Replacing a 10 year old Soundcraft

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Cliff Haile, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Cliff Haile

    Cliff Haile Active Member

    We have been using a Soundcraft K2/40 for a little over ten years. It is time for a change as the board is malfunctioning. We plan to stay analog with the next board because it fits our needs and the pricing is in our budget. We have been looking at the Soundcraft GB8/40, the Allen & Heath GL3800/40 and the Crest Audio HP8/40. Do you have any reviews or opinions on which board would be best, or is there another board you would recommend. We basically use the board for live church sound 3 or 4 times a week and about 3 drama presentations per year.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've always been partial to soundcraft, and the looks like a really nice console. I like the sound of soundcraft. There is a sale on the crest at For Sale - CREST AUDIO HP 840 - 40 CHANNEL X 8 BUS WITH 10 AUX 5STEREO 4 BAND EQ - Listing Detail - Call Jan Landy there. Never liked crest though.

    Allen & Heath GL3800/40, looks nice too but my pick of your 3 is SoundCraft only because I like them for live sound.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Crest was a good live board in the early mid 90's prior to Peavey purchasing them. I can't comment on current Crest products but they were never what I would call a recording board. A&H seems to have their stuff together and producing top notch gear judging from their recording boards. Soundcraft has always been a solid company for live reinforcement IMO. I guess I'd check out the layouts and see which of the latter two seems to fit your physical space as well as control workflow.
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    As a long time Soundcraft dealer/installer, who personally owns (and regularly uses) 3 of their mixers, and uses one of their Live 8 boards at his own church..... I would prefer the A-H of those three. < Surprise! >

    First of all, I don't think you would be disappointed with the pres in any of them, they should all be on pretty even ground there. I've always preferred the British EQs, so that cuts the choices to two.

    The GL3800 has better metering, a dedicated Pad switch on each channel, 10-Auxes (although 9&10 are a stereo aux send), and a slightly more versatile Matrix. I like the idea of being able to inject an external signal into the 12x4 matrix.

    The GB8 has 8 Auxes, an 11x4 matrix, plus the nice addition of 4 fully functional stereo input channels (which are more conveniently located than the 2 stereo channels A-H provides above the subgroups). But the main difference is you can send those channels to any Aux, just like a mono input. Where the GL3800 and HP8 severely limit the capability of their stereo inputs. In a church setting fully functional stereo channels can be very handy.
    I'd also add that my Live 8 has better metering, and if you've got sufficient headroom with your amp/speakers that you don't have to run the pres wide open, it's also a very decent mixer. 6-Aux, 2-Matrix Outputs are Left/Right only (no Center) if that's important to you. We're running In-Ears and don't need a ton of Aux sends and don't need L/R/C.

    I can't comment on the Crest, having never seen one in person and heard one for myself. I do know Crest was making high quality mixers long before they were bought by Peavey, I haven't seen any evidence that Peavey has ruined the Crest line of amplifiers. Although I would say their merger seems to have noticeably improved the Peavey line of amps. Crest mixing consoles? I can't say. The HP series appears to be very well thought out and a very straight-forward design with 10 mono Auxes and 11x2 Matrix. Who knows, it might even have a British EQ design. Metering on the groups, but none that I can see on the channels beyond a 'signal present' LED. The HP8 also appears to have several Stereo inputs above the subgroups, which can only send to Aux 9 & 10 and have limited EQ.

    At the end of the day you've got three choices: Made is the UK (A&H), Made in the US (Crest), and Made in China (Soundcraft) if that sort of thing matters to you.

    If I'm being honest, I've been disappointed with the direction Soundcraft has been heading the past few years. It seems to me they've been undercutting their reputation for quality and tarnishing their good name by putting out some cheap entry-level products and out-sourcing the manufacturing even on some moderately expensive boards - such as the GB8. You can take that for what it's worth.

    Best of luck.
  5. Cliff Haile

    Cliff Haile Active Member

    This was the first question I've posted and I am getting great feedback. The Crest idea is now toast, and we are looking at the other two. Soundcraft has been a good board, but I either didn't know or I forgot where they are made. dvdhawk has a very good point about quality. Most products that moved productions to China do have a very noticeable drop in quality. I was leaning toward the Soundcraft, but I think I need to take a better look at the A-H.
  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    In all likelihood your 10 year old K2 was made in the UK - and was/is a very nice (although aging) board.
    [A few thousand new capacitors and a few new faders and she'd probably be good as new.]

