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Shopping for an analog console

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by MrPhaSe, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. MrPhaSe

    MrPhaSe Active Member

    I'm trying to take the leap and begin working on an analog console... Because it'll be my first console, It doesn't have to be a neve... But I still need the sonic quality to be premium... I can't afford a weak link in the chain at this point.

    I've been looking at the Tascam M3700 because it's cheap, but I'm wondering about the sonic quality.

    I plan to incorporate a Neve Preamp/SSL Compressor combination regardless, So it's important for me not to buy a console that will ruin the point of paying for both of those items.

    Help me buy my first console PLEASE!
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    no no no no! don't do it. read page 9 of this .
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Really dude, you're clueless. It has to be of supreme sonic quality and you're looking at what? You're looking at the lowest of the low end. Sonic quality is not part of the description of that equipment. It's great for clueless folks like yourself however. Good learning platform to find out just how really bad that thing sounds. Of course it's not going to be a Neve but also certainly shouldn't be something ya get from the Good Humor ice cream truck. And don't ask the good humor ice cream guy if he has lobster flavored ice cream. They only have that in Maine.

    So what kind of investigations have you done to come up with this brilliant console selection? You'd be better off with a Behringer or a Mackie. Those sound far better than that 20-year-old piece of crap. Geez? I mean are you also going to serve coffee laced with crystal meth, so people deliver slightly more energetic takes? I hope not? But you might need to if you get that wannabe console? And how did you arrive at this incredibly intelligent decision? I mean if it's just for monitoring a multitrack interface or digital recorder, I might say go ahead but don't use the equalizers at all? That's how good it is. The worst equalizers on the face of the planet. Microphone preamps that are spectacularly and totally underwhelming. Missing all of the headroom you'll never know about. Though it does make for a great conversation piece in the living room. Ya could cut the legs down and put a couple of cushions on it to make it even more feasible to use. Great for screwing on and great for screwing up with. It will make recordings that will establish you as being one of the finer facilities in Bangladesh. So that's what you want, that's what I'd go with. You won't find anything finer that, that console can deliver. It passes audio.... Most of the time. And it looks really cool even if it does sound like crap. You're going to get the best in lackluster performance.

    Is this guy for real?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Remy, why do you talk to people like that. Its terribly insulting the way you communicate. You are getting worse lately. Maybe you should get some rest or something.


    my apologies MrPhaSe. I know you are being sincere here and learning like us all. Don't pay attention to this.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i meant to talk about the Tascam 3700. they look cool ... sort of sslish ... but that's it.

    first they are designed for a -10 system. all the tape sends and returns are on rca jacks. abosolutly an interfacing nightmare for a modern home studio that is generally equipped with +4 gear. Those things were the companion piece to the 1 inch 16 track analog recorders Tascam made in the 80's.

    second they really don't sound that good.

    last they are very long in the tooth. really old. a nightmare. that's why it's so cheap.

    i think you should look at a PreSonus StudioLive console. after reading your different posts i think this would be your best buy solution. it comes with some very good DAW software and has all the flexibility you will need to grow in to. the pres are very ok but not so great as to make some nice Neves or APIs moot.

