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Analog vs. Digital

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by mcgart, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    There has been discussion within my school as to whether we should replace our current analog sound console with a digital one. As of yet, no specific digital consoles have been suggested but my question is whether analog or digital is better. We currently have a pretty good Midas Venice 320 which suits our needs and I am pretty much against replacing it with a digital consoles. Just like to know some views or experiences of using digital consoles.
     
  2. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    EDIT: whoops this is sound not lighting

    If an analogue console is meeting your needs perfectly and is fault-free, then by all means keep it.

    If your shows are complex to the point of needing scene and fader recall, motorised faders, EQ, gate, compression and the like built-in, then by all means upgrade to digital.

    Will post more later when I've had a think.
     
  3. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    Our shows never reach the complexity of needing anything beyond simple microphone and sound input management.

    One problem I have is trying to convince the person behind wanting to buy a new board that it is not needed. He is convinced that it will solve some issues we have in regards to sound quality, but I know for a fact that those issues are due to bad wiring.

    So now I need some info on digital consoles that will make him reconsider...

    Thanks for the start
     
  4. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    What are the issues?

    If you need a specific piece of equipment like an EQ for example to fix audio quality then it will be easier and cheaper just to add one to the current rig rather than blowing the budget for a digital that has that and the kitchen sink built in, and a bit of a learning curve.

    If you have wiring issues, spend the money on fixing the wiring.

    I don't think it's worth it in my/your situation - it's the difference between "want" and "need" and "cost". I'd LIKE a digital mixer in my situation, but we certainly don't need one.

    Also, although many newer (esp. Yamaha) units come close, a digital mixer is never as fast to manipulate as an analogue mixer for live sound.
     
  5. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    Getting a digital mixer to fix serious wiring problems is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band-aid.

    I have just had to resolder and clean the connections on all the leads going into our graphic EQ because they were causing the left-channel to drop out and various other problems. The solder joints were brown!
     
  6. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I have a suggestion for you. If this person believes that a digital console will fix your problems, then how about hiring one in for a show or a day or whatever and see if it does indeed fix your problem, or whether, as you suspect, the problems will remain. If the problems stay, then it goes a way to confirming your theory that it is a wiring problem... Just an idea.
     
  7. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    I agree with everything people have said about buying a digital console in an attempt to quick fix a solution. I would love to rewire the venue but our school is pretty bad when it comes to spending money in our theatre department. Is there any issues about digital consoles that may potentially convince the person who wants to buy it to rethink? Also are there any major advantages of a digital console over an analog one...
     
  8. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Please excuse my ignorance here, but if if it hard to get money spent in the theatre dept., is it not a more effective use of that money to fix up your wiring etc. while your existing console is still serving your needs adequately rather than make a capital outlay on a new mixer than potentially will suffer the same problem?
     
  9. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    I agree. Although there are alot of Digital boards coming out onto the market, in some cases a good analogue desk that works perfectly well is better. Sure, it can't do the things that you can do with a digital board, but if all you are using is a couple of mics and some other input signals, then stick with the analogue. if you want to include something like a reverb unit, or compressor, of eq's or whatever, just add it into the rig.

    As for the person who wants to fix things by getting a digital desk, talk to him about the issues, do a bit of tweaking with wiring etc and see if that does. If he's still not impressed, let him/her pay for a testing day where you hire a desk, as someone else suggested already. See where that goes.

    Cheers Bro
     
  10. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    there in lies the problem...the ignorance of one person. The person wanting to buy the digital console is actually part of the music department - totally different budget to ours. I have repeatedly tried to get him to spend money fixing the wiring but he insists that a digital console will do it - he is what you would say completely ignorant with no experience in this sort of thing. I am now trying to get some info that I could use to persuade him not to waste the money - plus im perfectly happy with the analog console.
     
  11. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    The more I hear about this situation, the more appropriate hiring in the desired console for a test seems to become. Think of it this way: how many people buy a car wthout ever sitting in it or going for a test drive? The numbers are not that good. Hiring a console in is akin to test driving a new car - a good way to find out whether or not it works for you. It wuld also allow this person to check that what they think will work might actually have some chanc of working...

    Again, just a thought.
     
