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API 1608 preamps vs 3124+
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spencerc
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7th May 2012
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API 1608 preamps vs 3124+

Hi everyone,

Has anyone compared these? If you were solely tracking through the 1608 would it sound any different than tracking through 4 x 3124+? I'm looking at the 1608 as an upgrade to our studios racks of outboard pres (and a toft ATB 24 which we use for utility pres and extra EQs). We already have 8 channels of 312 pres and love them to death (along with a 5500 + 2500 ). It's a hell of a lot cheaper to buy two more 3124+'s ($4000 if we get them used) compared to $30,000 (minus selling some outboard pres) for an unloaded 1608.

If we had the 1608 we'd probably sum through it, but I'd still be mixing ITB for recall and speed (but maybe this would change if I heard the 1608 )....but either way I'm more concerned with the sound quality difference just for tracking.

Any knowledge or experience is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Spencer
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I'm interested in this as well. I've been using 2 3124's for a couple years now, and I'll be receiving my 1608 the week of May 21st. I'll be able to see soon enough I suppose. An audio buddy of mine is borrowing them at the moment, hopefully to buy, but I'm sure I'll be able to get them back to compare. - Paul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffmachine View Post
I'm interested in this as well. I've been using 2 3124's for a couple years now, and I'll be receiving my 1608 the week of May 21st. I'll be able to see soon enough I suppose. An audio buddy of mine is borrowing them at the moment, hopefully to buy, but I'm sure I'll be able to get them back to compare. - Paul
That would be amazing if you could do a shootout and report your findings!
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Originally Posted by spencerc View Post
That would be amazing if you could do a shootout and report your findings!
As soon as I can weed through the resulting studio chaos/organization, I'll try to get something to listen to I would love to hear if anyone else has had this experience though. There has to be someone out there who's done the switch. - Paul
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tracking 3124 vs. 1608
I prefer tracking through the 1608.they're essentially the same but your tracking through a console w extra amp stage..end results sound smoother/thicker to my ears.

I received a pair of CAPI VP28's w/ the old school melcor inspired 1731 op amps yesterday..look forward to comparing to the more modern pre's in the console.

enjoy
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7th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerc View Post
If we had the 1608 we'd probably sum through it, but I'd still be mixing ITB for recall and speed (but maybe this would change if I heard the 1608 )
trust me you will.
I mix tv/commercial stuff itb for speed/recall convenience but when we do music/band stuff the 1608 kills itb everytime.
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1608 has a higher noise floor, and there is crosstalk. 3124 pres are a bit faster, IME. However, preamps are great, and you'd get EQ's as well as buss compressors. Don't forget about cue sends and a patch bay. It's probably more of a choice for your workflow preferences. Budget too. Lots of cabling required to run a console vs. a summing box.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Harvest View Post
1608 has a higher noise floor, and there is crosstalk. 3124 pres are a bit faster, IME. However, preamps are great, and you'd get EQ's as well as buss compressors. Don't forget about cue sends and a patch bay. It's probably more of a choice for your workflow preferences. Budget too. Lots of cabling required to run a console vs. a summing box.

Sent from my MB860 using Gearslutz.com
interesting I havent had any noisefloor or crosstalk probs when tracking w the 1608.
mixing is obviously a different workflow.
the 1608 doesnt come stock w/ buss comps..unless you put some in the spare slots/patch some in .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
trust me you will.
I mix tv/commercial stuff itb for speed/recall convenience but when we do music/band stuff the 1608 kills itb everytime.
Thanks RoundBadge!

I really appreciate your comments. You're posts on the Barefoot MM27's ultimately made me decide to try them and now they are the best thing I ever purchased. They were a complete game changer!

So if mixing is way better on the 1608, are you mixing fully OTB or just sending groups out of the DAW and summing/inserting outboard with it? Most of the projects I mix are 30+ tracks and I would only be getting a 16 ch board (at first at least).

Also, the Slate VCC API has been on everyone of my mixes for the last year and is my favorite console on that plug...is the 1608 just on a whole other level? Would you be able to describe the differences?

Thanks!!
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Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's been chiming in. I'm enjoying this thread, please keep it coming. Cheers. - Paul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerc View Post

So if mixing is way better on the 1608, are you mixing fully OTB or just sending groups out of the DAW and summing/inserting outboard with it? Most of the projects I mix are 30+ tracks and I would only be getting a 16 ch board (at first at least).

Also, the Slate VCC API has been on everyone of my mixes for the last year and is my favorite console on that plug...is the 1608 just on a whole other level? Would you be able to describe the differences?

