edirolv-8

The Edirol V-4 has been the standard mixer for years, leaving people desperately wanting a sequel. Korg tried with the KrossFour, but what they came up with was mainly a V-4 wannabe — a welcome DJ-style crossfader couldn’t make up for the lack of differentiating features, and the V-4′s elegant layout. And Edirol’s own HD-resolution V-440HD wasn’t priced for mortals.

The Edirol V-8 promises to change all of that.

First, Edirol has wisely copied the satisfying control layout of the V-4. Hate on the V-4 if you like, but I think we take for granted how cleanly-designed and intuitive that layout is. The V-4 isn’t a perfect mixer by any means, but by encouraging mixing flow, and creating an affordable mixer that worked well for a broad audience, they did create a major hit.

What’s great is that the V-8 adds what the V-4 lacked:

  • Computer inputs: two “RGB” inputs with standard D-Sub 15-pin inputs (what most people call VGA jacks, even if that’s not strictly correct); a switcher for selection
  • More inputs all around: 7 composite ins, 4 S-Video jacks, for a total of 8 simultaneous input channels (i.e., you can use up to 4x composite and 4x S-Video simultaneously)  … oh, yeah, and BNC jacks
  • More outputs: 3 output channels, and monitors for inputs 1-7, channel B (monitoring either S-Video or RGB computer in), and the main preview output jack
  • Independent, DJ-style vertical faders instead of those inconvenient V-4 knobs, plus better preset buttons — and an output fader, not a knob (finally!)
  • Internal scan converter and time base correction

And this all comes with “DV-quality” video processing, 4:2:2 full-frame digital with 500 lines of resolution for processing, mixing, and output. That’s perhaps not all that much in the computer age, but it’ll do — especially if Edirol has kept the price down to Earth. Some of the new effects and transitions are fluffy, but there is a new feedback effect and, more importantly, horizontal flip. There’s also improved support for V-LINK audio sync, but until there’s wider implementation on the software side, I think the hardware features will be more significant.

VJForums reader sleepytom points out that the output fade now works on your preview output, too — and there’s a looping preview out.

The only really bad news: you can’t mix two computer inputs, you can only switch between them. Still, this is a huge leap into the computer age for Edirol, and long overdue. Addendum: I figured this went without saying, but since CDM contributor vade points it out, the tradeoff — as with the V4 — is resolution for convenience and economy. So you get reliable, easy mixing, but you have to be willing to settle a bit in an age when computers are pumping out HD (and better) resolutions — we still haven’t seen anything economical that can mix that in hardware, though there’s always the option of adding a switcher so you can use more than one input, sans mixing.

PS: Edirol, thanks for making it black.

Availability: this month. That is, assuming it doesn’t immediately sell out — which it probably will. Expect backlogs even worse than the V-4.

Pricing: not sure; trying to find out. Word from the show is GBP1099, though those of you here in the crippled-dollar US, I expect we’ll get different pricing.

Edirol V-8 Product Page

Discussion at VJForums, which also mentions the P-10 MJPEG sampler / SD card “presenter” product coming out — more on that if we see anything

Photos from VJ Culture [Audio/Visual Culture]

The V-8 doesn’t have the sophisticated blend modes, customizable control powers, or matrix-style routing of the Vixid X16-4, the other live visual-ready mixer we’ve been watching. But then, the two aren’t really comparable: just as the Vixid promises to be the high-end mixing option, the V-8 could (depending on its price) become the new mainstream benchmark. Stay tuned.

Yo, if you work for Edirol, give us a holler. Yeah, I know. You went to Germany because you think there aren’t any VJs in America. But you can talk to us anyway. CDM is, like, global and everything.

Thanks to Josh Randall for the tip!

  • http://vade.info vade

    Ok, DV isnt 422 its 420 or 411 depending if you are pall/ntsc, its compressed and its 8 bit. :)

    What resolutions/bandwidth does the VGA/DSub-15 input support? Up to actual HD? Id be surprised if that were the case.

    Does the svideo/preview out support realtime downconversion from higher resolution sources if the VGA input is used?

    How does it handle mising VGA + s-video input? Is one upscaled, or downscaled or?

