thread: Soundcraft 1600
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Old 15th February 2020
Gear Head

Soundcraft 1600

There are some really cool threads about modifying the old Soundcraft boards on here. Could we try and get another sorta master thread in progress about what people have done to refurbish (or hot rod!) these desks?
Specifics on op-amps, transformers added, caps, etc, all would be tremendous. Routing tricks would be cool too- how are people using the separate monitor and tape returns?

Here’s my own story- As much as I have wanted to have an opportunity to explore mixing out of the box I’ve been really intimidated by the cost, and overall my setup has worked for me. The other week, I stumbled into a deal for a 24-channel Soundcraft 1600 AND a 32-channel 800B that made my jaw drop. I was hoping to get at least one of these boards optimized and operational, more for mixing than tracking, because I already have a lot of outboard preamps.

Jim Williams and Creation Audio Labs are such a great resource for these- I’m hoping to take the whole thing down to CAL because it’s just a few hours drive, and I can’t wait to see what I’ve got. Apparently phantom power has been etched off of some of the channels, but between the 800B and the 1600, should be able to still get enough functional channels to get a board operational!

I will probably need to have to have a good deal of the work done for me, partly because my schedule is jammed and I still want to have time to work on music- and partly because I have very little idea what the hell i’m doing. I’ve done some soldering and built a few pedals- but I’d also love to understand how to do some of the work myself, so I can keep this thing running as long as possible. Always happy to learn.

I’ve read that op-amp upgrades without adequate decoupling or other accommodations can lead to oscillations, poor headroom, etc... I also have seen folks mention using CAPI circuits as an option on the summing/master buss- any specifics about this stuff would be incredible. I’d love to beef up the power supply, modify some channels and refurbish some others. I’d love to have an option for transformers across the master buss, but I don’t have an idea to present for how to do that. Grounding seems to be an issue for these boards, but I’d love to make the most out of this thing! Any suggestions would be really great, and could hopefully be a resource for people trying to keep these consoles running for another 40 years. I do have friends who could help with some of this, but I’d probably need parts myself!

Finally- any ideas on a desk/stand that works for these?