taylor on June 10, 2008, 07:32:25 am
I'm agreeing with everyone here.

I mostly do two gigs: Large Corporate, and Theatre.

For Corporate work, I'm usually on an M7, and the abillity to just whack an extra graphic where I want it is second to none.  It's a really easy console to work, and guest engineers that have never touched a digital console find it easy to work around.

Again, if you've never used a digi console before, they can be hard.

That being said, for a full-blown 'rock and roll' gig, give me  a Series 5 with DS201's and 160s and I'll be a happy kid Very Happy
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David A. Parker on June 10, 2008, 08:37:55 am
I have a very small and inexpensive battery backup powering my LS9. I can unplug everything else and the LS9 is still on. The battery backup will run the mixer for at least 15 minutes, probably a lot longer. Cost about $60.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David A. Parker on June 10, 2008, 08:41:34 am
similar case of overkill killing a performance, a singer was touring churches, she sang and her husband mixed. He brought in a 12 channel tape recorder (this was years ago) with her backing tracks in 12 tracks, and mixed her tracks (like he was mixing a band) while she sang. Would have been much better to just bring the two track masters of the tracks.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 10, 2008, 09:23:36 am
Rick Stansby wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 08:19

bruce reiter wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 20:39


hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best,

bruce


No that is actually the job of the house engineer.  It doesn't sound like Mark requested the 02R (which btw is not at all common in live sound).  A true engineer should be able to mix a show on any digital board - as long as he has the support of a system engineer who knows all the details of the entire system.




hmm, presumably I should also get to know how to program every digital FX unit in service anywhere in the world just to save HEs everywhere the bother. It's not like I never used an O2R or an O1V before and yes I have RTFM, back when these things were new. But they come up so very rarely...

During the gig is not the time to be scratching my head thinking that this button or that button might take me into the right screen to route this input to that output or assign this parameter to that button. My concentration is needed to balance the mix, which is my primary purpose at that time.

There is a grain of truth there though, I'll have to put more time and effort into making sure that every gig gets advanced! Then I can set myself RTFMing revision... so I at least know how I would do a proper mix on an 02R/96 if my brain was big enough and hands fast enough Sad
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) on June 10, 2008, 10:09:33 am
I think with digital you have a much different mix of "can do it right now" vs. "have to set that up beforehand".  For instance, with analog it's very easy and quick to suddenly grab a knob to send a source to the echo for one beat or grab two EQ or pan knobs at once.  On the other hand, with digital it's very easy and quick to add a compressor/gate/graphic to a random channel on the fly, because it's probably already there but not turned on yet.  With analog if you suddenly decide you need a compressor you have to scramble around behind the board to insert it, probably having to also wait for a break in case there's something unplugged at the other end of the insert cable.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David A. Parker on June 10, 2008, 12:03:56 pm
I don't know about other digital mixers, but with yamaha, a double tap on one button and you have aux on faders, the faders become the aux send, and it sure is handy for dialing in effects. actually, some of the smaller yammie digitals have aux on fader only. Tap aux one, or whichever aux you want to work on, and the faders become the aux sends for that channel.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Patrick Tracy on June 10, 2008, 02:03:18 pm
Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 08:09

I think with digital you have a much different mix of "can do it right now" vs. "have to set that up beforehand".  For instance, with analog it's very easy and quick to suddenly grab a knob to send a source to the echo for one beat or grab two EQ or pan knobs at once.

That's what I find so useful about analog. Sometimes I mix like I'm playing an instrument and decisions are made in fractions of a second. It takes about the same amount of time to find a channel aux send as it does to find a layer button, and then the moment is gone. And there are times when I want to pan one channel around while triggering an effect on another when inspired. Other times the scene memory and other features would be advantageous enough that I'd give up immediate simultaneous access to effects and pans. The ideal would be digital with analog style interface.
Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 08:09


On the other hand, with digital it's very easy and quick to add a compressor/gate/graphic to a random channel on the fly, because it's probably already there but not turned on yet.  With analog if you suddenly decide you need a compressor you have to scramble around behind the board to insert it, probably having to also wait for a break in case there's something unplugged at the other end of the insert cable.

Although more filters per channel could be handy I've always gotten by with single swept mid Mackie eq. As for dynamics, I solved that by getting more units, enough to have one on every channel. Need compression? Reach over and turn the threshold down. And I can look at the rack and see all the gain reduction meters at a glance.

What I mix on is a personal choice, like the guitars I play. My gear suits my needs and the kinds of jobs I do. It's analogous to the choice between using an electronic piano versus a real piano. Obviously, way more performances are done on electronic pianos compared to grand pianos because they are just more practical, easier to move, stay in tune, you can change its sound from a grand to a out of tune honky tonk to a tack piano with a button, but for a significant minority a real piano is the only real choice.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Chris Buford on June 10, 2008, 04:49:30 pm
Patrick Tracy wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 13:03

 The ideal would be digital with analog style interface.

And I can look at the rack and see all the gain reduction meters at a glance.

What I mix on is a personal choice, like the guitars I play. My gear suits my needs and the kinds of jobs I do. It's analogous to the choice between using an electronic piano versus a real piano. Obviously, way more performances are done on electronic pianos compared to grand pianos because they are just more practical, easier to move, stay in tune, you can change its sound from a grand to a out of tune honky tonk to a tack piano with a button, but for a significant minority a real piano is the only real choice.


well that holds true in the all digital world too. An Yamaha LS9 isn't a DigiDesign Venue. With the D-Show control surface you have a ton of information about each channel displayed, two switchable encoder knobs per channel (you could leave one as your pan while you could cycle the other through aux sends), etc etc, I could go on. The LS9 is a totally capable desk too in the right situation. If your doing track acts w/5 wireless mics and a cd player, you don't need a Venue system either. But an LS9-16 sure would have been better and more convenient than the 40ch RAMSA and rack of outboard graphs I had to lug in and patch. And I had no comps!

As they say, use the right tool for the job when you can. Sometimes you just can't get the right tools though. An O2R with some crappy external pre's wouldnt be my ideal digital situation to. Of course I chose an M7CL over a APB Spectra and outboard because I could setup the desk offline earlier (knowing I didn't have alot of soundcheck time) and I knew the gig honestly just didn't justify it.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David Karol on June 10, 2008, 05:02:38 pm
I just went with an analog Spectra T for theater.  The sound quality is unmatched by other consoles, both analog and digital, in its price range.  We don't have a huge budget, and doing a renovation to our main-stage sound system will probably cost us our budget for the next few years.  Therefor, it's important that this console lasts us for many.  With a digital console, it would probably be obsolete, if not damaged by the heat, within a few years.  Our location is in a semi-outdoor theater in Hancock, NY.  In the summer, the temperature at the mix position gets over 120 degrees.  In my opinion, that's a no-no for digital.

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mac Kerr on June 10, 2008, 05:31:52 pm
David Karol wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 17:02

With a digital console, it would probably be obsolete, if not damaged by the heat, within a few years.  Our location is in a semi-outdoor theater in Hancock, NY.  In the summer, the temperature at the mix position gets over 120 degrees.  In my opinion, that's a no-no for digital.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. What makes you think a console can be "obsolete"? Does it stop doing all things you bought if for in the first place? Or do you really mean that your needs will have changed, and what once worked for you is no longer enough? How is analog any less prone to your needs changing? Heat is the enemy of all electronics. Keeping things cool is going to matter whether the console is digital or analog.

Mac
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David A. Parker on June 10, 2008, 06:09:27 pm
I saw a multi-band country music event in Houston recently(national level bands), and it appeared that several of the bands brought their own digital mixer. Each band used a different mixer, and most packed theirs and left after they played. Digital mixers offer a total package, everything you need in one package, and a package of a size that you can take with you. That would save a lot on setup time and give the mix guy the same setup every gig. You couldn't do that with analog, all the outboard gear makes the package too large.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David A. Parker on June 10, 2008, 06:11:22 pm
yamaha LS9 is rated at 140 degrees. Mine lives in an enclosed trailer, and it gets over 100 degrees here in the summer.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Chris Buford on June 10, 2008, 06:17:00 pm
David Karol wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 16:02

 In the summer, the temperature at the mix position gets over 120 degrees.  In my opinion, that's a no-no for digital.



heh, in my opinion thats a no-no for a human being! Very Happy I certainly couldn't take that mixing.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS on June 10, 2008, 06:19:11 pm
David Karol wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 14:02

Our location is in a semi-outdoor theater in Hancock, NY.  In the summer, the temperature at the mix position gets over 120 degrees.  In my opinion, that's a no-no for digital.



If you are getting to 120 degrees at mix position in New York then I must be 150 degrees at mix position here in Phoenix!  Last year our hottest event was 116 drgees and the second hottest was 114.  The latter had over 40 people drom from the heat and two different cities sent their fire departments to deal with the emergencies!

I can tell you from experience that people drop from the heat long before any mixing console that I have been on so far.  Out here there are some providers that do have to put big fans in front of their power supplies for their analog console to keep them cool.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David A. Parker on June 10, 2008, 06:19:47 pm
OSHA has requirements that come into play if the temp. gets above 93 degrees. Most of us don't mix in an environment overseen by OSHA, but the heat concerns are the same.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: David Karol on June 10, 2008, 06:56:36 pm
Mac Kerr wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 17:31

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. What makes you think a console can be "obsolete"? Does it stop doing all things you bought if for in the first place? Or do you really mean that your needs will have changed, and what once worked for you is no longer enough? How is analog any less prone to your needs changing? Heat is the enemy of all electronics. Keeping things cool is going to matter whether the console is digital or analog.

Mac




Mac,

I've mixed on a few digital consoles, and I'm not saying that I'm against them.  In fact, I'm very happy with a lot of them.  If we had a greater budget, we might've gone down that road.  I'm just talking about our particular situation.  Generally, a console purchased to accomplish certain tasks doesn't stop doing them 10 years down the line, but at that time will you want to buy that console?  I'd consider a 10 year old analog board, but I definitely wouldn't look at a digital console of that age.  There's no doubt that our needs will change. APB makes an expander for the Spectra, just like many manufacturers of digital consoles do.  Running out of channels isn't my concern.  With a digital console, I'm stuck with all of the stock software and signal processing.  If I had the budget for something a bit higher scale, I might've purchased a digital console with much better processing than what's in digital products in my price range.  Now, I can switch any of my outboard gear.  All that takes is a few screws, and a bit of re-patching.

RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 18:19


If you are getting to 120 degrees at mix position in New York then I must be 150 degrees at mix position here in Phoenix!  Last year our hottest event was 116 drgees and the second hottest was 114.  The latter had over 40 people drom from the heat and two different cities sent their fire departments to deal with the emergencies!

I can tell you from experience that people drop from the heat long before any mixing console that I have been on so far.  Out here there are some providers that do have to put big fans in front of their power supplies for their analog console to keep them cool.


