Motorized board or options...

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by unclejemima, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. unclejemima

    unclejemima Active Member

    This probably gets asked a hundred times, so I apologize for if this is a re-post...:oops:

    I'm looking to upgrade our old 12 Channel Yorkville AP512 board that is a good decade or more old at my church. I've been asked to find a nice 16'ish channel board with motorized faders, or the ability to save "pre-sets" so that many different settings can be saved (fader level, gain, EQ, ext.) and called it up with the click of a button. This is for a church environment, and there are many people who don't know how to, or don't want to know how to use a board, so they want to be able to "save" their settings for multiple users, to be able to have the board set just like they did last time with one or two buttons, and then the next guy can call up his setting with out changing the one before him.

    I have not been looking very much, but are these what they call "digital" boards, vs analog boards, or can I get a motorized board that is still "analog"?

    We're looking at spending about $4500-$7500...can we get a good board that can do this and be reliable for years to come? Is this enough $$$, or are we setting our budget to low?

    Any advice would be great!
    Thank you,
    -unclejemima :D
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think if you could reserve $10,000, you can purchase a nice late-model Yamaha digital desk? But digital desks are not for the faint of heart. I find them to be less intuitive than an analog console. Pretty much, because you have to understand the manual in order to use it. It's not meant for beginners i.e. volunteers that have been extensively trained. Too bad they don't make a religious console that can be controlled by praying alone? You'd think if God wanted good PA, he'd design a console with a pray button, a communion button, Easter button, Christmas button, birth button, donations button, etc.. Pray tell if any insightful God fearing engineer hasn't already thought about this? You would think it would be their mission?

    I'm Jewish and so, my console had a circumcision of the Mix Minus section.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. unclejemima

    unclejemima Active Member

    Thanks ;-) I'll bring that up this Sunday!

    I hunted around a little, and found what might be a nice compromise...

    A mackie TT24. It seems it was designed to be easy to use like a analog board, but its digital. I'm not to sure if this means it has motorized faders or anything? It is priced around $6000-7000... Does anyone have any experience with this board?
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Analog boards with motorized faders typically cost more than some peoples' houses, and they are becoming a rare breed.
    There is nothing wrong with the "sound" of the currently-available digital boards on the market these days. Yamaha certainly is the industry leader in that regard, and their gear is very well designed and built.
    I do church sound and know of at least 3 facilities using the Yamaha 01V96V2. They use it for the exact same reason that you listed-programmable presets (and it has motorized faders). One 01V96 will provide you with a dozen mic pre's and and plenty of line level channels, plus you can link 2 of them together if you need to expand your mic input capacity later on down the road. All of the processing that you're likely to ever need-powerful EQ, compression, gating, effects, etc.- is built right into the mixer. No more racks of gear patched together with intermittent cables. Easy to program for different "scenes" like: Sermon, Liturgist, Choir/Soloist, Bell Choir, Announcements, Praise get the idea.
    A single 01V96 will set you back about $2100.00 (USD "street"). Not cheap, but certainly affordable and worth every penny. Certainly worth your strong consideration.
    BTW, Mackie gear is OK, BUT their forays into digital mixers have been spotty at best. The Yammies rock.
  5. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Or, you could invest in a software recording program like Cubase 4, Sonar, Reason, etc. and use a firewire mixer such as the Yamaha N12. Then you could have instant recall via the DAW and also be able to make recordings. Switching between "scenes" wouldn't be as quick as with the O1V96V2, I don't think, so if you really need instant switching...

    There are several FOH live digital mixers available that don't cost the price of a house, just a fully loaded new luxury car.

    Keep praying about it, and God will show you the answer.
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    O2R's are available for cheap.

    While not all that intuitive, you can set up a coupla' idiot cards on a ring/string. About 5 minutes worth of training can get folks to where they can do their own recall.

    They're pretty reliable, but realize that parts are gonna be a bit scarce.
  7. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    There has been some good info already.

    Not all budget digital consoles are good. Many will not sound better than what you have now. Some will sound worse. All of them will add more function.

    Now, as far as presets for services, etc are concerned, that very rarely works. I have been a tech director and engineer for quite a few churches. Those presets are only as good as the people on stage. You must have the same people on the same mics, in the same place, with the same instruments, with the same settings, etc for this all to work like one would hope. They are good starting places. But I would not bank on using them this way.

    However, I was at a church that offered two service formats, had limited audio snake resources (no additional lines could be installed), etc. We had 10 minutes to empty the room, reset the stage and play walk-in music. Digital did make this possible. We had a list of the instruments and their corresponding input numbers on stage. Mo matter who showed up to play, they read that number and plugged in. The first song was the soundcheck. I started with the previous night's rehearsal as a starting point for the mix.

    The thing is, you now can reach down and grab two knobs with two hands and adjust two things simultaneously. You don't do that with many of these digital desks. The Yamaha's are so menu driven that if you have feedback happening on two channels, you can only address one channel at a time. That seems like an eternity during the service.

    Now, as far as software goes...I like the concept of SAC. Go to and check it out. The problem with those software applications is that they are running from a drive, not RAM. So they WILL mess up and crash. People say that this is the same thing, digital on a computer vs digital in a console. No it isn't. The console's have OS's that have been tailored for the application and that is all that they do. Their drivers are made for the hardware. They are not off-the-shelf crap.

