The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
New studio, switching to analog console: Amek Media 51? Consoles
Old 31st December 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
 

New studio, switching to analog console: Amek Media 51?

Currently my new studio is in the final design stages and after having worked mostly on digital desks (never really just ITB) I thinking about moving to an analog console.

My requirements:
- 24-48 inline channels, something like 36 would be ideal
- 6-8 aux's
- min. 8 busses but preferably 12-24
- usable preamps and eq
- some kind of fader automation on at least 8 channels for post compression automation.
- recall would be nice, but not necessary.

Although grown up in the DAW age, I never really got used to mixing ITB and today I'm still mixing on an 02R96. The DAW has potentially much more automation power, but I'm pretty fast on the 02R96's automation and only use the odd plugin here and there in the DAW. So basically my workflow won't change.

I have researched everything I could find, but there's not too much to find on the Amek Media 51. Feature wise it looks perfect and I have seen used one's that fit my budget.

Any experiences? What's to like/not like?
If anybody has a picture of the back of the Media 51, the powersupply, that would be great.

Greetings and all the best wishes for 2011,
Dirk
Old 31st December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Hi
There may be a 'brochure' for this on the analogconsoles.com website.
There were not a huge number of these made but they share many parts from the AMEK BIG/Recall/501 of which there were thousands.
Power supplies were I think the AMEK MPS15 which use International Power modules (industry standard with several alternative manufacturers).
Matt S
Old 31st December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB View Post
Currently my new studio is in the final design stages and after having worked mostly on digital desks (never really just ITB) I thinking about moving to an analog console.

My requirements:
- 24-48 inline channels, something like 36 would be ideal
- 6-8 aux's
- min. 8 busses but preferably 12-24
- usable preamps and eq
- some kind of fader automation on at least 8 channels for post compression automation.
- recall would be nice, but not necessary.

Although grown up in the DAW age, I never really got used to mixing ITB and today I'm still mixing on an 02R96. The DAW has potentially much more automation power, but I'm pretty fast on the 02R96's automation and only use the odd plugin here and there in the DAW. So basically my workflow won't change.

I have researched everything I could find, but there's not too much to find on the Amek Media 51. Feature wise it looks perfect and I have seen used one's that fit my budget.

Any experiences? What's to like/not like?
If anybody has a picture of the back of the Media 51, the powersupply, that would be great.

Greetings and all the best wishes for 2011,
Dirk
I do really like Amek consoles. The Media 51 sounds nice and is pretty solid. However, have you used VCA automation before? For me... I get a little turned off by non-moving faders. It works ok if you are used to it... but doing edits and getting the crossover point right can be a pain when the faders aren't moving.

I think one of the best deals on a great sounding used desk with moving faders is the Soundcraft DC2020. Creation Audio Labs also specializes in Soundcraft desks and can take one of these from a really great sounding desk to an outstanding sounding desk too.

jmtc of course.
Old 31st December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
I considered a Media 51 when it came out, but never really pursued the idea too much.

The Media 51 might have been the last new console Amek brought to market before Harman bit their head off....I mean bought them. That may have been why I didn't pursue it, but its been a while and I can't say for sure.

I was not a fan of the Big/Langley stuff, but the Media 51 really felt more like and Amek, and I thought sounded better. I liked the compactness of the desk, although some of my people felt the small size might be a selling negative.

I do agree with the previous poster that if you are used to moving faders, even if they aren't passing audio, VCA might not be too satisfying.
Old 31st December 2010
  #5
Here for the gear
 
gipitt's Avatar
Media 51

I use a Media 51 every day in my studio. They are great consoles with Rupert Neve designed preamps and eq. However, the VCA automation and non-moving faders do take some getting used to if you aren't familiar with them. I generally do my automation ITB and use the console for the eq and summing (big difference between ITB summing and summing on this console, it sounds great). The old Amek Media 51 webpage on it is here if you don't have it already. I have the docs around somewhere if you can't find them on the website. The powersupply is indeed the MPS15. I couldn't get a clear picture of the connections on the back without all my wires in the way. What do you need to know about it?
Attached Thumbnails
New studio, switching to analog console: Amek Media 51?-psus.jpg  
Old 31st December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gipitt View Post
I use a Media 51 every day in my studio. They are great consoles with Rupert Neve designed preamps and eq. However, the VCA automation and non-moving faders do take some getting used to if you aren't familiar with them. I generally do my automation ITB and use the console for the eq and summing (big difference between ITB summing and summing on this console, it sounds great). The old Amek Media 51 webpage on it is here if you don't have it already. I have the docs around somewhere if you can't find them on the website. The powersupply is indeed the MPS15. I couldn't get a clear picture of the connections on the back without all my wires in the way. What do you need to know about it?
Thanks,

Regarding the back: I just haven't found a picture of it and I would like to see which connectors are where.