There isn't proper ventilation in the room.  It will be installed at some point, but that might take a while.  We leave a little thermometer up there, last week it hit 110.  Confused
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on June 10, 2008, 10:36:54 pm
David A. Parker wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 18:09

I saw a multi-band country music event in Houston recently(national level bands), and it appeared that several of the bands brought their own digital mixer. Each band used a different mixer, and most packed theirs and left after they played. Digital mixers offer a total package, everything you need in one package, and a package of a size that you can take with you. That would save a lot on setup time and give the mix guy the same setup every gig. You couldn't do that with analog, all the outboard gear makes the package too large.



One of the greatest benefits of a digital board IMO. Touring acts can save different venues on their board and recall them in the future when they play their again. Plus, its compact and you can often times put your FOH in a better position then the FOH provided.

Im hoping to be traveling with an M7 for the fall. Smile




Evan
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Eric Dodson on June 10, 2008, 10:53:09 pm
Evan; You've come a long way in a short time. It seems like less than a year ago you were asking advice on purchasing a O1V96, going Analog to digital. Now your wanting to travel with a M7 to do your shows, Kudos Dude!!
Once you embrace digital consoles, (as you know) things get easier, faster and lighter....
I guess its safe to say that your in the deep-end of the pool now..
Cheers.
Eric Dodson
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: John Stoffel on June 10, 2008, 11:04:08 pm
While I will agree that digital desks are the future. They require no (or little) outboard, they weigh less...etc.
What I didn't see was anyone mention sound quality.
IMO the only digital desk that actually sounds as warm as an analog is the XL8. Which I have only played with at namm.
But at that price tag I doubt any regional companies will have one anytime soon.

I suppose what I got from this thread was what it is suppose to come down to...How does it sound?

Yes, I have mixed on 'em. Did the 5d training as well.

I love the interface, and I can get around on it easily. But H3 they are not.

That my .02 worth...flame suit on

John
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Toby Mills on June 10, 2008, 11:10:02 pm
So are you saying that the only digital desk that sounds better than all analog desks is an XL8.

I would take a digital A&H I-Live over most analog desks purely on how good it sounds.

Does a PM5d not sound as good as a Mackie or Behringer analog?

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: John Stoffel on June 10, 2008, 11:15:36 pm
Toby Mills wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 23:10

So are you saying that the only digital desk that sounds better than all analog desks is an XL8.

I would take a digital A&H I-Live over most analog desks purely on how good it sounds.

Does a PM5d not sound as good as a Mackie or Behringer analog?



No. The 5 D sounds far better than a Mackie or Behringer.. But I should have said compared to a Midas which I use everyday,  no digital console which I have been on has sounded as good. No, I have not heard, nor played with the I-Live.

Not trying to start an argument really. I was just more amazed that no one had even mentioned sound quality.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Toby Mills on June 10, 2008, 11:23:49 pm
John

Personally I think the reason why sound quality isn't mentioned anymore is because in general I think modern digital systems have caught up in this regard. There are very few people who could hear the difference and mixing skills and other components in the signal chain will play a much bigger part in the final results than whether the console is analog or digital.

A few years ago with lower bit and sample rates,lower quality preamps and A to D converters and reduced DSP horsepower, the sound quality was noticeably lower on the digital systems.

These days the functional advantages of digital far outweigh any tiny 'warmth' advantages.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: John Stoffel on June 10, 2008, 11:35:43 pm
Toby, I agree with you on that. I was kinda trying to make a point.
BTW when I was at namm I did see the I-Live. unfortunately, I was not able to hear it. The interface did seem to make sense.

For my gig right now I will stay analog, however I am keeping up with the technology. That was one reason I did the Yammie training.
But oh my, the XL8..somehow I have to convince the boss that he needs one!

Take care,

John
Title: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Mac Kerr on June 10, 2008, 11:45:55 pm
John Stoffel wrote on Tue, 10 June 2008 23:35

BTW when I was at namm I did see the I-Live. unfortunately, I was not able to hear it. The interface did seem to make sense.

For my gig right now I will stay analog, however I am keeping up with the technology. That was one reason I did the Yammie training.
But oh my, the XL8..somehow I have to convince the boss that he needs one!

I can't remember ever hearing anything at a trade show that didn't sound good. I would sure never base an opinion on sound quality from a trade show set up. I still don't get what people think is so great about the XL8. All you guys complaining about 24 input faders and layers on Yamaha consoles, don't seem to mind the same thing if it says Midas on it. The layout is very similar to a D5, with better video monitors. It is a great looking console. The use of Hyper MAC networking is what other console manufacturers (Yamaha) should do with their newer consoles. The "POP" groups are a great innovation, beyond that, not so much.

And here in the Lounge, not so likely.

Mac
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Art Welter on June 11, 2008, 01:06:25 am
Mac,

I drive a 2005 Mustang that reminds me of a ‘67, and mix on a Midas Venice that reminds me of the first used Midas I owned that I waited for months for shipping and was stolen after owning it for weeks.  I am prejudiced, but not completely listening impaired.

Matt gave me an XL8 backpack at it’s introduction, about as close as I’ll probably get to mixing on one, but you know, I’d go for the Masarati over the Mustang, and Midas has managed to maintain a little cache, I am still waiting for them to release an affordable digital console before my Venice is worthless.

As far as what is so great about an XL8, it still sounds good when it is overdriven. There may be other alternatives that would save 200K, but dang, it’s the real thang.

Anyway, illusions and realities will be hard to break between Yamaha (and I owned many more Yamahas than Midas) and Midas.

It seems Midas won’t be joining the proletariat in the digital realm for a while, so I should start perusing the under stratospheric offerings.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Toby Mills on June 11, 2008, 01:31:55 am
Quote:

As far as what is so great about an XL8, it still sounds good when it is overdriven.


Minor point, but its physically impossible to overdrive a digital signal.
No matter what digital system you use, if you go over peak it will sound BAD.

However, its very easy to make the peak lights come on 6 clicks below digital peak to give the impression something is being overdriven, but its absolutely impossible to apply the same overdriving techniques often used in analog and still get a good sound.

If the bit depth is deep enough then digital peak may well be higher than the point where the preamps start sounding bad and the metered level appears to be peaking. So in that case it can give the impression that you are overdriving the channel and it doesn't sound bad. Practically speaking there is little point in this though as it just wastes headroom. Most engineers now know that you keep the gain well below the red line on a digital console.

I don't see many engineers these days that overdrive channels just to get the 'sound'. DSP and plugins can now achieve equally good results without any risk of killing anything.

Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: David A. Parker on June 11, 2008, 06:53:37 am
I'm a small one man operation, and I went from a Midas Venice (which I dearly loved) to a yamaha LS9. I held onto the Venice until I was sure, then I sold it, no regrets. The Venice might be a tiny bit sweeter sounding, but the LS9 makes life so much easier for me. Between the lack of needing outboard gear, to the 16 aux sends, to the huge benefit of recall, I never looked back.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Alex Schultz on June 11, 2008, 07:33:31 am
Hiya John,

In the 5D class of digital surfaces, the Digidesign Profile/Venue sound really close to an XL3 in terms of "warmth" and "clarity" and easily match it from a "gain available" standpoint.

The Digi stuff is also way easier for someone unfamiliar with digital to get rolling. Best of all, the software editor looks/feels more like the surface than the yamaha version.

MNSHO and YMMV................

PS. Tell Pig I said hello...................
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 11, 2008, 09:44:18 am
Toby Mills wrote on Wed, 11 June 2008 00:31



Minor point, but its physically impossible to overdrive a digital signal.
No matter what digital system you use, if you go over peak it will sound BAD.

However, its very easy to make the peak lights come on 6 clicks below digital peak to give the impression something is being overdriven, but its absolutely impossible to apply the same overdriving techniques often used in analog and still get a good sound.

If the bit depth is deep enough then digital peak may well be higher than the point where the preamps start sounding bad and the metered level appears to be peaking. So in that case it can give the impression that you are overdriving the channel and it doesn't sound bad. Practically speaking there is little point in this though as it just wastes headroom. Most engineers now know that you keep the gain well below the red line on a digital console.

I don't see many engineers these days that overdrive channels just to get the 'sound'. DSP and plugins can now achieve equally good results without any risk of killing anything.




Any audio path, analog or digital, that has more gain available than needed can be overdriven. Some very early digital systems sounded truly nasty when overdriven since instead of squaring off the top of a waveform they would roll over and start from zero code again. Modern digital paths just square off like an analog path.

Anyone using the new generation mic preamps with digital gain control would be well advised to detect clipping and back off automatically, but I don't know who is using or doing what, where.

JR
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) on June 11, 2008, 11:56:28 am
Art Welter wrote on Wed, 11 June 2008 00:06


As far as what is so great about an XL8, it still sounds good when it is overdriven. There may be other alternatives that would save 200K, but dang, it’s the real thang.


Man, $200K for a distortion generator?  I just use consoles to mix audio.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: David A. Parker on June 11, 2008, 06:37:33 pm
My LS9 has digitally controlled head amps (input gain). They have plenty of headroom, but if something gets away and it goes over, ugh! it's nasty. Had a drummer get crazy all of a sudden on his floor tom. It sounded like every speaker I had came apart at the same time. No damage, but it sounded like a train wreck.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 11, 2008, 08:36:40 pm
The sound quality thing isn't really an issue - for me it's totally about tactile control and having everything in front of me. My issue is all about the step backwards in real-time control offered by (all?) digital consoles.

Over in the Lab there's sad news about Cadac going into administration, and the issue of component cost has come up. It seems that, with the whole world (not just audio industry) buying digital components and almost nobody wanting analogue stuff (except a dwindling number of us in our little sound corner), combined with the higher fault tolerance needed by analogue electronics means that it's just less and less financially viable.

OKAY, so which manufacturer is going to step up a give me (& the world) a small-medium format DIGITAL console with every knob, fader and button that we expect to see on our small-medium format ANALOGUE consoles? Take a look at the APB Dynasonics ProRack House, or, if you prefer, the Midas Venice. What if the insides were digital? Would that lower the cost? And presumably some of the savings can go into a little screen poking out the top where we can set up the internal comps/gates/FX/channel delay/etc etc... I'm sure it's not quite that straightforward, I haven't thought it through, maybe it IS the knobs and faders that cost all that money... do we lose total recall by using 'proper' knobs instead of soft knobs with rings of LEDs?... let's see...

This was never about the sound of analogue vs digital, it's about staying in control and not giving up what we've always had. If digital is going to dominate, then shouldn't we demand that it give us the best of both worlds?
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Dee Kyle on June 11, 2008, 09:33:59 pm
Mad, mad, mad.

As a house guy I look back and wonder how I managed without digital for all those years.For the many bands who play the venue 3 or 4 times per year, the regular friday night club, comedy club, DJ nights, even freakin' plays, Vaudeville acts and operas - I have two words... STORE - RECALL!

