Small Hi Quality 24 channel Mixing Console?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by woods, Mar 21, 2003.

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  1. woods

    woods Guest

    I am looking for that kind of thing to use primarily for mix down. The smaller the better (size-wise).

    Anything out there? Capable of mixing 24 tracks. Very high quality electronics. Must have good head room, hi quality EQ and busing electronics. Mackie ain't gonna cut it sonically.(May not even use for tracking - I'm going direct to HD24 with stand alone pres) But just to keep my otions open I would prefer 8 bus in case I did want to try it tracking.

    Would the Studiomaster Mixdown 8 Classic perhaps fit in this category.


  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    What you are asking for is "The Holy Grail" of home recordists. Quality mixers are just not really out there in a small format. I have heard some say that the Allen Heaths are nice but then others have reported a lack of headroom and noise issues. The Crest X series of consoles are reported to have a very nice sound and are affordable. Not 24 channels however. http:// . Another solution would be the Inward Connections from Boutique Audio.. (deadlink) Be prepared, this stuff is very pricey! 24 channels would run $24K! At that point you could just buy a large format console. But then your into a lot of maintenance and difficulty moving it etc… you’re still trying to have a mobile rig, correct?

    What you want, is one of the reasons many of us have decided to go with DAWs, … mixing without a console. Sure a nice console sounds better but very good results can be achieved on a DAW with a little care and caution.

    Quality audio paths are not inexpensive to manufacture and unfortunately they are difficult and expensive to maintain. Good sound requires a lot of headroom and that means lots of power. All that heat has a tendency to be hard on components over time. This is why digital mixing has become so popular. Perhaps your solution would be to go with a high quality digital mixer like the Sony DMX 100. Kurt
  3. Mario-C.

    Mario-C. Active Member

    Nov 17, 2002
    Mexico City
    Home Page:
    I saw a really cool compact rack mixer by Speck electronics, capable of handling 76 inputs, may be just what you need...
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    The speck equipment is first rate IMO.

    I have the EQ's in my presense and they are really well done. Review in Early May for them.

    Ramsa. Wrs series if you can find them for a "known"

    WRS 4412/4416/4424.

    Bad ass for used, beware, the switches need to stay pristine.
  5. lamp

    lamp Guest

    Back in the early eighties I had a 16 channel 8 bus Speck. I can't find a picture anywhere on the net.

    Don't know if they were as good as current speck products.You may want to look for one and try it. Wish I still had it :(

    Okay Sorry, You said 24 tracks.
  6. JPH

    JPH Guest

    Kurt, I agree that's why so mant go with a DAW. But there are to many advantages over a console to mention.
    I don't agree that a console would "sound better".
    With a console your pretty much stuck with it's EQ, compression ect. With a DAW you have access to so many different sounding plugs.

    The summing issue many have is what makes the difference. Not all DAWs are created equal. Can't put them all into the same problems box. The summing I get out of my DP rig is better than the digital console I have WRDA7.

    The imaging is as good as any analog console i've heard, or commercial release done on one.
  7. Roly

    Roly Guest

    Crest Audio's X-Rack series may have something of intrest.
  8. woods

    woods Guest

    Thanks so far.

    Pres are not a priority with me as I have good externals.

    Excluding preamps which of the following mixers might be the best package of Head Room, EQ, Busing, Faders, Aux Send Return capacity:

    Soundcraft Ghost
    Sound Tracs Solologic
    Speck Xtramix
    Trident 65


  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    IMO the Trident is the best sounding of the bunch. Nice EQ's.. the 65 is the low end of the manufactures run. They can require a fair amount of maintenance as with any good console. It comes with the territory. The Ghost and the Soundtrax are more reliable but don't sound as good. ... Kurt
  10. vpoulos

    vpoulos Guest

    I really think the Xtramix can eliminated from your list. It's a rack mount line mixer and lacks EQ and linear faders.