Regarding the power supply: how much noise do they make? Can they be in the CR?
Secondly, how much power does the console use? And how hot does it get?

Regards,
Dirk
Old 31st December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Hi
The power supplies are rather noisy for a control room but if you were to persue it you could organise for decent cool air for the supply and reduce or stop the fans.
The desk should not run hot, probably a 'comfortable warm'.
A MPS15 at full output would take about 550 Watts from the mains but it not supplying full power so probably around 350 - 400 from the mains of which probably 200 comes out of the desk as heat.
Matt S
Old 31st December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
Here's a big collection of random stuff I wrote about the Media a while ago -

My first reaction is to say, "Don't pay too much!" and of course the reverse is "Buy anything if the price is right!" As a guide, Funky Junk in London was selling a 44-frame for less than $20k last year and Funky Junk are not a cheap shop by any means.

This is a SMD build with motherboards, so I would want every single function to be 100%. Remember, every repair will set you back about $200 minimum, so five minor faults means $1k off the price, much, much more if there is something not quite right with the centre section. The boards are exceptionally cramped and repairs are not easy.

I would also expect the VU / peak meter alteration (see below) to have been done for all channels and for the strips to have the P2 jumper (again, see below) if I am not to be whacking chunks off the price. The meter alteration is easy, but must be done.

Also check that the Virtual Dynamics fires up without any problem. Don't let the dealer fob you off with some BS about the computer not being available. Check it has all docs, inc. schematics and handbooks for both desk and automation, inc. the Virtual Dynamics.

The automation is not easy or useful, but neither I nor any of my customers actually use desk automation nowadays. The dynamics is good and useful.

The Media is the only Amek I have owned, having worked in the past on SSLs and others, so I cannot compare it to any of the older Amek models. This is a very good tracking desk, the pres and the eqs are as clean as you will get.

The buss architecture comes from the old 'Big' but has been upgraded with better quality caps, so don't let that put you off.

___________________________________________________

Things you need to know, when looking and testing -

1. To make the desk work, you must obviously switch off mute and go to stereo (if that is what you have routed on the strips) on the control section.

2. To make everything work without Supertrue, press 'Fader Isolate' on the top of the control section.

3. To be able to hear anything when Supertrue is active (i.e. Fader Isolate is not depressed) you must press 'CTL'+'W' on the computer keyboard, after firing up Supertrue.

4. To be able to hear the machine returns on a mix, both fader-flip and input-flip buttons must be 'up'. This has nothing to do with Supertue. Make sure that you understand how the routing in the input strips works.

5. Models built after 2000 have a jumper P2 on each input strip that allows you to have the Direct Out from each input strip post-eq.

6. The Insert path is active only when the Insert button is up (illogical, I know, but that's the way that it is!)

7. There is an alteration you can do to make the VU-Peak meter post machine gain, so that you can see what effect machine gain is having on your input from the machine.

8. The publication that explains it all is the Supertrue Users Guide, which you should receive along with the technical documentation (large blue folder) and the Media-51 Users Guide. Amek service at Soundscraft should have these as PDF files, if you did not get them with the desk.

9. The SC (side chain) button does nothing! The software update to make that happen just never was implemented.

10. If you have problems, such as automation lights behaving strangely or buzzing across the desk, the PSU is often at fault. Check the rail voltages within the desk, remembering to NEVER remove or replace a strip when the desk is switched on. The rail voltage adjust is described in the separate tech docs for the PSU. Make sure if you buy a Media, that you have these as well!
__________________________________________________

The desk is designed to give you the ability to create a 5.1 and a stereo mix at one and the same time. I would not bother with 5.1 for the time being, until you have got the hang of routing in stereo. If you are doing a 5.1, then you loose buses 1-6 as these are used for the 5.1.

Buss input - if you take a look at the Blue Notes here M1RN - Mono Input Module you will see that just above the Mix gain pot, there is a Buss button that makes whatever busses are depressed at the top the inputs for that strip, but only on channels 1-24. The others are just not connected.

As there are only 12 busses, this is just a waste of time, so (one of these days when I have nothing better to do!) I shall be re-routing all the channels to 48 inputs on the mother-buss-board to the PB. Rather conveniently, they are all on six ribbon cables. When the buss button is pressed, the machine return is switched to buss.

As the desk could really use a second, switchable input for the patchbay, this will overcome the separate line input requirement rather neatly.

