Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Why Digico over Avid?

When I posted on Twitter that I was seeing a new Digico SD-8 in our future, several people asked me why I was going that route over a Venue. I started to reply, but the answer was way longer than 140 characters. So here we are. Let me start by saying the Venue is a great system; in fact, up until a few months ago, I was totally sold on it. I know a lot of people who have them and love them, they sound great and the plug-in architecture is mature and solid. Having the ability to do ProTools recording is also a big plus, and I really like their snapshot automation. If the SD-8 didn’t exist, I would buy a Profile and be totally happy with it. Since the SD-8 does exist, however I’ve been tipped that way; and here’s why.

More modern, flexible DSP structure

The Venue is great, but it is a bit limited with 24 mono mixes plus 8 matrixes that can be turned into mixes (mostly). For most needs it’s fine, but when you get into needing to do stereo stems for IEMs, you run out of busses really fast. The SD-8, with it’s SFPGA heart beating away, is far more flexible. Need 5 mono and 8 stereo mixes plus 3 mono and 9 stereo groups? No problem. 8 mono and 4 stereo mixes plus 6 mono and 6 stereo groups? No problem. Enter a couple of keystrokes, the board re-configures and you’re ready to go. The matrix is also more configurable, and thus more useful. Each channel can be mono or stereo, which makes much more efficient use of the 36 faders on the surface (12 more than the Profile, BTW). And the entire surface is completely configurable; put any channel, group, mix, VCA or matrix fader anywhere you want. That’s just cool.

MADI

The ProTools integration into the Venue system was a huge selling point for me; I’ve been longing for the ability to do virtual soundcheck. The only problem is I don’t like ProTools all that much. I know, heresy. Still, I’ve always found it overly complex and cumbersome to use. And then there’s the general stability issue, their upgrade pricing strategy and that stupid iLock. Really, all I need to do is record 30-some odd channels, and play them back. Because it’s based on MADI, an industry standard audio transport, all I need to record 56 channels is a MADI interface and a laptop. I will use Reaper, a $60 DAW that does exactly what I need it to, easily, and we have virtual soundcheck. To record, I go to the audio set up page, click, “Copy to MADI 2” and all my inputs are routed to the laptop. To play back, click, “Listen to Copied Audio.” Doesn’t get much easier.

UPDATE 3/8/11: This is late in getting updated, but Avid has released a MADI card for the Venue line. This is good news, though I’ve also heard it doesn’t play nice with the Roland S-MADI Bridge (this is unconfirmed, but I have it from a good source). END UPDATE

Software

The Venue software is great. Really, I do like it a lot. However, because the SD line is built around a 15” touchscreen (single or multiple, depending on the product), the interface is designed for a touch interface. iPad mixing anyone? Yea, I know you can mix a Venue on an iPad, but their software is designed be navigated with a mouse, not a finger. There is a difference. I’ve spent hours and hours in both the Venue software and SD-8 software, and for me, the SD-8 is just easier and faster to get around in. I love their snapshot automation, particularly the editing of snapshots. After fighting Yamaha’s scenes all during Easter week, I can’t wait to be able to quickly and easily edit all my snapshots with a few clicks. Another selling point is that the SD-8 software runs on my Mac perfectly using Parallels and Windows 7. The Venue software does not. Nor does the latest version run in XP in Parallels or Bootcamp. That’s a problem for me and Avid’s answer to my problem was, “Get a PC.” My answer was, “No, I’ll get a Digico.” The SD-8 also allows multiple remotes for the desk. So I can have a Mac Mini sitting at FOH running the control software, and still grab my iPad or laptop and wander around and mix without disconnecting the one at FOH. Plug the desk into a wireless router and it’s accessible easily. That could be a problem in some circumstances, but for us it’s a huge feature.

UPDATE 3/8/11: Since I’m here…

Superior Personal Monitoring

With the recent release of the Roland S-MADI Bridge, the SD8 gains access to the best personal mixers on the market, the M-48s. These take personal mixing to an all-new level, and could be reason enough to choose the SD8 over a Profile. The PQ system is good; for what it is. However, it’s simply no match for having a 40-channel mixer in front of each musician that is completely customizable for them and them alone. The addition of the M-48s makes the SD8 hard to beat in this price range. END UPDATE

Bottom Line

When I priced out both systems, the SD-8 came in slightly lower. With more flexibility, the new Waves integration (coming soon, I’m told), and not being locked into proprietary formats from a company not known for exceptional service (sorry, I’ve known Avid for a long time–it’s well known that their service is not great; and Digidesign is becoming more Avid-ized by the week), I’ve moved over to Digico. If you look in the trade rags, you’re starting to see more and more churches and tours going with the SD-7 or SD-8. The SD-9 is a very cool small desk as well, and the show files are compatible across the entire SD line. The interface is also the same, something that Avid also does well (and Yamaha does not). The Venue is also 5-6 years old, and in computer years (make no mistake; when you buy a digital console, you’re buying a computer) that’s a long, long time. With Digico, I feel like I’m getting the latest hardware with software that is easier to use.

