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stevieotomy
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29th March 2012
Old 29th March 2012
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Which Console for our Studio?

Hello all,

No stranger to forums, but new to this one, so please forgive any bad behavior :-)

I work at a university and an addition to our building is planned with a "teaching studio" included. It's basically a tracking room and a control room/classroom space. They're building in cable tunnels, jackplates, etc.

So we had an A/V meeting last week and they said, "would you like a console?". I said sure - I figure if they're supplying, we could save the department money (with which we can buy other goodies).

While we scurried about putting together our "dream" boards, they came back with a suggestion: Yamaha MC7L.

Umm. Ok. Live board. Could use. Not ideal. Etc. etc. But what it told me (besides the fact that the AV contractor probably had one laying around) was that they were looking at around a 25k budget (pure speculation on my part).

With that in mind, we've done some pondering, and this it what it boils down to:

We were looking at an API 1608 or an SSL Matrix.

API cons - fully loaded with automation is about 50k.

SSL - D-sub cables - if we were to get that we'd HAVE to include the cables at purchase time because our department will never be able to afford them in the future (there are restrictions on how we buy things). So we're talking about 30k with the cables.

The money may be the true indicator, but what I'm looking for is advice on the following points:

For integration with a DAW (tricked out Mac running latest version of PT when we buy it) would you go 1608 or Matrix? Seems like the 1608 with the Automation module uses HUI, but otherwise, it's an analog board. It sounds like to me - and tell me if I'm reading this wrong - with Automation fitted on the 1608, I'm able to write fader info, but that's about it?

If the API and SSL are out of the realms of possibility, are there any other reasonable options in that 25k range? I'm looking for a 16 fader hybrid type console with great/good/decent pres, DAW integration. Maybe a Midas (Verona)?

???

TIA,
Steve
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29th March 2012
Old 29th March 2012
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You won't have any control over the DAW as such, you'll be using Pro Tools as tape really, but my university (and quite a few others) have Audient ASP 8024 consoles. The reason being that the signal and monitor paths are quite clearly separated, and from experience they are very easy desks to get used to. However, I think for sound quality the desks that you mentioned will probably be a better choice. The Audient's are very clean sounding (which could be a pro or a con) and, in my opinion, the eq isn't that fantastic on the desk itself.
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29th March 2012
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We have stuffed one of our teaching studios with a DM2000, but we use Riedel Rocknet preamps and converters for in/out since we have a concert hall connected through that network to the studio which uses Rocknet, too. DAW is ProFools. Yamahas stock pres and converters sound ugly, I would not want to work with them. Anyway, after some years of expierience all teachers in that room say that a digital desk was the wrong decision. Analog is much easier to wrap the head around for average students.
My room in opposite has a large ADT analog desk (into HD24s, Motu 24io/2408, Logic) and I have no complaints from students. They easily undestand routing, workflow, etc. My installation is even more complex than the PT room but obviously easier to wrap the head around. So my conclusion is that it has to do with the analog surface of the desk and patchfields which makes it easier to learn.
You don´t need all that fancy billion-knob-and-some desk to learn. We older guys all started out with some smallish gear and learned first how to make the most out of what we have, before luxury entered our working-lifes. That´s a good way for todays beginners, too. 25k is a lot of money to get a decent desk. A Venice or ATB or Audient or A&H will easily fit the bill with some bucks left for a variety of other gear, which is important, too. A studio for beginners does not have to be highest end. Students that leave your university will not instantly get the job at the big facilities. They have to work their way up, like we did it. A desk like an API1608 is too expensive for its features. Students profit more from learning many features than lesser features. Better invest in variety and flxibility.
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29th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebailey92 View Post
, and from experience they are very easy desks to get used to.
That's one of my fears - the 1608 is "upside down" in many respects...

Steve
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29th March 2012
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Anyway, after some years of expierience all teachers in that room say that a digital desk was the wrong decision. Analog is much easier to wrap the head around for average students.
This was my initial feeling too. That's why we wanted hybrid or analog-as-control-surface.

Quote:
25k is a lot of money to get a decent desk. A Venice or ATB or Audient or A&H will easily fit the bill with some bucks left for a variety of other gear, which is important, too. A studio for beginners does not have to be highest end. Students that leave your university will not instantly get the job at the big facilities. They have to work their way up, like we did it. A desk like an API1608 is too expensive for its features. Students profit more from learning many features than lesser features. Better invest in variety and flxibility.
I had considered the Venice, but there's also the Verona. Since the money is coming from the A/V budget, what I don't use is just going to be absorbed into the entire project - so it's not like they're going to give me back what I don't use. So I want to get the most bang for my buck.

