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Digital desk with ability to lock functions?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Digital desk with ability to lock functions?

Hey all,

For budget reasons, I am looking for a digital desk that also has the ability to lock certain features. Is there such a budget desk out there that offers a locked custom fader layer like Allen & Heath QU desks do, but also can lock EQs & Dynamics?

While on the topic, does the x32 series have the ability to lock custom fader layers like the QU desks do?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Why do you want to "lock" parts of the console?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Why do you want to "lock" parts of the console?
So specific settings can't be changed?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDStudios View Post
So specific settings can't be changed?
Most digital desk today can save all their settings to a USB stick. If someone would change a setting you can easily reset it. I guess I am not understanding exactly what you are trying to do. Is this "locking" so someone cannot change an EQ or other setting on the desk? Please explain your needs. Thanks.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDStudios View Post
Hey all,

For budget reasons, I am looking for a digital desk that also has the ability to lock certain features. Is there such a budget desk out there that offers a locked custom fader layer like Allen & Heath QU desks do, but also can lock EQs & Dynamics?

While on the topic, does the x32 series have the ability to lock custom fader layers like the QU desks do?
All digital desks (that I know of) can save a "scene". This is a complete snap shot of every setting on the console that can completely reproduce that setup "from scratch" even on another persons console. These "scene" files can be exported to a USB stick so that even if someone saves over your scene name, you can replace it again with your backup.

Most people consider "locking" to be something that is done to the console while in use so that if you need to walk away from the console, no one can change things while you are gone until you put a password in to "unlock" it.

Which are you interested in?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Most digital desk today can save all their settings to a USB stick. If someone would change a setting you can easily reset it. I guess I am not understanding exactly what you are trying to do. Is this "locking" so someone cannot change an EQ or other setting on the desk? Please explain your needs. Thanks.

It's for an install in a not-for-profit theatre space that has a grant for some equipment. The space itself really needs to cater for quite a variety of events, from simple dry hires with a couple of handhelds that are operated by the client, to full band performances with FOH engineer. Scenes alone aren't really the answer. I'm more chasing a solution that limits the functions of the desk based on the client and event.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDStudios View Post
It's for an install in a not-for-profit theatre space that has a grant for some equipment. The space itself really needs to cater for quite a variety of events, from simple dry hires with a couple of handhelds that are operated by the client, to full band performances with FOH engineer. Scenes alone aren't really the answer. I'm more chasing a solution that limits the functions of the desk based on the client and event.
Still not clear what "functions" you want to lock. The settings for the whole console can be stored on a USB stick. So you could have multiple setups stored on the stick and just call up one of them for the concert/lecture/presentation as needed. Seems like this would work well for your situation.

I remember going to the Cedar Point amusement park in the days of analog consoles and seeing all their consoles duct taped so the "operator" could not move anything except the on off switch and the master fader.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Addict
 

I've dealt with this kind of situation in the past, with X32s, with a number of scenes - from very basic ones. These are supplemented with a very well designed one page laminate giving full detail on turning the mixer on, recalling a scene, and then basic operation. With some pretty non technical people for relatively simple mixes (2 mics plus a couple of line sources), this has worked well.

For anything more complex, the mixer is the least of your worries. Non technical operators will have all sorts of other problems to test them.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Yamaha LS9's have pretty comprehensive locking features. They also lock out warm tone by default... *badum tssshhh*
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDStudios View Post
It's for an install in a not-for-profit theatre space that has a grant for some equipment. The space itself really needs to cater for quite a variety of events, from simple dry hires with a couple of handhelds that are operated by the client, to full band performances with FOH engineer. Scenes alone aren't really the answer. I'm more chasing a solution that limits the functions of the desk based on the client and event.
if it's for an install and you must lock specific functions, check out the dme24n and dme 64n (which cam be found for ridiculous prices): on these devices you can lock pretty much any function from getting tweaked.

not sure whether it can be done via password and fir different users but the way i've been dealing with is that i copy a scene limit access to jzst faders for unexperienced users but have full access if using mix engine myself.

