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Why no development in "Digitally Controlled Analog"
Old 3rd June 2019
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
SSL did this in the 70s. They made a console called the SSL 4000 series
it was digitally controlled. I think they still make something similar
SSL 4K isn’t digitally controlled - it’s digitally recallable. Very different concept. The audio still flows through every pot on the console.

Compare to the Euphonix cs2000, or Harrison series 10. These are big control surfaces full of digital switches and rotary controls. No audio passes through them; they simply control the relays and pots in the guts of the machine room. The audio is never converted to digital; but the console can be reset like a control surface (sort of - the euphonix still requires manual adjustment of controls but the audio setting is instant).

With an SSL you have to manually reset every control
In use before you can hear your mix.

So no - the SSL is not digitally controlled analogue in any sense of the word I’m afraid!
Old 5th June 2019
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Muse Receptor. But you can do a very similar thing with mainstage running on a Mac, and much cheaper.
Ok there you go, very cool, thanks. The other one I was thinking of in my head was the Waves StudioRack stuff, but that's not quite it either, as I think you still have to have a computer and DAW open, even if you're using the "server."
Old 7th June 2019
  #33
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Wes Audio and Bettermaker are where it is at. I have units from both companies and they sound great. I wish more companies would adopt into the wes audio format and use their system. Maybe if more people emailed companies to utilize the tech we would see some change. I wont buy any HW unless it is re-callable. Revisions and little changes are way too often now. The plug in control of the EQ and dynamics for the Neve genysys looks great too !
Old 7th June 2019
  #34
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I can’t imagine it being that expensive

It’s been used in synths for ages

The biggest companies should be able to make it happen
Old 7th June 2019
  #35
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Personally, my apathy for digitally controlled analog hardware stems from the concern that it will no longer be supported in a reasonably short amount of time.

With protocols like Firewire, USB, Thunderbolt, and CPU operating systems constantly being invented, modified, refined, etc., I have little faith that any digital gear I purchase today will still be useable tomorrow.

If I spend 3k on a nice analog compressor, I can be reasonably assured that, with a little bit of maintenance and upkeep, it will still be every bit as good and useable 10 years from now as it is today.

I have some experience with the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter. I think it's a fantastic piece of gear, but I don't know if/how it's going to work 10 years from now (at least the "digital" part).

Maybe companies will get better at anticipating future developments and integrate those considerations into their hardware designs. Lynx, for example, has done a great job with their L-Slot design, but who even knows how much longer that's going to be supported?

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily paranoid, but that's my take on the issue.

Andrew
Old 7th June 2019
  #36
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahler007 View Post
Maybe I'm being unnecessarily paranoid, but that's my take on the issue.
I just took several boxes of computer gear to the Hazmat place. Thinking about what I paid for those things and how recently, I would say your paranoia is not misplaced.
Old 7th June 2019
  #37
Wes Audio gear is analogue signal path with digital control.
Some reviews: the _DIONE stereo VCA compressor ; the _MIMAS mono FET compressor; and the _HYPERION stereo EQ.

In addition to the front panel controls (digital rotary encoders) the units can be operated either by USB or via the _TITAN ng500-series rack.

There are some newer 500-series units too; a passive EQ and an interface: http://wesaudio.com/

I was a bit uncertain about digital controllers prior to testing the Wes Audio gear but straight away I was hooked. Great for workflow. The Wes gear sounds awesome too.
Old 7th June 2019
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahler007 View Post
Personally, my apathy for digitally controlled analog hardware stems from the concern that it will no longer be supported in a reasonably short amount of time.

With protocols like Firewire, USB, Thunderbolt, and CPU operating systems constantly being invented, modified, refined, etc., I have little faith that any digital gear I purchase today will still be useable tomorrow.

If I spend 3k on a nice analog compressor, I can be reasonably assured that, with a little bit of maintenance and upkeep, it will still be every bit as good and useable 10 years from now as it is today.

I have some experience with the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter. I think it's a fantastic piece of gear, but I don't know if/how it's going to work 10 years from now (at least the "digital" part).

