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Using a DAW for FOH?
Old 29th June 2009
  #1
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Talking Using a DAW for FOH?

I don't run FOH but I was wondering why not use a DAW instead of a console.

The situation I am thinking about is for a small church with only about 25 mic/line sources.

This way they would not have to purchase any outboard equipment (beside mic pres & DAW interface), just use plugins. Also, they would be able to have sessions for instant recall for specific events.
Old 29th June 2009
  #2
it could work. just make sure it is a really stable DAW.
Old 29th June 2009
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneoconnor View Post
it could work. just make sure it is a really stable DAW.
Brand new Mac Pro with Logic 8.
Old 29th June 2009
  #4
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

latency with plugs? just a guess
feedback and not being able to dip a fader or mute the culprit channel
the second one would be a real pain in the ass
Old 29th June 2009
  #5
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the lack of control you have on a typical DAW vs a console!


it could work, and the way digital desks are going it might not be far off

but remember, computers are made for many different things with many programs running at the same time and the last thing you would want mid set is to have a virus checker kick in!
Old 29th June 2009
  #6
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it ll be nice if someone shared an experience in which it worked. Feedback issues could be solved with the "dangerous mics" grouped and controlled by a "midi fader" .

antivirus punch in request an audio based computer (without internet firewall 8bit sounds and 3D animations on minimize...)

id like to see how it could come out with 25 sources latency-wise...

My stable recommendation: Reaper XP SP2
(or SAW STUDIO... tutt)
Old 29th June 2009
  #7
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For some time I have been suggesting to relevant colleagues that using Reaper in conjunction with a control surface (even a BCF) could provide a remarkably low cost / high power live mixer - though the A to D part might not actually end up that low cost.

I mention Reaper in particular due to its routing and configurability - there are third party add-ons which can provide snapshot automation and apart from normal sends and folders, there is a basic VCA function which can be used to build up some quite interesting setups, with a little initial investment in time. Thus an eight channel control surface could accomplish quite a bit.

It's also pretty easy to set Reaper up to present a pre-configured setup, together with a text explanation for occasional users, if required.

Of course other apps might offer similar facilities, but Reaper being a tiny download and non-invasive install does present a painless means of experimentation.

I guess you'd have to carefully price the alternatives, making sure you really took everything into account. Certainly the DAW approach would be very likely to offer a much more flexible and configurable alternative to more conventional solutions.
Old 29th June 2009
  #8
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strauss's Avatar
 

I would only do this with a DSP system like Protools TDM or SSL's Mixpander.
Digidesign's Venue basically is a revamped Protools system.
If I remember correctly there's also someone at the DUC who used a Control 24 with a PT HD systems as FOH system.
Old 29th June 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7rojo7 View Post
latency with plugs? just a guess
feedback and not being able to dip a fader or mute the culprit channel
the second one would be a real pain in the ass
Yep,
and a digital board has all the advantages of a DAW without the drawbacks.
Old 29th June 2009
  #10
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

25 inputs? A tascam DM3200 sounds more appropriate, you can send your tracks via FW, ADAT Toslink, AES, not sure about MADI, to your DAW for recording and use low latency goo for your FOH
Old 29th June 2009
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

outboard mix?

I would only consider doing it with a setup like Metric Halo, Orpheus, et. al. where the mixing is done completely within the outboard DSP. The computer is only controlling, not processing. I suppose this may not qualify as truely using a DAW to mix live FOH, but the latency is lower, and reliability higher, as the show would go on if the computer crashes or gets disconnected. A number of people here have reported doing this for recording/live FOH combinations.

I don't think there would be any reason to do this unless you also needed to record multitrack. For simply handling a live mix, it makes for a much more expensive solution than a normal mixing console.
Old 29th June 2009
  #12
I've done this with a Metric Halo setup (2 2882s and an RME Octamic). It works fine, but can be a little awkward when you need to grab a bunch of stuff in a hurry. I've got a Mackie control surface and that would probably make it easier. I have to say that it sounds great!

Edwin
Old 30th June 2009
  #13
Gear Nut
 

I have a friend who does something very similar. He uses a M-Audio Profire 2626 and inserts it directly on FOH channels. The latency is negligible in as hostile an environment as FOH. I've also seen people running FX sends into DAWs live with great success. I don't see why it doesn't happen more often. We are at a point where latency is so low and a few choice plugins (particularly EQs) would be a very cost friendly way to create money channels.
Old 30th June 2009
  #14
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Here's a free plug in tool. Not a DAW but looks fun. I think it was designed for Theatre use mostly. Looks fun.
ifoundasound
Old 30th June 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedupsteve View Post
Yep,
and a digital board has all the advantages of a DAW without the drawbacks.
I think it depends on the board... I have to say that i've been blown away recently at a console that has many many followers and has horrible bugs that can totally screw you in a show.