    It sounds like 500 lines of resolution is an effective upper limit, which means no 1080/720 or component HD mixing above SD. (SD is actually 525 or 625 for SD PAL/NTSC.

    This is looking rather lackluster…

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    What you said last — 500 lines internal resolution. So everything else is getting processed as that.

    I'm not sure why they say "DV quality."

    Lackluster? I'd say it depends on the price. Look, real world situations, this kind of mixing capacity is very useful. Until someone provides hardware mixing with greater internal resolution at a commodity price, OR someone undercuts the Edirol V-4 and V-8 pricing, I think Edirol will continue to rule the segment.

    But yeah, for the rest of us, a lot of the time if you really want the higher-quality computer output, you go with switcher / distributors and the like and don't worry about mixing.

  • http://fiddlyio.com/ justin heideman

    The way I look at it, the mixers have failed to keep pace with the resolution of most projectors. Which, ironically, have been the same basic resolution for years (1024×768).

    Doesn't look to me like the V-8 changes that. This might have flown back in 2006. But it's 2008.

  • http://vade.info vade

    Well, its fucking 2008 man, not 1930. Im tired of interlaced SD footage.

    All im going to say is, Im not waiting any more for someone to build an effective cheap semi portable HD mixing rig.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'm not tired of it. But I would enjoy paying 1930 prices. ;)

  • http://beatfix.com beatfix

    Aaaaaah, excellent – been a long time coming. Curious about the new effects, MIDI implementation, and whether it's compatible with the DJ crossfader for the V4.

    Faders instead of knobs – yes! The knobs on the V4 are junk, one of the weakest parts of the mixer.

    The release of this box is the clearest sign yet that we're years away from an affordable HD hardware mixer. In the meantime, if they can keep the price anywhere close to that of the V4, it will be a big hit, since the Vixid is a significant step up in $.

    "Feedback effect" makes me laugh – what, no more looping the ins and outs for that colorful ocean-wave look?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Their feedback I think is not the same as our feedback — just color value feedback, no other distortion, at least from what I can see.

    Yeah, no mention of DJ-style crossfader. T-bar only. They actually tout that you can rotate it 90 degrees, but ignore the fact that many don't want it at all.

    It's funny, someone complained about build quality of the V-4 on VJForums but it always seemed pretty robust. Buttons feel great. T-bar feels great (well, except maybe you'd prefer a crossfader). Knobs feel… yeah, not so hot. So faders are better.

    I'm guessing given that GBP list that we could see it close to the V4 price. So yeah, V-8 could be the Ford Taurus, Vixid the Rolls.

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  • massta

    I like the T-bar; arc gives longer transition than flat xfader.

    Yeah, I sold my V-4 a year ago hoping HD would be affordable. Hopefully, this will induce more competition and better pricing. Good HD mixing is still around 10k. Ask these guys: http://www.tvone.com/largevenuepage.shtml
    They are the cheapest I've found when I was looking 6 months ago. You may be able to rent a model too.

  • http://www.sparkav.co.uk toby*spark

    gah. and i almost thought the mythical vga crossfader box had arrived.

    if anybody remembers roland's first vj mixer attempt, the v5, that had an internal scan converter, and it was absolutely useless.

  • http://goldbergs.com Joshua Goldberg

    This is just too little too late.

    Peter, GBP 1099 = $USD 2200. No WAY would that be an acceptable price for something that doesn't mix HD or output HD, no matter how many inputs it has, sorry.

  • http://beatfix.com beatfix

    To the people who are saying, "it's not HD, therefore it's useless":

    It's not like HD mixers don't exist – they're just expensive. If you absolutely, positively can't live without HD, save up and buy a V-440, or use an RGB switcher and mix in your laptop(s). But really, complaining that this mixer doesn't do HD is missing the point.

    The fact is that, by all indications, this represents a nice step forward in the SD video mixing space. If current VJs who own a V-4 upgrade to the V-8, the price of the V-4 (and other older video mixers) will start to drop, allowing more people with limited budgets to get into VJing. This is good for everyone, because it grows the field of VJing as a whole.

