Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Mark Burnley, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Mark Burnley

    Mark Burnley Guest

    Hi Sebatron,

    As a user and designer of audio equipment, one thing I always spend a lot of time wondering over is the control surface and "user-friendliness" of equipment.

    What are your thoughts on the user interface of equipment?

    For example, it's not just the physical layout of controls, but where they are "placed" electronically. When an EQ frequency or level control is to be used, there can be different ranges of "spread". Sometimes with EQ you only want an incremental adjustment, whereas other times you want to do a bit more "damage".

    So where, as a designer, do you place the goalposts? Is it best to have a device crammed full with possibilities with switchable gain-ranges, yet which is difficult to use to dial-in a basic setting; or a minimal "less-is-more" approach which is foolproof?

    With some equipment I've bought, I've felt that the designer(s) have not been generous enough with the "controlability", so I've opened them up and expanded the ranges of pots etc and added switchable values.

    I suppose it's the "one louder" question really in a different guise :D

    ...but it's definitely an issue when prototyping your own designs, and assessing a prospective purchase!


    "Oscillators don't, amplifiers do....."
  2. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    In all honesty Mark , sometimes there isn’t enough front panel space.

    The 4000e is about as much as you can get away with before it starts to look like Behringer , so you kinda have to whittle it down to the bare essentials.
    Output level? Yes. Pad? Yes.Phantom?Yes.Phase? …well
    ..and then squeeze four channels of it into a box.

    Phase switch I always thought was a bit unnecessary if planned in your head right and checked your leads before the session.However it’s there.

    Then of course EQ.
    Well as far as the vmp is concerned, it was designed as a preamp foremost.So I went for EQ spots that were coincidental to the audio path.This meant a shorter signal path with less noise and better transient response.
    If it meant poking around for a mid-frequency , that would have to include another gain stage etc..So it’s only very highs , and very or warm lows.
    Minimal circuitry that’s the challenge.Keeping it pure.
    Well…as far as pres and transparency are concerned.

    Then , as you say , there are so many options......Compression is an artform.
    Just like music itself.

    But if you have to survive , it has to be practical….and creative just in a practical way.

    Not all Country and Western singers like too much distortion on vox.
    Not all Jazz drummers like ‘click’ on the kick.
    Not all Bass players like 120 HZ or 80 HZ (there are other frequencies)
    Not all Techno Heads like Transparency.
    Not all Techno heads like Country and Western singers.
    Not all of the moon is covered in craters.

    You work it out from there.
    Plus the design has to be General and Foolproof so that no-one can foul it up.
    Or other gear around it for that matter.

    I can take a circuit anywhere.Give me some wood and glue and I’ll show you a table.
    Give me a resistor and a cap and I’ll show you several EQ’s.
  3. lkaven

    lkaven Guest

    For miking a snare from top and bottom, one would reverse the phase on the bottom mic. Also, I sometimes mic a guitar cabinet from the front with a Coles, and from the back with an MD421, which needs to have its phase reversed. Without the phase switch, I'd have to rewire the connector.

  4. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Good point Luke.

    OK....the phase switch stays. :tu:

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