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Audio mixers more flexible than lighting programmers?

Discussion in 'Question of the Day' started by derekleffew, Dec 18, 2008.


Are Audio Engineers more versatile or flexible than Lighting Programmers?

  1. Yes

  2. They're equally diverse

  3. No

  4. Other (please specify...)

  1. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Eboy inspired this poll with this post:
    and it's something I've thought about often. It seems to me that any good audio engineer can sit behind any sound desk and get satisfactory results, but lighting programmers tend to be specialized. Whereas a Hog3 programmer would be lost on a grandMA, Maxxyz, or Vista; and some would turn down a gig or walk out if faced with an Avo.
  2. erosing

    erosing The Royal Renaissance Man

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    I think it depends, for analog mixers hands down more versatile then programmers on new age desks. but with conventional boards and analog boards the mixer/programmer is almost equally versitile. With new age desks I think that mixers have the advantage but it's not a landslide.
  3. avare

    avare Active Member

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    Hamilton, ON Canada
    An interesting question. I think that the two fields are are so different that a direct comparison is not possible. Sound interfaces (trying to keep to a common term) are designed such that real time adjustments can be pretty well be done with an interface that for most part has commonality with its analogue predecessors.

    Lighting interfaces are based on a heritage of computer integration that is decades old. They are also designed to be the control for programmed functions. The commonality in heritage is minimal. With the speed at which computers evolve, and the evolution being driven by companies seeking to differentiate themselves, hopefully in a useful unique manner, the standardization of systems, and even terminology, is minimal.

    I am looking forward to reading other peoples' comments on this question.

    Sonically illuminating,
  4. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    It's not a fair comparison, IMO. While an audio mixer may have a preferred console, it's more about getting a sound. With a lighting desk, the programmer knows the look s/he wants, but may not be familiar with the desk to the extent that the desk prohibits achieving the look.
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Saratoga Springs, NY
    My feeling is that the big difference is not the console, its what the console is doing. Let's face it, very little separates most analog audio consoles. Each have their flukes, but they are fairly similar. In the digital game, a handful of companies have come forward that produce a pretty standardized console. All yamaha digital consoles have the same base, it just comes down to how to access the features and the extent of those features.

    Lighting control is a different beast. Each console comes to the same end, but in vastly different ways. Learning a lighting console is like learning a romantic language, you can make connections between to languages because they are saying the same thing, you just have to find how to do it.

    The nature of the work is also different... But I will leave that alone.
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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  6. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Chicago, IL
    I agree with Avare, it's comparing apples and oranges. With 90% of the digital audio desks, everything works the same way, it's just laid out different. I can walk up to a new console, and within 5 minutes, I can get my show up an running (excluding programming if it's a complex show, like a musical). With analog desks, everything is pretty much the same, so just about any village idiot can get a basic mix up and running.

    In our corner of the industry, we run into the same basic desks, like I said. Mostly Yamaha and/or DigiDesign VENUE for digital, and any number of analog desks. As I said, the basic functions are the same across the board (no pun intended).

    I can't really speak to what it's like in the world of lighting, since I've never worked on any of the newer lighting desks (just an old Rosco and ETC Express/Insight). I do know you see a lot of people who are either GrandMA or Hog, and I would assume they're pretty specialized. But I think you have to take into account things beyond the hardware.

    Being able to recognize which frequency is about to feed back, and pulling it back before it takes off takes a good amount of skill, as does being able to mix a 100+ input musical. When I see lighting designers do their work, "Channel x at 75%, at 70, 60, 65," I would assume they're doing the same thing we are when we're trying to EQ. It's just two different fields.

    I think I sort of just rambled on there. My two cents anyway.

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