    All new technologies start out expensive, and then drop in price as they mature, and other technologies come along to replace them. By the time HD mixing hits the consumer price point, there will probably be new, higher resolution options, and everyone will be complaining that 1080p isn't crisp enough for their tastes.

    On a more practical note, I find that SD quality is perfectly suitable for many types of content, such as sampled footage (think EBN) and live cameras. There are definitely times when high resolution provides a superior experience (computer-generated content in particular), but there are other factors more important than resolution in putting together a good show.

    If you refuse to mix in anything but HD, start saving your pennies, don't hate on the V-8.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Joshua: well, if I had my way, Roland's entire video line would be cheaper, but that's not necessarily based on any actual business logic, just personal desire. ;)

    But let's assume 1099 is list. Street should be lower. And list prices are now often adjusted per market, meaning just punching GBP1099 into a currency converter may not really give you what its list will be in the US.

    Now, it may still be expensive, but I would imagine it'll be under $2000.

    @beatfix: Glad someone is defending SD. :)

    Also, these are two different arguments:
    1. SD should be cheaper.
    2. SD is a useless waste of light.

    People can convince me on #1 but I'm not going to buy into #2. I'm all for HD (or greater resolutions, which are very, very possible with 3D stuff), but I don't see why that has to mean trashing anything that's SD for no other reason.

  • http://abstrakt.vade.info/ vade

    One more limitation if you are paying attention.

    You cannot mix between the two computer/VGA sources it seems.

    You have to toggle what PCinput is active AS channel 8, and can mix between two channel 8s.

    You cannot seem to be able to assign vga1 to channel 7 and vga2 to channel 8 and mix between them.

    Jesus christ. What a limitation.

    Just make a black V4HD or a V2HD and give us HDMI or VGA out. Blah.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, if you paid attention, I pointed out the 15-pin inputs are switched, not mixable…

    I'm not sure what the reason is in that case, technically. But what you're describing, "just" give us an HD mixer, seems to underestimate the technical/economic challenge at this scale with this kind of design. I still think for the V-4 vet, this *may* appeal.

    If you're really mixing, say, two computer inputs, your priorities might be entirely different. And then I think what you'd want is NOT an Edirol — I think you'd want a crossfader, two HD-capable ins, and one HD out. But even with that, I expect you'd have to be willing to pay.

    But, Anton, I don't get it — any particular reason you're holding a grudge against Edirol when most companies can't get a mixer out, period, let alone one that's HD at SD prices, which is what you're essential describing?

  • http://abstrakt.vade.info/ vade

    Its not against Edirol, its against all of em!

    I think its easy to misunderstand the 2 VGA inputs != mixing 2 VGA sources. I am willing to bet MANY people will misunderstand this. Granted it must have a HW scaler in there,. and only ONE (thus switched input), since tech specs note 1600×1200 input, which is scaled down to our nominal 500 vertical lines of resolution.

    *sigh*

    Think about this. DO you really think their hardware downconverter is going to do a good enough job of downconverting your 1600×1200
    image to a 500line image to match the rest of the SD sources?

    im willing to bet you will get better picture just sending in an 800×600 component/VGA computer source than a 1600×1200 image. But thats besides the point.

    Give me a software based BMD intensity mixer with OpenGL effects or hell even sell me a small form factor PC with 2 intensity inputs and a decent enough GPU ill be happy. CPU does not need to be beefy since your working with uncompressed frames. All you need is enough GPU power to composite a few textures streams with shader effects and a semi modern PCI-e mobo. The intensity cards are only 1x PCI-e!

    This has been done. Ive done it! more than a year ago!

    2x Intensity = $500 + $1250 or $1500 for the SFF PC = 2 HDMI in, 2 HDMI out switcher + OpenGL Accelerated GPU DVI out.

    Same price as a V8, and extendable. Granted you dont have 8 inputs, but I have not seen many sets where more than 3 inputs were really used. I dunno, I think its a lame duck. Are you going to buy one?

