Analog vs Digital

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by jonesy, May 22, 2010.

  1. jonesy

    jonesy Active Member

    Im new here so i hope this thread hasn't already started somewhere else
    but i know there uis a huge debate about Digital vs Analog desks

    im only 16 but ive done a few gigs around the place in Tasmania and i prefer analog desks just purely cause of the fact that i dont have to worry about fancy computer commands and stuff its just straight forward and i own an ALTO AMX 180FX analog desk looking to upgrade soon....
    however in saying that...
    i have used the wonderful Yamaha LS-9 32ch digital sound desk and i loved it!
    and i have seen the new Soundcraft Vi-6 which looks like a masterpiece!

    just wondering what everyone else's view on this is?
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    For live mixing I still live in the analog world, but digital is the future. I could replace most of my 200lb mixer-top FOH rack with a Yamaha 01V96, and get recall etc. I do like the directness of analog, the ability to see all the settings with one glance or go to a control without pushing buttons, but I'd give that up for the advantages of digital if the budget were there.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    it all really depends upon the type of music, your audience and any other blah blah nonsense you have to deal with. Digital for live sound really makes perfect sense. Microphone inputs along with preamps down at this stage. Fiber or, ethernet to carry it all back up to your mixing position without having to break your back on heavy cables. Less loss in long bulky microphone snakes. I'm all for it for live applications. But I am an analog person by nature. And I still prefer the old-fashioned way of doing it. But that's what it comes to recording and not PA. And the PA style of gear makes even good sense for broadcast applications such as TV stations etc.

    I like living in the past
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  4. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    I don't think it is a debate any more. Most touring shows and companies are supplying digital desks. There are a handful of guys still doing analog on the high-end, but those guys will be fewer and fewer because there just isn't anyone making large format consoles to replace Midas, etc, etc. The only companies making analog desks are making them for the entry and mid level markets.

    In digital world there are lots of choices. Personally, even though I sell most of them, I don't like digital for myself. The convenience is undeniable. But the sound quality and reliability is just not there for me. We do service calls for analog on site. Almost all of the low to mid-level digitals cannot be serviced on sight or in the shop in some cases.

    As with all things in this business, the amount of people that can afford to care about the music and integrity of the sound is dwindling. It is all about the money. I have been to several A list concerts recently and I am not hearing good mixes out of the systems there either, and these guys have considerable budgets. I will be glad when we can quit featuring the kick drum.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    And those remote microphone preamps at the stage also need to have multiple outputs. So it's not just going to the main mixing position but can also be distributed to the " Remote Truck" that's doing the live mix for television or FM broadcast, perhaps simultaneous Internet streaming and let's not forget mobile on the go. That's so you can listen to it or watch it while trying to find a parking place since you got there late. Maybe one day we will figure out how to access the mantle directly so that we can make everybody on the planet hear what we want them to by creating direct vibrations from the mantle through to the crust under our feet and directly up our butts. NOW THAT'S SURROUND!

    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. Live Sound Audio

    Live Sound Audio Active Member

    Digital provides many more tools for the money. It almost sounds good now or maybe we're used to it... I wouldn't buy an analog console now unless it was intended for total novices to use.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    And that's why people who are actually in the know still cut all of their tracks on those old vintage consoles. Such a beginner comment.. Really rather disappointing to hear that from an expert like yourself.

    All I have is this danged old Neve board.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. Live Sound Audio

    Live Sound Audio Active Member

    Never claimed to be an expert. Not to pick on you boss but I thought he was talking about live sound. Are you really using a Neve board for live sound? If so, that's serious dedication and I admire you for it!


    I used a Neve for live sound in a fixed install about 20 years ago and it sounded very nice. Then they got a PM3 or PM4, whatever the number was so they could have more channels. I think they have an Avid Venue now.
  9. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    I agree with Remy and Sheet! I prefer Analog to Digital in a heartbeat. It's the real deal, anyone with a good ear and class will tell you that. Digital 24 bit however is a wonderful format to record too / edit with. Its too hard to say what the future has in store, perhaps analog will keep working its way back into the modern recording studio as it is with the popularity of Out of the Box mixing now. I sure hope the younger generation will start to notice what the word dynamic means in recording music for enjoyment.
  10. Live Sound Audio

    Live Sound Audio Active Member


    My dream was to get a Paragon for live, which I though was an amazing sounding console with gobs of control and dynamics on every channel. Great sound at less than the cost of Midas, etc. But when it came time to buy.... Here's what ATI Says on their web site:

    "Founded in 1988 ATI designed and manufactured the highest quality live sound mixing consoles and audio processing equipment for pro audio use. Paragon P40's and second-generation Paragon II's dominated the live-touring scene for many years, until the eventual development of reliable and road-capable digital consoles became accepted for use and replacement."

