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Would you like to mix on a computer?

Is SAC a Good Choice?

I may not be the best one to answer this question, but I will offer my opinion based on using the software for most of six years and my knowledge of the experiences and ideas of others. I like SAC and have enjoyed using the software from the beginning. SAC has enabled me to do things that I would not have been able to do using hardware consoles.

From my 'What I Do With SAC' page you can see that I embraced SAC as a virtual mixing environment from the beginning and have done some fairly complex mixing gigs in software alone. There are some who have been less pleased with their decision to put together a SAC rig and I express some opinions about the reasons on my 'Some Thoughts About SAC' page. On this page I will try to outline some things that you should consider before building a SAC rig.

When SAC first became available there were no full featured digital boards that were available for a price that fell within my budget. I was interested in going digital and some of the benefits gained through digital boards but I could not justify the expense at the time. There are many more options now that would fall within the budget that I had at the time that I built my first SAC rig, even though they do not offer all of the options of SAC. Even remote control has become a normal feature with the newer generation of digital consoles. SAC, of course, had full featured remote control from the beginning.

Being designed as a virtual mixing system there are many features of the software that are included to aid the technician operating the system. Some knowledge of these features is needed to allow best usage of the system. The SAC software is designed to give a virtual representation of a hardware console with a normal layout that will be familiar to the engineer. I have turned band engineers loose with the system with a minimal overview of the operation of the 'board' and none have had a problem mixing their bands.

If one person or a group of people are going to be the primary operators of the system SAC may be something that you want to consider. If you are a provider of rental systems or contract events that include touring acts SAC should not be your first choice. Few touring engineers would feel comfortable with a virtual mixer and it would frighten (as well as being over kill) most basic PA system renters. If you feel that hardware faders are something that you must have SAC is probably not the best choice. SAC does have support for hardware fader packs, but if you are using SAC these should be considered as an auxiliary input device rather than the primary input device. The time that you might use faders would be for cross fade effects where you need to raise some faders while lowering others. (If this was a regular part of a show it could be set up using scenes.)

There are many things that SAC can do very well. A SAC rig can minimize external hardware that is required and can be built into a compact but full featured system. For a band or an independent provider of sound reinforcement services a SAC rig can be a very good investment. SAC was the first, and, to the best of my knowledge, the only software package specifically designed for virtual live sound mixing.

Would you do sound on a computer?

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