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  • http://goldbergs.com Joshua Goldberg

    here's a question for you, toby, and you, peter:

    how much would you pay for 720p mixing of 2 vid files and 2 live inputs, with effects processing and feedback points? would you pay $5000? or is that too much? if so, how much would you pay?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Vade, I totally hear you … but the beasts are different. Different capabilities, different form factors. The dual Intensity machine, as you know, I find really interesting, and my *personal* tendency is absolutely toward the software side. But at the same time, I think the challenge is to get that really portable — an SFF PC is harder to lug around than a V-4, for instance. And you have to recognize that what you've got is not the same thing as a V-4/V-8 etc. Maybe it's *better* for some applications. They're just filling different needs.

    What I do share is the frustration that they're aren't more options. I won't personally be buying a V-8, no — don't have the cash right now to justify it. I know some people who almost certainly will, and will gig with it so it pays for itself pretty quickly. But you can also see that the application Vade is describing is different than the ones the V-8 fits. So with Korg out of the picture, with our ongoing disappointment with Numark, yeah, I really wish there were more low-end options, and more affordable HD (or otherwise computer-centric) options.

    What I will say is, Edirol's mixers *fly* off the shelves. So I can't criticize them for being out of touch, because they've clearly found their market. As for new markets, well, that's why we're covering the Vixid at the high end, and hopefully more solutions for the computer market.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    And Joshua, I'm not sure what you're describing example (mixing files?). I kind of already can do what you're describing with a V-4 on the front end (sacrificing resolution, but that's not always a huge deal with capture) and a computer for a lot less than $5000. I think it depends on what you get with that five grand. Is it something I'm going to spend? No, because I don't have the money. But the fact that I don't have the money doesn't mean it's not worth that to someone who's going to turn around and pay for it on their first gig.

  • http://www.danielhai.com/ Daniel Hai

    Man, I had a V4 — honestly, I thought it was pure junk. The effects were cheesy, it just felt like mixing 2 channels of video, and you get a monitor port. The VGA ports / scan converter is mildly cool — but for 2 g's you can buy a computer. Now, something that would be interesting if you could dump freeframe plugins on there. The biggest problem with this type of hardware is that they load it up with stock effects that you'll use once, and never use again.

    But then again, I've always been more of a software purist and not much of a VJ.

  • http://www.plus2.fr FANF

    I just don't understand all the hard feelings here…

    Edirol (and I'm not a fan) got something out.
    It beats a V4. It will end up in the same price category in about 2 years.
    500 lines is WEAK sure. Hook it up to a JJtron, for example (320×240), you get mind numbing results anyway…

    It all depends on what your visuals are, if computer gen… don't use it !

    If you want to mix cameras… SD is the way to go, unless you have bucks for SDI.

    But look at the improvement !
    You can use it for a concert with many live feeds, without the need for a matrix switcher or a scan converter, looping outputs saves splitters…

    Which leads me to this:
    the lack of indication on the routings.
    How many buses ? 2, I guess, so this remains a "mixer", not a "switcher" (vertical interval glitch). No improvement here.
    3 outputs ? Are they truly independant like the vixid (which I own)
    I doubt it too.

    There is only one input scan converter (and an output for the monitoring ?), which leaves this crippled for dualhead/tripplehead capability. I doubt the quality will be there, seeing how much a real good scanny is worth.
    Will VGA switching be seamless ?
    Video switching surely won't.

    So yeah, they could have done much better, SD wise anyway.
    To me a vixid is still more interesting, it is more "open" in adjunction to other hardware, but this packs quite a lot of features.

    But the random specs given out don't leave much info on how it will behave and what you're really getting for your money.

    Sorry for the random thoughts.

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  • http://tilcgepv.com/ Fwpcwvfa

    OWte8e comment5 ,

  • George

    I considered the V8 just because it was the cheapest video mixer with a VGA in. Still, 500 lines of internal resolution do sound kind of weak, not even DVD resolution what I aim for.

    So what do you experts recommend to mix a 800×600 computer output with a camera signal? (Not HD). I tried all kinds of VGA to analog converter gizmos, even video cards with analog outs for the computer to mix it on an old Panasonic video mixer, the result always looked horrendous, like, the computer video turning into 200 pixel resolution mush in the mix.