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Long-term analog mixer investment advise needed
Old 3rd January 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Long-term analog mixer investment advise needed

Hi!
Quest: upgrade my workflow, get a better sound and make a good investment. Budget 15/20k. I honestly admit I don't know much about analog mixers, so please forgive my ignorance.

I mostly produce underground lounge and chillhouse with a deep and tech touch.
Don't need tracking, max one stereo track at the time, so I possibly won’t like to spend money for a mixer with many mic pres.
Have anyway a couple of good preamps (Summit Audio MPC-100A, Universal Audio M610, Great River MP-2NV), compressors (Manley Vari Mu, Manley Elop, API 2500, Elysia Xpressor), EQs (Manley Massive Passive, Elysia Xfilter), and use Apogee Rosettas 800, AD16X and DA16X and a Dangerous 2Bus Summing mixer.
I usually master myself my tracks.

Don’t really need talkback, have a Coleman Audio M3PH MKII for switching speakers.
Have some reverbs and FX units (Lexicon PCM70, Yamaha SPX2000, Ensoniq DP4+, TC Electronic D-Two).
I am partnering with an amazing vintage keys collectors and producer who owns some Rhodes, CP70, TR808, TR909, Linn 9000, Jupiter 8, Juno 106, Juno 60, DX7, AKAI samplers and many other amazing toys.

We mostly use Pro Tools HD (the “old” TDM system), Logic X and Ableton Live.
We have two Euphonix Artist controllers, but lately we're wondering how would it feel to have a real mixer under our hands!

So I put my eyes over:

1) a Speck Electronics Lilo 24 channels mixer, 14k
2) a SSL Matrix, 19k
3) a SSL XL-Desk, empty, 19k
4) an API the Box, 15k
5) a “smaller" alternative could be a X-desk + X-rack system?
6) or even buying another Dangerous + interfaces and go 32 channels, but that won’t be a mixer!
7) and of course, just for reference, a out-of-reach Neve 5088 basic desk, 37k

I have seen and read many amazing threads about comparing different mixers, but my point here is also to make a wise investment like I did with the Massive Passive, the Vari Mu, the API, I mean to invest in a mixer which hopefully won't lose much value over time, which would be physically solid (not too much firmware and software related), and possibly even be expandable?

A mixer for mainly producing and mastering own music only. No tracking, no need to impress customers.
Am I dreaming?

Last thing: I don’t like patch bays too much, and even if always been much nerdy, I lately like lesser and lesser technology. Plain and simple is what my brain can handle right now!

Thanks so much for your precious help, greetings from Switzerland and much respect
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Old 3rd January 2017
  #2
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deuc647's Avatar
 

If i had 20k i would buy that neotek elan thats in the classified for 8k gbp. best value ive seen for that type of console.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #3
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The SSL matrix has slick transports/track setup. But I would check about integration into DAW's with SSL.

API the box would be the best tracking front end. Then load up the 500 series stuff right.

So if you are a tracking house, the API
If you are a mixing house, the Matrix

After a re-read. Two new options:
Rupert Neve Designs 5060 Centerpiece
SSL Nucleus 2.

I'm in process of assembling a system w/ Two MX4 cards and a Nucleus. Soundscape.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #4
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You don't list what you already have for converters. You will need a converter channel for every channel you want to put through the mixer at the same time. If needed figure that into the budget also.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #5
Gear Maniac
Thinking about pulling the trigger on an Audient asp4816.. That might suit your needs,,,
Old 3rd January 2017
  #6
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Lipps's Avatar
 

I've seen ssl aws 900's go for 25k on the regular. I'd eye that.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #7
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deuc647's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipps View Post
I've seen ssl aws 900's go for 25k on the regular. I'd eye that.
Where the **** have you seen this going on?!
Old 3rd January 2017
  #8
Lives for gear
I'd buy a Trident 88 from Adorama (by far the cheapest- hope it's not a typo). Seriously nice eq included, unlike your listed options.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
You don't list what you already have for converters. You will need a converter channel for every channel you want to put through the mixer at the same time. If needed figure that into the budget also.
Yep, sorry Bassmankr.
All apogee: 1 AD16X, 1 DA16X, 3 Rosetta 800, total 40 in 40 out.