Thanks for the responses so far guys - still will appreciate additional responses from others.

Steve
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29th March 2012
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29th March 2012
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console

Our experience has revealed that a number of teaching facilities find that an analog console most effectively helps teach signal flow and tracking/mixing technique. You may wish to check with some of these schools - all whom have installed API 1608 consoles;

American University - Washington DC
Cal State - Chico
NESCOM - Bangore, ME
SUNY Purchase College - NY
U of Michigan - Duderstadt Center
Hochschule Fur Music - Germany
Valencia College - Florida

Several others are currently teaching on Legacy Plus and Vision consoles, but you have indicated they may exceed your budget, so are not listed here.

Please let us know if we can help - feel free to contact sales@apiaudio.com
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29th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jensenmann View Post
A studio for beginners does not have to be highest end. Students that leave your university will not instantly get the job at the big facilities. They have to work their way up, like we did it. A desk like an API1608 is too expensive for its features. ......
If teaching facilities don't educate students on what great sound is - then who is going to? We believe that teaching on the highest grade equipment possible creates a reference plane for tomorrows engineers - whether they be in the top-end studios, or the spare bedroom of their house.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the sonic differences between so-so gear and excellent gear. Students are paying to be educated - should schools not do the best they can to educate - not just explain technique? Settling for mediocre results produces mediocre engineers (in our opinion).

And... we certainly don't think the 1608 is too expensive for its features - considering that you can put it in your 'home studio', track and mix an entire album of material, and end up winning 5 Grammy awards.

As always YNOAMV. (your number of awards may vary).
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30th March 2012
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1608


Automation isn't really as necessary if you will not be teaching a corriculum involving analog tape. Great pres, and eqs... What more do you need? Get a lynx aurora 16 and you're set.
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30th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyMassacre View Post
1608


Automation isn't really as necessary if you will not be teaching a corriculum involving analog tape. Great pres, and eqs... What more do you need? Get a lynx aurora 16 and you're set.
So True,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevieotomy View Post

For integration with a DAW (tricked out Mac running latest version of PT when we buy it) would you go 1608 or Matrix? Seems like the 1608 with the Automation module uses HUI, but otherwise, it's an analog board. It sounds like to me - and tell me if I'm reading this wrong - with Automation fitted on the 1608, I'm able to write fader info, but that's about it?

If the API and SSL are out of the realms of possibility, are there any other reasonable options in that 25k range? I'm looking for a 16 fader hybrid type console with great/good/decent pres, DAW integration. Maybe a Midas (Verona)?

???

TIA,
Steve
I teach audio and have gone through the state funded facility renovation before. Those contractors love their Yamaha digital desks don't they? I've got a DM2000 VCM, 02R96 V2, and an 01V96 V2 to show for it...
If you get a vote, I'd suggest an Audient ASP8024 with Dual Layer Control module:
ASP8024 Dual Layer Control Module | Audient
Teaching on a LFAC with large and small faders, multi-track bussing, etc. gives students a solid jumping off point before you take them down the subjective rabbit hole of "hybrid" mixing. The DLC module gives you a HUI controller in the sweet spot and 8 automated analog faders. You can cover a lot of different working topologies with that set-up, might be worth checking out;
ASP8024 In Education | Audient
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Quote:
I teach audio and have gone through the state funded facility renovation before.
Ahh, so you know the deal :-)

Quote:
Those contractors love their Yamaha digital desks don't they?
Yes, I've noticed that too.


Quote:
If you get a vote, I'd suggest an Audient ASP8024 with Dual Layer Control module:
How are the pres?

It's 32k in the 24ch version which may be pushing it too. But the feature set is nice.

I kind of like the idea of starting with a basic analog signal flow concept, then having the ability to expand into digital, automation, even expansion modules.

Given the budget constraints I think I'm working within, I think I'm leaning more towards an SSL Matrix more than anything...but 2K more puts me in the Audient range. But SSL pres...X-Rack expandability - it's not the wow factor of a large format, and probably will come off as "rinky dink" looking, but I am going to have kids walking in who don't know what Phantom Power is...

Steve
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevieotomy View Post
Ahh, so you know the deal :-)



Yes, I've noticed that too.




How are the pres?

It's 32k in the 24ch version which may be pushing it too. But the feature set is nice.

I kind of like the idea of starting with a basic analog signal flow concept, then having the ability to expand into digital, automation, even expansion modules.

