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Jules 12th May 2003 12:05 PM

Best quality cheap consol to monitor 2" playback only

I hope to expand and more than double my live room size. This may turn my weird & wonderfull "producer clubhouse' studio into something I can attract close engineer chums to for tracking... (not my only reason to expand!!)

Back when I built the studio I think (!) I spec'ed the doorframe size to accomodate rental Otari MTR 90 tape machines.

At present I have a ProControl & flatscreen monitors sitting on a 6ft x 2ft wooden table. They can all be unhooked and put to one side in about 3 minutes...

I can hook up a small analog condsole to the patch bay & monitors and I can offer 2" tracking with 16 track or 24 track headblocks.

I have enough outboard pre's to cover a whole rock bands inputs...

So... I feel I have to keep an eye out for a small footprint 24 track console to monitor playback and rough mixing...

Mackie? wworried wworried wworried
Alan & Heath wworried wworried
Soundcraft wworried

What else?

Mic pre quality isnt an issue, I am more conserned with a nice uncluttered fader path, line input quality & suitability for monitoring playback only.



chrisso 12th May 2003 04:31 PM

What's your budget?

Jules 12th May 2003 04:41 PM

Cheap, second hand, no need for a boutique summing device, just a light weight console I can stand in the corner under a dust sheet till I need it for 2" sessions, then put it back in the corner again.

Long uncluttered fader throw is ideal...

Must be an easy "2 man lift" nothing too heavy and no EDAC's just normal i/o.
+ 4 operation...

A live desk?

chrisso 12th May 2003 04:53 PM

People rave about the Midas Venice:
Funky Junk have an 'immaculate' Trident 65 for £3250,
a 'mint condition' Soundcraft 6000 36-24 for £3,000
and I'd be happy to see my (VGC) Mackie 32/8 (VU's and stand) go to a good home for £1,500.

cajonezzz 12th May 2003 05:24 PM

Jules, check out the Midas Venice 24 channel. It really is a wonderful little console. we got the 16 ch version for summing to PT and have been very happy with the pre's and eq as a different flavor....we're REALLY happy with it.
we're on a search for a two inch right now and I wouldn't think twice about the Venice for the same application as your talking....(nothing will get finished on 2 inch, it'll go straight to Ptools as soon as tracking is done)

atticus 12th May 2003 05:49 PM

Perhaps the fabled Yamaha PM2000 might be a good fit here. I'm finding tons of them in the $1200 range. I'm pretty sure two people could lift one.

max the mac 12th May 2003 11:52 PM

Hi Jules.

IF small footprint and sensible budget need to be balanced against the audio quality, may i respectfully suggest an Old GS3 Allen and Heath.???

NOT the GS3V which has VCA faders..... although I'm quite fond of mine, I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that perhaps my previous (Non -V) one was slightly more open and natural.

The small footprint is very welcome , especially given the fact that it manages to be the smallest desk of its era i know of for a given number of channels, and has the benefit of EQ on all the monitor returns full time as well as the mains....and proper sized controls and faders...... much easier to navigate around in the dark, half pissed, and with bricks for fingers....
The Later GS3000 is also a lovely piece of kit, but will set you back a minimum of a grand to fifteen hundred quid more than the GS3.

I miss my Gs3k a LOT....
Emotionally , I'd buy one again as soon as money allows....
on a practical level, I'm not at all sure I could actually live without the VCA automation, as both my desks have it......

But even a 24:8 Gs3 is manageable by one man in terms of moving them around, and I've never had any reliability issues with My various Allen and Heath desks over the last 10 years or so.

Added to which, they are still a going concern and their spares dept and tech guys are very helpful.

I am not a fan of the Mackie Eq, although I grant they are far from bad desks......
and soundcraft??? spirit.... NO!!..... I also have a Spirit Auto, and it's pants in comparison to ANY of my A&H desks.....

for the Job you describe you might even get away with a 16 if you had to , but obviously a 24 would be better.
They are quite rare on the secondhand market, probably coz the owners love em......
But they dont cost the earth.
I recently saw a GS3 32channel for under a grand...
However, Unless you are MUCH bigger than me, you aint about to want to move one of those on your own!!!!!

If on your travels you DO come across a 24 or 32 channel GS3V, that you dont want.....
let me know would you????????

I really want shot of my Spirit Auto 24, and get another A&H ........

BTW, they come set up for -10 operation, but there is a straight forward mod for +4, its even listed in the manual.

Best regards.
(a confirmed A&H fan, can you tell......)

Jules 13th May 2003 12:24 AM

That A&H GS3 is on the list to be concidered...

Yamaha too

& Mackie, I may just rent in a desk & 2" combo when I need it..


sonic dogg 13th May 2003 02:41 AM

Jules ya know I'm gonna say Soundcraft...particularly Ghost ...since you actually live in Ghostland ya should be able to get one cheap...a 32X8 is a fine unit and robust... moving it around some is not gonna hurt it....AND they sound WAY better than any mackie...really....the GS3 is also a good one....

subspace 13th May 2003 08:43 AM

1 Attachment(s)
You could pick up a used Soundcraft 200b cheap. Easy to move quickly into place and hooks up with standard rear panel i/os. It's pretty much a live desk but I've seen them used for remote recording monitoring. It's fully modular and might inspire a bit more confidence than something of the Mackie ilk...

Jules 13th May 2003 09:10 AM

I like the look of that a LOT!



Jules 13th May 2003 09:13 AM

Ghost might be 'overkill' , I know they are good, but I just dont like the 'look' of em, nor the mackie..


Jules 13th May 2003 09:37 AM

Ghost might be 'overkill' , I know they are good, but I just dont like the 'look' of em, nor the mackie..


Jules 13th May 2003 09:37 AM

I like the look of that a LOT!



