Sound effects computer

RonHebbard

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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I have a business idea. I am going to make all sorts of labels of different sizes and colours that have just ne word on them. DIGITAL then stick them on everything I find then everyone will think it is all digital and then they would be happy. I remember purchasing some speakers back in the 80's for my walkman (oh I feel so old) that had digital across the front. I am sure they were just 3in cones in there being driven by the output of my walkman which I am sure was not digital. Ahh good times.
@Crisp image Does giving things the finger make them digital? I believe I've heard my doctor speak of a digital examination.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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ACTSTech

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Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
Couldn't agree more on the purchasing your own stuff and either renting it back or trying to make it up on the side, and using it as a peace of mind. I used to do this years ago. It was quality equipment. It's dated, but I could still throw lots of those mics on a stand or drum kit and use them. Fortunately I never went crazy and invest in my own digital mixing board, though.

On the note of not having flying faders - analog boards might still have their place these days, but it is nice having a digital board, and channel count equal, I'm probably going to opt for the digital board 99% of the time for anything remotely large scale.
People make fun of me for purchasing PZMs, but the number of times someone wanted a grand piano mic'd and were using handheld cardioids made it worth my time not bashing my head off the wall. My 414s have seen ten lifetimes of usage and are still kicking. Even if I never rented them (which a lot of times I just loan them because I'm a sucker), the headaches that were saved by my personal equipment made the purchase worth it.

And I'm not disagreeing with you on the digital boards at all, but in my opinion, if there's four total microphones in the studio, and you've done your pre-show work, you don't need a motorized board. Two anchors reading off a teleprompter can be run without too many bells and whistles. Plus, I've seen people think everything is set and trimmed, then not checked and they went live with some major problems, then tried to blame the board. If you're not lazy, you're listening and adjusting all the time.
 

Techadvisor

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Jan 29, 2018
Location
Utah
Currently running Show Cue systems on a very aged windows computer. Some of the younger sound operators come in and avoid it like the plague,
not because it doesn't work, but because they don't "trust" it. So they do something I trust less.. bring their own laptop and run sound fx from whatever software they have
from audacity to whatever.

I don't trust that.. because what happens if they and their laptop are hit by a truck on the way to the theater?

So looking at getting a mac mini.. and running Qlab. Mac would be purchased used.. I'm thinking 16 gig memory I7 processor and SSD hard drive
Could I be happy with an i5 processor? No doubt it's long past time to upgrade the PC that's there, and I'll admit it's "long in the tooth" Choosing to migrate to qlab
not so much to do anything new and exotique, as to just get in house equipment and software that they will actually use, so we are positioned better for disaster.
I am a tech advisor for a school district. I have been running SCS for many years. I run audio trach, fx tracks, still images, and video at the same time. the students in the HS love to use my computer because it is so user friendly. This computer is at least 7 years old and it runs thing great. I would suggest upgrading the PC. I am looking at getting a SCS license for the district and using it in all the schools. Economics is a big factor.
 

ACTSTech

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Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
I am a tech advisor for a school district. I have been running SCS for many years. I run audio trach, fx tracks, still images, and video at the same time. the students in the HS love to use my computer because it is so user friendly. This computer is at least 7 years old and it runs thing great. I would suggest upgrading the PC. I am looking at getting a SCS license for the district and using it in all the schools. Economics is a big factor.
Is your computer actively connected to the internet during shows? Do you keep copies of the files offline? Do you ever experience lag with larger files?
 

Techadvisor

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Jan 29, 2018
Location
Utah
Is your computer actively connected to the internet during shows? Do you keep copies of the files offline? Do you ever experience lag with larger files?
I turn off the wifi on the computer so it will not connect. I always have a backup on a thumb drive that i can get to quick.. I also make sure all programs are off during a show. When needed i have run a wave file with a video embedded on a cue within that wave and not had problems. My computer is set to not auto update.
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Chiming in here about Qlab and how great, simple but able to be complex and ubiquitous it is in the world.

