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haryy 27th September 2016 04:57 PM

Analog vs Digital (live sound)
Hello. Given that you only have to deal with one live band, is there a chance that you would prefer a digital board instead of a, say, top Midas board? As a side note, i'd like your opinion generally on the analog vs digital thing in live sound. Thanks in advance.:)

robballan 29th September 2016 12:33 AM

Hi Haryy
I spent twenty years of my life mixing on XL3s and 4s with loads of boutique outboard analogue compressors, tape delays, etc. I switched to digital around 2005 and haven't even considered going back. Virtual soundcheck and plugins improved my workflow so much that I can't imagine how I managed to cope without them. Asking a drummer in a hugely successful band to go round and round their toms whilst I got a sound up seems unthinkable these days. I can choose a roll in the Protools session now and loop it and work for as long as i need to nail the sound. The granularity of detail I can achieve with snapshots and virtual soundcheck more than makes up for any real or imagined advantage that a piece of analogue kit can provide. I remember around about the beginning of the century watching the lighting guys desk get smaller and smaller even though the lights were getting more complex; spinning and changing colour and shape. He'd be on the bus drinking the good wine whilst I was still packing away my massive FOH set up. I consciously set about learning all I could about digital audio, took a few courses did some studying because it seemed obvious to me that the world was changing and the digital revolution would sweep through audio as well. Probably the best decision I ever made. I respect other peoples decision to work with analogue desks live but I honestly couldn't begin to imagine how I would mix a Massive Attack, Coldplay or Alt J show with the complex resets involved between or during songs on an analogue mixer and FX set up.

haryy 29th September 2016 08:39 AM

These are huge reasons for sure. It's very good for the band to not have to be at the venue early on for soundcheck and giving them precious time to rest and relax as they tour the world. Also i hear you about the complexity and the speed of the moves that are accomplished by simply programming them. But to be honest, the pure sound quality, meaning the punch, the dynamics, the headroom of the overall sound is not there whenever i stumble across a digital board (even a "mighty" InnovaSON SY48). Do you feel that, live digital sound has still some distance to cover in order to match the quality of the basic but vital audio terms i described, or is it already there with some boards as the Avid you use (which i haven't heard)? Again, i thank you for being here!

robballan 19th October 2016 11:52 AM

Hi I honestly think digital audio, certainly in my world has at least equalled if not surpassed the quality of analogue. I have a 100metre snake as a minimum to get audio from stage to FOH position and back again. With digital network there is no lose of quality over that distance or a 2km over fibre. However is you send analogue over copper for 100metres you just add a massive LPF to everything at best and distortions and interference at worst.
I'm sure in studio world that argument is raging but in live sound I never see anyone mixing international acts on an analogue board. Well, my mate M.C on Muse does, but apart from him...
I know the whole analogue/digital thing is like a faith test for some people out there but you asked and thats my humble and pragmatic opinion.
I don't use 35mm film in my camera either :-)