    There is no debate. End users and console manufacturers have already voted. Yamaha, Midas, Allen-Heath, you name it. All the new stuff and direction is digital. The control you can get even from a $3,500 digital board (like the Presonus StudioLive) would cost $30,000 for inexpensive analog counterparts and require 40 rack spaces of outboard gear in addition to the board.

    But I'm still thinking about that Neve console for live events............ I did see a Trident console a few months ago for live sound. It sounded FANTASTIC!!! My gosh - the depth! Makes you think back. A real boat anchor but certainly something worth hearing.
  11. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    A Neve for live sound? A Trident ? Are you talking about a remote truck? Neither one of those companies has made a "live" board...And the last time I was involved in the purchase of a Midas it was a Heritage 3000 (56) for $78K, with the Paragon (48) topping out at $110K...The Paragon was doomed right from the start due to it's enormous size.; people had trouble getting it through the loading docks!
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm with jammster all the way to the back. I seriously think analog is only going to become "better incorporated" into the digital realm. Both for live and studio. Analog and digital are merging very well.
    Many of us here started in analog, then took the leap into digital blindness, then (gut churning OBG, what did I just do!) kept creeping into my heart as I kept hearing that dead sound of digital. We are really starting to rethink it all. After 10 years being all digital and thinking it was the real deal... screw that! Digital for mixing and editing but for smooth headroom, bla
    analog gives you a more human space.... Why do we keep needing more and more bells and whistles with live music. A lot of what I need can be triggered via midi and on stage by the musicians. Isn't live really about capturing the band on stage? I'm over all that hype and heading back to the basics and rethinking it from a hybrid POV.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'll tell you what I do fear, that speakers (especially live pro audio) will become re designed to compensate for all the digital brightness. It may force us to go 100% digital console for live. hmm, scary. The investment of both worlds may not be worth it. And I was planning on buying a new analog console this next year.

  14. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You think so? I think that instead of that, there will be digital system processors that will offer a menu option that says" "Source: Analog or Digital?", just like they do now to select a given speaker array model. Then you can fine tune THAT to the program material: "Rap? RnB? Pop? Techno? Country? Indie? House? Metal? Kenny G?" OMG, it's like they set these systems up so that an idiot could run them! That's the REAL beauty of digital boards... LOL!!!!

    I miss my PM3K :(
  15. Live Sound Audio

    Live Sound Audio Active Member


    The Neve was an install. The Trident was used for touring. But I thought this thread was about someone asking about live sound consoles. I won't say my Avid sounds like the Trident because it does not although I really like how it sounds.
  16. jonesy

    jonesy Active Member

    its been a while and apologies for that.....
    Im still analog (haven't been swayed yet)
    i was mixing at my local church with the LS9 and the whole time i was just thinking i wish i could have my Yamaha MG32 haha
    the LS9 just seems empty without all the control settings... think ill be staying in the analog world for a while =)
  17. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    LS9s are horrible. Bad ergonomics + bad sound. Don't judge all digital desks on the basis of these rather dated and low budget models.

    A Vi6 is a totally different matter: they sound great and are a pleasure to use.

    Speaking as someone who regularly mixes live sound on both types of console; the one inherent disadvantage to digital desks is that you have to use your eyes more. On an analog board you can glance down at the desk to find the relevant pot, and then twist it by feel while watching the stage. In digital I find I need to watch a screen or a ring of LEDs as I tweak, so I spend more time with my eyes down.

    90% of the time the conveniences of full recall / soft patching etc. far outweight this small disadvantage, for me anyway.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Very nice. Here's an overview of The Vi1:
    Soundcraft - [Support]

    Just gets better from here.
  19. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I hadn't seen that one. Their Si range also looks interesting at the more budget end, but I've not tried one yet:
    Soundcraft - [Products]

    I did get to try one of the new Digico SD9s recently, which I believe are also priced very competitively. I just mixed a festival set so didn't get deep into patching or anything, but first impressions were very good. (dynamic EQ on every channel if you want it! :tongue:)
    New DiGiCo SD9
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Man that is a sweet looking compact console. It looks about the size of my old Yamaha 03D but about $23,000 more in justifiable value. Beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing this Dan!


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