Crest console question

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by DonnyThompson, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    @Boswell @dvdhawk @audiokid @Gette @Kurt Foster .... or anyone else who might know about them...

    Does anyone have any experience with Crest desks?
    Were they known mainly for FOH work, or did they make Recording desks, too?

    I seem to recall that at one time they were pretty respected for the mid-range console market, ( the same range in price and features as SoundTracs and A&H boards of the time) .... but I could be wrong about that and am perhaps mistaking it for another console (?) I'm almost positive that I've never worked on one. I mean, maybe there was one session in there somewhere in the blur of the 80's and 90's where I did, but if I did, I have no memory of it.

    I'm not looking at buying, BTW... I was just curious to find out how they are regarded as recording consoles.
    I saw one on eBay going for what seemed like chicken feed ( $400) - or at least it seems very cheap to me - but, that's why I'm asking you guys, because I don't know. Maybe it's worth exactly what its being sold for, maybe even worth less than that. ;)

    Can anyone here refresh my memory about Crest consoles, in relation to recording/mixing?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Crest-Audio...2d22880&pid=100005&rk=2&rkt=6&sd=291356029338
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I owned one for a short while. It had problems and I returned it after one side of the board died. The meter lights were all over the map as well. Obvious PS issues. I didn't keep it long enough to get to know it.
    I also owned Crest power which was okay.

    That looks similar, it was a long time ago. Any console would be fun to use.
     
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I've also used Crest power amps for live rigs, they worked well, I don't recall them being terrible or fragile or anything.

    I was just curious about their desks. :)
     
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION:
    Their serious large format consoles (Century, HP-8, V-12) were mostly live venue FOH and equally large live monitor consoles. Back when I was a Crest dealer (pre-Peaveyfication*) their console literature bragged about lots of big (Branson-like) venues, universities. and mega-churches where they were installed. I don't recall ever seeing any studios mentioned in any of that literature. Not that you couldn't use one in a studio, but it would be akin to any other good live console from A&H, Soundcraft, Yamaha, etc. Good quality pres, decent semi-parametric EQ, lots of Aux sends, limited options for monitoring or foldback from a multitrack recorder.

    Spec sheets are available through the Peavey website.

    ON DURABILITY:
    Over the years Crest has made everything from entry-live bar band PA gear ( power amps, consoles, & speakers) to top level touring gear. Despite their weight (137 lbs), Crest Pro Series 10001 power amps were the longtime industry standard for big touring acts, especially for sub amps with the 'big boys' (Clair Brothers, Showco, etc.). I'd be working at a show and see 16 - 20 space amp racks rolling down the ramp with two guys easily walking them down the ramp, turns out they were lightweight Carver PMs, or whatever. Then a tiny 4-space rack would come to the top of the ramp with 4" casters, with 2 guys on each side of the ramp - at ground level for better leverage. It was a single 10001, (15k watt, bridged @ 2Ω) and if it got away from them it could break someone's leg in a hurry.

    Personally, I've been using very reasonably priced Crest CC series power amps for my main PA for about 10 years, before that (when it was someone else's money) I had a few years with Crest Pro 200 Series and a friend is still using them. Durability has never been a concern with any of them. The CC and Pro 200 at 10-13 years old have been trouble-free. I think I replaced a bridge rectifier once in a 20 year old Vs amp I sold for an installation, and/or a MOV. Whatever it was, the Crest tech & parts dept. was great. I don't think they even charged me for the part(s). Powering up an amp that big produces a lot of in-rush that will take it's toll on a MOV. I also use some of the lighter Crown and QSC for monitors and some of the smaller PA configurations where weight might be more of a concern.

    For a short time, Crest also made a killer line of LH portable PA speakers too, but they were heavy too. They weighed about twice as much as my JBL SRX cabinets.