Apogees are connected:
a) via AES EBU to blue Digi 192 Digitals linked to the Pro Tools HD (TDM) system on a Sweetwater Creation Station on Windows 7
b) via X-Symphony rear cards to a X-Symphony PCIe card based system running on a Mac Pro with Logic X and Ableton Live.

So far I'm using the external gear as straight "software" inserts.
Pros: always available and total recall
Cons: limited headroom and I guess with a mixer is more fun

Thanks for your help!
Old 3rd January 2017
  #10
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Lumbergh's Avatar
 

Audient 8024 might suit you, could be a good deal too with current exchange rates.
Old 4th January 2017
  #11
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Thanks!

Updated list now:

1) Speck Electronics Lilo 24, 14k
2) SSL XL-Desk (empty), 19k
3) API The Box, 15k
4) Neve 5088 8 channels, 26k
5) Neve 5060 Centerpiece + 5059 Satellite, 12k
6) Audient ASP4816, 17k
7) Audient ASP 8024 HE, 25k
8) Trident Audio 8 Buss 16 Channels 20k

Now I'm really lost!
What will be the best investment either for the workflow and the money?
Old 4th January 2017
  #12
I'd say Audient. It's a very well-rounded and possibly the most versatile console on your list.
Old 4th January 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
I'd say the Audient for workflow.
I wouldn't consider anything on that list a financial investment. I hope you mean financial, as in good for your business. None of these will be going up in value anytime soon. They will all be half the price in 3 years.
Old 4th January 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGreen View Post
I'd say the Audient for workflow.
I wouldn't consider anything on that list a financial investment. I hope you mean financial, as in good for your business. None of these will be going up in value anytime soon. They will all be half the price in 3 years.
Hi BigGreen, thanks.

Rather than "going higher in price", I am meaning more like "keeping their value more than the other competitors in the list", or "depreciating less".
If my Pro Control lost 90% of its value in 10 years, my Manley Massive Passive lost almost nothing in the same period.

That what I was meaning.
Best investment not only regarding workflow and sound, but ALSO regarding their market value.
Old 4th January 2017
  #15
Lives for gear
To avoid depreciation, let someone else take it. Meaning buy used.
All consoles depreciate astronomically. When you're trying to sell one, it's usually because your dreams have died and the wolves are circling. But the market is small and dispersed. Hardly anyone can buy a console for cash, yet it is exceedingly hard to get a loan for expensive gear. The console also has shipping, installation, and commissioning expenses that only well-capitalized buyers can afford.
Less obviously, the price is heavily affected by what economists call information asymmetry. The seller knows what's wrong with the console, but the buyer doesn't and can't until he expends large sums to buy and install the thing. Therefore the buyer will require a discount as compensation for the asymmetry.
The end result is that consoles are most commonly brokered by intermediaries, who assume substantial risk in the form of capital costs, any warranty, and the informational asymmetry. So the intermediaries extract substantial prices from the buyer and concessions from the seller. What you see used consoles going for is nothing near what the seller got.
That's why we don't buy new consoles.

Last edited by 808KickDrum; 4th January 2017 at 02:06 AM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 4th January 2017
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 808KickDrum View Post
To avoid depreciation, let someone else take it. Meaning buy used.
All consoles depreciate astronomically. When you're trying to sell one, it's usually because your dreams have died and the wolves are circling. But the market is small and dispersed. Hardly anyone can buy a console for cash, yet it is exceedingly hard to get a loan for expensive gear. The console also has shipping, installation, and commissioning expenses that only well-capitalized buyers can afford.
Less obviously, the price is heavily affected by what economists call information asymmetry. The seller knows what's wrong with the console, but the buyer doesn't and can't until he expends large sums to buy and install the thing. Therefore the buyer will require a discount as compensation for the asymmetry.
The end result is that consoles are most commonly brokered by intermediaries, who assume substantial risk in the form of capital costs, any warranty, and the informational asymmetry. So the intermediaries extract substantial prices from the buyer and concessions from the seller. What you see used consoles going for is nothing near what the seller got.
That's why we don't buy new consoles.


This is priceless information 808KickDrum, thanks.
In my ignorance I though that, since "analog" and not "digital", consoles could keep their value more like some analog outboard gear. Again, I have never owned a serious analog mixer.

So, any good recommendations over used consoles in terms of age/model/make and/or some commercial intermediaries with good reputation?
Thanks
Old 4th January 2017
  #17
I'd look at a classic console like a Trident, MCI, Amek, etc. Or, because you're in Switzerland, what about a Studer console?

