mateus

Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« on: August 14, 2017, 06:11:43 PM »
Hello guys,

I'm a record producer/engineer based in Porto Alegre/Brazil.

I own a small DAW based project studio set with an old PT HD rig and an even older Digidesign Control 24 for DAW control.
I have good transducers and some good outboard gear from API, UA, Neve, Manley, and some vintage-based DIY eqs, pres and comps.
I'm usually working with rock, blues, indie and some brazillian music artists.

It's time to buy myself a small tracking/mixing console, 24-32 channels, but since I won't have the chance to test drive stuff I wanted to get some advice and feedback from people that actually know about electronics and have worked on/with some.
I don't think I can afford API, Neve or SSL and knowing that I do have a good varied selection of great sounding pres, what do you guys suggest me?

Thanks in advance and regards!

PS: Sorry about my english!


shot

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 10:11:13 AM »
Hi Mateus,

For a start I'd point you out that it's not only small console you're getting into, but also you need to think about converters. There are some consoles that can be fitted with addon converters, but most are just pure audio. So be prepared to cash out for at least 24 channels of conversion. That also can lead to replacing your current audio interface to something that can feed digital signals to and from converters (if you don't own one already). Some converters are audio interfaces at the same time, but some are not. They connect via ADAT optical or MADI and require additional soundcard.  And last but not the least - you'd want to have some patchbay to interface your other gear to your new console and your converters. It's not mandatory, but think about if you want to crawl to the back of the console to re-insert your compressor manually on every mix you do. Or better yet - do you want your external preamp to run through entire channel of the console before it enters your AD converter if your direct outs are permanently connected to your converter?
But don't get me wrong - having analog console is a wonderful thing! I would never go back to mixing ITB (ok guys, just don't start...)

My few chosen consoles that are not too pricey would be Soundcraft Ghost or Sapphyre, Allen&Heath GS-R, Midas Venice F series. And my converter of choice would be Antelope Orion32 or maybe SSL Alpha-Link. Maybe even Ferrofish A32. We're talking mid budget here. Nothing fancy but very capable.

Also don't neglect the cost of all the cabling. That is something that people overlook as a serious cost!

:)

Luka

mateus

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 03:18:46 PM »
Heya Luka!

Thanks for the input, and yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention all those things.
Better late than never, so, I do own 32 channels of conversion, I'm using Avid atm, Analog HD and 192s. I also do have 2 96-point TT patchbays and tons of patch cables.

Yeah, I really dig Antelope, have been using them for some live recording and they sound good for me.

What about TL Audio? Toft? I know that going into smaller budget-minded consoles there's always gonna be compromises, I'm just trying to find something that hopefully don't compromise in the things I don't have atm, as I've said, It don't need to have the greatest of mic pres, I do own a good number of those, I need good lines, musical and useful eqs, good monitoring, good summing and some nice useful patching.

Thanks again!

shot

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 06:18:40 PM »
Then you're all set to go mixing on console!
Antelope is bang for the buck and sounds great - get that.

I've never worked on TL Audio console so I can't comment on that.
I've tried Toft ATB and if you can go past the looks (to me it's very ugly but you might like it) it's a nice console. Very nice EQ!
I have Trident 8T (now it's rebranded Oram 8T) and it is almost same as ATB. It's a seriously good console definitely, but I'm replacing it because of one very annoying thing - it has inserts after EQ. I've owned it for years and it's always been irritating. But you might like that. Check if ATB has same configuration since those two should essentially be same.

Also go check the Allen & Heath GS-R24M (with converter addon). I really like that console. It was designed by the same guy who designed Soundcraft Ghost. Very nice EQ and when used with internal converter it has amazing routing options. You can use it's channels in your DAW as insert plugins. Plus it has basic midi automation and transport controls. It was discontinued for some unknown reason.

