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  • #16
    I feel I must chime in here as well. Digital mixers are a wonderful thing and they do change (and often expedite) the way we work. I am a BIG FAN of the digital world in general. With that in mind I'll play devils advocate here. Although digital boards are more accurate than analog boards, there are a few things that they still aren't as good at. For one, festival sound. The ability to quickly remix a complete show quickly & on the fly is still nowhere near as fast as with rows of knobs in front of you. I do a show once a year that is 20+ bands in succession each playing only one song. These groups vary from acoustic world music to choirs, to R&R bands. You name it, it's on that stage that day. It is quite difficult to mix monitors on a digital console under these conditions. Another failing is, a lot of times I work with BE's that want to preset & ring out monitors before SC while I drive. I have guys that ask (in one breath) "do this to the strip, this to the mix graph and spread it around at XX% to mixes 3, 4, & 5". This isn't possible to do quickly on a digital console (I drive an M7CL which is one of the faster, easier interfaces made). The funny part is often before I'm done with the complete instruction set, I get a "That's great, let's move on" :-). The other 340 days of the year, I'm really glad to be operating a digital board.

    There is a learning curve with every board. Some are easier than others but the way they operate isn't universal. If you get intimately familiar with a particular board you can (within the confines of it's architecture) usually get pretty fast but jump on a mixer you've never driven before........... You get the idea. With so many different good products out there (and many more on the way), there is no way to keep up with all of them (this alludes to the obsolescence discussed earlier). I've worked with major pros that say "stick close as I've only driven one of these a few times and I will have questions". This negates the idea of them increasing our productivity. Once again though "The other 340 days of the year, I'm really glad to be operating a digital board".

    My .02
    J.R. Previously jrble

    See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

    Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
    If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

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    • #17
      JR, I truly defer to your and others experience. That said, it may have a lot to do with what you're used to.

      About a month ago I stopped by an outdoor "Patriot Day" show at a local City park to see an acquaintence's new JBL CC array -- a five box VRX932 hang over a pair of dual 18" JBL subs per side. When I arrived he was just finishing running sound for the first act and then asked in a bit of a fluster whether I would run it for his band up next (his arranged SR guy just called with a conflict). Hmmm, I've mixed his classic-rock band several times at my normal venue but this was my first time ever standing at a large-frame analog console (Soundcraft GB8-32) with no idea how things are patched to the two large racks nearby. "Sure" I said -- "What the heck". After a three-minute introduction to the basic layout of the board the band goes on. Things went well enough actually. As you note, no layers or hidden menus so everything was visible though I seriously had to use fingers on both hands to trace individual AUX-send rows across to the higher-numbered channel columns and then bend over and squint through my reading glasses at the little bitty numbers surrounding each. Granted, once I figured out (and eventually remembered) the frequency range of each EQ band as well as the db scale squinting was less needed but even after I got sort of comfortable with the dozen-plus rows of pots of each channel strip the little "pointers" on each pot were not easy for my aging brain to glance at and interpret. Again, familiarity would help immensely and I'm mainly relaying the story to poke fun at myself as much as make some salient point. The only large festival I've watched being mixed is the Targhee Bluegrass (coming up again in two weeks) where the installed FOH console is also a M7CL. The company supplied FOH engineer refers to it as "Guerrilla Audio".

      I'd welcome the chance to meet you some day JR.
      ...dave

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      • #18
        Good posts guys.

        For me, there are several gems in digital mixing.

        The main impetus for my going digital was actually just making my rig smaller and easier to setup, tear down, and carry. Initially, just getting rid of my 22 space rack in favor of a more modest ...... lets say 4 space with slant top was what I was intending. After finally giving in to the idea of going without any physical interface (since mixing from stage I never got to actually touch my MixWiz physical interface anyway), I am now down to an 8 space rack (and looking into a 6 space roller rack).

        The surprises were things like value, features, multi-track recording, and remote mixing.

        And while I agree that it is likely that we will see higher internal sample rates in the future, you have a very good point on whether we will be able to hear a difference or not. After all, a 48Khz console can accurately reproduce 24Khz frequencies..... which is higher than the human ear can hear.

        Of course, there are other considerations in processing other than the Nyquist frequency to worry about (which is why most recording consoles are 96Khz).

        I do find it interesting that festivals are pointed out as a strength of analog consoles. I would have thought that digital re-routing would have made the task easier on a digital console than an analog one. Shows what I know eh

        I still have quite a few gems to work with in my X32 Rack. The last major version of firmware gave me access to a multi-band compressor. I have been reading up on the correct usage of such a beast and am planning on working with it with my multi-track playbacks of my band to see what good (or harm) I can do with such a tool.

        I would also like to mention that I much prefer doing channel eq on my iPad application to using an analog mixer. Being able to pinch the Q and swipe the frequency and gain on any of 4 bands while listening to the effect is really much easier (for me) than on an analog console. Having the ability to high and/or low shelf is also very cool.

        I haven't quite figured out what to do with the RTA display yet. It does look rather cool, and it is certainly useful for finding frequencies that are feeding back or ringing, but for normal channel eq duties, I prefer just using my ears vs. my eyes I guess.

