Analog vs. Digital: Choosing The Right Console
No matter the live situation, the mixer, or console, is at the center of it all. Consoles are the control center of all pro audio rigs and serve as the hub for processing all incoming, and out coming signals.
Choosing the right console for your specific situation can mean the difference of having a well -equipped pro audio rig, from having an underequipped one. Will your console be able to process an entire 3-piece band? Can it process a pro lighting rig? Do the inputs need effects?
All this leads to the age-old question: Analog or Digital?
Let’s take a quick look at both analog and digital consoles and briefly touch on what they both can offer.
Even though it may be “old-school”, analog is most definitely still a sought after type of console. Even with today’s technology, true analog sound can be often imitated, but never duplicated! Aside from the sound, to some, nothing beats the feel of tweaking knobs and sliding faders.
Pro audio rigs that only require microphone and instrument processing may benefit from having an analog console. These consoles are often built in with +48v phantom power as well as line inputs strong enough to power guitars without the use of direct input boxes.
Analog consoles are often built sturdily enough to sustain travelling, as well as having inputs and outputs being constantly plugged and unplugged causing wear-and-tear on the unit.
If it’s a simple, straightforward set up, without need for much effects processing or any external pro lighting or audio-visual rigs, analog mixers are the way to go (Not to mention if you like touching the knobs and faders!).
Digital consoles, although being fairly new in the pro audio world, can do wonders. With the popularity of touch screens seemingly growing bigger by the year, digital consoles haven’t been left out.
Digital consoles are often equipped with large amounts of inputs and outputs and offer an extensive range of mixing tools. From graphical equalizers to a plethora of onboard effects, pro audio rigs equipped with digital consoles are basically portable studios.
If its 44 microphones you need processed with effects, look no further. No more having worry about crackly pots or broken faders- the future is digital, and its all touch screen baby!
What’s right for my rig?
We could write volumes on analog vs. digital consoles. In the end, it really all comes down to what kind of pro audio rig you’ll be using it for. For some, nothing will beat the sound and feel of an analog mixer, for others, being able to mix the pro lighting rig along with the audio, at the touch of a screen will make their mouth water. To each their own!