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To Console or Not to Console...
Old 8th April 2019
  #1
To Console or Not to Console...

My gut says no, but my lust says yes. I am finally building out my little studio in an old log house we bought a few years ago. I basically only record myself, maybe myself and friend at the same time ever. I never intend to use the studio for outside clients, its my cathartic happy place . The studio currently is stashed in our dining room/living room/sitting room, so every morning I wake up and will work on song sketches vie loops and what not, record them, date them, for later work, etc. This made me realize, perhaps I need to set up the studio with everything essentially mic'd up and ready to rumble. Once I find my drum sound, I will MOSTLY leave it be. Same with guitars,bass, etc.etc. This led me to think, maybe I should get a console where I can have everything ready to go at a moments notice. I have one Apollo 8p, get another of those, that should essentially take care of bass, drums and guitars to at least nail down basic ideas quickly without messing with finding mics, changing preamps, running cables etc. Also, a 16 channel console would be enough to record several people at once if I ever decide to not be a hermit. I could liquidate my current preamps or just keep them for other flavors. In addition, I grew up pre digital so I wouldn't abhor the idea of a console - though I realize its not necessary. Currently I do all my recording and have a friend that does the mastering and mixing, however, I could see myself doing it all in time. Thoughts?
Old 8th April 2019
  #2
Oh yeah, I guess I should detail how I am working a little bit. I like to do big wall of sound mixes, multiple mics on multiple guitar amps with multiple takes, tend to use 6 drum mics, lots of little instrument parts weaving in and out, so I have been thinking about having more faders for mixing - like an SSL XL desk, or even the Neve Genysys. However the API 1608-II with automation looks pretty sweet. I dunno, that whole world (consoles) is new to me. I sort of like the idea too of not having an option as far as mic pres. It is what is in the console, I way to often get lost in the options instead of committing something to tape (well, to hard drive).
Old 8th April 2019
  #3
Deleted be25781
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Man, there is nothing more fun than jamming with your buddies.

You probably wanna lay down tracks fast. The fastest workflow is still a console.

I would suggest a Trident Trimix. No automation but a rock 'n' roll console for sure.

If you wanna go high end, then I would suggest an API The Box. That's an attainable dream for any decent project studio. Or a 16 channel Trident 88.

I would even ditch Pro Tools or any software and use an ADAT machine. Maybe mix it all down to a Revox PR99

Otari Radar II comes to mind, oh goodness the sound.
Old 9th April 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I've been with and without consoles. They are kind of like boats... owning one is nice, but using someone else's is often better.

After PTHD and a console, I had a mostly Apollo setup, kind of like yours - but with a Sigma and Crane Song Spider. Sonically, that setup is totally badass and I highly recommend it. However, I wanted more of a console experience, so I have the redesigned API Box. Horrible name, terrific mixer. I was close to going the XL Desk route, but since I had the Sigma I figured I'd try something different. Right now I plan keep the Spider/Sigma for extra bussing options.

If I can offer advice, the experience is what you pay for more than the sound. Sonically, it's great, but for me the journey is just as (if not more) important than the destination. Studio time is all about inspiration - and every little bit helps.

I was close to getting a 1608, but this is actually a better fit and happened to be way cheaper. If you have lots of outboard and are looking for a way to wrangle it all elegantly, it's a good option. I say go for it, but plan for a couple wasted days of wiring, and absorbing the expense. If neither of those are deal breakers, I think it will make your studio time really enjoyable.
Old 9th April 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
After a lifetime of using consoles, I've ditched my last one and couldn't be happier. You certainly don't "NEED" one for your situation. There is a lot of commitment to using a console properly. A lot of cabling, patch bays, outboard, etc.. Often far more expensive than the console itself. Good luck. Follow your muse. Do what makes MUSIC happen easier and quicker - and no, I don't necessarily thing that's with a console.
Old 9th April 2019
  #6
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EvilRoy's Avatar
Need schmeed. Get a console!

I'm in the same boat, home studio for just me and maybe a buddy. Been doing this since '84. The arrival of my 3rd child pushed the studio into the garage. I ran a Mackie 8 bus forever and wanted to revamp the gear, figured ITB was the way to go. Then I started pricing 8 channels of high end audio paths and the cost really started adding up. Almost succumbed to an old Peavey AMR 16 bus when I saw my current mixer for sale. 64 monos with EQ and dynamics with push button recall, midi controlled, 10 stereo channels, 24 bus, 84db gain on mic pres, 5.1 master section, motorized faders, 24 channel Stems monitoring, never been commissioned or passed audio, specs out even better than an SSL in some ways. $11.5K, not much more than 8 channels of outboard. How could I possibly walk away from my Cinemix? Mix Magazine centerfold, 2002.

Old 9th April 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 

If you’ve got the money to spare then do what makes you happy. It sounds like a console is what you really want so I say go for it!
Old 9th April 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I just built a nice little studio. I have no need for a console. I have 34 I/O with Metric Halo ULN-8 3d and literally couldn’t be happier. That said it’s all what you’re comfortable with. I saved in space by not having one. And the routing is fantastic with the ULN8S. I got a bunch of to 96 pt patchbays I don’t even need.

