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Api 1608 vs. Rupert Neve 5088 Please advice!
Old 24th April 2016
  #1
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Rea's Avatar
 

Api 1608 vs. Rupert Neve 5088 Please advice!

Hi-

Reviving an old topic since it seems that when it was last discussed not many users were in the game yet.

Im about to buy one of the two and have absolutely no way of having a proper comparison.

Any of you have good milage on both?

Id love to get as much real world feedback before plunging my life savings....

Thanks!!
Old 24th April 2016
  #2
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a.beck's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Im about to buy one of the two and have absolutely no way of having a proper comparison.
I don't have an answer to your actual question, but I just felt I should mention that this (the quoted part) sounds like a spectacularly bad idea to me.

My advice is to find a way to get hands on with each.
Old 24th April 2016
  #3
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Hi
For any investment of more than say 5000 dollars you MUST actually audition the prime contenders as 'technically' they will be pretty similar but little things like ergonomics and some fine details may bug the hell out of YOU which others may either like or accept as 'normal'.
Search out local studios with each or take a plane ride or whatever.
Matt S
Old 24th April 2016
  #4
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Rea's Avatar
 

I hear you guys, still, a few hours on each will teach me just so much... people who have years or at least months on them should have more insight into idiosyncratic issues on both, pluses and minuses..
Old 24th April 2016
  #5
I just like the 5088 mic pre's and EQ better for more applications. For drums I however prefer API pre's. I prefer the look and feel of the 5088. The API EQ boosts to 2db, you can't make any subtle changes. But I guess that's why we have plug ins. If I had the 5088, I would have in my rack several API, and if I had the API I would have in my rack some Portico gear. Both are great mixers. I would be very happy with either actually
Old 24th April 2016
  #6
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I demoed both an API 1608 and a Neve 5088 and I ended up buying a SSL Duality. I went for the SSL because the recall, automation system, and DAW control were far more capable and advanced than the other two and made much more sense for my business which includes a lot of mixing.

Sonically the API had the most instant analog mojo for me and I loved what it did on the test mix I did but frankly the headaches of recall are too much of a pain with an analog desk with no recall system. That being said the API EQ is very easy to recall because it is switched for all gain and frequency which I personally like a lot since it simplifies doing broad strokes a lot. So mostly you are stuck with the more difficult recall of send levels, and possibly faders if you don't get the automation package.

I have some RND gear including the Neve Shelford 5052 mic pre/eq and the MasterBus Processor and while I like their sound in general the console didn't offer me enough flavor from what I heard to accept the other compromises that it also had, namely poor EQ options for mixing unless you get the 5 band EQ module but then recall would be a complete nightmare and I would never get to do anything else in a day. It has some nice features such as group faders with inserts, a simple DAW automation system, and modularity but it wasn't ultimately what I needed.

The SSL Duality on the other hand, while very clean and less overtly analog flavored than the API has a really amazing depth and width of sound to it. It feels like the space to fit all the elements of a mix is much bigger than ITB and I have more apparent clarity and fatness to my mixes since getting it.
The SSL also has one of the most flexible and powerful EQ's for mixing. Not to mention dynamics and a great mix bus compressor, 24 bus routing, etc. The major added bonus is that recall is completely functional and seamless and takes me less than 15 minutes to recall the whole 48 channel desk even with serious EQ work to recall.

Ultimately, I think you have to analyze what your needs are and decide what is most important to you. If I was just running a tracking space I would have gotten the API most likely but since I also mix a lot I needed a more functional console for that. Also despite what people say, the SSL mic pre's are actually very very good and when I have tracked through the desk I have always been very happy so now that I have had the SSL for about 6 months I really am as happy as can be.
Old 24th April 2016
  #7
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Thanks for the lengthy reply staudio!!

The Duality is in a different size/price bracket altogether... I think the AWS is more of a candidate in this category, but thing is i mostly mix my own productions so extreme recallabillity is not the first priority Also, at this time i have the SIGMA/Nucleus + 3 X-Racks of Eq/Dynamics(a mini duality/aws if you like), so im familiar with the tone of the SSL. Honestly, it does give width but i cant get the analog mojo im after from it... so thats why it all came down to Api vs RND

