Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

When Things Go Crash In The Night

There’s been a great discussion in the comments of my previous post, “Why Digico Over Avid.” Keep those comments coming, to me that’s the best part of the blog. I love hearing other people’s opinion on things, as it causes me to re-think my own. A few comments really got me thinking; specifically comments that generally went, “I’ll never use XYZ gear again because it crashed/failed/didn’t work.” It’s hard to hear that when you’re thinking about buying an XYZ, but then I thought about what my life would be like if I strictly applied that principle.

ProPresenter would be out, it’s crashed a few times. So would Media Shout. I fact, I couldn’t write this blog since Safari, Firefox and Chrome have all failed me. Come to think of it, even my Mac has crashed. PCs too (though more often). And forget my iPhone, that’s randomly re-started 2-3 times. Certainly I’ve had a rechargeable battery fail to hold a charge. Then there was that bad batch of ProCells last winter. Who hasn’t had a wireless mic take a hit or thirty. I’ve heard that a Digico deck has crashed; then again, I also know that people have crashed their Venues. And Soundcrafts. And iLives. Now that I think of it, I’ve had two analog desks fail when their power supplies died. And don’t get me started on mic cables… Or lights…Or projector lamps…Or…

The point is, pretty much everything we use will fail, crash, not work or let us down at some point. It’s pretty incredibly rare that any single piece of equipment will work perfectly every single time. Which, honestly, is one reason what we do is so incredibly interesting. It’s actually amazing that these incredibly complex systems we put together work at all, let alone nearly every time. And when they don’t a big part of the challenge is trying to figure out why and keeping it from happening again.

Will I intentionally buy a piece of gear that is known to fail a lot just for the fun of fixing it? Certainly not! However, one or two anecdotal stories doesn’t a bad product make (as shown by the above examples). On the other hand, ive said I won’t use a given install company because of the way they handled an install way back when. This has challenged me to consider my own biases and snap reactions. So that’s my thinking anyway.

10 Comments

  1. letuotter@yahoo.com

    And that’s why I subscribe to what I call the “3-1 online rule” in regards to online reviews, and that rule states that it takes 3 negative reviews to overrule one positive one (this rule applies to technological products only, though. other products it would probably be closer to 2-1). This rule was spawned while reading the reviews on NewEgg and Amazon. It’s real easy to trip over those negative reviews if you don’t remember that people are (predominantly) more vocal about the negatives.
    The fact is that a technological product will fail more often than other goods just because of how complicated it is. Everyone has gotten a DOA, everyone gets one that goes bad eventually or has weird quirks. As long as the company is cool about replacing it quickly, I don’t see a problem with it.

  2. letuotter@yahoo.com

    And that’s why I subscribe to what I call the “3-1 online rule” in regards to online reviews, and that rule states that it takes 3 negative reviews to overrule one positive one (this rule applies to technological products only, though. other products it would probably be closer to 2-1). This rule was spawned while reading the reviews on NewEgg and Amazon. It’s real easy to trip over those negative reviews if you don’t remember that people are (predominantly) more vocal about the negatives.
    The fact is that a technological product will fail more often than other goods just because of how complicated it is. Everyone has gotten a DOA, everyone gets one that goes bad eventually or has weird quirks. As long as the company is cool about replacing it quickly, I don’t see a problem with it.

  3. fohdave@goingto11.com

    I agree that everything fails at some point or another. My concern in the specific case of the Digico consoles is a known instability of the software. The folks I’ve talked to about the Digico have characterized it as a “be careful with everything you do because it could crash at any minute” type of console. Some of those same people, though, have said that the support from Digico is great.

    Of course, this is all purely anecdotal for me as I’ve never been out with the console. But I’ve also never seen Digico directly address these issues, and they seem to be the biggest concerns raised about Digico because everyone seems to agree that the desks sound great and the featureset is robust.

    In my four years with the Venue, the only time I’ve ever crashed it has been when working with some third-party plugins, and it’s been at least two years since I did that. On the Yamaha side, I’ve never heard it reported that there were problems with the software.

    Hardware failure is an inevitability with any piece of gear, and something we all have to live with. However, I don’t beta test things in the field and that is the way the Digico software has been characterized to me.

  4. fohdave@goingto11.com

    I agree that everything fails at some point or another. My concern in the specific case of the Digico consoles is a known instability of the software. The folks I’ve talked to about the Digico have characterized it as a “be careful with everything you do because it could crash at any minute” type of console. Some of those same people, though, have said that the support from Digico is great.

    Of course, this is all purely anecdotal for me as I’ve never been out with the console. But I’ve also never seen Digico directly address these issues, and they seem to be the biggest concerns raised about Digico because everyone seems to agree that the desks sound great and the featureset is robust.

    In my four years with the Venue, the only time I’ve ever crashed it has been when working with some third-party plugins, and it’s been at least two years since I did that. On the Yamaha side, I’ve never heard it reported that there were problems with the software.