    In church, you need to consider that other people will need to use whatever you buy, and that most people, unless they are the youth, will be more likely to figure out analog easier than digital.

    Tascam digital consoles have a terrible resale value and can be found cheaply. They don't sound as good as they should.

    Yamaha's are good consoles with good support. There are more of those in use than anything else.

    Mackie digitals. The D8B = absolute garbage. VERY limited service and replacement parts. It was sold incomplete and sounds aweful. I used two in a church for sub mixers (because I had no choice and they wouldn't buy us a third Midas until they failed in the service, which they did). The newer Mackies were basically Pentium 4s released after P4s were WAAAY out of date. No support now. The TT24 is not bad. It has had some issues, but I think they have it worked out as good as they can.

    Roland no experience with it. Roland never keeps pro audio/digital products long because they don't sell well.

    Digital consoles use computer parts. Computer parts are easily outdated. It is NOT easy to service legacy digital consoles. So, keep in mind that you will need to replace this thing every three to five years.
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    So, unclejemima, you've had the well-presented arguments from Moonbaby, Sheet and others for and against using a digital board for your purposes. What are you going to do?

    Let's for the moment consider operational convenience and leave aside sound quality and build quality. Ask yourself a number of questions. Does the ease of having each of your mixing scenes available on a button outweigh the disadvantage of having to train your operating staff to respond to emergencies such as screaming feedback caused by a lav mic dropping down next to the foldback monitors? How difficult is it to make changes to a scene such as adding a new band member for this week? Is there a way of storing my scene settings external to the mixer so that if someone destructively fiddles with them or I have to get a replacement mixer for any reason I can simply re-load the scenes and be back where I was?

    My view is that you will come out in favour of the advantages of a digital desk. Factoring in the other issues of quality (sound and build) and longevity, the Yamaha range is the one to consider. The 01V96 is the baby of the range and may be adequate for you, possibly expanded using an external 8-channel ADAT microphone pre-amp, but you may also want to look at the 02R96 or even the DM1000.
  9. unclejemima

    unclejemima Active Member

    Wow! I must say, I did not expect such in-depth and honest responses. I much appreciate the advice and suggestions from all! Great posts!

    Well, seeing as you all are being honest with me, I might as well be honest with you as well. I've been thinking long and hard about this, and I want to make a good decision, one that will have more Pro's that Cons, and right now I'm on the fence as to what would be...

    Some argue Horse vs Car when it comes to Analog vs Digital, and I guess only time will tell, but I do know that I have nothing wrong with a good quality analog board, but that is only if I'm there to sit behind it all the time, and that is where the problem comes in. I've been asked my many members of the church to get a board that they can "set" and "forget", and there in lies the problem. In a perfect world, the setup for one group is always the same...but of in the real world, it never happens that way. There is a new band member that week, or the singer will be at a different location, ext, ext.

    The majority of the people asking for the digital (pre-set setting that can be called up) are the older crowd, just the exact ones hoping not to have to touch the board ever, and that is ok I guess. If I ran an analog board, like we do now, I would be forever correcting the setting each Sunday, as every day it seems someone will do something very odd with the board, in attempt to create a good sound.
    With a digital board, it would be very important that one could easily restore to a pre-set that has been altered, as this would as well happen very often.

    It sounds like the Yamaha is the digital king so far, the "honda" of the digital boards, and I must admit, I’ve been slightly shying away from them as I’ve been warned "you need an engineering degree" to run them, but I think this may be the case with any digital board.

    I liked the Tascam DM-3200 because of its price and features, but it sounds like this may not be the way to go in terms of sound quality and reliability...

    The Mackie TT24 I thought would be ok with its touch screen and "live" sound setup for quick and easy adjustments, but again it sounds like reliability may take a back seat for this the mackie is not cheap either...

    Now as for Yamaha, the O1V96VCM, I like it, but it seems a little to low end for I was expecting to pay around 5000'ish, but perhaps that is not a bad thing. It sound like I would be better off with this at approx $2500, than the Tascam DM-3200 for approx $3800...interesting...
    The 02R96 or even the DM1000, also sound like a sweet board, BUT I can not seem to find any pricing info for the DM1000. Is it still a current board, or is it on the disco list? The 02R96 seems fine as well, but is in the neighbourhood of about $10000...a little to rich for us at the moment. A 01V96VCM could provide a good start to a digital board, and still leave us room to upgrade our mike selection (we are running cheap SM48's right now)

    IF we set up our sound system good now, can I expect 5 years of trouble free operation with the a decent digital board? 3 year life span for $5000 seems pretty bad, especially for a small church budget...our last board (Yorkville AP512) had to last us over 10 year!!!

    Thanks to all, I’ll do some price shopping and report back. -mark
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No-one can guarantee trouble-free operation over any length of time, but, yes, I would trust a Yamaha board to be still running and supported (in terms of spares availability and repair facilities) in five years and beyond. They are not built out of old PC motherboards, like some I could mention.

    If you've got $5K to spend and want to feel you are not buying the bottom-basement model, the DM1000VCM can be got for something like $4500 if you ask the right people nicely.
  11. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    I used DM1000s and 01Vs for sub mixers, primarily for the IEMs and Avioms. Yamaha is a good company, with great support. They build their own chips and they don't have their nuts in the ringer should someone else stop making parts. You would be a good steward of God's money with a Yamaha.
  12. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    +1 on DM1000's!

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