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What is a level up from a Soundcraft Ghost?

Member for

21 years
Hi, I am new to this forum and spent about 3 hours going through the great information already. I read lots of good about the Soundcraft ghost. Here is what I am trying to find out:

I will be buying a console and want one that has great EQs and a nice warm analog sound. It is for my wife who is a singer/songwriter/producer. She is blind and uses Sonar 4 Producer with some special scripts called Caketalking for Jaws. Basically, it reads the screen for her and gives her hundreds of keyboard shortcuts for virtually everything in Sonar. She is fed up with having someone else do the mixing and wants a hands on mixer with dedicated eqs and access to effects. The Soundcraft ghost 24 is so far top of the list. We will use it with a MOTU 24io and will be spending a small fortune on a Universal Audio pream and compressor (mainly for vocals and instruments) We won't be recording lots of tracks at a time very often but want to be able to do so with live drums when we want.

We are really after a warm sound, the kind you tend to get in some LA studios (Yes, I know they may be spending a half a million and ours won't compare, BUT I find warmth is what is lacking in our mixes.

We will be buying a desk second hand and are wondering what the next step up would be (even two steps up). We can get a ghost 24 for around £800 ($1400) but would be willing to spend twice that if it gives us a better sound.

Like I said, we will be using very good mic pres and compressors and have a good studio mic.

Your ideas would be greatly appreciated.

I am considering buying a con


Member for

20 years 6 months

AudioGaff Thu, 07/20/2006 - 08:28
There is no real step up from the Ghost. You pretty much get into the big leagues after the Ghost. I'd likely be looking for something used, but that is always a risk and support/parts have to be considered as well. My first thought is Neotek either used or a new Neotek Elite and/or Elan reissue. Be prepared to spend what a good and pro console costs.

I'll also say that if your mixes lack warmth, many times it is not due to the gear, but the skill of recording and/or mixing that is lacking which is the root cause.

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 07/20/2006 - 10:53
I agree with the previous poster. The next step up from the Ghost is a big jump. You could get into a used Trident, Neotek or Amek, for instance.

The other avenue would be to take a look at some of the summing solutions out there, like the Speck Lilo, which is the most like an actual console of all the summing mixers.

The big summing bus on the LiLo will blow away the summing on any console in the lower budget range.

There are these new inexpensive Tridents coming out, like the ATB, but I don't know that they'd be a lot better than the Ghost.

Do you need a lot of classic console features, like pres, EQ, auxs, etc? (I mean, I know you need that type of manual control-surface, which is why I recommended the LiLo).

If so, a recapped, refubished and upgraded Trident Series 24 is a decent desk.

Member for

17 years 2 months

Massive Mastering Thu, 07/20/2006 - 12:58
A fairly huge step up from the Ghost is - A Ghost that's been tweaked at Creation Audio Labs.

The Ghost from my old place is in service at a local facility that had the left 16 and the master section upgraded, along with the newer power supply units. The difference between the stock preamps and the tweaked preamps is pretty stunning... The bottom, the clarity, the air - The whole personality of the board sounds like it was "uncovered" for lack of a better term.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Thu, 07/20/2006 - 17:32
I'm going to agree with all who have posted here. There is,as was mentioned, a huge gap between Ghost and the next stage. As John mentioned, this is covered by audio upgrades to the Ghost itself. Perhaps a summing bus architecture is what you may be wanting. This leaves a lot to be desired as far as EQ but you would be getting excellent 2-bus for this 'warmth' you are searching for. AudioGaff pretty much nailed it by suggesting that perhaps recording and mixing techniques need to upgraded first. Perhaps the warmth is hiding out there..

As for warmth in a Ghost. Theres plenty of that...its much 'warmer' sounding than A&H consoles of the same build caliber, and even though theres a growing number of folks who claim that there are certain boards made for live performance that that overshadow the Ghost in terms of recording quality sound, its yet to be proven to me. I will say that the new Mackie Onyx stuff is very clean and clear, and any time you have clean and clear, its fairly easy to add 'warmth' with just a few little side boxes.

BTW, I DO own a Ghost. Good price. I'm assuming its an LE version at that number.

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 07/20/2006 - 23:42
Thanks for the comments and advice. Yes, we will probably now choose the ghost. As to the upgrades, how does that work. I read about the powersupply, but what else can be upgraded? How good is the summing? I assume routing through a separate summing device such as a dangerous 2-bus defeats the purpose? We are in London, so a US company won't be able to help really. But if I had a bit more information, maybe a British company could do it. There is a company called studio systems who restore old consoles and do all sorts of repairs. They specialise in Soundtracs desks but do others as well. Any specifics as to what upgrades are possible would be great.

Thanks again!

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 07/20/2006 - 23:52
As to warmth, this is what I am talking about. (I know you are all busy so I don't expect anyone to check out these two tracks but if you want to, here they are) On my wife's site, there is a link to her CDbaby site link removed

Track 2. I Don't Wanna Know was recorded in LA (nice and warm!)

Track 7. Breakfast In Bed was recorded on our own studio (quite cold) with Sonar and no analog equipment

There is a huge difference between the two.

I will do a search under recording methods that can bring out the warmth.

Member for

17 years 2 months

Massive Mastering Fri, 07/21/2006 - 07:42
Perhaps contact them - I think it's - and tell them your situation. I don't think it's a "big secret" as to what they do... Maybe they'll just tell you what to tell a local shop.

In any case - Even if it meant shipping the entire console overseas (which you don't have to do if you're handy at pulling the channel strips from the back) it's well worth it -

Member for

15 years 5 months

BobRogers Sat, 07/22/2006 - 04:14
My comments are based on listening to the tracks through my crappy little laptop speakers, so take with a grain of salt. First, let me say that I like your wife's voice, and the recordings from your studio are quite respectable. But it seems to me the lack of warmth in the recording from your studio extends to the electronic instruments that are recorded directly. So my guess is that the biggest difference is what goes on in the mixing and mastering process rather than the recording stage. Do you really feel you have reached the limit of what you can get using your DAW and plugins?

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 07/23/2006 - 13:55
That is great, Thanks to everyone who gave their advice. Ghost it will be!

One more question, depending on what second hand ghosts come up, we may get the 24 or 36 channel. We were planning on getting a Motu 24 io. Any recommendations on what really good soundcards to get for the 36 channel ghost for our audio pc?

Many thanks!!