There are some other things as well, such as having 3 encoders per channel strip instead of 1, quite a few more dedicated and flexible controls, the ability to lock down parts of the system for volunteers, and of course, that gorgeous 15″ touch screen.

I still wouldn’t tell anyone the Venue is a bad system or a bad choice. If you like it, by all means buy it. I would suggest, however, before you do, take a look at the SD-8…

38 Comments

  1. wwakefield@cfellowshipc.org

    Mike, a couple of comments and questions…

    I definitely see your point with the flexible mix buss architecture, but thought I’d remind you that you left out the options of the PQ busses for monitors. Still not as flexible as the Digico, but still opens up some options.

    Also, with the MADI system and the virtual soundcheck, does it playback in a true virtual soundcheck fashion as if instruments are connected? (ie, same voltages through the preamps so preamp gains can be adjusted and saved with snapshots, etc) Where in the chain is the audio from the DAW inserted back into the console?

  2. wwakefield@cfellowshipc.org

    Mike, a couple of comments and questions…

    I definitely see your point with the flexible mix buss architecture, but thought I’d remind you that you left out the options of the PQ busses for monitors. Still not as flexible as the Digico, but still opens up some options.

    Also, with the MADI system and the virtual soundcheck, does it playback in a true virtual soundcheck fashion as if instruments are connected? (ie, same voltages through the preamps so preamp gains can be adjusted and saved with snapshots, etc) Where in the chain is the audio from the DAW inserted back into the console?

  3. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Wes,

    I looked really hard at the PQ system and like it a lot. There are plenty of limitations there, however, especially when you look at the max of 8 user-defined inputs. That makes it very difficult to do true custom mix builds for each PQ mix. The ability to take over the mix, made adjustments and give it back to the musician is a huge plus, though. No one else has anything like it.

    As for the Virtual Soundcheck, I believe it brings it back in such a way that pre-amp adjustments track with live. Not sure yet; that’s one of my questions. For me it’s not a deal-breaker because we don’t do mid-week rehearsals—everything is put together on Saturday afternoon for the weekend services so I wouldn’t use it that way anyhow. I can see it as a limitation for others who want to record on Thursday, tweak the mix all day Friday and play it back for the weekend (if gain doesn’t track). I’ll know more after the live demo.

    mike

  4. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Wes,

    I looked really hard at the PQ system and like it a lot. There are plenty of limitations there, however, especially when you look at the max of 8 user-defined inputs. That makes it very difficult to do true custom mix builds for each PQ mix. The ability to take over the mix, made adjustments and give it back to the musician is a huge plus, though. No one else has anything like it.

    As for the Virtual Soundcheck, I believe it brings it back in such a way that pre-amp adjustments track with live. Not sure yet; that’s one of my questions. For me it’s not a deal-breaker because we don’t do mid-week rehearsals—everything is put together on Saturday afternoon for the weekend services so I wouldn’t use it that way anyhow. I can see it as a limitation for others who want to record on Thursday, tweak the mix all day Friday and play it back for the weekend (if gain doesn’t track). I’ll know more after the live demo.

    mike

  5. wwakefield@cfellowshipc.org

    Awesome. I haven’t used the PQ system, and agree that it is limited, but decided that if I shift my theory a little it’s a lot more flexible than I give it credit for. I LOVE the ability to tweak the mix with the musicians. We’re using Avioms now and I’m convinced most of my musicians don’t know how to mix their ears. (slowly working on that)

    I’ll be interested in finding out about exactly how the MADI interface works. Feel free to post an update when you find out! 🙂

  6. wwakefield@cfellowshipc.org

    Awesome. I haven’t used the PQ system, and agree that it is limited, but decided that if I shift my theory a little it’s a lot more flexible than I give it credit for. I LOVE the ability to tweak the mix with the musicians. We’re using Avioms now and I’m convinced most of my musicians don’t know how to mix their ears. (slowly working on that)

    I’ll be interested in finding out about exactly how the MADI interface works. Feel free to post an update when you find out! 🙂

  7. tim@cordernotes.com

    Mike…

    This is a great comparison. I’ve watched your journey with keen interest because the SD8 was not introduced until after we pulled the trigger on our current system. Thank you for such measured and well-researched insight!

