The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Need advice about new console
Old 6th July 2007
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Need advice about new console

I currently am using a Soundcraft 2400 with a PTHD3 rig for summing and mixdown. In the back I have a Soundcraft 6000 which I was going to upgrade. Now my engineer is telling me that if I really want to attract new clientele, I should have a name brand console (Neve or SSL). I'm okay with the idea, but have somewhat of a limited budget and have to make sure that if spend some big bucks, that I can at least pay the toll. There is a Neve 8128 with automation available for 40K or so, that I am kind of interested in. However, I am told that model is not really the most desired Neve, but that it sounds good and the pres are useable. Where would a mixer like that rate in terms of what I have available, how does it sound in general, etc. The music I am interested in going after is retro, pop, 60's-70's, Classical, blues, Classic rock, etc. I'm not interested necessarily in rap, or synth based stuff. All comments welcome.
Old 6th July 2007
  #2
Seems there are quite a few 6k's out there in Phoenix, they have one at a church in Scottdale and some in Gilbert.

As to the console "attracting" clients, that model is no longer valid if you examine all the rooms that have closed after investing in these things. Just ask where the Neve came from and examine their business failure.

It's not the brands, it's the results that count. Repeat business is the best way to stay in business. A name brand will not do that for you, you will. Going into debt for a name is not going to help pull you out of that debt. You already own 2 consoles that could do well to make you money as it's all profit now, not a payment on a desk. Just for fun, go down to a local bank, present your business plan and see if they will loan you the money on it.

A hint: That 2400 will sound a whole lot better than a 8108/8128, the worst Neve design ever made. You better have a good tech around if you get one.
Good records have been made on them, Yes' Owner of a Lonely Heart is one. Jethro Tull won a Grammy for their "best metal album of the year" recorded on a 2400.

Of all the consoles I've mixed on, I never fought the board as much as I fought the 8128. Sure, you could invest $$$ into improving it, the design still has problems.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 6th July 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
BJohnston's Avatar
 

I tend to agree with Jim. I think it depends on your client base as well. If you're doing work for clients who have been around the block, so to speak, the Neve or SSL might help solidify some projects. I've heard terrible sounding records done on great consoles. I've heard great records done on mediocre consoles. There's no reason to dig a big hole of debt to buy a console. Especially if you're doing it because you think it might bring more business. I'd look at a nice Trident B Range or something along those lines. They're about half the price and they sound really good.
I've known quite a few small to mid level studios who try to make that leap into the large expensive console pool and end up drowning. The console doesn't do you any good if it's gets repoed.
Old 6th July 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
Everyone here will dissagree with me because they are all gear-geeks, that's what we are here for after all, but your customers really do not know a Soundcraft from an SSL. Trust me.

The only mic they will have heard of is Neumann, the only effect they know is Autotune and reverb.

If you feel the need to 'blow' 40k, buy some good instruments, a piano, a Hammond, a Wurly and a Rhodes. Some good backline. That's the stuff they're looking for, not some desk that only geeks know about.

Old Soundcraft desks? Great stuff - great for mixing. Your engineer just wants to play with new toys. Well it's your studio, not his, so get stuff that makes business sense and holds its value, not some manky, old desk that only serves to double your electric bill!
Old 6th July 2007
  #5
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Some pretty good advice here, but in reality, it all means nothing if you haven't defined your clientele. You have done that, right? If you're pulling in mixing clients, an SSL will be helpful. Probably. In reality, all you need is the PT system. A stock soundcraft is only going to add abunch of noise. An SSL will only add another payment to a bottom line that is probably already stretched too thin. You must define what will help draw clients. After you have done that, then and only then can you make an intelligent decision. My guess is that like Jim said, modding a console you already have will be your best bet. Having a neve mic pre might be all you need. Or an SSL 2buss compressor. Or U47. Or ??? Then you can say the buzzwords that people want to hear and your clients will be happy and none the wiser. Good luck. A studio is not a good "business" these days, and therefore, any "business" decisions must be made very carefully and wisely. From a bankers perspective, the best business decision you could make would be selling all your gear and getting into real estate. heh Choose wisely!!

bp
Old 6th July 2007
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamusic View Post
I currently am using a Soundcraft 2400 with a PTHD3 rig for summing and mixdown. In the back I have a Soundcraft 6000 which I was going to upgrade. Now my engineer is telling me that if I really want to attract new clientele, I should have a name brand console (Neve or SSL). I'm okay with the idea, but have somewhat of a limited budget and have to make sure that if spend some big bucks, that I can at least pay the toll. There is a Neve 8128 with automation available for 40K or so, that I am kind of interested in. However, I am told that model is not really the most desired Neve, but that it sounds good and the pres are useable. Where would a mixer like that rate in terms of what I have available, how does it sound in general, etc. The music I am interested in going after is retro, pop, 60's-70's, Classical, blues, Classic rock, etc. I'm not interested necessarily in rap, or synth based stuff. All comments welcome.
If i were looking to cut a record in Arizona and the choice were to come down to a studio with a 6000 and the other the 8128 i would probably choose the Neve room.

