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Harrison 950m.... Anybody.. ? Consoles
Old 3rd June 2013
  #1
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Harrison 950m.... Anybody.. ?

Hello everyone!

Why there is so little chatter about this desk? Really, there's nothing out there.

I'm currently looking at all my options for a tracking/mixing analog desk. I'm a smaller studio and am looking for a serious centerpiece with a high-end sound.

I've considered everything from X-desk, to Speck Lilo, to Toft, Aurora Sidecar, Roots console, RND 5060, to Neotek.. all of which usually leave me with the conclusion that in their own way they are close but not quite what I need. I mix mostly ITB and I'd like the option to add outboard as I grow, and I'd love to have a sublime sound-scape to mix on with a powerful mix bus. I usually track 1-4 channels at a time, with 12 simultaneous recording channels being the most I'd need at any given moment.

So I'm now thinking hard about the Harrison 950m. It's in quite a difference price range as the above, but seems to be just right in terms of features, expansion possibilities, and has a nice high-end pedigree (or does it?).

What I'm not clear on is what is it about this unit that puts it in a whole other category price wise? Is it in the same league sonically as products such as the 1608 and 5088 ? Is it what one could consider a fully pro studio centerpiece with irreproachable sonics ? What could I expect from this desk in terms of performance ? Is this something that in the hands of a skilled engineer, allows you to play with the big boys?

How do the preamps rate?

I suppose my question is why would one get a 950m instead of say a 16 ch Lilo with a full 8 ch of Aurora pres with EQ for less money ?

NO ONE seems to have one. So finding user accounts is basically impossible. What seems to be the first unit sold looks to be on sale used at Vintage King.

Anyway, seriously considering this desk for my studio, but at that price, I want to know what I'm paying for, and what kind of performance I can expect from it.

Any opinions welcome!
Old 3rd June 2013
  #2
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I hadn't heard of this console until I saw your post, so this won't be the experienced user reply you're looking for.

The Harrison looks to be a notch above most of the other products you've mentioned. It has hand traced circuit boards, no ribbon cables on the mix bus, gold module connectors, linear power distribution... this thing is made for hardcore audiophiles. That would explain why Telarc likes it.

This console will not add vibe to your sound through harmonic distortion. It will put everything you record under a microscope. It would be worthwhile if the entire recording chain preceding it is absolute top notch. I mean like EMM labs converters and a $100,000 mic locker. Of course this should be in a world class live room where every cable and connection is perfect. That is the target audience.

If you're doing acoustic music and have the money, I'd say give it a whirl. Otherwise, something like a Neotek will probably give you more effects routing and bang for your buck. Lilo/Aurora is a good idea too. I'd love a GTP8 myself.
Old 3rd June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdunn View Post
I hadn't heard of this console until I saw your post, so this won't be the experienced user reply you're looking for.

The Harrison looks to be a notch above most of the other products you've mentioned. It has hand traced circuit boards, no ribbon cables on the mix bus, gold module connectors, linear power distribution... this thing is made for hardcore audiophiles. That would explain why Telarc likes it.

This console will not add vibe to your sound through harmonic distortion. It will put everything you record under a microscope. It would be worthwhile if the entire recording chain preceding it is absolute top notch. I mean like EMM labs converters and a $100,000 mic locker. Of course this should be in a world class live room where every cable and connection is perfect. That is the target audience.

If you're doing acoustic music and have the money, I'd say give it a whirl. Otherwise, something like a Neotek will probably give you more effects routing and bang for your buck. Lilo/Aurora is a good idea too. I'd love a GTP8 myself.
Thanks for your perspective on it! Wow is it really aimed at those who have perfect rooms and world class mic lockers? I got the impression by looking at the limited feature set and small footprint that it was made for guys like me- people who want the best gear, have some budget without going nuts, but are still a rather small operation willing to make some concessions in terms of features but not sound. I have some nice pieces, but nowhere near what you describe.

Ultimately I don't really know if absolute audiophile construction is a priority for me- I don't want to compromise sonics but 30 k will get you a nice assortment of gear that can fill the roles this one can.

