U2's monitor engineer, Dave Skaff (Alicia Keys, Shania Twain), recently picked up a Digidesign VENUE digital board for the band's current tour; when Mix caught up with Skaff on the U2 tour in April 2005, he was using an ATI Paragon II. Here are some tips he picked up on making the switch to a digital console.
Managing snapshots, presets and safes: These can be incredible tools for helping you manage a complex show, one that has multiple bands, a high number of cues or radical bus reassignments during the show. Sounds like the answer to a mixer's prayers, right? You've been mixing without them for years and you should continue mixing without them when you first go digital. After you've spent some time becoming comfortable mixing on the board, then consider using snapshots or presets to help with the more difficult aspects of your mix. But beware: The console will do just what you tell it to. If you include everything in the scope of all your snapshots, the changes you make in between snapshots will be discarded when you fire the next snapshot. You must carefully think through what is in your current snapshot and what is — or is not — in the next one you fire. Include only the channels and parameters that you absolutely need to have stored.