I do like the suggestion about getting the Trident a good compromise.
Old 6th July 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
The only problem with all that is that people who book studios, do not know what or who a Neve is.
Old 7th July 2007
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
The only problem with all that is that people who book studios, do not know what or who a Neve is.
That's kind of sad. I remember in the mid 90's it seemed for the most part everybody knew what a Neve or Trident console was that were potential recording clients (i.e. just musicians, not engineers).
Old 7th July 2007
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
The only problem with all that is that people who book studios, do not know what or who a Neve is.
Yeah but half do and you have to cater to those people as well.

These are the people that have been in the business for a long time and appreciate the quality. They are also the clients that bring the sessions that may put the studio on the map. A studio doesn't get on the map by just doing rinky dink clients. Its the high profile projects that break through. And when one breaks through you can pretty much write your own advertisement ticket. People still want to record in places where there are plaques on the wall. To them it means that they have arrived and are in a place where magic can happen. Also a producer can use it as motivation for the artist to step up.
Old 7th July 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
A studio doesn't get on the map by just doing rinky dink clients. Its the high profile projects that break through. And when one breaks through you can pretty much write your own advertisement ticket. .
Firstly, every studio is different. Some need high profile rock and pop customers, others need to be well in with film and TV work. Some cater only to local bands and others just deal mostly with international clients.

The trick is to find out where your customers are or will be coming from and then find out what they are looking for. As I have just completed a survey into this very subject, I am in some position to comment.

It is absolutle no good just looking to forums and other studios to find out. You have to get your butt out there and you have to ask A&R, musicians, lables, etc. Mostly, you have to ask musicians, as that is where most, if not all your trade will be coming from.
Old 7th July 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
A studio is not a good "business" these days, and therefore, any "business" decisions must be made very carefully and wisely. From a bankers perspective, the best business decision you could make would be selling all your gear and getting into real estate. heh
I would dissagree on real estate, except perhaps in Eastern Germany, near or in Berlin. Prices there are far, far too low for the market to sustain. A cheap appartment in Berlin to rent out would be a good investment.

Right now, interest rates are going to go higher in the US and the UK and house prices will fall as a result. It takes a year or two for rates to translate into house prices, the delay time depending on area.
Old 7th July 2007
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
Firstly, every studio is different. Some need high profile rock and pop customers, others need to be well in with film and TV work. Some cater only to local bands and others just deal mostly with international clients.

The trick is to find out where your customers are or will be coming from and then find out what they are looking for. As I have just completed a survey into this very subject, I am in some position to comment.

It is absolutle no good just looking to forums and other studios to find out. You have to get your butt out there and you have to ask A&R, musicians, lables, etc. Mostly, you have to ask musicians, as that is where most, if not all your trade will be coming from.
The guy says he wants to attract a new clientele that focuses on retro, pop, 60's-70's, Classical, blues, Classic rock, etc.

That's pretty clear to me.

And you can do all the surveys you want but what makes a recording studio business a monetary success has not really changed.

Most clients main care are still who has recorded there & what hits were made there, what kind of equipment/rooms do you or don't have and what will it cost me to record there.

If you have all 3 going than basically you have the right mixture for something successful.
Old 7th July 2007
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Amek Rembrandt

Great advice folks.....I really appreciate it. You're right about real estate....that was actually my 'day job'...until the market got tight here in sunny Phoenix and I simultaneously decided to make music production my career. I have a great space (3500 sq. ft), that I feel can become one of the top studios in town if handled correctly. My plan is to spend around 50% of the time on my own productions (mine and other folks that I would produce) and the balance to rent out for the overhead. Although I do have PTHD3, I am sadly lackly in some outboard gear, of which I am prepared to invest. My thought was that since I am doing this for the long haul, I should at least make the rooms look nice and have sufficient and quality gear so that I could be seen as a good top tier studio in Phoenix, where there are maybe 4 or 5 to compete with. After doing some research, my choice comes down to upgrading the Soundctraft 6000 at a cost of around 5-7K or to buy a Rembrandt which is in good condition for 25K plus commissioning. I'm thinking that the functionality and age of the board might not only serve my future needs, but will upgrade the perception and real capabilities of the facility. That along with another 30-35K in outboard gear and I figure not only can I get the sound I want for my own productions, but I can offer a room that is quite competitive with what is out here. I already have many goodies including great Soft synth station, Hammond B3, drums, decent Microphone collection, keyboards, many instruments and huge space, complete with a kitchen, new bathrooms, etc. My target would be 300-450 day. My overhead on a lease or paying for the equipment with a second mortage would be around $400-500/month. My overhead for the space is around $2,000. I'd be looking to recoup around a minimum of $1500/month from the rentals. What do you think?

