large mixer advice please

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by maximumdf, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. maximumdf

    maximumdf Guest

    I am going to be recording many tracks of orchestras and bands (the type with clarinets) and I am wondering which 48 channel mixer is going to be the best. I have about 15k in the budget for it.

    Looking for preamp/sound quality and overall quality and ease of use.

    I am liking the soundcraft ghost as well as the Mackie Onyx, which I know is not a recording mixer but it appears it will do the job.

    Any others I should know about? Advice on those?

  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Is this going to be a mobile facility or in a studio?
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey maximumdf!

    Your question would be better suited for the Acoustic Music forum as that's exactly what we discuss on a regular basis.

    That being said, it is most definitely not a good idea to use that many channels on an orchestra or wind ensemble (band.)

    Usually, the recordings that our company does (as does most of the other specialized symphonic recording companies represented here and even the "biggies" such as Telarc and Teldec) are made with 4 to 6 microphones.

    My advice is, if you have 15K in the budget, buy some damn good preamps (Millennia, Grace, etc. - 8 channels will set you back roughly $4-5 K) and some great mics (Schoeps, DPA, Gefell, Sennheiser) and work from there.

    For $15K, I personally would get:
    - Grace 801 ($4500)
    - 2 Schoeps CMC 6 / MK 2 mics ($3K)
    - 2 Gefell M296 mics ($3K)
    - Lynx Aurora 8 Converter and AES 16 ($3000)
    - Custom PC ($2K or so)

    This puts you a little over the budget, but I can't imagine a much better set up to record orchestras and bands.

    FWIW, the only time I've ever broken the 16 track limit on symphonic recording was:

    Mahler Symphony No 8 (Symphony of a Thousand)
    Soundtrack work for an indie film with a local orchestra (which actually sucked)

    I hope this helps.

  4. maximumdf

    maximumdf Guest

    first response: a 48 track mobile studio? huh? edit: permanent installation

    second response:

    Im not talking the general classical recording done with a stereo pair behind the conductor, this is for contemporary/soundtrack stuff, with a condensor on every couple of instruments.

    I understand the convention and benifits of a single stereo pair and how nice this usally turns out, just going for a different, less ambient sound here.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    That makes a bit more sense. For on-location stuff, particularly if you weren't going to try to get a sense of the hall, the Ghosts will actually do just fine. I have found out first hand that the better power supply will make all the difference.

    My inclination would still be to lean towards individual pres. For $15K you could get 24 channels of Grace or Millennia and have one hell of a setup. Factor a little more in for 24 channels of good conversion and you'll have a hell of a recording setup.

    If not though, and you really want the mixer (hey, I understand...) I would look at a few -
    Ghost - sure, why not - they're decent. The pres are actually pretty good for classical. I understand Kurt's hesitation for beefy stuff like bass or a good male vocal

    RAMSA - some of the RAMSA boards are REALLY good and REALLY cheap. Keep an eye on E-bay. From time to time, a mint 32 channel board will pop up for under $1000.

    NeoTek Elan IIs are pretty nice too and start at around $15K.

    Another oddball that I like for classical is the TL Audio M4 and VTC. They can be a tad expensive, but having a tube mixer (especially one that sounds pretty darned decent) is a great asset. Unlike some of the "questionable" offerings from TL Audio, the consoles are pretty darned nice.

    Now, I should mention that none of these fit a 48 channel frame size. But, in all truth, a 48 channel frame will be hard to come by for that kind of dough. However, even spot mic'ing sections, I can't imagine even the larger Brahms orchestras requiring more than 32 channels.

    Ben - if you're checking this one out, care to weigh in??

  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    How about a Midas console?
    They are a live console design and have all the jacks & directouts & aux for tracking and recording.
    I've only used 1 midas console in the past. It was very nice. There are 2 on e-bay right now.
    One starting out at $3500 (brand new and with no bids) and the another one with 1 bid on it for $3900.
    They sell new for $5000.
    Midas also make's a more exp. board, the Verona
    Which I'm sure is only tooo sweet.
    Or maybe you want something else? I'm not sure.
    Let us know which one you get?
    Happy buying!
  7. maximumdf

    maximumdf Guest

    Thanks guys.

