Does having a console help?

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by pr0gr4m, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Back when I tried to get started in this biz, I learned how to engineer on nice big analog consoles. I left the business for about 10 years but have been getting back into it over the last few years.

    These days I'm completely computer based. The only "console" (if you can call it that) I have now is a Mackie 1202 that I just use as a rack synth mixer. I can do pretty much anything I need just using the computer but I do find myself yearning for the days of tweaking a knob here and there and having 48 faders to play with.

    To the best of my knowledge, lot's of studios are still using analog consoles and integrating DAW's (such as ProTools) into them. In places like this, how are they using the console? Are they just using it for the pre's or EQ or something along those lines? Or are they using it's full functionality and using the DAW just as a virtual tape machine?

    As far as the money making aspect of recording, does having a console help? I know that there are producers or engineers who prefer working on certain desks and some have specific characteristics that are sought out. I'm just wondering if having one opens up an opportunity for more business and if so, how much more.

    For me, cost would be a big issue because a good console ain't cheap. Even used, most consoles that I would consider buying cost more than my house.

    And what about tape machines... Would I really only benefit from having a analog console if I also had a 2" machine to go with it? I guess from a marketing standpoint, I could play off the whole analog vs digital thing and offer both to clients. I'm sure that would drum up business from the analog crowd.

    Anyway, mostly I've been doing mobile recording/pre-production type stuff but now I'm thinking about putting a studio together and was just wondering what other peoples thoughts were on this.
  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    At the VO/Post studios I go to, the analog consoles are, pretty much, relagated to monitoring chores(If there's one at all?)...

    Since you've been out of the game for awhile, have you checked into the "controllers"? They look like a console, but all they are is a collection of knobs that simply offer a "familiar"(To us old people. Kids are perfectly content with a mouse...) hands-on interface with the DAW, maybe through firewire or USB, doing little to nothing "electronically" themselves... Even the "biggies" of the console world now make such devices(Maybe mostly???). They may have preamps and places to connect the other gear, meters, displays, etc.(ALL getting their "info" from the DAW), but, not much under the hood...

    Analog tape? Before you jump on the reel to reel wagon, do what you can to research the availability of the tape itself. Getting harder and harder to find. Far as I know, there are no 24 track machines being built today. Studer seems to be having a rather hard time getting rid of their last few(For VERY low prices!) - the tape availability itself being such a concern, seems the reason?

    A good thing to consider? ATR(York, PA). They offer rebuilt/redesigned(Ampex) tape machines. Like 1/2" 2 tracks, that some producers use thusly:

    Do all the recording and mixing digitally. Run the two track digital to tape(For the "tape effect), take it back to digital for the final product/master. Said to work well. Lots written on the technique. Again, tape aquisition may be a problem(?), but as long as ATR is around, at least you should be able to keep the machine running well......

  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.

    There are some studios still running large consoles .. and there will always be some rooms with SSLs, APIs or Neves as well as 2" tape. Deep pocket operations. "Buy a Neve, go out of business."

    I'm an old guy to ... and I don't miss mixing on an analog console. I use a mouse to mix and I love the full recall and automation abilities of DAW.

    I do miss the sound of an analog console, but to be quite frank, I can no longer afford the maintenance and floor space it takes to keep one. The computer has changed the whole business. No sense fighting progress (if you want to call it that).

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