Last edited by zonamusic; 7th July 2007 at 04:22 PM.. Reason: grammar
Old 7th July 2007
  #14
Lives for gear
Desk -

I would personally go with the Rembrandt. Firstly it is a more modern desk than some old Neve or SSL (quieter, cleaner, uses less electricity, does not get as hot and therefore lasts longer) and secondly, it's cheaper.

However - get it checked out by someone who knows these desks. Audition the thing and check it from soup to nuts. Every switch and pot. Also check the caps for condition and check that the channels are the same. Differences between channels and crackly switches are a sign of poor maintenance and an overdue recap (dry caps allow DC creep and that causes switches and pots to fail with time).

Also check the PSUs and any spare units and make sure that the SuperTrue automation and Dynamics powers up and works. Insist on full documentation, inc. service manual.

Business -

If you can make your business plan work, well, that's fine and dandy. But you don't need me to tell you that recording studios are not exactly a thriving business sector. When I am not being a studio owner, I advise people on media economics and the first piece of advice I give those wishing to open a recording studio, is "Don't!"

But they do it anyway and I am called in to find out where they are going wrong.

Take on as little debt as possible. Keep overheads down as low as possible. Find as many alternative sources of income for the studio as possible. Save at ever corner possible, from turning everything off at night, to calculating every credit and insurance to the n'th degree.

Oh, and good luck (poor devil - God knows, he'll need it!)
Old 7th July 2007
  #15
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
ight now, interest rates are going to go higher in the US and the UK and house prices will fall as a result. It takes a year or two for rates to translate into house prices, the delay time depending on area.
Well....that's a nice theory - and one that will no doubt happen to you if you only have a short term outlook. Traditionally in the US over the last 100 years (depression included), housing has risen an average of 4% a year. Steadily. With 10% down and your money leveraged 10:1, that yeilds a 40% return on investment. Not even the most coveted of vintage gear or best stocks can yeild that kind of consistant growth. The music business is no longer a business. For 98% of those involved, it's only an avocation at best.
Old 7th July 2007
  #16
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamusic View Post
Great advice folks.....I really appreciate it. ;;;;;;;;;;;What do you think?
zonamusic - I would not suggest going into debt for equipment. Buy it a piece at a time, and pay cash. Furnishing and building out the room is a different matter, but for gear I would never finance in this market. The industry has not been kind to the level of studio you propose. Good luck with your venture. bp
Old 7th July 2007
  #17
Here for the gear
 

The Music Biz

Thanks again for the feedback. Yes: I don't think I have illusions about the recording biz....my strategy is to make it an adjunct to my production biz, where I do have some good opportunities, desire, faith and belief in my abilities. After 30 years of making my Music Career the Ba+&ard stepchild, I've decided to give it my all--after all is said and done, I need to give it that shot. I'm properly capitalized and have a great catalog and with a properly equipped studio, should be able to realize great productions. The advice about the overhead was obvious, but awesome. Details are everything in production and they should be important in running a capital intensive enterprise as well. I do have the ability to pay cash for the equipment and can pay it off anytime I want. However, being in the RE and Finance business for the last 10 years, I have become very fond of the OPM paradigm. Incidentally, I do agree with the Real Estate advice as after a few months of slowdown, wouldn't you know it----people are coming back to the market!!! Also: thanks for the advice in checking out the mixer. I am planning to have a great AMEK tech check it out. Any referrals would be appreciated. Lastly, I appreciated the advice from the person who said to diversify. I plan to do that as I have a lot of space. Might even make a B studio with my extra gear. Happy and lucky 7/7/07 to all.
Old 7th July 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 
RichTone's Avatar
 

Zona:

Check your private messages.
Old 7th July 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 

If you feel you need the name recoginition, get one of the Neve summing boxes - or the API summing (like i did).... so you can say "we track in PT and mix thru an API modular mixer".

For our particular clientele - they may have heard some of the big names but to them - if their record sounds great and they feel like they're getting great rates and service - they care zero.
Old 7th July 2007
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamusic View Post
What do you think?
1) Its nuts to go in debt over an Amek Rembrandt.

You might as well give the $25K away or flush it down the toilet. It has almost no resale value. I would definitely pass on it. For $25K you can definitely find a Trident 80B with automation or a used Neotek. At least these names some freelance engineers/producers know. The regular layman won't though. They just know Neve/SSL or ProTools.

If neither is an attractive option than do nothing and sit on the cash until a great deal comes along. In the gear buying business they always do.

Trust me.