Thanks!!

depends.
but lately otb either a 1608 or tonelux or both.
the tlux is cleaner/the api more colored.combined is really cool.
typical 16 ch break out:
1-kick
2-snr
3-4 toms stemmed form daw
5-6 ovhds/hi hats/fx/etc
7-8 all room mics
9-bass[amps/di'setc]
10-percussion
11-12 l/r main rythmic gtrs [stemmed from daw]
13-14-keys or lead gtrs
15-16 vox /fx
sometimes w/ the tonelux..keys,vox,fx returns will go there..but its fun to mix it up
various treatments hardware/software- some plugs and otherwise fixes done itb-[delays,some comps,subtractive eq'ing]-all else hardware[verbs,compression/buss compression/ most eq,s etc]

I had the VCC but sold it to a itb friend.

ime very nice software but not a substitute for the real thing sonically/workflow etc.
best itb attempt ive heard so far.
i wasn't crazy about the low build up i got when using multiple instances of the neve vcc.it didn't feel like the real neve i've used a lot the last few years.
for me the real deal 3d-ness depth open-ness wasnt there

sorry to go OT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
tracking 3124 vs. 1608
I prefer tracking through the 1608.they're essentially the same but your tracking through a console w extra amp stage..end results sound smoother/thicker to my ears.

I received a pair of CAPI VP28's w/ the old school melcor inspired 1731 op amps yesterday..look forward to comparing to the more modern pre's in the console.

enjoy
I agree, the console amp stage makes a difference, even my MR3 (with api transformers) is smoother all round than a 3124.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
depends.
but lately otb either a 1608 or tonelux or both.
the tlux is cleaner/the api more colored.combined is really cool.
typical 16 ch break out:
1-kick
2-snr
3-4 toms stemmed form daw
5-6 ovhds/hi hats/fx/etc
7-8 all room mics
9-bass[amps/di'setc]
10-percussion
11-12 l/r main rythmic gtrs [stemmed from daw]
13-14-keys or lead gtrs
15-16 vox /fx
sometimes w/ the tonelux..keys,vox,fx returns will go there..but its fun to mix it up
various treatments hardware/software- some plugs and otherwise fixes done itb-[delays,some comps,subtractive eq'ing]-all else hardware[verbs,compression/buss compression/ most eq,s etc]

I had the VCC but sold it to a itb friend.

ime very nice software but not a substitute for the real thing sonically/workflow etc.
best itb attempt ive heard so far.
i wasn't crazy about the low build up i got when using multiple instances of the neve vcc.it didn't feel like the real neve i've used a lot the last few years.
for me the real deal 3d-ness depth open-ness wasnt there

sorry to go OT
Thanks RoundBadge!

Yea that's how I was thinking I might integrate the 1608 with the DAW for mixing as well, or eventually getting the 1608 expander and mixing fully OTB one day.

So I guess what I'm really trying to get it, is the 1608 worth the $30,000 upgrade sonically (and I trust your ears...)? Plus there's the name factor which is a big part for me as I'm co-running a mid level commercial studio, and I know the 1608 would help draw some bigger out of town names. Or am I better off buying some more 3124+'s and putting the other $25,000 ish into something else?

When I upgraded my monitors from ADAM S2A's + Sub to the Barefoot MM27s, the $9000 price tag seemed steep and I was sort of thinking like it couldn't be THAT much better, but once I got them I was kicking myself as to why I didn't upgrade sooner...it made everything better instantly and made everything come together so much faster. Do you think I'll have the same sort of experience with an API 1608?

Thanks!
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I have a 1608 console and must say it makes mixing A LOT easier, more fun and inspiring than itb mixing. Out of everything I mixed last year 1 album was done completely itb. I used VCC on most channels on that album and it took ages to reach a point where I was happy with how things sounded. On the API a mix takes me a day to finish and I´m really happy with how things sound. Full, warm, alive sounding with lots of depth, width and size!

I still use a lot of plugins for subtractive eq, reverbs, delays and some comps.

The VCC sounds good but the sum of everything in the 1608 makes for a much bigger difference. The sound doesn´t suit everything as its much heavier and more colored, but most acoustic music, pop rock, indy and hip hop sounds fantastic. If I was just mixing electronic pop ( Rihanna, Katy Perry kindof stuff) I`d rather mix itb for that clean, uncolored sound and you´d need recalls
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Worked on a 1608 and api outboard pres and i confirm that sonically there is an add with console
The same thing i found working with the Neve Genesys, having 1073s available.
Crosstalk, console stages, workflow. Then reverb returns sounds so better on a great console.
console allows you to work speed and you make comparisons, tests swiftly
With a console you have a real sound control.
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1608 All the way. For all the reasons previously mentioned.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerc View Post

So I guess what I'm really trying to get it, is the 1608 worth the $30,000 upgrade sonically (and I trust your ears...)? Plus there's the name factor which is a big part for me as I'm co-running a mid level commercial studio, and I know the 1608 would help draw some bigger out of town names. Or am I better off buying some more 3124+'s and putting the other $25,000 ish into something else?

When I upgraded my monitors from ADAM S2A's + Sub to the Barefoot MM27s, the $9000 price tag seemed steep and I was sort of thinking like it couldn't be THAT much better, but once I got them I was kicking myself as to why I didn't upgrade sooner...it made everything better instantly and made everything come together so much faster. Do you think I'll have the same sort of experience with an API 1608?

