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DDA S Series Consoles
Old 22nd May 2006
  #1
DDA S Series

I'm thinking of buying a DDA S Series 40 channel mixer. I will use this as a recording console, and as a mixing console. I believe I have an offer which is ok, i think, about 1400-1600 USD. If you concider that I live in Norway and that the price is almost twice as the american prices. Have anyone used DDA S Series before or do anyone have anything to say about these mixers or DDA's mixers?

BTW: My recording room is in the same room as the room where we play, if you know what I mean. So today we're just using the insert out to our ad/da coverters. Today I'm using a Behringer 24 channel mixer, which pretty much sucks

Here's some pics:

- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda01.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda02.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda03.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda04.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda05.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda06.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda07.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda08.jpg
- http://home.no.net/offpist5/dda/dda09.jpg
Old 24th May 2006
  #2
Old 24th May 2006
  #3
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nathanvacha's Avatar
 

well... I'm not particularly familiar with any specific models of dda boards... but a 40 channel for 14-16 hundred dollars? Without a clue of condition, that seems like an abosolute steal! For example, the only dda on ebay (i know, i know, but it was a quick check) is at 9,000 right now...
Old 30th May 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Rmorph's Avatar
 

From my own limited perspective..

Hi there,

As I understand it the DDA S-40 is a 24 channel, 4 group desk.

I wasn't aware that it expanded to 40 channels: cool :-)

This was the low end DDA Live sound console - Somewhat different from the D (studio) series, but using the same front mounted PCB strip design as the large consoles, with different preamp design, lower cost components.

Being in Norway I recently had the opportunity to purchase one of the 24 channel desks for 6000 kroner (1000 US) but passed, as it was in shabby condition, and as far as I understand the S series has little/no resale value.
I have seen these going on US Ebay for 5-600 dollars, and soundwise I believe they are on par with one of the Mackie Mid-90s desks (worse preamps, better EQs).
Pricewise they were in the same ballpark, and share many similar functions.
I guess from that perspective your price is good, assuming all the channels function ;-)

A colleague uses and swears by a D-series 8 bus 32 channel board, but he reckons the S series doesn't come close soundwise. He has run both extensively. In his opinion the DDA S suffers from crosstalk and inherent noise. (When Mackie came out with the VLZ it took a lot of console designers by surprise, including DDA - up until then ultra-low noisefloor was really a highend feature, and I think this desk misses it ).


Checking out the desk for purchase I thought the EQs were pretty good, but didn't notice anything outstanding regarding sound /preamp quality. I got a lot of knob crackle while testing pots (typical "Old console" problem, that a dose of wd-40 may or may not fix). Several channels were extreme in this. I also got very noticeable highend hiss when checking signals using earplugs.

Also: buying a used console (10 yrs+) is a crapshoot in Norway, as console repairs are monstrously expensive anywhere you look.
Lose a channel on that desk (or need to replace crackly pots) and it will be another few 1000 kroner to fix it.

If your budget is 8,000 Kr then think about something a bit newer: Allen and Heath or Mackie something.

I think there are better deals out there than a 20+ year old board. An old Mackie - even a 1604 would probably suit you better soundwise if you don't need the extra channels.

One thing about DDA mixers is how little info there is on the internet Surprising as they were very popular a few years ago..
:-|


Anyway: Hope this helps.
ggg
Old 1st June 2006
  #5
Thanks for the reply, this helped alot. As you said, there's not much of info about this mixer on the internet. My problem is that I have about 10 000 NOK to probably use. I'm using a Behringer 24 channel (16 mono) mixer today, and I need something bigger. 24 monochannels is minimum. If you have any tips, I would be more than happy to hear it.
Old 1st June 2006
  #6
Gear Addict
 
tmarra's Avatar
I used to work for DDA here in the States and am still good friends with Dave Dearden, the man who designed that desk. The S series was their bottom of the line desk, but it sonicly wasn't bad at all. But it was designed as a budget Live Sound mixer and not a Recording studio console.

Considering it's age I would guess from all the other old DDA consoles I see, that it needs to be re-capped. I would bet the pots and switches are all showing their age too.

If you have a lot of time and money you could overhaul the entire console and upgrade the IC's, etc. but in the end you still would have a old PA console more suited for a old bar band than a modern recording marvel.

-Tony
Old 1st June 2006
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmarra
I used to work for DDA here in the States and am still good friends with Dave Dearden, the man who designed that desk. The S series was their bottom of the line desk, but it sonicly wasn't bad at all. But it was designed as a budget Live Sound mixer and not a Recording studio console.

Considering it's age I would guess from all the other old DDA consoles I see, that it needs to be re-capped. I would bet the pots and switches are all showing their age too.

If you have a lot of time and money you could overhaul the entire console and upgrade the IC's, etc. but in the end you still would have a old PA console more suited for a old bar band than a modern recording marvel.

