Tactile human being wants desk console not little rack thing

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by tommyrocks, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. tommyrocks

    tommyrocks Guest


    Some background before my question:

    I just purchased an Alesis ADAT HD24. I got a really good deal on it new. I didn't get the XR, because I don't care about 96kHZ recording. I am not scoring soundtracks for film, not producing or recording music for DVDs, etc. nor will I ever be. Don't need it or want it. CDs are still 44kHZ, and that's my focus.

    Alright, now having played with the little Yamaha 01v, I don't really care for it being so tiny, having to deal with layers during the creative process, etc. Working in such a small rack-sized space...

    Besides, I can setup my project Studio B that is in the digital realm (A DAW) with a computer, surface controller, for mixing and mastering. BUT... for recording (both live at gigs and in the home studio) I want a desk console.

    Since the HD24 will also be used for live tracking, and I want to remove the distraction of a computer when tracking at home.... I want to get a desk console. Final mixdown/mastering is a completely separate deal as far as I am concerned.

    I want the feel of larger faders, and the feel of actually being able to tweak knobs. And I want to keep it simple. I also want to incorporate my outboard gear collected over time.

    I have up to $2,000 USD set aside for a mixer. I already have everything else I need, as far as a wide selection of microphones, monitors, etc.

    I currently am using an old Mackie CR1604, but it doesn't cut it for the new Alesis HD24. My years of Mackie usage has me biased in their direction...

    My question is, does anybody see any issues or have any objections to me purchasing either a Mackie 24.4 (currently onsale for $1444), or a Mackie 32.4 (currently on-sale for $1869) to track, monitor and mix out of the box?

    I would love to hear from people who do use this setup, and would love even more to hear the sounds you've gotten from this setup.

    Please don't tell me to get the Yamaha. I've checked it out, and it's not for me, as related to what I want to do. I am setting up a separate DAW station and will use control surfaces and Logic for those tasks.

    I am a tactile guy, want to keep it simple.


  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Depending on what you really want, I have a Mackie 24•8 Bus in a road case that you might be interested in.

    It's used, but only for 4 gigs and it's been sitting idle for quite awhile... make me a reasonable offer.

    I'd also suggest looking at the A&H GL series.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I will add the Soundcraft Ghost to that list as well.

    Its a bit 'bigger' sounding than the Mackie and you can push the pres a bit harder before they crap out. Actually I've never had them crap out.......The EQ is WAY better.

    You may have to go used and a bit more cash to get one, but the difference will be noticable. Although I really dont have a problem with the 32/8 board.....Its more like what you need.

    I use Ghost-> HD24......No problems five years and counting.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    What you really have to ask yourself is, what makes you think you need a console when tracking on a HD 24?? If you're tracking, you're not doing PA. You are decent microphone three amps to feed the in HD 24 inputs directly. This would mean, for your purposes, I would recommend, that you look into separate 1U, 8 input microphone preamp device, Times 2 or Times 3. This will give you superb, more direct path recordings. No need for a mixer. You're going to pull that hard drive out, transfer into your computer and start mixing. You'll never need a mixer unless you want to use it for PA, monitoring, or selecting multiple inputs to a single output.

    In my situation, I may be on location for 24 track recording, in which case I'll pull out a rack full of API microphone preamps that go directly to the recorder. When I'm in the control room, behind my 36 input NEVE console, the microphone preamps are attached directly into the inputs of the HD 24. Bypassing the rest of the console. The output from the recorder is however returned to the mixing module inputs, to derive a live, fully mixed stereo feed as a reference mix. This gets fed to the video truck, TV control room, additional video machines and other needed stereo or mono feeds. And since I am doing that from the returned output from the multitrack recorder, I'm also patching in compressors, limiters, reverbs, outboard equalizers, anything necessary to create a quality stereo makes as a reference mix. So you could do that with your existing 1604 mixer. But you want good microphone preamps don't you? There are some very good affordable ones out there.

    So what I've essentially suggested to you is the same thing that I do in my control room, utilizing my console, split into 2 separate functions, simultaneously. The preamps fed directly for tracking and the output returned into the console for a completed reference mix in stereo.

    Try that
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. tommyrocks

    tommyrocks Guest

    Well, Ms. Remy... I suppose I wouldn't need a console if I only wanted to mix in the box - and a console with decent enough pres in them would serve both live and recording purposes.