--Ben
Old 1st July 2009
  #16
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I don’t do huge FOH sound gigs so please bare that in mind.

Most if not all of the remote recording I do involves recording a live performance for which I am doing sound reinforcement, they are usually smallish clubs and halls with an average audience of 100-200 people. I use a Mackie 1604 as my main console. I am usually running about 16 lines, and only half of those are actually going to FOH with the rest being extra recording mics. The mics doing double duty are routed off of the console then to the DAW and the rest go to outboard pre’s into the DAW.

I use Pro Tools 5.2 with an 001 on an old G4 for my mobile stuff. It has never seen the internet and is as maxed out as that old beauty can be. I don’t use any outboard EFX, COMPs, or EQs for FOH. I route all of that off of pro tools while I am recording. It usually isn’t much, mostly just: A Vocal reverb, an EQ and Limiter for the Mains, and EQ for the Monitors.

I am still doing the FOH mix on the 1604, but all of the processing is done on the DAW. And when you can pick up a decent analog mixer for like 300 bucks, I don’t see why you wouldn’t. I know that the Mackie 1604 is the most sought after piece of gear, but I have made more money with that one piece than everything else put together.

Good Luck man!
Robby
Old 1st July 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Here's a free plug in tool. Not a DAW but looks fun. I think it was designed for Theatre use mostly. Looks fun.
Heh! Looks interesting. Thanks for the link.
Old 1st July 2009
  #18
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Enginearing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallforward View Post
the mackie 1604 is the most sought after piece of gear.
Please please please be a typo....
Old 1st July 2009
  #19
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I've actually seen a software that is "Just" a console. (don't remember the name.. :/
What I don't understand is how anyone could control more then 3 faders with their mouse. For a job with a normal size you would need one BIG hardware controller, and then the price gets to high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedupsteve View Post
Here's a free plug in tool. Not a DAW but looks fun. I think it was designed for Theatre use mostly. Looks fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedupsteve View Post


Well it's not designed specifically for theatres it could be used any where.
A perfect watch would be a digital mixer with digital io and a ASIO card.
Maybe like two ADATs or even MADI.
Latency kind of depends; you need to get it as low as possible especially if you are using in-ears. But when doing reverbs…

Nikolai
Old 1st July 2009
  #20
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I've been trying "LiveProfessor" and it's very clever. Pretty stable for an alpha version. It really does enable a PC to operate as a digital mixer with full cue and snapshot functions.

See KVR: LiveProfessor - a promising VST host for live use for my experiences so far.
Old 1st July 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
I've actually seen a software that is "Just" a console. (don't remember the name.. :/
What I don't understand is how anyone could control more then 3 faders with their mouse. For a job with a normal size you would need one BIG hardware controller, and then the price gets to high.



Well it's not designed specifically for theatres it could be used any where.
A perfect watch would be a digital mixer with digital io and a ASIO card.
Maybe like two ADATs or even MADI.
Latency kind of depends; you need to get it as low as possible especially if you are using in-ears. But when doing reverbs…

Nikolai
I saw it on the Theatre group and I've used your Ifoundasound program so that's what I thought. Thanks for all your great work.
Old 1st July 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
I think it depends on the board... I have to say that i've been blown away recently at a console that has many many followers and has horrible bugs that can totally screw you in a show.

--Ben
I saw that!!
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/attac...8&d=1245433755
Old 1st July 2009
  #23
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Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev. Robb View Post
I don't run FOH but I was wondering why not use a DAW instead of a console.

The situation I am thinking about is for a small church with only about 25 mic/line sources.

This way they would not have to purchase any outboard equipment (beside mic pres & DAW interface), just use plugins. Also, they would be able to have sessions for instant recall for specific events.
churchs have money.
Remember its for GOD!

they will freak out with a high latency system.

get them a good near 0-latency system...
Sonic Core Xite-1
or 3x of the 14-DSP pci cards
with SonicTimeWorks.com EQ for creamware/scope sonic-core
+
2x novation remote zero sL mk2 with automap3 pro.
+
fast converters like:
RME ADI-8QS
or Lynx aurora 16vt or mytek 8x192
with optional adat cards.
dont know if lucid 88192 is as fast as the others.

