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Mix console with DAW control under $20k?
Old 11th June 2016
Here for the gear

Mix console with DAW control under $20k?

Hello experts,

Im planning to buy an SSLMatrix 2.
Can you name other desks that provide the following?

1. Analogue summing for 32 or more inputs.
2. Motorized faders / automation
3. DAW control for more than 8 channels per page
4. Flexible routing to simplify or eliminate the need of a patchbay
5. Preamp bypass to allow the use of external preamps (or in the case of Matrix2, the complete lack of preamps)
6. In/line design (monitor/input path per channel)
7. 5.1 outputs or expandability feature for it.
Old 11th June 2016
Lives for gear

Take a look at the digitally controlled analog desk threads here, specifically Otari / Euphonix / Harrison. Their used prices will get you so much more than the new SSL you list which is basically a line mixer with automation. As for your list . . .

1). Analog summing for 32 or more inputs (2 / 3 / 4 times that with these desks).

2). Motorized faders / automation (yes they have this).

3). DAW control for more than 8 channels per page (given their age no, however the SSL just uses Mackie Control Protocal for this and getting a Mackie or other controller is fairly inexpensive (example: Tascam has more than 8 faders on their controller). In addition if you are mixing through the desk's automation you likely are not touching the DAW apps faders at all - no need in the first place, so get a cheap controller if you need faders for an ITB mix).

4). Flexible routing to simplify or eliminate the need of a patchbay (these desks will have much more flexible routing and can have a patchbay included. A patchbay only gives you MORE flexibility and speed (see how fast paging through menus or reconfiguring a matrix is compared to moving a patch cable) so it is a plus to use patchbays in the practical world, not a minus. These digitally controlled analog desks will have one or two button push total reconfiguration of the desks routing that you can configure so going from setup to setup is as easy as it gets. Reconfiguring routing for individual channels / groups / group assign is a couple more button pushes but just as easy).

5). Preamp bypass (yes, any decent analog desk will have line in and possibly in addition tape in per input strip that bypass the main mic pre circuit. An insert point on an input strip is an additional way to bring in signal past the mic pre circuit. In addition these desks will have stereo line in input strips as options they sold (no mic pre)).

6). In/line design (yes, or even dual path design. In the case of the Otari you have separate independent - full sized mototized faders, full EQ, input options, and automation for BOTH the upper and lower paths per input strip but the upper and lower paths share the auxes (almost dual)).

7). 5.1 outputs (yes, outputs are configurable. Look into desk options as certain modules / configurations lend themselves better to this workflow choice).

The reality is that new desks have to compete with old existing desks which can sell for 10% of their original street price. That means you can get an original $70k - $100k desk for under $10k now (half your budget). Do you think the analog parts of a new $20k SSL are going to be on par with a desk that sold for 4 to 5 times that price? In addition these old desks were built with servicing in mind thus have the advantage of modular construction and thru hole parts placement, meaning if something goes down you can likely fix or swap modules to continue working. The new desks have a small footprint and better DAW integration in their favor but DAW integration is an ever changing goalpost that can leave you orphaned. Luckily your listed SSL uses the Mackie protocal which besides being basic is as universal as it gets and should be carried forward in the future (as future proof as it gets these days).

Many desk manuals are downloadable for study of function / signal flow options. Given you are spending some money, talking about or buying a couple hours time on a Studio's digitally controlled analog desk that you have on your short list would prove very valuable.

Last edited by Bassmankr; 11th June 2016 at 09:20 PM..
Old 11th June 2016
You're not going to find everything you're looking for under 20k if you want to go with a hybrid or analog mixer. And the truth might be (I happen to think it is, others will differ) that aiming in the direction you currently seem to be is moving against the innovations in audio mixing and workstation control that have made mixing easier and much more affordable.

For your consideration the best hybrid mixers I know of are:

-SSL Duality, This is the best hybrid mixer there is. And it will cost you the price of a nice house in an upper middle class neighborhood in the US to have one.

-SSL AWS, This will get you a lot of what you seem to want. But it starts at the price of a base model Porsche.

-Audient ASP8024 (priced fairly at under 40k to start, but still way out of your stated budget), they come with a control surface for the DAW work and they are excellent sounding mixers, with an easy to understand layout. No, you likely can't eliminate a patch bay unless you mix in the box.

They only get less feature filled as the price drops.

If you want to go straight analog it definitely couldn't hurt to look at the Audient ASP4816. That and a Slate Raven MTi might treat you right, and all for under 20k.

But to be honest I think unless you're at the point of making significant profit from the investment (maybe you are), and you know exactly what you're doing (maybe you do), it's a waste to purchase a record production quality analog mixer.
Old 12th June 2016
Lives for gear

Add tactile technology m4000 with the last eproms installed (midi enabling) to the list. Onboard automation, 24 inline channels, 6 aux sends, 6 returns, 8 subs stock and can be expanded X5. So, a 24 channels, 30 aux sends/returns, 40 subs can be done. No patchbay needed. The last eproms allow full midi control. A complete system can be bought for 2000/5000 and single elements to expand the system, when they popup, can be had for really cheap.

You also can buy new old stock in germany.
Old 12th June 2016
Lives for gear
Casey's Avatar

I use two audient Zens with their busses and sends tied together with four Sumthangs. It checks all your boxes and all in is around 24k.

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