processing power of the dme24n is about half of the dm1000 but it's got some neat features not commonly found in any other desk...
Old 1 week ago
  #11
S21
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Sometimes it can be good to have an additional basic mixer (1RU rack mount?) that people who want less knobs can work with.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Most Yamahas (QL, CL, M7CL, LS9) allow to set user level restrictions which lock certain features for certain users.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Head
 

Locking out things is ment to be done in the DSP. If you need to lock out EQ and dynamics on console channels then your actual problem is you need to fire the person you are paying to run the console. EQ and dynamics need to be adjusted during the show. It isn't an option.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Dixon View Post
Locking out things is ment to be done in the DSP. If you need to lock out EQ and dynamics on console channels then your actual problem is you need to fire the person you are paying to run the console. EQ and dynamics need to be adjusted during the show. It isn't an option.

Nah, I won't be suggesting to the venue that they stack the clients paying to use it...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
Most Yamahas (QL, CL, M7CL, LS9) allow to set user level restrictions which lock certain features for certain users.
Thanks! I'll take a deeper look into it. Digging into it, it also appears the QU series has the ability to restrict access to features depending on the user level access.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Still not clear what "functions" you want to lock. The settings for the whole console can be stored on a USB stick. So you could have multiple setups stored on the stick and just call up one of them for the concert/lecture/presentation as needed. Seems like this would work well for your situation.

I remember going to the Cedar Point amusement park in the days of analog consoles and seeing all their consoles duct taped so the "operator" could not move anything except the on off switch and the master fader.
The digital equivalent of duct tape is really what I am chasing, applied to as many functions as possible really. I don't doubt scenes will be involved in the solution in some capacity, but they won't really do it alone as it doesn't prevent people pushing the wrong buttons. I have seen even people who I would consider quite technically orientated end up bamboozled by the layers on a digital desk. If a non-technical user ends up on the send/return/output/aux layer of the desk accidentally, they won't really know how to get back...

It seems like a combination of a locked custom fader layer on a QU desk, plus user level restrictions that keep access to only the LR layer while also locking a bunch of soft keys to recall the appropriate scene seem to get pretty close to locking most functions.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
Sometimes it can be good to have an additional basic mixer (1RU rack mount?) that people who want less knobs can work with.

I definitely considered it! A venue I work in does a similar thing, but it also has the benefit of locking the main desk away in a bio box. If clamping down on desk functionality doesn't work out, the 1RU mixer will definitely be stepping up to the plate.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Head
 

You just gave a great example of why digital desks cause more problems than they are worth when you have guest engineers running them. Too easy to trainwreck a show. Analog desks are best for guest engineers. They actually have standard layouts.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Dixon View Post
You just gave a great example of why digital desks cause more problems than they are worth when you have guest engineers running them. Too easy to trainwreck a show. Analog desks are best for guest engineers. They actually have standard layouts.
Or maybe not. If you take a similarly featured analog desk, inexperienced guests (quite common in the digital age) could still get lost in routing, mute groups, matrices, VCA asigments, snapshots, inserts, patching ... Having a desk with a lot of features and locking some features for some users doesn't seem like a bad idea to me if you are going to have only one desk.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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I guess you have not worked with various digital desks. Sd an example on the Yamaha DM series create a scene where the unwanted channels are not assigned. Zero output. From you might wanting, setup a Dugan mixer and have a basic scene.

It is not clear the level of competency of you guests but around here (~half million population city}, half an hour from Toronto and ~45 minutes from Niagara Falls, I am getting more younger engineers who do not know how operate an analog console. X32s and QU16s are the becoming the norm.