Given the budget constraints I think I'm working within, I think I'm leaning more towards an SSL Matrix more than anything...but 2K more puts me in the Audient range. But SSL pres...X-Rack expandability - it's not the wow factor of a large format, and probably will come off as "rinky dink" looking, but I am going to have kids walking in who don't know what Phantom Power is...

Steve
The pres are a nice clean design, I have the 8-channel ASP2802 in my own studio and they're first call for overheads and acoustic instruments.
The Matrix is a cool hybrid controller/mixer, but it's also pretty specific topology to learn on. Learning the console model of 24 channels with mic pres and eqs feeding 24 multi-track busses monitored on 24 in-line short faders transfers to a large base of installed desks out there. It's also big enough to put one student on the DLC section running PTs while another is tweaking the analog channels.
Expandability doesn't mean that much to me in the teaching studio, it's usually feast or famine with no budget for new patch cables between complete renovations.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by API Sez... View Post
If teaching facilities don't educate students on what great sound is - then who is going to? We believe that teaching on the highest grade equipment possible creates a reference plane for tomorrows engineers - whether they be in the top-end studios, or the spare bedroom of their house.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the sonic differences between so-so gear and excellent gear. Students are paying to be educated - should schools not do the best they can to educate - not just explain technique? Settling for mediocre results produces mediocre engineers (in our opinion).

And... we certainly don't think the 1608 is too expensive for its features - considering that you can put it in your 'home studio', track and mix an entire album of material, and end up winning 5 Grammy awards.

As always YNOAMV. (your number of awards may vary).
Sorry if I stepped on your toes. I never wrote not to educate students to know what great sound is. But before the art of great sound is created you need to know what the tools you need to getf fine craftmanship skills. That has to be the first step. Noone would start to repair a car unless he knows what a screwdriver is used for. I vote for a lot of different versatile quality gear instead of throwing all the money on one thingy while excluding all the other necessary stuff out of the classroom.
And how many grammys have been won with blackface Adats? Mackie desks? Using cheapo mikes? Yamaha 02Rs? Making the best out of a budget is what everyone with a business approach has to learn, esp in proaudio 2012. Why not start at the university with that.
OP said budget is 25k so a 1608 will not fit. Of course do gear manufacturers want universities to teach with the most expensive gear available. Manufacturers make money with the GS-dream.
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30th March 2012
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I'd get an analog desk, but that's me.. It really depends what do you want to teach and which workflow you'll use.. I'll avoid the M7CL (I try to avoid it even live, for its sound not functionality though, go figure..).

With 25k you could buy great consoles these days, actually even for way less.. Amek Classic, Soundcraft 8000 (it was a live desk, but with few easy mods could be turned into a "studio" desk) sounds stellar, Studer 963 or 902, for 25k you might get a (used) Midas Heritage or an XL3 (which also where live desks but really great ones).. Also MCI stuff is definitely within that price range..

If you go digital you might want an Icon or some sort of controller more than a real desk.. It depends.. There's no right or wrong.. It's a matter of workflow and functionality.. (but I'd definitely skip the M7CL..)

Hope this helps somehow,



Cheu
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Hmm, they've all got good arguments. The truth is though, and I hate to say this, and I hope your school will do sone good, but the acronym API will be a major marketing tool. The thing is though, if you have that, you definitely will also want to teach them what a Massivo and VariMu are.

In college I went to a school with a real free-standing world-class studio. (Miami Dade College, Studio M)

They have a Duality in Studio M now, (to compete with SAE and those other "places"), but when I studued there, we had an Amek Rembrandt, Manleys, Tube-Techs, Teletronix, Summit Audio, man. . SM69s. . . U87s 414s, Royers, all the standards, and so much more, I can't even list one tenth of the stuff here.

An API without microphones would be ********. :/ Maybe you explain the potential income you can steal from things like SAE and Full Sail, and do a five year pro-forma. You can get anything you want that way!

Let us know what happens,

To be clear BTW, my solution is to ask for more money! And explain to them why it's a good idea!
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You don't have a studio, you have a classroom. It's there to teach the students. Work out what you're supposed to be teaching them: is it how to operate a large format inline console, or what a good recording is and how to make it?

If you're not preparing them to go and work in a big studio (which the majority of them will not go on to do) then you don't need a fancy console, you need great sounding tools - which may be a big rack of preamps and decent mics...

You need to educate them about what a good sound is and what to do to capture it so it doesn't matter if the console has 1000 faders, busses and automation.

