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Next-gen consoles
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Sebastian N's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Next-gen consoles

Ok, not really sure what the title should be really. I had this thought on Monday, as I was doing sound in a room that i rarely work in (first gig since december, which was the first gig since october and so on....).

The desk was a Soundcraft Vi1. It's 10 years old at this point. I remember I first use the Vi series in 2014 on a tour in japan. Local crew provided us with a Vi4, with UAD expansion and i liked using it. Granted the venues were great and the japanese crew were on point so it all sounded great. But now, i just thought that the desk felt sluggish somehow, even though it wasn't running a big show at all. And it's not just this one. Most desks feel a bit sluggish. Digicos act weird in the cold for outdoor shows in winter and the screens get finicky, the midas pros also feel less snappy somehow. The Dlives feel rather ok tbh. The yamahas feel old and look old to me.

I haven't used the Avantis and the Heritage D and never used the SSL stuff in live sound so I can't compare but most of the desks that I run into just feel very dated somehow. Technology has moved quite fast and I wonder what the gear will be like in the next 5 years. Seems bigger touch screens is the way as they can be very customisable. But the interfaces and how fast the faders react and just how snappy the system feels i think needs to change a bit. Right now it feels a bit disconnected compared to the very fast computers we tend to use in out lives (and the processing power available is crazy nowadays).



PS: that japanese crew, after the first gig, every day had the sound system setup and everything lince checked and pre-eq-ed to fit the room to sound as similar to the gig from the previous night. Sometimes they were so spot on, i barely had to do anything apart from slight volume adjustments. Best crew I ever ran into on the road.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i am curious as well.
What form factor would you like to see ?
A large rollup-able touch surface ? Buttons needed ? How to package ?
The Wing is not the future...too capable ? ergonomically unloved.
Yamaha expanded the Rivage with less expensive DSP and surfaces but still pricey
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Sebastian N's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
like i mentioned, i haven't gotten the chance to play with these latest models. rivage included. i'm not talking about sound. i think most big consoles (and some of the smaller ones like the sq for exmp) i think sound good. it's more of a feeling when working with them. going from an ipad or a modern computer to a desk seems very different. because of everything that's going on, haven't really been anywhere to run into more consoles. from the videos on the wing it seems very snappy and responsive but the layout of it (to me) looks convoluted and not elegant at all. but this is a personal preference. they are all running linux or and embedded version of windows and with all the computing muscle available nowadays, i'm just hoping to see this come to more consoles because the current stuff that's out there (for the vast majority) feels dated. again, not sound wise, but just in feel of ui/software experience.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
the studer vista has been a 'next level desk' (and the vi's only a poor downgrade) since its introduction - by comparison, pretty much any other desk is slow to work with...

...maybe except for the stagetec avatus which combines studer's approach and operation via touchscreen in a brilliant way.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Sebastian N's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
only seen the studer once in a tv station and i didn't even touch it. station engineer mixed it. wasn't much to do with just a vocal and acoustic guitar, 1 track. was just a promo in the middle of a tour. never seen it at concerts. might be popular maybe with theater/opera installs. but 80% of the time in those spaces i ran into yamahas (mostly ql) with the occasional dlive.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Form factor size and personal proclivities toward tactile functional controls via knobs & faders or touch screens. When you have a clear understanding of your needs and wants the decisions become much easier. Front end analog capture has been relatively consistent over the past 20 years, however the improved quality and vast expansion of micro processing has rendered most analog and digital external hardware obsolete.
I have two systems, one for my project studio and the other for turn key FOH/Video location work.

1) My studio system is a 20 channel Digigrid/Waves LV1 with a server one and two 24 inch touch screens along with a Fader Port 8 for my Studio One DAW.
2) My road rig is an A&H SQ5/DX168 combo. They both fit in a gator suit case.

They both offer world class 24/96K processing and more I/O options than I will ever need. The SQ has an optional slot for either a Dante or a Waves card for multitrack recording in the event the internal USB2 protocol is not your cup of tea. Either card will enable Cat 6 connectivity in the SQ that has proven to be bullet proof in my Waves LV1 system over the past 4 years.
Hugh
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastian N ➑️
only seen the studer once in a tv station and i didn't even touch it. station engineer mixed it. wasn't much to do with just a vocal and acoustic guitar, 1 track. was just a promo in the middle of a tour. never seen it at concerts. might be popular maybe with theater/opera installs. but 80% of the time in those spaces i ran into yamahas (mostly ql) with the occasional dlive.
it's a shame they don't get used more often especially in live sound...

