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Don't like digital board for recording? Same here.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by edpal, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I'm fairly new to purchasing recording equipment and really have been hating digital mixer boards. They all seem like a troublesome point in the gear to be making the transition from analog to digital. The need for a board to "boot" in order to be functional makes it fairly all or nothing in my mind - no boot, can't run any sound through it at all.

    I am thinking about going back to an analog board and a digital interface to bring channel inserts in.

    Thoughts and suggestions on gear would be greatly appreciated....I'd like to have 16 channels minimum, trying to stay under $3-4k.
  2. LowG

    LowG Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    All digital recording methods are going to have to boot up (interfaces too). But if you want an analog board with digital interface, consider the Echo Audiofire 12 (x2 for 24 channels). Then just shop around for a used analog board - you can find them pretty cheap these days (as people switch to digital systems).
  3. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Thanks LowG. Yeah, I've been looking into this more and I feel like going with an all-in-one units have few advantages and many disadvantages. We pay a big price with an all-in-one unit and it makes upgrading expensive as it is all or nothing. Just like the operation of them {face palm}. I'm going back to an analog board so I can upgrade on a component basis. An analog board doesn't need to boot up...last thing I want to worry about at a gig.;) I might not be able to RECORD the gig but at least I'll be able to play the gig.:bassist:

    I'm staring at this Roland Studio Capture USB 2.0 pretty darn hard. http://www.rolandus.com/products/details/1268

    [Edit-add] The Echo Fire unit could be a contender but I've set the bar at 16 inputs. The EF looks very clean and pretty decent pricing...12 inputs for about $500 street seems reasonable.
  4. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    "An analog board doesn't need to boot up ..."

    Megaphones don't even need power :D

    $3 to $4k will buy an excellent digital solution with redundancy for high availability.
    Digital gear these days is generally highly reliable, and it sounds great. It allows people on budgets to do what was only possible in huge expensive studios decades ago. There is a lot of standards so keeping "spares" is simpler.
  5. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Hmm, migrated from analog A&H /Tascam 80-8. Back around turn of the century. Running a Studio Live board and a macbook today. Not looking back...
  6. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Appreciate the thoughts guys. I mainly pondering the logic of strapping the mixer and ADAT together in one package. I feel so burned when an all digital mixer goes down, can't even use it for live sound in the immediate space{[face palm}

    All the sounds we make start out analog and getting clean analog to the ADAT is easy and straightforward. I'm thinking I'll get a better than average board so I can use it for say 8 years but upgrade the ADAT every 2-3 as the technology matures. I'd like to try optical connection between the ADAT and my PC.

    Nice board and ADAT can be accomplished for $2k. I understand the more expensive digital boards will have more redundancy and the ability to save fader setting.

    My palms are itching to improve my gear but I'll keep pondering this and getting different thoughts. Please make some suggestions in the low $3k range that you think are stellar with 16 channels of input minimum.

    I have the StudioLive 16.4.2....and it has never failed to fail. It is a great board when it is working. But the days when it freezes during setup at "Presonus" are not joyful.
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Jeez, for 3 grand, you can get 32 channels of I/O, 16 busses, all the EQ and FX you could ever want in one great sounding package. You'll spend much more than that with analog.
  8. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    The firmware heavy all-in-ones are what scare me....much as the digital channel controls are slick, analog bus is much more straight forward imo. If the recording outs fail, that will generally be "oh well" for my situation whereas the live sound failing would be more "oh %$^&!":crying: The Allen & Heath ZED-R16 has the digital and analog boards and systems well separated. Codependancy scares me;)...maybe I just need to have more faith.:bag: http://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/zed-r16/

    The money is burning a hole in my digital pocket :D Any suggestions, personal experience on makes and models appreciated.
  9. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I'm looking at using a digital mixer for my next upgrade instead of a new interface.
    It's not that much more expensive comparatively. I'm fine with a complete virtual UI, I don't really need a bunch of dedicated console hardware faders. Multitouch screens are handy enough for me.

    Maybe an X32 rack, plus and S16 digital snake. A backup for the X32 Rack could be just and X32 core. X32 core can handle a couple of S16 snakes. Both the X32 Rack and X32 core can handle the 32x32 X-ADAT option. The S16 stage boxes also have ADAT. Another good thing about the X32 is the digital personal monitoring is right there also.

