Trident S100 sound?
I have been looking at the Trident S100 console.
I don't have access to it myself so I can't here it live as of now.
I have found alot about the S100 vs. soundtech discussion but no one talks about how it actually sounds. So if any have comments about the sound it would be great.
I have used Series 65 consoles before and really dig the Trident sound. I ofcourse don't except the S100 to sound like the S65 but if it sounds nice in itself I will be happy.
Looking forward to hear from you.
Trident S100 Opinions.
I have owned a Trident S-100 since march of 2004, and I would be happy to tell you my experiences & how I think it rates. I am primarily a live recording engineer with a few home studio credits to my name. As a freelance engineer I have been fortunate enough to work on an amek angela console & westlake/genelec/mackie hr824 speakers and vintech/universal audio/great river mic pres. In the home studio I use a Presonus M80, aphex tubessence, ADAT XT20's and mics ranging from SM81's to a AKG 414 to a Neumann M147.
I purchased the S100 mainly because I wanted 8 pre's for live recording and an analog summing bus. At $2300 I really couldn't find anything else that fit the bill, although I think now there are many option in the summing bus category. After spending years recording with mackie/alesis mixers I really wanted some pre's that were REAL. Pre's that I could listen to a say "now THAT'S a professional recording!" The mackie/alesis/aphex stuff is great for what it is, but for me the tone just wasn't there. Tone to me is what is familiar and recognizable. Even though I had quality amps and instruments and decent mics (MD421 is my fave on guitar cab) my tones just weren't cutting it.
I am a huge fan of british recordings from the late 60's early 70's. I'm also a big fan of certain local groups that recorded with Trident 80B's, so I started to research that sound. I sent Oram's Trident company an email with contact info to talk about pricing and what not. To my surprise, John Oram called me personally the next day and I put down the cash for an S100.
I got it about two weeks later. I interfaced my Masterlink & computer and started recording some basic test tracks - bass DI, synth, guitar cab. One of the channels didn't quite work and I freaked! I managed to get Trident to pay for a check-up at a reputable shop ($60). Two weeks later, I got it back. The tech said it checked out and that inside it looks well-designed and worthy of it's price tag. I plugged everything back in and there were no problems! Operator error on my part, or maybe the disassembly- reassembly clicked something back into place that had jogged out during shipping? Well, either way I've never experience a dead channel on this board since.
Okay enough blah blah how's it sound right? My favorite thing to do is plug my 1981 4003 Rickenbacker straight in, no DI. Something about this board makes direct bass sound UNREAL. I mean seriously good - that recognizable tone I was mentioning. I'm not much of a bass player but man that's fun! Direct guitar is a little too mellow, but add a DI (I use a sansamp bass driver) and it's usable. Low synth sounds also benefit from the overall character of this mixer. On drums, Transients are maybe a touch slower than the Presonus M80, but the Tridents make up for it with bass response on kicks & toms - more body and less click. High end material - overheads & guitars/horns/vocals - sounds pretty forward to me, lots of midrange but not a lot of air/sizzle. I usually have to work the EQ to get good results on horns & guitar, but the eq is pretty good so I usually don't have a problem. Tone-wise, I like Vintechs more for guitar, the tones I get with the Trident aren't as recognizable, but very usuable still. Best tone I got was with my 421 at a 45 degree angle to my 1x12 with an EV12L. These pre's image so well that I finally started to notice the importance of mic placement!
I've used this mixer as a front-end for my MPC1000, for mixing from an Alesis HD24XR, and for analog summing from my MPC1000 and SawPlus with very favorable results. The EQ has both a high and low cut filter, and the mid sweep and low cut sweep are excellent for tone shaping. The EQ can get a bit hissy if you boost too much, but tonally it is far better than the alesis/mackie/budget soundcraft/allen&heath eq's i was used to at the time. These pre's DO NOT distort happily. Things start to crunch just a hair but then push it too much and it's crackle city! This mixer just has an overall character that the other gear I'd used up until then lacked.
I did a comparison mix with the Trident and a Yamaha o1v and it was no contest - the Trident was considerably more 3-dimensional. Even with all the eq & compression the o1v has, the analog eq & summing of the S100 gave that mix much more life and a bigger soundstage. That o1v is collecting dust!
So overall I just love this little mixer. The breakout cables are a bit tricky, so it's best to get a patchbay cause otherwise you only have 1/4" TRS males to work with. It's case is designed to sit on a table top so the face is at an angle, or you can rack-mount it into a 10-space rack for transport (12-space or more allows more room to plug & unplug mic cables). It's pretty deep though, so cases that have a sloped top for mixers & then a vertical front for rack stuff won't work as well.
I know some local bands who work with a well-known producer that uses this board for summing from his protools rig. Those digital tracks from DAW's/Samplers gain some life and get more out-of-the-box when you hear them mixed through this mixer - more 3-dimensional. Is the mic pre/eq better than what comes in a mackie/alesis/allen&heath/soundcraft budget mixer? IMHO most assuredly yes! Is it better than a rack of 1073 or a original trident 80B? No way! In this price range I have not found a mixer with this quality of preamps & routing options. Yes there are better summing amps and preamps but if you need an all-in-one solution that will get the job done and sound good doing it, the Trident might be what you need. I would love to have a rack of Shadow Hill pre's (oh man they're sexy looking i hate to admit) and that Chandler summing mixer (I like pretty gear), but that's way way more bucks than I can ever put into a studio!
Okay, there's my lengthy $.02. Hope this helps! I can probably scare up some sound clips if you like or just go to http://www.myspace.com/theexpandingman, some of those tracks were done with the S100. Take care!