Budget Digital Consoles-Questions and Answers

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Everytime you turn around, there seems to be a new inexpensive digital console coming out. DA-7, 02R, 03D, Mackie. What's your take on these? How are the features? More importantly, how do they sound?

-- Lynn Fuston (go3daudio@aol.com), February 11, 1998


More knobs, less menus! That's all I ask!

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (ElevenShad@aol.com), February 11, 1998.

>>Everytime you turn around, there seems to be a new inexpensive digital console coming out. DA-7, 02R, 03D, Mackie. What's your take on these? How are the features? More importantly, how do they sound?

I'm marvelling at how everyone's gunning after the 02r. More features than an 02r! Cheaper than an 02r! More knobs than an 02r!

I said this back at the old sss, but I'll say it again... I think it's a good point:

Yamaha has had their hat in the ring for years and years, long enough to forgive them for dmp-7's and promix01s. Mackie has yet to ship the digital board they announced LONG ago. This will be panasonic/ramsa's first effort. So they're at square one, really, they'll have bugs and OS problems to work out, while yamaha's board is into version 2 and very refined.

I will agree with Ken's sentiment that getting around with four arrows, eight buttons, a shuttle wheel, and a 320x240 screen is a rather different and possibly lame way for one to mix. Once I got over the whole learning curve of it, I fell in love.

As to how they sound, well I'll let you know on the DA7... I'll see it at the chicago expo tomorrow. The big difference is that you can't spank or pin digital boards and expect to get good results. You need to get some decent tube pre's and compressors to really make it sound lush. But that's a small sacrifice when you're getting so much power and control for under 10 g's.


-- the artist formerly known as ai3000jfs (judson@avdeli.com), February 12, 1998.


I have no ties to Mackie, but I will say this, after seeing the Mackie D8B demoed at AES I was impressed by how Mackie thought the whole thing through from the ground up.

If only someone would decide to use programable preamp gains and programable insert points maybe I'd really get excited.

-- Ron Reitz (RonReitz@aol.com), February 12, 1998.

I'm tryin' gang... I really am...to accept the new digital consoles... The fact that everything is storable and recall-able is a very exciting feature...it's just the lack of those damn knobs that kill it for me... I know..I know...It's a stupid reason to knock a piece of gear. But the thought of scrolling through page after LED page to add an effect, or to add a little mid range, etc... really bums me out. On the other hand, the prices of most of these models is ridiculously low considering the power of the units and what you get for the money; features that used to only be found on hi end desks are now available to us "mid level" studio people... still..I really really like "hands on" mixing. I like reaching up and tweaking a knob here, a fader there, etc. I enjoy sitting at a desk with some "substance". Sorry for venting here... I went through the same thing when In Line consoles became popular..(I still prefer split design by the way..LOL) Oh well...

Kickin' and screamin' into the age of digital..


-- Donny Thompson (Donny269@aol.com), February 17, 1998.

Donny, I don't think that the issues that you bring up are "stupid". The interface, the whole physicality of what we are working with are so much a part of what we do. Someone on the PC-DAW emailing list used to express the dissatisfaction of the monitor size, saying something to the effect that he would feel more comfortable when a screen was finally the size of a mixing console! The lack of knobs is a severe drawback to me. I don't like menus. I don't like scrolling. These features are all fine and good, I suppose, when you get used to them, but I am trying to avoid using a mouse as much as possible when I am doing something that is actually creative. I want physical response. The interface is everything. I think manufacturers are starting to come around to this, but it will still be a while yet for them to get the costs down. A computer does not use very much of the body, and that whole thing will eventually have to change as computers become more prevalent, or the human race is going to be extremely funny-looking in several hundred years!!!!!

I know what these digital consoles are capable of, really. They have some incredible features that have me really casting a look in their direction. And the sound quality is better than my board, I would think. Get the interface together and I'm gonna be hooked.

And yes, split-line consoles are nice, aren't they? Mine isn't, and I've gotten used to it, but still....

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (ElevenShad@aol.com), February 22, 1998.

Ken: Nice to know I'm not drifting alone with this opinion...the truth is..I'm trying to be as open minded as possible..although sometimes I feel like that old cliche' : (said with an old man's voice) " Sonny..back in my day I used to have to walk to school 12 miles...uphill..both ways.." I find myself griping about things I probably shouldn't.. I am thankful for the technology; somewhere, some serious cats have the balls enough to ask themselves "What would happen if we did this?" and then make it so... and..I'll tell ya...I certainly prefer editing with a mouse and a program that I can manipulate and "undo" as opposed to leaning over an editing block for hours with a razor in one hand and a grease pencil in the other.. how many times I did an edit and then said.."oops".....LOL It's just that sometimes I wonder (learning curve not withstanding..LOL) where the technology ceases to be a tool and starts to control US. Anytime I have to sway my train of thought away from what's important (the music..) I find it to be a distraction. I don't feel as though I'm stuck in the past..I don't spend my days thinking of the "good old days"... but there are some things about the new technology that makes me wary... Anyway... I'd like to hear Lynn's opinion on this...

Just a thought


-- Donny Thompson (Donny269@aol.com), February 22, 1998.

...It's just that sometimes I wonder (learning curve not withstanding..LOL) where the technology ceases to be a tool and starts to control US...

I don't think you need to worry about a digital board telling you to go out and kill or anything horrorshow like that, but I understand your sentiment. My first few spins on the 02r got me pretty frustrated, but MAN when you get your chops up, you can navigate the board in your sleep. When you think about how much more these boards can offer you compared to a similarly priced analog desk, you have to think about it more. You'll never write down a setting again... you'll can go back in time six months to a session, right before you normalled the board... did I mention that normalling the whole desk takes all of... oh, two seconds?


-- the artist formerly known as ai3000jfs (judson@avdeli.com), February 24, 1998.

I read a few ads in this months MIX about 5.1 options for surround sound. I saw that Dolby has come out with some encoders and decoders, as well as some other companies with software and plugins. I know that there is a difference between Digital Dolby and Dolby Pro Logic, and I have A/B'd the two. The Digital is a lot more pronounced, and the effect was very 3-D. I thought it would be cool to apply this technology to my next CD project. The point of this posting is, I'm already using a Mackie 32/8 (just purchased 6 mos ago), do I need to also purchase a digital console? Or can I use some outboard gear such as these, to accomplish the desired surround effect. Thanks

P.S. I'm not much of a menu fan either.

-- Kenny (Zamar06@aol.com), April 04, 1998.

Go to the yamaha web site and check out the new Promix. It looks cool, almost an 03 D for the price of a Promix. Let me know what you all think!

Thanks, Chad Wildman

-- Chad Wildman (italdread@aol.com), April 06, 1998.

I am demoing the Grahm patton dsam 230 digital board right now, lot of bang for the buck, but is there a board with more of an analog approach to the mixing surface? I mostly do tv mixes and show fixes for air at a network operations center.

-- jeff lind (jlind@mindspring.com), February 16, 1999.

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