No more cribsheets or running out of channels.
Full parametric control of input channels and 31 band graphics as well as parametric for outputs.
No more crappy patch cables.This rules.This is rock and roll, and I ain't never goin' back.
Time is our enemy,particularly with muti band shows.
Digital gives us a chance and I'm grateful for it.
I love it.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Andy Peters on June 11, 2008, 09:54:24 pm
Mark Hadman wrote on Wed, 11 June 2008 17:36

OKAY, so which manufacturer is going to step up a give me (& the world) a small-medium format DIGITAL console with every knob, fader and button that we expect to see on our small-medium format ANALOGUE consoles? Take a look at the APB Dynasonics ProRack House, or, if you prefer, the Midas Venice. What if the insides were digital? Would that lower the cost? And presumably some of the savings can go into a little screen poking out the top where we can set up the internal comps/gates/FX/channel delay/etc etc... I'm sure it's not quite that straightforward, I haven't thought it through, maybe it IS the knobs and faders that cost all that money... do we lose total recall by using 'proper' knobs instead of soft knobs with rings of LEDs?... let's see...


Say we have an analog console with 48 inputs, and each channel strip has 24 knobs for input trim, EQ, aux sends and pan. That's 1,152 pots just to handle the inputs.

Now consider that a decent rotary encoder costs roughly about twice as much as a decent potentiometer. So purely on that basis, you might expect a digital console with 1,152 rotary encoders to cost (NB: WAG!) 50% or more over the cost of the analog equivalent.

Pots are placed near and connected to the analog electronics that they control, so  there is no additional support required to implement a design using pots. Encoders, on the other hand, require some amount of logic to read their state. That amount of logic is trivial. However, trivial multiplied by 1,152 is suddenly no longer trivial. Sure, there are clever multiplexing tricks one can do to limited the number of microcontroller pins required to scan 24 encoders per channel, but you still have to transmit each channel's control information to some master processor that has to crunch everything in real time.

So reducing the number of controls obviously reduces cost and vastly simplifies the logic (further reducing the cost) required to deal with the surface.

Obviously, not having every single control available to the operator at all times can greatly inhibit some mixing styles. But now consider that you have only two hands and ten fingers (and two feet, maybe for foot-pedals for delay time tapping or whatever) so naturally there's a limit to how many controls you can manipulate at one time. And the ability to instantly recall previous settings may overcome the lack of instant-access.

Other than the above, I have no opinion ...

-a
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Tim Padrick on June 12, 2008, 12:43:10 am
Regarding a digital console, I had always thought "no way, I want a dedicated knob for everything".  However I've always had a bit of trouble grabbing the correct knob unless that channel was right in front of me - astigmatism?  And scanning the auxes to get a general over-view of the monitor mixes - yikes!

Now that I have progressive multi-focal glasses (with which my peripheral vision is very fuzzy), grabbing the right knob on the console, and finding the right comp or gate channel over in the rack, is even more of a chore.  With a digital console, I have fewer places to look, making life easier.  Yes, I have to push a button or two, but that is at least as fast as finding the right knob, and there's lot less moving my head around so that I'm looking through the right spot in these **** spectacles.  And scanning the monitor mixes with sends on faders is so nice!  Then there's the better channel EQ and all the other goodies.


Maybe the OPs "two-fisted" approach is a great boon to the band's sound and analog is the way to go for that application.  Maybe he micro-manages his mixes and should simplify his approach, thus making digital "do-able".  Digital would be my choice, but then I can't work as the OP does - heck, I still have to glance at my keyboard occasionally whilst typing, and I still have to think a little to form the chord I play on a guitar to test an amp.  If I were more dexterous and a better multi-tasker, who knows.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: David A. Parker on June 12, 2008, 06:39:44 am
for the knobs to have recall, they would all have to have motors, and that would get ridiculously expensive. Try it, you'll like it. I like having one set of knobs for everything. One hand chooses the channel, the other hand tweaks the knobs, and you have a visual representation of what you are doing. I like having a graph of what I just did with the eq. I like having a gain reduction meter right there on the mixer instead of a rack.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: David A. Parker on June 12, 2008, 06:43:01 am
Instant access. I touch a button and that channel comes up on the screen and I tweak the knobs. I too thought that would be a problem with a digital mixer until I mixed on one the first time. I can't believe all the small inexpensive mixers aren't going digital, seems they could build them a lot cheaper with one set of knobs.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Charlotte Evans on June 12, 2008, 07:29:17 am
Andy Peters wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 02:54


Obviously, not having every single control available to the operator at all times can greatly inhibit some mixing styles.


Spot on Andy! Well my opinion anyway.

I have felt uncomfortable with using PM1/5d's in the past, it's not just the execution differences but the "visual" side too. I felt a bit more comfortable with the Digico D5 (it must be all those screens!).
Recently used a M7CL with a PA provider who I knew pretty well and agreed to try one out with the company owner giving me some (very patient) tuition. By the end of the gig I was very happy and felt completely at ease with this desk and on the second show was getting into doing some of the "specials" that I routinely do on an analogue. It was actually a lot of fun.
Now that I have some stuff saved on a PM5d card and the USB stick for the M7CL and the Editor at home on my PC I feel a whole lot more confident about using one of these boards at a no-soundcheck festival.
I kicked and screamed at first but I have now been subdued!  Laughing
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mike Christy on June 12, 2008, 08:01:01 am
Tim, A valuable post (for me), thanks, I am much less apprehensive now.
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: andy craig on June 12, 2008, 08:05:26 am
David A. Parker wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 10:37

My LS9 has digitally controlled head amps (input gain). They have plenty of headroom, but if something gets away and it goes over, ugh! it's nasty. Had a drummer get crazy all of a sudden on his floor tom. It sounded like every speaker I had came apart at the same time. No damage, but it sounded like a train wreck.


Are you setting levels at 0dB digital full scale? If you set them around -18dbFS you should have head room to burn, and the console should be operating in its sweet spot.

Chur,
Andy.
Title: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 12, 2008, 08:49:28 am
I have a vision of the future.... modularity!

If a universal protocol could be developed, then the 3 main components of a digital console (surface, engine and AD/DA) could be separated. Some of you have already written about controlling your digital consoles via laptop over ethernet, and of course we already have ADAT lightpipes and larger digital multicores, so we're not that far off. The DJ world is already there to a certain extent, with control surfaces ('decks') available for PC software like TraktorDJ.

Engineer X is happy to set up a mix and pretty much leave it with the odd mute/unmute/FX tweak here and there, so he turns up with nothing but a USB memory stick, quite happy to use the cheap USB mouse & 7" SVGA interface provided by the sound company. He adjusts the house EQ, assigns the correct channel numbers and all he has to do is hit the mouse button between songs (the band have no idea that he spends most of the gig on the phone to his accountant).

Engineer Y wants a heavily customised control layout with instant access to DCA groups, the 31 band FOH EQ and a spectrum analyzer, and also wants to mix whilst wandering the room, so she bring a
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 12, 2008, 10:40:36 am
Mark Hadman wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 07:49

I have a vision of the future.... modularity!

If a universal protocol could be developed, then the 3 main components of a digital console (surface, engine and AD/DA) could be separated. Some of you have already written about controlling your digital consoles via laptop over ethernet, and of course we already have ADAT lightpipes and larger digital multicores, so we're not that far off. The DJ world is already there to a certain extent, with control surfaces ('decks') available for PC software like TraktorDJ.

Engineer X is happy to set up a mix and pretty much leave it with the odd mute/unmute/FX tweak here and there, so he turns up with nothing but a USB memory stick, quite happy to use the cheap USB mouse & 7" SVGA interface provided by the sound company. He adjusts the house EQ, assigns the correct channel numbers and all he has to do is hit the mouse button between songs (the band have no idea that he spends most of the gig on the phone to his accountant).

Engineer Y wants a heavily customised control layout with instant access to DCA groups, the 31 band FOH EQ and a spectrum analyzer, and also wants to mix whilst wandering the room, so she bring a
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Henry Cohen on June 12, 2008, 10:59:31 am
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 10:40

PS: In my slightly more distant future, the processing will be distributed with some built into the wireless mics or instrument pickups, and the rest placed inside the powered speaker boxes. Communication between all the parts will be over a high bandwidth wireless network. Control surfaces (as long as still used or needed?) will talk over this same wireless network.

Hmmm, I wonder. With lower frequency, propagation friendly and relatively limited channel bandwidth RF spectrum being reallocated for many co-located services, and higher frequency (>3GHz), very wide channel bandwidth spectrum, which I believe is what would be necessary to handle JR's communications needs, suffering from limited propagation characteristics, there's going to have to be a trade off between latency and the amount of data transfer (bandwidth).
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 12, 2008, 11:18:18 am
Henry Cohen wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 09:59


Hmmm, I wonder. With lower frequency, propagation friendly and relatively limited channel bandwidth RF spectrum being reallocated for many co-located services, and higher frequency (>3GHz), very wide channel bandwidth spectrum, which I believe is what would be necessary to handle JR's communications needs, suffering from limited propagation characteristics, there's going to have to be a trade off between latency and the amount of data transfer (bandwidth).



Current wireless radio would choke if there are too many unique sources and destinations. Control information would require reasonable bandwidth.

I suspect bandwidth is a little like energy... we may not have as much as we want right now, but a lot of folks are working on it, because so many more want it. I wouldn't underestimate the ability of a free market to deliver if there is enough demand and people willing to pay. I see wireless bandwidth driven by the consumer market.

JR

Note: doesn't have to be RF but that seems to be current direction.
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 12, 2008, 12:37:51 pm
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 15:40



Control input and indicator feedback is reasonably low bandwidth. Engine to I/O A/D/A will require gobs of bandwidth.

Logically the I/O and engine should be collocated to simplify this communication. The processing engine will be modest in size compared to other parts so it likely will be rolled into the mic preamps and converter box.



Yes, the engine and AD/DA will always be wired if not collocated, at least in our lifetimes. In fact what you're describing is pretty much like the A&H iLive system that I got to use when Joe Bonamassa last came here - collocated stagebox and engine, the 'multicore' being a couple of XLR cables running to the desk.

(I only got four channels to play with for the support - gtr, vox, rvb, dly - but the BE who brought it in was friendly and helpful and I was reasonably comfortable with the desk by the time doors opened. Nice logical layout, most of the control surface is a giant channel strip running from left to right, more impressive than most I've used. Still wouldn't ever be entirely happy to be thrown on one of them cold without a S/C!)
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: Andy Peters on June 12, 2008, 04:45:08 pm
David A. Parker wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 03:39

for the knobs to have recall, they would all have to have motors, and that would get ridiculously expensive.


Rotary encoders don't need motors, as they're typically continous (no end point, they keep spinnin'). That's what the whole "V-pot" thing is all about, with the ring of LEDs around the knob to give you an indication of where it's actually "pointing."

