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Soundcraft 200B peramp modifications

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by took-the-red-pill, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Hello all,

    I have recently acquired a 24CH, 200B, with the two sweeping mid EQ's.(for $300 I got the mixer and a bunch of other gear). There is no hum in the power supply or the board, no scratchy pots or sliders, and everything seems to work well. I want to use it for recording, using a line off the INSERT jack to LINE IN on my converter.

    I have 4 specific questions.

    If I were to take it to my local equipment genius and ask him to upgrade 2 or 4 channels:

    1) Could those channels be taken from "hey, this sounds pretty good," to "oh-my-God-I-seem-to-have-spooged-in-my-knickers?"

    2) What mods/upgrades would one ask for to get a pair as clean and transparent as possible?

    3)What mods/upgrades would one ask for to get a pair with lots of colour and character?

    4) Would it, in your opinion, be a cost effective way to get some premier sounding pres?

    Other information which may be relevant:

    Most of what I record are acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and vocals. But I would like to be able to record drums and horns as well in the future. My go to mic is an AT 4050, and a 57 for the electric amp.

    I currently have access to the following preamps:
    4 channels of ONYX.
    2 channels of Focusrite Scarlet.
    2 channels of Altec Lansing 1567A-running on 12AX7's. It was a 4 into 1, but said genius turned it into a 4 in, 4 out preamp. (Aside-A 1567A is seen over Berry Gordy's right shoulder in the shot of him at the mixing desk.)

    Thanks for any input/advice you may have.
    Keith
     
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Why not invest in a standalone high-end pre instead ? Some Focusrite ISA or grace design or others.. Plug that directly to your converter and have 1 or 2 pro sounding pre..
     
    audiokid likes this.
  3. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Two channels of Focusrite ISA is $1200 Canadian. 2 channels of Grace M201 is $3000+ up here. Tough to justify when my local tech has been very reasonable in the past for mods, I already have the board, and I don't make my living behind it.
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I would have an exhaustive look at almost anything else before trying to "improve" the sound of a couple of the channels in the Soundcraft 200B. It was a reasonably good mixer in its day, but everything about that class of product from any manufacturer is designed down to a price, and simply changing op amps and capacitors is not going to turn it into a wonder box. There's no doubt it can be made to sound a little better, but not up to the standard of even a good modern pre-amp or interface in the budget category.

    I'm not trying to deflate your balloon, but just be realistic about what can be achieved by spending money on paying someone to tinker with the innards of an old mixer.
     
    DonnyThompson likes this.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    So you are cheaping out of pro preamps.. I understand. I was there a few years back and I regret it. In the end the amount of money I wasted on unsatisfied sound could have bought a high end pre. I realise now that just one high-end pre makes a world of difference in a mix.
    There is one alternative/compromise; The Art MPA II is the one 2channel pre that sound the most professional in the consumer price range (around 400$)
    It's sounds impressive for the price.

    Anyway.. if your mind is set. Few things can be done to a mixer's channel to get it to sound better. Changing the OP amp(s) putting higher quality potensiometer and fader...
    I'm very curious on how better it could sound.
    Please post before and hafter results it'll be fun to follow your progress ! ;)
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I remember that board. It was a nice mid-level desk at the time it was out. But it was never considered to be in the league of the truly pro desks like Neves, SSLs, ISA's, Harrisons, etc. It was what it was, which was a decent desk for mid-level budget facilities. It was better than a Tascam, but not quite as nice as a Neotek.

    I have to agree with my colleagues on this one. You might be able to modify the Soundcraft to improve things a bit, but you're not going to get it up to the sonic equivalent of that which is considered "pro" these days, at least not without stripping it down completely and replacing everything with higher caliber XFO's, pots, etc., at which point you're pretty much just using it as a shell to house other manufacturers components, and at that point, you'd get far better results - and more affordable, too - by getting a few high end preamps or channel strips instead.

    I'd consider selling it, getting what I could for it - without making any modifications because you'll never get that investment back upon resale - and then take the money and apply it towards a couple pro pre's and/or channel strips.
    You might also want to consider looking into a 500 Series rack system, where you can add any number of manufacturer modules to sonically fit whatever you want to do.

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/API5008B

    and then fill it with any number of different 500 Series modules that will suit your needs:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VHDPre

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/511

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/API525

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/611EQ


    If you really want a console, and one that will play well with your DAW as well, I would consider something like an A&H Zed, or maybe a Presonus AI, either of which will sound infinitely better than the SC you now have, both of which have good preamps, automation, various built I processors/FX/compressors/EQ, along with a multitude of routing/busing options, both internally and working with your DAW as well.

    I know you were hoping for replies that would have been more favorable to what you want to do, we're just telling you how we see it, and what we would do if we were in your situation. ;)

    Good Luck! :)

    d.
     
  7. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Thanks gents.

    It's good to have this question answered by experienced users.

    I will sell off some of my gear-I seem to have acquired lots of extras-save some pennies, buy the best, and only cry once.

    Cheers mates.
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    @took-the-red-pill ...

    Please let us know what you end up with and how it works for you.

    That being said, if you have further questions on something in particular you're looking at purchasing, don't feel hesitant about asking more questions...preferably before you open your wallet.

    That's why we're here. ;)
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  9. ric3xrt

    ric3xrt Active Member

    Analogconsole.com, , somewhere in the internet land, there is a fantastic article about a common ground mod, that really wakes this desk up, There is a cable out there that allows you to use a CPS 450, or a 275 power supply, its a 7 pin to 10 pin , which really doesn't make that much of a difference unless your going to use 18+ channels at once, the more you push thru those 200s the more power they need, and the factory , small a$$ box won't cut it sonically. audioupgrades.com is another company to talk to about the 200 series boards.
    My only issue with the 200 is it's limited to a 4 bus, but it does have some good routing options.
    Yes it's a medium , format, 30 year old board, but its a great board to start with. and while investing to mod this thing will not return a profit, it will however be worth your time...if this is the color of sound your looking for........these boards are NOWAY transparent,.............no matter how you invest in them.
    I still have my 1st 200b....and still use it once in a while. use to have a Tascam 234 cassette deck hooked up to the 4 bus, and a 0tari mx5050 on the main bus, now its a Akai DR4 on the bus,
     
  10. ric3xrt

    ric3xrt Active Member

    would also like to point out the 200 BVE , was use by a LOT of video production outfits and TV stations up till late 90s.
     
  11. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Hey there,

    Yes, I've seen the readily available star ground mod, which apparently does a lot to reduce noise. And have read all the threads I could find about hot rodding this board. In the end there was no one who said they did X and Y and turned the preamps into something magical. Basically the results, other than the star ground, were inconclusive. BTW I was only ever going to use the insert points on those channels, so the rest of the board didn't matter to me.

    Because the results were inconclusive, I will be likely be getting a 2 channel pre, see this thread: http://recording.org/threads/yet-another-which-preamp-post.59182/#post-435039 that has already proven itself to be a great sounding front end. I haven't given up on using the preamps on this board for recording, just likely as is with the insert points, especially when I want to take advantage of the EQ's-Love having those sweeping mids.

    Thanks all for the input.
    Keith
     

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