Thanks again- it was educational!!
Old 24th April 2016
  #8
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
the 1608[have one] has the newer modern api sound.
its not quite what I expected when first using it.
coming from an old 3288 it was not the old "warm /focused" 70's flavor.
its got some api mid forwardness/aggressiveness but compared to the old 70's console kinda had a slightly harder/plasticy,harsher edgier sound to it.
My old buddy [rip] John Kuker did a direct side by side shootout with an old Helios board[Island Basing]..said the same thing..sounded a bit more "synthetic" by comparison.
that said it sounds way better than itb,got a lot of old school functionality in a fairly compact package.
..people are making records with them everyday.
I've modded the hell out of mine to sound more old school but more natural at the same time.
[I've come hate the modern 2520 opamp sound..just my preference.now all red dots/firlotte vf600's now]

the 5088 is nice.. modern clean.loots of headroom.
I used it a couple times.not exactly what I expected but sounded really good..not an old school neve 80 series thick mojo thing but open clear..modern.not what I was looking for when purchasing.
if I had to do it again I'd likely look at Paul Wolfes new console offerings too.
maybe the series 75 too.[that desk doctor guy Bruce is based out of LA]..always good to go local for support imo.
I thought the AWS was sonically kinda boring.certainly not anything like an old 4k.

If I really had the funds I'd just bite the bullet and hunt down a 70's API desk.
to me,THAT sounds like a "record".

Last edited by RoundBadge; 24th April 2016 at 08:04 PM..
Old 24th April 2016
  #9
Gear Addict
 

i have the 5088
Wonderful desk very Hifi especially after break in.
Wide deep sound warmth with open top end.

Would love to try RB's API though

analog desk and recall just don't mix

get it right in real time or pretty much remix

although remixes should come together pretty quickly

at the moment mixing on a desk outweighs recall although

I give the client a good amount of time for revisions
Old 24th April 2016
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
I demoed both an API 1608 and a Neve 5088 and I ended up buying a SSL Duality. I went for the SSL because the recall, automation system, and DAW control were far more capable and advanced than the other two and made much more sense for my business which includes a lot of mixing.

Sonically the API had the most instant analog mojo for me and I loved what it did on the test mix I did but frankly the headaches of recall are too much of a pain with an analog desk with no recall system. That being said the API EQ is very easy to recall because it is switched for all gain and frequency which I personally like a lot since it simplifies doing broad strokes a lot. So mostly you are stuck with the more difficult recall of send levels, and possibly faders if you don't get the automation package.

I have some RND gear including the Neve Shelford 5052 mic pre/eq and the MasterBus Processor and while I like their sound in general the console didn't offer me enough flavor from what I heard to accept the other compromises that it also had, namely poor EQ options for mixing unless you get the 5 band EQ module but then recall would be a complete nightmare and I would never get to do anything else in a day. It has some nice features such as group faders with inserts, a simple DAW automation system, and modularity but it wasn't ultimately what I needed.

The SSL Duality on the other hand, while very clean and less overtly analog flavored than the API has a really amazing depth and width of sound to it. It feels like the space to fit all the elements of a mix is much bigger than ITB and I have more apparent clarity and fatness to my mixes since getting it.
The SSL also has one of the most flexible and powerful EQ's for mixing. Not to mention dynamics and a great mix bus compressor, 24 bus routing, etc. The major added bonus is that recall is completely functional and seamless and takes me less than 15 minutes to recall the whole 48 channel desk even with serious EQ work to recall.

Ultimately, I think you have to analyze what your needs are and decide what is most important to you. If I was just running a tracking space I would have gotten the API most likely but since I also mix a lot I needed a more functional console for that. Also despite what people say, the SSL mic pre's are actually very very good and when I have tracked through the desk I have always been very happy so now that I have had the SSL for about 6 months I really am as happy as can be.
I am really happy with the sound and functionality of my 1608, but recall is a bitch for sure. I have the automation package which is really helpful for the fader/mute/solo/insert parts, but recalling all the sends and the eq's (including other outboard) is an hour long process for me. Changing from project to project during the day is not very practical for me at all. Originally, I took the approach of mixing in different brands of eq's in the console for specific sources, but over the years I've been selling them off to buy more 550b's and 550a's because I come to really love their sound, and recall is so much easier. I kept my E27's and Little Devils, but the GR Harrison eq32's and Inward Brats and several others had to go. I kept my TAV's but they aren't in the console now. If you can't find a 1608 near you, I would recommend at least booking some time at a local studio with a Legacy to get the feel and sound in person. That's what I did, and it made the decision an easy one because that was the sound I was looking for. - Paul
Old 24th April 2016
  #11
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
I saw a guy who made some recall software, and he used it specifically to recall his 5088.