-a
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Andy Peters on June 12, 2008, 04:54:09 pm
Regarding the control surface:

While it'd need some fairly hefty logic to handle scanning 2,000 knobs, switches and faders, it seems to me that the communication channel between the surface and the "brain" can be fairly low tech.

The MIDI model makes a lot of sense here. First, you only send control changes, and only when those control changes occur. Again we assume human operators (two hands, two feet, ten fingers) and even if there are four people behind the surface mixing, that's not a lot of bandwidth required for control changes.

Then you need a handful of digitized audio channels for talkback, cuing, whatnot.

The control changes and the audio can be muxed onto the same fibre.

The only thing really missing is the will of the various vendors to do what MIDI did for the synth people.

-a
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jim Trust on June 12, 2008, 05:15:53 pm
So do all you digital users use the on-board effects and dynamics? Do they sound as good as the ones many of you have offered opinions on in these forums over the years? I ask because I really can't afford a digital console yet but am looking to upgrade my comps and add another reverb channel or two. Maybe I should save my money for an entire console upgrade later on? That is really a rhetorical question so to keep this thread on topic, what is the difference between the digital on-board effects and the good outboard stuff.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Toby Mills on June 12, 2008, 05:36:34 pm
Quote:

So do all you digital users use the on-board effects and dynamics? Do they sound as good as the ones many of you have offered opinions on in these forums over the years?


Many of the major console manufacturers outsource their effects to external companies that specialise in effects. I believe yamaha do it in house but they already have an established effects knowlege. Soundcraft of course use Lexicon etc.

I pretty much exclusively use an I-Live now and the effects in that are as good if not better than most of the external units money can buy with the added advantage of a huge touch screen to edit parameters if you want to. Effects quality is a big selling point and because these consoles usually have gobs of processing power its easy for the manufacturers to add new features and patches.

The ability to easily load new FX with scene changes etc is the final nail in the coffin for outboard.

I was in the same situation as you looking at the prospect of spending a major chunk of money on upgraded comps and FX and decided to hold off and go down the digi console path. Its paid off big time and I have no regrets at all.
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Joe Breher on June 12, 2008, 07:30:52 pm
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 08:40


The missing piece is effective appropriate bandwidth communication between the parts. Control input and indicator feedback is reasonably low bandwidth. Engine to I/O A/D/A will require gobs of bandwidth.

Logically the I/O and engine should be collocated to simplify this communication. The processing engine will be modest in size compared to other parts so it likely will be rolled into the mic preamps and converter box.


As someone who has for over a decade co-authored international standards for data storage and transmission as a means of feeding my family, this is an area where I have some specialized knowledge. I am not convinced about any need for unrealizable amounts of bandwitdh between the AD/DA IO and the processing.

Let's break this down. Currently, the vanguard of digital audio is running at 24 bit word depth, and 192Ksamples/sec. Accordingly, each channel requires 4.608 Mb/s of bandwidth.

A fairly sizable (though certainly not huge) system might have 64 inputs and 32 outputs - or a total of 96. That is a total *aggregate* bandwidth of less than 442 Mb/s.

There are numerous current technologies that can provide this bandwidth today, with acceptable latency.

Even lowly Gigabit Ethernet does 1.25 Gb/s in each direction simultaneously (minus a couple % for framing). Strip off the clumsy TCP/IP layers, and it is pretty low latency besides. This could comfortably yield 200 channels upstream and 200 channels downstream, simultaneously. This should accommodate any but the largest live sound scenarious.

Not only that, 10 GbE is going mainstream in IT as we speak. While I have not done any studies of audio on 10 GbE, it should be capable of supporting perhaps over 2000 channels of 24/192K in each direction simultaneously.

Not that I necessarily believe Ethernet is the logical best coice for such transmission. However, as an unbiquitous technology, it provides a useful baseline.

I agree that it is logical to keep the processing and the IO co-located. However, I think it has more to do with the cost of sheet metal than the cost of data transmission links.
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Toby Mills on June 12, 2008, 07:45:49 pm
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 08:40


The missing piece is effective appropriate bandwidth communication between the parts.

Let's break this down. Currently, the vanguard of digital audio is running at 24 bit word depth, and 192Ksamples/sec. Accordingly, each channel requires 4.608 Mb/s of bandwidth.

A fairly sizable (though certainly not huge) system might have 64 inputs and 32 outputs - or a total of 96. That is a total *aggregate* bandwidth of less than 442 Mb/s.



Joe, this is all feasible and currently in use with several of the commercial remote audio consoles available today.

Ethersound currently handles 64 bi-directional channels at 24bit 28Khz (more than enough for live audio) down a single CAT5 100Mbit link with less than 2ms latency. Cobrasound offers similar specs.

I think the first and most exciting step is the introduction of standards around the audio transmission side (control can come later). You can presently plug Digiram stage boxes or output boxes into an I-Live or other ethersound device. This is the first step towards seamless integration of digital components.

Lets not run before we can walk. Once the audio transmission battle has been won by either ethersound or cobrasound, then the battle for a control protocol can commence.

Personally I think there is probably room for both, conbrasound seems to be becoming the defacto standard for installations, while ethersound seems to be gaining wider adoption in the livesound community.

Once amps start shipping as standard with ethersound inputs and ethersound stage boxes become more common then we are almost there.

The great thing is that when you have one computer talking to another computer, its relatively easy to change the language they speak to each other on. If its an IP based protocol that is adopted as a standard, its feasible that manufacturers could provide updates to their products that will allow cross compatibility. How cool it would be to plug an I-Live surface into a PM5 rack or use an I-Live rack as an extension of a VI6 based system.






Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 12, 2008, 09:11:46 pm
Joe Breher wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 18:30



As someone who has for over a decade co-authored international standards for data storage and transmission as a means of feeding my family, this is an area where I have some specialized knowledge. I am not convinced about any need for unrealizable amounts of bandwitdh between the AD/DA IO and the processing.

Let's break this down. Currently, the vanguard of digital audio is running at 24 bit word depth, and 192Ksamples/sec. Accordingly, each channel requires 4.608 Mb/s of bandwidth.

A fairly sizable (though certainly not huge) system might have 64 inputs and 32 outputs - or a total of 96. That is a total *aggregate* bandwidth of less than 442 Mb/s.

There are numerous current technologies that can provide this bandwidth today, with acceptable latency.

Even lowly Gigabit Ethernet does 1.25 Gb/s in each direction simultaneously (minus a couple % for framing). Strip off the clumsy TCP/IP layers, and it is pretty low latency besides. This could comfortably yield 200 channels upstream and 200 channels downstream, simultaneously. This should accommodate any but the largest live sound scenarious.

Not only that, 10 GbE is going mainstream in IT as we speak. While I have not done any studies of audio on 10 GbE, it should be capable of supporting perhaps over 2000 channels of 24/192K in each direction simultaneously.

Not that I necessarily believe Ethernet is the logical best coice for such transmission. However, as an unbiquitous technology, it provides a useful baseline.

I agree that it is logical to keep the processing and the IO co-located. However, I think it has more to do with the cost of sheet metal than the cost of data transmission links.


What is trivial for fiber and easy for wire, may not be easy lifting for IR or RF links. I only see difficulty (using off the shelf rat shack technology)  for the traffic between I/O and processing. There are already plenty of people sending low bandwidth control info via existing wireless paths.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.

The future hasn't happened yet so nobody can win an argument about it...  Cool

JR
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 12, 2008, 09:14:27 pm
work on your quoting skills

I didn't say that...

JR
Title: Re: You Don't mix rock'n'roll at trade shows
Post by: David A. Parker on June 12, 2008, 10:36:43 pm
yes, I saw those on the Mackie TT24. I dont think those are inexpensive either. The Amek Recall had rotary pots and the recall feature spoke to the operator and told him when he had the knob where it was supposed to be. Or you could see it on a monitor. It wouldn't put it where it was supposed to be for the stored scene, but it would tell you when you got it there.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jack Arnott on June 14, 2008, 01:11:36 am
bruce reiter wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 21:39


hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best, bruce


Hello Bruce,
I gotta disagree with you here.
If Mark requests a PM5D, then he should know how to use it.
If the company shows up with a digital and he is to use it, they should be helpful in showing him how it works.
I agree that he needs to get to embrace digital,
but for dude that provides it to sit idly by, or not know how to use it himself is wrong.

Regards, Jack
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Jake Scudder on June 14, 2008, 05:36:02 am
[quote title=Jack Arnott wrote on Fri, 13 June 2008 23:11]
bruce reiter wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 21:39
hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best, bruce[/quote



Hello Bruce,
I gotta disagree with you here.
If Mark requests a PM5D, then he should know how to use it.
If the company shows up with a digital and he is to use it, they should be helpful in showing him how it works.
I agree that he needs to get to embrace digital,
but for dude that provides it to sit idly by, or not know how to use it himself is wrong.

Regards, Jack



Or they could just hire me or any other number of posters in this thread that have already done our homework and aren't going to be surprised or unprepared regardless of what console or surface we are dealt.  I'm sorry, and I don't mean this directly to you Jack, but it just isn't that difficult.  It's not like the wheel is being reinvented.  There are certainly differences between manufacturers and every once in a while you will see something that makes you scratch your head.  The bottom line remains that regardless of how many A/D or D/A conversions happen along the way, it is still just signal flow.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: bruce reiter on June 15, 2008, 12:21:45 am
Jack Arnott wrote on Sat, 14 June 2008 00:11

bruce reiter wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 21:39


hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best, bruce


Hello Bruce,
I gotta disagree with you here.
If Mark requests a PM5D, then he should know how to use it.
If the company shows up with a digital and he is to use it, they should be helpful in showing him how it works.
I agree that he needs to get to embrace digital,
but for dude that provides it to sit idly by, or not know how to use it himself is wrong.

Regards, Jack


hi jack,

if you are working as a foh mixer in my opinion it is your responsibility to be able to operate any gear that is put in front of you. things do not always go as planned.
i have had a wonderful xl4 fail on me once and i smiled said f*ck a few times and prepared my mix on the old beat up soundcraft 500 with crappy fx and inserts. i know not the same as digital vs analog but the point is things do not always go your way. you must rise to the occasion.

in a perfect world the system tech will know all of the gear but many times they do not know very much. it is up to you.

a few yours ago i was on a tour that charlie hernandez was the pm on (pm on massive tours ...) charlie gave me some great advice, he said :bruce, they will always let you down, plan for that"

best,

bruce

these are just my opinions take em for what they are:-)
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Charlotte Evans on June 15, 2008, 06:36:09 am
bruce reiter wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 05:21

...charlie gave me some great advice, he said :bruce, they will always let you down, plan for that"



Quite.