-Tony
Where did the CS series fall in terms of sound quality?
Old 1st June 2006
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Rmorph's Avatar
 

Hi,



IMHO: Technology has come a hell of a long way since the early 90's:
Any budget desk built in the past 3-4 years has more headroom, cleaner signal paths and better features than the budget stuff (and most mid-range) from early eras.
I know 2 guys on D-series consoles who love them for their EQs (One mentioned above) But I dont envy their taste really, and reckon I can get as decent a sound ITB as they labour to achieve.

Don't be fooled by the myth that older is better: Unless you are talking the "legendary stuff". In the case of mixers it is usually the stuff that was highend to begin with: and thus worth the repair bills.
Anything below this level: Only pick it up if you can get it REALLY cheap AND its in great working order. The repair bills aint worth it. And you WILL need to fix stuff. (I speak from experience with a soundtracs console now binned).

As you probably noticed as well: In Norway there are no deals. Everyone tries to sell on used stuff for twice what its worth in any normal market cos it cost them three times as much when they bought it ;-)





A daring suggestion:
The dollar is down to a record low right now: If you any contacts in the US, save a bit more and take a trip over there. Pick up something Mackie\A+H\Crest\Soundcraft and stick it in your suitcase.

Mackie Onyx 32.4 Mixer = retail 1800US on Samedaymusic.com
The 24 channel is around 12-1300US
That really is about as good as your budget will go: and remember this is a 20000KR desk in Norway! Worth the flight.


If you know a few musicians try and put together a "buying trip". Say one guy needs a microphone and another wants a preamp or something: If it fits in a suitcase it's all good. One guy goes and the others can chip in on the plane fare.
Maybe even search out something secondhand (on the forums here for example) Then you will get a deal! I bought a few nice bits of gear over this way: usually no problem in customs (travelling musician). Just don't overdo it :-)

If you are looking for "A deal" I sugest this is the only real way you are going to get it. Norwegian barns tend to hold cows, not unused SSL desks :-)

Hope it helps.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
soultrane's Avatar
i haven't heard the dda "s" series, but I recently traded out my mackie 8 buss for a dda interface, which is their lowest end board, and I like it much better than the mackie.

first, the eq's are useable, which they are absolutely not on the mackie.

second, the preamps are useable, which they, again, are not on the mackie.

three, the build quality is much better... it, and all dda boards, are modular, as opposed to the mackie, behringer, etc....

i think dda's are one of the steals in the audio world right now, depending on what you are going to use them for... (ie, not as the centerpiece of a live recording room, but in conjunction w. a daw for summing etc...) yes they need a little work, but so do most 25 year old mackies, if they work at all...

i haven't heard the onyx, but compared to older offerings from mackie, behringer, etc., i would say the dda will kill in the audio AND vibe departments...
Old 4th December 2008
  #10
Gear Head
 

Neotek
Old 16th April 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmorph View Post
Hi there,


This was the low end DDA Live sound console - Somewhat different from the D (studio) series, but using the same front mounted PCB strip design as the large consoles, with different preamp design, lower cost components.

Being in Norway I recently had the opportunity to purchase one of the 24 channel desks for 6000 kroner (1000 US) but passed, as it was in shabby condition, and as far as I understand the S series has little/no resale value.
I have seen these going on US Ebay for 5-600 dollars, and soundwise I believe they are on par with one of the Mackie Mid-90s desks (worse preamps, better EQs).
Pricewise they were in the same ballpark, and share many similar functions.
I guess from that perspective your price is good, assuming all the channels function ;-)

A colleague uses and swears by a D-series 8 bus 32 channel board, but he reckons the S series doesn't come close soundwise. He has run both extensively. In his opinion the DDA S suffers from crosstalk and inherent noise. (When Mackie came out with the VLZ it took a lot of console designers by surprise, including DDA - up until then ultra-low noisefloor was really a highend feature, and I think this desk misses it ).


Checking out the desk for purchase I thought the EQs were pretty good, but didn't notice anything outstanding regarding sound /preamp quality. I got a lot of knob crackle while testing pots (typical "Old console" problem, that a dose of wd-40 may or may not fix). Several channels were extreme in this. I also got very noticeable highend hiss when checking signals using earplugs.

Also: buying a used console (10 yrs+) is a crapshoot in Norway, as console repairs are monstrously expensive anywhere you look.
Lose a channel on that desk (or need to replace crackly pots) and it will be another few 1000 kroner to fix it.

I think there are better deals out there than a 20+ year old board. An old Mackie - even a 1604 would probably suit you better soundwise if you don't need the extra channels.

One thing about DDA mixers is how little info there is on the internet Surprising as they were very popular a few years ago..
:-|


Anyway: Hope this helps.
ggg



I know this is an old thread, but just for the record and anyone looking at this some time after it was listed, a lot of this information here is just not accurate.

The components used in the D and S Series are of the same quality, that is not a lowering of quality between one and the other. The D Series has different facilities from the S Series, and is found with input and output transformers. The S Series could be configured with either electronic balancing or transformers.

They are extremely quiet desks, and the S Series we use has not got one noisy fader or pot. The pots are Preh pots and will probably be around after we've gone. In addition, the mic preamps are excellent. But forget the "one is not of the same quality as the other" thought, the schematics don't show that and neither do the specification figures.

