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High end Neve / SSL consoles and their running costs
Old 12th July 2018
  #1
Gear Nut
 

High end Neve / SSL consoles and their running costs

Fairly self explanatory question, but I’m interested in people’s thoughts on SSL and Neve’s high end offerings (Duality, 88RS etc), particularly when it comes to things like running costs / boot up times / power consumption / the need for a machine room with AC cooling... etc.

Involved in the building of a high end studio, and currently just evaluating console options.
Old 13th July 2018
  #2
Duality doesn’t need a machine room. 88R does.

There’s one difference!
Old 13th July 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
 

A high end facility will likely have a machine room with AC just for the computers alone. Manuals will tell you about power consumption, so that’s just a math problem to solve with plugging in your locations power costs.
Old 13th July 2018
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
mike-661's Avatar
One of my rooms with an 8056G+ used to run avg. $900/month for electricity and simply by converting to Atomic power supply and THD Labs Tangerine computer cut it to a $400/month average!

My 4032 is practically invisible to my electric bill (maybe $50-$100 month?)

You would still need a machine room for the power supply as it's not silent, or you could simply put the Atomic in the nearest room without going overboard on air conditioning. But the THD computer is silent and doesn't take up 4 feet or rack space like the old one!
Old 13th July 2018
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike-661 View Post
One of my rooms with an 8056G+ used to run avg. $900/month for electricity and simply by converting to Atomic power supply and THD Labs Tangerine computer cut it to a $400/month average!

My 4032 is practically invisible to my electric bill (maybe $50-$100 month?)

You would still need a machine room for the power supply as it's not silent, or you could simply put the Atomic in the nearest room without going overboard on air conditioning. But the THD computer is silent and doesn't take up 4 feet or rack space like the old one!
Norman from Atomic once told me that they had some idiot take one of their supplies, put it in a closet with a blanket over it (to deaden the noise) and it STILL ran for 6 months before giving up!

(I have an Atomic supply for our VR - it is noisy in a whiny sort of way so you definitely need a machine room, but runs so much cooler than the 2 x Neve supplies!)
Old 13th July 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Norman from Atomic once told me that they had some idiot take one of their supplies, put it in a closet with a blanket over it (to deaden the noise) and it STILL ran for 6 months before giving up!

(I have an Atomic supply for our VR - it is noisy in a whiny sort of way so you definitely need a machine room, but runs so much cooler than the 2 x Neve supplies!)
A blanket?? Come on!!

True about the noise. I have 2 Atomics and the one which serves the +250v plasma rail is MUCH hotter and a bit louder than the standard one on my other desk (as expected). So that's something to consider.
Old 15th July 2018
  #7
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I am an old man with old fashioned ideas about pragmatical reasoning. Having spent almost 50 years cursing the need to manage the random vicissitudes of analog audio processing i see no advantage of resurrecting the nightmare of maintaining yesterdays expensive, over the top eye candy. Given the current quality of ITB audio processing what possible business model would indicate moving back into pink elephants, such as the one's described in this thread, would be a good idea.
Hugh
Old 15th July 2018
  #8
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mike-661's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
I am an old man with old fashioned ideas about pragmatical reasoning. Having spent almost 50 years cursing the need to manage the random vicissitudes of analog audio processing i see no advantage of resurrecting the nightmare of maintaining yesterdays expensive, over the top eye candy. Given the current quality of ITB audio processing what possible business model would indicate moving back into pink elephants, such as the one's described in this thread, would be a good idea.
Hugh
To each his own... (believe me, I do understand and respect what you're saying)

My .02, or less:

Digital painting with a mouse and tablet might be a better "business model" for a painter, yet the canvas/brush/oil gives a dynamic and different emotional communication than the 1's and 0's of a computer.

Same can be said for analog gear. Tape and console give a character that digital emulations do differently.

Just ask some of my clients (artists, engineers, producers). Even the least educated of my clients have 9/10 been MUCH more excited by the console mixes and almost never ask for revisions, or very insignificant changes. Too many times I've seen and heard the reactions justifying the analog approach is worth it as it contributes something special.

Of course studios will only keep using analog gear if they're doing it for the sound/experience/obsession rather than solely for financial/business purposes. Life's too short. I find money to be the smallest reward for living.

PS. As far as tech issues, the DAW's cause more issues in my studio than the consoles ever have. And the WORSE problem of all is dealing with all of the tubes in microphones and compressors. Consoles are the least of my problems, by far.
Old 15th July 2018
  #9
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
I am an old man with old fashioned ideas about pragmatical reasoning. Having spent almost 50 years cursing the need to manage the random vicissitudes of analog audio processing i see no advantage of resurrecting the nightmare of maintaining yesterdays expensive, over the top eye candy. Given the current quality of ITB audio processing what possible business model would indicate moving back into pink elephants, such as the one's described in this thread, would be a good idea.
Hugh
What was the title of this thread?

