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Which Pro Mixer Choice is better ?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by On Time Recording, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. I'm looking to buy a used mixing console, but I'm trying to find out which one is warmer or better sounding.

    Is it: Soundworkshop, Soundcraft, or Soundtracs ?
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    soundworkshops the best. was made by Otari but may be a bit limited in features ... but the best sound for sure. next is the Soundcraft . i would avoid the soundtracs like the plague. none of them are an API or Neve ...
     
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    you migt be referring to the soundcraft ghost console, which is about 20yrs old. really it comes down to a combination of budget, space, what yuulll be doing w it, and final expectations.

    for my money id go w an amek console.
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    yeah, i wouldn't wast my time or money on a GHOST... cheeso construction. an old Spirit would be better but be sure to get the big power supply and be ready to get it re-capped. all in all, not really worth it unless it' all been done already. Better off to get a new Toft disposable. not really a pro large console but useable as long as you don't push the master section ... good eq though.

    check out what audiokid is doing ... maybe go with a summing mixer like the Great River thingie he has been talking about ....
     
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Besides the "warm" specification, do you need it for mixdown, live use, recording or something else? How many channels do you want? Do you need microphone inputs or just line-level? What sort of budget do you have for the console? Does it have to start with "S"?
     
    Kurt Foster likes this.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Or a Sapphire, or, maybe even a DC-2020... I personally mixed many times on that desk. Great pre's, EQ, and a master section that loved to be pushed by tracks and subs. (of course, back in those days, we were tracking to tape).

    I think Richard Dodd used a 2020 on several albums... can't recall which.

    The automation and recall computer in them sucked, though. It had a reputation (from personal experience I'd say a well-deserved rep) of freezing up, crashing, and even dumping mixes.
     
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ya, I owed soundtracs years back too. After 2 weeks one side died. Crap build.

    I wouldn't do the GR either, Kurt. I doubt those are even selling and as much as I love my 2NV, the box looks like a disappointment to me that is missing the mark.
    I have know idea what to suggest but it would be a full hybrid process similar to what I am doing (at least the core to get started in the right direction) or something definitely without an interface and 24 channels. You ( me at least) need 8 for stereo processing (verbs, effects, special master send out) and 16 for the basic stems. Think 8 stereo bus send, 4 stereo aux sends from the DAW. Thats 24 DA into the console. = Deadly.
    Use the console for the inserts of hardware. Keep going one way towards a capture mixdown DAW and you are golden.
    Do the uncoupled thing for sure. No looking back.

    What's the budget? Pro is a big word. Are we talking $7000 or $70,000?

    What about Toft, I'd be starting here.
    http://www.toftaudio.com/atb24.html


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXYjAq0qR-s
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm trying to get Toft to give me one of these. So far, no answer. I don't think they think we are serious here :)
    But, if this does what I think it will do simply by inserting this into my existing chain ( bypassing the Neos (love my Neos though), I bet it will kick serious ass. Then, we will know what to talk about next.
    2014 = is about moving past all this bloated emulation code and getting back to sound and making music. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY DAW! , in fact Sequoia is better than ever. Mono outs are coming.
    Analog EQ's, faders, and mic pres, its a no brainer what I would be doing.

    I have a feeling this, or similar and two DAW's would be unreal. EQ EQ EQ. Thats what the DAW needs.

    Source> Toft > AD > DAW1> DA> Toft (added hardware bonus) >AD >DAW2.

    :whistle:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neqv-PqSSfQ
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    does it have to start with "S"? lol!


    actually if i were shopping for a newer mixer i would be looking at a gently used Midas Venice. I would be looking for one that was made in Germany prior to the Behringer take over.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Midas-Venice-320-Mixing-Console-w-Dog-House-Case-Shipping-is-available-/191130203819

    the Toft has a nice EQ but that's all. the ones i have laid hands on the build was a bit flimsy and there have been lots of complaints online regarding reliability (look it up).

    add to that they are Chinese built and the parent company ( i just don't like the exploitave business model) is plenty reason for me not to buy one (if i were looking).
     
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I've done a lot of mixing on Midas Venice (original type) and Verona consoles, and I really like the sound. I also more recently assisted in a session that used the newer Venice-F, and I'm sorry to say I was not impressed. Based on that, my recommendation would be to check that a used Venice is the original all-analog model and not one of the newer -F or -U types. Whether that corresponds with original German manufacture and the move to far-eastern manufacture I don't know.
     