Essentially you have a camera in a repeatable position, and an image flickers between the saved image and the current one. The idea should work for virtually any console.

This is the same kind of thing, I presume from another manufacturer:



I've never used them, it just seemed a good simple idea.

matt
Old 24th April 2016
  #12
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by riffmachine View Post
I am really happy with the sound and functionality of my 1608, but recall is a bitch for sure. I have the automation package which is really helpful for the fader/mute/solo/insert parts, but recalling all the sends and the eq's (including other outboard) is an hour long process for me. Changing from project to project during the day is not very practical for me at all.
yeah recall..tough
I've been going between mixing 3 different low budge indie records.
no auto package here so in this situation the faders are taped off @ unity.
all out board aux fx's sends[EMT,Bricasti etc] are sent directly from PT busses[none of the 1608 auxes sends are used] out of the mothership.all outboard 2 buss/ busses/chains stay the same..the rest itb plug ins.
so basically I can jump form project to project in less than 8 minutes.
Old 24th April 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
yeah recall..tough
I've been going between mixing 3 different low budge indie records.
no auto package here so in this situation the faders are taped off @ unity.
all out board aux fx's sends[EMT,Bricasti etc] are sent directly from PT busses[none of the 1608 auxes sends are used] out of the mothership.all outboard 2 buss/ busses/chains stay the same..the rest itb plug ins.
so basically I can jump form project to project in less than 8 minutes.
Nice, that is a good way to get around recall issues. I have pondered doing things similarly, but I really enjoy using the sends and aux busses + doing fader moves on the console. Pro and cons I guess. - paul
Old 24th April 2016
  #14
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Rea's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
yeah recall..tough
I've been going between mixing 3 different low budge indie records.
no auto package here so in this situation the faders are taped off @ unity.
all out board aux fx's sends[EMT,Bricasti etc] are sent directly from PT busses[none of the 1608 auxes sends are used] out of the mothership.all outboard 2 buss/ busses/chains stay the same..the rest itb plug ins.
so basically I can jump form project to project in less than 8 minutes.
So your using your 1608 like a big summing box?
What about recalling the eq's?

Also, was replacing the opamps the only upgrade? how did it change the sound?
Have you replaced ALL opamps? how many are in a mainframe 1608?(without extender)
Old 24th April 2016
  #15
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
So your using your 1608 like a big summing box?
What about recalling the eq's?

Also, was replacing the opamps the only upgrade? how did it change the sound?
Have you replaced ALL opamps? how many are in a mainframe 1608?(without extender)
Eqs are easy.
It's not always used this way.
Also For tracking it's very flexible.
All red dots on mic pre's,output channels/ busses.
Firlotte on mix buss/ control room
Changing out transformers to litz wire versions.
Input TX to the Ed Anderson vintage style.
Changing some caps.
Removing some other stuff(resistors,caps)that weren't on vintage.

I'm likely never going to buy a vintage one so might as well make this one sound great.
Imo I'm getting the best of the "new" "modern" and some vintage trip too.
It's been a real fun experiment,especially when it starts to sound better.. Less pinched in the mids, bigger low end and sweeter smoother high end.
Old 24th April 2016
  #16
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Rea's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
Eqs are easy.
It's not always used this way.
Also For tracking it's very flexible.
All red dots on mic pre's,output channels/ busses.
Firlotte on mix buss/ control room
Changing out transformers to litz wire versions.
Input TX to the Ed Anderson vintage style.
Changing some caps.
Removing some other stuff(resistors,caps)that weren't on vintage.

I'm likely never going to buy a vintage one so might as well make this one sound great.
Imo I'm getting the best of the "new" "modern" and some vintage trip too.
It's been a real fun experiment,especially when it starts to sound better.. Less pinched in the mids, bigger low end and sweeter smoother high end.
Quite an undertaking! how many op amps and Xformers replaced in total?
Old 24th April 2016
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Remy Leloup's Avatar
Another solution

Let's say you want a fantastic API with great headroom and a modular system which grows with your budget and at the same time a Neve sonic signature in a very class and clever package ???

