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Digital Audio in a Live Application

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Gridrat, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Gridrat

    Gridrat Member

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    I am looking to get some opinions/information concerning Digital live mixing. One of my Goals is to incorporate a totally digital sound system in our Performing Arts Center and want to try and get it in the Next Bond Issue. I have used both analogue and Digital consoles, and would like to replace the current analogue system and put in the Didgi Design Venue or the D-Show Mix. We currently use Pro-Tools Le 002 for recording all of the Music/Vocal concerts and I have had a couple of opportunaties to use the Venue. My Question is: Does anyone else here have any experience with this Console? What do you like/dislike about it. If you are also at the H.S. or college level, what was your cost for the system, and how was it funded. Do you think that analogue systems will be around in 10 years, or will digital Audio take over as the major audio system type sooner. Thanks in advance for any info/opinions you can give me.
     
  2. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I do not have much experience with that console, but I do have lots of experience with digital boards in general. I think analogue systems will still be along and thriving in 10 years. Digital has come a long way, and we will certainly keep making strides in that direction. However, the expense of a large format digital console like the one you are looking at is substantial, and this is a big expense for an educational institution. Although, I obviously have no information on your district's current technology status, I would say that there are cheaper options that achieve the same goal. Educational institutions are almost always in a budget pinch, and I think there is a better way to spend the cash. I for one would not be supportive if my local district wanted to put a Digi in; not the best use of my tax dollars in the big picture of things (although I would be supportive of a digital board of some variety). For the most part, that is like providing a Corvette for driver education. From my experience, you have to look at the long-term situation. In most educational environment, you are teaching inexperienced users starting on the ground level. There are better options, in my opinion, for going digital, that have all of the same basic features, that will cost less, and be easier for students to learn. That is just my $0.02

    ~Dave
     
  3. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I agree: while a Digidesign Venue would be really nice to have, there are lots better ways to spend that amount of money at the educational level. That, and especially in education, students need to learn the basics on analog. Goodness, even for not education I prefer analog, but I'm also the crazy analog guy.
     
  4. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    First let me get this out...the equipment should fit the application and not the other way around!

    Okay, now I feel better. But the point is whether you are picking a piece of gear and then trying to justify it or whether you have defined your needs and goals and then based on that determined that the Digidesign was a good solution. It is a little worrisome that you have not mentioned anything about the venue, the applications, the console it would be replacing or the rest of the system. You haven't defined the quantity and type of inputs and outputs required, which will directly affect the equipment required and through that, the price. Because of this it does appear a bit like you are trying to justify a piece of gear rather than defining a solution to a problem. In my experience, the latter approach is much more successful at getting funding, especially in educational institutions.

    This also relates to comments people may provide. Sure, someone can offer that they love/hate their console, but how relevant is their situation to your situation? I have one project where the Digidesign would have been a great option except that it turned out to be rather expensive for the specific I/O required and it had trouble working with the physical installation requirements for the project. It had nothing to do with the console operation or quality and everything to do with the details of that particular application, however we had to look at such details before we could determine what was even a viable solution or not.

    I also agree with Dave's comments. It is great that many schools can offer 'high end' gear for students to learn on but the reality is that most of the graduates will be moving on to colleges or jobs that will see them using equipment several steps down from that for some time. People still need to learn to use entry level gear and to walk before they run, so also consider whether this would broaden the potential learning environment or perhaps be skipping some potentially beneficial steps.

    Overall, I think that the trend is definitely toward digital. It's always great to have added functionality and capability of some of the higher end digitla consoles, but it can be much more difficult to adapt to working without capabilities you always had. Therefore, in educational applications I would prefer to see students getting experience on an O1V, LS9, M7CL, V-Mix, TT24 and other entry level digital consoles first. Maybe they move on to higher end mixers as well but they are most likely to run into the more entry level consoles in the 'real world' and in most cases the concepts and skills learned on those will still be applicable to higher end consoles, while the inverse may not be true.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  5. Stookeybrd

    Stookeybrd Active Member

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    I've had good chunk of time on the console, but not so much where I have found my favorite compressor plug-in, or gate, or e.q., etc.

    I personally love how close it resembles an analog board in its layout and operation. In addition, the incorporated Pro Tools is terrific for both Virtual sound check and remote mastering.

    I would even go as so far to say that a Profile or a Venue is like providing a Ferrari, and an M7CL or iLive is like providing a Corvette.

    As a high school student myself, I would recommend staying analog as a teaching method. There is a large enough learning curve on a basic channel strip, so lets not throw in plug-ins and digital patching to boot.

    I personally learned on a Mackie 32*8 with 2 graphics, a DriveRack and Feedback Destroyer. At the time, it was much more than I knew what to do with!

    --
    Cameron Stuckey
     
  6. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Yep. Routing is much easier when you can look at the strip and see the switches (or indicators in some cases), not having to consult an input routing table or output routing table.

    That, and the best digital consoles out there (5D and the like), as best I recall, behave kind of like analog boards in that you have virtual outboard racks and patch bays and the like, so it's easier if the user has a grasp of the analog gear it mimics.

    My, how times change .. I learned on a Mackie 1604 (the first one, when it was new) without graphs. DSPs hadn't been invented yet, at least in the low- and middle-class. That and a Shure M67 and a Yam MQ1602. It wasn't until ten years ago that I got to use a real console, a Yam GA32.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  7. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    I learned to mix musicals on a Mackie 1604 and Ramsa 2444. I personally would rather see a digital console in a theatrical setting, unless it's a Cadac, then I'll happily take the Cadac. That being said, I can see justifying the cost of something like an M7 or LS9-32, but not a Digi Venue.

    My first vote would be an M7, followed by the LS9. If you were to go analog, I'd suggest something like an Soundcraft MH3 (I rely heavily on VCA assignment automation in theatre).

    What kind of shows do you primarily do? Straight plays? Musical Theatre? Concerts? Who is usually operating the system? Someone trained in sound? Students? A house engineer? Road engineer?
     
  8. hsaunier

    hsaunier Active Member

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    Brad is spot on.

    Know the intended use of the venue, the intended use of the PA. If this is strictly a school venu with no other use, that size console may be more harmful then helpful.

    In our cricumstance, we knew that we would be a community PAC and that we would be booking 15-20 national touring acts per year. The need for top end gear was to reduce the need to rent PA on a continuing a basis. We did not spend any tax dollars on our project. All cost was covered with donations. Our purchase of a PM5D has saved money on ticket prices. I have been able to cover 90% of tech riders with our FOH rig. The other 10% have traveled with their own rig, so we still are not paying for a rental. But this is our situation, and every situation is different.

    Yes, our students get to use this rig when they perform their spring musical. That just happens to be a pay off for our application. We are not the norm.
     

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