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Looking for a low-mid tier analog console suggestion for teaching Mixers (Digital)
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Looking for a low-mid tier analog console suggestion for teaching

Hi all,
I teach at a school that has a large-format analog console that is on it's last legs. The main studio has 24 (and supports up to 32) channels of I/O with an Antelope interface and Pro Tools DAW setup.

I like the idea of having an analog console as a teaching tool for signal flow and gain staging, which I think is a "lost art" that many students don't learn in lieu of just learning In-the-box mixing. On the other hand, it has been frustrating to find a fitting replacement console within my roughly $4-8k budget because consoles seem to be either on the lower end side or much more costly.

For instance, on a site like Sweetwater, the consoles jump from a $3k-ish Allen & Heath analog board (more tailored for live sound), to a $22k SSL with nothing in-between (new). In the digital realm, there are feature-packed boards like the Midas M32 for $4k, but again I fear that some of that analog workflow will be lost in replacement for more digital menus, etc. On the analog side, I have occasionally used a Toft board, which I found to be a good balance in having a low-mid tier price along with decent sound/build and keeping that analog workflow.

Any other suggestions on a new (or possibly used) board with 24-32 channels in the range I am looking at? My main factors are that it works as a teaching tool and works well for students when being used independently by students. I also want to avoid having too much upkeep. Used consoles can be great, but also can be risky due to aging caps and other components. The current board is taking up way too much time and causing too many issues due to age.

I hope some have ideas that I'm not thinking of. Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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There's a loaded Soundcraft DC 2020 on local CL (LA) for $8,500k that looks in good condition.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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edva's Avatar
Used analog consoles seem plentiful, and freakishly inexpensive. I've seen large format professional boards sell for less than 5K$. Literally pennies on the dollar.
There surely must be a number of them in good condition. (Usually the ones from fixed installations, e.g. churches and houses of worship).
But even a bit of troubleshooting may be of educational benefit to your students?
As could be the search to find the right console?
Just my 2c. Good luck.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Used analog consoles seem plentiful, and freakishly inexpensive. I've seen large format professional boards sell for less than 5K$. Literally pennies on the dollar.
There surely must be a number of them in good condition. (Usually the ones from fixed installations, e.g. churches and houses of worship).
I know of two large, decently maintained analog recording (not PA) consoles in churches that have been swapped out for X32's and are standing on-end in a closet. I'm in the process of finding one or both a deserving home right now.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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As noted above, I am aware of several used large format consoles like Trident and MCI and Harrison selling within your budget...those would be ideal for this type of education, if your goal is to teach older analog workflow. However if you don't have an onsite technician then maybe a large format vintage console isn't a good idea in the long run.

I understand you already have an onsite studio of sorts, but have you considered alternatively partnering with a local recording studio or church that is equipped with everything you need? If your school is unable to implement a realistic budget into the program then maybe having it onsite doesn't make sense anyway.


If you must use your onsite space, and have something new...have you considered reaching out to any of the modern manufacturers to see if they could work out some kind of plan with your school?
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
As noted above, I am aware of several used large format consoles like Trident and MCI and Harrison selling within your budget...those would be ideal for this type of education...
Not sure I'd pick an MCI for teaching signal flow and routing. They're a bit less "obvious" than the other two, and there's also that EQ thing where clockwise is boost, but if you push this button, clockwise is cut.

For teaching how a console works, as opposed to having a great-sounding one, most any of those lower-tier British boards like Soundcraft or Amek would be fine, I'd think.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Not sure I'd pick an MCI for teaching signal flow and routing. They're a bit less "obvious" than the other two, and there's also that EQ thing where clockwise is boost, but if you push this button, clockwise is cut.