use good ADAT cables,
also...
get them a good wordclock + silver clock cables like acoustic zen silver byte + clean & stable AC power.
furman ar-15 series 2 or better: ar-20 ii + balanced power it-20 ii.
or monster avs2000 + Monster pro 7000 ss.
also 1or2 UPS with 3% distortion like UPS APC surta1500 or 2000xl rackmount.
also a honda 6000w inverter generator with less than 5% distortion.

for master clock:
teac esoteric or antelope audio clocks have atomic input.
the others dont have atomic input but are good anyway...
grim audio cc1, drawmer m-clock, mutec iclock, apogee bigben, dCS, rosendalh nanoclocks, BlackLionAudio MicroClock, mytek studioclock192, lucid genx192, etc...

for mics: transformerless condensers,
audix cx-112
audix scx25
rode nt.2a
non condenser: audio technica bk1 sounds great.

for mic.-pres: millenia media hv, or john hardy m-1
sounds detailed, clean, wamth, transparent.

also good cables,
evidence audio, vovox, proel diehard
etc...
lavacable.com

for the PC buy 4x Intel X25-E 64GB HDDs in RAID10
for Back up system, buy the new samsung 256GB SSD drives.
or the enterprice Western Digital drives 2TB 2000GB WD2002FYPS
also rack mounts with foam around to absorb vibrations.

that setup will sound better, and will be faster than any digital console available.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #24
PDC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev. Robb View Post
I don't run FOH but I was wondering why not use a DAW instead of a console.

The situation I am thinking about is for a small church with only about 25 mic/line sources.

This way they would not have to purchase any outboard equipment (beside mic pres & DAW interface), just use plugins. Also, they would be able to have sessions for instant recall for specific events.
SAC will do it.

SAWStudio by RML Labs

Watch the video here:

YouTube - SAC Live At Harrah's Hotel In Las Vegas
Old 3rd July 2009
  #25
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I did it with PT LE for a small job where we had been using the same setup for rehearsal so everything was pretty much set.
That said i wouldn't go near it for a real show. You cant work fast enough and it is potentially unstable. I would do it on a HD rig with a C24 or Icon but by then why not just buy a Venue. Of course it doesnt matter what console you have if your drivers arnt up to the job so id put the money into drivers and use a cheap analogue desk with good outboard.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #26
Gear Addict
 
trompetfreak's Avatar
 

You mean like the Digidesign Venue/Profile desks?
Old 3rd July 2009
  #27
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Enginearing's Avatar
 

sheesh if they have money then go with a (Digi) Venue SC48 with a decent computer and be done with it. - stable console for the FOH and a stable computer to track it.
woulda thought the rev was tryin to skimp on a few bucks by getting two birds stoned at once. its possible, but done like this, not likely fraught with reliabilityissues and still have the workspace efficient.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #28
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opentune's Avatar
 

Hmm.... let´s see... you´d need to connect your DA converter outputs to
several power amps (monitors and FOH) with their volume turned up max.

No, i wouldn´t do that. Just imagine what would happen to your audience´s
ears and to your system if for some reason your computer decides to output
a very, very strange sounding signal at 0dBfs on all channels....
Old 3rd July 2009
  #29
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sort of...

I sort of do this every weekend for a club. I run a Mackie 1640 Onyx with the firewire going into a macbook running Ableton Live 6.10. I use Live for all my effects and for simultaneously tracking. I am running up to 16 tracks each with a little compression and eq with an aux running a reverb, a couple of delays on auxes and sometimes a phaser or whatever I feel like. I have my buffer at 160 samples and rarely have a problem. If there is a problem I need a few minutes to reboot.
Incidentally I am also recording onto the internal drive of my macbook as it was more stable than sending it out to a firewire drive.....go figure.
I would love to try Reaper for this or Logic, but this system ain't broke so ....maybe one day I will try it with Logic.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedupsteve View Post
Not quite what I meant, but yes... Bugs abound...

Quote:
Originally Posted by trompetfreak
You mean like the Digidesign Venue/Profile desks?
That is exactly what I meant (don't know if you were replying to me with this).

I mixed a festival on a Venue and I was surprised by all of the glitches that seemed to crop up from the naming and patch of channels to lack of head-amp control, especially with pads to the strange instances when the console and sidecar would loose partial linking with each other. Working quickly and flipping between layers really make the console unhappy.

I thought it was just me, but then a friend and colleague just was working on one to mix monitors for a major act and he was complaining about all of the same issues on that console.

Digi needs to work out the bugs on that console. It could be cool and it certainly sounds fine, but I'll let others enjoy it for now.

--Ben
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