Why are digital sound consoles taking over from analog sound consoles?

I don’t really have a topic today to write on, so that, I am going with a gut feeling that will hopefully provide something worthwhile.

Over the past 40 years, we have all become used to the analog sound console and all of the equipment that attaches to the sound console.  Whether it be equalizers, compressors, limiters, effect units, and/or any number of “off board” components for the sound system.

However, the digital sound console has eliminated a lot of these needs and GREATLY reduced the cost of creating a sound system.  No longer do you need the “off board” components, because these items are now “built-in” to the digital sound console.  In addition, the digital sound console gives the user a lot more features with motorized faders, scenes, and recording of shows for later use.  Wow, what an amazing ray of technology in such a small package.

You may ask yourself, what is the limitation on the digital sound console?  The honest answer is the “software” that is inside the digital sound console.  Just like any other computing device, the digital sound console is limited by what the software is or is not capable of doing with the system.  Most of the time, I would argue that the software is capable of doing whatever the end user is wanting to do with the system.

An advantage of the digital sound console is that you can “remote” into the digital sound console and control all of the settings on your favorite digital interface (phone, computer, and/or tablet).  This allows the operator of the digital sound console to move around the space and to both listen and adjust the sound system at the same time.

Other features include the use of “digital snakes” instead of analog snakes.  A digital snake typically uses a category 5 or better control cable for the passing of communication between the digital sound console, input/output box, and/or monitor system.

The digital snake allows the end user/operator to focus on the operation of the sound system in the “house” (main area of sound) and allow the band, performer, and/or user of the sound system to adjust their own sound levels on stage (monitors).  This works really well with bands, performers, church groups, and/or anyone that like to control their own monitor levels.  In essence, everyone gets to control their own sound levels, which is what most performers like the most about this process.

What about the cost of a digital sound console and/or digital snake?  The cost for these products has gone SIGNIFICANTLY down in the past few years.  It used to cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and install a digital sound console and/or digital snake, but today these costs are very affordable.  Today, you can spend a couple of thousand dollars for a very good introductory digital sound console with a lot of features.  Once you have the digital sound console, then, you just add the digital snake for a thousand dollars or so.

Now, for all of your audiophiles out there, don’t give up the ship.  There is still a place for the analog sound console, just like the old LP albums and the reel to reel tape.  There is a warmth in the sound that you can only get in an analog sound console, but for the cost and features, plus the cost of “off board” components, you can’t go wrong with the DIGITAL SOUND CONSOLE.

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