    *When Peavey bought Crest 15-20 years ago, like a lot of people I was a little concerned it was going to be the end of Crest. Although Peavey PA equipment was known as good value bar-band gear and some of it's nearly indestructible, they were never known for high-fidelity tour-grade gear. The concern was that the new ownership would use Crest's good name and quickly drag them down to a more of an entry level product. I'm pleased to report I haven't seen any sign of that, all these years later. It turned out to be a good acquisition for Peavey. It elevated the game of Peavey amplifiers for sure, and the Crest amp line has remained virtually unchanged.
     
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  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

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    I can say that the Crest consoles were very well designed and built. I believe that they started off as Gamble desks and were known to be killer boards, then Jim Gamble sold the company to the investment group that started Crest amps. Massive power supply designs which yielded great headroom, but they never made a dedicated recording console. They specialized in live SR boards that, like Yamaha's PM line, featured an output matrix system to feed various zones in a venue.
    You could use the matrix like an 8-buss arrangement, but there was no real provision for selecting Mic/Tape or inline monitoring options like a "proper" recording console would have.
    Yes, they go for cheap these days. There was a 40-channel behemouth in my local GC for sale last year...$500 ! Wish that I had the space to put it in LOL!!
     
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    an operator can always run an SR board in a "split" fashion, utilizing the first 8/ 12/ 16 inputs to feed a multitrack, as long as the channels have direct outs, or using the buss outs to go to tape and then using the rest of the channels as tape returns. if the console has selection for stereo or 2 buss on the channels all the better. a 16 channel board would work for an 8 track and a 32 channel would be perfect for a 16 track. with a little re-patching as you proceed, a 24 channel board would work for a 24 track recorder albeit a bit kludgey.

    or you can patch the inserts of a board to and from the recorder. that way you are monitoring the tape machine (input /repro) depending on if you were record enabled or not. i did a lot of location shows that way when i was in the Bay Area. it's how i recorded the Nik Turner Space Ritual CD for Cleopatra Records at the Great American Music Hall, with a mic split from the house system, 3 ADATs and a Mackie SR24.
     
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  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Thanks a bunch guys! Lots of great info here. :)
     
  8. AshokanKid

    AshokanKid Active Member

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    Hi;

    Maybe a minute or two (months or so) late to the party here, but I've just gotten a Crest Century TC (finally!) up & running that had been sitting here for well over a year (lacking the darned 7 pin power supply connect cable!).

    I must say that even quick, cursory testing has proven this console to be a very nice find indeed. ALL channels seem fine, even though there is obvious wear. Board is actually amazingly clean looking (came out of a NYC TV studio?) though from the missing fader marks screening, it definitely saw use.

    One bus has a fader (short?) issue, but otherwise this baby sounds fantastic. Preamps (as many have noted) sound quite clean & "punchy", if not imbued with a lot of "character" (in my opinion a GOOD thing for recording) and the desk seems to have quite a good deal of clean headroom.

    My plans are to use it is a front end for (hobby) recording of various sources (wife is an accomplished, classically trained singer / flutist) from acoustic to (loud) rock / blues, jazz, electronic (synth, etc.) sources going in to an HD24 recorder or into a computer DAW such as Pro Tools, Logic, etc..

    Been a tech for well over 40 years and it warms my heart to see design / construction features on this all analog Crest Century like;
    Fully modular construction
    All IC chips are socketed (every single one!)
    Star grounding bus, every card grounded right from mic in
    Phase reverse on each channel
    EQ on / off on each channel
    Dual mid EQ that is sweepable
    8 (eight!) aux busses
    Channel on / off, HPF, (etc., etc., etc.)
    AND an obviously ROBUST and well constructed rack mount power supply (though many whine about it being "loud", I can only say, Huh? ;-) )

    Not sure what these mixers sold for back in the day (anyone?), but for current prices, this seems like Stupid Deal of the Century (heh-heh) to me!

    Can't wait to do some fun mixes on this beauty...