Thanks!
for me it was worth it to get the console thing going again.
I would suggest when vk's new shop opens in LA,fly in,book a couple days of demo time there and see what you think.
I was down there a few days ago and its amazing..1608,Harrison,wunder,ssl,etc,etc all sitting in little mix stations in a big room w shitloads of mic's and outboard..monitors,drums ,vocal booth- to patch in..all 5 min from my house-insane.
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That's amazing! Will do!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
for me it was worth it to get the console thing going again.
I would suggest when vk's new shop opens in LA,fly in,book a couple days of demo time there and see what you think.
I was down there a few days ago and its amazing..1608,Harrison,wunder,ssl,etc,etc all sitting in little mix stations in a big room w shitloads of mic's and outboard..monitors,drums ,vocal booth- to patch in..all 5 min from my house-insane.
What he said.

A lot of great records are being tracked on 1608's and people are talking about it. You'll also attract possibly some major label artists. I have Darrius Rucker in here tracking for his new record mainly because of the API console (that and I'm a nice fellow). I doubt you'll attract A listers because of some 3124's. Just my 02.
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Awesome, yea I know what you mean about A listers...

I'm tracking George Canyon's next record (a pretty big Canadian Country artist) and it was a very hard sell without having a nice console.

I'd like to be getting some bigger names in the studio so the 1608 would definitely help with that!
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The preamps themselves (3124+ vs 1608) are virtually identical.

Having EQ's on every channel is really what makes the console shine.

Any extra "mojo" from the console summing stages is minimal. It's a very basic console, so there really isn't all that much going on in that regards.
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Quote:
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so there really isn't all that much going on
More room for the music to kick you in the teeth
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Quote:
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More room for the music to kick you in the teeth
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a question for the 1608 owners.
How many transformers and 2520s from input to output?
let's say one channel run through the group buss on the way to the master outputs?

my setup with lunch boxes, lets use the top snare mic,
3124 > atten > harddisk > 560 > 527 > 2500 on the mix buss, thats 6 2520s and 4 transformers.
If I wanted I could also include printed drum buss (less 527) through a 2500/5500 combo or my tom tracks that have a 560 to disk also but let's keep it simple, I can most certainly hear the added sonics of the API modules, but it is still not a console!!!!
Would love to hear a 1608....sometime maybe....not likely though, LOL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
The preamps themselves (3124+ vs 1608) are virtually identical.

Having EQ's on every channel is really what makes the console shine.

Any extra "mojo" from the console summing stages is minimal. It's a very basic console, so there really isn't all that much going on in that regards.
So are you saying I could buy 2 more 3124+'s and 16 EQs and it would be virtually the same sonically as tracking through the 1608? That would roughly cost $23,000 compared to a $30,000 console with no EQs (or $50,000 with EQs)

I guess I would need to try summing/mixing through the 1608 vs ITB to warrant the huge increase in price....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
interesting I havent had any noisefloor or crosstalk probs when tracking w the 1608.
mixing is obviously a different workflow.
the 1608 doesnt come stock w/ buss comps..unless you put some in the spare slots/patch some in .
Could've just been the one I was using - a vintage one. It had VU metered buss comp right over the master section. The crosstalk was most noticeable on the Subkick track. Nothing that would ruin any party.. but definitely noticed it in editing after the session. I haven't had an opportunity to use another 1608 configuration, however I would imagine if you were looking to the 1608 route, you'd want to fill it up to to the brim!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
yo, T, just meant the desk is punchy as all get out, cause dem discrete amp summing blocks be letting you know, dat da music be flowing freely...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerc View Post
So are you saying I could buy 2 more 3124+'s and 16 EQs and it would be virtually the same sonically as tracking through the 1608? That would roughly cost $23,000 compared to a $30,000 console with no EQs (or $50,000 with EQs)

I guess I would need to try summing/mixing through the 1608 vs ITB to warrant the huge increase in price....
Sure, but there is something to be said about the other aspects, too (bussing, faders, centralized work area, wow factor, etc).

You may be able to attain the same sound (or marginally better/ worse) as passing signal through a 1608 (and using the EQ's) with that setup.. Especially, with the addition of one or two other elements to get the summing buss sound, etc.. but in reality, owning/ using a console is not just about the sound. A lot of the features of consoles have become obsolete by the DAW, but people need to remember that at one time, consoles like these were a necessary piece of gear to mix a record. We didn't have limitless routing, bussing, grouping, etc at our fingertips like we do today with our DAW setups.

So, for someone mixing exclusively in the box, a console like this might be a step back for their mixing process.
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Roundbadge,
a little OT, but have you heard the Undertone consoles? tried the EQs? thanks bro.
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Quote:
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Roundbadge,
a little OT, but have you heard the Undertone consoles? tried the EQs? thanks bro.
Hola Raal!
yes I went to Erics place a year & 1/2 ago to see the first two and the 24 ch mixer he eventually brought to AES..he was playing a rough mix of some Queens of the Stoneage [Songs for the Deaf]stuff he tracked earlier through it..sounded great.
the eq's are amazing tone shapers..NOTHING out there like them.
I cant afford a new console but 4-8 of those eq's would be coool.
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