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8x2 1RU preamp and mixer - anything close to the ATI 8MX2?
Old 15th August 2009
  #1
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Talking 8x2 1RU preamp and mixer - anything close to the ATI 8MX2?

I've been doing a lot of research for a 1RU 8-channel preamp with mixer functionality to use with my HD24XR, I'm sick of lugging several 2 and 4 channel preamps. My short list right now, in order of cheapest to most expensive, is the ART TubeFire8, the Studio Projects SP828, and the ATI 8MX2.

I do not want to regret this purchase - I want 8 completely pro channels, and then I'll add two more cheaper ones for a total of 24 channels.

The obvious winner is the ATI from everything I've seen and read. But, what I want to know is if there is something I have not heard of that would be close to as good but cheaper. Obviously my budget for this is $2000 or so since I am convinced to get the ATI if there isn't something for cheaper but still really good.

Just wondering if any Remotesters had some secret weapon they use for this. I've searched long and hard around the forums and the internet for this kind of functionality and these are the only things I've found.

By the way if anyone has an ATI for sale let me know!
Old 15th August 2009
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I want 8 completely pro channels, and then I'll add two more cheaper ones for a total of 24 channels.
Sounds like you could get one of each, and if you can afford the nicest one right off the bat, I say go for it.
Old 15th August 2009
  #3
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Yeah I definitely would get the ATI rather than something that's not even in the same class like the other two, but say there was something I hadn't found that was like 95% as good but for $1000 less or something I'd probably get that instead for now.
Old 15th August 2009
  #4
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Have you considered a desk at all? Like the midas venice 320?

When I have used the HD24's in the past I found it a brilliant setup as you get 24 solid sounding pre amps, 24ch of EQ (if you need it) and, best of all, monitoring all in one box.

I am sure you have considered this but this is my own 'secret weapon'.

G
Old 15th August 2009
  #5
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I've been doing a lot of research for a 1RU 8-channel preamp with mixer functionality to use with my HD24XR, I'm sick of lugging several 2 and 4 channel preamps. My short list right now, in order of cheapest to most expensive, is the ART TubeFire8, the Studio Projects SP828, and the ATI 8MX2.

I do not want to regret this purchase - I want 8 completely pro channels, and then I'll add two more cheaper ones for a total of 24 channels.

The obvious winner is the ATI from everything I've seen and read. But, what I want to know is if there is something I have not heard of that would be close to as good but cheaper. Obviously my budget for this is $2000 or so since I am convinced to get the ATI if there isn't something for cheaper but still really good.

Just wondering if any Remotesters had some secret weapon they use for this. I've searched long and hard around the forums and the internet for this kind of functionality and these are the only things I've found.

By the way if anyone has an ATI for sale let me know!
A friend of mine used 2 of the SP units to record Toad the Wet Sprocket's tour a while ago. He loved them, and they sound really nice.
Old 15th August 2009
  #6
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I think the API is in a class by itself. It's more like a Cranesong Spider than the other units you've mentioned.

For monitoring I use an Ashly LX308. It does 8 stereo/16 mono channels. Inputs come from the HD24XR on short TRS patch cords. That's clean and convenient because they're right in the same rack.

For inputs I use a variety of preamps depending on the situation. I use a 4Ch DAV BG. Mick's 8ch BG8 would be ideal for you. XLR mic inputs and a DSUB for output, so you could get a DSUB->TRS snake to feed the HD24XR line inputs.

P.S. I have an SP828 I'd sell for a good price. PM if interested.
Old 15th August 2009
  #7
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I actually have a 32-channel Yamaha desk with 24 preamps but this is not easy to lug around. Even a small desk is too much hassle in my eyes (I'd like to have a basic 8-channel -> HD24 in a 4-5 space rack for most gigs).

It's good to have more positive reviews on the Studio Projects preamp. I feel more confident using them. While the ATI might be in a "class of it's own," just how much better would it be to the SP? Like, obviously better, or are they just different, with thicker mids as I've read? If the SP preamps are really that good, I would be interested Michael.

While the DAV I'm sure are good, they don't have the monitoring functionality, unless I missed something?

I guess I should mention this is for classical and jazz mostly, sometimes some rock and other stuff. The mixer functionality is important because I don't want to haul around extra stuff to monitor, it's becoming a big hassle. I'd like to get three 8-channel preamps eventually with mixdown capability, and then run those to a line mixer for an easy monitoring solution with the least amount of cable clutter. This also gives me the functionality to run submixes for live audio at the same time if necessary.
Old 15th August 2009
  #8
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Oh yeah, I read in one place that the SP828 had some problems running Schoeps mics, something about clicks and pops, like it wasn't supplying the necessary amount of phantom power. Can anyone attest to this, or debunk it?
Old 15th August 2009
  #9
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Remoteness's Avatar
IMHO, don't screw around; get the API (ATI) 8MX2 and call it a day!
You will not be disappointed.
Old 15th August 2009
  #10
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Hey Steve (or others), can you tell me how loud the fan in the ATI is? I'm already using the stock fan in the HD24XR which is a little loud, and I have to be in the room usually so I don't want something extremely loud.