Last edited by henryrobinett; 9th April 2019 at 06:08 AM..
Old 9th April 2019
  #9
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Reasons for a console :

1. You're using a tape machine.
2. You're tracking large ensembles.
3. You're enamored with a console.

There's really no other reasons in 2019 for having a console. It's ancient technology except for the above reasons. The OP isn't using tape or tracking large ensembles. That's boils it down to lust. If you want one and can afford it, then go for it. Otherwise....shhhhh. We're tired of hearing all the pro "gotta have a console" hyperbole.
Old 9th April 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Reasons for a console :

1. You're using a tape machine.
2. You're tracking large ensembles.
3. You're enamored with a console.

There's really no other reasons in 2019 for having a console. It's ancient technology except for the above reasons. The OP isn't using tape or tracking large ensembles. That's boils it down to lust. If you want one and can afford it, then go for it. Otherwise....shhhhh. We're tired of hearing all the pro "gotta have a console" hyperbole.
imo there is no reason for NOT using a console: way faster to get things going (and way more routing options if it's a digital console)!
Old 9th April 2019
  #11
Deleted be25781
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
After a lifetime of using consoles, I've ditched my last one and couldn't be happier. You certainly don't "NEED" one for your situation. There is a lot of commitment to using a console properly. A lot of cabling, patch bays, outboard, etc.. Often far more expensive than the console itself. Good luck. Follow your muse. Do what makes MUSIC happen easier and quicker - and no, I don't necessarily thing that's with a console.
You´re not going to tell me that you don´t miss that Orion of yours.
Old 9th April 2019
  #12
Get a console, they're so cool. I wouldn't get a small cheap one though.
Old 9th April 2019
  #13
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Reasons for a console :

1. You're using a tape machine.
2. You're tracking large ensembles.
3. You're enamored with a console.

There's really no other reasons in 2019 for having a console. It's ancient technology except for the above reasons. The OP isn't using tape or tracking large ensembles. That's boils it down to lust. If you want one and can afford it, then go for it. Otherwise....shhhhh. We're tired of hearing all the pro "gotta have a console" hyperbole.
Well said. What do you define as large ensemble? In my studio I have rooms hard wired. The main tracking room has 21 I/O, ISO room 1 has an additional 3, CR has 8 with another 2 than float anywhere. There’s another ISO room with a wall panel of three that feeds off the main TR. There are 10 mics on the drums already. Two keyboards stereo DI plus midi.

I just don’t see the need for a console. I have effect sends. Each room has the same amount of outputs for phones or whatever. And everything is routable digitally in the interfaces. Plus I save space.
Old 9th April 2019
  #14
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timtoonz's Avatar
I miss my MCI 416 - not sonically or ergonomically, or for that matter, logically. But it was just FUN. And it looked cool. And I'm old enough that mixing just doesn't seem like mixing unless you're grabbing big-ass chunky faders and twisting a buncha knobs.

BUT now I'm fine without it, bought other cool gear with the money I made when I sold it, and it's nice having a proper studio desk I can actually use as a work-surface.

Still miss that MCI tho...

Old 9th April 2019
  #15
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

Consoles console my soul
Old 9th April 2019
  #16
I mean, don't get me wrong - consoles are beautiful to look at and appreciate - like a nice watch, but, like a nice watch - not a necessity in this day and age. I could just buy another Apollo 8, scoop up some different flavors of micpre amps and leave everything weird up. Essentially achieving the desired result of facilitation of creative energy and less time dinking around with cabling and getting lost in which mic with which pre. That would easily give me 16 channels. I do think I am getting lost in choices - one of the potential hazards of the modern era or recording, but I could just commit to certain mics and pres for say the drums. Currently have 2 Chandler Germaniums, Pacifica, Portico 5024 and Mercury M72s/1. Wouldn't take more than ohhhh 15 grand to add 8 more pres.
Old 9th April 2019
  #17
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octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Reasons for a console :

1. You're using a tape machine.
2. You're tracking large ensembles.
3. You're enamored with a console.

There's really no other reasons in 2019 for having a console. It's ancient technology except for the above reasons. The OP isn't using tape or tracking large ensembles. That's boils it down to lust. If you want one and can afford it, then go for it. Otherwise....shhhhh. We're tired of hearing all the pro "gotta have a console" hyperbole.
Agree.

I'm also a former D&R refugee.

I've been happily working without a console for the last 10 years.
I liked the workflow, but my D&R 4000 required near constant maintenance.

If I was in the OP's situation I'd be considering HDX before I would a console.