    too much? well they make downsized versions, 16/4/2 and a 16/0/2 which i am sure would fit your footprint and budget. brand new, factory support, great DAW, what's not to like?
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well I do apologize for my terse replies. You're right. I mean I just don't understand how a 20-year-old underwhelming piece of stuff could even be considered? Mr. Phase has been here for a while and has read much of what we have written about. And no one has ever recommended that piece of stuff. And with pristine audio quality as one of his requirements, he's never comprehended anything that has been discussed here. I mean anybody can use that mixer to produce and deliver an acceptable product but it sure ain't anything to write home about and never has been, none of their stuff, ever. Their recorders were not horrible but that was about it. And even later, that DA-88, nearly put me out of business in 1993 when installed as per their recommendations. And the product couldn't handle any kind of actual professional use because it was so poorly made. And their stuff has always been known to be well, entry level. So sonic purity is not part of that equation or specification. And the yeah, I've been going through a relatively bad time and I'm really thinking about closing down my truck? Just like all of the other professional studios today, I'm out of business because everybody and their dog thinks there is sonic purity in TA-SCAM equipment. And while they have been here and reading through numerous posts, I can't believe stuff like that keeps coming up? So when somebody indicates they have some kind of audio experience and then says something about sonic purity and TA-SCAM, I guess I get a little crazy? I mean honestly, a Barringer can outperform that piece of crap. I mean it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the cheapest piece of equipment is not going to have any kind of sonic purity or integrity. Not that it isn't usable as an entry-level device but that's not what this person was indicating they wanted to have. So I just say it like I see it. I mean how many times were you told you were doing something stupid when you were doing something stupid? Maybe your household and educational background never did that? I've had plenty of highly experienced engineers yell at me, in my early days at NBC-TV. These were hard-nosed, highly experienced old curmudgeon engineers it knew what was going on. And if you didn't glean what they had to tell you, you wouldn't make it. So while I may have been a bit terse, I wasn't pussyfooting around. And I'm not endorsing or selling anything. But it's not professional stuff. And it has no sonic appeal. There isn't anything to be gained by the likes of it. And I don't want to see people waste thousands of dollars of their money based on bad information, education and marketing hype. It destroys the integrity of what we are here to do. And that's be professional engineers, were you need professional equipment and not entry-level stuff. And that's entry-level stuff. And it will sound like well, stuff.

    I mean Chris, you have denigrated me, for not using high end converters. And I don't take that as a direct insult. Yeah, I don't have top of the line converters. I have however, adequate converters. Do they have the headroom of my analog stuff feeding them? Hell no. So I don't crank the level too high on them. Particularly because I don't want to overload their analog front ends. So I might run my general average operating level at a slightly lower reference level so as to preserve the peak transients. And even with 16 bit, I still get 96 DB of signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range. So if I can't make a decent recording within that window, I shouldn't be making any recordings. And people have to understand that professionals did this in the past because it required a professional to do this. And if everybody's feelings keep getting hurt when they come up with cockamamie assumptions about BS equipment, they have to be set straight. And I can be this way because I'm not trying to get them to purchase my product. So I'm just one of those nasty Americans after all.

    The beautiful and highly inappropriate
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    We had a gigantic Tascam of some sort, got given it free. It got used as a wall in a rehearsal studio lounge.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    ANY console of the age that a Tascam M3700 would be is going to have issues. I dont care if its been kept in its box and only used on Sunday evenings twice a year, its going to have dried up caps, switches that have given up, corroded sliders etc. And, as Kurt has pointed out, these are not the best sounding devices available. ALTHOUGH....there seems to be a market for this 'Lo-Fi' sound that they impart to everything run through them. Lots of "Tascam Clubs" around. I have made a few records with TASCAM products and the sound still holds up today.....But that was to tape. I think thats the reason. One of these into a DAW isnt going to be a good thing even with a set of highly developed recording skills.

    Your budget is going to be an important consideration in this but understand this......"MOST inexpensive outboard pres are going to sound better than an older console of this style and type". So, why do you want or need a console especially one like the Tascam 3700 which doesnt come in sizes less than 24 channels? I always thought the 3700 was the dog of the line. Lots of knobs and routing , sure, but a thin crispy sound with no beef. I've recorded on one and wasnt impressed but you make due......

    To get quality of the sort that piques the interest of either Kurt or Remy, you have to move into a high current large format with easily removable strips and a traveling weight around 800lbs. But thats where they come from. In discovering the beauty of that sort of console you have to be prepared to maintain it. This aint cheap unless you know how to do these things yourself.....a skill that is sorely lacking in todays engineers......

