Well... I finally did it.

Discussions about the use and operation of SAC (Software Audio Console)

Well... I finally did it.

Postby BrentEvans » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:04 pm

My SAC system is decommissioned, at least for now. It may rise again when I set up a little studio at my new shop.

I really have battled this. There's so much flexibility there, but it kept having problems. I'm at the point where I really don't want to fix problems every time I take a system out, I just want it to work. My TF5, GLD80, Qu-16, MixWizard, and GL2400 just work. The only thing I think I'll really miss is parametric EQ for the monitors. The TF5 has 6 PEQ bands on main outs plus 20/30 band EQ (you can use 20 out of 30 bands... stupid..) and the GLD has 4 PEQs plus 31 band... it's workable, especially with the driverack EQ in place. Worst case, I could get a set of driveracks to do monitor mixes if it becomes a problem.

Yeah... so that's it. Just venting to sympathetic ears.
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby Frank DeWitt » Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:19 pm

Mine is long gone. Replaced it with AMP. It just works.
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby BrentEvans » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:47 pm

I really considered AMP, and may yet do that with the SAC hardware. My business is changing though. I'm starting to do shows where I'm not the primary operator, and shows where I just send out racks and stacks. For now, hardware consoles are the best choice for me.
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby airickess » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:45 pm

I'm sympathetic Brent. I use my SAC rig for only one steady client. It's convenient to use for this client as they do only one or two shows a year yet do multiple productions in different venues of those same two shows. SAC has been perfect for this because I'm using mainly scenes and not monitor mixes, plug-ins, networking or any of the other things that have traditionally been buggy in SAC.
I purchased an A&H Qu16 a year ago for my corporate gigs because I was tired of dragging computer equipment and related pieces to these gigs. My Qu16 sound better, is easier and can be carried on my shoulder. I also purchased the AB168 digital snake head and a 150' reel of CAT5E. You're correct - they just work. In fact the Qu16 and the AB168 have worked flawlessly in every situation. I'll never go back to SAC for my corporate gigs if I can help it.
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby RBIngraham » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:56 pm

I came to the same realization quite some time ago that any of the computer based mixing systems were really only for those who just love to tinker with computers or who need a lot of mixing channels and routing cheap. I don't care how much you spend on fancy rack mounts for the CPU and like they are just not meant to be thrown in the back of a truck and bounced around. That is why all tours with more than two nickels to to rub together always carry spares or have real time redundant systems if possible. (not really possible with software mixing but keeping spares at the ready certainly is).

These systems do make sense for church gigs as well assuming you are not moving it around all the time and have a regular group of uses with little turn over. But that usually falls into the category of needing a lot of channels and routing cheaply.

I love working with my AMP systems but I am glad I don't move them around all that much. AMP is FAR BETTER than SAC in terms of issues popping up. I don't spend stupid amounts of time with all of SAC's stupid networking for remotes, for example. This past week my assistant broke out his laptop, we downloaded the GUI from the web site. He plugged into my network, set up the correct IP address, I showed him how to open the windows we typically use within the GUI and he was off and running helping me set things up and make changes. That's the kind of shit that AMP does SO MUCH better.

At the same time it's still reliant on the same MOTU hardware (in my case). If that PCIe card gets moved too much during transit it doesn't work and you have to re-seat it. Yeah an industrial case helps with that but doesn't eliminate it. You're still reliant on plugs and cables that were designed for a consumer to plug in their camcorder with (firewire) or for linking together ADAT tape decks or any other manner of flaky little connectors. Most of the hardware mixers use Ethercon for their network based stuff and with good quality cables those are just as reliable as any of the old copper snakes were. (with the caveat that digital either works or doesn't and you could live with a a dead channel or two in your analog snake)

AMP also has the advantage that it could easily find it's way into the installed sound market if it was marketed correctly. By which I mean things like museums, theme parks, installations, etc... It actually has the functionality that SAC should have adopted a long time ago and allows for ease of being started up remotely and doesn't require someone to make a mouse click to activate the engine, etc... like hardware consoles it can return to a saved state just before a restart or other issue with no user intervention, etc... things that you need for a museum or theme park type set up.