If you're preparing them for the future then you need something that represents the signal and workflow of a big console (the Audient ASP is popular in this regard) and by the time they're actually engineering a session at a serious studio on an SSL/Neve/API they'll have probably spent a few years interning and assisting so they'll have worked it all out by then.

The concept of preparing a student to jump straight into a session at Abbey Road or Electric Lady is a fantasy and shouldn't form the basis of your course or equipment choices.
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30th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevieotomy View Post
Yamaha MC7L.

Umm. Ok. Live board. Could use. Not ideal. Etc. etc. But what it told me (besides the fact that the AV contractor probably had one laying around) was that they were looking at around a 25k budget (pure speculation on my part).
Yamaha recently introduced new models in Frankfurt, so M7's could be "going out", and the dealer wants to make space in the warehouse for the new models.

As much as I love the M7 for live, I wouldn't pick it for studio work. Doesn't have the intuitive-ness of analog, nor the connectivity and controllability of digital.
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Hmm, they've all got good arguments. The truth is though, and I hate to say this, and I hope your school will do sone good, but the acronym API will be a major marketing tool.
This is a VERY good point.
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30th March 2012
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Originally Posted by TapeOpAl View Post
You don't have a studio, you have a classroom. It's there to teach the students. Work out what you're supposed to be teaching them: is it how to operate a large format inline console, or what a good recording is and how to make it?
Well, this is really my philosophy. When we're talking PT or something, I always say, I prefer to teach technique, not software. All these kids own PT rigs - some of them more current than the ones we have in the classroom, but they couldn't tell you the difference between Omni and Cardioid, or A-B and XY. They don't know a thing about phase cancellation but boy can they quantize audio.

I think what I'm looking for is a versatility option - something the basics can be learned on, but then expanded upon as they learn. They'll be starting with basic signal flow. Only when they've mastered that will we move on to subgrouping :-)

Steve
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30th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevieotomy View Post
Ahh, so you know the deal :-)



Yes, I've noticed that too.




How are the pres?

It's 32k in the 24ch version which may be pushing it too. But the feature set is nice.

I kind of like the idea of starting with a basic analog signal flow concept, then having the ability to expand into digital, automation, even expansion modules.

Given the budget constraints I think I'm working within, I think I'm leaning more towards an SSL Matrix more than anything...but 2K more puts me in the Audient range. But SSL pres...X-Rack expandability - it's not the wow factor of a large format, and probably will come off as "rinky dink" looking, but I am going to have kids walking in who don't know what Phantom Power is...

Steve
Hi Steve,

Just to add the Audient view on things.

Educators love our ASP8024 due to the ease of use and simple way of teaching signal flow, plus the fact that everything sounds great with the console. You can order the ASP8024 with or without Dual Layer Control depending on your needs. We also have the new ASP4816 which is a slightly cut down version.

ASP8024 has made a real name for itself in education with more unis and colleges signing up each month. Just off the top of my head, here are a few examples in the US:

Full Sail - 15 consoles
Boston Uni
Capital Uni - Columbus OH
University of Hartford
Uni of Central Oklahoma

We also have about 100 consoles in education in Europe, just a few from the list:

LIPA - Founded by Paul McCartney
TVU - 5 consoles around London
Conservatoire - Birmingham
Leeds City Met Uni - 4 consoles
ACM - Guildford
SAE - Rotterdam

Take a look at the "Education" link on the ASP8024 part of our website.

In terms of the pres, we've made a good name for ourselves with the pres and sell thousands of channels each year in our standard alone boxes (ASP008 and Mico). You won't go wrong here. The other thing people rave about is the EQ, musical is word that comes up a lot. Feel free to contact us for more info.

Best regards,

Luke Baldry
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30th March 2012
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Dm2000 is a great digital console and at that budget you'll have tons left over for more goodies hope this helps

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Who are the "they" and why did they suggest a Yamaha live console? Are you to teach live sound production?

A smart buyer will purchase used. High and mid level consoles are selling for 5 cents on the dollar, IF you shop around.

I see folks buying these all the time, some with great deals. If there's a little fix-up to do, offer a studio maintanence class and use it for that too. It's a learning tool, not just to use, but to maintain as all of them break. You don't want to send it out for repairs or hire off campus techs, you will miss that teaching opprotunity and pay.

I've seen 40 input Soundcraft 8k's sell for $500, Harrison MR-4's for $500 and many others too. That leaves a lot of $$$ for other things...

"As Ye Shall Seek, Ye Shall Find".