The S Series started life following a request from Tony Faulkner for a 10-2 mixer. I'm given to understand that the mixer we have here is one that he used as an add on extension to his own.

All the best
Old 19th June 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 
mexicola's Avatar
 

Got a question for anyone who maybe dealt with the design of these consoles. I'm recapping a DDA S Series at the moment for a fellow engineer. Using Panasonic FM's everywhere. I'm curious about a discrepency I discovered.
According to the schematic, the local psu caps on the master buss pcb are 22uF/25V - same as the local psu caps on all the modules. However, on the actual master buss they were 2.2uF/63V. This seems awful small to me for a local PSU cap.
Anyone know why this discrepency might exist? Or was there a DDA employee who needed glasses and grabbed a 2.2 by mistake instead of a 22? Both of these old Samwha caps are actually the same physical size so I could see why the mistake was made, if it was a mistake.
Any ideas?
Old 22nd June 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mexicola View Post
Got a question for anyone who maybe dealt with the design of these consoles. I'm recapping a DDA S Series at the moment for a fellow engineer. Using Panasonic FM's everywhere. I'm curious about a discrepency I discovered.
According to the schematic, the local psu caps on the master buss pcb are 22uF/25V - same as the local psu caps on all the modules. However, on the actual master buss they were 2.2uF/63V. This seems awful small to me for a local PSU cap.
Anyone know why this discrepency might exist? Or was there a DDA employee who needed glasses and grabbed a 2.2 by mistake instead of a 22? Both of these old Samwha caps are actually the same physical size so I could see why the mistake was made, if it was a mistake.
Any ideas?
Hi

This is something I'm about to embark on too. Slowly!

Klark Teknik | Distributors

Give Nigel Turner a call or an email, his details are above, he'll be able to help.

All the best
Old 23rd June 2009
  #14
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mexicola's Avatar
 

Thanks for the info. I actually got an answer from Jim Williams over on the Analog Console Forum. He recommended raising it to 47uF.

Out of curiosity are the local PSU caps on your DDA master buss 2.2uF as well?
Old 23rd June 2009
  #15
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Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mexicola View Post
Thanks for the info. I actually got an answer from Jim Williams over on the Analog Console Forum. He recommended raising it to 47uF.

Out of curiosity are the local PSU caps on your DDA master buss 2.2uF as well?
Hi

I don't know whether they are or not and can't really check just now as I'm going away for the rest of the week - recording in the longest Parish church in England! That's a lot of walking backwards and forwards with gear.

From what I understand, and what seems to be common practice, there are a number of areas where capacitor values can be increased. It needs looking into as value changes in the wrong areas can result in oscillation and other problems.

Perhaps this could be picked up later when I return, or someone might chime in?
Old 24th June 2009
  #16
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mexicola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Hi

I don't know whether they are or not and can't really check just now as I'm going away for the rest of the week - recording in the longest Parish church in England! That's a lot of walking backwards and forwards with gear.

From what I understand, and what seems to be common practice, there are a number of areas where capacitor values can be increased. It needs looking into as value changes in the wrong areas can result in oscillation and other problems.

Perhaps this could be picked up later when I return, or someone might chime in?
Yeah, for the most part coupling caps and local psu caps are safe to raise by factors of 2 or 3. Just be sure you know what you're doing, and if you have questions ask someone who does know.
Old 24th June 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mexicola View Post
Yeah, for the most part coupling caps and local psu caps are safe to raise by factors of 2 or 3. Just be sure you know what you're doing, and if you have questions ask someone who does know.
Yep..I ask plenty question..!....Right...
Old 25th June 2009
  #18
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Yes MOST DDAs used pretty much the same design it was just what features were on them!
A lot of "S" series sound like crap because they were treated like crap!
Interface was a Dynacord Copy of the Soundcraft Delta that Can be found labeled DDA, EV Dynacord and even University (I 've seen one) that got EV/ Mark 4 sued!
CS3 and CS8 are a whole different design family
Would love to find a nice cheap Clean CS 8 32!
Old 26th June 2009
  #19
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mexicola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snatchman View Post
Yep..I ask plenty question..!....Right...
haha! it's all good!
Old 2nd July 2009
  #20
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Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
Yes MOST DDAs used pretty much the same design it was just what features were on them!
A lot of "S" series sound like crap because they were treated like crap!
Interface was a Dynacord Copy of the Soundcraft Delta that Can be found labeled DDA, EV Dynacord and even University (I 've seen one) that got EV/ Mark 4 sued!
CS3 and CS8 are a whole different design family
Would love to find a nice cheap Clean CS 8 32!


Yes, but the DDA S Series that have been treated properly are excellent desks, nice mic pres and so quiet. Noise never ever a problem. Nice open sound and a live feeling. Good quality parts such as the long-life Preh pots, considering how many pots there are on a mixer, it's nice to have quality like the Preh's doing that job.

Simple design. Lovely.
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