Important point -

The metering on the machine return is illogically placed at pre-gain and most people need it to be post-gain.

You may want to alter the metering on the machine return path to be post-gain. To do this, you must add one small wire and cut through one channel path on the back of the little daughter board on the input strip. I can send you a pdf with all the pictures you need to be able to do this. The daughter board has to be removed to do this, but the whole thing takes just 2 minutes to do for each strip.

Have somebody hand you the strips and put them back and you will have the whole thing done in a morning!

_________________________________________________

Here's a review I wrote for an on-line thing three years ago. It seems to cover all the points -


So far, we have used the desk (a 60-input Media with joy stick) for at least six years without major mishap or failure.

Repairs

The only problem was with the rectifiers in the PSU and we replaced these with the very largest we could get and put silver-based heat paste behind them to help cooling. The first generation joystick failed soon after installation and this was replaced under guarantee. Two input channels failed on single chips and we had these repaired by Colin Adshead of Audio Maintenance about a couple of years ago.

A minor 'niggle' was the seating of the centre monitor section onto its motherboard and this caused one side to drop 6dB as it made incomplete contact - an easy fix, but took a while to find the fault.

Considering that the studio has been pretty much fully booked most of the time, I consider that record to be better than most desks I have had to deal with.

(note for 2010 - The monitor output card had a fault this Winter and we had to get someone to come up to fix it. It took a while to find the fault.)

Good points

The mic pres are simply one of the best I have ever used. I like clean and transparent pres and these deliver that perfectly. The same can be said for the eqs. You would have to go to the 9098i or a Neve 88R to get cleaner eqs. Phase compensation is excellent on these eqs, and boosting or cutting a frequency is only apparent when the signal contains that frequency. Other frequencies are just not effected.

The 5.1 (and it does 4.0 and LSRS as well!) is great and I know that I am ready for any film gigs that come along.

The monitor section allows for all kinds of configurations and the usual mono, stereo and surround switching. The desk allows for another four desks (or whatever) to be plugged directly into the monitor section. The need to have up to five desks in a room is slight, but that means you can plug four DAWs (or other things like mastering systems) directly into the monitor section for mixing in-the-box. It also means that if you need to expand the desk, or have 24 machine returns on a separate desk to free-up capacity or just to work off-line, rather than in-line, you can do so by just plugging the external source in at the back via the D-Sub connectors.

The desk is quiet. One of my 'party pieces' that I do to impress customers, is to route every one of the 60 inputs to stereo, push every fader to 0dB and set the monitor to speakers to 0dB and push the master fader all the way up to 0dB. You hear nothing. I tried the same on an Audient and got as far as channel eight, before the hissing was clearly audible! I told Graham Langley this recently and he told me that this was in fact one of their routine QC procedures at Amek.

The Virtual Dynamics was never for me a reason to buy the desk and I just did not expect to use this ever. Now I use it very often - it really works. It is VCA based and allows for all sorts of cool things like autopan. It means that you can use the desk dynamics for bread-and-butter compression and limiting and give drums (or whatever) to your outboard collection.

The total recall works well and is very easy to use, though I just use my memory and hardly ever bother with it. But it is cool to play with!

Bad Points -

There are a series of what can only be regarded as stupid mistakes on the Media. Here they are in the order in which they annoy me - the worst first!

1. The machine gain is not shown on the VU/peak meter. This means that if a signal from a digital machine is at 0dBFS, the peak meter just shows a solid bar of red, even though you have turned down the gain on the desk. This was such a problem, that we got Amek to alter it. It is easily done and takes about two minutes per channel. Most Medias have not had this alteration and so it is a good way to talk down the price, as working with different machines or DAWs is impossible the way it is!

2. Only 12 buses. This has never bugged me ever, as I have always used direct outs all my life, but it annoys some customers. It was originally supposed to get 24 and there are even 24 outs, though 13 to 24 are 1 to 12 doubled up.

3. You cannot patch the eq into the direct outs. But altering this is just a question of altering the P2 jumper on each strip, so we have done this. Some customers absolutely want to record the eq, so check that it has the P2 jumper. Very early Medias do not have this jumper, so check!

4. The desk is rather cramped and the monitor section is very small. I would have paid an extra £10k to have 2" strips and a qwerty keyboard and screen integrated into a larger centre section. I realise that would have made the desk 4m long with patchbay, but it would have been worth it.

5. It should have had an integrated patchbay on the right. Again, I'd have paid for this, but it was just not an option.

6. The side chain does not work as the software was never completed. That's a button on the desk that is not doing anything!