Anyone else ?
Old 3rd June 2013
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Reducer View Post
Thanks for your perspective on it! Wow is it really aimed at those who have perfect rooms and world class mic lockers?
I think a console of this audio quality will expose flaws in lesser gear and rooms, that's all. I'm sure there's a big, expensive console where Telarc is using this. But that big, expensive console has ribbon connectors and typical industry standard PCBs. That's why they use the Harrison, freakish audio purity.
Old 3rd June 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdunn View Post
I think a console of this audio quality will expose flaws in lesser gear and rooms, that's all. I'm sure there's a big, expensive console where Telarc is using this. But that big, expensive console has ribbon connectors and typical industry standard PCBs. That's why they use the Harrison, freakish audio purity.
Whoa- I just looked up Telarc (I thought it was a GS member! ) and I'm starting to think this may be more board than I need.. Although there is a certain peace of mind in knowing the desk is absolute tops for sonics, and certainly a good piece to build around..

No doubt this board can handle orchestral recordings, but interestingly one of the mix busses is supposed to be transformers and have "vintage vibe". I'm also wondering if the preamps, bus compressors and EQ are great, or just good. If they are great, and the sonics are as high-end as you describe, maybe this board is not so over-priced. Still though..
Old 3rd June 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Reducer View Post
Whoa- I just looked up Telarc (I thought it was a GS member! ) and I'm starting to think this may be more board than I need.. Although there is a certain peace of mind in knowing the desk is absolute tops for sonics, and certainly a good piece to build around..

No doubt this board can handle orchestral recordings, but interestingly one of the mix busses is supposed to be transformers and have "vintage vibe". I'm also wondering if the preamps, bus compressors and EQ are great, or just good. If they are great, and the sonics are as high-end as you describe, maybe this board is not so over-priced. Still though..
The price of the board seems pretty reasonable considering the build quality. The vintage channel is probably more subtle than Harrison consoles of old, some of which sounded quite round and warm. Any comment on the mic pre or eq would be pure speculation, but I doubt they suck.
Old 3rd June 2013
  #7
I'm familiar with the Harrison vibe, I have a late 70a 2824 series desk that I love doing OTB mixes on. The only thing you need to factor in is a general overhaul of the console as the 950m is early 80s and will need some TLC. Get the PSU rebuilt, those caps are old. If you don't you will be forever chasing noise gremlins. Also, your channel modules will most like need to be recapped as well. I've seen 950m's on eBay for under 1k before, honestly I wouldn't pay much more for one , since you will have to sink a few grand into it to make it right.. My two cents..
Old 3rd June 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countrymetalguy View Post
I'm familiar with the Harrison vibe, I have a late 70a 2824 series desk that I love doing OTB mixes on. The only thing you need to factor in is a general overhaul of the console as the 950m is early 80s and will need some TLC. Get the PSU rebuilt, those caps are old. If you don't you will be forever chasing noise gremlins. Also, your channel modules will most like need to be recapped as well. I've seen 950m's on eBay for under 1k before, honestly I wouldn't pay much more for one , since you will have to sink a few grand into it to make it right.. My two cents..
The 950m is a brand new design- it came out in 2011 I believe.
Old 4th June 2013
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I really want one of these .
I already have a lot of great mic's and outboard gear , so clean is good for me . I can add tube and transformer warmth anytime I want so I don't need more of the same , plus , I do a lot of just sweet clean acoustic tracks and voices where I don't want color .

This unit is exactly what I'm needing in my new studio . And the fact that its a Harrison product means a lot .
American made and great design .
Old 4th June 2013
  #10
I stand corrected. I was thinking of the older TV 950 consoles for broadcast back in the early 80s, not the current model that you were speaking of.
Old 4th June 2013
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretschman View Post
I really want one of these .
I already have a lot of great mic's and outboard gear , so clean is good for me . I can add tube and transformer warmth anytime I want so I don't need more of the same , plus , I do a lot of just sweet clean acoustic tracks and voices where I don't want color .