Last edited by avare; 1 week ago at 04:34 PM.. Reason: Corrected spelling and omissions
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Head
 

If you are worried that people will get lost on your digital desk, and say kids can't even do analog these days, you're really in a corner now. Give them something they can work with. Digital boards with layers are not live friendly for guest engineers. If you are giving a VCA matrix mixer to someone who can't find the layer button, you forgot that you need to dumb down for people who can't figure things out. Digital boards are great for people who are touring that can run the same programs day in and day out and don't want to haul around racks and have to plug them in every day. For a guest engineer install job you literally get none of the benefits from a digital console and all the worries. You can cascade mixers. I usually give guests the size analog board they need and use a radial twin-iso to isolate it from my console. they get the control they want and end up as channels on my console so I can control volume in emergencies. No guest digital boards crashing or guests getting lost in menus that way. Good luck. It was a lot easier back when everything had a knob. And that's the way to sanity at an install with guests.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 

If you think the standard is X32 or QU16 and no one will get lost on those.. that sounds like an option for a guest board. I think you probably literally need one of them and an analog desk too to cover all guests. Hosting guests takes a lot of resources to make everyone happy all the time.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
(...) If you take a similarly featured analog desk, inexperienced guests (quite common in the digital age) could still get lost in routing, mute groups, matrices, VCA asigments, snapshots, inserts, patching ... Having a desk with a lot of features and locking some features for some users doesn't seem like a bad idea to me if you are going to have only one desk.
indeed! some digital desks, even those on the seemlngly more complex side, are amongst the most easy 'walk up' desks there are, assuming one has a basic understading of signal flow and the desk got reasonably well pre-programmed (the latter on mine takes a few seconds, assignment/routing as well)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
(...) I am getting more younger engineers who do not know how operate an analog console.
really?!? - this leaves me speechless...

Quote:
X32s and QU16s are the becoming the norm.
this i've seen happening here as well - one guy was doing 'sound check' by recalling presets for each instruments from the standard library and then was wondering why things sound like s... (at least, he acknowledged that)!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 01:08 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
really?!? - this leaves me speechless...
Unfortunately I can confirm avare's obervation.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #25
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i was an early adopter of digital desks and started on yamaha dmp and dmc models; by the mid-90's, i dragged two linked o2r's out on the road as they offered my a degree of automation and recall capabilities of backing tracks (coming from akai adam and tascam mdm recorders) no analog desk would have offered me - but of course (large) analog desks still ruled in live sound/got used in the huge majority of cases - this only slowly started changing with the pm1d and /or dm2000 (and to a lesser degree with the dmx-r100 and innovason) before picking up steam with the pm5d ten years later - too bad they pushed digitally controlled analog consoles (harrison/showco lpc, euphonix 2000/3000) over the cliff...

what's great is that newer digital desks became relatively powerful (compared to earlier days) and way less expensive; what's annoying though is that - besides very expensive broadcast desks - there hasn't been much if any progress in terms of handling of desks: on the contrary actually, almost the entire industry has been running after cheaper manufacturing, leading to the use of cheap faders, less knobs, buttons and faders and in many cases using but a single display while bumping up horse power to insane levels.
check out the new heritage digital; it's an absolute joke to pack this many features and processing power into a relatively small desk which seems to consist mainly of a huge touch display!
but hey, it's got some artificial intelligence built-in and probably chats with my lawyer or shrink via cloud when i'm not mixing...

not sure i wanna have the kids use all these new toys - in fact, i didn't hear a (live) mix by a youngster of which i thought i couldn't get within half the time and with way less gear/tweaking myself...
...so i don't need a desk with locking features: i need to find a way to lock out guest 'engineers'!

end of rant (and sorry for that) but since i'm in a bad mood, let me add this: get a professional desk, preferably manufactured somewhere close to you and not some cheapish plastic crap which gets manufactured under suspicious conditions somewhere abroad and which needs to get shipped around the globe before it lands on your doorstep!
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
I am getting more younger engineers who do not know how operate an analog console. X32s and QU16s are the becoming the norm.
Indeed, it's not unusual to find youngsters who've never used an analog mixer. Does that mean they'd struggle on an analog mixer, though - surely the controls would all make sense? I can see an interesting experiment here!