For teaching how a console works, as opposed to having a great-sounding one, most any of those lower-tier British boards like Soundcraft or Amek would be fine, I'd think.
Once you figure one out I think you can work your way around any... I learned on MCI, then Trident, SSL, Digidesign.. At least at the studios I’ve worked out of, I run across MCI’s more often than not. Not that I love them, but they seem relatively common.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Used analog consoles seem plentiful, and freakishly inexpensive. I've seen large format professional boards sell for less than 5K$. Literally pennies on the dollar.
As could be the search to find the right console?
Totally agreed, we actually have a care & repair class that deals with electrical repairs and such. I totally don't mind fixes and upkeep, it's just when you have a 40+ year old console with a myriad of issues that I have decided to look at other options (It is a Sony MXP-3000). I'll keep an eye out for consoles, it is a tricky balance between teaching both modern workflow as well as utilizing analog workflow to help understand signal flow. Of course, even with modern digital consoles, analog signal flow remains a constant to some degree.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naterecording View Post
it is a tricky balance between teaching both modern workflow as well as utilizing analog workflow to help understand signal flow. Of course, even with modern digital consoles, analog signal flow remains a constant to some degree.
Oh heck yes, and God bless you for trying to keep that knowledge alive!!!!!
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I know of two large, decently maintained analog recording (not PA) consoles in churches that have been swapped out for X32's and are standing on-end in a closet. I'm in the process of finding one or both a deserving home right now.
Pm me the console info
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxplayerz View Post
Pm me the console info
I guess I could have been clearer. I've already identified the worthy recipient (not me), and I'm in the process of convincing the respective pastors that the donation of the consoles would be a mitzvah. Not that they'd know what a mitzvah is.

Besides, you didn't say please. :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I guess I could have been clearer. I've already identified the worthy recipient (not me), and I'm in the process of convincing the respective pastors that the donation of the consoles would be a mitzvah. Not that they'd know what a mitzvah is.

Besides, you didn't say please. :-)
Please donate one to my music endeavors. Lol
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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If your school isn't a music school but it is a generic school (a secondary school for example), I would use also something that guys can really afford at least as a hobby in the future.
Guide them to get a cheap educational licence for a nice modern daw for example.
Mixing in the box has a similar workflow of a real analog box, if you learn it, you are learning how to mix or record, in a general view, in my opinion.

While if you are in a music oriented school, ignore this post.
A nice console would be cool.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimi777 View Post
If your school isn't a music school but it is a generic school (a secondary school for example), I would use also something that guys can really afford at least as a hobby in the future.
Guide them to get a cheap educational licence for a nice modern daw for example.
Mixing in the box has a similar workflow of a real analog box, if you learn it, you are learning how to mix or record, in a general view, in my opinion.

While if you are in a music oriented school, ignore this post.
A nice console would be cool.
Mixing in the box is totally different from a console unless you use Reason. I'd get a nice modular one like maybe an amek or soundcraft and teach signal flow. Hopefully you won't be elitist like my old college and refuse entry to those who want to study music production. It really amazes me how an educational institution can deny knowledge to those without 4.0 GPA or Coltrane chops.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Mackie

My first console was a Mackie vlz1604, which represents, signal flow wise and general setup wise, the bigger and badder larger ones. Its totally easy to set up different types of analogue workflows (I do techno only, so my mileage does vary).

There is a big list of very similar and more professional consoles from Mackie, with more channels, but for training purposes, you might wanna go with the cheapo version 1604 to represent X channels to Y Busses and the methodology that stems from that setup. I would have loved for someone to explain all this to me. Although the manual all covers it already and I just did not take it serious enough. So this would be my hint: get one of these mixers, put all required outboard gear in one or two 19 inch cases.

I tried to emulate classic "analogue" workflows with digital mixers, and its just not the same thing. You will just find that lots of these things don't work on analogue consoles (where you might not have compression for each channel seperately.

Honestly, I am not sure expensive gear will cut it and for learning purposes (expensive gear comes with shortcuts you cant reproduce otherwise easily), I think a bunch of 10 year old low end devices will do ... think Compression with a dbx266 family device (50$ used), room fx from a Alesis Quadraverb etc (seen for 50$) or even get your hands on one of these Behringer devices that everyone seems to dislike.