:)

Luka

ln76d

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 11:05:53 AM »
Buy the biggest, the heaviest, the most analog as you can - you will be happy, believe me :D

mateus

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 01:30:20 PM »
Also go check the Allen & Heath GS-R24M (with converter addon). I really like that console. It was designed by the same guy who designed Soundcraft Ghost. Very nice EQ and when used with internal converter it has amazing routing options. You can use it's channels in your DAW as insert plugins. Plus it has basic midi automation and transport controls. It was discontinued for some unknown reason.

It looks really nice!

jensenmann

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 05:58:02 AM »
If you plan buying a used console then make sure that it had frequent maintenance and is in perfect shape. Buying half defective gear will run you into a maintenance-, hence financial nightmare. Let the seller show you the repair bills! If you decide to get a used desk, then make sure it´s without computer control (no SSL, Euphonics, Otari, Soundcraft DC series, etc). Spareparts and knowledge how to repair computer-controlled desks are very very rare, even more so in the part of the world you are living in. Get something with bread and butter electronics, without unobtainable parts, modular construction and if possible with a good stock of spareparts and support from manufacturer or 3rd party suppliers (Amek desks come to mind immediately).
Anyway, look at the features or even better make yourself a list of features which you would expect to be helpful for your workflow (features, not voodoo/mojo/sonic bliss). Take that as a basis for what console to look at.
If you already own preamps then PA(FoH) desks are an option to be used for summing/mixing while using external pres for tracking. Analog desks are thrown away or go cheap worldwide because PA guys think digital is the best. Midas XL or Heritage series desks are very nice sounding desks, Soundcraft Series 4 or 5 are great, as well as Yamaha PM3500/4000. Livedesks usually have noisy powersupplies, though. If you want to stay smaller then look at the Midas Venice (sounds fantastic, comes with 60mm faders unfortunately), Amek BC2/3, Soundcraft Delta DLX.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 03:51:05 AM by jensenmann »
Jens
Quote from: PRR
The tubes of course don't care what frequency they distort

pvision

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2017, 03:24:40 PM »
The Trident Series 80, Amek Angela or a Soundcraft spring to mind. They're all different - the Trident is a split console so it has uncluttered channel strips with lots of room to get your hands round controls. The Angela is the opposite - slightly cramped, hard to get to know but a decent compact console with great EQ. There are still plenty of Soundcrafts about, particularly in the UK, but I always found they sounded a bit "squashy" with rather vague EQ

Jensenmann is right about computer-controlled consoles but I'll point out that SSL 4000/6000E consoles were often supplied without a computer in the early days and work fine without one

In your position I'd be looking for a Series 80

Nick Froome
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 07:07:21 PM by pvision »

Potato Cakes

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2017, 03:34:29 PM »
If you are looking for something to just do routing and mixing, I would strongly recommend chaining two of the SSL X-Desk's together if you do need upward of 32 channels. I installed one in a small studio earlier this year and I wish I would have done the same for my own studio years ago. Really intuitive routing, monitoring, and mixing solution and it is built well. You could certainly get an older Soundcraft or Amek for less, but if you are considering something new and if you already have a bunch of outboard gear that you use, then I'd say X-Desk.

Thanks!

Paul

Whoops

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 11:08:34 PM »
Hi Mateus,
you seem pretty nicely setup, why do you want to buy a console?

The setup you have is nice for your small project studio , and also good for a pro studio.

Why a 24/32 channel console? Whats the need?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 10:13:39 PM by Whoops »


Floti

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 04:39:18 AM »
I have a Toft ATB I'm rebuilding. After some time with it, I don't see any benefit over working with just the computer. It won't make your sound any better, perhaps just a bit worse. Don't waste your money on small modern boards, go big and all analog.

Floti

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 05:32:51 AM »
And the Toft has EQ after insert and the inserts are unbalanced

mateus

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2017, 11:47:24 PM »
Thanks for the inputs guy! I greatly appreciate it!

Whoops, the way I'm working atm is basically hybrid. I process tracks in outboard and print 'em back. I wanted to be able to keep focused and moving forward faster, but the problem is that atm I have only one way of doing it, staying ITB, it makes things faster in a way but slower in other ways, when I'm dialing knobs and faders in hardware I get to where I want faster, and I like the sound, can't say I get to the same results when staying ITB. The other option is moving to a console and here I am.

