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Altec 1220 Mono Mixing Console

2.4 2.4 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

Very cool and vibey mono mixing console with 10 preamps, compression and built in spring reverb.

13th December 2011

by jonobrienwaller

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75

About 2 years ago I bought one of these after using one in a studio I interned at. Every once and while you stumble across a piece of gear that truly inspires you and allows you to get sounds you've never been able to get before. This is one of those pieces of gear. With 10 preamps and EQ on each, a wacky compressor, and built in spring reverb, you're sure to find some vibey vintagey sounds. Driving the pres into distortion sounds incredible for that M. Ward/Beatles Revolver type fuzz sound on guitars. The EQ is set at difference frequency points for the master section, which allows for tailoring the hi end and low end. The compressor can be extremely cool on a room mic for drums, as well as the spring reverb on percussion. I also own an Altec 1567a, A designs Pacifica, Vintech 573 and BAE 312a. This board easily holds its own in the vibe department, but don't expect complete hi-fidelity. If you're a fan of Feist or M. Ward, you'll love this board. I have yet to find anything that I don't like through it. I will never sell mine and will gladly buy another when one pops up locally again.

16th December 2011

by John Eppstein

  • Sound Quality 1 out of 5
  • Ease of use 1 out of 5
  • Features 1 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 1 out of 5
  • Overall: 1

This hunk of junk LOOKS like a real console but don't be fooled - the only useable parts are the meters, the reverb tank, and the mic transformers, and the mic transformers aren't much good.

It's difficult to figure out where to start explaining how bad this thing is. Let's see.....

The "limiter" is EXACTLY the same circuit as a cheap diode clipper fuzztone pedal. Guess what it sounds like?

The "faders" are not faders at all electrically, they're gain controls, which means they don't shut off at zero, they always leak signal.

The "monitor" sends are post "fader" (well, they'd have to be, given the circuit) and they're on SWITCHES, not pots. So the monitor mix is dependent totally on the main mix. Feedback city.

The "EQ" is really cheesy treble and bass controls, set at totally useless frequency points.

The circuitry of this board is, to be charitable, rudimentary. The design is kinda like the original TAPCO 600 series, except not as well done. The actual parts used are junk. The lowest quality slide pots that get dirty and worn and cut out. El Cheapo other parts as well.

The overall sound quality is just plain bad. Ugh.

The reverb makes "thunder" if you bump the console.

Altec put this out in the early '70s to try to cash in on the booming market for band gear but they didn't have the foggiest notion of what the requirements were to do the job. They created something that looked really good for the times but had utterly execrable performance - the mixer in a Shure Vocalmaster had better performance, had volume controls that turned all the way off and tone controls that actually were useful, unlike this hunk of junk.

DO NOT EVER BUY ONE OF THESE! I'm serious. This is the worst "mixing console" ever made. If you have one, take the meters, the reverb tank, and the mic transformers out and send the rest of the thing to the dump.

Oh, and if you ever see one of these at any "studio" you're thinking about interning at, go somewhere else.

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