Tim L 13th May 2003 02:07 PM


Originally posted by subspace
You could pick up a used Soundcraft 200b cheap...
There's a real easy mod you can do for these as well...

HiString 13th May 2003 02:23 PM

If you were prepared to consider a Mackie 8 buss, why not Soundcraft's fore-runner to the Ghost............the Spirit Studio 8 buss. The majority you see s/hand are 24/8, however they were available as a 32/8 as well.

Have a look around here............ never know what you may find.


max the mac 13th May 2003 05:05 PM

Hey jules. this may or may not be of use, but i saw this today on the dreaded eBay.

Best regards
I'm sort of tempted by it myself, as I'm sick of the Spirit.....
So I have a Spirit Studio Auto 24 that'll be up for grabs as soon as I've sorted the PSU buzz.
Incidently have i mentioned Andy and Alison Allen at gear online... i havent looked to see what desks they have at the mo, but theyre always worth a look.jummpp

HiString 13th May 2003 05:21 PM


Have you had problems with your Spirit Studio, or do you know if they were prone to any re-occuring problems?


max the mac 13th May 2003 05:44 PM

My only problem with the spirit has been the bloody Cp150 PSU, which buzzes like a swarm of extremely hostile bees.....

The one i have though, is the spirit studio Auto...
which is the somewhat "lazier" version fitted with VCA faders and full midi muting.
Steinberg developed the midi hardware for it, and software , but the Steinberg software i have for mac is not compatible with OMS and OS9, so I've had to build Logic environments and cubase mixer maps for it.... which has been a real pain in the arse.......

you CAN ignore the automation side altogther and treat it like a normal spirit studio.......

I'm not Aware of many intrinsic problems with the desks themselves, although many may now be getting to an age where they need maintainence surgery on such things as Electrolytic caps, and fader tracks. (assuming heavy use in semi-pro studios) But most should be fine.

Obviously as with all such devices there will be some Dogs, some unlucky ones, and some real gems.

Hope this is of any use at all....... (probably not)

Roland 13th May 2003 06:42 PM


Originally posted by Jules
That A&H GS3 is on the list to be concidered...

Yamaha too

& Mackie, I may just rent in a desk & 2" combo when I need it..


Here's another vote for the GS3. Can get one of those secondhand for about £600. Whenever customers bring in tapes recorded on these, they always sound pretty open, IMHO one of the most underated 8 buss consoles ever made.

I used to have a Mackie a few years back and I always kicked myself that I didn't go for the GS3 instead.


Roland jkthtyrt

Roland 13th May 2003 06:45 PM

PS. Forgot to add, stay clear of the Soundcraft Spirits. IMHO one of the worst sounding desks around.


Roland jkthtyrt

studjo 13th May 2003 07:45 PM

Don't buy a Soundcraft Spirit. They have the worst mic pre I ever heard - the EQ is useless and it even smells funnyabduction

The fader may workgooof


max the mac 13th May 2003 08:12 PM

I have to agree, that the spirit is in general , pants....... :deth:
I was open minded when i bought the Auto....hooppie
But in comparison to the Allen&Heath, It is utter ****e......grrr

Although, in all fairness, you've led a sheltered life if they're the WORST Mic pre's you ever heard.... boing I envy your way of life!! bumpkin I refer the honourable Gentleman to such delightful devices as the old Studiomaster Diamond range, the early Phonic range, almost all the small Behringer desks, although the latest ones are better, they still aint something to smile about.....
And there are worse yet!!! Just buy a Peavy PA mixer head.... especially the older ones... and cringe !.what about getting really silly and buying one of the little 60watt Kustom PA sets from JHS.... now seriously THEY make me want to retch..... fuuck
But in comparison to any serious Pro Audio studio desk, the Spirit Mic pre's are definitely lacking......

Although, In fairness , Jules did specify that Mic Pre's were not a real issue, given that it is for quick and dirty rough mix downs from tape.



max the mac 13th May 2003 08:18 PM


Originally posted by max the mac
1) My only problem with the spirit has been the bloody Cp150 PSU, which buzzes like a swarm of extremely hostile bees.....

2) I'm not Aware of many intrinsic problems with the desks themselves,

Hope this is of any use at all....... (probably not)

I should add to these snippets

1) problem , other than the fact it sounds bollox in comparison to other desk.

The EQ , well i havent noticed a smell, (maybe you should tell the cat not to use it as a litter tray?) but it is somehow powerful without having any musicality whatsoever.....

2) Intrinsic problem...... well, i suppose being crap is fairly intrinsic....... I stand corrected, By myself.......


shiee shiee confoosed

studjo 13th May 2003 10:50 PM

Max you scare me - there are mic pres out there even worser than the Spirit?

But if I look at your laundry list, I can feel your painablian

I'm happy my spirit days are gone dfegad


Ps: If you can't smell the eq, try a little 5kHz on a accoustic git and hold your nose to the tweeter of those lovely Spirit absolute monitorsheh

max the mac 13th May 2003 11:07 PM

Jo Mate, I Plan on ending my "spiritual" misery ASAP.

I also note thats not my laundry list.... it's a list of examples i can reel of the top of my head, as I used to be a dealer in this ****.....

I can do worse if i really have to think about it.....


Han 13th May 2003 11:25 PM

max the mac 13th May 2003 11:49 PM


Very very pretty, but hardly fits the small footprint, one man moveability for stuffing in a corner under a dust sheet requirement does it mate!!!hooppie heppy

Han 14th May 2003 01:01 AM

I know, Julian needs only the right half of it.

But it's a nice pic isn't it? and a very nice board.jkthtyrt

Jules 14th May 2003 01:15 AM

Few hours with a hacksaw and it will be perfect...