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Console automation

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Jon Best, Jul 7, 2001.

  1. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    So, what's out there in (large frame, analog) console mute/fader automation land? What options exist, VCA & motorized faders, and how do some of the options sound? What kind of prices could I expect for retrofitting a 40 input console? Fletcher, I remember you mentioning a VCA auto system that you were impressed with the sound of. Then there's Neve, Uptown, etc... Any thoughts, anyone?
     
  2. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    I've heard Mark McQuilken of FMR Audio has done some automation systems on consoles around town. You might want to pick his brain if you want to get VCA's or motorized faders and roll your own automation. Over my head to do that, so I'm happy I have a 16*8*2 board and can generally draft the hands I need to "automate" it.

    Bear
     
  3. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    I prefer motorized faders over VCA's myself. But some people like the sound of VCA's.

    How much are you looking to spend on the automation? Flying Faders is roughly $1000 per channel. So it's kind of silly for me to make any reccomendations without knowing your price range.

    Mixerman
     
  4. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Good point, one which I repeatedly make to other people.... :)

    Well, the console is a 44 input Quad 8 Virtuoso that will hopefully be commissioned in 4-6 months. I got it for a good bit less than it's worth, so I can spend some money on it, but a new Uptown System 990 for ~35K is pretty much out of the question, which kicks GML and Flying Faders out of bed as well. It's got early Necam faders installed, and I have the control electronics, but that's it- I could probably kludge something together with that, although I've been kind of warned off of that option. I am resigned to either a used system, or a VCA system (or both), but I don't want to go over 8K or so, and something less would be ideal. Thanks!

    Originally posted by Mixerman:
    I prefer motorized faders over VCA's myself. But some people like the sound of VCA's.

    How much are you looking to spend on the automation? Flying Faders is roughly $1000 per channel. So it's kind of silly for me to make any reccomendations without knowing your price range.

    Mixerman
     
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Jon, several years ago we installed a 'CAD Megamix' inboard system in a vintage API desk. I was damned impressed with the way the system worked, and sounded. I have no idea if they still make the system or not.

    As far as 'out of console'/'aftermarket' automation systems, I think the 'Uptown' is my favorite. Works great, easy to install, and exceptionally easy to learn to use. Overall a great sounding and working system.
     
  6. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Jon,

    I thought that Uptown was quite a bit more economical than that. Why so expensive?

    From what I understood, Uptown was about $15,000 for that many inputs. Does anyone else know the answer to that?

    Mixerman
     
  7. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Well, I got some clarification from them the other day- around $23K for 44 input System 990, and around $40K for the same board with the System 2000. These may be list prices, if they usually work through a dealer network. Dunno.

    It's academic at this point, as I just faced the fact that I can't really afford to do the renovations/downtime necessary to fit the damn thing in the control room, that is unless I sell the console... Catch 22, Gift of the Magi...

    I'm sure I will be kicking myself in a year and a half when I'm looking for this type of console...

    Originally posted by Mixerman:
    Jon,

    I thought that Uptown was quite a bit more economical than that. Why so expensive?

    From what I understood, Uptown was about $15,000 for that many inputs. Does anyone else know the answer to that?

    Mixerman
     
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I know $20k is out of your price range but maybe you can work some kind of deal with the sellar. check out deadlink

    48 channel flying fader system @ $20k
     
  9. JGriffith

    JGriffith Guest

    Hi Jon,

    I think you will find mixing with VCAs a lot like mixing with a mouse. They just don’t allow you to "perform" a mix. Its much more of an intellectual endeavor rather than "feel."

    I think you’ll find that the biggest expense in a moving fader package is the faders themselves. When I installed Uptown 990 in my Series 80 the only option was for P&G or some Japanese faders (at about $200 less per fader). The cheap ones reminded me of 02R faders. I’ve had no problems with the 990/P&G system in 4 years.

    You also have to have new fader plates machined (unless you have P&Gs already) which is about as rewarding as buying drywall

    On the other hand I‘ve had no software updates since ATI bought them up. The system still runs on a 386 chipset (even a brand new system, anything else is too fast)—God help me when that machine crashes. I’ll be looking in dumpsters for a replacement.

    Uptown used to offer a small (8 ch.) outboard box that could be put in line/group inserts. Personally I would much prefer that to running the audio through VCAs.

    BTW: how's that JH-24 treating you?
     
  10. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Originally posted by JGriffith:
    Hi Jon,

    <snip>

    I think you’ll find that the biggest expense in a moving fader package is the faders themselves.

    <snip>

    BTW: how's that JH-24 treating you?


    That's about what I figured, with the faders. I think, since I (regretfully) am going to have to let this console go, that I will pick up the original P&G's, which are available for cheap, and sell it with them- I'll hold on to the Neve moving faders and start talking to Mark McQuilken about a roll your own system for the next console, in a year and a half or so.

    The JH24 is great! Solid as a rock. I did have to replace the green LED on the remote for track 24 in the middle of a session, and it scares the crap out of me every time I look over there- all I had was a red one, and I keep thinking I've erased the timecode....

    I need to go get a green LED... :)
     
  11. NEVE8068

    NEVE8068 Guest

    What Uptown does not tell you for 23K is you get no fader buffers to drive the internal mute logic on the desk to drive uptown.Which is I think 90$ per channel . Our tech builds ours for us for a few bucks a card and is going to soon give us 2000 feature for an extra 1.00 in parts . Just food for thought . good luck but man you will be a cleanin faders once a month bro. -Mark
     

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