LILO 16/24 then add Lunchboxes of CAPI stuff and / or AML audio

I chose that route , it's not the first thing which comes to mind but it's a very fine solution , a transparent canvas which is waiting for your colored outboard gear whatever your choice and professional all the way ( and very few maintenance for sure )

My 2 cent opinion
Old 24th April 2016
  #18
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Rea's Avatar
 

Ill be honest- after 20 years of trying all kinds of "inventive" solutions, i realized nothing will replace a real console with everything in front of me and a consistent tone through the entire path... So thats where im trying to go. But thanks for the advice!
Old 25th April 2016
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

It's a hard decision but if you're a good engineer you can track/mix on anything. Workflow - build quality/sourced parts - serviceability and sonic quality are my priorities. Before dropping a bunch of coin try this. Track and mix 3 songs (different styles) without any eq or effects. EQ with mic choice/technique/placement - song arrangement - and vision before powering anything on. Take those three mixes - load them into a DAW. Open a EQ plugin and take note of where the gobs of frequency fighting is going on. Learn from those 3 mixes.

1) Mix without reservation (no recall)
2) Mix with you ears (trust yourself)
3) Get it right going in (understand harmonic overtones)
4) Learn to get grit out of clean platform and clean out of a colored platform (gain staging)

The more refined your hearing becomes the more you will notice the resolution - depth - width only a good desk/power supply/interconnects can offer.
If you do get a desk - purchase a dedicated mix down recorder (192/24/DSD)

In the end - it's really "music style to match format" dependent - so don't get too precious about it.

Sometimes the roll off of 48/24 is appropriate for some material.
Old 25th April 2016
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantumphysics View Post
It's a hard decision but if you're a good engineer you can track/mix on anything. Workflow - build quality/sourced parts - serviceability and sonic quality are my priorities. Before dropping a bunch of coin try this. Track and mix 3 songs (different styles) without any eq or effects. EQ with mic choice/technique/placement - song arrangement - and vision before powering anything on. Take those three mixes - load them into a DAW. Open a EQ plugin and take note of where the gobs of frequency fighting is going on. Learn from those 3 mixes.

1) Mix without reservation (no recall)
2) Mix with you ears (trust yourself)
3) Get it right going in (understand harmonic overtones)
4) Learn to get grit out of clean platform and clean out of a colored platform (gain staging)

The more refined your hearing becomes the more you will notice the resolution - depth - width only a good desk/power supply/interconnects can offer.
If you do get a desk - purchase a dedicated mix down recorder (192/24/DSD)

In the end - it's really "music style to match format" dependent - so don't get too precious about it.

Sometimes the roll off of 48/24 is appropriate for some material.
He did say "after 20 years" so lets just assume he has a clue about what he wants/needs in his productions.
Old 25th April 2016
  #21
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Rea's Avatar
 

How noticeable should the voltage spec (2X45v rails on the rnd) be in comparison and when should the benefits kick in?
Old 25th April 2016
  #22
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staudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Thanks for the lengthy reply staudio!!

The Duality is in a different size/price bracket altogether... I think the AWS is more of a candidate in this category, but thing is i mostly mix my own productions so extreme recallabillity is not the first priority Also, at this time i have the SIGMA/Nucleus + 3 X-Racks of Eq/Dynamics(a mini duality/aws if you like), so im familiar with the tone of the SSL. Honestly, it does give width but i cant get the analog mojo im after from it... so thats why it all came down to Api vs RND

Thanks again- it was educational!!
Yes, the AWS is certainly more comparable from a price standpoint. Since you already have the SSL processing then you know what it can do for a mix then. I might suggest adding a rack of 550A EQ's then if you need more mojo. Those things have a lot of transformer color and having 16 of them to put in front of your Sigma might help you out without having to buy a new desk, but an API 160 is very pretty to sit in front of...

Also I get a lot of color from my mixbus chain so tell us what you have on there? I have a variety of compressors that give me different colors when I want them including API 2500, Rupert Neve MBP, Dave Hill Titans, and I also want to get a Vari Mu at some point.
Old 25th April 2016
  #23
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
How noticeable should the voltage spec (2X45v rails on the rnd) be in comparison and when should the benefits kick in?
Lots of clean headroom
That's what I noticed.
Old 25th April 2016
  #24
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I like Geoff Dakings new MK2 console.All class A discreet path.3 Transistor mic pre with Jenson transformer.Inductor 4 band EQ with bax shelving and HP filter.A comp on every channel that can act fairly benign or flat out crush with a linking function to the next channel.1 to 1 recording function with monitoring from DAW on large fader..8 busses.Plenty of sends and a 5-6 to monitor for phones.Big VU meters that can switch where you can select what you want them to read.It's sort of early in production but I highly recommend checking that out.
Old 25th April 2016
  #25
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Cucaio75's Avatar
 

We had An Api 1608 and a Neve Genesys.
Two weeks ago we received the Neve Custom Series 75.
Honestly we are still shocked!
This desk is a dream.
We waited a few months for it, without actually trying it, and waiting we read so much about it.
Despite the optimism we can not really believe that this desk is fully and beautifully sounding like a Neve 80 Series !!!

