Analogue or Digital Desk?
Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:38 AM
That said, I can still name a number of venues that do not have to remove their consoles often that are using good quality analogue + outboard because to them the benefit of going digital would not necessarily apply to them.
I sit in two camps about it. The Heritage is just a wonderful console, but then so is the Pro6.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 03:22 AM
They will determine our collective future.
Website: http://www.davidbuckley.name, a good place to go for PCStage tips and techniques
Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:37 AM
I was an "early adopter" of a digital desk for my own use (I bought a DM1000 in 2004) and, with a desk I know well much prefer the facilities on digital.
However, when I have to walk up to an unfamiliar desk and use it, I'm still a heck of a lot happier with any analogue desk. This doesn't mean I can't or won't use a "foreign" digital desk--it's just the degree of pucker factor.
For me, I guess the decision might come down to the relative proportion of stuff done by in house folks as opposed to walk up engineers. If most of your stuff uses in house, there's little doubt that digital is the way to go. If the majority is non-regulars, analogue isn't a done deal--but it's still something to consider.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 05:20 AM
Within reason, I am confident I could walk up to any analogue desk and get it to do what I wanted. If there's something not working right, I can look over the desk's surface until I found the one button I'd missed, and press it. With Digital, that one button could be hidden in any number of submenus or under a heading I can't find, or whatever. It just isn't intuitive enough for me to walk up and take a guess at how it should work...
However, if I were buying myself a console for personal use, or speccing for a venue where I'd use it regularly, I'd go digital, because, all sound quality, usability, ect arguments out the way, they are far more capable. I just need to be comfortable on it, and know my way around it's individual quirks before I'm happy using it. At the moment, the only digital desk that has been within my budget to get regular use on is the LS9. I like it, and given a bit more time to play on it I'd hire one as a matter of course. However, for now, in a situation where I'm pressed for time and need to know what I'm doing and not have my head buried in a manual halfway through soundcheck, I'll go analogue.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:32 AM
My first digital desk was a DMC1000, and everything was hard. A brief experience with an 02 wasn't a lot better. Then an 03 - I quite liked that one, and it was pretty simple. Over christmas I found half an hour when nobody was about to fiddle with a nice big one with touch screen, and it worked exactly as I expected it to. I didn't delve into the lower levels, but everything seemed very straightforward.
Didn't we have a similar discussion when Allen and Heath invented auxes that swapped with groups and people said how dreadful it was to have a desk that worked differently?
To be honest, I'd have thought that everyone would want the chance to up skill to digital?
This year, my investment is in lights - but if it had been sound, then the old big format desk would be out and a nice digital one in - the only question being which one?
An analogue sound desk in anything bigger than 16 channel will soon be an antique. Look how quickly it happened to lighting controls? The same thing is bound to happen. Last week a 32 channel A&H failed to make £800 on ebay - no bids!
Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:37 AM
tough ###### in a precious few years matey, you'll have to tour your own stinking great board around.
This situation reminds me of 20 odd years ago in lighting. At that time, you had special techs with mythical powers: Vari*Lite techs. And the hallowed Vari*Lite / Starlite / Icon Progammers. Some changes happened in the moving light market place and mere lampies started upskilling and getting involved with nodding buckets and running some of the newer desks.
There was swathe of freelancers that promoted themselves as "only doing generics" lighting techs. They did OK for a few years, either on smaller non ML gigs, of which there were still plenty, or on larger ones where their job in the team was to put up Coda floods and focus PARs etc. A lot of them were very capable.
But they went one of two ways. Either they learned to set up a Golden Scan or they stopped being a freelance lampie. The market for "generic only" lighting engineers disappeared and the expectation was not only that you could rig and set up the MLs on the market but also that you should be able to stab a few buttons on whatever controller was around at the time - Avos, early Hogs etc.
I assume that the days when a sound tech can claim ignorance of all things digital and still find work are numbered in the same way.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:58 AM
The 250 cap music venue that I engineer at has a GL2400-32 with mid-low budget outboard. Most visiting engineers quite happy with that, a few are a bit sniffy, one brings in his LS9/32. In 2 years, we've had 2 non-digital riders, including "no Behringer desk or effin' digital desk pls".
I've got an 01v96 for personal use and love it to bits. To the extent that I'm often tempted to use it instead of the GL2400 if I could be bothered to repatch everything.
Realistically, any decent desk would be a financial stretch for us (other than the X32, where the jury's still out on how good it will actually be or whether it'll be rider accepted). The A&H GLD looks like being the lowest priced contender, and a very lovely one at that. I'd love being able to ditch most of our outboard, yet still be able to do more, and to have the cat5 stageboxes. (We're considering moving the desk, the current snake won't reach, so that's a chunk of money that wouldn't be an issue if running cat5). And I would just love the flexibility of digital, the increased dynamics, the increased FX count, and the increased auxes - all brilliant.
If more money, then LS9, M7, iLive, vi6 all look great *but* would generally *need* the house engineer around and being ready to be more active that is the case for many gigs with analogue gear.
Not sure about the Midas Pro2c - it looks like you've got to work harder to get it to make life really easy?
Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:32 AM
I just don't understand anyone calling themselves an engineer who can't/won't use any of the desks out there. Every desk manufacturer runs courses, usually free, on their products. Get on them and familiarise yourself with what's available otherwise you're soon going be out of work.
Walking into a venue and saying you don't know how to use a desk just doesn't cut it for me any more I'm afraid. Learning all the desks is now part of the job.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:43 AM
*All* of them? Think that's a bit of a tall order!!!
On the other hand, as long as there's a competent house engineer to guide through the configuration and show how to do stuff, I don't see a problem.
I was completely unphased when an engineer brought in his LS9 and I used it to mix the support. A 3 minute pointer session gave me all I needed to know, and it was immediate pleasure compared with our GL2400 - *everything* at hand and easy to use.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:10 PM
*All* of them? Think that's a bit of a tall order!!!
I don't think it is though, there aren't that many systems to learn. Take Digico for example - if you can use an SD8 you can use any of the SD range. Same for Yamaha - if you can use an LS9 an M7 won't be a problem etc
Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:22 PM
Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:54 PM
I just wish they would all use the same terms for the same thing!
Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:05 PM
Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:20 PM
People of my generation are cutting their teeth on 01Vs in a school studio or maybe an LS9 with a local hire company and thinking they're backwards or old. I don't like the LS9's interface, nor do I like the M7/5D compared to other GUIs that are out there. Not to say that it's wrong, it just feels backwards when we're being exposed to highly graphical and intuitive interfaces every day by modern "Apps" (in the Apple sense, not the traditional sense) In 10 years time, anyone upto their early 30s will have been exposed to digital for most of their career and this will be common and familiar territory to them.
It feels backwards for me when I have to pick an Analogue desk over a Digital when the choice is there. I'd definitely go for a digital desk if I was in this position. It shouldn't be too hard to give an introductory lesson to all but the most stubborn engineers.
Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:53 AM