Oh yeah.... it was asking about running costs of consoles, did it question the need for a console?

If you post a thread here asking people who know "which tape is best?" You will get 100 replies telling you that tape is no good and "ITB" is the best way to do things...... all by people who have never used tape.

Sigh.....
Old 15th July 2018
  #10
Not noticed any increases in bills from my Duality (granted, it's a 24ch version, so only 1 plug).....
Old 16th July 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo555 View Post
Not noticed any increases in bills from my Duality (granted, it's a 24ch version, so only 1 plug).....
Sounds about right - an 88RS is a different beast though.
Old 16th July 2018
  #12
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T_R_S's Avatar
We have a 9080K in one room with an Atomic PSU - this is must have as you power down the console plus the Atomic PSU draws a lot less. With the wings turned on a lot of outboard on the HVAC does have to work overtime.
We have a 96 channel Duality and it rums a lot cooler and consumes a lot less lower. But it does not sound as good as the K....
FWIW The Atomic probably dropped the power bill at least $500 month (less power + less HVAC)
I've used an 88RS it runs a lot hotter than a K.
Old 16th July 2018
  #13
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I have several friends that spend an inordinate amount of time maintaining and polishing their old wire wheeled sports cars. (a Austin Healey & an XKE) They look forward to pretty Sunday afternoons and the sheer joy of the throaty sound of the Healey and spectacular curb appeal of the Jaguar; however they drive today's vehicles on a daily basis.
I spent a lot of years dealing with tape and it's peculiarities but never owned the ultra expensive gear this thread is about. Having spent time with several projects that deployed "high end gear" of this type was an interesting experience but hardly worth it's price tag at the time.
Evaluating sonic quality is a highly subjective process that is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify. My clients are very happy with the work I produce with DigiGrid/Waves LV1 @ FP32/96K and Studio One 3.5 DAW. My gear doesn't create a sensual excitement like the sound of the Austin Healey and certainly does not have the curb appeal of the Jaguar however it's quick and easy to turn on and off and produces work that sounds very good to my old ears.
Hugh
Old 16th July 2018
  #14
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
I have several friends that spend an inordinate amount of time maintaining and polishing their old wire wheeled sports cars. (a Austin Healey & an XKE) They look forward to pretty Sunday afternoons and the sheer joy of the throaty sound of the Healey and spectacular curb appeal of the Jaguar; however they drive today's vehicles on a daily basis.
I spent a lot of years dealing with tape and it's peculiarities but never owned the ultra expensive gear this thread is about. Having spent time with several projects that deployed "high end gear" of this type was an interesting experience but hardly worth it's price tag at the time.
Evaluating sonic quality is a highly subjective process that is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify. My clients are very happy with the work I produce with DigiGrid/Waves LV1 @ FP32/96K and Studio One 3.5 DAW. My gear doesn't create a sensual excitement like the sound of the Austin Healey and certainly does not have the curb appeal of the Jaguar however it's quick and easy to turn on and off and produces work that sounds very good to my old ears.
Hugh
Which is all good, it's simply not what this thread is about.
Old 17th July 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred View Post
Which is all good, it's simply not what this thread is about.
Agreed - let’s stay on topic!
Old 17th July 2018
  #16
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Nowak's Avatar
I used to have a 4072G loaded with 56 modules, the computer and all that... to be honest I was surprised how low my electricity bills were.. Having said that, the console was powered down when not in use and it wasn't used every single day.

The Euphonix CS2000 was similar, but a different headache with the 2 fridge sized audio towers.

If either console had been left on 24/7 the impact would've been profound.

Another cost involved is maintenance, annually usually higher than any electricity costs.

Now in the box with a 48 channel Icon.. there's next to no impact on power costs and the freedom can't be beat.

YMMV.

Stef.
Old 17th July 2018
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike-661 View Post
To each his own... (believe me, I do understand and respect what you're saying)

My .02, or less:

Digital painting with a mouse and tablet might be a better "business model" for a painter, yet the canvas/brush/oil gives a dynamic and different emotional communication than the 1's and 0's of a computer.

Same can be said for analog gear. Tape and console give a character that digital emulations do differently.

Just ask some of my clients (artists, engineers, producers). Even the least educated of my clients have 9/10 been MUCH more excited by the console mixes and almost never ask for revisions, or very insignificant changes. Too many times I've seen and heard the reactions justifying the analog approach is worth it as it contributes something special.

