Monday, October 6, 2014

Analog or Digital Mixing Consoles?

No too long ago I had the opportunity to lead a regional training for Church Media teams.  This training was designed for Sound and Screen Techs. One of the most difficult aspects of this type of training is determining what level the students are at in their education and experience. Now, however, there is a new twist to the problem. What type of console is the student using at their location?

Analog consoles have always been the workhorse of the industry. Today the field is mixed between analog and digital. There are plenty of advantages to using digital consoles such as built-in effects, memory presets, small footprints, digital snakes, and more. Actually the digital world has practically eliminated the need for a flight box full of EQ, effects, and support gear. The disadvantages include the learning curve for those who are used to the workflow of the analog world. There are also factors such as cost, shorter hardware lifespans, software bugs/errors, and the lack of confidence many bands have shown to the product.

Don't get me wrong, I love the digital consoles and have been very impressed at the incredible quality I have seen in them.  I actually work with the Midas Pro series and have trained on many of the Yamaha digital consoles on the market. Not too long ago I had the opportunity to talk to numerous sound techs about their preference and their responses were across the board. Techs love the digital world, but some are more confident and trusting of the analog product. One person even expressed they had gone to the digital console and after the first software lock during an event they moved back to the analog brother. I have been in their shoes when a digital console hard locked in the middle of a show and it is not a good feeling.

I feel that the advantages of the digital console greatly outweighs its disadvantages.  What do you use and why? I would love to hear about it. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Radio, the Sleeping Giant

I read an interesting article on RadioWorld concerning the future of radio in light of the upcoming data driven services that offer huge amounts of music and entertainment. The article seemed to focus primarily on the controversy of paid advertisements by Pandora and iTunes radio appearing on traditional radio airwaves. The article seemed to have the attitude that traditional radio would outlive the new technology because it has survived other technologies like TV and Satellite Radio.

My personal opinion that traditional radio cannot fall is one of shock and unbelief. Traditional radio has had two close calls and station owners should take note that an unchanging medium will face eventual defeat. It is true that television did overtake the majority of the home audience but did not send radio to its grave. The next attack came from Satellite radio, however over the air radio survived because of the cost to the listener. Most people did not want to pay the increasing costs of satellite radio.

Now on the horizon, and already in the car, is Internet Radio programming. The article compared Internet radio to that of Satellite Radio because there is a data cost to subscribers. What station owners are not thinking about is most people who listen to these services are already paying for data on the devices they are using.

Everyday you see people with their mobile phones attached to their in-car radios through an aux port. These people are already paying for the data services to stream the content they desire. This is not the same as Satellite Radio. This is much more superior. 

Car radios already connect to the owner's phone through Bluetooth offering telephone integration as well as music streaming from the phone to the car speakers. Car radios currently have GPS capability built into them, however app developers like WAZE have made the radio manufacturers product obsolete before coming off of the showroom floor. In my opinion it will only take a few small adjustments to the current lineup of new car radios to integrate everything that the mobile device has to offer. At that time you will see traditional over-the-air radio start to drastically decline. Besides, the current drastic content changes as well as the emergence of radio syndication has illustrated that traditional over-the-air radio is in trouble.

Station owners, take note of who the competition is and adapt your product to be competitive in a technology driven generation.

Doug

You can read the actual article here: http://www.radioworld.com/article/broadcast-radio-vs-big-streaming/270160