  11. pcrecord

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

    A disco company hires me 2-3 times a year to mix live bands on outdoor shows. Last year, the owner bought a Soundcraft K2 to replace an old Yamaha. WOW, I was suprise of the difference. My mix had more punch yet smoother on hi frequencies, I've enjoy myself that day. Some people in the croud and the band told me the sound was amazing.

    Why am I saying that ? Because I like Soundcraft !! ;)
     
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    As Kurt asked, does it really have to be one of the three that you mentioned? Does it have to start with an "S"?

    I would think that there are many choices out there on the used market... Harrison, MCI, maybe an old Trident?

    Everything depends on what you want to spend... you didn't give a price range.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Trident-VFM-System-Mixing-Console-Recording-Mixer-/111326569796?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19eb94a544

    You could also cruise the vintage audio broker sites to see what's available - but know that the inventory changes frequently, so what you might see and be interested in today could be gone tomorrow.

    http://www.nashvilleaudio.com/Vintage.html

    http://audiovillage.org/gear.html

    http://www.soundbroker.com/VINTAGE/

    One word of advice: If you are looking at buying a used console, you should make sure that parts are still available AND you should be adept at repair and servicing, because sooner or later, a used console is going to need some kind of servicing - maybe a power supply goes bad, contacts can tarnish and fail with age, or any number of problems can occur, so you should have a basic working knowledge of schematics and repair, unless you know someone who is good at it - because trust me, you're not going to want to ship a big desk to a repair facility. ;)

    Hope this helps


    -d.
     
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, really, today, ya have to think carefully about whether to go the hybrid, mix and match, high variety, quality control room? Or the older fashioned ones with the big behemoth analog consoles? Or combining both in some manner shape or form? I'm an old-school person. I like the old-fashioned stuff. Though the computer still plays an extremely important role regardless of your control room design concept.

    I like the idea of the mix and match because of its versatile diversity. But then there is also more chances of differences in phase consistency between these rather different items? When ya have an old-school console, like the ones ya read about, the old SSL 4000's, ATI, Neve, Harrison, et al., that's pretty much the only thing we used to make a record with. And the consistency in the overall phase timing really glues things together better than succotash. Teeny tiny timing differences register, differently in the brain. That's not to say that I am not an avid player of phase and timing. I am. But this is what I talk about when I talk about the " focus ", of what one perceives.

    So when you're tracking the rhythm section, all together, at once, in the studio (Or in my case, live, somewhere), I want it through all the same console. No differences in transformer windings. Everything summing all at the same time and not one picosecond off.

    So if you're looking for control room with a real console? I purchased a Soundtracs 16-8-16, back in the mid-1980s. This was a purpose, purchased decision. Not one of superior fidelity. I schlepped it out on lots of remotes, for a couple of years. It performed admirably. It was the metering, the LED metering, that pooped out. I also found it to be one of the more versatile of those mentioned selections you have. Yeah but what about the sound? I'm getting to that. It offered features that no other comparably priced console like Soundcraft, Sound Workshop, Tangent, offered. Sure, some had 16 track monitor mixers. And on your 16 input board, you might get 32 on mix down? But they won't have any effects sends nor EQ. The Soundtracs did. In fact you got a high and low frequency equalizer on each one of those tape returns. And the microphone preamp's? For what they were? They were stellar. What were they? A single, 5534 IC chip. That's all. No transformer input. No low noise input buffer transistors. No output, high headroom, swing output transistors. Nope. And I made some hot recordings on that board. The most god-awful cheapest microphone preamps I've ever used that worked well. I still listen to and enjoy those recordings today I made, back then, on that thing.

    Later, Pete Townsend of the WHO, endorsed that board in our trade journal recording publications. So I don't know what that says? It worked well for me. Did what I needed it to do and quite well. And in spite of its lacking, I also used Soundcrafts. But I was always happy I had that 16-8-16. And even the equalizers didn't exactly suck. Never cared much for those Soundcrafts. I can say they were smooth. They did nothing for me?

    Though some of the later Soundtracs, I'm not so sure about? Some of them look rather intriguing, I thought? Their conceptualization rather appealed to my thoughts.