    I agree that the flexibility of the bus structure and the power of the mix engine are very enticing when choosing a platform.

    I’m REALLY glad to see other manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon of uniform file structure between various price points in the product line. This remains one of my biggest obstacles in utilizing more than a single Yamaha console model throughout a larger organization.

    Have you spent time comparing Digico & Avid to the Soundcraft (Vi) line? After spending time with some guys using Studer desks a few months ago, the Vistonics interface is intriguing from a mix engineer standpoint but I haven’t spent any time comparing the actual capacity of the desks.

    Watching this discussion with interest…

  8. tim@cordernotes.com

    Mike…

    This is a great comparison. I’ve watched your journey with keen interest because the SD8 was not introduced until after we pulled the trigger on our current system. Thank you for such measured and well-researched insight!

    I agree that the flexibility of the bus structure and the power of the mix engine are very enticing when choosing a platform.

    I’m REALLY glad to see other manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon of uniform file structure between various price points in the product line. This remains one of my biggest obstacles in utilizing more than a single Yamaha console model throughout a larger organization.

    Have you spent time comparing Digico & Avid to the Soundcraft (Vi) line? After spending time with some guys using Studer desks a few months ago, the Vistonics interface is intriguing from a mix engineer standpoint but I haven’t spent any time comparing the actual capacity of the desks.

    Watching this discussion with interest…

  9. fohdave@diveproductions.com

    The Digico stuff really does look great, but Digico has never had a stable console. They’re getting there, and I think they’ll do it, but every time I talk to someone who’s using or has used one of their desks we always end up talking about crashes.

    As for the Profile, you actually have 31 faders on the surface, 9 of them are permanently dedicated to the master section, though. So you’ll have limited flexiblity there, but sometimes limited flexibility can be a good thing if you’re working with volunteers.

    The biggest concern for me with Avid(aside from service stuff related to them destroying the Digidesign name) at this point is the HD architecture that the plugins run on is maybe 9 years old at this point, and my guess is there’s something new on the way. However, remembering back to when Pro Tools HD hit the market, I don’t remember that transition as being the smoothest.

    If Digico can get their console stable, I think their stuff matched up with the Waves plugins will be a formidable combination, but right now it’s all just a little too bleeding edge for me.

    Plus there are still some great folks working the live sound side over at Avid so I think it’s unfair to count them out just yet. As a company they have just as much desire to stay competitive as anyone else, AND Digidesign(Avid) has led the way in features and sound quality in digital live consoles for four years now with things like plugins, virtual soundcheck, and DELAY COMPENSATION. I’m still waiting to see delay compensation pop up as a feature on any other desks.

  10. fohdave@diveproductions.com

    The Digico stuff really does look great, but Digico has never had a stable console. They’re getting there, and I think they’ll do it, but every time I talk to someone who’s using or has used one of their desks we always end up talking about crashes.

    As for the Profile, you actually have 31 faders on the surface, 9 of them are permanently dedicated to the master section, though. So you’ll have limited flexiblity there, but sometimes limited flexibility can be a good thing if you’re working with volunteers.

    The biggest concern for me with Avid(aside from service stuff related to them destroying the Digidesign name) at this point is the HD architecture that the plugins run on is maybe 9 years old at this point, and my guess is there’s something new on the way. However, remembering back to when Pro Tools HD hit the market, I don’t remember that transition as being the smoothest.

    If Digico can get their console stable, I think their stuff matched up with the Waves plugins will be a formidable combination, but right now it’s all just a little too bleeding edge for me.

    Plus there are still some great folks working the live sound side over at Avid so I think it’s unfair to count them out just yet. As a company they have just as much desire to stay competitive as anyone else, AND Digidesign(Avid) has led the way in features and sound quality in digital live consoles for four years now with things like plugins, virtual soundcheck, and DELAY COMPENSATION. I’m still waiting to see delay compensation pop up as a feature on any other desks.

  11. hi@jefftruitt.com

    Thanks for writing this. I don’t have a ton of time on Digico desks, so it is helpful to hear some of their advantages. The routing flexibility on the SD-8 seems like a huge win, and the control surface versatility sounds really cool too.

    Like Wes, I would be interested in hearing about your experience with the MADI stuff. The gain memory is what has made VENUE’s virtual soundcheck unique. It would be huge if Digico has figured out a way to do this with third-party DAWs.