Or, buy new and eat that budget for breakfast.
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30th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jensenmann View Post
Sorry if I stepped on your toes. I never wrote not to educate students to know what great sound is. But before the art of great sound is created you need to know what the tools you need to getf fine craftmanship skills. That has to be the first step. Noone would start to repair a car unless he knows what a screwdriver is used for. I vote for a lot of different versatile quality gear instead of throwing all the money on one thingy while excluding all the other necessary stuff out of the classroom.
And how many grammys have been won with blackface Adats? Mackie desks? Using cheapo mikes? Yamaha 02Rs? Making the best out of a budget is what everyone with a business approach has to learn, esp in proaudio 2012. Why not start at the university with that.
OP said budget is 25k so a 1608 will not fit. Of course do gear manufacturers want universities to teach with the most expensive gear available. Manufacturers make money with the GS-dream.
Fair points made. Still, I have no desks to sell, and I still think it important for students to get the chance to work at least to some extent with top quality gear, as it will affect two things that you can't have any other way:

1. It will stop them learning compensation tactics as natural behaviour. Like when your cheap pre sounds like mush and you reach for loads of top boost on your mushy eq to gain clarity back ending up in bright double mush, asking why it's not sounding like that record .......when with proper gear you would not have done much more than put the mic in the right place. So then when later being in front of proper gear, they'll do those same things, and overcook everything.
The other way round you can teach them how little actual doing to get away with to get a great sound, and when ever they end up working with lesser gear they'll still compensate correctly and be ok. Mainly because of:

2. It will set a standard in their brain about what a 'good signal' sounds like. In the first place. If they don't know this, they will undershoot all the time, thinking their shit sounds like a quality record.......until putting it next to a quality record.

Just my 2 pennies worth......

P.S. However, I'd go for something like a Soundcraft with very standard routing for the students and add some top drawer pres and some proper outboard. Then they can even learn what the difference is when they record stuff with the Soundcraft pres and the Neve or API in the rack and get a sense of what is what, rather than JUST cheaper gear or JUST an API1608.
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30th March 2012
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teacher on a website asking what they should teach on
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Used ain't gonna happen. The "they" he's referring to is a contractor who will be carrying the warranty on the renovation. This is a new item only scenario. This is why Audient still has a good market in education, name another new 24 bus in-line LFAC you can buy new under $50k.
I feel an audio production education should include time with a LFAC and 24-track, despite the fact it's no longer the predominant recording method. Explaining PT's mix screen is pretty simple after they've mastered an actual desk. I've run into some assistants that could fly around PT LE but were useless at the patchbay as I was calling out track assignments.
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31st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Baldry View Post
Hi Steve,

We also have the new ASP4816 which is a slightly cut down version.

Luke Baldry
luke.baldry@audient.com
Thanks Luke. The DLC is a big "want" though :-) If they come back to me saying they have less money, the 4816 might be that middleground (between the Matrix and the Venice) I was looking for.

Steve
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Can't help you with which console but here's some advice (I do instructional design):

Students must practice and be assessed on the skills that will give them a chance of success in the industry. Start by identifying key competencies. List them and allow that list to guide your search for the instructional tools.
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#29
31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
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i saw jim rosebrook floating around on this forum a few weeks ago. he can give you some great insight into schools ...actually I think jim was over on the DUC ... Recording Workshop in Ohio was his baby ... do a search over at AVID forum, you should find him ..
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Last edited by jwh1192; 31st March 2012 at 04:19 PM.. Reason: cahnges
#30
1st April 2012
Old 1st April 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Gardena, California and Maui Hawaii
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The Tonelux 28 Series Consoles are also a great option because of the flexibility in its configuration. Rather than you conforming to the other consoles fixed workflow, with Tonelux, you create the workflow that suits the application you need it for. Exactly how you want. Sonically, Tonelux is an amazing console and designed by Paul Wolff, who as you all know owned and designed API for over a decade, but at $25K, this is a hard fit.

If you want a traditional desk, the new Trident Series 82 is a 24 buss old school console, but also a worthy consideration and great for teaching because of the traditional way the console works.

At the end of the day, it is about getting a great console for a good price that does what you want. Any major console brand is a good marketing tool. One is not going to pull in more students than the other.

If the budget is firm at $25K, Tonelux and API are probably out of the price range, but Trident and Toft Audio will fit. We can put names and facilities up on this post all day long, but does that matter?

If you have to stay within your $25K budget, then the choice is slim in the $25K range...but we can help.
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