    Why not try to get yourself an old MCI, JH-400 series? They're out there. While I was trained and authorized as a service tech for MCI, I love their recorders. The consoles never did much for me. And particularly that one. However... newer integrated circuit chip technologies, available today, I think make this a very viable contender? Those old Harris IC chips, what were they the 910, 900's? I forget? They were awful sounding. The 5534's later, became their staple IC chip. Does run on ± 15. And I think the older Harris IC chip based JH-400's rant at ± 24? I forget? It's been a long time. Nevertheless... that's a real recording console, old-school style. One of the first of the in-line types that I think Daniel Flickinger was making popular around the same time? Up until that time, most all recording consoles were known as split/consoles. Recording input side and mixing on one side. Tape return monitoring and additional inputs, at mix down, on the other side. 8 feet away. I actually prefer split/consoles. You could get more usable recording inputs crammed together with an in-line console. But where the microphone input channel that you are recording on that module, was not the track you are currently listening to coming back from the multitrack machine, could get a little confusing at times. Ergo, Split/Console. Where the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

    I can't find mine?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I recorded on a Ghost for about 10 years. It was excellent when it was newer but it wore down. Repurposed ones are better. The Williams mods worked excellent but the real Soundcrafts like the 600's and larger frame consoles were always better sounding. I replaced mine with a Toft. I've had it for a while now. They are really quite surprising in how punchy and clear they are. I do mostly drums through my little 8 channel. Whatever the problems were at their inception, and there really isnt ever NOT problems with any initial release, things are as they should be at this point. The company DOES listen to their customers. As for the build, it is one of the heaviest built consoles for its size I have seen. I wouldn't use flimsy in any description of its mechanical parts and frame quality. And the pots and sliders are all high-end. Plus you can do 32 ins/outs with the way its set up. +1 on the K2 Soundcrafts. Also the live Allen-Heath boards are not bad for the buck. English people seem to know where the musicality is in the EQ's.
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Man, Dave, you already have a great start to this hybrid trip. I'd love to have the 8 channel. How are the EQ's. Is yours similar to the video I posted?
     
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

     
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have a feeling though, in a hybrid system, this would still sound really good, don't you think? Its hard to know how "big" my Neos is compared, but from my experience, knowing where it counts, I bet this console would be a nice fit for more than we'd expect.
     
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I suppose if we were to continue to quote reviews of the V1 of the console from 2006-2008 it would be a shameful example of build quality. A lot of mechanical and build problems from that era. BUT a lot of people liked their purchases of them at that time despite the negatives. There will always be negatives with anything relating to gear. Owning and living with the gear tends to bring the weaknesses and strengths into focus a lot clearer than reading about them.

    However, Toft is on V3 at this time and most, if not all, of the problems with the first releases have been solved. I don't find any crosstalk, noise, or poor performance in the master section. Mine is a V3. This is NOT an SSL or API etc nor is it intended to be. However, for the money, it is lightyears past most consoles in its price range. Using it as an Eq-able hybrid mixing platform might be something it would excel at. The EQ is very musical and can be surgical if needed. I have no problem using the EQ going in, which is something I would NEVER do with the Ghost. It has a world of routing, much like a high-end console, which, of course, its patterned after. Its greatly improved my recordings in a very specific way.

    But I'm not here to convince anyone to buy one. I'm just here to relate my personal experience and ownership of the one sitting on my desk right now. As I have said, it works really well for me and sounds better than anything in its price range.

    I'll add this....In a perfect world I would add another desk as my main piece but keep the Toft because of the sound it imparts to the source and because it is so easily assimilated into studio full of gear. But the main board would have to be really special.
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    well, the Toft ATB is exactly what I want to prove to myself. I believe a modest console like this would surprise the hell out of us through a hybrid workflow like what I have. I bet it would blow out minds how musical it would sound.

    Toft never responded to me so we won't ever know. I'm not about to buy or beg for one. So, I move to the next one which is?
    We have a Midas at the playhouse theatre, just like the one you mentioned Kurt, its really nice. I want to try something that people have better access and affordability on.
     
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I would think that at the level you are achieving that something along the lines of a Harrison 950M or an Audient ASP series would be worth looking into. Lots more money than the Toft. If I had an unlimited budget I'd have a new API 1608.
     
    Kurt Foster likes this.

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