    I can tell you have done a ton of research and have considered the pros and cons of lots of different products. For folks who may still be investigating, I have some responses to a few of your statements about the VENUE products.

    Regarding busses, D-Show and Profile systems have the following: LCR, 24 busses, 8 mono matrixes, 8 stereo PQs. That’s 51 discrete outputs that can be configured in a ton of ways (stereo, mono, groups, auxes, etc). One thing to note is that the PQ outputs do not have to be uses in conjunction with PQ mixers – those outputs are essentially just extra matrixes. I’m not sure if this is as flexible as the SD-8, but it certainly provides a lots of options.

    I’m curious what issues you have had running the D-Show standalone software on a Mac. I have never had any trouble. Right now I am running VMware Fusion, Windows XP Pro, and D-Show 2.8.1, but I have also used Parallels and Bootcamp. The VENUEs also have an optional VNC host, so you can use any client to remote directly into the desk (iPad, etc).

    Your point about digital consoles being computer-based is a good one when relating to most products on the market today, but I don’t think it fully applies to VENUE. All the signal processing in a VENUE is done through DSP cards on individual TDM chips. In fact, the computer can be completely powered off and the console will continue processing audio. The computer is only used for utilitarian tasks like installing plug-ins and providing a GUI, so it doesn’t really matter how old and crappy it is. Because all the the power is in the DSP cards, if better processing method is developed in the future, it’s just a matter of installing a new DSP card and updating the software to take advantage of it – no need to buy an entirely new control surface and I/O infrastructure.

    Finally, the latest VENUE hardware came out last year, and the most recent software update was earlier this month. These desks are very current, and they are designed to be upgradable as new technology is invented.

  12. hi@jefftruitt.com

    Thanks for writing this. I don’t have a ton of time on Digico desks, so it is helpful to hear some of their advantages. The routing flexibility on the SD-8 seems like a huge win, and the control surface versatility sounds really cool too.

    Like Wes, I would be interested in hearing about your experience with the MADI stuff. The gain memory is what has made VENUE’s virtual soundcheck unique. It would be huge if Digico has figured out a way to do this with third-party DAWs.

    I can tell you have done a ton of research and have considered the pros and cons of lots of different products. For folks who may still be investigating, I have some responses to a few of your statements about the VENUE products.

    Regarding busses, D-Show and Profile systems have the following: LCR, 24 busses, 8 mono matrixes, 8 stereo PQs. That’s 51 discrete outputs that can be configured in a ton of ways (stereo, mono, groups, auxes, etc). One thing to note is that the PQ outputs do not have to be uses in conjunction with PQ mixers – those outputs are essentially just extra matrixes. I’m not sure if this is as flexible as the SD-8, but it certainly provides a lots of options.

    I’m curious what issues you have had running the D-Show standalone software on a Mac. I have never had any trouble. Right now I am running VMware Fusion, Windows XP Pro, and D-Show 2.8.1, but I have also used Parallels and Bootcamp. The VENUEs also have an optional VNC host, so you can use any client to remote directly into the desk (iPad, etc).

    Your point about digital consoles being computer-based is a good one when relating to most products on the market today, but I don’t think it fully applies to VENUE. All the signal processing in a VENUE is done through DSP cards on individual TDM chips. In fact, the computer can be completely powered off and the console will continue processing audio. The computer is only used for utilitarian tasks like installing plug-ins and providing a GUI, so it doesn’t really matter how old and crappy it is. Because all the the power is in the DSP cards, if better processing method is developed in the future, it’s just a matter of installing a new DSP card and updating the software to take advantage of it – no need to buy an entirely new control surface and I/O infrastructure.

    Finally, the latest VENUE hardware came out last year, and the most recent software update was earlier this month. These desks are very current, and they are designed to be upgradable as new technology is invented.

  13. LeeF@baysideonline.com

    I’m with Dave. I’ve had 2 separate Digico console’s crash on me during shows. About 90 seconds of down time. I’ll never trust one again. Trying to get ahold of tech support is also tough, being it’s in Europe. Also, the delay comp. No one else is doing this. And the venue now has a MADI card. It was released about 2 months ago. I am however, curious to see what the waves integration looks/sounds like for Digico. But i’m even more curious to see if Euphonix plays a role in a possible new architecture for the venue.