A good, older analogue console should hold value but I think only certain brands will maintain value over time. Definitely choose one with through-hole mounted components (ie, not SMD) and where component availability is good

A Trident Series 80 or an Amek Angela would fit the bill. There are still quite a few around and there is always a market for them. And having lots of channels will be great if you have a stack of keyboards

Nick Froome
Old 4th January 2017
  #18
Lives for gear
Yeah, they keep value better than lots of stuff, but not like 2-channel vintage outboard. Which is why chandler and Brent averill got started by parting out consoles- the parts are worth more than the sum.
Your usual suspects are better at holding value. Like vintage neve or whatever. But those things are hugely expensive.

The best thing to do is improve your bargaining position. This involves:
1) effort. Scan every board and site that might have a suitable console, regularly. Put out lots of wtb ads. Make friends. Even put your feelers out at local high-end studios, see if they'll let you come in for an hour to try one out, mention you're in the market. Maybe they're itching to upgrade and will see you as an opportunity.
Also learn the market. Develop a spreadsheet of boards and what they sold for. Through eBay, etc. come armed with hard data.
2) patience. You'll have to wait - maybe a week, maybe a year- but something nice will crop up. Then you do some meditation, and remember we are all but Ashes in a vessel. Transcend your mortal greed and prepare to walk if you don't get your price. Which you have written down ahead of time and vowed you will not exceed.
3) money. Cash ist Koenig. Get enough money lined up to pay it then and there. Perhaps get a bank to give you a revolving credit line, after explaingin your business plans. Immediate money is worth more than tangled-up money.
4) get a competent tech and pay him to look at boards with you. Worth eur 30 an hour, plus the implicit promise that he'll get the commission in business.

Or just call funky junk and spend a lot more.
Good luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Donner View Post
This is priceless information 808KickDrum, thanks.
In my ignorance I though that, since "analog" and not "digital", consoles could keep their value more like some analog outboard gear. Again, I have never owned a serious analog mixer.

So, any good recommendations over used consoles in terms of age/model/make and/or some commercial intermediaries with good reputation?
Thanks
Old 4th January 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Donner View Post
This is priceless information 808KickDrum, thanks.
In my ignorance I though that, since "analog" and not "digital", consoles could keep their value more like some analog outboard gear. Again, I have never owned a serious analog mixer.

So, any good recommendations over used consoles in terms of age/model/make and/or some commercial intermediaries with good reputation?
Thanks
A lot of those great sounding mixers from the 90s need a lot of tech work, and even then... little things WILL go on you. Sometimes you get lucky, but you might not. I've experienced firsthand (and continue to) how much $$$ it takes to keep them going.

My advice is buy used, but buy something semi current. A used Audient is a great board. So is a used XL Desk.
Old 4th January 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Donner View Post
Hi BigGreen, thanks.

Rather than "going higher in price", I am meaning more like "keeping their value more than the other competitors in the list", or "depreciating less".
If my Pro Control lost 90% of its value in 10 years, my Manley Massive Passive lost almost nothing in the same period.

That what I was meaning.
Best investment not only regarding workflow and sound, but ALSO regarding their market value.
Kewl. You got to go big name and stay high end then. You can already see most of these on the used market to judge that. There is the best way to keep value... Buy used.

Good luck.
Old 4th January 2017
  #21
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Plush's Avatar
Purchase the Audient ASP4816 from Funky Junk in London and save big time.

A lot less than the $17,000 you listed.

It is very high quality all around.
Old 4th January 2017
  #22
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Consoles are for love and workflow ....not investment.

Elan is a great option but might be small as its 24 ch..

