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Old 12-19-2018, 12:09 AM
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Default Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Background: Primarily for reasons of better monitoring control, reduced stage volumes, hearing protection, & less heavy stuff to haul, my band is going all in digital with a new desk, personal monitor mixers, IEMs, & iPad replacing "in gig" FOH adjustments.

I'm the band PA guy (although we have someone (of modest experience) for FOH mix). For an old fart, I take on new technologies readily, but I'll have very little time to get everything working in time for upcoming gigs. We'll have a "gear rehearsal" or two, but still, it's a big processing & workflow change from decades of intuitive analogue sound manipulation.

For the tech experts here, new setup is A&H QU16 + 5 x ME500s + the usual IEM stuff + Qpad via WiFi for FOH adjustment.

I'm really after tips from those who've undertaken this transition, especially traps to avoid.

Andy.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Traps to avoid? Going digital! As Admiral Akbar has said, “IT’S A TRAP!”
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Traps to avoid? Going digital! As Admiral Akbar has said, “IT’S A TRAP!”
I'm kind of with you, but the route to the facilities we want is so much more streamlined than with analogue.

i've worked a few digital desks before. Not extensively, but enough to know I didn't like them. I think things have come a long way in recent years though, & the QU series has a lot of analogue workflow & functionality about it that may ease my transition pain - hopefully.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

I've used both, and they have their pros and cons. When the system is working as it should, and in the hands of someone who's on the ball, the digital stuff can be great. Instead of bartering with a sound engineer for your monitor mix, you can adjust everything on your own from behind the drums. (Also if you don't have a microphone and FOH is half a football field away, it gets old quick having the vocalist echo your requests on his mike.)

But in a smaller room, there's something nice about plunking down a 12-channel mixer and just getting to work without all of that nonsense. And integrating in-ears with analog in any case can be a pain.

In your case, I think the change will be worth it. Definitely take the time to tinker with it when the stakes are nil, and learn what the most likely causes of it to not work will be (router needs to be restarted, iPad lost connection, etc.) Good luck!
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Here’s what I’ve noticed as we here at the Magic Kingdom have done digital: there is no longer the “set it and forget it” mentality. Our audio engineers are constantly mixing because any small adjustment could potentially change everything (probably exaggerating, but perhaps not). Everything is a menu, and all knobs and faders have more than one job now (took me a while to get my head around that).

But people learn it and make it work, you just have to be more involved.
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:23 AM
dboomer dboomer is offline
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Once you get used to it you’ll probably be much better off. For one thing you won’t have to worry about gain staging as digital gear will take care of itself (inside the digital sections). You’ll probably also have a lot more tools at your disposal so potentually you can make better corrections when needed (of course that also opens the door for more bad choices until you learn to use the tools).

I’d say the biggest thing you will need to learn in a hurry is that digital systems meter a bit differently. You need to get comfortable with -dBfs. Once you learn how that works you’ll never clip again.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

I'm just excited for the eventual post when you show off your new electronic drum kit, and heads explode.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:47 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

This is kind of an advanced move, maybe not suitable for initial mixing efforts, but it's something to consider: how you set up and run your subwoofers. Assuming your speakers are self-powered, the PA is usually set up like this:

Mixer Main Outputs -> Subwoofers (w/built in crossovers) -> Main Speakers

But with a digital mixer that has plenty of aux sends, you can connect your subs to a send, rather than to the main outputs, like this:

Mixer Main Outputs -> Main Powered Speakers
Mixer Aux Send -> Powered Subwoofers


Then, inside the mixer, only signals that require some extra low end from the subs would be sent to them. Guitar and vocals can just go through the mains, but bass, keys, kick, and toms can be sent (in varying amounts) to the subs.

BUT! This assumes that the built-in crossovers on the subs work as expected, and they often do not! The good news is that we can compensate for this by adjusting the EQ on the send that feeds the subs. Inside the mixer, on the send, use an EQ to get rid of everything above 200-250 Hz, on that particular send. So, now, only the very low end is feeding your subs.

The result is a super clean mix, but the best part is that you can tweak only the low end of the mix to suit the room, the song, or the vibe of the night, with one fader move, made on the Qpad while standing out in front of the band and PA.
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Old 12-19-2018, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

My limited experience with “going digital” is from playing at two different churches who went from a Mackie board & wedge monitors to a digital board & Aviom monitor controllers for IEM use.
  • Have spare power supplies for the IEM monitor mixers.
  • Have spare ethernet cables.
  • Spend a day and dial in the monitor presets (EQ, compression, etc.) for the band.
  • Save your mixer settings on a USB flash drive if possible. Keep it handy because when—not if—you need them, you will need them quickly.
  • If you can store IEM mixer settings conveniently, do it.
  • If someone complains about their mix, get out your slingshot and use it.
  • Give control of the click to the drummer.
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
This is kind of an advanced move, maybe not suitable for initial mixing efforts, but it's something to consider: how you set up and run your subwoofers. Assuming your speakers are self-powered ...
Maybe a little off topic as it doesnt matter whether or not a system digital or analog is to use Aux Fed Subs for all rock systems. It will give you a lot more control and clean the mud up from your system.