  14. LeeF@baysideonline.com

    I’m with Dave. I’ve had 2 separate Digico console’s crash on me during shows. About 90 seconds of down time. I’ll never trust one again. Trying to get ahold of tech support is also tough, being it’s in Europe. Also, the delay comp. No one else is doing this. And the venue now has a MADI card. It was released about 2 months ago. I am however, curious to see what the waves integration looks/sounds like for Digico. But i’m even more curious to see if Euphonix plays a role in a possible new architecture for the venue.

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  16. jblasongame@gmail.com

    Actually there are 3 consoles I’m considering for our switch to digital. One is the SD-7, then the Midas XL-8 and also the VENUE. Out of curiosity, what things about ProTools do you find annoying?

  17. jblasongame@gmail.com

    Actually there are 3 consoles I’m considering for our switch to digital. One is the SD-7, then the Midas XL-8 and also the VENUE. Out of curiosity, what things about ProTools do you find annoying?

  18. mike@churchtecharts.org

    OK, bunch of responses…Here we go!

    Wes—I’ve been told that the virtual soundcheck feature does track gain the way the Venue does. That is, record audio, switch to playback, make a gain adjustment, save scene, switch back to live and gain adjustments track. So it looks like they have that figured out, which is pretty sweet.

    Tim—I looked at a vi6 at NAMM and came away intrigued. I liked the general idea of the interface, and there seemed to be a lot of power under the hood. The thing that turned me off was the rep kept saying things like, “Well, that button doesn’t do anything yet, we’re waiting for a software update,” and “We’ll have this feature, once the software gets updated.” So it seemed to me like a great console that’s a few months from being ready. Now that may have changed, but when I got initial pricing, the configuration I needed was out of our range, so I moved on. I’m a fan of Soundcraft in general, so I’ll be continuing to watch that line develop.

    Jeff—You make a lot of excellent points. My intent was not to do a full-on feature for feature comparison, but I’m glad you filled in the gaps on what the Venue is capable of. No doubt, you can do a lot with the Venue, and the PQ busses do give you some extra mixing flexibility. As for the software issue, it’s a strange one. I posted the problem on the Venue forums and found it was about a 50/50 split with people having problems like me, and others who, like you, have no issues. Sheldon flat out told me they don’t support running in any type of virtualization so I was basically on my own. Yes, I could get a PC for it and remote it, but I find it odd that Venue software is the only piece of Windows software that I’ve ever not been able to get running in Fusion, Parallels and Bootcamp.

    I agree with you that the “computer” doesn’t really do any audio processing and simply provides the GUI and user interface. However, even the DSP is essentially a computer, albeit a specialized one. And the GUI is how one interacts with the machine and in my way of thinking, the nicer the better. I want to be able to plug my desk into a wireless router and get to it from anywhere, this is 2010 after all. The computer and software is what makes that happen. Again, not to rag on the Venue, it’s a great desk and I know I can accomplish what I want to with it; it just takes a few more steps.

    JB—I confess I’ve not spent a ton of time in ProTools as I’ve never been able to justify the cost of buying a rig, nor is it easy to get a demo. However, when I have played with it, I’ve found it less than intuitive. I like software that I can launch and start using quickly without reading a manual. I figured out Reaper in 20 minutes and was recording and editing, applying effects and exporting tracks in no time. And again, I know it’s heresy to dislike ProTools as it’s the world standard for audio recording and editing. However, everyone knows their support sucks, and do a quick search through Dave’s tweets for ProTools. It gives him fits and he’s way smarter than I am about that stuff. ‘;-)

  19. mike@churchtecharts.org

    OK, bunch of responses…Here we go!

    Wes—I’ve been told that the virtual soundcheck feature does track gain the way the Venue does. That is, record audio, switch to playback, make a gain adjustment, save scene, switch back to live and gain adjustments track. So it looks like they have that figured out, which is pretty sweet.

    Tim—I looked at a vi6 at NAMM and came away intrigued. I liked the general idea of the interface, and there seemed to be a lot of power under the hood. The thing that turned me off was the rep kept saying things like, “Well, that button doesn’t do anything yet, we’re waiting for a software update,” and “We’ll have this feature, once the software gets updated.” So it seemed to me like a great console that’s a few months from being ready. Now that may have changed, but when I got initial pricing, the configuration I needed was out of our range, so I moved on. I’m a fan of Soundcraft in general, so I’ll be continuing to watch that line develop.