For twenty years we chased a console with this sound.
Twenty years with tons of Neve modules, clones, etc.
In mind the sound of 70's Neve Desks we had the honor of listening to over time
We will report a complete review of this unbelievable Desk soon.

Old 25th April 2016
  #26
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Rea's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz View Post
I like Geoff Dakings new MK2 console.All class A discreet path.3 Transistor mic pre with Jenson transformer.Inductor 4 band EQ with bax shelving and HP filter.A comp on every channel that can act fairly benign or flat out crush with a linking function to the next channel.1 to 1 recording function with monitoring from DAW on large fader..8 busses.Plenty of sends and a 5-6 to monitor for phones.Big VU meters that can switch where you can select what you want them to read.It's sort of early in production but I highly recommend checking that out.
Oh wow, i thought he stopped making consoles. Aways thought of a Daking but kindda gave it up. What do you know about it?
Old 25th April 2016
  #27
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Rea's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
Lots of clean headroom
That's what I noticed.
I suppose that level of headroom doesn't really come into play being fed straight off a DA, it probably needs a lot of line boosting post DA to be taken advantage of, right?
Old 25th April 2016
  #28
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Skip Burrows's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Oh wow, i thought he stopped making consoles. Aways thought of a Daking but kindda gave it up. What do you know about it?
Yeah I've worked on the new Daking mk2. Unbelievable desk. Nothing in that price range can touch it. I would get in touch with them and have a look and listen. This thing is so cool for tracking and mixing duties.
Good luck!
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
I demoed both an API 1608 and a Neve 5088 and I ended up buying a SSL Duality. I went for the SSL because the recall, automation system, and DAW control were far more capable and advanced than the other two and made much more sense for my business which includes a lot of mixing.

Sonically the API had the most instant analog mojo for me and I loved what it did on the test mix I did but frankly the headaches of recall are too much of a pain with an analog desk with no recall system. That being said the API EQ is very easy to recall because it is switched for all gain and frequency which I personally like a lot since it simplifies doing broad strokes a lot. So mostly you are stuck with the more difficult recall of send levels, and possibly faders if you don't get the automation package.

I have some RND gear including the Neve Shelford 5052 mic pre/eq and the MasterBus Processor and while I like their sound in general the console didn't offer me enough flavor from what I heard to accept the other compromises that it also had, namely poor EQ options for mixing unless you get the 5 band EQ module but then recall would be a complete nightmare and I would never get to do anything else in a day. It has some nice features such as group faders with inserts, a simple DAW automation system, and modularity but it wasn't ultimately what I needed.

The SSL Duality on the other hand, while very clean and less overtly analog flavored than the API has a really amazing depth and width of sound to it. It feels like the space to fit all the elements of a mix is much bigger than ITB and I have more apparent clarity and fatness to my mixes since getting it.
The SSL also has one of the most flexible and powerful EQ's for mixing. Not to mention dynamics and a great mix bus compressor, 24 bus routing, etc. The major added bonus is that recall is completely functional and seamless and takes me less than 15 minutes to recall the whole 48 channel desk even with serious EQ work to recall.

Ultimately, I think you have to analyze what your needs are and decide what is most important to you. If I was just running a tracking space I would have gotten the API most likely but since I also mix a lot I needed a more functional console for that. Also despite what people say, the SSL mic pre's are actually very very good and when I have tracked through the desk I have always been very happy so now that I have had the SSL for about 6 months I really am as happy as can be.
How did you like the soundstage of the mix bus for the API 1608 compared to the SSL?
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cucaio75 View Post
We had An Api 1608 and a Neve Genesys.
Two weeks ago we received the Neve Custom Series 75.
Honestly we are still shocked!
This desk is a dream.
We waited a few months for it, without actually trying it, and waiting we read so much about it.
Despite the optimism we can not really believe that this desk is fully and beautifully sounding like a Neve 80 Series !!!

For twenty years we chased a console with this sound.
Twenty years with tons of Neve modules, clones, etc.
In mind the sound of 70's Neve Desks we had the honor of listening to over time
We will report a complete review of this unbelievable Desk soon.

Do you like the sound of the custom series better than the 1608?
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