+1 for Macs. As someone who only now uses Windows only when I'm required, I forget how annoying Windows Update is.

I had an install for a 3 monitor lobby display with a remote server that was internet connected. PC still runs fine but the drivers got botched over the pandemic because there wasn't anyone there every week to keep delaying windows update. Also have MA on PC on a few PCs. Thankfully it's super simple but windows updates have definitely threatened shows before. macOS is getting there with the annoying popups and forced updates but not so bad yet.

My suggestion, without having personally tested it, is a new Mac Mini base model with the M1 chip. $679 education price. Confirmed by figure53 to work fine and this mac is faster and more resilient than all but the very top end Mac Pro. No need for any upgrades, the base model is amazing.
Also, while laptops are convenient and might be helpful in certain scenarios when desktop monitors are waaaayyyy too big and bright for their intended theatrical purpose, having a monitor attached to your computer means when someone breaks the display, you have to send the whole thing into the shop. Better to keep the $25 craigslist monitor on the desk and have the computer safely in a rack.

 

yert33

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Aug 19, 2010
Location
Houston
There are plenty of non-new Mac machines out there fully capable of running QLab. If you're not prevented by policy from buying used equipment it makes sense to me to search for a used MacBook Pro 15 for audio and video work. And if audio only, a used MacBook Pro 13.

(Written on my workhorse Early 2011 MacBook Pro 13 High Sierra that runs QLab4 and is my designer machine. AND IT HAS ACTUAL CONNECTORS, TOO!)
 

jtweigandt

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Aug 2, 2013
Location
Moline Il
I had an install for a 3 monitor lobby display with a remote server that was internet connected. PC still runs fine but the drivers got botched over the pandemic because there wasn't anyone there every week to keep delaying windows update. Also have MA on PC on a few PCs. Thankfully it's super simple but windows updates have definitely threatened shows before. macOS is getting there with the annoying popups and forced updates but not so bad yet.
 

jtweigandt

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Aug 2, 2013
Location
Moline Il
I have 2 lobby displays that run on "looper" on raspberry pi I also have an info loop in my exam rooms that run on pi's
Rarely if ever need a reset.. 2 years plus. 10 dollar pi zero motherboard. I use the 3b+ in the exam rooms because I occasionally display
xrays or other info for clients there on the pi as well ... though not for the last 10 months or so... sigh.
 

Crisp image

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Jun 18, 2017
Location
Eastern Victoria Australia
@Crisp image Does giving things the finger make them digital? I believe I've heard my doctor speak of a digital examination.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Ron TMI for me but you make a good point. Good to see your doctor is in the modern world.
 

Ben Stiegler

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Aug 3, 2017
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Sf Bay Area
So back to hardware ... Check out the excellent values at discountelectronics.com. ... I've bought from them for 10+ years. Both macs and PCs, built/rebuilt to your specs (SSD, memory, etc) a with 1 yr warranty and your choice of OS ...about 1/3 of new iron cost.
 
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JohnD

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north central OK
I was checking out the Mac Mini w/ M1 and was surprised to see that the video connector wasn't displayport but HDMI.
 
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macsound

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Location
San Francisco, CA
I was checking out the Mac Mini w/ M1 and was surprised to see that the video connector wasn't displayport but HDMI.
But apple has never used displayport... Before they adopted USB C they used mini displayport, but they were combining video with thunderbolt. Same setup now, you can run one display off USB C and a second off HDMI.
Personally I think USB C is a complete mess and about as far from a standard as there is. Who designs a single connector that can be so many different things yet have zero indication from the cable or plug which of those is possible?
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I have 2 lobby displays that run on "looper" on raspberry pi I also have an info loop in my exam rooms that run on pi's
Rarely if ever need a reset.. 2 years plus. 10 dollar pi zero motherboard. I use the 3b+ in the exam rooms because I occasionally display
xrays or other info for clients there on the pi as well ... though not for the last 10 months or so... sigh.
Is looper the application running on the pi?
I have this complex setup for these displays because sometimes they're used for powerpoint or live video and sometimes just a static logo. Monitors Anywhere is the software and it sucks.
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
There are plenty of non-new Mac machines out there fully capable of running QLab. If you're not prevented by policy from buying used equipment it makes sense to me to search for a used MacBook Pro 15 for audio and video work. And if audio only, a used MacBook Pro 13.