  12. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    Yes...I am beginning to think this would be the most appropriate thing to do. It would also give me a chance to show how it won't do what he thinks it will. Which leads me to the next question: What digitial boards do you recommend that won't blow the budget (keeping in mind this is a school theatre - funds not exactly flowing). Thanks for a possible solution!
     
  13. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    How many channels? What are the requirements? Do you need everything in it including the kitchen sink as well as the bathtub? Yamaha's 01v96 is good for starters, almost bought one myself, but had a reality check and stuck with my Onyx 1620 (Bought a Gibson SG instead). Beg pardon, random ponderings. Anyway, Yamaha's new LS9 or M7 might be more along the lines of what you want to rent to demonstrate.

    For a cheaper solution to the Yammies, you may want to look at Mackie's TT24 (*gasp*). I've got friends who've bought one and are quite pleased with it. I think they've fixed the bugs that plauged the early units.

    If it were me, I'd probably look at the M7. Now, that being said, digital is not cheap. A good M7 will run you around $15k new, the LS9-32 retails for $11k. An 01V is around $2200, and the Mackie, last time I checked, was around $7k.

    Definitly rent one of the boards you're looking at first, to demonstrate that it may not do all he thinks it does; that you don't need a console with a full bathroom built-in to run sound. The rates shouldn't be that bad (all things relative of course), it'll definitly be cheaper than buying one.

    All that being said, you said you had a Venice? Ok, so it's lower-end Midas, but it's still a Midas. Stick with it. I'd rather mix on a Midas than most digital boards, with the exception of DiGiCo and the Yamaha PM1D and 5D.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  14. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    I'm in the "stick with the analog" camp, but for a different reason...

    An analog mixer is easier to LEARN on. Not many high schoolers come in with any understanding of the principles of live sound. The best way to learn it, is in a hands-on environment. No one should ever learn sound from scratch on a digital board. Any analog board has the same primary functions and features (group routing, inserts, aux sends, pre/post fader, eq strip, mute, gain, etc.) Getting a handle on these basic principles is essential before tackling the world of digital mixers.
     
  15. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    We just switched over, and number one, running a digital show is much different than an analog show. It takes a bit to make it so that you can run rehersals just as smoothly, but in the long run its a whole lot easier with saved cues and what not... BUT...on that note, i still keep the old analog nearby and take notes like i was running an old show. Ive hada few shows where the whole digital thing just has too many bells and whistles that want to go to poop on me that day. Cues wiped out, and everything. Their great when they work, anda head ache when they dont. My advice, get it, but make sure that you treat it like an analog in rehersals still as far and notes and stuff, something can always go wrong.
     
  16. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    I agree with Saxman and Dillon for both their reasons. Firstly I agree 100% that an analogue is the way to go when learning about front of house sound and mixing. Although it may not be as versatile as a digital desk, they do the job and call for a bit of thinking which is what you need for a learning curve.

    Saxman is also correct when he says they have the chance of failing at any moment and so you should stick with it as if it is an analogue during rehearsals.

    Just agreeing with other peoples thoughts :p
     
    saxman0317 likes this.
  17. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    I'm not going to get in to the argument of analog vs digital, I've beaten that one to death on another thread ;-))))

    What are the problems? what are the indication that it is wiring?? While just saying that getting a digital desk will fix the problem is pretty silly, at the same time saying it is wiring without describing the problem is sort of silly.

    Sharyn
     
  18. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    The major problem is that there is an annoying persistant hum that comes through the speakers. We have narrowed it down to a wiring problem because when we take the same equipment and use it off site with new wiring it works perfectly. Also, all the power for our sound and lighting equipment is earthed at the same point - from what I've been reading that causes ground loop problems...I may be wrong but that's my understanding. The hum is annoying but not so bad that we can't use the sound system.
     
  19. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    In regards to our needs, I wouldn't like to downgrade from what we have at the moment. So that would be 24 channels with aux and fx sends - all the general stuff you find on a middle level analog console. As for things in the digital console, I wouldn't be looking at anything too fancy as it would make it difficult to teach new people/ and also general daily operation.
     
  20. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    The words ground loop seem to spring to mind... Not sure how to resolve it without knowing more about the situation.

    EDIT: The long day must be getting to me. Why on Earth I made a comment like that when it was suggested above I do not know.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2006

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