    Maybe someone else can report on how something like the Midas Verona has fared post-globalization, the B--ring-r buyout, and whether it's worth consideration (or at least still made in the UK). In any case, it would be up a level price-wise.

    Did you know you can connect two PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2s together with a special bracket and a Firewire cable to make a 48 input, 8-bus, 10-aux digital console for about the same price as the HP8 and GB8 and substantially less than the GL3800? (if multi-track recording is a priority, you cannot record 48 channels at a time in that configuration - but the DB25 Direct Outs would still work to an external recorder)
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have used and owned A & H mixers since their inception in the mid-70s, ditto with Soundcraft. Soundcrafts have always irked me with all of the little things that can drop out on you, plus their PS's get buggy earllier than Jap boards. This begs the question - since you want to stay analog - have you considered the Yamaha IM8 ?
    It is a little more money, but it's better built than any of the Brit boards in that general price range. I have never had a Yamaha fail me, and I've mixed on a LOT of them. In the South where it's a sweat shop when the A/C isn't cranked down during the week. In Vegas where the board would bake in a warehouse rehearsal studio.
    And frozen in the rear of a van buried in a snowdrift in Flint, MI. Ya pay yer money and ya takes your chances!
  8. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I love Yamaha stuff too. I've got an early 80's Yamaha MC2404 in the stable of mixers that has never failed us. It's been the equivalent of an SM58. In 30 years, the only 'repair' ever needed was remove a few screws to hinge the top cover up and tighten the set screw in one of the panel mount XLRs that had worked loose and the occasional DeOxit. Left in the equipment truck year round up here where we have 4 seasons. It's been a trooper.
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Oh why not... let's just throw a bit of napalm on the subject... and see if it smells like victory... or something you might step in....

    K2's were solid... but known for a few issues... especially the PSU's. It's still a viable piece of gear, but you gotta expect that ANY console is gonna need TLC after 10 years. (Well... any console worth anything on the used market, anyway.) Many "mid-line" consoles might as well be trashed as they can't be, or aren't worth repairing.

    A&H still makes good gear, and parts are easily had, and most repairs are easy enough.

    Never been a big fan of Crest, but I have limited time on em'... so take that with a grain of salt.

    Verona's (pre Uli) are good lil rigs... Can't say for sure about newer...

    One avenue I would explore, IF you can get a decent maintenance budget... Midal XL, H3k, Paragon or possibly a Showco will show up in the marketplace for STOOPID cheap.

    They're big, solid, heavy and about as reliable as the sun rising in the east, when they're given even a modicum of TLC.

    Production companies are switching to the Yomamaha digital boards (which I personally think sound as sterile as an alchohol wipe.), Digico's and Avid's. They're not seeing too many riders for the big ol' solid beasties anymore and the new generation of digital boards are stock and standard on riders... So you can get into some really good consoles that STILL have another 20 years left in em' for dirt cheap... (compared to what they originally sold for.)

    Did I just fan the flames or what?!?!?
  10. Cliff Haile

    Cliff Haile Active Member

    Our K2 was great for several years. We had some channels out and had them repaired 18 months ago. The tech said we should expect 5 more good years from the board, we got 18 months. Wish we had the money back, but we are still learning. Our local Yamaha dealer is wanting us to check out the LS9 and take a step into the digital world.
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    The dealer's gonna suggest what he can get commission on.

    Here's a bit of digital world reality...

    The service on a digital console is gonna go one of two ways... you won't need it until it dies... or it's gonna be a lemon from the get go.

    Either way, you don't repair a digital console. You replace modules. The modules can get pricey, so... check the costs BEFORE you buy.

    If history proves out, the LS9 is already almost obsolete... as are most digital consoles the day they debut. And typical of all things digital, the day you take delivery, it's worth no more than half the purchase price at best. At end of life, you can be assured that it will have zero value, as something that's the latest and greatest will have replaced it many times over.
  12. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Call me crazy, I don't care, analog mixing will always be king in my recordings. Digital is great for other reasons such as editing, plugins, MIDI, sampling, total recall and effects. I think Digital has made the engineering and production of recordings more automated and have influenced too much of the technology for tech sake and have missed the mark on the musicality at times. Then again, that is general, nothing really specific. A good performance does not always mean a good recording. That being said, dollar for dollar spent on quality analog equipment is proven to hold value over quality digital over the years. By the end of the day Analog just means more hand work to do, knobs being turned cables being fiddled with and levels being properly set. Personally I think its worth the extra work, but of course this is your art and your decision to make.
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    One can purchase a digital Neve Libra console from just a couple of years ago for a heck of a lot less money than a Neve made in the mid-1970s.