    Hardware failure is an inevitability with any piece of gear, and something we all have to live with. However, I don’t beta test things in the field and that is the way the Digico software has been characterized to me.

  5. jblasongame@gmail.com

    Another way to think about your comment about install companies is that just because they were the bomb on one install job does not guarantee they’ll be the bomb for YOUR install needs. Shop around, ask lots of questions. Just because they’re great, doesn’t mean they’ll be the best for your situation.

  6. jblasongame@gmail.com

    Another way to think about your comment about install companies is that just because they were the bomb on one install job does not guarantee they’ll be the bomb for YOUR install needs. Shop around, ask lots of questions. Just because they’re great, doesn’t mean they’ll be the best for your situation.

  7. mike@churchtecharts.org

    From what I’ve gleaned during all the conversations I’ve had with Digico users, stability was an issue, especially with the D1 and D5. It appears they’ve made great strides with the SD series as every single person I’ve talked to about those desks (including Tony Luna who’s been out with the SD-7 and SD-8 with Transsiberian Orchestra & Justin Beiber and the TD of a giga church in Minneapolis who has 3 SD-8s in his room) has said the desks are rock-solid. When I asked Taidus Vallandi of Group One, Digico’s US Rep, about the stability issue, he acknowledged the problems with the D-series and said stability was a primary goal for the SD series.

    One interesting thing to note (which was pointed out to me by the TD of the church in MN) is that even if the surface crashes, the DigiRack is networkable and controllable by a computer. So you could continue to mix the show while the surface comes back up. But he told me that’s academic as he’s never had any of the three surfaces crash (FOH, Monitors & Broadcast each running off the same 2 networked DigiRacks).

    So at the end of the day, I feel pretty confident going with the SD-8 as I’ve yet to find anyone who has had stability issues with them. I’m not sure I’d feel the same about the D-1 or D-5, but those are out of my price range anyway. And the funny thing is, the Venue would be in closer contention if I could get their software to run on even 1 of my Macs in Parallels, Fusion or Bootcamp.

  8. mike@churchtecharts.org

    From what I’ve gleaned during all the conversations I’ve had with Digico users, stability was an issue, especially with the D1 and D5. It appears they’ve made great strides with the SD series as every single person I’ve talked to about those desks (including Tony Luna who’s been out with the SD-7 and SD-8 with Transsiberian Orchestra & Justin Beiber and the TD of a giga church in Minneapolis who has 3 SD-8s in his room) has said the desks are rock-solid. When I asked Taidus Vallandi of Group One, Digico’s US Rep, about the stability issue, he acknowledged the problems with the D-series and said stability was a primary goal for the SD series.

    One interesting thing to note (which was pointed out to me by the TD of the church in MN) is that even if the surface crashes, the DigiRack is networkable and controllable by a computer. So you could continue to mix the show while the surface comes back up. But he told me that’s academic as he’s never had any of the three surfaces crash (FOH, Monitors & Broadcast each running off the same 2 networked DigiRacks).

    So at the end of the day, I feel pretty confident going with the SD-8 as I’ve yet to find anyone who has had stability issues with them. I’m not sure I’d feel the same about the D-1 or D-5, but those are out of my price range anyway. And the funny thing is, the Venue would be in closer contention if I could get their software to run on even 1 of my Macs in Parallels, Fusion or Bootcamp.

  9. phil@philrowley.net

    I’ve seen some “glitchy” stuff on our SC-48, but Avid/Digi has kept pace and released updates to correct that. Going to the plug in screen is always a moment for pausing to reflect in prayer. Both for others and that the desk isn’t going to totally hose. I find it disturbing that Digi includes a “regenerate thumbnail” on the plugin screen πŸ™‚

    I’ll admit I was bummed when I pulled the SC-48 away from the counter to patch afew more AUXs and discovered we only have 16 outs that are assignable. How is it that the SD series gives so much flexibility? Is it all “on board” or built into digiracks? Forgive my ignorance, I’m not that familiar w/Digico line.

    Great post and good way to point out the pros and cons. It certainly justifies your experinces and reasoning and you sure did your homework on both!

  10. phil@philrowley.net

    I’ve seen some “glitchy” stuff on our SC-48, but Avid/Digi has kept pace and released updates to correct that. Going to the plug in screen is always a moment for pausing to reflect in prayer. Both for others and that the desk isn’t going to totally hose. I find it disturbing that Digi includes a “regenerate thumbnail” on the plugin screen πŸ™‚

    I’ll admit I was bummed when I pulled the SC-48 away from the counter to patch afew more AUXs and discovered we only have 16 outs that are assignable. How is it that the SD series gives so much flexibility? Is it all “on board” or built into digiracks? Forgive my ignorance, I’m not that familiar w/Digico line.

    Great post and good way to point out the pros and cons. It certainly justifies your experinces and reasoning and you sure did your homework on both!

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