    Those Midas boards look sweet.

    No opinions on the Mackie Onyx?

    Also, how about Allen and Heath Live Boards? The GL4000 looks sweet.

    Soundcraft also makes live boards, opinions?

    Because we will probablly on occassion do other work, which of these boards will also be decent for anything else, Im not sure a tube board will do too well for much else.

    Im leaning towards the ghost, could anyone that owns it tell me if the tape outs are pre or post eq?

    On a side note, We think we are going to go with the AD16X and DA16X Apogee converters, which come in banks of 16 so this is probabblly going to be a 32 track setup.
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Against the ones you just mentioned, the Midas BLOW them ALL away.
    If you can...I suggest going to test a Midas board out at a local dealer. You can try it along side any of those other boards you mentioned.
    But I'm sure you will see (rather hear) real quick like, how good the Midas pre-amps sound. They are pretty darn good my RO friend.
    Well good luck!

    And whatever you get...get the good stuff!
  9. maximumdf

    maximumdf Guest

    Anyone have any other opinions on these midas boards?

    I really like the looks of the Ghost, although the Midas Verona while out of my price range looks like it might be a real winner.

    Im not too sure about the cheaper Midas Boards though.
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    The direct outs on each channel are post fader and the EQ is switchable in/out..It is an inline console and as such allows both mic/line and the mix B inputs to be active to each channel strip....this provides twice as many inputs at mix. The Ghost comes in 24 and 32 channel expander of 24 channels is available...The larger power supply is my personal recomendation. While not the 'best' they are trouble free and easily learned. I agree with the assessment that they sound good for classical and acoustic recordings, though I have zero trouble making mine sound great for everything. Though they will work as a live sound console they are better setup for recording. The 'LE' version comes without the auto muting and memory features. Having these will be a matter of personal choice. The last time I looked there was a 32 plus expander on Ebay for around 7 grand. If it has been babbied then this a fair price...Maybe a touch on the upper end, but for low hours worth a look. The Allen&Heathes are fine boards. As are the Crests, the Midas stuff is outstanding( I've used more than one in a live situation)..The larger Soudcraft live consoles are industry standard for many many years and remain so...The live boards, even with the direct outs and all, will be a bit less user friendly in a recording situation as far as routing and monitoring.

    As for your earlier post. You originally were asking for channels....48 channels...not TRACKS....these are very different things to me, so I asked my question. You could certainly have many many channels and only record to 8 or less tracks....

    Your selection of the converters is a good one.
  11. mixing_nic

    mixing_nic Guest

    What about a used, but well maintained Neotek Elite? Midi automation, great sounding Pre's.. I'm about to use one tomorrow so i'll give you a full description after if you want..
    Everything i've heard about it is good though.
    The TLA i;ve had plenty of use on. For a warm sound, that's what you want! Drums through that console just blow you away.. Beware of the metering though, always abit low compared to levels in ProTools. You really need to push the meters. The standard has 16 channels all with direct out, it also has the 8 buses so you could have 1-8 on buses and 9-16 direct. Then get a 24channel board, thus allowing 16 tracks of recording (through 2 PT Mix interfaces which are cheap to come by) by simply busing 16 tracks down to 8, and then you can have 8 tracks of close miked stuff to mix in later?
    Just a thought...
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Orchestras are usually recorded in very large studios like Ocean Way or Abbey Road. Are you sure you are going to be doing these kind of sessions? Typically, the expense of the musicians and arraignments for this genre' are so expensive that sessions occur at only the most professional studios that can accommodate them with multiple cue mixes and 30+ sets of headphones. Another thing to consider is amenities for this kind of session. Parking, rest rooms, coffee / sodas / lounge areas ... telephones.

    These kinds of studios do not scrimp on console choices ... It's usually a SSL, Harrison or a Neve ... something along those lines. I really do not think any of the boards mentioned are really up to the task of doing a truly professional job for this kind of work. This stuff while decent, is all project studio gear, never found in REAL PRO ROOMS. My 2 cents.

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