    We've tryed to position the Xtramix in the marketplace as an alternative to the desk sytle mixer. It certainly has the specs (no pun) and some of the features you've mentioned, but I think it's better suited in a "set-and-forget" studio setup where you need a ton of line inputs is small space.

    You should put together a product matrix of mixers that are in your price range. Using a spreadsheet, put your mixer choices in "columns" and their respective features/specs in "rows". I think an answer to your question will reveal itself as you look at the data in your list.

    Now having said that...if your running low on choices for a high quality 4-rack space, 72 x 8 bus line mixer, then give the Xtramix a look.

    Vince Poulos
    Speck Electronics
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The Speck Xtramix is a great piece for what it is designed to do, which as Vince mentioned is line inputs. I would not hesitate to use one of these mixers to submix reverb returns or keyboard inputs. It could also be used as an analog summing and mixing box for DAWs where eq and other processing were "in the box" but the digital 2-bus was being bogged down by too many inputs for the computers processing ability. The Speck Xtramix would be a very good solution for that kind of problem. Speck is an excellent company with a long history of quality affordable products.

    I currently have a Speck 5.0 mic pre in the studio in the review process and I must say it is built like a tank and has a very clean and open quality to it. Very transparent and loads of headroom. A vast improvement to the mic pres found in many small format mixers. I will be posting a full review of the Speck 5.0 pre in the review form and in the RO E-Mag in the next couple of weeks!

    I have to applaud Vince for saying this. It is refreshing to hear a representative of a company state that one of their products isn't what is called for. IMO this speaks volumes as to the honesty of the company. Kudos Vince!

    JPH said;
    You’re preachin’ to the choir on this one. I do everything “in the box”. I actually advised Woods to go this route several months ago to avoid the issues he is currently dealing with! If you read the thread again you will see that I am advocating using DAW rather than a stand alone recorder and an analog console. However some people are daunted by the aspect of a steep learning curve with a computer based recording system. I would say to them, jump in and do it. For many reasons.. it’s the future, it’s not as hard as you would think. I am a moron when it comes to computers however I was tracking by the third day. Two or three days of figuring it out and getting your basic set up saved to a default start point and you’re ready to go!

    That being said, I still think that if one were to mix on a Neve, a Trident A Range, SSL or other high end console, all other things being equal the console would probably sound better. My two cents and more ….. Kurt
  12. lamp

    lamp Guest

    Vince. Since you are here,what was the model number of the 16x8x2 Speck mixer from the eighte's ? I had one back then.

    Was the EQ of those desk's simular to the new EQ.

    Got a link or a picture? Thanks.
  13. Hasse

    Hasse Guest

    I have tried a Studiomaster 16-8-2 side by side with a Mackie (with the old pres). In comparison the Studiomaster had a nice "colored" sound. Especially the lower frequencies sounded just great, massive and "hold together". The Mackie was more bright in the sound and more boring...and without the nice bass response. In my opinion the Studiomaster was superior to the Mackie and great. I recommend it...and for the prices second hand today...gosh!

  14. vpoulos

    vpoulos Guest

    A link or picture to what? The EQ or the old consoles? The new EQ (ASC) can be found on our web site. Nothing on the old consoles. I may scan some of our old brochures some day and put them on our site.

    OT: I have a file cabinet of brochures for audio gear dating back to the early 70's. Virtually every console, tape recorder, processing gear, price list, you name it! I'd love to have all that stuff scanned and put on our web site.

    I think we had three different console models during the 80's; the SP800C (a blue colored modular), the Speckmix 16 (a black panel non-modular), and the Speckmix MKii (a blue panel non-modular).

    The EQ's in those consoles were 3 band sweepable. The new ASC is 4 band fully parametric. I've been told that the high band on the ASC sounds the same as the EQ on those early consoles.