...but understandable as (except for the 22-fader vista1 black), they come with pretty hefty price tag - i found mine used from two broadcasters, a distributor and a theater for ridiculous prices :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
The sluggishness is no doubt the result of bogging down the UI with boner-inspiring graphics and in the case of Digico it's because the control layer runs on Windows, which I suspect is the same of the Vi series. I feel the same way about integrating analog modelling, which is becoming a common "feature" of many consoles. The last thing I want to bog down my DSP with is redundant modelling of what I already own in outboard, which accomplishes much more than modelling or 96kHz. These are becoming the "features" to justify 10's of thousands in additional cost, far more than the cost of actual analog units to insert on the main bus, and needless consumption of finite processing resources.

I've always been an advocate for the separation of facilities to control sound (EQ, dynamics, etc) and facilities to color sound (tubes, transformers, etc). It was always a detriment to analog equipment, and is becoming the exact same detriment to digital. I really wish digital would just stick to the control that it does best, and leave the coloration to analog. I will never be happy about paying for modelling software and additional DSP on top of having already paid for the analog gear that does it better.

As for 96kHz, I just can't justify telling clients we have to use crappier mics and speakers because I blew the budget on a 96kHz console, mostly so we can think it sounds better with absolutely no evidence it sells tickets. There's just always something that offers more benefits for the cost. Even 48kHz consoles use converters that are capable of at least 96kHz anyway, so it's not like 96kHz consoles offer better converters. Even X32's have Cirrus Logic 5368's, which are plenty good 192kHz converter chips.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
got nothing to do with windows: my vista infinity core is hugely powerful and lightening fast...

...but then, it does NOT aim at running external plugins/emulations of any sort.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
But it's not because of Windows that it's fast, it's because the control and audio processing functions are both performed by overkill CPU. In most desks the audio processing is performed by DSP and the control layer operates on a separate CPU. Many consoles running Windows have insufficient CPU for snappy control operation. That doesn't tend to be the case with Linux-based control layers.

But you're right that Windows doesn't necessarily make a console slow, it just doesn't help.
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Sebastian N's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
see, now it gets more interesting as a discussion. this is not something that i'm too familiar with. obviosly i notice the pc (looking) booting screens on many consoles. but for exmple, allen heath says dlive runs on fpgas etc. are these mutually excluding, fpgas not needing a layer like linux or windows? i'm not familiar with programming, though i understand what the differences are between fpga and cpu (for the most part)
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
digico and studer both run on windows and both use fpga's, albeit for much different purposes...
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Long story short, CPU's are not optimized for audio, so you need major overkill or there is major latency. DSP chips are optimized for specific audio tasks, tend to have very low latency (<0.5ms), largely because they have on-chip programming designed by the chip maker. FPGA's are in between, offer the low latency of DSP but are programmed by the mixer designer, which may or may not have advantages over the programming on DSP chips.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Sebastian N's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
so are manufacturers just going with cpus out of ease of programming? versus fpga/dsp? i assume it's also easier to add features or fix things and there would be more people around capable of programming? so all in all, cheaper to produce said code and ultimately product?
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #15
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastian N ➑️
so are manufacturers just going with cpus out of ease of programming? versus fpga/dsp? i assume it's also easier to add features or fix things and there would be more people around capable of programming? so all in all, cheaper to produce said code and ultimately product?
i doubt it's the 'ease of programming'; there's no doubt though that the increase in performance of cpu's has been enormous and therefore attractive if one intends to upgrade a system while a chip may be optimized for specific processing but limited in terms of possible upgrades...


...but frankly, i couldn't care less: who am i to tell manufacturers what technique to use?! i'm interested in stellar performance, amazing features, large processing capability, scalability, speed of use and the interface/surface but not how manufacturers achieve this: i'm no software designer.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastian N ➑️
so are manufacturers just going with cpus out of ease of programming? versus fpga/dsp? i assume it's also easier to add features or fix things and there would be more people around capable of programming? so all in all, cheaper to produce said code and ultimately product?
Programming costs may be a higher consideration for a niche product like the Studer mentioned, but I suspect hardware costs are the higher consideration on mixers intended for a wider user base. It would certainly explain the shoddy Digico S series.
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