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. 

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