Definitely leaning towards the ATI, though it's gonna be tough spending that kinda cash on preamps!
Old 15th August 2009
  #11
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

The SP828 will have no problem supplying the Juice to schoeps.

my buddy has a wide array of mics including schoeps CMC64, DPA, neumann tlm 193, etc...

it is in the clean vein, nothing added, nothing taken away.
Old 15th August 2009
  #12
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Good to hear, must've been a defective unit.
Old 15th August 2009
  #13
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The ATI is a good unit - I have used it and heard it used on a lot of classical stuff (such as opera, oratorio, symphony orchestra - things with 6-8 mics going live to 2-TR or broadcast) with good results. It is not a Millennia or an API discrete, but it has a good open sound.

On the downside, they are a bit more delicate than some other designs. So long as they are in a rack case and treated well, there should not be an issue, but from what I have seen, I don't think they will stand up to the same amount of physical abuse as some other preamps.

The fan on the unit I have used is not terrible, but I think that (1) they have since started using quieter fans and (2) it can be modified (for some reason I remember MPDonahue posting something about this - perhaps he might chime in?).

I am not familiar with the other models you have mentioned, but the ATI is on my own short list.
Old 15th August 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
IMHO, don't screw around; get the API (ATI) 8MX2 and call it a day!
You will not be disappointed.
I own 4 of them and I am definitely glad I made the jump. The limiters are pretty harsh, but the preamps sound great!
Old 15th August 2009
  #15
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Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by talbe1019 View Post
I own 4 of them and I am definitely glad I made the jump. The limiters are pretty harsh, but the preamps sound great!
Yeah, I would avoid the limiters when tracking, but the preamps sound great and the mixer is an excellent added bonus.

If I'm not mistaken, there's a mod to make the limiters sound better.
But, you didn't hear it from me. heh
Old 15th August 2009
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
Yeah, I would avoid the limiters when tracking, but the preamps sound great and the mixer is an excellent added bonus.

If I'm not mistaken, there's a mod to make the limiters sound better.
But, you didn't hear it from me. heh
Your secret is safe!
Old 15th August 2009
  #17
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Thanks guys for the input. I will be going with the ATI for a primary 8-channel preamp with two SP828's later on for secondary. Now to find one of the newer ATI's at a good price...
Old 15th August 2009
  #18
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This has been very interesting as I'm in the same line of thinking. I was looking at either the ati unit or the Studio Projects, or using two good 8ch preamps (DAVs?) and a summing mixer such as the Speck X-sum.

The ATI is at listed price 2995 USD, so 6000 USD for 16ch.
The DAV+Speck route is roughly 2700 USD*2 plus 1700 for the x-sum = 7100

Of course, that weighs in at 3U as opposed to 2U... Thoughts? You could of course buy other pre's than the DAVs which woult skew my numbers somewhat

Also, has anyone tried to chain say the ATI:s and the SP828 together? Should be just a line input right?
Old 15th August 2009
  #19
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Thread Starter
You know I can't find a picture of the back of the ATI. The SP828 has this port that looks a little like an old mouse port. I doubt the two would be compatible but that would be really neat. Edit: whoops found it, definitely not going to work. But you can just use the main outs into two channels of the SP828, or, use a small line mixer to get the main outs from both so you don't sacrifice two channels.

The trick for my situation is monitoring, and while the Speck works as a 16-channel line mixer, not only is it rather expensive, I'd need a 24-channel, unless I get preamps that have some mixdown function. I also want 24 channels + monitoring in 4 rack spaces, which is kind of a tall order. I guess for you, do you want 16 channels of the same pre or some different flavors?
Old 15th August 2009
  #20
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
This has been very interesting as I'm in the same line of thinking. I was looking at either the ati unit or the Studio Projects, or using two good 8ch preamps (DAVs?) and a summing mixer such as the Speck X-sum.

The ATI is at listed price 2995 USD, so 6000 USD for 16ch.
The DAV+Speck route is roughly 2700 USD*2 plus 1700 for the x-sum = 7100

Of course, that weighs in at 3U as opposed to 2U... Thoughts? You could of course buy other pre's than the DAVs which woult skew my numbers somewhat

Also, has anyone tried to chain say the ATI:s and the SP828 together? Should be just a line input right?