Maybe companies will get better at anticipating future developments and integrate those considerations into their hardware designs. Lynx, for example, has done a great job with their L-Slot design, but who even knows how much longer that's going to be supported?

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily paranoid, but that's my take on the issue.

Andrew
Well, what would mitigate that is if the device is fully functional with or without digital control.

My Moog 500 delays and Elektron Analog Heat as stand-alones are fully functional. The Sigma OTOH, while it has some functionality accessible from the front panel, it's pretty much crippled without first being able to set it up from a computer, and subsequently having its UI as a control panel, and as VST plugins.
Old 7th June 2019
  #39
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ARIEL's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahler007 View Post
Personally, my apathy for digitally controlled analog hardware stems from the concern that it will no longer be supported in a reasonably short amount of time.

With protocols like Firewire, USB, Thunderbolt, and CPU operating systems constantly being invented, modified, refined, etc., I have little faith that any digital gear I purchase today will still be useable tomorrow.

If I spend 3k on a nice analog compressor, I can be reasonably assured that, with a little bit of maintenance and upkeep, it will still be every bit as good and useable 10 years from now as it is today.

I have some experience with the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter. I think it's a fantastic piece of gear, but I don't know if/how it's going to work 10 years from now (at least the "digital" part).

Maybe companies will get better at anticipating future developments and integrate those considerations into their hardware designs. Lynx, for example, has done a great job with their L-Slot design, but who even knows how much longer that's going to be supported?

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily paranoid, but that's my take on the issue.

Andrew
The units will still operate without the plug and you can control all the features in the front like you would any regular non plug in control piece of gear. As long as I have the drivers and plug in backed up Ill be able to use for years to come. We dont really need to upgrade our DAWS or computers any more at this point in time.
Old 7th June 2019
  #40
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Remember Euphonix racks?

This could be something for Behringer to do once it becomes economical.
Old 8th June 2019
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahler007 View Post
Personally, my apathy for digitally controlled analog hardware stems from the concern that it will no longer be supported in a reasonably short amount of time.

With protocols like Firewire, USB, Thunderbolt, and CPU operating systems constantly being invented, modified, refined, etc., I have little faith that any digital gear I purchase today will still be useable tomorrow.

If I spend 3k on a nice analog compressor, I can be reasonably assured that, with a little bit of maintenance and upkeep, it will still be every bit as good and useable 10 years from now as it is today.

I have some experience with the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter. I think it's a fantastic piece of gear, but I don't know if/how it's going to work 10 years from now (at least the "digital" part).

Maybe companies will get better at anticipating future developments and integrate those considerations into their hardware designs. Lynx, for example, has done a great job with their L-Slot design, but who even knows how much longer that's going to be supported?

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily paranoid, but that's my take on the issue.

Andrew
Well, digitally-controlled doesn't necessarily mean controlled by a remote computer interface. My Lexicon PCM 70 is all digitally-controlled (of course) but it's self-contained and still going strong.
Old 8th June 2019
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoepedals View Post
Well, digitally-controlled doesn't necessarily mean controlled by a remote computer interface. My Lexicon PCM 70 is all digitally-controlled (of course) but it's self-contained and still going strong.
That's an example of "digitally controlled digital". People are asking for digitally controlled analog because they want to control it from their computer. Regular old analog gear is already "self-contained". i.e. - it already has a knob on the front of it!

As soon as you control it from your computer, you have to commit to a lot of computer stuff. Protocols, cables, OS versions... And that stuff won't be around forever. I just tossed a box full of serial cables, and retired all but 2 or 3 of my Firewire cables. Someday, not too long from now, it will be USB's and Thunderbolt's turn.

The VCAs or little electric motors or however they do it will absolutely add to the cost of the analog device. I would assume I will still be able access the analog functions even when the digital protocols have become obsolete. But consumer's reluctance to pay extra for something when the near-certainty of that something's obsolesence is lurking in the shadows has to be one of the contributing factors in answering the question in the thread title.
Old 9th June 2019
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
That's an example of "digitally controlled digital". People are asking for digitally controlled analog because they want to control it from their computer. Regular old analog gear is already "self-contained". i.e. - it already has a knob on the front of it!