I think I'll just start saving to go, part by part, towards a 5088.

abbey road d enfer

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2017, 01:32:58 AM »
Why a 24/32 channel console? Whats the need?
No one should be allowed criticizing anybody for wanting to use a console instead of a mouse and keyboard  ;D.
There's a current thread in this group about ergonomics...
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
"The important thing is not to convince, but to give pause for thought." (B. Werber)
Star ground is for electricians.

Whoops

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2017, 06:25:44 PM »
Whoops, the way I'm working atm is basically hybrid. I process tracks in outboard and print 'em back. I wanted to be able to keep focused and moving forward faster, but the problem is that atm I have only one way of doing it, staying ITB, it makes things faster in a way but slower in other ways, when I'm dialing knobs and faders in hardware I get to where I want faster, and I like the sound, can't say I get to the same results when staying ITB. The other option is moving to a console and here I am.

I understand, it's matter of balancing and evaluating the benefits and profit increase you expect against the price and maintenance costs of having a console.
In my personal experience there's no profit increase so it comes down to the perceived workflow benefits against the rest.

wish you all the best

Timjag

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2017, 07:00:39 PM »
Mateus,

You can't go wrong with any of the pre Harman Soundcraft boards in terms of a lot of bang for your buck, they're completely modular and easy to repair, at this stage of their life they will need recapping, Jim Williams offers some opamp up grades for them, which makes them sound wonderful or you can insert your diy Neves or whatever and just use the EQ.

If you want full parametric then the 8000 is an excellent choice, yes it was a live console but there was a version with tape returns - the 1600 was the 16 buss studio version but didn't have the full eq. The TS24 was massive and awesome. Butvfor my money the 6000 is perfect, I say that because I own one, and I love it, I had a couple of Strips Jim Williams modded and then I did the rest myself, a bit different but obstensively the same. Mine is a 24x8

But I see Mark at Funky Junk has one going for £5000 that is a 32x24 which is an absolute steal. They look awesome and this one will undoubtedly have belonged to someone famous ;-)

http://www.proaudioeurope.com/consoles/analogue-consoles/soundcraft-6000-series-mixing-console.html


abbey road d enfer

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2017, 07:54:13 PM »
If you want full parametric then the 8000 is an excellent choice, yes it was a live console but there was a version with tape returns - the 1600 was the 16 buss studio version but didn't have the full eq.
The 1600 was actually the studio version of the 800. The 8000 is post-Harman. The 8000 never had a studio version, since Soundcraft abandoned the "split" concept in favour of "in-line" (although the 3200 can be considered a half-assed tentative of reconciling both concepts).

Quote
Butvfor my money the 6000 is perfect,
Definitely post-Harman too.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
"The important thing is not to convince, but to give pause for thought." (B. Werber)
Star ground is for electricians.

Timjag

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2017, 07:37:01 AM »
here you go Straight from the man himself - Andy Brown at soundcraft

  ;)

"Hiya, oh yes definitely-6000 was I think  designed in 87/88 the same year Harman bought, but it was finished before the takeover. 8000 was a year or two earlier, 86/87 I think."

God now that makes me feel old....

 The Harman years proper were the Delta and Europa and Vienna and all marketing and then all the ghosts and spirits etc. Andy Brown has said to me many times Harman saved their butts

Anyway it's kind of besides the point, my point was that line of desks - from 200b up to the 6000 are good old work horses both in studio or live configurations especially today when they won't be used quite as rigorously as desks were back in the day.

As for the 8000 yes as I said it is meant as a live desk but the fully parametric EQ is just awesome. And they did make a version of the output buss module with tape returns
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 08:11:54 AM by Timjag »

Timjag

Re: Need some advice for a small project studio console.
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2017, 07:41:45 AM »
650 redundancies across Harman
:-(
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 08:08:40 AM by Timjag »