(Written on my workhorse Early 2011 MacBook Pro 13 High Sierra that runs QLab4 and is my designer machine. AND IT HAS ACTUAL CONNECTORS, TOO!)
I agree that many many macs will easily run qlab and playback audio. I commonly used 2011 and older MBPs for qlab because they had a CD drive and some acts still bring their content on a CD. I could easily rip it and put it in qlab. I did one event where the guy brought a 5 CD carousel and I'm like no way. Qlab it is.

I was thinking of 2 things when recommending the new M1 mac mini.
1. Schools usually can't buy used
2. Sometimes the peace of mind that comes from a new product with a warranty outweighs the savings of something used or built.

I think also using a used machine that is yours is different from buying a used machine that was someone else's. You don't know about that issue that happens when it gets warm or other quirks you learn about particular products when you live with them for a while.
I have 3 mac minis, all inherited and the newest one is the worst performing. But taking it's previous life into account, I know it's main purpose was labeling inside a california warehouse, right by the roll up door.
If you bought this machine on eBay and took the specs at face value, you'd come to hate apple for their garbage products when it was really the device's past that wasn't communicated.
 

RonHebbard

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Waterdown, ON, CA
But apple has never used displayport... Before they adopted USB C they used mini displayport, but they were combining video with thunderbolt. Same setup now, you can run one display off USB C and a second off HDMI.
Personally I think USB C is a complete mess and about as far from a standard as there is. Who designs a single connector that can be so many different things yet have zero indication from the cable or plug which of those is possible?
[B][USER=24235][B]@macsound[/B][/USER[/B]] Quoting you: "Who designs a single connector that can be so many different things yet have zero indication from the cable or plug which of those is possible?"
The designer's father designed the XLR3; his grandfather, the 1/4 TS, his Great grandfather, the RCA and his Great Great grandfather the double banana. An uncle had a hand in porcelain wire nuts then an aunt added wings.
Think POSITIVE.
Test NEGATIVE.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
[B][USER=24235][B]@macsound[/B][/USER[/B]] Quoting you: "Who designs a single connector that can be so many different things yet have zero indication from the cable or plug which of those is possible?"
The designer's father designed the XLR3; his grandfather, the 1/4 TS, his Great grandfather, the RCA and his Great Great grandfather the double banana. An uncle had a hand in porcelain wire nuts then an aunt added wings.
Think POSITIVE.
Test NEGATIVE.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Have you written a book Ron? I don't read much non-fiction besides manuals but if you wrote it, I'd be glued to every page :)
PS. Hows the weather up there now that the US has rid itself of the nincompoop?
 

RonHebbard

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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Have you written a book Ron? I don't read much non-fiction besides manuals but if you wrote it, I'd be glued to every page :)
PS. Hows the weather up there now that the US has rid itself of the nincompoop?
The acrid stench is clearing. I always thought Dump Trump had a nice ring to it.
In the dictionary beside pompous, arrogant, ignoramus. . .
Thinking back to connectors: RJ45's; multiple wiring standards then Peavey added potentially hazardous voltages when they employed the same connectors for their paging system.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

jtweigandt

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Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Location
Moline Il
Is looper the application running on the pi?
I have this complex setup for these displays because sometimes they're used for powerpoint or live video and sometimes just a static logo. Monitors Anywhere is the software and it sucks.
Looper is running on the pi.. I will drill down to see if there's anything like a remote monitor (well I know there is) let me say anything that isn't hard to set up.
 

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