What sort of work are you doing?
Old 4th January 2017
  #23
Gear Nut
If you do wind up using a broker be ready to fly out to verify that the console is loaded with the right electronics that are advertised. There is a temptation among this lot to tell you what you want to hear about the desk like it has all transformer pre amps or mods . You might pay for one thing and get another and be left holding the bag because you didn't verify in person or have a reputable tec do it. There are always things wrong with desks this complicated and you need to check each fader ,switch vu, to make a list of the things that need repair or tec work and use this information to negotiate the price down with the broker. Do not rely on the broker to tell you(or even know) what the full extent of the work that needs to be done to the desk to bring it up to operational standards aka "commissioning " the downside to buying a newer style desk is that they will be less field reparable than older designs . (Also be very clear and upfront about when you will receive your desk. Never pay all up front. They will drag their feet and cost you thousands in lost rent . If it sounds like I have been burned ...well yes I have but now I'm better at buying large scale consoles. The first SSL I got took 8 months for the broker to deliver which took its toll on financial reserves. The last one only took 3 because I hounded the guy the whole time about a firm delivery date.
This business is not for the meek. If you are willing to get your hands dirty it is possible to find consoles that were worth 500k for 30k but beware that these things will always need work . Some you expect and some you don't. And lastly you will need a patch bay and cabling and depending on how big, a new HVAC. Add 10k. It's a serious pain in the wallet but it's the only way to fly for me...
Old 4th January 2017
  #24
Gear Nut
If I were in Europe I would be looking for a Calrec or SSL. Both great desks that can be found cheap with lots of spare modules to be had.
Old 4th January 2017
  #25
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Sagely advice in the last post.

When trouble shooting a console purchase I make an excel sheet of every function in the channel strip and patch bay, then X by no of channels and colour green for good, yellow for intermittent and red for dead.

This is a comprehensive method of having a visual heat map of all issues that need resolution.

Do have a good tech who knows the desks check it out.

Wiggy
Old 14th June 2017
  #26
Here for the gear
 

I tried to listen to all of your great advices, thanks.
I will have to keep calm and look around for some nice used deals, no hurry, and be ready to travel to check their conditions.

Finalists are now:
1) RND 5088
2) Audient 8024 HE
3) SSL AWS Delta series (916 924 948)

Those are modern consoles which will probably keep some good value for the next 10 years.
The budget should probably rise in the 30k level, but the investment will probably be more rewarding in the long-term rather than the 15k-20k consoles which I have previously considered.
Old 15th June 2017
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Donner View Post
I tried to listen to all of your great advices, thanks.
I will have to keep calm and look around for some nice used deals, no hurry, and be ready to travel to check their conditions.

Finalists are now:
1) RND 5088
2) Audient 8024 HE
3) SSL AWS Delta series (916 924 948)

Those are modern consoles which will probably keep some good value for the next 10 years.
The budget should probably rise in the 30k level, but the investment will probably be more rewarding in the long-term rather than the 15k-20k consoles which I have previously considered.
Hi, Enrico

You might try contacting Ian Bell at CustomTubeConsoles.com. He's in the UK, and he has designed consoles for Neve in the past. Let us know how it goes.
Old 15th June 2017
  #28
Old 16th June 2017
  #29
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Donner View Post
I tried to listen to all of your great advices, thanks.
I will have to keep calm and look around for some nice used deals, no hurry, and be ready to travel to check their conditions.

Finalists are now:
1) RND 5088
2) Audient 8024 HE
3) SSL AWS Delta series (916 924 948)

Those are modern consoles which will probably keep some good value for the next 10 years.
The budget should probably rise in the 30k level, but the investment will probably be more rewarding in the long-term rather than the 15k-20k consoles which I have previously considered.
Ciao Enrico,
These are 3 nice consoles.. with ANY of them you could get nice or very nice results.
Out of these I'd probably go to the audient 8024HE.

Although the 5088 is a very nice sounding console (and I'm not at all a RND fan, but the console sounds great).
If I were you I'd try to get my hands on all 3 and see if they fit my (YOUR) workflow.
The 5088 have fans that are slightly audible, and being a 90volt console it gets hot.. but sounds very good, as already said.

Anyway with that budget I'd try to consider the custom75 as well..I do like the workflow, please double check if it's hassle free and if you could have support in europe (this is also true for the rnd).. Audient should not be a problem from that point of view.

I'm not a big SSL sound fan.. Not that they sound bad, their workflow is very smart and they're reliable, but I'm not crazy about their sound.. Of course this is very personal, other guys LOVES them.. matter of taste of course.

Daking has also a new console which is great, but I believe it's way out of your budget.

Another console I'd consider is an old MCI 600 series (which I prefer to the 500 personally). Of course need to be completely refurbished by someone who knows what he's doing.. Lovely sounding consoles IMHO, great routing.

Ciao

Cheu

Last edited by cheu78; 16th June 2017 at 10:55 AM..
Old 17th June 2017
  #30
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Plush's Avatar
It's very clear that for you an Audient is the way to go. Get a real console, not a plastic controller.
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