    Crest_Century_TC_Console_020.jpg

    AK
     
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  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Many pro consoles can be had for a fraction of their original cost these days. I've seen deals on eBay for Neves, SSL, Tridents, MCIs, etc, that are unbelievable. You're likely to pay more for the shipping costs on some of these than on the desks themselves.
    It's a great time to buy used pro LFC's.
    And if this is your vision, then you should.
    But ...be prepared for maintenance costs out tha ya-ya. LOL.
    If you know what you are doing with the tech/electronic servicing, that helps a bunch ---
    IF the parts you need are still available.
    And it's not a question of "if" it will need servicing, but WHEN.
    That said, there is a magic and a vibe to tactile mixing. I miss it. But not enough to dent my bank account (more like wipe it out, LOL) to buy an SSL G. ;)
     
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Before throwing 50k or more on a mixer, I would buy some boutique preamps and a console like controler instead. But that's just me !
    Dawm 50k ??
    I'd have a rack of 8 millennia, 8 grace, 2 Vintech 473 and a ISA 828 and a rack full of UA channel strips. Then some of the goodies, manley slam and others.. ;)

    Here is how Sweetwater think a complete studio should for :
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DRStudioA

    Would I personally buy a used crest console ? No... I don't think their sound is legendary enough to make customers come to my studio instead of my neighbor.
    I had a 32 channels Soundcraft mixer and I don't regret replacing it with good rack preamps. My ISA and UA preamps sound 10 times better !
    I guess it depends where your priorities lies ; quality of sound or big good looking console. And like Donny said the servicing is also a big issue to consider.
     
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    The only thing I'd get a console for is to satiate my love for tactile mixing. I miss that part of it. Beyond that, I'd rather invest money into a variety of pres and mics, and you can get the sound of a Neve console for recording by picking up a few 1073's (or Vintech, etc) in a 500 series format. The cool thing about the 500 Series approach is that you can mix and match to your heart's content ... neve, SSL, API... And not just for pres but ALL kinds of processing, too.
    It The only thing you're limited by (besides your budget, LOL) is the number of slots/ spaces in your particular 500 rack, but even then, there's all kinds of regular rack stuff, and even tabletop models, too.
     
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Euphonix. Avid Artist. Avid Mix
     
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Yeah, I've thought about control surfaces, to me they aren't the same as an actual console. That's not to say that I think they aren't a worthy investment for some.
    I've worked on several surfaces (avid, Mackie) but they never held the same vibe for me.
    I kinda felt the same way back in '98, when I bought a Yamaha 02Rv2.... Having to select each function seemed clunky to me. I recorded a lot of sessions on it, mixed many records, but it never "felt" the same to me as the Neotek desk I'd sold to get the 02R.
    I mean...yeah...I made it work, what else was I gonna do? But that 02R now sits in storage, (in all if it's 20 bit glory, LOL) and the Elan' is still likely perfectly useable -- if it's had the right owner over the years.
    If I was going to return to actual console mixing, I think I'd look to an A&H Zed, ( or something similar, something that wouldn't require me to take out a wall in my house to get it to fit;) ).
    Anyway... I'm not planning on making a move on either, at least not anytime soon. I was just waxing nostalgic, I suppose. Probably has a lot to do with how I worked when I first entered this craft of ours, (back when Jimmy Carter was president). ;)
     
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    For me, the MAJOR reason I went with the Artist Mix and an Artist Control was strictly for the tactile feel. I am learning some about how to use its functions but most of those I do with the mouse. However, at the mix, once I have all my stems in place I will ride some of the important things when I'm bumping down to 2 tracks. I can arm these tracks in the memory and I don't lose any of the mix moves I make and it allows me to save and try it again until I get that flow I'm looking for. One of the great benefits of the digital world IMO.....saving mixes. Of course I've already (at this point) gone through and drawn in a lot of my automation that's likely to stay fixed as it should and reserve the 'special' tracks for the live mixing to 2 track. And it seems that ever since I got an opportunity LONG LONG ago to do some work on a very early Automated Processes Incorporated console....the FIRST motorized faders I'd ever seen, I tend to still get a thrill watching the robots play back all the moves made during the mix........It's different than watching them move on the screen......
     
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