These are just a few examples of why you might want to get AMP someday and make use of that system. But in the end it's still a computer, running on a off the shelf business/consumer OS and with all the drawbacks and benefits that can bring.
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http://www.rbicompaudio.20m.com/
SAC details and goodies at: http://www.rbicompaudio.20m.com/SAC.html
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby airickess » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:09 am

RBIngraham wrote:I came to the same realization quite some time ago that any of the computer based mixing systems were really only for those who just love to tinker with computers or who need a lot of mixing channels and routing cheap.
This is why I have kept my SAC rig going for this client. I can do 32 inputs with my rig and program scenes so there is consistency from venue to venue.

But in the end it's still a computer, running on a off the shelf business/consumer OS and with all the drawbacks and benefits that can bring.
Exactly. I became weary of worrying about all the delicate connections (each one being a point of failure) both inside and outside of the computer. I've had sample rates be off, power supplies go dead and preamps that needed to be power-cycled to work again. All things I never experience with the hardware mixer.
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby IraSeigel » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:52 am

RBIngraham wrote:I came to the same realization ....


+1
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby RBIngraham » Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:22 am

airickess wrote:]Exactly. I became weary of worrying about all the delicate connections (each one being a point of failure) both inside and outside of the computer. I've had sample rates be off, power supplies go dead and preamps that needed to be power-cycled to work again. All things I never experience with the hardware mixer.


To be fair I've spent plenty of time chasing sample rate and word clock issues on hardware based digital mixing consoles. Yeah if you're dealing with simple little desks where you're only using a series of analog I/O right on the back of the console then it's unlikely you'll run into that. But as soon as you're dealing with digital snakes, Dante, a computer that is recording and/or playing back via a digital interface (all things you need to regularly do in the theatrical world) issues pop up. I've spent just as much time troubleshooting this crap in the Yamaha realm as I have in software consoles or any manufacturer's crap really.

I've had PLENTY of power supply failures in hardware console land as well. Maybe it's just because I've been around long enough to have spent years in the analog console world. But I've seen more analog desks die from power supply failures than any of my computer based systems. (knock on wood here... I don't think I've had a computer PS failure on a show... maybe one has failed on my ever and that's over a LOT of computers I've been responsible for maintaining and/or using).

Yeah I'll give you that I've never had to power cycle my preamps on a hardware console. ;) Except of course when it was Behringer Preamps hooked to a Yamaha via ADAT optical. :P But since I got rid of all my ADA8000s several years back I have not had to do that on my AMP or SAC systems either.

Don't get me wrong, I still agree with you here. I'm just saying that it's not like hardware consoles are problem free, especially if you're comparing apples to apples with regards to feature set, I/O count, capabilities, etc... I've been spending more and more time behind Digico SD9s (hooked up to Aviom Pro 64 digital snake systems) lately and I've spent plenty of time swearing at them as well. Just over different things than I have with SAC. I love their abilities and architecture and sound. Don't care for the Digico UI all that much.

The difference is that if you're working in situations where you have to set up and tear down every day, the software based console will likely need a lot of TLC to keep it working properly and you'll want to have a spare for everything you possibly can. The good thing I would point out is that with most of the software/computer consoles you can actually afford to carry one spare for each component that may fail. How many can afford to do that with their Digico desk or a Yamaha CL series? I know I've never worked any place that has spares of these unless they have two performance spaces in the same venue perhaps you could run and steal the desk from the other theatre. (assuming it's not in use) Other than that.. you're usually SOL.
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RBI Computers and Audio
http://www.rbicompaudio.20m.com/
SAC details and goodies at: http://www.rbicompaudio.20m.com/SAC.html
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Re: Well... I finally did it.

Postby digitaloutput » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:14 am

...lately and I've spent plenty of time swearing at them as well...


I feel you.The same issue over here!!!
SD9 is great sounding but the look and the logic behind it :S
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