    If what you are saying is the preamps in the board in my price range wouldn't be of high enough quality to track to the HD24, then I would certainly consider a separate mic preamp that goes directly to the recorder - then back to the console. Any suggestions to which one, and how much to budget for what I want to do (as described above)?

    Also, I was planning on mixing my stereo masters to two tracks on the HD24, then only transfer that mix to the computer. I don't really like mixing in the box, and haven't gotten my B-"studio" setup, which the only way I would actually mix in the box is with a control surface.... no mouse for me... Does that make sense? Thanks for your input.


    Oh, MadMax... I don't know yet... that board you have for sale might be suitable, but would have to look at street price used, and I live on the west coast....
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well Tommy, I'm not as fond mixing in the box either. Lots of folks love control surfaces to control their computer software. Perfect example, Digi designed C24. But because automated mixing in the box doesn't require eight to 10 fingers, you just keep tweaking and building, building and tweaking and tweaking some more. But what else are you going to do when you are charging by the hour? You'll make more money that way as the process will be slower. But yeah, I love mixing on my console. It's what I've always done. It's what I like to do. It's what I want to do. But I can also bump into the computer, making changes not possible in real time. Then dumping back to the multi-track recorder to accomplish an analog mix. I mean if it sounds good going through that Neve Board once. Would twice make it twice as good? Yup it sure does. In sure does. It gives me all that extra bad stuff that sounds so good.

    Now don't get me started on the Yamaha PM 1000 the (baby Neve) it was OK going through once. But I just hated the second passthrough. Of course nobody mentioned the PM 1000 here and....look! A chicken!

    11 secret herbs and spices
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Several points have been raised in this thread:

    (1) The HD24 vs HD24XR. This choice is, in my view, misrepresented in the brochures as whether you need 96KHz analog recording or not. That is certainly one factor, but not the main one. I've got both units, and the difference at 44.1/48 KHz is huge. The XR is in the big league for quality. The stock HD24s are OK, but I use them only now when I'm recording from a digital board and can take ADAT feeds into the HD24.

    (2) Pre-amps ahead of the HD24. You get the best recorded quality by using the best pre-amps in front of the HD24. You can mix live to stereo either by splitting the pre-amp outputs between the HD24 and a live mixer (via line-ins) or by taking the analog or digital outs from the HD24 to an analog or digital board. I worked up from analog board to digital board feeding the HD24s and then to racks of API and DAV preamps in front of HD24XRs. I don't think I appreciated what great recorded live sound was until I got to this combination. Think about where you want to get to and plan the stepping-stones on the way there. Great pre-amps now will stay with you, lesser ones you will have to ditch as you move up.

    (3) Analogue vs digital mixing. If you have only the stock HD24, it actually makes more sense to mix digitally, either in the box by file transfer or using an external digital mixer. You can take the output back to a couple of spare tracks on the HD24 (you did account for those when setting up your original HD24 track count, didn't you?), and stay in the digital domain throughout. I would warn you that using the stock HD24 ADCs for the original recording then replaying via the HD24 DACs to an analog mixing board and in again via the HD24 ADCs as a stereo mix is not going to result in a good sound.

    So I think you have to look long-term. Have a strategy for achieving the highest quality result within the scope of where you aim to operate. If you are a studio person who also specializes in live recordings, that imposes its own set of constraints on your equipment purchase. Look to see where the money you have now is best spent while adhering to your long-term strategy - but have fun on the way.
  8. tommyrocks

    tommyrocks Guest

    Hi Boswell,

    Thanks for your interesting comments. My take on 44.1/48 versus 96kHz is that it doesn't really matter if 96kHz audio sounds better on my system, or yours, for that matter. What matters is how it sounds on 99.9% of the end-listeners systems - which is only capable of outputting 44.1Khz.

    Even .mp3s and other audio formats commercially available (like on iTunes) are still 44.1khz - CD quality.

    But, at least I have an upgrade path with the non-XR HD24. Again, I could see me using the XR if I was doing film sound production. But I am not.

    I will heed your warning on multiple DA-AD conversions....

    Drat, now I have to research mic preamps within my budget... What I do need to do still is upgrade my old CR1604 board, if I want to press forward with getting my music and my small group of other musicians music out there. It's really outdated and has seen too much abuse over the years. I'm no pro-audio guy, I don't see attempting to make money through my gear. Other than having gear available to record gigs, when a club or bar doesn't have that capability, etc.

    Gosh, Ms. Remy... to be so lucky to have a Neve at your disposal!


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