Analogue to Digital Conversion
by Rick Patton of Location Sound Canada, Ltd.

In several key respects analogue is at it's peak. Microphones are very refined. Preamps are refined. Surface mount designs are quieter. In modern music studio applications some of the most prized and expensive mixing boards are upgraded versions of those built by Rupert Neve in the 1970's.

Analogue is a mature technology

The big bugs were worked out long ago. Analogue tape recorders went about as far as they could go with signal to noise. Good analogue mixers don't have a problem with noise. The refinements that have appeared in recent years are largely to do with headroom and system noise, both of which continue to improve. Only the serious players remain. The fluff merchants have all gone digital.

With digital boards coming to market at attractive prices, why would anyone spend big money on an analogue mixer? The short answer is because they want something they can use anyplace, anytime, under any conditions, without worrying.


The Cooper 208 is quieter than most digital mixers. While it is an obvious choice to go to a digital recorder, there is no compelling reason to chose a digital mixer for location work. Exactly where the conversion takes place from analogue to digital is a matter of choice. The basic considerations in choosing a location mixer come down to transparency of sound, input and output flexibility, size, weight, power consumption, and reliability under tough conditions. Following these criteria, the Cooper mixers score 6 out 6. In fact, it is safe to say that only Cooper scores six out of six. Cooper mixers are simply the best. If you've been in the business for a while you already know this. The reason everyone in the business doesn't own a Cooper comes down to money. Coopers are expensive. There are competing mixers that do a reasonably good job for $1000's less.


There are productions being filmed in every city in which the quality of sound is ignored by the director, the producer, the production manager, the cameraman, and just about everyone except the sound mixer and the boom operator. There are lots of reasons to say "Who Cares?". These are excuses not to give yourself the best tools. When you show up on set with a Cooper, the crew understands that you take your job seriously.

Mixers who stick with it long enough will, eventually, find themselves on a great location, with a quiet camera, with great actors, doing great dialogue. When those moments come, you want to be ready. After the director calls Cut, you want to say to yourself, "That wasn't good... That was great". That's a Cooper Moment

The anxiety levels in the sound department are as high as they have ever been. Sound carts are more complex. There's new digital gear made out of plastic that no one knows how to fix, radio mics all over the set...It's hard to relax. It's good to have at least one piece of equipment that is familiar and as close to bullet-proof as you can get. A mixer you can take to the desert, or the Arctic without a thought. A mixer that won't get screwed up in the damp or in shipping (assuming you have a Pelican case).

If you are in it for the long haul, it makes good business sense to buy a Cooper. Coopers hold their value better than any other piece of gear on a sound cart. It is usually the case that a 10 year old Cooper in good condition will sell for something close to the original purchase price. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.