Allen & Heath System 8?

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by Krou, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    May 27, 2001

    A friend of mine is thinking about picking one up - cheap - as he wants to start mixing out of the box using outboard processors. I told him I'd look into it on these friendly boards to see if anyone can comment on them. It's actually a sweet looking board, has a cool vintage 'russian' vibe about it, can't explain. As for it's preamps and eq's, dunno, how would it compare to today's GL or MixWizard Series.

    I guess what I'm trying to find out is, perhaps vintage usually equals 'better', but I'm sure it's not always the case. What to look out for when buying such an old piece of gear? Worth the investment in cleaning and tune-up?

    If anyone has experienced this board, please share your likes and dislikes about it!
  2. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Vintage Allen-Heath? I don't think so.

    But, generally A&H stuff is a step better than Mackie and thier newest line-up is 2 steps better.

    The things to look out for with old cheap analog consoles:

    1. Scratchy pots- the A&H should have mostly generic pots = cheap and easy to find.

    2. Faders fading- You should be able to replace the faders with better quality after-market parts.

    3. Power Supply- This is probably the toughest problem. It's good to know a competent/cheap tech guy/girl for this issue.

    4. Noise floor- not a whole lot can be done about this unless you want to invest time/money into an old/cheap console. Why not just buy a better console to start with.

    Hope this helps,

  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    A lot of folks who want to mix outside the computer, don't understand that the primary reason the industry originally looked to mixing "in the box", was as a solution to the costs and problems associated with purchasing and maintaining a quality mixer, outboard equipment, patch bays and interfacing. It can be very expensive and difficult even with the deepest pockets and in the best conditions.

    A "real" mixing desk is likely going to cost at minimum, $5000 USD, for something older, like a MCI or Trident 65 that is going to need a lot of TLC. Consoles in very good condition like Neves and SSL's and the bigger Tridents are going to cost a lot more. If you can find one on the "cheap", be careful ... there's a reason it is so inexpensive.

    Small mixers like the Allen Heaths and the Mackies look cool but just don't sound as good as their bigger counterparts. The AH may sound better than a mackie, true but you can do just as well or better with the computer alone, if you have decent front end gear. Some may argue that a cheaper mixer will do the job ... but anyone who has really been around professional studio environments, knows the difference.

    Once you get it up and running, the cost of keeping it in good working order plus the expense of having a room large enough to house it come in to play as well. If you are tech minded, this is not a problem but keep in mind that parts for these older desks are getting scarce as well so you should begin looking for all the replacement modules and parts you can get your hands on while the getting is still good.

    After all of that, you are going to be in a situation where the recallability of your mixes comes into question. When you mix on a computer, all your settings are automatically recalled when you pull up a song. With a mixing console, you have to document all the settings and patchbay connections as well as the settings on your outboard gear to do a recall and still the results are usually mixed at best .. it is almost never a "total recall" .. and can eat up a lot of time. It was not unusual to spend a day to do a "recall" when we had to do it that way.

    Native power, plugs and recording software are all at a point now where using a console is not really necessary. The results that may be achieved on a computer alone are perfectly acceptable .. I submit that more improvement can be achieved by working on the song, arraignments and the performances and less on what you are recording and mixing on. Unless your friend has achieved perfection in the area of performance, writing and arranging their music, they are probably unnecessarily distracting themselves from what they really need to concentrate on, "the music".
  4. remco

    remco Guest

    I was thinking 2 do this as wel, but then only for quik monitoring
    and the pre-amp in the system 8 you got 16-24 pre-amp i think
    Are they ok for (basic) tracking


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