View Single Post
Old 24th April 2016
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by staudio View Post
I demoed both an API 1608 and a Neve 5088 and I ended up buying a SSL Duality. I went for the SSL because the recall, automation system, and DAW control were far more capable and advanced than the other two and made much more sense for my business which includes a lot of mixing.

Sonically the API had the most instant analog mojo for me and I loved what it did on the test mix I did but frankly the headaches of recall are too much of a pain with an analog desk with no recall system. That being said the API EQ is very easy to recall because it is switched for all gain and frequency which I personally like a lot since it simplifies doing broad strokes a lot. So mostly you are stuck with the more difficult recall of send levels, and possibly faders if you don't get the automation package.

I have some RND gear including the Neve Shelford 5052 mic pre/eq and the MasterBus Processor and while I like their sound in general the console didn't offer me enough flavor from what I heard to accept the other compromises that it also had, namely poor EQ options for mixing unless you get the 5 band EQ module but then recall would be a complete nightmare and I would never get to do anything else in a day. It has some nice features such as group faders with inserts, a simple DAW automation system, and modularity but it wasn't ultimately what I needed.

The SSL Duality on the other hand, while very clean and less overtly analog flavored than the API has a really amazing depth and width of sound to it. It feels like the space to fit all the elements of a mix is much bigger than ITB and I have more apparent clarity and fatness to my mixes since getting it.
The SSL also has one of the most flexible and powerful EQ's for mixing. Not to mention dynamics and a great mix bus compressor, 24 bus routing, etc. The major added bonus is that recall is completely functional and seamless and takes me less than 15 minutes to recall the whole 48 channel desk even with serious EQ work to recall.

Ultimately, I think you have to analyze what your needs are and decide what is most important to you. If I was just running a tracking space I would have gotten the API most likely but since I also mix a lot I needed a more functional console for that. Also despite what people say, the SSL mic pre's are actually very very good and when I have tracked through the desk I have always been very happy so now that I have had the SSL for about 6 months I really am as happy as can be.
I am really happy with the sound and functionality of my 1608, but recall is a bitch for sure. I have the automation package which is really helpful for the fader/mute/solo/insert parts, but recalling all the sends and the eq's (including other outboard) is an hour long process for me. Changing from project to project during the day is not very practical for me at all. Originally, I took the approach of mixing in different brands of eq's in the console for specific sources, but over the years I've been selling them off to buy more 550b's and 550a's because I come to really love their sound, and recall is so much easier. I kept my E27's and Little Devils, but the GR Harrison eq32's and Inward Brats and several others had to go. I kept my TAV's but they aren't in the console now. If you can't find a 1608 near you, I would recommend at least booking some time at a local studio with a Legacy to get the feel and sound in person. That's what I did, and it made the decision an easy one because that was the sound I was looking for. - Paul