… or I’m a better tool user than you.
A resurrected thread over at PSW’s Live Audio Board Classic Forum® More on rider madness: How many people would ask for refunds if…. brings up the “current reality” of an earlier discussion about how much our coveted “Big Iron Analog” and “Upper Crusty Digitale” mixers have to do with creating a sonic outcome acceptable to the punters.
I placed my vote in the “nobody would want a refund” category.
Why? As a system guy I get to hear the same rigs in the same rooms with a rotation of consoles, analog and digital, expensive and less so, foreign and domestic… When I hear audio coming from our systems instead of music, blaming the console is the last thing on my list. I’ve heard stunning musicality with MixWiz and “musical” noise with Pro 6; garbage and greatness from a PM4000; genius and mediocrity mixed with VENUE. Sometimes I heard each end of the spectrum with the same console, rig, room, and *mixerperson*, on the same night.
On a recent show we provided a VENUE Profile/Mixrack for local and “30 minute” touring support, the headline artist carried a DiGiCo, and the “45 minute” touring support had an X32 with a pair of S16. We did a hard-wire patch for each desk directly into the PA. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t find anything I disliked that could be attributed to the desk. All in all, the 45 Minute act’s BE did a good job for them (I think he did mons from FOH w/ipad). The headliner’s BE had a nice mix, and I tried to not damage the local or 30 Minute act’s sets. 😉
For the title of this post, I have to ‘fes up and admit to having a little problem with Plug Ins. I like them. I really like the Pultec EQ and the Fairchild compressors and Waves C6 and Serrato EQ… Could I mix shows without those? Sure. Would they sound the same? NO. Would they be acceptable to the punters? Almost certainly. Would the band notice? Maybe. Would I notice? Absolutely.
So, kids, I have a little different question than Doug Fowler… we know the punters won’t hear a qualitative difference in the audio itself. At what point, by what criteria, do you justify going from the “value” models to the various echelons of mixer stratus?