7. The insert send button was wired incorrectly and is down for off! No big deal, but still is a stupid mistake.

8. The machine returns are not on D-Sub, when all machine outs are on D-Sub nowadays, but all the outputs are on D-Sub, so one has to get the soldering iron out and build a loom to go to headphones, talkback, speakers, etc., etc. We altered the desk, rather than build looms, as this is easily done!

9. The jack sockets on the back are not of very good quality. We had problems with the insert send-returns, as they were too wide, so we had a couple of bad connections. Easily fixed, but annoying at the time.

10. The side panels and handrail are a bit 'cheesy' and feel cheap and ideally, should be replaced with wood to look kewl and give a feeling of quality.

So, overall, this is a very good desk, flawed by silly little things that are mostly easy to remedy.
Old 1st January 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
 

Thanks, great info!

Happy newyear,
Dirk
Old 1st January 2011
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB View Post

Any experiences? What's to like/not like?
A great practical board with lots of features but sonic wise its foot print was just...blasy blah. You know bland or ok. Fits right in(probably on top) sonically with the range of mid line B room boards that were churned out like puppies in the early to late 90's/early 2000's. Boards that cost enough at the time to do a double take($50K to $75K), but chock full of features(some had automation, some had dynamics in each channel, some had total recall, some even had moving faders), but for the price the manufacturers left out the most important aspect...the sound. They all have that bland and vanilla quality to the sound IMO, sterile enough not offend, but with just enough tinge to make you think that maybe you could squeeze something different out. I am talking about boards from Otari,D&R,Soundtracs Jade,Soundcraft DC2020, Amek Big and lastly the Amek Media 5.1. That's why i would call them the perfect "B" room boards, because they had enough features and hoopla to excite the clients that couldn't afford the "A" room, but to the discerning and experienced ear you could hear a difference. But you know what? These boards have found a second life here on GS so who cares right?

Personally i think buying any of these boards is a step back in this day and age. There really is no need with what's offered or out there right now. You have new boards for the same price new that wasn't even possible in the 90's that trounce these in sound by a ton. So why go backwards? Because when you figure out you don't like the sound or the width of your final mix you are going to be on the Geekslutz forum asking how to first mod the center section, then the summing amps, then the op amps in the channels? Maybe find out if its possible to ad transformers on the channels? Because you will hopefully convince yourself that you made a great purchase instead of going with the other options you had?

Definitely give it a listen if you can because that should be the ultimate judge. If you decide to go with it though, make sure to buy a pair of tweezers especially if you have fat fingers. You'll need it when trying to use the EQs on the channels.
Old 1st January 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
 

Thanks for the info and I hear your point on "going backwards". Which new boards are you thinking about that are offered new right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Personally i think buying any of these boards is a step back in this day and age. There really is no need with what's offered or out there right now. You have new boards for the same price new that wasn't even possible in the 90's that trounce these in sound by a ton. So why go backwards?
Greetings,
Dirk
Old 15th January 2011
  #12
Gear Head
 
radioshark's Avatar
 

Get soundcraft 6000 or amek's, myself use soundcraft 2400, tested and waaaaaayyy different league than crappy toft atb on same budget. ( tested in my studio). I use 2alphalink 48i/0, 2400 is good console, but i need more i/o. And theres somebody sell his soundtracs jade near here,


what do you guys think?
Old 15th January 2011
  #13
Gear Nut
 

I really don't like the sound of the Media 51. It seemed cloudy and squishy to me. I stopped working at a studio that installed one because it just sounded broken.
Old 15th January 2011
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB View Post
Thanks for the info and I hear your point on "going backwards". Which new boards are you thinking about that are offered new right now?



Greetings,
Dirk
I would look into the Geoff Tanner Aurora Audio mixer system with an SSL Xrack.
Old 15th January 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
They all have that bland and vanilla quality to the sound IMO, sterile enough not offend, but with just enough tinge to make you think that maybe you could squeeze something different out. I am talking about boards from Otari,D&R,Soundtracs Jade,Soundcraft DC2020, Amek Big and lastly the Amek Media 5.1. That's why i would call them the perfect "B" room boards, because they had enough features and hoopla to excite the clients that couldn't afford the "A" room, but to the discerning and experienced ear you could hear a difference. But you know what? These boards have found a second life here on GS so who cares right?

Personally i think buying any of these boards is a step back in this day and age. There really is no need with what's offered or out there right now. You have new boards for the same price new that wasn't even possible in the 90's that trounce these in sound by a ton. So why go backwards?
Certainly in the 'sound' department. The 1608 is a prime example (and the Aurora mixer). But the 'sterile' boards you mentioned above will blow it away in the features dept. There isn't a new board that has both at a good price, except for 'maybe' the new SAE Neve 75 series which has pretty good feature set and the potential for high end sound at a very good price point, though that really remains to be seen until they start rolling out.