This unit is exactly what I'm needing in my new studio . And the fact that its a Harrison product means a lot .
American made and great design .
Yeah I kinda want one now too. LOL

BTW, I wasn't trying to dissuade any home/project studios from considering this piece. If it fits your needs and workflow, I think it looks like an excellent product. I'd love to have one in my little loft upstairs.
Old 8th June 2013
  #12
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Hi SR, any updates or have you made a decision ?
Old 8th June 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph_84 View Post
Hi SR, any updates or have you made a decision ?
Hi Joseph- no real updates yet although I have been in touch with Harrison and finding out some cool things. Like the auxes can be toggled individually inside the channel strip- so although there are no external pre/post fader switches, you could configure it lets say to have Aux 1-3 pre fade and Aux 4 post fade, so you can handle headphone mixes and a reverb send on the same channel despite the lack of switches for it.

Found out the expanded EQ section is very real and on the way

Although there is no Alt monitor switch, there is the easy work-around of using one of the studio monitoring paths, A or B, to feed an extra pair of speakers.

So far, any worries I`ve had concerning the limitations of this board have been addressed by a feature or simple work around that I hadn't thought of. I`m quite impressed with the design they did- feels like nothing essential is missing, yet nothing superfluous was included so price doesn't get inflated for stuff I won`t use. It compliments a DAW based studio perfectly. Yet it`s sufficiently feature rich that you could buy a lot of outboard before you felt constrained.

It`s certainly growing on me exponentially. The scalability options are also unlike anything on the market- very flexible. I think I may be starting to fall in love with it

No decision has been reached yet.. This plan is still in the gestation period. I`m strongly considering getting a demo of this desk, as it`s the only product out there that really fits my needs and what I want out of my studio centerpiece while not compromising those things I consider essential.

One of the main things sort of holding me back is that I was very much going to get a Burl Motheship and a full rack of Helios but if I get this desk, that idea dies. At the same i have good pres and converters. I don't have a console and I do feel the need for one. Thinking the functionality and sonics of a desk like this might win out over even better mic pres and converters.
Old 9th June 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Reducer View Post
Hi Joseph- no real updates yet although I have been in touch with Harrison and finding out some cool things. Like the auxes can be toggled individually inside the channel strip- so although there are no external pre/post fader switches, you could configure it lets say to have Aux 1-3 pre fade and Aux 4 post fade, so you can handle headphone mixes and a reverb send on the same channel despite the lack of switches for it.

Found out the expanded EQ section is very real and on the way

Although there is no Alt monitor switch, there is the easy work-around of using one of the studio monitoring paths, A or B, to feed an extra pair of speakers.

So far, any worries I`ve had concerning the limitations of this board have been addressed by a feature or simple work around that I hadn't thought of. I`m quite impressed with the design they did- feels like nothing essential is missing, yet nothing superfluous was included so price doesn't get inflated for stuff I won`t use. It compliments a DAW based studio perfectly. Yet it`s sufficiently feature rich that you could buy a lot of outboard before you felt constrained.

It`s certainly growing on me exponentially. The scalability options are also unlike anything on the market- very flexible. I think I may be starting to fall in love with it

No decision has been reached yet.. This plan is still in the gestation period. I`m strongly considering getting a demo of this desk, as it`s the only product out there that really fits my needs and what I want out of my studio centerpiece while not compromising those things I consider essential.

One of the main things sort of holding me back is that I was very much going to get a Burl Motheship and a full rack of Helios but if I get this desk, that idea dies. At the same i have good pres and converters. I don't have a console and I do feel the need for one. Thinking the functionality and sonics of a desk like this might win out over even better mic pres and converters.
SR, i think we are both in the same position. However after reading this, i am now more inclined towards the RND 5060. To me the 950m seams more suited for OTB rather than ITB. Not to mention the 5060 gives you more analog console sonics (2 colors or clean)

Check out the 5060 manual, specifically the “The Lone 5060” diagram, maybe it will spark some ideas.

