Analog or Digital Board for Live Sound?

One of my schools is in the market for a new board.  I have had lots of experience using Analog and am considering a digital board, Yamaha 01V96V2.  I do have a couple of concerns and wanted to get some input from those of you out there who use digital mixers.
[li]Has power been an issue? A digital board does require more than an analog.  I remember seeing Arcadia HS at an older school having issues with power.[/li]
[li]How steep is the learning curve.  I am Pro Tools certified, but not in the live sound arena[/li]

[li]Do you recommend a Laptop?[/li]

[li]any other land mines that I should be aware of before making the plunge[/li]

Any insight you guys can lend would be amazing!

We have been using the Yamaha board for the past 3 seasons and I absolutely love it.  Having done lots of live sound work in the past on analog boards, I was concerned about the learning curve of the digital board as well.  Within a day, I was able to get around the board to do everything that was required for our marching show.  We use one of the Honda generators for power (not sure of the model, 3000w model).  We have never had an issue.  The best part of this board is the ability to preset the entire show and program a step forward and step back key.  This allowed a student to run the board during the show and just hit ";next";, ";next";, ";next";.  Let me know if you have any other questions.  I'd be happy to help as much as I can.

Digital is the way to go as long as 1) you are willing to read the manual and figure it out, and 2) you have a trained operator who is able to program and use the board.

If you have someone at camp who can set the board and then a student can run it, that's great until something on the board needs changing. An analogue board requires more work to operate but vastly less work to set up.
Having limited experience running a board in this type of setting, I'd also concur with the digital option. That Yamaha board is what we used at Cavaliers, and it's really slick! There's a learning curve, so take that into account. There's a lot of great things you can do with it, but don't expect to have it all figured out in an afternoon.

There's possibly more savvy ";live sound"; guys out there who might think the digital option is overkill, and more intended for the studio. I can see the rationale there, but considering the ease and depth to which effects can be used internally on something like the 01V, it seems like a convenient way to go.

If you do go that way, be sure to also consider how it's going to be mounted, stored, and transported. Sometimes that's an afterthought with budgetary constraints. That digital board is a complex piece of equipment - essentially a computer - that you're going to be wheeling into some potentially dusty, damp, and sunny environments. Be sure you're accounting for how to keep it best protected when in the field.
I would have to agree that digital boards offer much more bang for your buck these days.  For instance, most digital boards have a 3-7 band EQ, compressor, & gate for every input, and some internal effects processing.  If you had the equivalent in analog gear, you'd have a lot of racks and cables involved.  But depending on your needs and budget, analog may be a simpler/cheaper solution that can work just as well.  I currently work for as a live sound technician and have experience with many different brands of analog & digital boards - so if you have any questions or want another opinion/suggestion, I'd be glad to help out.

- Owen
Thanks all so much for your input.  You basically confirmed my decision to get a digital board.  Now to decide on which plug-ins I want to use and which program to use for live performance (Reason, Kontakt PLayer, etc.).  The fun begins...
For the situation that you are currently facing, I would recommend you to consider a digital board. Although digital board might bring you lots and lots of confusions and complications, but the results is definitely going to make you amazed with it. In fact, with a little of effort and hard work, you will get the hang of it, no doubt. Everything is going digital nowadays, and if getting a laptop is not a problem for you, get one to assist you would be great.
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