The exception to this would be some sort of line level console/controller such as the SSL Matrix 2- that would make a lot of sense.
Old 9th April 2019
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Definitely need a console! I'd look at trident 88 or ssl xdesk
Old 9th April 2019
  #19
Deleted be25781
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
Consoles console my soul
I have a console because I love the console sound from the records of yesteryear. Simple as that, you can Lego a console together with a bunch of rack channels and a buss compressor.. it´s simply not the same.

Maybe I just don´t like much modern music, started getting sh*tty once Pro Tools and home recording became a thing.
Old 9th April 2019
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
I have a console because I love the console sound from the records of yesteryear. Simple as that, you can Lego a console together with a bunch of rack channels and a buss compressor.. it´s simply not the same.

Maybe I just don´t like much modern music, started getting sh*tty once Pro Tools and home recording became a thing.
Yeah it got real flat and thin. Like a band against a wall
Old 9th April 2019
  #21
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EvilRoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Reasons for a console :

1. You're using a tape machine.
2. You're tracking large ensembles.
3. You're enamored with a console.

There's really no other reasons in 2019 for having a console. It's ancient technology except for the above reasons. The OP isn't using tape or tracking large ensembles. That's boils it down to lust. If you want one and can afford it, then go for it. Otherwise....shhhhh. We're tired of hearing all the pro "gotta have a console" hyperbole.
Hahaha..... next you'll be telling me not to buy a Silver Bullet. Luckily, I still use tape so I'm in for 2 of the reasons.

I no longer see a need for cheap analog pieces of prosumer stuff, but there are other reasons for a console.

- I like (looove the D&R) analog EQ.
- I like gain staging.
- Routing something is a button push.
- The total is waaaay cheaper than the sum of it's parts.
- I'm familiar with it and can move fast.
- Most importantly, the chicks dig it (as if my stellar a** isn't enough).

Old 9th April 2019
  #22
A great console gives you the 3d sound. ITB gives you a flat surface. Electric/dance music, ITB is fine. Acoustic stuff recorded in nice spaces, you want the console.
Old 9th April 2019
  #23
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
No need for a console to get a 3D sound. But there IS a need for analog gear to get a great 3D sound IMO. That's why I'm working hybrid without a console. I DO miss the vibe of it sitting in front of me SOMEtimes, but not enough to keep it. What I don't miss :

the heat
the electric bill
the massive amount of wiring
the sound
the space it takes up
and the #1 reason for not having a console - the ugly console audio reflections that are so difficult to work around.

Honestly, my workflow isn't that that different with a hybrid setup than when I had the console. But my mixes are better now than when I had the console. Without a doubt. I suspect that's mostly because I have more and better outboard filling the space of where the console used to sit.
Old 9th April 2019
  #24
Gear Nut
 
Greg Dubuis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
imo there is no reason for NOT using a console: way faster to get things going (and way more routing options if it's a digital console)!
Until you go in the infinity loop of revision...
Old 9th April 2019
  #25
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Hahaha..... next you'll be telling me not to buy a Silver Bullet.
Never!! I'm using 5 of them, and honestly, it sounds better than the D&R. Check one out on your mix buss.
Old 9th April 2019
  #26
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
(and way more routing options if it's a digital console)!
I have not used a digital console, but my 96 i/o HDX system with full TT bays has substantially better routing options than my analog desk. Faster, more recallable, and reliable.
Old 9th April 2019
  #27
Lives for gear
 
EvilRoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Never!! I'm using 5 of them, and honestly, it sounds better than the D&R. Check one out on your mix buss.
Better is a little subjective. To me, the D&R has no sound at all, it just stays out of the way. And yeah, The Bullet is a perfect match for it, although.... you're forcing me to get 6.

Old 9th April 2019
  #28
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Better is a little subjective. To me, the D&R has no sound at all, it just stays out of the way. And yeah, The Bullet is a perfect match for it, although.... you're forcing me to get 6.

You're right - better is subjective - totally subjective - but since I'm mixing, I get to be the subjective one, and I say it's better. But seriously, it really is. If the console was any degree of better, it would still be here and I'd be dealing with all the crap it entailed. I didn't get much $$ for it.

I agree about the transparency. Transparency was often what I wanted when I was using tape. Not what I wanted when using digital. With a SB on the m bus insert you can have 3 different console sounds : D&R, API, Neve or even a hybrid.
Old 9th April 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by octatonic View Post
Agree.

I'm also a former D&R refugee.

I've been happily working without a console for the last 10 years.
I liked the workflow, but my D&R 4000 required near constant maintenance.

If I was in the OP's situation I'd be considering HDX before I would a console.

The exception to this would be some sort of line level console/controller such as the SSL Matrix 2- that would make a lot of sense.
With the SSL Matrix, I essentially assign whatever pre/comp/eq from my racks to individual channels correct?
Old 9th April 2019
  #30
Deleted be25781
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
- Most importantly, the chicks dig it (as if my stellar a** isn't enough).
You confident bastard.

Well the science behind that is that you have invested time and money into it, and you're commited.. now she wants you to give her that also.. I'd say f*ck that leave me alone with my console.

I FIGURED WOMEN OUT MAN

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