Take things in your stride. Sometimes this can be a little hard:
I did a typical "line-check" only festival, we were headlining. Got to FOH well before my time slot and saw that the PA co. had changed the board from an agreed Midas 3k to a Digico D5. Why? Because the festival organisers wanted to multitrack the show via DigiTracks so that they could produce a festival album. Well not with my band they wern't, no arrangement had been brokered with our agant/management so that was disabled.
After having given them a bit of a mouthful that a courtesy  phonecall or email might have been appropriate after me signing off the agreed equipment I got busy. Unfortunately I had no previous settings for a Digico on a USB key so I had to start right from scratch; it would have been nice if the PA co. had done a bit of prepping like loading in my channel names to save some time,but no  Sad
As luck would have it there was a torrential downpour during changeover and half the stage got completely soaked due to lack of suitable tarping. By the time the band and crew had made a decision as to whether it was safe to play or not I had a mix dialled in but I wasn't a very happy bunny with it all!
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Henry Cohen on June 15, 2008, 10:13:30 am
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Thu, 12 June 2008 21:11

What is trivial for fiber and easy for wire, may not be easy lifting for IR or RF links. I only see difficulty (using off the shelf rat shack technology)  for the traffic between I/O and processing. There are already plenty of people sending low bandwidth control info via existing wireless paths.

Curious as to why your RF networking reference is to consumer level RS products and not enterprise/commercial caliber offerings? I presume you don't buy your mics, speakers and amps from them.

There are in fact gigabit RF links out there with relatively low latencies, but as I indicated before, there are compromises: They are only point to point, require lots of RF bandwidth and since they operate in the 11GHz, 30GHz and 60GHz bands, require direct unobstructed line of sight.
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 15, 2008, 10:51:17 am
Henry Cohen wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 09:13


Curious as to why your RF networking reference is to consumer level RS products and not enterprise/commercial caliber offerings? I presume you don't buy your mics, speakers and amps from them.

There are in fact gigabit RF links out there with relatively low latencies, but as I indicated before, there are compromises: They are only point to point, require lots of RF bandwidth and since they operate in the 11GHz, 30GHz and 60GHz bands, require direct unobstructed line of sight.


$$$   Because consumer scale demand drives cost effective technology. We need high production volume to get prices down. You know more than I about how bandwidth gets allocated but again I suspect mass market consumer demand to trump business needs.

I would expect boys and girls wanting HD movies on their cell phones to be more of a driver than Cisco meeting some IT requirement (while they do own Linksys).

There's a reason digital snake technology was around for decades without being embraced. The communication channel needs to robust and not crazy expensive compared to wire.

The beauty of arguing about the future is you can't be right or wrong.

JR
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: Henry Cohen on June 15, 2008, 12:26:23 pm
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 10:51

$$$   Because consumer scale demand drives cost effective technology. We need high production volume to get prices down. You know more than I about how bandwidth gets allocated but again I suspect mass market consumer demand to trump business needs.

I would expect boys and girls wanting HD movies on their cell phones to be more of a driver than Cisco meeting some IT requirement (while they do own Linksys).

There's a reason digital snake technology was around for decades without being embraced. The communication channel needs to robust and not crazy expensive compared to wire.

Granted, the high volumes needed to bring professional level gear prices down will be driven by the consumer market, but I was making a far more immediate point: We as professionals should not be using consumer level equipment (i.e. access points) in professional applications when enterprise/commercial level gear is readily available at reasonable price points. As for today's esoteric gigabit RF links, no doubt they'll be tomorrow's ho hum (yawn) RS monthly special.
Title: Re: modular rock'n'roll/digital interface
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 15, 2008, 12:40:31 pm
Henry Cohen wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 11:26

Granted, the high volumes needed to bring professional level gear prices down will be driven by the consumer market, but I was making a far more immediate point: We as professionals should not be using consumer level equipment (i.e. access points) in professional applications when enterprise/commercial level gear is readily available at reasonable price points. As for today's esoteric gigabit RF links, no doubt they'll be tomorrow's ho hum (yawn) RS monthly special.



I guess I'm still locked into a mass market mentality. The cost to develop specialized ICs is huge so needs to be amortized over large customer bases. Even the modern codecs and high power DSP we are benefiting from were developed for mass markets.

I don't look at a problem as can it be solved, but can it be solved for a price low enough that enough people are willing to pay for, to justify the engineering investment. Quite a different mentality from the show must go on.. no matter what it takes or cost.

There will generally be enough military, space, or high end applications to pioneer technology.  

YMMV

JR




Title: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Mac Kerr on June 15, 2008, 12:51:33 pm
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 12:40

Henry Cohen wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 11:26

Granted, the high volumes needed to bring professional level gear prices down will be driven by the consumer market, but I was making a far more immediate point: We as professionals should not be using consumer level equipment (i.e. access points) in professional applications when enterprise/commercial level gear is readily available at reasonable price points. As for today's esoteric gigabit RF links, no doubt they'll be tomorrow's ho hum (yawn) RS monthly special.



I guess I'm still locked into a mass market mentality. The cost to develop specialized ICs is huge so needs to be amortized over large customer bases. Even the modern codecs and high power DSP we are benefiting from were developed for mass markets.

I don't look at a problem as can it be solved, but can it be solved for a price low enough that enough people are willing to pay for, to justify the engineering investment. Quite a different mentality from the show must go on.. no matter what it takes or cost.

There will generally be enough military, space, or high end applications to pioneer technology.
I think Henry's point is that most, if not all of the people using WiFi connections in a production environment are using consumer level access points like Linksys or D-Link, when there are more reliable access points available at slightly higher prices. We use pro level sound gear, but consumer level network gear, when there is pro level gear available.

Mac
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Henry Cohen on June 15, 2008, 05:35:06 pm
Mac Kerr wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 12:51

I think Henry's point is that most, if not all of the people using WiFi connections in a production environment are using consumer level access points like Linksys or D-Link, when there are more reliable access points available at slightly higher prices. We use pro level sound gear, but consumer level network gear, when there is pro level gear available.

Give that man a cheroot.
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Tim Padrick on June 16, 2008, 02:11:16 am
Henry Cohen wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 16:35


Give that man a cheroot.


I hate it when you smart guys use these fancy technical terms, and I have to look them up


Smile
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Steve Syfuhs on June 16, 2008, 03:07:36 am
One of the biggest issues I see with the use of WiFi (CE or Commercial) is that of security.  We in IT have made the realization that its really freakin easy (well, not really, but sorta) to change data before it reaches it's intended AP.  As a result, we encrypted the stream... WEP was broken shortly thereafter; then WPA, then WPA-2, etc.  As a result, the basic idea was to change the protocols higher in the stack to prevent authentication and what not, so we now have things like NAC (Network Access Control)/NAP (Network Access Protection) which prevents the offending AP access to resources on the network...

Point being: If we use WiFi to control the systems, any schmuck with a laptop could do some damage, even if encryption was used.  My thinking is that if more and more people hop onto the wireless bandwagon a major change is going to have to take place for security.

Perhaps a modified version of WiFi specfically designed for show control is in order?
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Henry Cohen on June 16, 2008, 09:53:28 am
Steve Syfuhs wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 03:07

One of the biggest issues I see with the use of WiFi (CE or Commercial) is that of security.  We in IT have made the realization that its really freakin easy (well, not really, but sorta) to change data before it reaches it's intended AP.  As a result, we encrypted the stream... WEP was broken shortly thereafter; then WPA, then WPA-2, etc.  As a result, the basic idea was to change the protocols higher in the stack to prevent authentication and what not, so we now have things like NAC (Network Access Control)/NAP (Network Access Protection) which prevents the offending AP access to resources on the network...

Point being: If we use WiFi to control the systems, any schmuck with a laptop could do some damage, even if encryption was used.  My thinking is that if more and more people hop onto the wireless bandwagon a major change is going to have to take place for security.

Perhaps a modified version of WiFi specfically designed for show control is in order?

Why is this type of random maliciousness a greater concern than someone putting a pin through  your copper snake or crushing/cutting the fiber as it runs through the audience area? A pin or small pair of wire cutters are a lot smaller, lighter and less expensive to carry around than a laptop . . . and doesn't require a more advanced level of computer and WiFi knowledge.
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 16, 2008, 09:57:43 am
Steve Syfuhs wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 02:07

One of the biggest issues I see with the use of WiFi (CE or Commercial) is that of security.  We in IT have made the realization that its really freakin easy (well, not really, but sorta) to change data before it reaches it's intended AP.  As a result, we encrypted the stream... WEP was broken shortly thereafter; then WPA, then WPA-2, etc.  As a result, the basic idea was to change the protocols higher in the stack to prevent authentication and what not, so we now have things like NAC (Network Access Control)/NAP (Network Access Protection) which prevents the offending AP access to resources on the network...

Point being: If we use WiFi to control the systems, any schmuck with a laptop could do some damage, even if encryption was used.  My thinking is that if more and more people hop onto the wireless bandwagon a major change is going to have to take place for security.

Perhaps a modified version of WiFi specfically designed for show control is in order?


This is no less a concern for consumers and I expect that marketplace to deliver a solution, perhaps something along the lines of secure websites.

JR

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Robert "Void" Caprio on June 16, 2008, 11:11:02 am
All I can say about this is I just got to mix on a Midas XL8 and holy cow... what a great console. Intuitive, easy to use and learn and sounded fantastic. I loved it and can't wait to get on another one. To my ears I would have thought it was analog... smooth, clear, not harsh or brittle sounding whatsoever. If I had concerns about going from analog to digital (which I don't) the XL8s and Digidesign consoles would have me converted.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Steve Syfuhs on June 16, 2008, 12:57:57 pm
Nnnyesssss...and no.  It's possible you don't need a laptop, just a blackberry with WiFi, etc  (I was refering to things like corporate sabotage, where cutting some wires would be immediately noticable).  In any case, it's not that big of an issue, I just don't ever want to see it get to that stage.  Pundits in the 80's and 90's said security would never be an issue...now look where we are.

As John said it is up to the marketplace to deliver a solution.  Unfortunately, I don't think the same principle of encrypting web traffic is going to work.  Thats the point of WEP/WPA-2, except websites use much larger encryption keys on a higher level in the stack...performance issues are immediate.

To OP's comments:  it sounds as if you haven't truly worked with a digital board in a manner becoming of a digital board.  If you tour with any of the band(s) you mix, as an experiment, try and borrow a PM5D or an LS9, or even a Digidesign if your lucky for a week or two...or maybe the entire tour.  It's very eye opening to go from an all analog system to digitally controlled, even if you don't actually like the feel of it.

I went from working with sh*t Mackies, to working with my first digi...a DiGiCo D5, and wow...what a difference.  A year later I worked with a Digidesign Venue.  Even though the D5 is 6x the cost of the Venue, I prefered the layout of the Venue.  Now my analog desk of choice is from APB, but because of the modularity and flexibility associated with digital, I would trade up and go with a Venue any day.

