DIGITAL AUDIO MIXERS
Why go digital? You may ask.
Before going into the good stuffs, let me clear some myths that some people have. A lot of conventional sound engineers will tell you that digital mixers won’t sound as good as analog mixers or won’t be as user friendly. This is pure nonsense. Let me explain why.
Myth no.1: Digital mixers don’t sound as good as Analog mixers.
All the big shows nowadays are produced with digital mixers simply because analog mixers are less superior in terms of capability / memory / flexibility. You need a lot of outboard equipment with analog mixers e.g. external compressors / effects / processors and all these will add wiring and noise to the system. All professional sound engineers know that noise (cable and component noise) is bad and will lower down the headroom of your sound system. If digital sound is really bad, why are all the sound tracks and great recordings produced digitally now? This is just an excuse given by conventional sound engineers who don’t want to move on from their comfort zones. Digital mixers can sound better or as good, and definitely cleaner and quieter than their analog counterparts. Also, analog equipment deteriorate over time just like conventional cassette tapes, you cannot compare it with a digital media such as CD. While saying this, I’m not stating that I do not use analog mixers anymore, some analog mixers are very well built with very low self-noise and can last you many years because of the quality of the components they put in but if there is a digital alternative which sounds as good or better, why not opt for it?
Myth no.2: Digital mixers are hard to use and not user-friendly.
In my honest opinion, a lot of conventional sound engineers are just not used to looking into screens instead of looking at analog knobs. This is a problem of people not adapting to technology and it’s not really because the technology itself is not user-friendly. It is just like a case of giving an i-phone or blackberry to a 50 year old man and they will tell you that the phone is not user-friendly. While I’m not looking down on senior people, I get annoyed when young people tell me that digital mixers are hard to use. If you can use your hand phone and computer well, there is no excuse that you cannot handle a digital mixer. It is just a matter of time to educate yourself.
Now let’s move on to the good stuffs:
1. Ability to Store and Recall Settings Instantly.
A digital mixer will allow you to make screen shots to store all the settings on your mixer such as equalizer settings for all channels, channel volume settings, master volume settings and so on. A good digital mixer such as the Yamaha LS9 can even store the settings of individual channel’s input gain settings which means that virtually every setting on the mixer can be stored. This is extremely useful for sound engineers so that once the best sound setting have been set, you may store it and recall it anytime you want. You will never need a pen and paper to write down the settings manually again! It’s Eco-friendly too! Now, imagine a scenario where you have many bands performing with the same set of musical instruments. With a conventional analog audio mixer, the sound man will have a difficult time remembering the settings for different bands and it takes a lot of time to set and reset channels as different bands perform. The setting and resetting of channels will not only waste time but error can occur as humans are not perfect. A digital mixer will allow you to accurately and instantly switch between numerous different settings with a touch of a button.
2. Added functionality and features enabled by softwares
The analog mixer that we know of normally only functions as an audio mixer solely and its main function is to mix and balance out all the channel’s audio and frequency settings as well as to determine the level of the main and monitor mixes. However, present softwares now allow digital mixer to have much more features such as built-in compressors / gates for audio dynamics control, delay / reverb unit for audio effects, 31-band equalizer for main and monitor mixes and so on. This will mean that all the extra audio processing devices that we normally need to buy when using conventional mixers will not be needed anymore! With digital technology, everything is built-in! The Yamaha LS9 will even allow you to do a simple recording in mp3 format and directly save it to your external USB drive such as your thumb drive or external USB drive!
3. Clean and supreme audio with no signal loss
With conventional mixers, we normally connect multiple audio processing devices between the input and output of the mixer and also between the output of the mixer to the speaker system which means that a lot of cables are used. The more cable runs, the more the signal loss. With digital technology, all the signals are processed digitally to avoid any signal loss. It is extremely accurate as all the processing, interconnection between different sound processing modules are done digitally.
For more reasons on why to go digital, you may click on the following link to Yamaha’s website
An example of a good and affordable digital mixer is shown below:
THE YAMAHA LS9-32 DIGITAL AUDIO MIXER
If you’re interested in going digital or have any questions about it, you may call or email us for more details on the products and the pricing. We now offer VERY competitive price for all Yamaha products. Contact us today for a quote.