The DAV/Speck route should be fantastic. DAVs are widely used round these parts, and highly endorsed.
Old 15th August 2009
  #21
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Ah, yes, but if we got a pinout from respective manufacturer we could probably hack something up unless specific control data is transferred. Would be neat, no?


For the 24 channel solution, I'd guess the ATI:s are really good. I rarely do so many channels anyhoo, I mostly do classical. But for 24ch+ I guess that is a really nice solution. BTW, the Speck can do monitor and headphone control as well. Just wish it had a "tape monitor" solution so I could monitor from Pro Tools as well.

I think I'm going with 8 ch for a start and then expand, adding mixing capability. Or maybe the ATI's are a good route. Hmmm, the possibilities of it all...
Old 16th August 2009
  #22
I went through all this and ended up ditching the HD24 and moving to Metric Halo. It's been just as reliable. In a 6 space rack I have a ULN-8, 2882 and RME Octamic (which I use in that order). The MH Console provides an excellent mixer and I've used it to create multiple in ear monitor mixes for myself and bandmates while playing, as well as recording our gigs. It's been on the road with me for a couple of years (with 2 2882s up until this June) and I can't remember a single instance of recording failure, except when using a certain Seagate bus powered 5400 RPM USB drive that just had issues. I should also mention that I have used an OWC bus powered USB 5400 RPM drive with a Seagate mechanism that allowed me to do 32 tracks of 24/44.1khz with no issues.

I went this route, because I initially tried using an M-Audio Lightbridge to monitor in Digital Performer. That seemed really solid and I ended up using the backup I made in DP more often than not and it seemed insane to carry around a 12 space rack for the HD24 and all the preamps, when I could just go to a much smaller rack and consolidate everything.

YMMV, etc, etc.
Edwin
Old 16th August 2009
  #23
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Thread Starter
I totally was looking at the Metric Halo stuff until I saw it was Mac-only. Total deal-breaker, for me anyway.

As it turns out I have an M-audio Lightbridge that I got in a trade in preparation for trying to do full 24-track backups to a laptop. I'm in the process of getting my new laptop, a small netbook in fact. I'm going to post my results if it works, but if I work everything out right I'll be able to do a full 24-track rig direct to the netbook which is less than 12-inches wide, and then I can monitor off the Lightbridge. Very compact and ergonomic.
Old 16th August 2009
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Thanks guys for the input. I will be going with the ATI for a primary 8-channel preamp with two SP828's later on for secondary. Now to find one of the newer ATI's at a good price...

What is the price range you are looking for?
Old 16th August 2009
  #25
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Well looking around it seems like the ATI will sell for around $2000, but I'd like to find a better deal. I found a couple that sold for $1500 but I'm not 100% sure if they were the newer model (the older model seems to go for about $1200 or so). I definitely want the newer model. If I find the new model for $1500 or less I will buy it, however I probably won't have the money until September, especially now that Michael is selling me an 828.
Old 16th August 2009
  #26
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Go for the 8Mx2. I own 2 and can use an API legacy at work anytime. I would choose my ATI pre's 80% of the time over the API's regardless of music style. These are great pre's. Plug in a mic, put it in the right place, put up the fader and it's going to sound much more workable than the API most of the time. If I want that kind of "forward" color I would choose Trident/Daking any day of the week. Our API legacy to me seems to be absolutely nothing special, except in the headroom department. This is rarely an issue when using proper gain stages. The gain resolution on the 550 eq (2dB steps) drives my ears insane!
Cameron

Last edited by roonsbane; 16th August 2009 at 06:02 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 17th August 2009
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Well looking around it seems like the ATI will sell for around $2000, but I'd like to find a better deal. I found a couple that sold for $1500 but I'm not 100% sure if they were the newer model (the older model seems to go for about $1200 or so). I definitely want the newer model. If I find the new model for $1500 or less I will buy it, however I probably won't have the money until September, especially now that Michael is selling me an 828.
I will keep an eye out for you. I am always on the lookout for cheap ones.
Old 17th August 2009
  #28
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Thanks!
Old 18th August 2009
  #29
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Jimbo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
The ATI is a good unit...It is not a Millennia or an API discrete, but it has a good open sound.
Just for the record, the ATI 8mx2 preamp gain stages are discrete.

Also, to the OP, newer units have been going on ebay for between $1550 and $1750. The newer units have phantom power on the front.
Old 18th August 2009
  #30
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Thanks for the info - there is one on ebay for $2000 right now but I hadn't checked recent auctions.
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