When it comes to the major fundamental differences, my perception is of when the work is done.  With analog it takes some time to set up, but its a simple step of logical wiring and patching.  With digital, its more than wiring...you have to program the board properly per channel, set up cues, set up FX, set of EQs etc before show time which is 10x more time consuming.  Once the show starts with analog you are ready to go manually moving faders, tweaking pots for EQs, panning, switching auxes, etc.  With digital, you all ready have the show programmed, so you have the option of just hitting "GO" and switching between cues, or you can manually control fader groups, and do really cool things like use macros to increase the lead vocals IEM 10% by the touch of a button, etc.

When it comes down to it, prep for digital is huge.  Less than analog.  My opinion is, if digital prep is done improperly, it compounds the intial complexity tenfold.  But, get it right and its smooth sailing for the rest of the tour.

Give 'er a go.  But make sure you have enough lead time to do proper prep.  </rant>  Smile
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Toby Mills on June 16, 2008, 05:31:26 pm
I don't think security is that big a deal in sound reinforcement applications.

Firstly, if someone was going to cause a problem, hacking a WiFi access point and breaking into the stream would be about the most complicated way of causing chaos there is. Seeing as most of us broadcast radio mics on unencrypted channels that would be a much easier point of entry.

Do you use a special "Pro Audio Grade" sharpie for writing on tape.
Do you use a special "Pro Audio Grade" cap for keeping the sun off you.
Perhaps we need special "Pro Audio Grade" cars for driving to the gig.

My point is that you should use the right tool for the job and if the right tool happens to be consumer grade equipment then I say go for it. Its cheaper, much more readily field replaceable and realistically is probably much more secure than a less common proprietary system because its flaws are a known quantity.

I think sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously.
Sure, you wouldn't mix the grammy awards over a WiFi link, but for most situations I'm sure it would be fine.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Toby Mills on June 16, 2008, 05:35:23 pm
Robert Caprio wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 03:11

To my ears I would have thought it was analog... smooth, clear, not harsh or brittle sounding whatsoever.


Robert, can you tell me which digital consoles you have used that do not sound smooth and clear and that do sound harsh or brittle.

I think the fact the XL8 does sound great has little to do with whether its digital or analog and more to do with the fact that it costs several hundred thousand dollars.
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Mac Kerr on June 16, 2008, 05:43:43 pm
Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 17:31

Sure, you wouldn't mix the grammy awards over a WiFi link, but for most situations I'm sure it would be fine.
I'm glad you're sure. Use what ever access point you want. In a professional environment, I want the most reliable connection I can get, and that is not a Linksys. If your show has an issue because you lost control of the console, it won't affect me that much. If my show does, I have a problem. I'll stick with the gear that's right for the job. I can web surf on a Linksys, I'll trust my show to a high power more reliable Cisco. In the great scheme of paying for gear, and satisfying clients, a $700 router is small change compared to RF mics and good consoles.

Mac
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Toby Mills on June 16, 2008, 06:06:00 pm
[quote title=Mac Kerr wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 09:43]
Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 17:31


I can web surf on a Linksys, I'll trust my show to a high power more reliable Cisco.



Just like in pro audio the most expensive isn't always the most reliable (think BOSE). I personally find Cisco far from the most reliable supplier of IT gear and I have a pile of broken Cisco routers to back that up. They are one of the largest suppliers and have an established reputation and probably more importantly they offer service contracts so they are therefore seen as a safe bet by people with IT budgets. However a service contact is not much good when your AP blows up in the middle of a gig and doesn't actually ensure the gear is any more reliable in the field. Nobody in IT ever got fired for buying Cisco gear so they are able to charge a premium for what is essentially the same equipment. Mac I respect you as one of the most knowlegable people on this forum, but seriously don't be fooled into thinking a Cisco wireless access point is any more reliable than anything else, it is largely marketing hype. 5 years ago maybe they were a little bit more reliable, but these days there is nothing in it.

Now that Cisco owns Linksys there are fewer and fewer differences between the product lines (sometimes the similarities are uncanny), it has merely given Cisco additional market share in the consumer market without devaluing the Cisco brand down to consumer prices.

A friend of mine works for Linksys as a Software engineer and Cisco have actually been using some of the Linksys base firmware in their more recent products because it is more stable than the original Cisco code.

If I want a reliable wireless connection then I use two cheap consumer grade wireless access points with the same wireless SID but on different channels and from different manufacturers. If one goes down it flicks across to the other in a matter of seconds. Not that I've ever had one go down. Two cheap wireless AP's are infinitely more reliable than 1 expensive Cisco AP.

Seriously, spending $700 on a Cisco Access point thinking that it is any more reliable than a $100 one is a waste of money and is providing a false sense of security that isn't there.

I remember reading this last year, it is a PC World poll that asked 60,000 IT professionals which were the most reliable brands based on their experience over the last year. Linksys and Cisco came first equal in the router section.
 http://pcworld.about.com/od/pcreliabilityservice/Technology- s-Most-and-Least.htm

Take a look at these Linksys and Cisco products, they offer practically identical features and have the same processor and internal architecture...
http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2& childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1139435695017&pagename =Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=9501747814B09

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/voicesw/ps6788/phones/ps379/ ps6513/prod_large_photo0900aecd80311bbd.jpg

The only siginficant difference is the huge price difference and the fact that Cisco offers a $8 a year service contract in order to get firmware updates. Linksys offers free firmware updates.

All is not what it always seems, Cisco are well know for fear based marketing in order to justify their excessive prices.
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 16, 2008, 06:31:43 pm
This is sort of getting to my wider point... The technology inside will be driven by the larger market.

Linksys can probably afford to tool up some custom or semi custom parts that Cisco couldn't due to a larger customer base. That said, Cisco can put that technology inside a more robust package, with a more reliable PS, etc.  These are features, not technology, and Mac is absolutely correct that you need professional duty gear (a feature) for professional applications.

The Cisco/Linksys may be a conflicted example due to ownership changes etc.

JR
Title: Re: consumer vs enterprise
Post by: Toby Mills on June 16, 2008, 06:53:03 pm
I totally agree that in general the Cisco cases and power supplies are more heavy duty, having 19" rack mount equipment is also much more professional.

However one of my biggest beefs with Cisco is that their power supplies are always non standard and certainly can't be bought on the street very easily.

Power supplies are the most likely component to fail and are the components that have failed on all my previous Cisco routers.

If a Cisco power supply goes down in the field, the only thing you can replace it with is another Cisco power supply.
All the consumer grade IT gear runs on standard 12v wall warts which can be found in just about any techs tool case, I find these more reliable than the Cisco power supplies which have been designed to run off highly conditioned UPS power supplies in server rooms. In general I've found the Cisco power supplies are very intollerant of power spikes and power anomolies.

I'm not trying to argue for or against Cisco or Linksys here or any other consumer brand, all I'm suggesting is that the most expensive tool isn't always the best, most reliable or right tool for a job, you need to weigh up every situation and use tools that are going to deliver the results in that situation.

In some cases, professional grade equipment is not the best tool for the job and the mass consumer market actually delivers a better tool and we need to look beyond the brand label or the asthetics and really understand what is under the hood in the engine room where it really matters.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Andy Peters on June 16, 2008, 07:39:08 pm
Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 16 June 2008 14:35

Robert Caprio wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 03:11

To my ears I would have thought it was analog... smooth, clear, not harsh or brittle sounding whatsoever.


Robert, can you tell me which digital consoles you have used that do not sound smooth and clear and that do sound harsh or brittle.

I think the fact the XL8 does sound great has little to do with whether its digital or analog and more to do with the fact that it costs several hundred thousand dollars.


And it costs several hundred thousand dollars not because it sounds good, but because it's got several hundred thousand dollars worth of encoders, switches, displays, interconnects and processing.

-a
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Henry Cohen on June 16, 2008, 08:22:10 pm
Re: Toby Mills' last two posts . . .

Be it Cisco, Alvarion, 3Com, Symbol or enterprise level offerings from D-Link, I've found that these products typically have better RF sensitivity, traffic management and access control via their configuration utilities than the consumer level Linksys APs. So, when I hear someone clamoring for high security (why?), and better QoS, the pro products come to mind simply because the consumer products did not offer that functionality/performance. Today's Linksys products maybe more inline with enterprise level feature sets; I've not looked at them recently.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Steve Syfuhs on June 17, 2008, 02:22:23 am
Enterprise functionality, or something similar in CE equipment is fairly easy to come by nowadays.  Cisco is actually discontinuing the Linksys line because of that.  Actually, they may not be discontinuing it completely, but changing production schedules to produce fewer designs, I can't remember what my rep said.  Basically the similarity in feature sets is causing the linksys brand to sell better.  Cisco has gone to crap in the last few years, so I've been moving towards HP's procurve line...cheap as hell and reliable enough to work on the international space station.

For the security question, I have a wild imagination...don't wanna see anything similar in real life happen Twisted Evil.  The suggestion of a clustered AP node is brilliant though.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: not you, me on June 17, 2008, 02:02:44 pm
Here's how I feel about this tired analog vs. digital argument.

Back when word processing on computers was first being developed, there were those people who said, "what in tarnations is this comp-u-tar thing-a-ma-bob? my typewriter can do the same thing and i don't need to plug it in or buy some stinkin' printer!". and at the time, maybe these guys were right; the first word processors couldn't do a whole lot of stuff beyond type a bunch of words in a sequence and it was big and clunky and ugly and needed a printer. so at the time i'm sure people were having their own analog vs. digital debate.

but computers have gotten so ridiculously good that using a typewriter these days would garner laughs from all your writer friends.

technology evolves and you either adapt or you become extinct.

another thought:

the youngest generation of sound people (myself included) can not remember a time when there were not computers, so when i first started using digital desks, there was nothing to fear. it was just another operating system. if i can operate XP or OSX then I can learn an M7 in a fraction of the time (and i did). the 02R i find a lot more confusing than the newer Yamaha's, which is probably a testament to the evolution and usability of digital consoles.
Title: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Tony "T" Tissot on June 17, 2008, 02:55:41 pm
Jarrett Krauss wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 11:02


what i'm trying to say here is that you are probably older and grew up and always used analog, so good for you, keep it up.

but to my generation, digital is here to stay. and i LOVE IT.



The ageism angle is nonsense.

Remember that "we" (older folks) are the generation that invented, or first applied all of this technology.

There has never been any fear of, or lack of understanding about anything digital.

I built an Altair - before you were born. I still have a working Apple II from the 70s. And Uncle Sam was nice enough to have me working on (ferrite-core memory) computers, even before that.

The problem is accepting devices with work flows that are less than well thought out. (And I am not saying that digital consoles have not caught up - or surpassed analog boards). Us old guys tend to want devices with logical UIs and controls that are designed by people who actually know what the end result should be. Innovation, new work flows? No problem. But not some obviously slapped together digital-for-the-sake-of-digital.