Here’s a paper I wrote describing how to do it. You don’t have to use the gear specified in the paper as it will match up nicely if you are using active speakers with built-in crossovers.

https://peavey.com/support/technotes...s/AUX_SUBs.pdf
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Next up, Guru Electronic drum sets.
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  #12  
Old 12-19-2018, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Based on the title I thought for a second Andy was announcing he was giving up his Guru's for a Roland E-kit.

Good to know I was wrong!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:09 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

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Originally Posted by dboomer View Post
Maybe a little off topic as it doesnt matter whether or not a system digital or analog is to use Aux Fed Subs for all rock systems. It will give you a lot more control and clean the mud up from your system.

Here’s a paper I wrote describing how to do it. You don’t have to use the gear specified in the paper as it will match up nicely if you are using active speakers with built-in crossovers.

https://peavey.com/support/technotes...s/AUX_SUBs.pdf
Well, small to medium analog mixers tend to not have enough aux sends for this type of stuff. The available auxes get eaten up by monitor mixes and effects. You're absolutely right: analog or digital doesn't matter -- it's a great technique. But I thought it was timely, since the PA rig is being upgraded, and new mixing methods are being explored.

It's also cool to know that this method is well-known and documented!
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2018, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Next up, Guru Electronic drum sets.
Never gonna happen.

Until they find a way to put a purple glitter wrap on an e-drum.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

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Never gonna happen.

Until they find a way to put a purple glitter wrap on an e-drum.
Heck, they wouldn’t make me single-headed concert toms and look what happened!
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  #16  
Old 12-20-2018, 11:49 AM
jornthedrummer jornthedrummer is offline
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Slippery path -)

2020202020
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Old 12-20-2018, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Based on the title I thought for a second Andy was announcing he was giving up his Guru's for a Roland E-kit.

Good to know I was wrong!

I thought that for a quick second too.

Seems more likely (or appealing) to go the opposite way though - like an 'unplugged' acoustic group or something.
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  #18  
Old 12-20-2018, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Is there a whole lot of difference between electronic drums, and accoustic drums that are digitally amplified and broadcast with a ton of processing? All are mixed and EQ'd to sound like something they aren't. IMHO
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Old 12-20-2018, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Good luck Andy on your new adventure.
This brings up something I've "pondered on"-instruments make music in analog (with infinite possibilities) and historically we recorded them that way but now we make digital copies (which is discrete and finite-binary) of this analog produced music. It does seem the trend will be for more instruments to go digital-just easier format. Makes me fear for acoustic drums-will they just be historic pics like Hollywood Jim's pics of his Dad's 1930's era kit? And apparently many recordings now manufacture the drum sound. Heck with a keyboard you can replace bass, horns, etc. Don't get me wrong-I love technology as a tool but I don't want it to replace instrument artistry. Probably software for keys to sound like past greats on various instruments too-so you could have an all star band. Being replaced by a "drum machine" that played like Vinnie Colaiuta would put anyone in a fix-how do you compete against that- some AI Vinnie Drum machine-it will probably replace him LOL.
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GetAgrippa View Post
... Probably software for keys to sound like past greats on various instruments too-so you could have an all star band. Being replaced by a "drum machine" that played like Vinnie Colaiuta would put anyone in a fix-how do you compete against that- some AI Vinnie Drum machine-it will probably replace him LOL.
The 1980's called.

They want their anguished hand wringing back. :)
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Old 12-21-2018, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

The main cover band I’m in (11 piece with horns) went digital a couple of years ago. Took a while to tweak everything, but now its graat - switch it on and we all have the same foldback mix as last gig, the EQ’s and effects are recalled, etc. We’ve now got settings for each of the regular venues we play, recalling output EQ’s, etc.
We each have a phone app to adjust our own foldback mix if required. (We still use wedges though)

Sold the multicore, set up the mixer on stage and move through the audience with an ipad.

Overall, very successful, but took a dozen gigs to get really happy with the sound. Now it saves so much time and we get a consistent, highly produced mix every time.
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  #22  
Old 12-21-2018, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

We're talking digital mixer here, right? The upside is huge while the downside is negligible at best. The pre amps are still analog so buy the board with the best pre amps that you can afford. On board digital effects, eq, tracking, mapping, storage etc, etc. A digital board with boutique pre amps combined with powered mains, subs, and monitors is the way to go. Embrace the now!
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Old 12-21-2018, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
The 1980's called.

They want their anguished hand wringing back. :)
ROFL let the hand wringing begin.
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Old 12-21-2018, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Lots of things that are easily accessible on analog mixers are buried in menus on digital mixers..
'Scenes' (presets) are helpful. I'm not familiar with any of the new fangled pad type management systems.

.

Last edited by wildbill; 12-22-2018 at 03:08 PM. Reason: phrasing
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Old 12-22-2018, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Analogue to digital - the journey begins.

Thanks for all your replies!

1st up - worry not - zero chance of Edrums - ever.

We're happy with our powered speaker gear - no changes needed there, although the wedges will eventually go once we're happy. It's a change to digital desk, personal monitor mixes, & simultaneously, IEM.

Rather than using phone or tablet apps for personal monitor mix, we're using the A&H ME500s daisy chained using cat5, but we are setting up a WiFi hub to take a tablet FOH. We'll run the desk out front for a few gigs before letting the tablet take over for FOH tweaks.

I've been working my way through the A&H QU16 desk quite nicely. A few challenges on routing effects on channels talking back to the ME500s, but now overcome. We're running a couple of "setup rehearsals" before putting this out for real.
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