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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Center Drive or Masters on the right?

DAS

Curious about the preference of all the live sound guys out there. In recent years desks with the drive section in the center have become popular. Personally I still prefer having all my subs and master faders at one end of the console (obviously this is usually the right end - I'm not aware of any where it's on the left - anyone?). This has a lot to do with the way I like to organize channels for a live mix (detail I can get into later if necessary, mainly I just don't need the channels broken up by a drive section), and where I like to position the outboard gear. I've never quite felt "comfortable" using a center drive desk.
So what's your opinion and why?
June 27, 2002 @10:02pm
Ed Belknap

Center drive, absolutely. The last thing I want to have to do is run to the other end of the console if I've got a problem on channel 1. From the middle I've got a wingspan of about 40 channels, so nothing short of a problem in the doghouse requires me to take multiple steps. And when I'm mixing on 56+ channel desks there are usually enough subs & VCA's that it's possible to mix 95% of the show from the master section anyway.
The concept of channel assignment is something I've been experimenting with more in the studio than in live work. Since it's even more mandatory to remain in the sweet spot for studio work, I've been rethinking my default "kick is ch.1, snare is ch. 2, etc." assignments to keep all the critical instruments as close to the median line of the room as possible.
July 20, 2002 @04:28pm
Dix

Center drive... definately!
Keeping everything you may need to fool with near the center of the board.
How often do you really have to play with the tom mics? Stick them out in the single-digit channels or over at 40-something. :D
July 20, 2002 @06:57pm
cmchamp

Center Yes for anything over 32 channels. The only thing I've ever had to change. And I mean EVER, is the tap tempo on the reverb unit. Everyting else, including monitor EQ, I can take care of from the board because of the way I have things routed. I don't have a monitor engineer, so I've gotta do it all.
October 9, 2002 @12:06pm
DAS

Originally posted by Dix
Center drive... definately!
Keeping everything you may need to fool with near the center of the board.
How often do you really have to play with the tom mics? Stick them out in the single-digit channels or over at 40-something. :D

What am I missing? This seems contradictory to me.
I agree with the last statement. The things way down at the other end of the desk are things I rarely need to mess with after sound check (which is why I put them there). I do, however, need to get to the processing rack some during shows. It seems to me that the center of the board is defined by the area in which you work the most. So the only reason I can think of for center drive desks is to put you closer to more channels (the wingspan concept mentioned above). I've always found that I need to get to the rack more often than I do channel 1, so being eqaul distant from both ends of the desk never seemed practical to me.
The point about VCA's is huge, but again I'm not sure this in and of itself invalidates having the master section at one end - those VCA groups work just as well down there, and are arguably even more important.
Obviously most people think the center drive thing is better/cooler. I'm just trying to figure out all the reasons why (is this something driven by marketing or "real" needs?).
October 9, 2002 @04:45pm
Ed Belknap

Originally posted by DAS

I've always found that I need to get to the rack more often than I do channel 1, so being eqaul distant from both ends of the desk never seemed practical to me.

I've always found I need to get into the doghouse more often than...well, certainly more often than I'd like to! Maybe I should mix from the back side of the console?
October 14, 2002 @06:22pm