And please let me know what you think, i have a tendency to fall in love with gear and make bad choices.
Old 9th June 2013
  #15
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By the way i was considering also the SPL Neos. WAS...
Old 10th June 2013
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph_84 View Post
SR, i think we are both in the same position. However after reading this, i am now more inclined towards the RND 5060. To me the 950m seams more suited for OTB rather than ITB. Not to mention the 5060 gives you more analog console sonics (2 colors or clean)

Check out the 5060 manual, specifically the “The Lone 5060” diagram, maybe it will spark some ideas.

And please let me know what you think, i have a tendency to fall in love with gear and make bad choices.
Haha! I totally know what you mean, I tend to fall in love with gear also, and after some period of infatuation, and weighing pros and cons, reason returns to me. lol

Actually I was in love with the 5060 for a while. Read the manual through and through. I was positively dying to see it when it was gradually announced. I was more than disappointed when it was revealed. It just wasn't what I was hoping for/am looking for. After looking at it from every angle, I decided the feature set didn`t make sense for the price. only four faders.. the DAW control which I`don`t need (a fader port costs like 150 $).. it all felt a little useless to me compared to some other products. Ultimately, for me, I want closer to a real console. I`m actually hoping to incorporate lot`s of analog gear in the long run too. The 5060 just doesn`t cover those bases in an efficient manner for me. Looking at it, I felt like I had to come up with a work-around to do anything. But if I wanted to be ITB and stay that way forever or had very very little space, I might go for it. But even then I think I`d lean towards the 12 ch. Harrison.

The 5060 also seems kinda limited for expandability- I don`t care for the idea of incorporating a 5059 to it. I just don`t see the point. I guess ultimately it`s just too little console for me.

You also get two colors of sonics with the 950m- it has a transformer mix bus and a clean one with bus compressors on each.

Granted they are in totally different price ranges, but to me one is a compromise product that`s over priced while the other is no-compromise product priced fairly.
Old 10th June 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph_84 View Post
By the way i was considering also the SPL Neos. WAS...
I discarded it immediately based on the way it looks

How come you disqualified it?
Old 10th June 2013
  #18
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Yea I to looked at the SSL and the 5060 units . All of them have some desirable features for sure .
The neve unit sounds more like a guitar players pedal board . Which could be cool I guess . Dial up different flavors of sound . But I'm not a guy wanting those features in a mixer . That's the job of a DAW and plugins . Plus , there are too many choices , so repeat ability is out the window for me .
The SSL unit is too much like the Euphonix controller and brings nothing to the table I want .
Not a huge fan of that pre either .

I already have 26 channels of outboard mic pre's plus I still intend to get that Harrison mic pre strip .

So I am set on out board gear .

The Harrison unit brings simplicity to the table along with an analog vibe that is not all colored up .
I already have outboard gear that will take care of any need for tube and transformer color . Along with some very nice microphones as well .
So , I would rather use that Harrison unit than the other two I think .
Old 10th June 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Reducer View Post
I discarded it immediately based on the way it looks

How come you disqualified it?
me too

And i fell in love with the 5060 after seeing this.


I guess inside i am still like this guy. [note the serious face]




----- ----- -----

On a serious note. i posted this earlier and now i got a couple of replies that got me thinking technically.


I went and took a look at the manuals for the 950m, the 5060 and the Neos. specifically the noise.

950m
the noise measured at the output shall not exceed -70dB
the noise measured at the output shall not exceed -80

5060
stereo output , monitor output
1-8 Better than -90 dBV
9-24 Better than -100 dBV

NEOS
Rec. Out 92 dBu
Monitor A/B 88 dB

are they serious? what do you make of this? my conclusion was that 5060 is least noisy for least price, no?
Old 10th June 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretschman View Post
The neve unit sounds more like a guitar players pedal board . Which could be cool I guess . Dial up different flavors of sound
Hi Gretschman, when you say it sounds like a like a guitar players board, you mean literally it sounds like it or from the description?
Old 10th June 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph_84 View Post
Hi Gretschman, when you say it sounds like a like a guitar players board, you mean literally it sounds like it or from the description?
Haha !
That's funny .
From the description on their web sight .
You know , punch this button and get this sound , turn a knob and get another sound , and so on .
That scares me .
Even is you dial in a sound you like
if your like me you'll never find it again and have to start over from scratch .
To many choices on a mixing console is not a good thing .
Let me screw my mix up inside the box , not before it .
Old 10th June 2013
  #22
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Lol !