    There several other choices I need to look into, but the X32 line seems to be a big hit for Behringer for stage and studio.
  10. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    If live sound is your main concern and you don't worry about recording much, then yeah, there's really no need to go digital.

    I'm confused as to why you think digital is any more likely to fail, though.
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    My band bought a Behringer X32 and it's a pretty great piece. While the badge says Behringer, it's a Midas console, and it's been bulletproof. Several sound companies in town and around the region are using them almost exclusively. I've not heard a single story of one going down. (In fact, the only complaint I heard at all was about a mute group button sticking, and it was easily fixed with contact cleaner)
  12. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    It's the boards where all fader control and all the input section is predicated upon a small, on-board computer. I probably have been unimpressed with that since my main exposure has been with Presonus products and it hasn't been a positive experience. But I understand those are fairly entry-grade products. I have a minor computer science degree - I generally like modern tech but I also believe it sometimes isn't needed. I don't need 2-way digital control of my board, I find it PITA. With a larger board and larger duties I can understand the benefits, for 4-5 musicians with a D.I.Y. studio it seems like overkill.

    I bit the bullet on an Allen & Heath ZED R16 last night - that is a 99% analog board with a 16 channel internal sound card that is grabbing each channel and send to a computer via firewire. Strictly one way. The sound card goes down - the board doesn't die, still handles the ins and outs just fine other than [obviously] the firewire out. At least that's how they describe it. Pray for my sanity, pray my wife isn't home when it's delivered, pray she never sees the bill. :bag:

    Pacman - I've been hearing good stuff about the Behringer gear. They used to be associated with a real entry-level market but have been moving up with their most recent offering of last few years.
  13. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Just an addendum - I/we are loving our ZED16 board.Using the Auxs we send out seperate headphone mixes to everyone(4 piece including singer). Everyone raves, including pro reviewers - cleanest preamps ever, every recording sounds live.
  14. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    Behringer X32 is not a Midas by a long shot. I tour with one for monitors.
    I understand the aversion to digital systems fully. They are a compromise. For foh I use an avid sc48 or profile with FireWire card and record 32 tracks via the FireWire directly onto a laptop with ssd. Easy.
    But the package does not sound as good as a real Midas h3000, although it is 750 lbs. lighter.
  15. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Personally, I like the power and portability of digital. But if digital boards scare you, you could always pick up a used Mackie Onyx 1640 with firewire card for peanuts. Sixteen channels, and the live multi-tracking doesn't get in the way of the live mixing.
  16. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    As I indicated above, I've picked up an Allen & Heath ZED16 which is an analog board with a 16 channel fire-wire sound card. Has been awesome so far, pre-amps are as good or better than the critics have raved. Everything sounds sounds scary real/natural.
  17. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Whoops, skimming. Glad to hear you found a solution you like.
  18. Loud and Clear

    Loud and Clear

    Jul 2, 2013
    Cincinnati, OH
    Pro Gear Manager, Loud and Clear, Inc.
    As has been mentioned above, the Behringer X32 is not a Midas by a looooong shot regardless of the sales pitch referring to "actually a Midas" used by many consumer retailers. The entry level Midas console ($5,748.85 retail, $4999 MAP) uses the same Klark Teknik designed processor, but the components, materials, construction and road worthiness are several leagues above the X32.
    Once you get above the entry level M32, the Midas products are incomparably superior to the X32 in every respect. Of course you can quickly get well into 5+ figures with the "big boy" Midas desks.

    The X32 claims Midas "designed" faders and preamps, while the baby Midas uses the Real McCoys; the real Midas preamps alone make up a sizable portion the the Midas M32's nearly doubled price tag.
    Also, as far as bulletproof goes we have experienced an inordinately high percentage of fader failures in the field. Simple fix; the motorized fader belts slip their tracks and stop working. They still function but won't return to last position when switching between layer/functions, an incredible PITA mid gig.

    But all that said... IMO the X32 is a fantastic value, incredibly capable for a console in that price range, and pound for pound head and shoulders above other viable options for the money, analog OR digital.
    Analog sounds great, but it's not like digital sounds bad, and for function and practicality digital consoles are easily the way to go.
    With the price of the X32 factored in even the weekend warrior should take a long hard look before dropping coin on anything else.