But - It's finally getting great for audio.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Patrick Tracy on June 17, 2008, 03:09:08 pm
Interesting analysis, but for me it's not about how the processing is done it's about my operating needs. Often when I mix it's not just a technical procedure, it's a real-time performance much like playing an instrument, complete with spontaneous moves using both hands to change settings all over the board. In my experience as a musician I found that effects that weren't intuitive obstructed playing. Often those effects were digital but it wasn't the type of processing that was the problem, it was the interface. Eventually I gave up the digital multi-effects and ended up with a bunch of pedals that allowed me to see what was on or off and where each knob was set. That fit how I played and, similarly, an analog board with a big heavy rack of outboard allows the visual and tactile interaction that is right for my mixing style. When digital mixing gear with equivalent controls and display reaches my price range I'll jump on that bus.

That being said it is time for me to learn how to operate an 01V as an introduction to digital mixers. And in the studio I mix exclusively on a computer and I don't see any need for faux mixing surfaces and the like. Point and click works just fine.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Kyle O'Connor on June 17, 2008, 06:38:13 pm




Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) on June 17, 2008, 10:11:50 pm
Tony "T" Tissot wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 13:55


Remember that "we" (older folks) are the generation that invented, or first applied all of this technology.

There has never been any fear of, or lack of understanding about anything digital.

I built an Altair - before you were born. I still have a working Apple II from the 70s. And Uncle Sam was nice enough to have me working on (ferrite-core memory) computers, even before that.


Well, you are not "we".  You are 0.001% of the population as far as long-term digital literacy goes.  I'm maybe 0.1%, though I do like doing email with older relatives, once they've gotten used to it.  Email from somebody who grew up writing real letters is usually much better formatted and thought out than what I get from most other people.

There's a lot of resistance in many industries to computerization, which to some extent reflects poor implementations (I didn't quote that bit of your response, but you did mention it) but which also shows somewhat of a fear of learning new systems.  A lot of learning computer-based systems is just learning the mindset and approach, and a surprising number of people don't really want to have to do that.  And it's not that it's that difficult - most people are plenty smart enough.  It's that it's strange and weird and different, and there are a lot of new (or worse, repurposed) words to learn just to understand how it works.  Small wonder that a noticeable number of people will fall back on bluster when confronted with a major fork in the career path.

Quote:


But - It's finally getting great for audio.


Yup.  Just about any recent digital mixer is plenty good enough from the sound quality side.  What you get in the way of problem solving tools in your shiny new digital console is amazing.  
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Micky Basiliere on June 17, 2008, 10:53:32 pm
Like Digital Rack mount preamps for Guitar,Digital Mixers are just a fad and will fade back to Analog!
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Tim McCulloch on June 17, 2008, 11:18:04 pm
Micky Basiliere wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 21:53

Like Digital Rack mount preamps for Guitar,Digital Mixers are just a fad and will fade back to Analog!

Yeah, I'm sure that as soon as gasoline reaches US$6 or so, we should all invest in buggy whip and surrey manufacturers. Wink

Tim Mc
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Jamie Taylor on June 17, 2008, 11:25:50 pm
Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 12:11

Tony "T" Tissot wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 13:55


Remember that "we" (older folks) are the generation that invented, or first applied all of this technology.

There has never been any fear of, or lack of understanding about anything digital.

I built an Altair - before you were born. I still have a working Apple II from the 70s. And Uncle Sam was nice enough to have me working on (ferrite-core memory) computers, even before that.


Well, you are not "we".  You are 0.001% of the population as far as long-term digital literacy goes.


Agreed. The younger part of generation Y has had computers around them (us) since preschool.  It's natural that we're going to be more comfortable around them because they were involved in our formative years.
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Dave Bigelow on June 18, 2008, 12:13:36 am

I'd kill to have Oregon Trail on a console!  Twisted Evil


I mean come on, you cam play Frogger on a FatFrog and all. Why let the lampies have all the fun?
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Joe Breher on June 18, 2008, 02:45:36 am
Dave Bigelow wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 22:13


I mean come on, you cam play Frogger on a FatFrog and all. Why let the lampies have all the fun?


20 years ago, I had Missile Command on the HP 16500A Logic Analyzer with a touch screen interface - does that count?

Oh, wait - that was my *day* gig ...

(edit: fixed model number - necessitated due to Alzheimer's, apparently)
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 18, 2008, 09:57:30 am
It is human nature to be fearful of change, and strangers, and the unknown.

Resisting technology has been around as long as technology. Perhaps google "Luddites".

Every generation thinks they're different or special, change is constant.

JR
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Alex Schultz on June 18, 2008, 11:59:34 am
Darwinism - sez it all........................ Smile

Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Too Tall (Curtis H. List) on June 18, 2008, 12:30:51 pm
bruce reiter wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 23:39

Mark Hadman wrote on Mon, 09 June 2008 19:26



Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of technology,
But it was an absolutely ridiculous gig the other day - small festy, two minutes changeover, the last thing I needed was to see an O2R/96 at FOH, accompanied by an HE who couldn't (or wouldn't) set up a tap tempo delay on a soft key for me and, it turned out a few minutes in, hadn't actually got any FX returns routed anywhere anyway, and the vocals were distorted to hell because there weren't enough pres on the desk so they were using an overcooked B*******r A/D unit hidden away in a rack along with a couple of inexplicable B******r digiEQs ...

...


hi mark,

it is your responsibility to know how to operate the equipment. read the manual and figure out for yourself how to use the soft key function or whatever.
ignorance is no excuse.

best,

bruce


I am "Pro" digital.
Ignorance may be his problem, but who controls the time you have to check that FOH is properly patched?

In the end you can have exactly the same problems and it has nothing to do with analog or digital.

He has no choice but to jump in and learn the different desks he will see on his tour or ask the system tech to mix the show because he is not capable.
Harsh situation, but that is it in a nutshell.

For nine months of the year I had enough work to stay home and work theater and anything else that MSU needed along with some convention work.
In the summer I would go out with an 18' straight truck and do small to medium fairs and festivals out doors.
One of the reasons I did it was because the sound company I worked for was always up grading gear, while the theaters, arenas and convention center ballrooms almost never did.
By going on those gigs I got to learn the new gear.

First time I saw a PM3500 and a BSS Varicurve I learned how to use it from the manual in the time between setup and when the band got there for sound check.
This happened at the beginning of every summer.

Where it helped was when I went back to doing theater in the fall I knew how to run the new gear the Broadway shows would come in with. Otherwise if I looked at the money I should have been doing something else with my IA card. Actually I did about half the summer with the sound company and the rest doing other IA gigs, that might not even use my audio experience, but paid twice as much.
Hanging screens and stapling pleated cloth on the walls of a 4plex theater may not be as much fun as mixing the old Rock&Roll I grew up with, but it sure pays better.

To make a long story short, learning how to run new gear is part of your job and will ALWAYS make you money in the end.

Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Ian Hunt on June 18, 2008, 12:36:02 pm
John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 08:57

It is human nature to be fearful of change, and strangers, and the unknown.

Resisting technology has been around as long as technology. Perhaps google "Luddites".

Every generation thinks they're different or special, change is constant.

JR


Yup, I'm still very suspicious of that trombone thing!
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Too Tall (Curtis H. List) on June 18, 2008, 12:44:51 pm
Tony "T" Tissot wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 14:55

Jarrett Krauss wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 11:02


what i'm trying to say here is that you are probably older and grew up and always used analog, so good for you, keep it up.

but to my generation, digital is here to stay. and i LOVE IT.



The ageism angle is nonsense.

Remember that "we" (older folks) are the generation that invented, or first applied all of this technology.

There has never been any fear of, or lack of understanding about anything digital.

I built an Altair - before you were born. I still have a working Apple II from the 70s. And Uncle Sam was nice enough to have me working on (ferrite-core memory) computers, even before that.

The problem is accepting devices with work flows that are less than well thought out. (And I am not saying that digital consoles have not caught up - or surpassed analog boards). Us old guys tend to want devices with logical UIs and controls that are designed by people who actually know what the end result should be. Innovation, new work flows? No problem. But not some obviously slapped together digital-for-the-sake-of-digital.

But - It's finally getting great for audio.




I disagree.

You may have been ahead of the curve, but the majority of people our age WERE NOT!

I saw it with my friend AL Limburg’s son.
Al has been using the Yamaha Pro 1 (Did I get the model right Al ?) since it came out more then a decade ago.

As a rule most people back then were much more comfortable with a 1/3 octave graphic then an 8 channel parametric EQ. They would use it, but it was uncomfortable to say the least.
In fact many people had trouble with the old White EQs that used rotary knobs.

Al’s oldest son Grant learned how to mix on that digital board and can’t imagine having any trouble using parametric EQs anywhere.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Patrick Tracy on June 18, 2008, 03:10:59 pm
Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Andy Peters on June 18, 2008, 04:10:01 pm
Joe Breher wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 23:45

Dave Bigelow wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 22:13


I mean come on, you cam play Frogger on a FatFrog and all. Why let the lampies have all the fun?


20 years ago, I had Missile Command on the HP 16500A Logic Analyzer with a touch screen interface - does that count?


Hey, I have a 16500.

Do you want it?

Can I get that Missile Command load?

-a
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Joe Breher on June 18, 2008, 04:27:01 pm
Andy Peters wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 14:10

Joe Breher wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 23:45


20 years ago, I had Missile Command on the HP 16500A Logic Analyzer with a touch screen interface - does that count?


Hey, I have a 16500.

Do you want it?


Umm, not really. IIRC, the state analysis cards stopped their upgrade lifecycle at somewhere south of 100 MHz or so. As such, it wouldn't be fast enough for the types of work I might want to perform.

Quote:


Can I get that Missile Command load?



If I still had a copy, I'd clone a floppy for ya. FWIW, this was a boot floppy that booted the machine straight into MC. I don't know whether or not it ran atop the 16500 OS, or was some other OS unto itself. (Trivia question - anyone know what the 16500 OS was based upon?)

It was a gift from the local HP sales team. Then again, HP's T&M Development team was located near us (CO), so we may have had a closer relationship than would have customers in other geographic areas.

However, I haven't had it for more than a decade (if not two?). I'm sure someone, somewhere has a copy. Perhaps a google search?
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 18, 2008, 05:07:32 pm
Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.


There are an massive number of combinations of things that I've found it convenient to do simultaneously or in very quick succession, and your examples brilliantly illustrate the point, Patrick (see page 2 for my own example). Often one hand will stay as a 'marker' for a particularly edgy channel (one finger on a monitor aux knob, with my thumb on the fader) while the other hand goes wandering around the desk adjusting less crucial things. I've sometimes found myself stuck with crossed hands!

The Luddite comparison is very interesting. To quote from our friend wikipedia "In recent years, the terms Luddism and Luddite or Neo-Luddism and Neo-Luddite have become synonymous with anyone who opposes the advance of technology due to the cultural and socioeconomic changes that are associated with it.". The savings in time and space (= money) made by digis are paralleled with those made by replacing skilled labour with drone-operated machines, the common drawback presumably being that the artisan becomes a low paid drudge who loses some/all of their ability to create something unique and full of flair. The comparison holds some water, and we would do well to think hard before seeing the word Luddite as an insult. It's hard to interpret the tone of the written word, but it almost seems as if some on here are gloating at (rather than commiserating with) those of us who in certain situations feel hamstrung by the very real loss of control forced on us by current digis, even when we have RTFM'd AND used them before.