Remarks:

- PC would only work as recording and playback device.
- Reduce to the max with 8 channels in 8 out
- Try get one very basic type of device
- I guess, you will not need this every day, so maybe you could end up with a setup in 3 19 inch racks, with a patchbay in each rack, a bunch of patch cables
- Setting stuff like this up and being able to troubleshoot is a thing that goes together.
- I' d take a guess of 2-5 K getting it ALL new, including racks and cases (for professional purposes new)
- Used, I'd say you can end up between 500 and 1500 Euros, depending on your luck buying used and these consoles are widely available plus MANY on the markets with the same design.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Maybe get a Mackie vs sdries and some outboard comps and verbs. I'd look at motu 16a interface or a 24io.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxplayerz View Post
Maybe get a Mackie vs sdries and some outboard comps and verbs. I'd look at motu 16a interface or a 24io.
I was thinking the same thing. If it's for teaching purposes only, sound quality isn't that critical. Why not just get a Mackie 8 bus? Once you can fly one of those, you pretty much understand what analog signal flow is all about. Patch in an good EQ and they will be able to hear the difference between good and bad. Plus, if you can get good results with a Mackie and some outboard (summing can be bypassed via the expander port, subtractive EQ only) you should have no problem with a better console.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Patch in an good EQ and they will be able to hear the difference between good and bad.
You'd like to thinks so, anyway.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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In doing some more research, I'm starting to lean toward the an Allen & Heath Qu-32. Seems like a nice combo of analog workflow plus modern DAW integration along with decent pres and converters. Given that it is for education, as others have said it does not have to be top of the line pres, but at the same time, a lot of projects are done on it so I want them to be able to give solid quality. It is pretty impressive what a newer digital board is capable of. Even though the A&H is geared toward live, I don't see why it couldn't be perfectly great for studio. The only limitation is the 48k sample rate. Looks like the newer SQ series has updated converters.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naterecording View Post
In doing some more research, I'm starting to lean toward the an Allen & Heath Qu-32. Seems like a nice combo of analog workflow plus modern DAW integration along with decent pres and converters. Given that it is for education, as others have said it does not have to be top of the line pres, but at the same time, a lot of projects are done on it so I want them to be able to give solid quality. It is pretty impressive what a newer digital board is capable of. Even though the A&H is geared toward live, I don't see why it couldn't be perfectly great for studio. The only limitation is the 48k sample rate. Looks like the newer SQ series has updated converters.
I'd want analog signal flow and sound
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naterecording View Post
Even though the A&H is geared toward live, I don't see why it couldn't be perfectly great for studio.
It won't have the kind of talkback that dims/mutes your monitors, if it has talkback at all. Might not matter in your case, though, if you don't have a separate control room and live room.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Our 950mx console sounds perfect for your needs. It's more expensive than you asked for ( $30k ish ). But it is a new console and would last a very long time.

Our software product "Mixbus" is popular for schools that are teaching signal-flow. Mixbus has a dedicated bus structure that looks like a console.

We also have a section for plugins, of course, so you can also teach some digital DAW techniques ( but you don't -have- to )

We have special Mixbus pricing for schools and students. You can write Mike at [email protected]

Best,
-Ben at Harrison

Last edited by BenLoftis; 1 week ago at 07:06 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLoftis View Post
Our 950mx console sounds perfect for your needs. It's more expensive than you asked for ( $30k ish ). But it is a new console and would last a very long time.

Our software product "Mixbus" is popular for schools that are teaching signal-flow. Mixbus has a dedicated bus structure that looks like a console.

We also have a section for plugins, of course, so you can also teach some digital DAW techniques ( but you don't -have- to )

We have special Mixbus pricing for schools and students. You can write Mike at [email protected]

Best,
-Ben at Harrison
I recall some one tracked a little record on a Harrison. Who was hmm king of .....
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