    Jeff—You make a lot of excellent points. My intent was not to do a full-on feature for feature comparison, but I’m glad you filled in the gaps on what the Venue is capable of. No doubt, you can do a lot with the Venue, and the PQ busses do give you some extra mixing flexibility. As for the software issue, it’s a strange one. I posted the problem on the Venue forums and found it was about a 50/50 split with people having problems like me, and others who, like you, have no issues. Sheldon flat out told me they don’t support running in any type of virtualization so I was basically on my own. Yes, I could get a PC for it and remote it, but I find it odd that Venue software is the only piece of Windows software that I’ve ever not been able to get running in Fusion, Parallels and Bootcamp.

    I agree with you that the “computer” doesn’t really do any audio processing and simply provides the GUI and user interface. However, even the DSP is essentially a computer, albeit a specialized one. And the GUI is how one interacts with the machine and in my way of thinking, the nicer the better. I want to be able to plug my desk into a wireless router and get to it from anywhere, this is 2010 after all. The computer and software is what makes that happen. Again, not to rag on the Venue, it’s a great desk and I know I can accomplish what I want to with it; it just takes a few more steps.

    JB—I confess I’ve not spent a ton of time in ProTools as I’ve never been able to justify the cost of buying a rig, nor is it easy to get a demo. However, when I have played with it, I’ve found it less than intuitive. I like software that I can launch and start using quickly without reading a manual. I figured out Reaper in 20 minutes and was recording and editing, applying effects and exporting tracks in no time. And again, I know it’s heresy to dislike ProTools as it’s the world standard for audio recording and editing. However, everyone knows their support sucks, and do a quick search through Dave’s tweets for ProTools. It gives him fits and he’s way smarter than I am about that stuff. ‘;-)

  20. thelambstechie@gmail.com

    “Well, that button doesn’t do anything yet, we’re waiting for a software update.——–> User key still doesn’t do anything.

    “I want to be able to plug my desk into a wireless router and get to it from anywhere, this is 2010 after all.”——-When I went to a SC-48 demo, JB asked if we were able to plug a router into the console to remote mix or even allow their service techs to get into the console to find errors and help you out if something is wrong. The reps response was basically they don’t enable a Ethernet option because they just assume that a virus would come and crash the console. I guess on the Stage racks you can patch it into a router but I didn’t hear much about that. Still it seems like that would be something standard in today’s times: Remote into the console, remote software help, etc.

  21. thelambstechie@gmail.com

    “Well, that button doesn’t do anything yet, we’re waiting for a software update.——–> User key still doesn’t do anything.

    “I want to be able to plug my desk into a wireless router and get to it from anywhere, this is 2010 after all.”——-When I went to a SC-48 demo, JB asked if we were able to plug a router into the console to remote mix or even allow their service techs to get into the console to find errors and help you out if something is wrong. The reps response was basically they don’t enable a Ethernet option because they just assume that a virus would come and crash the console. I guess on the Stage racks you can patch it into a router but I didn’t hear much about that. Still it seems like that would be something standard in today’s times: Remote into the console, remote software help, etc.

  22. kylemeans@gmail.com

    I’ve just gotta say — I was THRILLED to see you mention Reaper, Mike! I’ve been preaching the gospel of Reaper for two years, and it’s just awesome to see folks embracing it on this level. It really is as good as you say… rock solid, easy to use, infinitely customizable, and the user community is just awesome!

    Not to mention that your $60 non-commercial license works for TWO full versions… so if you just bought Reaper 3.5, you’re good all the way to version 4.9! It’s nice to know that I’m not locked into a single platform for the next ten years because it costs so much to switch, you know? Though I doubt I’ll ever switch away from Reaper.

    And FYI, I used Cubase and ProTools for 15 years before switching, and I don’t miss either one a bit. 🙂

    Kyle

  23. kylemeans@gmail.com

    I’ve just gotta say — I was THRILLED to see you mention Reaper, Mike! I’ve been preaching the gospel of Reaper for two years, and it’s just awesome to see folks embracing it on this level. It really is as good as you say… rock solid, easy to use, infinitely customizable, and the user community is just awesome!

    Not to mention that your $60 non-commercial license works for TWO full versions… so if you just bought Reaper 3.5, you’re good all the way to version 4.9! It’s nice to know that I’m not locked into a single platform for the next ten years because it costs so much to switch, you know? Though I doubt I’ll ever switch away from Reaper.

    And FYI, I used Cubase and ProTools for 15 years before switching, and I don’t miss either one a bit. 🙂

    Kyle

  24. wes@harris-online.org

    Not to defend DiGiCo, but my church has had two D1s (FOH and MON) for 4yrs (ish) and never once had a crash with the software in either console. We have had some issues with our fiber connections and the card that generates the light for the fiber, but never any issues with the software.