    When you look at devices such as the API lunchbox 500 series modules, you will find 100 companies making modules that are all analog to fit that lunchbox. Nothing digital. What does that tell you? It says that the preamps in the microphones are the primary devices. The converters are simply secondary. They improve daily. They are more affordable and more easily replaceable then boutique and vintage equipment. And it's really the importance of the front-end that makes the most difference i.e. microphones & preamps. So even that primo equipment will present a better sound than a mediocre microphone preamp coupled with a fine analog to digital converter would. And you can get away with lesser expensive analog to digital converters when utilizing primo equipment at the front end. It's not the specifications that make a better recording. It's the engineering behind it.

    It's hard for me to look at my behind without a mirror
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  14. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You know, I never heard the original poster say anything about wanting the desk for recording. This sure seems like a live sound issue to me, and the gist of the matter is that live sound in a church situation has requirements that are totally different than what has been suggested. I doubt that anyone in the congregation
    is going to raise a stink about a slight "graininess" of the drum mix or that the choir sounds "too sterile". What they WILL bitch about (in droves) is that slight "ringing" every time Miss Evelyn goes to the podium mic with her soft-spoken announcement of the fund-raiser for the outreach program. Or the cutting-off of the first syllables of the assistant pastor's introduction of the new Sunday school director. Or the dramatic loudness jump when the amateur video of the teen
    group's trip to Nicaragua segues to the pastor's comments during the presentation. I could go on...
    Digital boards - properly designed and built - can make a sound mixer's life bearable in these situations. And as far as reliabilty is concerned, there is a local "mega-church" here in my town with a Midas Heritage 3000. They paid $80K for that monster back in 2005. I was there last month and they told me that, to date, there were 9 channels OUT - dead - and that the dealer had quoted them $1500 PER CHANNEL to repair/replace them. They were holding off to get a revised budget for a PM5D. Do you blame them? With a situation where there can be a (largely vounteer) group of 4 or more sound mixers rotating through the multiple services, a fair amount of consistency can be a real blessing. Work flow and ease of operation are, in many cases (good or bad), higher on the
    "wish list" than impeccable audio fidelity. Please do not interpret this as "pro-digital"; to me it's a non-issue what the format is. It's a matter of being able to change "scenes" quickly and smoothly, with enough headroom to handle the dynamics that these productions in, day out.
    Personally, I LOVE to stand at a sea of knobs and get all warm and fuzzy...but times they are a-changin'.
  15. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty much in agreement with ya' moonbaby. My points are that;

    A) Don't get caught buying a digital console just because that's where the salesman says you need to go. Go digital because it's affordable, reliable and you have a budget outlined to incur some pretty hefty repairs.

    B) Don't overlook a good "professional" analog console that can have as many, if not more, years of service left in it than any digital console in the same price range. But with this decision comes the same forewarning that you need to set aside repair and maintenance dollars as you need to with a digital console.

    There are some good bargains on analog and digital boards... but the one thing that I constantly hear about are bad channels, groups, connectors, etc... and there is NO BUDGET set up to handle the expense.

    You don't buy a car and not change the oil or don't expect to replace a set of tires, change bulbs, etc...
  16. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    And I agree with everything that you stated, Max. It was what was said after your post that left me ...dazed... a bit. I always prefer to mix on a decent analog board, it just "seems" right. But there are instances - and houses of worship are among the biggest - that digital is the way to go. And when you add to that the fact that all the "kids" who are signing on to do this kind of production work come from a video games background, they have no problem dealing with a couple of data-entry encoders and a joystick. Mixing on a digital board is like falling off a log to them...
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I just figured I had to chime in here again? While I am a great purveyor of analog equipment, current digital technologies provide for certain magic of their own.

    In a warship scenario for your average sized community churches, analog equipment that adults can understand and young folks can use, along with the utmost in simplicity an analog install may make more sense.

    Whereas for the larger gargantuchurches, a state-of-the-art digital system makes the most sense. That's largely because those churches have actual trained crews providing audio and video support. The repeatability, automation and presets along with built-in multi-track recording capabilities, all the processing you'll ever need and not so horrible microphone preamps (down at the stage via CAT five) provides the utmost in production value.