Good to know I'm not the only one who picks gear partially on looks

I'm not too concerned about published specs. I trust Harrison to do it right. I'm sure none of those products have noise that would make them problematic to work with.
So really I'm more concerned about features that could enhance my workflow and just having a killer sound overall. This is not how I pick preamps, mics and converters, but for a studio centerpiece I'm more worried about what it can allow me to do rather than the incremental differences in sound between the products.

Ultimately, once I understand that I'm dealing with a quality product, and I can be at peace knowing the sound quality will be there, it comes down to what can it do for me, do I want to look at it every day, will i be able to live with this decision for many years, and can I afford to get it
Old 10th June 2013
  #23
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Fair enough, i subscribed to this thread so please let us know if upon new updates. i on the other hand will take Drbob advice and just listen to all. Which means i must wait till my next visit to the US or Europe.

See you around SR and good luck!
Old 16th June 2017
  #24
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Hi!
Any updates?

I'm also curious to have opinions on a Harrison 950, API the box, SSL XL Desk, and some other console in the 10-20k range.
Thanks
Old 18th June 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Donner View Post
Hi!
Any updates?

I'm also curious to have opinions on a Harrison 950, API the box, SSL XL Desk, and some other console in the 10-20k range.
Thanks
I used to have an API Box and will soon have a Harrison 950mx, so in a few weeks I'll be able to compare them.
Old 12th July 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Reducer View Post
I used to have an API Box and will soon have a Harrison 950mx, so in a few weeks I'll be able to compare them.
I have the Harrison 950 MX and have used it for about 3 years now.
Best move I ever made .
That being said , you need to be an actual analog lover and engineer to get what it does. It can be used in several configurations.
Old 23rd May 2018
  #27
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Do tell! I'm starting to get very curious. I've had a small studer 169 for the last 18 months which I'm IN LOVE with.... but it's small and very limited on routing options.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretschman View Post
I have the Harrison 950 MX and have used it for about 3 years now.
Best move I ever made .
That being said , you need to be an actual analog lover and engineer to get what it does. It can be used in several configurations.
Old 23rd May 2018
  #28
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Originally Posted by totallybertini View Post
Do tell! I'm starting to get very curious. I've had a small studer 169 for the last 18 months which I'm IN LOVE with.... but it's small and very limited on routing options.
My Harrison 950 MX is connected to my patch bays .

4 Aux channels


2 - stereo channels with compression available on each master out


Killer EQ's on each channel


insert / returns


Great mic pre's


A/B monitors selection


It sounds so nice that you won't need very much outboard gear to nail you're mix.


you can also return from DAW and mix .
Old 23rd May 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totallybertini View Post
Do tell! I'm starting to get very curious. I've had a small studer 169 for the last 18 months which I'm IN LOVE with.... but it's small and very limited on routing options.
I've had 2 Harrisons, (one big 950m and one small 950mx) for 8 months now and it's a wonderful console. The preamps don't get enough love and respect. Warm, clean, yet kind of neutral and really lets the mic shine. Very nice indeed and better than I expected! The EQ circuit sounds great. I like to just pop it into the signal and it instantly gives me a little presence and a subtle 3D quality you just don't get from plugins. When I mix, i insert the EQ on every channel just for that. The black bus is open and transparent and punchy and the red bus a little more robust, fat, and rounds out the transients a touch. The routing is super useful! The low cut filter sounds amazing, it just moves the source up front and sounds ultra natural yet characterful. They really did a great job on this thing when they designed it.

I'm considering selling the small 12 module 950mx (4 mono 8 stereo), or at least some of it since I have two Harrison 950s and maybe that's overkill... lol Hit me up if you find yourself interested.
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