    I am not a ‘professional’ sound guy only a volunteer and found moving from an analog desk to the D1 was very easy. The only problem I had early on was getting my head around ‘layers’ (not having access to all my faders at once) and editing a snapshot. I can’t tell you how many times in the early going I made a change in a snapshot and forgot to save it.

  25. wes@harris-online.org

    Not to defend DiGiCo, but my church has had two D1s (FOH and MON) for 4yrs (ish) and never once had a crash with the software in either console. We have had some issues with our fiber connections and the card that generates the light for the fiber, but never any issues with the software.

    I am not a ‘professional’ sound guy only a volunteer and found moving from an analog desk to the D1 was very easy. The only problem I had early on was getting my head around ‘layers’ (not having access to all my faders at once) and editing a snapshot. I can’t tell you how many times in the early going I made a change in a snapshot and forgot to save it.

  26. Bryanc@palmvalleychurch.com

    The church that I am interning at bought a SD8 around Thanksgiving las year. We originally were looking at the Venue, but opted to go with the SD8 instead. This being the first digital board that I have worked with, I didn’t know what to expect. We purchased the board to go into our new building that should be completed in just a few months, but installed it in our current building so that our volunteers and staff could get used to the new equipment. I have been very pleased with the SD8. I think that you will be pleased with it as well. I think that the SD8 is the right board for us. About two months ago we installed a second SD8 for monitors and to mix our hallway tvs. All of our volunteers have really seemed to like the boards. I think that the board is easier for us than our old Yamaha analog board. Nothing against the Yamaha, but the SD8 fits what we are trying to accomplish better than the old board.
    Hope you enjoy the SD8 as much as I do.

  27. Bryanc@palmvalleychurch.com

    The church that I am interning at bought a SD8 around Thanksgiving las year. We originally were looking at the Venue, but opted to go with the SD8 instead. This being the first digital board that I have worked with, I didn’t know what to expect. We purchased the board to go into our new building that should be completed in just a few months, but installed it in our current building so that our volunteers and staff could get used to the new equipment. I have been very pleased with the SD8. I think that you will be pleased with it as well. I think that the SD8 is the right board for us. About two months ago we installed a second SD8 for monitors and to mix our hallway tvs. All of our volunteers have really seemed to like the boards. I think that the board is easier for us than our old Yamaha analog board. Nothing against the Yamaha, but the SD8 fits what we are trying to accomplish better than the old board.
    Hope you enjoy the SD8 as much as I do.

  28. bryanc@palmvalleychurch.com

    After reading everyone’s comments yesterday, I wanted to say that we have not had any problems with either of our SD8s. (Outside of user error) except that with our monitor board, when we first got it, a cable was unplugged that controlled the snapshots and headphones outputs. However, our consultants and dealer, Mankin Media got me hooked up with tech support out of Las Vegas. Tech Support talked me through where to open the board to hook up the cable. He also helped me fix what I had messed up.

    Talking to Ethan Whaley from Mankin when they installed FOH, he was telling me that most of DiGiCo’s older boards were based on Windows ME. The SD8 is based on a lot more stable version, though I cannot remember which one. He also said that you should not use the same session week after week and keep saving over it. This will eventually corrupt the file because it can only be saved over so many times before the computer starts reading some of the old fragments. Ethan said that this is a major cause of the board crashing. So we save a new session for every weekend.

    All in all, I have been very impressed with the SD8 and DiGiCo. I would love to use the Venue and compare the two, but looking back, I feel that the SD8 was the right choice for us.

    Mike, I would also like to say that I’m excited to watch you choose, and hope that you do choose the SD8 because it would be interesting to see how you setup/run the board and steal some ideas from you.

  29. bryanc@palmvalleychurch.com

    After reading everyone’s comments yesterday, I wanted to say that we have not had any problems with either of our SD8s. (Outside of user error) except that with our monitor board, when we first got it, a cable was unplugged that controlled the snapshots and headphones outputs. However, our consultants and dealer, Mankin Media got me hooked up with tech support out of Las Vegas. Tech Support talked me through where to open the board to hook up the cable. He also helped me fix what I had messed up.

    Talking to Ethan Whaley from Mankin when they installed FOH, he was telling me that most of DiGiCo’s older boards were based on Windows ME. The SD8 is based on a lot more stable version, though I cannot remember which one. He also said that you should not use the same session week after week and keep saving over it. This will eventually corrupt the file because it can only be saved over so many times before the computer starts reading some of the old fragments. Ethan said that this is a major cause of the board crashing. So we save a new session for every weekend.