    However....Tascams like that one, are cheap and abundant and theres nothing like the learning curve you'll get by entering the world of console recording if you should decide to get one.Working on ANY console will let you in on the "feeling" of mixing and producing sounds without the use of a mouse. Bringing up a track with a slider while a mix is going imparts a feeling like nothing else in music production....akin to playing a great guitar riff or piano chop....unfortunately after a short time with the 3700 you'll always have that voice in your head saying.."Man, I wish this sounded better...."
  9. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    IME old Tascam analog boxes are extremely colored and come with quite a bit of noise as well as a penchant for throwing in phase issues here and there. Cool for some applications for effect?...absolutely, I love transformers as much as the next person. But for a modern day rig there are quieter, cleaner ways to go that won't cost you any more than some of these antiquated pieces.

    There's good advice already in this thread but I'll throw in a nod to the A&H line of ZED mixers, and if you have it in your budget, the Soundcraft M series boards. The ZED boards are reasonably priced, have fantastic pre's that are clean, solid, super fast, and offer just a smidge of flattering sweetness. For me, the critical test of the ZED pre's was the ability to properly power an AT 4041 and handle the insane transients that mic is known for without distorting them and allowing the mic to sound harsh (like some people describe the 4041). I've learned that if someone describes the 4041 as harsh or too bright they're usually amp'ing it with a pre that's not really suited for that mic. The ZED line comes in all sizes from small to "big" and again, they're are reasonably priced. The Soundcraft M series has a nice sound as well but is a little more expensive.

    You're definitely going in a direction that's going to offer you more options for getting a nice solid analog sound into your DAW. Go for it. When it comes to buying something new, hey, if you don't like it you can always send it back.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    read this thread. a parallel discussion on this same topic ... good info there too.

    nice posts Dave and Coyote.
  11. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I have never liked any Tascam I have seen. For the money I would be looking at soundcraft, but no matter, I with think any of these old consoles, you should plan on having it serviced.

    If you are young and just learning I am with the other read the other thread.
    personally I like a console but I am also not very computer savvy. Something in todays market is very much needed. I know enough to get along.
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Anyone describing an AT4041 as harsh is most certainly using it wrong! Agree 137.9%. I have four. And yes....it will reproduce anything you put in front of it.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I had a silent partner that used a 3700 for eye candy. We did British dance/ trance music. Everything we did through this however sounded like crap. It was given to us by the company. They wanted their name on the tracks. It was full of problems right from the get go. The flying faders, like most of them are a joke too. Better off hybrid and a DAW for automation and sound by a long shot.

    These desks are nothing but error and wasted space.
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i didn't know the 3700 had flying faders .....:confused:

    i know they had snapshot scene automation but i didn't know they came with flying faders.

    well hell ... that's a whole new ball game ... now i want one!:tongue:
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Lol, If I recall, you could hear a zipper effect from them in the music. ( something kids like the sound of today amplified lol) I think you could disable that. But the worst was the sound. Real muddy bottom end. All woofy and phasy. The meter bridge had issues and channels stopped working. A disaster design.
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    a lot of those semi pro boards had phase issues ... do a bounce and it's 180 out ... ewwwwww! what were they thinking?

    flying faders, zipper noise, out of phase. the old Carvins were just as bad ... lol. out of phase isn't as much of a problem these days as it used to be ... one guy did a record with an OTARI 1/2" 8 track and a CARVIN 2488 mixer. Mixed it on a Sound Work Shop to an OTARI MX5050 ... spent a but load getting it mastered, took the 45 to a bar and got them to put it on the juke box .... half the guitars disappeared. turns out he did a couple of bounces when he was tracking. the resulting guitar tracks were out of phase with each other. fine until it was summed to mono. Ohhhhh Nooooooo!
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Exactly! He mixed this one track on this thing, raved about how the bass was so awesome, put it on CD, made copies and shipped it off. No friken BASS to be found lol. I hated that thing. I was still using tape and he was all trying to impress the girls and some executive coming to sign us. The following year I bought Pro Tools and left analog tape.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm going to have nightmares now. The worst year of my life. Took a serious wrong direction in everything back then. Trusted people that were all wrong for me. Lost a marriage and a record deal. YIKES!

    But it got better and I stopped smoking too. :)
  19. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    nightmares : (

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