As soon as you control it from your computer, you have to commit to a lot of computer stuff. Protocols, cables, OS versions... And that stuff won't be around forever. I just tossed a box full of serial cables, and retired all but 2 or 3 of my Firewire cables. Someday, not too long from now, it will be USB's and Thunderbolt's turn.

The VCAs or little electric motors or however they do it will absolutely add to the cost of the analog device. I would assume I will still be able access the analog functions even when the digital protocols have become obsolete. But consumer's reluctance to pay extra for something when the near-certainty of that something's obsolesence is lurking in the shadows has to be one of the contributing factors in answering the question in the thread title.
Wes Audio's Dione is far cheaper than SSL 500 series compressor and also the rest of their products are very affordable
Old 9th June 2019
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
That's an example of "digitally controlled digital". People are asking for digitally controlled analog because they want to control it from their computer. Regular old analog gear is already "self-contained". i.e. - it already has a knob on the front of it!

As soon as you control it from your computer, you have to commit to a lot of computer stuff. Protocols, cables, OS versions... And that stuff won't be around forever. I just tossed a box full of serial cables, and retired all but 2 or 3 of my Firewire cables. Someday, not too long from now, it will be USB's and Thunderbolt's turn.

The VCAs or little electric motors or however they do it will absolutely add to the cost of the analog device. I would assume I will still be able access the analog functions even when the digital protocols have become obsolete. But consumer's reluctance to pay extra for something when the near-certainty of that something's obsolesence is lurking in the shadows has to be one of the contributing factors in answering the question in the thread title.
I understand the desire to control outboard from a computer or phone app. But what I was trying to say is that digitally-controlled analog doesn't have to be a total ticking time bomb because, if the hardware interface itself is digital, then even if your external control device is no longer supported, you can still have a self-contained system that should allow you to do things like store a bunch of presets and control the device as normal when not in a preset mode.

A good example of this is a lot of Moog synths. You can control something like a Little Phatty or Slim Phatty or a lot of other synths of theirs from a computer-based app (which is still working nearly 10 years later, btw.) But even without that you can control all the parameters via the onboard digital controls and preset storage system. Korg and Roland and a lot of other synth makers are also doing the same type of stuff.

These interfaces also generally look and feel mostly analog (unlike a Lexicon) so there's not really much of a sacrifice in that regard either. Of course one issue is that digipots and relay switched parameters and things of that nature are discrete control systems. They are not good at truly infinitely variable control because by their nature they require "steps" of control to work. But, on the other hand, that's kind of the par for the course in accurate recall systems, isn't it.

The other issue is going to be cost, of course. This being Pro Audio, you know for sure that this kind of extensive control upgrade is going to cost an arm and a leg.
Old 9th June 2019
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
The other thing I'm surprised hasnt taken off more than it alrdy has is something like a rack unit that runs plugins. There are some examples, and it would most likely have to a carefully curated, closed-garden type ecosystem, but I could see the demand for live use.
My studio is all analog and something like this could be really handy
Old 9th June 2019
  #46
After using the Wes gear I think the (GCon) software side of the ng500 ecosystem works independently of whether ng500 is more widely adopted by other manufacturers.

Sure, it'd be great to have a range of ng500 rack modules from a range of manufacturers but in terms of how the Wes Audio ng500 modules operate, the system is fully-functional and self-contained in operation regardless of what is happening elsewhere in the ng500 universe.

In terms of longetivity and software redundancy: that's a common issue affecting almost everything nowadays. Wes have quite an open proactive policy towards third-party software developers so it's not inconceivable that the code/system could survive a paradigm shift e.g. the end of Windows XP.
Old 9th June 2019
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
In terms of longetivity and software redundancy: that's a common issue affecting almost everything nowadays. Wes have quite an open proactive policy towards third-party software developers so it's not inconceivable that the code/system could survive a paradigm shift e.g. the end of Windows XP.
If past history is any indication, it's a poor one regarding HW developers providing updates and drivers for deprecated OS's.

