Having finished A Fully Digital Audio System Installation with Dante. There are so many advantages.
Analog or Digital , the Reliability
Having sources analog hard wired together over many Rooms can be made to work, until the set-up is disturbed.
The Digital audio link does not amplify a mixture of low power Signals to & from the various power sources, earth and signal connections.
There are no signal interference, it works or it does not.
Sound Quality Loss over Distance, The Cable
Even the best balanced Cable will degrade the Sound over distance. Just ask a High End Enthusiast. Maybe Some corners can be cut, but Balanced Signal over 4 m, Copper, and a decent Shield is Standard for a Solid System.
I had the pleasure to test a few different analogue Multi core cables, some over 20 meters, side by side. The difference is clearly audible. Different cables, sound different, and can even give the Song another attitude. All of these, influences are adding on, to the received patchwork of performances.
The downfall of using the popular analogue Zone Controller with a Digital Crossover is,there is always at least two DAC conversions to the already 2 of the Production/Recording added. Plug in a digital Mixer with analog cables and you are listening to six or more analog / digital conversions :
Four or more digital conversions make mixing a Live Performance is at best hard work. The degradation and the addition of the virtual distance out weights the added Production, There’s a lot of tweaking and pushing needed to light up the live Performance and the Playback of digital recorded music just forgettable.
Being able to get the Digital Source through a Digital Matrix System while remaining Digital, should be a obvious requirement today. Sadly some digital Mixers only feature analog outputs.
What is the Magic on analog ?
They react in real time. A fully analogue System has its merits. Simple is good. Signal Amp Speaker, perfect.
But this leaves You without the option of a Production.
An analogue Preamp Fest must be played well, using for example tricks like multiple signal paths ie.Sub Groups etc. to counter Signal degradation from units in the Signal line. The Signal even changes character while passing the pre amps in a EQ, Compressor, Cross Over & Limiter etc.
Weighing up the Loss to the gain of every different Channel was giving Sound engineers Work, Taste Budget and Style,
and a quick judgment by fellow Engineers at a glance.:-)
The ability to Control a Production without deterioration through cabling & multiple units makes the Digital in and out conversion a small Compromise. Taking into consideration that there are also quality differences in between Digital Audio Converter.
The performance shines with resolution above CD Quality. The Setup of 24/48khz or more can outshine a great Analog System.
The Conversions in and out should be on par with the controllers performance.
The Designer Software provides flexible solutions. The Digital audio network = same quality of Sound in all locations with 1 CAT6.
No need for analog Splitter, Mixer, Switches, Adapter Transformer and Mixer.
Saving cost…. Is In the Design.
Design is essential, as all the possible Zones inputs and Outputs fill the goodie bag and adding Cost.
Changes are not a problem, most ideas is possible but need preparation. This can not be done short notice. You can not make up a digital signal with tape, extension Lead and Solder iron..
If Well designed, prepared and set up, the Digital Matrix gives the sense of a moved on performance .
The analogue Design had it days, most audio Signal is Digital.
The Exception is a analogue desk or Records. Looking at the size of Desk, outboard, & mass of cables. I am glad it’s not longer needed.