The main challenge would be when they declare that they *need* additional EQ controls, to tweak the side-chain frequency on the compressor (what compressor?), where are the graphic EQs on every output, and where are the other 7 FX engines - all of which is fully necessary to get a good mix. All of that on, say, a MixWiz or Zed with no outboard...

I remember about ten years back when a young chap, who'd been through an audio engineering degree and was setting himself up as a small hire company, was a visiting engineer with a support act in my low rent club venue. A&H GL2400-32, rudimentary outboard, and an agricultural DB Technologies Fifty Line FOH. He declared it wasn't possible to get anything approaching a decent mix without at least a Digico desk & D&B Audiotechnik FOH, but was a bit quieter after I'd soundchecked the headliners. I think most of us old timers have all been there.

The youth of today...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
I guess you have not worked with various digital desks. Sd an example on the Yamaha DM series create a scene where the unwanted channels are not assigned. Zero output. From you might wanting, setup a Dugan mixer and have a basic scene.

It is not clear the level of competency of you guests but around here (~half million population city}, half an hour from Toronto and ~45 minutes from Niagara Falls, I am getting more younger engineers who do not know how operate an analog console. X32s and QU16s are the becoming the norm.
Too many knobs for those young kids
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlecSp View Post
Indeed, it's not unusual to find youngsters who've never used an analog mixer. Does that mean they'd struggle on an analog mixer, though - surely the controls would all make sense? I can see an interesting experiment here!

The main challenge would be when they declare that they *need* additional EQ controls, to tweak the side-chain frequency on the compressor (what compressor?), where are the graphic EQs on every output, and where are the other 7 FX engines - all of which is fully necessary to get a good mix. All of that on, say, a MixWiz or Zed with no outboard...

I remember about ten years back when a young chap, who'd been through an audio engineering degree and was setting himself up as a small hire company, was a visiting engineer with a support act in my low rent club venue. A&H GL2400-32, rudimentary outboard, and an agricultural DB Technologies Fifty Line FOH. He declared it wasn't possible to get anything approaching a decent mix without at least a Digico desk & D&B Audiotechnik FOH, but was a bit quieter after I'd soundchecked the headliners. I think most of us old timers have all been there.

The youth of today...
The truth is that as long as the band has their stage volume under control, it takes remarkably little gear to get a "good mix". Good speakers are WAY more important than anything any mixer can accomplish IME. The mixer just needs a channel EQ and a decent reverb. Even an "OK" reverb will do.... you just use less of it.

To the OP.... I really do think you should focus more on getting a mixer that can do the job well vs one with many levels of user access. There are literally millions of digital desks out there that don't have any user access control being operated in HOW and any number of venues successfully. I would be more focused on the number of channels and the likelihood that others will know the desk already.

Can I ask why this situation requires user access control?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
indeed! some digital desks, even those on the seemlngly more coplex side, are amongst the most easy 'walk up' desks there are, assuming one has a basic understading of signal flow and the desk got reasonably well pre-programmed (the later on mine takes a few seconds, assignment/routing as well!
This deserves a separate credit. It is so true. It reminds me of time studiotips where someone asked what it meant that they groked it. The response was "It means someone understands something and explains it so well that someone knowing nothing about groks it."
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
really?!? - this leaves me speechless...
It is the knowledge as the equipment becomes more affordable. The days of digital knowledge being esoteric have become obsolete.

It reminds of the story of the Mexican engineer sent to Toronto how to use the Neve 8014 mixer. He spent three days training. The 8014 was a 16 input, 4 bus, 4 aux bus mixer with 1073 pre/eqs. These days anyone with more than a rudimentary knowledge of mixing could walk up to it and start operating it. But not then.

Quote:
this i've seen happening here as well - one guy was doing 'sound check' by recalling presets for each instruments from the standard library and then was wondering why things sound like s... (at least, he acknowledged that)!
We can draw examples of just about anything. Knowledgeable engineers use canned presets as starting points. This is not directed at you but for others reading the thread.
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