I think the closest to this features+sound dept is probably the AWS948 @ almost $100k though.
Old 15th January 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB View Post
Currently my new studio is in the final design stages and after having worked mostly on digital desks (never really just ITB) I thinking about moving to an analog console.

My requirements:
- 24-48 inline channels, something like 36 would be ideal
- 6-8 aux's
- min. 8 busses but preferably 12-24
- usable preamps and eq
- some kind of fader automation on at least 8 channels for post compression automation.
- recall would be nice, but not necessary.
Sounds like you're looking for an Audient ASP8024 series. The 36 channel used should fit your budget, but won't have recall or fader automation.

Audient just came out with a version that has a DAW control w/8 channel fader automation slapped into their regular ASP8024, though I don't really see the point as you can do this outside of the console with a patchbay and any control surface of your choice..... ASP8024 Dual Layer Control Module | Audient
Old 16th January 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
subspace's Avatar
The Audient is a good suggestion. While it may get lumped in with the other B room boards, it has one major advantage in that it's still being built, sold, and upgraded. The demise of the studio middle class has left SSL, Neve, and API at the marquee end while Amek, Soundcraft, Soundtracs, Otari, etc. simply left the market.
I'm planning on adding their ASP2802 to my existing Trident to gain the DAW control/ VCA fader functionality, as well as the comprehensive monitor section. That option on the ASP8024 is exactly the same without the attached "mini-console", 8 VCA faders for post compression automation.
Old 16th January 2011
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Tip on testing sonics of a console is using your most trusted reference headphones plugged on the master stereo output (XLR to jack adapter) with your high-end reference CD player running.

This avoid being biased by either local speakers or sometimes headphone monitor amp poor sound quality (can be retrofitted later).

Good way to check for console sonic quality, bandwidth, stereo width, way of breaking up running hot channels and overall noise (all faders up and different bus group assignments)
Old 16th January 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Funny Cat's Avatar
Testing the sonics of a console

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unique View Post
Tip on testing sonics of a console is using your most trusted reference headphones plugged on the master stereo output (XLR to jack adapter) with your high-end reference CD player running.

This avoid being biased by either local speakers or sometimes headphone monitor amp poor sound quality (can be retrofitted later).

Good way to check for console sonic quality, bandwidth, stereo width, way of breaking up running hot channels and overall noise (all faders up and different bus group assignments)

Hey, thanks for this little tidbit. I often wondered what the most objective way to do this was. I think most people (including myself) tend to judge a console's sound based on the projects we've either tracked and mixed or heard tracked and mixed on a particular board and for me that can be pretty subjective depending on the approach of the engineer/s involved. thumbsup
Old 16th January 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Hi
You should NOT be running your headphones directly from the desk stereo out for 2 reasons.
First they are usually balanced out and deliberately unbalancing them and grounding one 'side' of each is not necessarily a fair test.
Secondly most desk outs are not really capable of feeding loads lower than 600 Ohms so you will be overloading or at least making them 'current limit' creating considerable amount of distortion.
You should use your own reference headphone amplifier for this job, the ones that you drive your 'phones' with normally.
Matt S
Old 17th January 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 
rdraudio's Avatar
 

Go to Scotland...

...and try it out! Why not book a session at the Byre and see if you like it? Don't buy something that you've never spent some quality time on. That Scotsman seems to know a lot about it too. Amek's have nicer eq's than the Soundcraft 2020 IMHO.
Old 18th January 2011
  #22
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
5 years ago this entire thread would have been laughed out of this forum like "what the hell are you posting this jibber jabber in the High End forum for"... now its become a discussion of which flavor **** is the tastiest.

Its a sad world when a demo studio's "B room" desk is being considered as a "High End" event.

To quote my dear friend Slipperman [who is a hardcore Amek freak but even he passed on that turd]... "Shoot me".
Old 18th January 2011
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Funny Cat's Avatar
WOW...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
5 years ago this entire thread would have been laughed out of this forum like "what the hell are you posting this jibber jabber in the High End forum for"... now its become a discussion of which flavor **** is the tastiest.

Its a sad world when a demo studio's "B room" desk is being considered as a "High End" event.

To quote my dear friend Slipperman [who is a hardcore Amek freak but even he passed on that turd]... "Shoot me".
...Is this what GS is about? The OP only asked a few simple questions.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
jkasko / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
jkasko / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
CreatureSound / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0

Forum Jump
Forum Jump