Of course studios will only keep using analog gear if they're doing it for the sound/experience/obsession rather than solely for financial/business purposes. Life's too short. I find money to be the smallest reward for living.

PS. As far as tech issues, the DAW's cause more issues in my studio than the consoles ever have. And the WORSE problem of all is dealing with all of the tubes in microphones and compressors. Consoles are the least of my problems, by far.
So you are saying go analog/big desk for the placebo effect?
Old 17th July 2018
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
mike-661's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hired Goon View Post
So you are saying go analog/big desk for the placebo effect?
Not every desk is equal. My desks before they were recapped, upgraded and modded were nowhere near what they are now. Currently they put ITB to shame, very badly. Much warmer, thicker and weightier than I remember SSL's sounding.
Old 17th July 2018
  #19
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Nowak's Avatar
"Currently put ITB to shame"

It's amazing how 1 comment can cause the bull**** alarm to go off.

I dig that you prefer working that way, but comments like this really don't help your credibility.

Stefan.
Old 17th July 2018
  #20
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Hired Goon, sounds like you are trolling or don’t have experience listening to blind files of another Engineer’s ITB and desk mixes of the same tracks. In my experience and many others via their many posts over the years here on that subject, they sound different. Now back on topic about costs.
Old 17th July 2018
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike-661 View Post
Not every desk is equal. My desks before they were recapped, upgraded and modded were nowhere near what they are now. Currently they put ITB to shame, very badly. Much warmer, thicker and weightier than I remember SSL's sounding.
Not what the thread is about....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowak View Post
"Currently put ITB to shame"

It's amazing how 1 comment can cause the bull**** alarm to go off.

I dig that you prefer working that way, but comments like this really don't help your credibility.

Stefan.
...but I was thinking the same thing. It’s preference not inherent! But we’ve had this discussion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Hired Goon, sounds like you are trolling or don’t have experience listening to blind files of another Engineer’s ITB and desk mixes of the same tracks. In my experience and many others via their many posts over the years here on that subject, they sound different. Now back on topic about costs.
Reread the post and it might be clearer - it was a summary of the point made in the post quoted!
Old 17th July 2018
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
mike-661's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowak View Post
"Currently put ITB to shame"

It's amazing how 1 comment can cause the bull**** alarm to go off.

I dig that you prefer working that way, but comments like this really don't help your credibility.

Stefan.
Sure. It's bull **** that on the SSL the kick gets tighter and gels better with the bass without any real "work", etc... ITB is so neutral that it requires lots more work to get the same effect.

I find it hard to believe that you guys who've used well tuned up SSL desks would call it BS that it'd sound better than ITB. Some of these desks can really add weight, depth, punch, glue, and just tame tracks that would otherwise sound harsh ITB. I've been an ITB guy at times, and the miles of plugins needed just to get neck and neck with the starting ground of a top notch desk is just unfair. That's what I call BS. It almost forces me to have to use a desk once I know what I'm missing.

Maybe I'm crazy, I don't know. I also don't need credibility. I use an SSL console and publicly share the room with people that enjoy the sound. Honestly, it doesn't offend me if someone would prefer to work on their computer at home.

I hope the OP gets a console and has good time with it. It's definitely not a "boat anchor".

Last edited by mike-661; 17th July 2018 at 05:54 PM.. Reason: BS? It's all subjective, anyhow...
Old 18th July 2018
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike-661 View Post
Sure. It's bull **** that on the SSL the kick gets tighter and gels better with the bass without any real "work", etc... ITB is so neutral that it requires lots more work to get the same effect.

I find it hard to believe that you guys who've used well tuned up SSL desks would call it BS that it'd sound better than ITB. Some of these desks can really add weight, depth, punch, glue, and just tame tracks that would otherwise sound harsh ITB. I've been an ITB guy at times, and the miles of plugins needed just to get neck and neck with the starting ground of a top notch desk is just unfair. That's what I call BS. It almost forces me to have to use a desk once I know what I'm missing.

Maybe I'm crazy, I don't know. I also don't need credibility. I use an SSL console and publicly share the room with people that enjoy the sound. Honestly, it doesn't offend me if someone would prefer to work on their computer at home.

I hope the OP gets a console and has good time with it. It's definitely not a "boat anchor".
It would be a touch hypocritical for me to remove this given I’ve already posted on the topic so I’ll leave it at “you’re entitled to that view - now back on topic!”.

Further off topic WILL be removed, so let’s leave this here.
Old 18th July 2018
  #24
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Puppets View Post
Fairly self explanatory question, but I’m interested in people’s thoughts on SSL and Neve’s high end offerings (Duality, 88RS etc), particularly when it comes to things like running costs / boot up times / power consumption / the need for a machine room with AC cooling... etc.