I think if there is enough interest and demand, third party SW developers might write code to sate that demand, but that's a big if, and probably should be relegated to "I wouldn't hold my breath..." status.

One way around, is to hold onto the computers that will work with whatever HW that you might suspect be abandoned in the near future by the inevitable and inescapable forward march of tech.
Old 9th June 2019
  #48
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoepedals View Post
I understand the desire to control outboard from a computer or phone app. But what I was trying to say is that digitally-controlled analog doesn't have to be a total ticking time bomb because, if the hardware interface itself is digital, then even if your external control device is no longer supported, you can still have a self-contained system that should allow you to do things like store a bunch of presets and control the device as normal when not in a preset mode.
What you are saying is I can still turn the knob on an obsolete digitally controlled unit. But I can still turn the knob on an plain-old analog device as well. It's not a ticking time bomb that will make the unit itself "worthless". But the "DAW Integration" part of it certainly has a finite shelf-life.

As for presets, I can understand a reverb or a synth having useful presets that I might create myself and want to save and come back to, but if I want to access the controls for a compressor, or an EQ, they are almost certainly for recall of specific parts of a specific track. Or for continuously variable automation. Once that capability is lost because of computer obsolescence, being able to turn the knobs on the front is small consolation. Analog or digital, I could do that anyway.

Quote:
You can control something like a Little Phatty or Slim Phatty or a lot of other synths of theirs from a computer-based app (which is still working nearly 10 years later, btw.)
10 years is a long time in Computer Years, but not that long in Analog gear. I have some analog tube EQs that are 50 years old and still going strong. If they had computer capability back then I would need a computer like this to access it:
Why no development in "Digitally Controlled Analog"-tape-drive.jpg
Quote:
The other issue is going to be cost, of course. This being Pro Audio, you know for sure that this kind of extensive control upgrade is going to cost an arm and a leg.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARIEL
Wes Audio's Dione is far cheaper than SSL 500 series compressor and also the rest of their products are very affordable
Yet surely it would be even more affordable if it was a straight-up analog compressor that lacked any recall capability. Whatever something costs to make, it has to cost more to add a bunch of extra features.




.
Attached Thumbnails
Why no development in "Digitally Controlled Analog"-tape-drive.jpg  
Old 9th June 2019
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
10 years is a long time in Computer Years, but not that long in Analog gear. I have some analog tube EQs that are 50 years old and still going strong. If they had computer capability back then I would need a computer like this to access it:
Why no development in "Digitally Controlled Analog"-tape-drive.jpg
Not necessarily.

There is the capability for portability of both the code/algorithms and the physical interfacing to be transferred to other systems.
Old 9th June 2019
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
What you are saying is I can still turn the knob on an obsolete digitally controlled unit. But I can still turn the knob on an plain-old analog device as well. It's not a ticking time bomb that will make the itself "worthless". But the "DAW Integration" part of it certainly has a finite shelf-life.

As for presets, I can understand a reverb or a synth having useful presets that I might create myself and want to save and come back to, but if I want to access the controls for a compressor, or an EQ, they are almost certainly for recall of specific parts of a specific track. Or for continuously variable automation. Once that capability is lost because of computer obsolescence, being able to turn the knobs on the front is small consolation. Analog or digital, I could do that anyway.


10 years is a long time in Computer Years, but not that long in Analog gear. I have some analog tube EQs that are 50 years old and still going strong. If they had computer capability back then I would need a computer like this to access it:

.
What I was getting at about presets is you can SAVE presets for later recall on these devices. It's not as great as DAW integration, sure, but you can still save settings for recall while working on a project until you are done with that project (or indefinitely, if you find it to be generally useful). That can be useful for any type of equipment. I know I have certain starting points I use all the time on my analog gear (including compressors and EQ) and then I tweak from there and take notes.