--------

I got to use an absolutely brand new and lovely Audient 328 at a festival the other day!  Very Happy  On the other hand... someone pulled the plug as the band were trying to persuade the crowd that there wasn't time for a second encore. 30 seconds later the system guy started unpatching and I headed off towards backstage. Halfway through the crowd, I noticed the band were back on stage and gearing up for another song. You've never seen me run so fast! If it had been a digi, all my processors might still have been patched in for that last song...  Crying or Very Sad But at least he hadn't been able to unhook a single optical multicore cable, throw the desk in a rucksack and start folding up the table Laughing

--------

"But you can do everything that you do on a normal guitar! Just turn the knob to the 'string' that you want and press the button, and if you really want to play chords, let me show you a little trick: hold down the button and quickly sweep the knob through all six positions, see? You'd better get used to it, cos it saves money on strings, and it doesn't need all those untidy leads and pedal things that you've been carting around!"
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Tim McCulloch on June 18, 2008, 06:12:06 pm
Mark-

I think the real issue here is mostly one of work flow.  If you're working with the same artist(s) most of the time, you already know where the cues are and what kinds of things make the performers ask for changes.

Analog is a fairly standard and consistent user interface, and once you've found the minor variations in control placement you're good to go.

The digital surface/user interface dictates what you can do simultaneously, and some are much more flexible than others.  Some require very intimate knowledge of a mixer's control structure to make these things happen.  Not all are created equal and there is limited uniformity even within a manufacturer's product lines.

In most of the examples that have been cited, I've come up with a way to do them on a Yammy M7cl.  We provided a rig for an a Capella act that insisted on an analog console.  It's not that I couldn't make an M7 do what the BE needed, but rather that using an M7 would require he re-think or re-order his way of doing something.  Having to do that at show time isn't a good idea.  Having to figure out how to do this on every conceivable digital mixer could be daunting for him and the SE du jour.

That's why as a provider, we offer analog and digital choices to our clients, most of whom are rockers BTW.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc

ps.  In this case, Luddite applies to folks who fear changes to their thinking.  The "machines" vis a vis digital mixers require the same ear-to-hand inspiration from a human as do analog mixers.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Kyle O'Connor on June 19, 2008, 07:38:43 pm
Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.



All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Toby Mills on June 19, 2008, 08:14:49 pm
Quote:


All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.


I agree, I reckon I could do everything listed there in about 3 seconds on just about any digi console.

First of all..

I'd split the vocal mic across two channels so that one was feeding monitors and one FOH, then gate the monitor send with a low threshold and make sure there was no compression so if he plays silly buggers and points that mic at the monitors it doesn't need my intervention as the mic will basically be off in the monitors. If its EQ'd properly it shouldn't need adjusting anyway because I would have walked the stage with the mic to make sure it didn't feed back and used the extensive graphic and parametric EQ to kill any nasty frequencies.

Then I'd have the aux send for the effect on one fader with the guitar panning on the fader next to it so I could do both with one hand or even better I'd split the guitar channel into two strips and have one panned left and the other right. That gives me the Aux send and the panning effect on three faders all under three fingers without needing to move my hand an inch.

The bass player can can wait 2 seconds while I press his mix button and bring up his fader with the other hand and then give him the thumbs up.

I'd find this scenario easier on a digi console because I could save it as a scene if the FX were one off for a single song and then return the guitar to a single channel for the next song (you can't do that on analog).

In analog, you also don't have the option of setting the Aux send on a fader which means there is a greater distance to move if you are doing the panning and aux send with one hand (especially if they are not side by side on the console). Having three faders side by side is a lot easier in my books than two knobs in amongst a sea of other knobs in a dim lit environment.

This is much easier on a console that allows dynamic assignment of strips in a non channel order.

Each to their own though, I can see how someone who has always done this on an analog console would find my method a little tricky to setup, once you have learnt how though, its really stupid easy.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Tony Ferrello on June 20, 2008, 02:14:36 am
your a damn fool...
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Patrick Tracy on June 20, 2008, 02:16:00 pm
Kyle O'Connor wrote on Thu, 19 June 2008 17:38

Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.



All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.

And easily done on most digital consoles as long as it's set up correctly, which presupposes you will know ahead of time what will be needed. If you can know that then digital is the clear winner. If not then it depends on the situation. Perhaps the couple or three seconds of getting to what you need is okay, or perhaps the half second of reaching for the knob is better. Since I often deal with the unexpected I prefer to be able to have a control surface that supports spontaneous response. When digital provides what I need in my price range I'll have no reason not to buy in. While I suspect that will be fairly soon it isn't there today.
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Too Tall (Curtis H. List) on June 21, 2008, 11:13:13 am
Back in the late seventies right about the time I started to get interested in sound reinforcement I happened to be in a friends repair shop when another guy came in to pick up his repaired Yamaha board.
He had a very thin hard cover book with him on the subject of digital mixers.

It was written by one of the people involved with the digital board that was developed at the Skywalker Ranch for Star Wars series.

One of the things I remember in the book was a discussion on control surfaces.

While trying to figure out the control surface they tried many different types and combinations of knobs and switches while trying to figure out the most ergonomic layout.

To do this they tried to determine what was the maximum number of things your two hands could accomplish. The idea being that at some point having every possible control would not help since you still have only two hands.
Also they had to be in reach or they were not very useful.

I also remember they made a prediction on how long before we would see digital boards in wide use.
I do not remember what they guessed, but they were decades off.
On the analog front something else I just remembered was a Jefferson Starship gig at Pine Knob, Michigan.
Interested in what the big boys were doing I walked down to the mix position (before the show, ThankYou) to see what they were using.

The board was a Gamble and the guy mixing the band was very young and very small.
The board was so wide the guy mixing could have used Roller Blades. (Actually my memory is he DID use Roller Blades, but I will chalk that up to age and dying brain cells.)
This beomoth and other massive boards such as the Europa were so big that you could only run a small portion of the board at any one time.
As we demand even more channels something had to give.



Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Brad Weber on June 22, 2008, 12:02:40 pm
The automobile did not replace the horse and buggy just because it was newer or higher tech but rather because it offered advantages in many applications, including advantages that offset the related learning curve.  I believe that what actually matters is not the technology but simply whether it better serves the specific application and presuming that any option is inherently better just limits your options.

Believing that something is inherently better because it is newer or digital technology may be just as much a fear of the unknown as is accepting something new or digital.  I think that many people who have only used digital consoles are actually just as uncomfortable with the idea of learning to use an analog console as they accuse others who have only used analog of being with using a digital console.
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Tim McCulloch on June 22, 2008, 01:41:16 pm
Brad Weber wrote on Sun, 22 June 2008 11:02

I think that many people who have only used digital consoles are actually just as uncomfortable with the idea of learning to use an analog console as they accuse others who have only used analog of being with using a digital console.

Hi Brad-

Yes, I'm waiting for the "deer in the headlights" look from a BE when he confronts his first PM-4000 on a festival... watching him scramble in the outboard rack to find his comps and gates and exclaim "what?  Only 12 compressors?  Uh.. how do you assign them?"  This will happen.  I can see it coming. Laughing

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Kyle O'Connor on June 22, 2008, 02:05:04 pm
Patrick Tracy wrote on Fri, 20 June 2008 19:16

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Thu, 19 June 2008 17:38

Patrick Tracy wrote on Wed, 18 June 2008 20:10

Kyle O'Connor wrote on Tue, 17 June 2008 16:38

Trying to think of 2 things I would absolutely have to do at the same time while mixing a show??? Something that had to be done immediately, not 2 to 3 seconds a part. The only thing i can think of is say like bringing up a DDL at the same time as pullling the gain on a clippin vocal or something similar?? Which can be done at the same time on any dig desk i've been on.

Anybody think of any other immediate withing one second needs?

Just curious

Working an aux send for a triggered effect on a vocal channel while actively panning a guitar channel for a Hendrix-style around the room effect. Readjusting eq and level on a keyboard with uneven patches while riding a monitor send on a vocalist who has just decided to take his mic off the stand triggering feedback despite having said he never does that. Responding to a "more me" gesture by the rhythm player while riding the guitar solo.



All easily done on a 5D as long as it's setup corrrectly.

And easily done on most digital consoles as long as it's set up correctly, which presupposes you will know ahead of time what will be needed. If you can know that then digital is the clear winner. If not then it depends on the situation. Perhaps the couple or three seconds of getting to what you need is okay, or perhaps the half second of reaching for the knob is better. Since I often deal with the unexpected I prefer to be able to have a control surface that supports spontaneous response. When digital provides what I need in my price range I'll have no reason not to buy in. While I suspect that will be fairly soon it isn't there today.






Whether it's mixing a festival on the fly or a full show with soundcheck, I've never done something on a dig console and then said "man i wish I could have done that quicker" I find it more time consuming (for example yesterday) on a ext frame 56 channel heritage having to run to the end of the console to get to my effect returns on a festival.

For me, the way I set up my 5d, no action is more then one button /knob twist away that I can think of.
Title: Re: Don't mix rock'n'roll with digital desks
Post by: Mark Hadman on June 23, 2008, 09:29:08 pm
Two of our five shows at Glastonbury this weekend are on a Soundcraft vi6. I like the way that Soundcraft have released PC editor software that can be used stand-alone for familiarisation with the console. It makes reading the manual a lot more purposeful.

I can see a few potential problems though - access to auxes is going to be a pain because the aux masters / solos share with the VCAs, and the 'user' setting for aux access on the vistonics rows seems to be stuck on auxes 3&4. So accessing multiple auxes quickly whilst mixing with VCAs might be fiddly - not good because mons are gonna be from FOH on this gig. And the idea of having virtual VCA layers for every bus is just beyond scary. I must take steps to avoid activating that one. If any of you have used the vi6, I'd love to hear what you think.

I'm much happier about the other gigs (MH3 & Venice), but we'll see how my attitude to digital is after this weekend. I've got the nasty feeling that I'll be too busy executing strange movements to get between layers and double checking that I'm in the right place to spend much time hearing the music...
Title: Re: A curmudgeonly rant back at ya!!
Post by: Joe Lepore on June 23, 2008, 11:54:15 pm
Tim McCulloch wrote on Sun, 22 June 2008 12:41

Yes, I'm waiting for the "deer in the headlights" look from a BE when he confronts his first PM-4000 on a festival... watching him scramble in the outboard rack to find his comps and gates and exclaim "what?  Only 12 compressors?  Uh.. how do you assign them?"  
Tim Mc



Simple .. he's probably running an opener .. what comps and gates .. headliner has them all Smile