Involved in the building of a high end studio, and currently just evaluating console options.
It really depends on where you live. Running a LFC in Florida or AZ is going to require 10x the power consumption for AirCond than it would in Iceland or Alaska. But then again it depends on how much the utility company charges in those areas. Another thing to consider is what type of console and the size. A class A discrete console is going to run hotter than a solid state console with SMT.
Old 18th July 2018
  #25
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EvilRoy's Avatar
Hope this isn't off topic. I just bought a new console and discovered a lot of hidden costs. "Track on a Neve, mix on an SSL" was essentially the working theory and I wanted the SSL type, transformer tracking can be done with outboard. I can't afford an SSL so I went with a D&R, poor man's euro-SSL. PSUs have no fan but I haven't run it enough yet to guess the electricity costs. The one thing I found with most older consoles was they all needed work, almost got a Neve VR60 for less but it was close to shot and would have needed too much work to restore. The initial costs have been: Moving it = $1,500. Cooling it = $1,200. Unlke my old Mackie, it runs hot and I don't want to fry it so it's time to install the split AC system I've been wanting. Gotta get an electrician to run a dirty circuit also. Isolated ground = $100. Been meaning to do that anyway, also. Cable = $500 so far, just to wire it as a simple 8 track setup. I'm about 1/4 of the way to a fully wired 24 track studio. fTech guy = $1,000 so far. My analog console has digital switching and automation, which means eprom chips. I didn't want to see my console turn into a brick if they fried so I cloned them. I also picked up dynamics cards and parts for another $1,000. Still have to hire the tech guy to test and calibrate before I can call it commissioned. High end is expensive.
Old 18th July 2018
  #26
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EvilRoy is on topic and for the record has perfectly driven home the expensive futility point I was making!
Hugh
Old 18th July 2018
  #27
Have never owned an ssl but was pretty serious about buying one a couple of years ago. One of my friends who is one of the top ssl tech guys in Sweden informed me about the costs of owning an ssl and also what it would cost to buy one that isn't up to spec which for me growing up in the digital age wasn't aware off. The recap bill can be huge, especially on the older desks. He recapped a neve v3 (!?)for a customer and brining it up to spec cost allot more then the console itself.

So the powerbill alone isn't the main cost, and even if the seller say it has been properly maintained over the years very few are as in good condition as the seller claim it to be. "my" tech guy strongly adviced against getting anything other then a late 90s G+, ofc he was mainly looking at it from maintance perspective. He also said that he had fixed a desk that a atomic power supply had fried. From what I know there atomic brand is no longer in production right? Maybe that's one of the reasons? I don't want to slam anyone so please correct me if I'm wrong.
Old 18th July 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
EvilRoy is on topic and for the record has perfectly driven home the expensive futility point I was making!
plus 2 on your considerations!

my mci jh500 draws tons of juice - don't even wanna go into maintenance costs (it's a 40 years old desk!). and then there is occasionaly some outboard that needs a bit of help. scary to think any of the old tube mics would go down...

all of this and 'cause i prefer mixing on a desk over working itb for various reasons (mainly 'cause a desk let's me do things no daw can), i made the switch to a current day (digital!) console a few years ago, put a solar panel on the roof and have been very happy with my studer vista ever since.

i'm using the mci only if someone insists on the sound, mood and workflow (and then along an a800 of course!), so: just occasionally these days. also being serious gear, i consider it as an ambitious hobby, as expensive as most hobbies tend to be or become...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 18th July 2018 at 01:39 PM.. Reason: edited
Old 18th July 2018
  #29
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EvilRoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
EvilRoy is on topic and for the record has perfectly driven home the expensive futility point I was making!
Hugh
Expensive, yes. Futile, no. ITB isn't anywhere near as cool as my ride and mine sounds better.

Thinking about getting wire wheels for it.
Old 18th July 2018
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
mike-661's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
...So the powerbill alone isn't the main cost, and even if the seller say it has been properly maintained over the years very few are as in good condition as the seller claim it to be. "my" tech guy strongly adviced against getting anything other then a late 90s G+, ofc he was mainly looking at it from maintance perspective...
Very true. Have had no unexpected issues on our G+ in the decade we've owned it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
...He also said that he had fixed a desk that a atomic power supply had fried. From what I know there atomic brand is no longer in production right? Maybe that's one of the reasons? I don't want to slam anyone so please correct me if I'm wrong.
Atomic is still making supplies (I just bought a 2nd unit last month). Can you find out more details about the atomic causing damage (and PM me?), I'm interested in what may have been wrong in that situation.
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