I certainly agree about the longevity of purely analog devices, though. That's one of the reasons I am using more and more analog outboard these days. In some cases I have even gone the opposite way from most people for this very reason and bought the real equipment that a plugin I use all the time is based on so that it won't stop being supported. But yeah, I have tube amps and tube tape echos and reverbs that are from the 60s or 70s and they are still going strong with minimal maintenance. I like the fact that, if I can get parts, I can keep these things running indefinitely myself in most cases.

I had mentioned 10 years of plugin support simply because someone mentioned they were worried about something working in 10 years. You can have bad luck with this, though, and get into a piece of gear that uses a protocol that stops being used/supported really quickly after you bought it, sometimes.
Old 9th June 2019
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
If past history is any indication, it's a poor one regarding HW developers providing updates and drivers for deprecated OS's...
In general you're right; the buyer should beware the culture of disposability. Maybe it helps to differentiate though: currently, sitting on the floor of my room, a door stop in all but function, is an 01X digital mixer. Yamaha stopped supporting the 01X; LAN code used by another company; 01X users didn't have permission to re-write code from XP to Windows 7. Alternatively, KRK re-wrote the code for the Ergo monitor controller (which I still use everyday) for relatively few users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
...I think if there is enough interest and demand, third party SW developers might write code to sate that demand, but that's a big if, and probably should be relegated to "I wouldn't hold my breath..." status...
In the case of the Wes gear I think that in a worst case scenario (e.g. the software environment 'breaks') the unit can be used via the front-panel encoders, buttons and meters. Sonically, nothing changes. Best case scenario, the most likely IMO, is that the bespoke Wes gear/software has a better chance of survival intact (or semi-functioning) than mass-produced gear that is influenced by the corporate climate.

Quite a bit of high-end gear survives despite being even older than personal computers; certainly old synths have been adapted and updated - new third-party control interfaces; old Eventide gear is still working; old digital mixers...even the 01X has some uses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
...One way around, is to hold onto the computers that will work with whatever HW that you might suspect be abandoned in the near future by the inevitable and inescapable forward march of tech.
Totally agree. The future is the past.
Old 9th June 2019
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
In general you're right; the buyer should beware the culture of disposability. Maybe it helps to differentiate though: currently, sitting on the floor of my room, a door stop in all but function, is an 01X digital mixer. Yamaha stopped supporting the 01X; LAN code used by another company; 01X users didn't have permission to re-write code from XP to Windows 7. Alternatively, KRK re-wrote the code for the Ergo monitor controller (which I still use everyday) for relatively few users.
It's marketing in certain cases - most every company rolls out new products to supplant older ones, and there's a disincentive to continue indefinite support as to not compete against themselves with the newer rollouts. I guess that's a facet of planned obsolescence.

That's why a company like RME is refreshing and noble; they provided as best they can to still provide up to date drivers and apps for all their gear regardless of when they came out, and whether if newer models/versions come out. They unfortunately are the exception, rather than ubiquitously the most fiscally expedient rule, damn be the loyal customer...
Old 9th June 2019
  #53
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Not necessarily.

There is the capability for portability of both the code/algorithms and the physical interfacing to be transferred to other systems.
Of course They can do it, but my paranoia asks: will they? It has to be worth somebody's while to write the translation. And build the adapters. Audio production is a small village and DAW-integrated hardware is a narrow alleyway in that village. So the demand may be insufficient. More often we are dragged into the next phase, like it or not, and advised to discard our old outmoded computer stuff. Let's face it, they are not even letting you keep your old earbuds for your smartphone anymore.

The question in the thread title is "why" ? A lack of development is probably not because it's "too hard" to do, so it must be about low demand. And I think a healthy skepticism about the longevity of any digitally controlled analog 'system' is part of the reason for low demand - from many potential users.

Are all the companies making these systems using the same protocol? If not, which one is VHS, and which one is Betamax?
Old 10th June 2019
  #54
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
...One way around, is to hold onto the computers that will work ...
Kind of like building a moat around your sand castle as the tide comes in?
Old 10th June 2019
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Kind of like building a moat around your sand castle as the tide comes in?
Kinda like Elaine on Seinfeld hoarding/stashing away contraceptive sponges when they're being taken off the market.

Is your computer, interface or other HW sponge worthy?
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