    Vince Poulos
    Speck Electronics
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    ...Well I was lookin for a good argument so I'll start one...I'm sure the Speck is as high quality as you can get for the money.And if it fits the footprint of what your needs are then by all means check it out....In response to your mixer list....the Trident is a very good sounding console and it is not 'small'...most of the problems with them involve maintainence...if you have a good tech at your disposal then this might be what you're looking for...and the pres in it will probably rival some of your outboard well as the eq...again, maintainence,...the soundtracs always sounded thin to me...I have done work on a couple and wasnt that impressed..their routing and monitoring capabilities are very cool though and it might also make a nice usable platform for what you need...then theres the Ghost.It will do all you need and more.very patchable and very nice sounding. a few minor upgrades brings these up to a much higher standard of for some of the other mixers mentioned....I would stay away from studiomaster..they have a pretty low rail voltage(the ones i've used) and have no overhead at'd be on ten with everything....the mackies suck IMHO theres this intense upper-mid harshness that comes through and after you start multing tracs it builds up..Bill mentioned the old Ramsa WRS series mixers...these sound like GOD on steriods...nothing has been produced in this range of boards with the depth and quality that they had....the switches(as was said) are rotarys and are the weak link as are the eq pots...find one in like new condition with these replaced and you've got something...Older Yamahas sound great and are bullet proof....all in all you want a GHOST...reliable and clean and the eq really matter what anyone may tell you...
  16. lamp

    lamp Guest

    Ok Vince,now it's comming back to me. I had a Speckmix 16. Wish I still had it.

    Im going to check out the ASC EQ soon. :)
  17. jackruston

    jackruston Guest


    I recently bought a 'small' Calrec console. 12 monos, 12 stereo, 8 mono groups with compressors, 4 extra stereo compressors, 2 masters, monitoring module, etc etc. Its excellent. Really high quality. Maintenance is an issue of course. They really squeezed a lot into a small space with little or no compromise, and consequently it runs hot...and so will need recapping sooner. The other disadvantage is a lack of metering...but that can be solved with a Mackie meterbridge and a bit of clever wiring at the bay. Overall though, if you want a small, very high quality desk, if you are prepared to give it TLC, there are options put there.

  18. woods

    woods Guest

    Thanks for all the posts everyone.

    Does anyone know if the following is possible?

    Is there any such thing as a stand alone fader module (24 channel)?

    Any such thing as a standalone system that offers just busing and aux send/return?

    Then, if so, could you add in several channels of EQ (such as API 550, etc.)?

    Obviously this is a custom console thing. But what I am wondering is can it be assembled just that easily or do you really have to build something like that from the inside out. In other words can you buy the modules and just plug them all together?

    Look at the custom console at Sorcerer Studio in New York
    Acoustilog GB-1 Console
    32 Inputs + 32 Returns
    10 Independent Auxiliary Sends
    2 Stereo, 4 Mono Effects Returns
    32 Acoustilog 4 Band Sweepable EQ
    24 Neve EQ's with Microphone Preamps


  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
  20. jg

    jg Guest

    I think if you want something new & of very good quality, the API's modules are a great way to go.
    I am looking at those myself...

    There is some decent older stuff on the used market all the time.
    The one thing about buying an older analog board that you may want to keep in the back of your head is the need for maintenance.
    The analog goodness will come at a price & if you aren't willing to spend time refurbing, tweaking, repairing or pay someone to do so, then you may find a used old console more trouble than it's worth.

    I recently picked up a used SoundWorkshop console on the cheap.
    I know some people knock the SW, but I have to admit I am more than pleased with it & love the EQ + overall sound.
    I am using it to track to an Otari (1") 8 track, from there I dump to either 1/4" tape for mixdown or I go right into a DAW for further edits & processing.
    I am getting the big, fat, warm sound I always wanted.

    For my DAW I have an AW4416 (Yamaha) and can do pretty much anything on it.
    I don't use P.T. (by choice) right now, but may possibly shoot for a 001 or Mbox later just to have some basic compatibility with other producers down the line.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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