        With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

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        • #19
          I was checking out the Soundcraft Si Expression
          Well thought out and very quick response time for the user as far as "right there"
          The big advantage I see for a unit like this is the "tools" available to the user.
          This design is well thought out.
          Within the next couple years I am considering a well designed tool like the Soundcraft Si Expression.
          Bravo


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          • #20
            As much as I like the Expression Si's interface, I wonder if it would be any good for the type of festival work JR describes, with gross and quick changes all over the console.
            "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015

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            • #21
              Think Hybrid design

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              • #22
                Just sat down at a Tommy Emmanuel concert in Missoula and there's a M7CL in road case sitting at FOH. That's a lot of mixer for so few channels needed. You're in good company JR.
                ...dave

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                • #23
                  Just did monitors for Tommy Emmanuel this last year. Yep it was an M7CL. So few channels was easy as pie so I could really enjoy the show.

                  Here it goes OT. Man what a show. That man is an insanely good player. I got a good friend who's an excellent guitarist (reads & played Union pickup bands for years) in to see the show. He said he wanted to go home and burn his guitar. I hope Tommy gets booked again. One of the shows that truly bowled me over.

                  cheers
                  J.R. Previously jrble

                  See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

                  Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
                  If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    I work with Tommy every year and it's all analog at our venue. His FOH engineer is a retired Clair guy and last tome he was throuhh we discussed the relative differences between digital and analog platforms. For some of us, there is a comfort and familiarity with the (pro) analog gear that changes or integrated the mixing into a more organic workflow. It's like the feel of a guitar rather than just considering the sound alone. For those who don't have many years of such experience, you just can't miss it or even comprehend what we are talking about. I have 30+ years of mixing FOH at the more pro level, over these years I have developed a preference for hardware and workflow that makes me appear very quick, efficient and to the point with the acts I work with. This improved the artist/tech relationship and makes for a smooth show regardless of the digital/analog debate. Aside from the user interface, there are indeed some significant benefits to digital consoles however.
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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                    • #25
                      ...and we had "pretty good" seats too!
                      My son (and I given he was a minor at the time) got to spend fours days with Tommy in a Master's class at Jorma's Fur Peace Ranch a few years ago. Tommy's the real deal -- as authentic a human being as I've ever encountered. His virtuosity on the instrument is easily matched by his sincere interest in sharing his passion for music and inspiring others. It's always good to see him looking healthy and vigorous as inherited heart disease and the lifestyle of a touring musician are not good companions.

                      Andy I hope you and others here take my comments in the context they deserve -- that of a hobbyist with a grand total of almost 3 years experience at SR! I can only assume my perspective would be different with 30 years working at the PRO level. I defer sir.
                      Attached Files
                      ...dave

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                      • #26
                        Folks that have never worked with pro level analog gear or only digital gear really have no comparative experience, just like folks that play $500 guitars can't understand why somebody would buy a $5000 guitar. There really are significant differences that are readily obvious to experienced providers.
                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                        Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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                        • #27
                          Yeah but Pros make $500 dollar guitars sound so good.
                          Dan Snyder is bad Karma

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                          • #28
                            I can appreciate the love for analog gear and I think everyone should use what they are most comfortable with, BUT, going digital does not involve a compromise of pro quality. Most of the top pros have gone digital because it helps them do a better job as well as make life easier.

                            And you know, sometimes a guitar is worth $5000.00 because of collectability, rarity, or just sentimental value and a $500.00 guitar can actually sound and play better!
                            Last edited by sibyrnes; 07-24-2014, 02:55 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Certainly, many pros have gone digital because ofthe convenience of onboard dynamics, effects, routing, eq and output buses. Size and weight also play into the decision as many guys are now carrying for tours, even bus and trailer tours. In fact, my need for a digital console for touring acts has almost completely gone away and I am doing a lot more racks & stacks gigs than ever before. Makes it even harder to justify spending real money on an SC48 or M7 or (fill in the blank).
                              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                              Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Hadn't thought of that Andy. When it no longer requires an H3000 and several racks of gear, it suddenly becomes possible to put it on the tour bus with you.

                                My world of music doesn't get anywhere near this level. For me (as you point out), number one and two were size and weight with a distant third being features.

                                I was pleasantly surprised to get an improvement in sound quality as well.

                                I setup for my performance in the church tonight. Took the multi-track recording, fed it back through my X32 Rack which was feeding 2 channels in the churches LS9-32 ...... went out front with my iPad, did some equalizing, a bit of mixing, and woot, out comes a very nice mix for tomorrow (assuming that I don't botch the piano .... I normally play guitar). Very cool feature.

                                I can also see the other side of the coin.

                                I have never used an LS9 before. Fortunately, all I needed to do was turn the channels on and adjust my X32 Rack output so that the input was at around -14db. The screen seemed pretty small (or my eyes are just getting so bad that everything looks small), but I would have required some time to figure out anything advanced on the beast. I found the channel on/off button, channel VU meter and sliders for the channel I was using pretty easy Everything else .... not so straight forward.

                                I have heard that the MIDAS unusual design as well (albeit not as unusual as the LS9 I would think).

                                On pretty much any analog board, I can immediately find:

                                1) Gain,
                                2) Slider,
                                3) Sends
                                4) PEQ
                                5) HPF

                                Everything else generally requires some cable tracing to find where compressors/gates/efx are routed. Groups seem to be done differently on different boards as well.

                                I can see how one could get used to running such a board efficiently though. The setup and routing of a digital seems to be better .... at least for me.
                                With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

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