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Originally posted by naffdave

A thing ive noticed on here everything seems to be about connecting this connecting that seems to me nobody interesting in actually mixing sound just all computer geeks wanting to try the next toy out.
Im a 58 year old soundy started out without graphics/gates/comps or computers but took a digital desk out on tour as soon as i could as i saw the potential but i use it to mix sound not spend the whole time messing with routing and configuring and mixpad.
Does anyone else feel that with digital desks the whole thing has shifted away from just getting a good sound.

I’m sure WW2 aircraft pilots would say the same thing about the 747 today, or an F1 driver, or really just about any profession that has become more objective and technical.
In the end of the day, all any of this is about is the sound. No one cares if you use compressors, gates, graphic eqs, or anything of that nature, as long as your sound is the best it can be. What I think you are missing is the fact that these technologies are tools, and just like any profession, mastery of the tools allows you to dive into the creative process. With digital desks, it’s more about knowing where and when to apply those tools, and setting up your workflow correctly to make that work.
There was a relaly good article in LSI a few months back taling about subjective engineers vs objective ones. The argument made was ‘it’s gotta be technically right before it can be artistically right’.

I’m only 22, I hear a lot of older sound engineers talking about the ‘good old days’ of the Dead live recordings, techniques for Hendrix guitar solos, and all of that (fantastic) work. But those are the gems of an erra. The reason forms like this focus on the technical aspects are simple, not everyone is Owsley Stanley. Digital, scientific audio has dramatically improved the quality of the average concert/recording. At the end of the day, it’s the engineer who makes or breaks a show/recording in terms of that extra 10% which separates a ‘good, solid’ mix from an ‘astounding’ mix. But that 10% isn’t really something you can teach, and it’s certainly isn’t something you can teach online.

One of my mentors in sound mixes at a conservatory now, although he did a lot of FOH work in the mid 70’s for a lot of big names. When the M7 got multiband compression he didn’t think much about it, until one day I was messing around with a virtual sound check, and showed him a demo. After about 10 mins he took the console, used it in ways i’d never thought of, and created an objectively and subjectively better mix. That right there is why we spend so much time on technical aspects, so when new tools are made available, we can learn them, master them, and apply them in our own creative ways.

So back to your original question,


Does anyone else feel that with digital desks the whole thing has shifted away from just getting a good sound.

No, certainly not.