    All in all, I have been very impressed with the SD8 and DiGiCo. I would love to use the Venue and compare the two, but looking back, I feel that the SD8 was the right choice for us.

    Mike, I would also like to say that I’m excited to watch you choose, and hope that you do choose the SD8 because it would be interesting to see how you setup/run the board and steal some ideas from you.

  30. Yesterday was a great day!

    […] don’t worry! Mike wrote a post a while back covering what our new system entails here and here… It’s an older article so some things have changed since […]

  31. hhermann@comcast.net

    Hello Mike,
    We are in search for our church of a good mixing console and new speakers and we are at the stage to make a decision we like the SD8 and Nexo speaker and Amp’s got thou info that the DIGiCO is not the reliablest console what are your experience. On the stage we where looking into the My-mix do you have any experience with that too? My suggestion was the M48. We are switching from a LS-9 since we do not have enough inputs since we are remodeling the church and adding roughly 2k sqft of stage since our stage was very small and we have roughly 200 on stage in average choir, fanfare, classical orchestra.

  32. hhermann@comcast.net

    Hello Mike,
    We are in search for our church of a good mixing console and new speakers and we are at the stage to make a decision we like the SD8 and Nexo speaker and Amp’s got thou info that the DIGiCO is not the reliablest console what are your experience. On the stage we where looking into the My-mix do you have any experience with that too? My suggestion was the M48. We are switching from a LS-9 since we do not have enough inputs since we are remodeling the church and adding roughly 2k sqft of stage since our stage was very small and we have roughly 200 on stage in average choir, fanfare, classical orchestra.

  33. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hi Harold,
    My experience with the SD8 has been very good. I’ve run across a few very minor issues, but none that have stopped a show or given me pause to reconsider my choice. The sound quality is the best I’ve heard from any digital desk, and the ease of use is amazing. It’s never crashed, and we push it pretty hard. I’m one of those guys who tries really hard to get machines to do the boring stuff, so I’m pushing all of my equipment as hard as I can. The SD8 has been a champ.

    As for personal mixers, I would definitely go with the M-48 over MyMix. The main issue with MyMix is right now, they only have an analog input solution, which would eat up 16 analog outputs (and corresponding mixes and/or direct outs) of your SD8, and introduce another D/A, A/D conversion hop which adds further latency. The interface is very pretty, but it’s not nearly as fast as dedicated rotary encoders. We’ve been using the M-48s with the S-MADI Bridge for several months now, and it’s been rock-solid. The fact that we can send 40 channels into each M-48 and let each musician decide how to group them has been a huge win for our team.

    Given your current system and limitations, the SD8 would be a huge step forward for you. However, going with MyMix would be a huge step backward, especially since you are running into channel limitations.
    mike

  34. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hi Harold,
    My experience with the SD8 has been very good. I’ve run across a few very minor issues, but none that have stopped a show or given me pause to reconsider my choice. The sound quality is the best I’ve heard from any digital desk, and the ease of use is amazing. It’s never crashed, and we push it pretty hard. I’m one of those guys who tries really hard to get machines to do the boring stuff, so I’m pushing all of my equipment as hard as I can. The SD8 has been a champ.

    As for personal mixers, I would definitely go with the M-48 over MyMix. The main issue with MyMix is right now, they only have an analog input solution, which would eat up 16 analog outputs (and corresponding mixes and/or direct outs) of your SD8, and introduce another D/A, A/D conversion hop which adds further latency. The interface is very pretty, but it’s not nearly as fast as dedicated rotary encoders. We’ve been using the M-48s with the S-MADI Bridge for several months now, and it’s been rock-solid. The fact that we can send 40 channels into each M-48 and let each musician decide how to group them has been a huge win for our team.

    Given your current system and limitations, the SD8 would be a huge step forward for you. However, going with MyMix would be a huge step backward, especially since you are running into channel limitations.
    mike

  35. hhermann@comcast.net

    Hi Mike,
    thanks for the advice.

    Do you know of any good main speakers?

  36. hhermann@comcast.net

    Hi Mike,
    thanks for the advice.

    Do you know of any good main speakers?

  37. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Harold,
    That’s a much harder question. There are dozens of great sounding speaker systems out there; what you choose will depend largely on the room, style of music, personal preference and budget.

    I would recommend working with a reputable integrator who can help you through the process.

    mike

  38. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Harold,
    That’s a much harder question. There are dozens of great sounding speaker systems out there; what you choose will depend largely on the room, style of music, personal preference and budget.

    I would recommend working with a reputable integrator who can help you through the process.

    mike

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