    Analog audio equipment and the scads of boutique stuff available is really only for the esoteric and traditionalists of the recording industry. Just like as has been mentioned, what would anybody have to glean from either an analog or digital PA system from a Neve 1073 module on a lead singer? OK, maybe the bass guitar? But in general, it's almost holy inappropriate to indicate this or recommend an either or single suggestion.

    I've worked for and at churches. Some such as the insignificant Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, DC. You know the one that Lincoln, Truman and those Clinton folk used to go to when they were hanging out in DC? They had one of those " let's get the cheapest thing " kind of budgets. And the people operating the PA system were all volunteers, most of them too old or too young to have any idea what they were doing. And you want to give them digital what? But over at the McLean Bible Church, that looks as large as any indoor shopping mall (I think it was a shopping center before the church purchased the property?) They have and they require an extremely efficient and multi-distribution multi-cast based and fully integrated system. And for that you need the big stuff, the modern stuff. They're freaking shows (sermons) are run like Broadway musical extravaganzas. And while we all used to do that in analog, it's much more efficient and repeatable with the quality level they require with modern digital systems.

    And it all just comes down to one thing... budget. And if an inexpensive digital system can offer the same simplicity of operation as an old-fashioned analog install of the past can do the same thing, then why the heck not go with it. Digital is fine if it serves the need. Many people are still living in an analog world and will be until the day they pass. And since places of worship generally are not as flexible as commercial businesses go, you are likely to see a fair amount of resistance into the digital realm? But then again, they too like the idea of expanding their reach in the most efficient ways possible. Many have overflow sanctuaries in their multipurpose rooms elsewhere in the building and for special events. So presets on a digital console would be a handy capability to have even in the smaller churches and other places of worship. Those folks don't know what an AUX send thingy is for. Thankfully some old dogs can be trained for new tricks but not all.

    But then again maybe the future of worship audio lies in the hands of 8-13-year-olds? They never sits still during a service unless you give them something to play with. So just install the audio equipment and the youngsters play room and tell them what buttons to push at the appropriate times and they will receive cupcakes when done correctly. And then what do you get? Thousands of additional youngsters all wanting to take our jobs...

    They already got my job
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  18. Cliff Haile

    Cliff Haile Active Member

    Another vendor got in touch with us today about the very PreSonus mixer you mentioned. We are setting up a time to have some hands on and get more information about it. You are correct that even two of the 24.2.2s is less than the others. If it's a good fit for us, we could use the money we don't spend on the board for upgrading the w/l mics or cables, etc. Great input, thanks dvdhawk.
  19. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Glad to help. Check out some of the PreSonus tutorial videos to get a good overview before the demo so you can give a good on-site test drive. It's fairly intuitive, but you will have to make a couple adjustments to the way you think about running sound. The main thing being, the added step of pressing the "Select" button on the channel (or subgroup) before you start tweaking.

    The pre-amps are above average, and the metering possibilities are exceptional. Adjustable Hi-Pass, Gate/Expander, Compressor, Limiter available on each channel + 4 parametrics with adjustable Q is pretty useful and eliminates the need for a bunch of rack-gear. I wish the EQ freqs were infinitely variable, but you can widen the Q if you're after a very specific frequency. Motorized faders to go along with the Scene Memory would also have been a welcome addition, but I'm sure that would make the price take a pretty big jump up. The bells & whistles it has are all nice, but most importantly, the sound isn't thin or digital sounding. It's got a substantial beefy quality to it that I like.

    I've been using an SL24.4.2 for about a year and a half doing live shows and remote recording sessions, and I've been perfectly happy with it for both jobs. There are few things I'd improve if I could, but no serious complaints. (Better yet, no complaints from my install customers either.)

    PS: and in the interest of fair-play, the StudioLive is designed in the US and assembled in China.
  20. Cliff Haile

    Cliff Haile Active Member

    Our board is used almost exclusively for live sound. The only recording we do is the Sunday sermon. We finally thought we had a decision. We agreed on the Allen and Heath 3800. Of course we get a call about a new AH 4800 that's a show board. So after reading all about the 4800, we find out it is 6 years old - maybe 6.5. So we are back to the AH3800A. The dealers have told us there is a delivery window of8 to 10 weeks. Someone earlier mentioned the Midas Verona. Midas looks a couple of thousand over my budget. How does it compare with the AH3800?

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