Soundcraft Goes Digital!


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Yup, they're all doing it. Soundcraft has finally jumped on the Digital Band(width)wagon. They have introuduced the brand new Vi6 Digital Live Console. Of course, they had the Digital Spirit Series before, but this console is by far a huge step up. Welcome the Vi6. Look and drool.
I like the idea of the analog console. I do like to have digital processing though, in the form of a DriveRack. But I'll stick by my analog console until someone drops a digital one on my head (or in my work place and tells me to use it).
That's pretty much how I feel about the subject. I like to have all of my knobs right in front of me so I don't need to go through four menus to add a little bit more punch to the kick drum. After the number of light board crashes I've witnessed in the past two years, I dont know if I'm ready to trust even the most "stable Linux operating system" in existence with my whole rig.
I think it looks like a great console, I read the article in PLSN and it looks like a lot of thought really went into it. I'll also add that the Express consoles use Linux (or I have been misinformed) and I have never seen an Express crash.
I like it. It looks like it will give a more graphical approach at live mixing that will help people understand what's going on better.
I'll tell you, for the longest time I dreaded the thought of digital consoles, and insisted analog was the way to go. Now, having been trained on a PM1D by Yamaha (which makes a BIG difference in understanding the thing, since their interface is less than intuitive), and having mixed extensively on 02Rs and DM1000 and 2000s, I really feel comfortable on them.

That's not to say that they're the right tool for every job. There are times an analog console is the way to go, and times that a digital just makes things so much easier.

That said, if you haven't spent the time to really learn your way around one, it's easy to say, "Uck, everything's buried in do I change an EQ quickly during a show." In reality, though, on every digital console I've used, it's quicker to change EQ than with an analog?

Why? Well, first, it's NOT buried in a menu. This was a complaint from live guys from day one, so digital console designers have been very good about keeping EQ and the other things we need quick access to right there with controls on the surface, no menus to dig through. You do have to hit "select" on the channel you want to change, but it's still quicker, at least to me. Why? (Note: The digital explanation looks longer, but that's because I get sidetracked with some explanatory notes...the actual process is quicker, as you'll see.)

Analog: Okay, change the EQ on the snare...well, okay, snare's over here, now trace up the row of knobs to EQ....high, no, low mid, no, high mid---yup...not Q, not gain, freq...there's the knob I want. Twirl. Ah, that's better.

Digital: Okay, change the EQ on the snare...well, okay, snares over here, left hand reaches to hit the big honking select button while, simultaneously right hand reaches for the super easy to find EQ section--the single EQ section that you reach for for any channel you want to change, so you're always reaching for the same place on the console. Twist the knob you want (which is much easier to find, since a fully parametric 4-band is now a single row/column of 2-3 knobs* for a total of no more than 12, whereas on a 32 channel analog (which is small for theatre) you're looking at a field of 354 knobs, which run right into the 144+ aux knobs, which run into...), and you're done.

Anyway, that's my two cents...there's certainly no single right or wrong answer here, but coming from one who a few years ago loathed digital, and now has learned to love it, don't knock it till you've actually spent a little while giving it a real honest try.

Let's not all forget that this is not Soundcraft's first digital console. A couple of years ago they produced the Spirit 328 and Spirit Live 324. I personally have not had the oppurtunity to work on either of these consoles but I have a friend who loves the quality of A/D converters on his 328. Hopefully this new console grows on the past experiences of the previous two consoles. It looks like it will be a great console to get behind and mix.
Radman said:
I think it looks like a great console, I read the article in PLSN and it looks like a lot of thought really went into it. I'll also add that the Express consoles use Linux (or I have been misinformed) and I have never seen an Express crash.

I lied, that article was on the new Midas digital console. :oops::shhh::doh:
From my understanding, the Spirit had very little to do with the design of the new console. It is based on Studer's Vista line; Soundcraft partnered with Studer to make a live console based on the 4-5 previous generations of Vistas.

While the Spirit was digital, it was limited, and didn't have any menus, LCDs, etc. The vi6 is a full-fledged digital console more along the lines of the other current options like the Yamahas and DiGiCos. It's hard to even find another console to compare the Spirit to, since it's got a much smaller feature set than even the earliest of Yamahas that you'll still find in operation, small ones like the 01V and 03D.

And that's not a bad thing, LOL. While I have a friend who loved his Spirit until he outgrew it recently (I'm sure it's still in good service on smaller gigs, but his A console is now an M7CL), I found a lot of things I didn't like about it when I mixed on it. It certainly had it's good points, but a lot of it was just plain counter-intuitive to me, and a lot of tradeoffs were made as far as consolidating a lot of functions into a minimal number of buttons and knobs. It served a great purpose, but it was/is an entirely different beast than the vi6.


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