2) Its nuts to go in debt over outboard.


This is where i see alot of project/midline studios going wrong. They read on the forumn and see all this talk about the gear and in their minds they think they must have all the gear to attract clients and make great records. Totally just a myth. If you gave me the choice over a fantastic sounding console with great mic pres & EQ, 2 compressors one killer reverb and 2 delays in well treated rooms i could make a better sounding record than a guy with all of the fancy new mic pres,compressors & effects. The problem with the fancy outboard gear is that when its not being used(which will be more than you think) it doesn't pay for itself but does the opposite.The most used piece in your studio will be your board & your speakers not the outboard gear. So i would spend more on that.

3) Budget more for your mics and acoustics.

A decent microphone collection won't cut it for the music you are looking to record.
Also the rooms you are recording in and the rooms you are monitoring in need to be sound.

4) $2.5K overhead & you are looking to recoup $1500 a month?

Bad math which equals bad business which equals trouble.

The place has to at a minimum pay for itself. Are you going to have any employees? You have to pay them correct? What about the bills? Electric, Advertisizing,security,insurance,repairs. All of these have to be factored in as well.

I think you have lots of things to think about.
Old 7th July 2007
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Overhead

Well certainly I would like to recoup my entire overhead on studio rental. However, my thinking was that my own production company plans to use the studio at least 50% of the time. I have more faith in garnering income there than I do in the studio rental. I can gamble on the difference in overhead as a cost of doing business while I'm working on my catalog and various productions to generate income.

Are you saying that the Rembrandt is not in the same 'sonic' class as the Neotek or Tridents you mentioned? Your advice is well heeded on the room itself and on the microphones, as well as on the outboard gear.
Old 7th July 2007
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamusic View Post
Well certainly I would like to recoup my entire overhead on studio rental. However, my thinking was that my own production company plans to use the studio at least 50% of the time. I have more faith in garnering income there than I do in the studio rental. I can gamble on the difference in overhead as a cost of doing business while I'm working on my catalog and various productions to generate income.

You have to look at it as if you are buying a house that has floors that you are not only renting out to tenants but living in yourself. The tenants should not only carry the rent but make you some many on top as well. Its a real estate investment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamusic View Post
Are you saying that the Rembrandt is not in the same 'sonic' class as the Neotek or Tridents you mentioned? Your advice is well heeded on the room itself and on the microphones, as well as on the outboard gear.
I think all of the Amek"famous dead guy" boards are useful. There is a mod that i know of that improves the sound of the mic pres tremendously but that would mean disabling the recall auto. The Rembrandt is probably the best sounding of the bunch but it is still not enough of a draw for a studio to go into debt in. Now if its for your own personal use than it really doesn't matter what you choose because its for you. When you factor potential outside clients(and i am just speaking of guys like myself freelance engineers/producers) that could bring a good paying client for a while than there are certain things to look at.
Old 7th July 2007
  #23
How about a neotek console? They kick ass and are reasonable $$$
Old 8th July 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
 
ddageek's Avatar
 

Everything thrill hs said times two plus this thought !
Biz school rule #1 what who is the local cometition? take a long hard look at who you are up against and find out how they are doing and why they are doing good/bad!
Phoenix is big enough that the console means nothing i.e there maybe some 4ks a 9k and a Neve or two in the picture! If you own the building someone else might have a console agood client base, but need a stable low cost home!
Old 8th July 2007
  #25
Here for the gear
 

What about the new Trident?

Is the new Trident (Oram) or Malcom Toft (ATB) and option--I'm really afraid of getting into another nightmare old board. This Rembrandt is 6 years old and has the compressors and bells and whistles. How does the Rembrandt compare against an 80 series Trident. How about the new Trident--how does it compare against its' older counterpart?
Old 8th July 2007
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
1) Its nuts to go in debt over an Amek Rembrandt.

You might as well give the $25K away or flush it down the toilet.
Agree! The name of the game to survival in this business is to keep your overheads to a minimum. There are plenty of good desks out there going for a song. eBay is choking with Ameks and just about everything else. Last year, a Rembrandt sold in Europe for £5000, that's $10k - and it was a pretty good one too. And the one you are looking at is definately older than six years.

I like the Rembrandt and I think it is a good desk, but not at that price.

A nice little Trident is on eBay right now for $8,500 (Buy it now price!). It does not have the bells and whistles of the Amek, but at least it will sell for more or less what you paid for it. And since you asked, Tridents use conventional parts and are easy to service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
2) Its nuts to go in debt over outboard.

This is where i see alot of project/midline studios going wrong. They read on the forumn and see all this talk about the gear and in their minds they think they must have all the gear to attract clients and make great records. Totally just a myth.
Agree!! The same again. What outboard? All you need is one good reverb box, some dynamics and that's it. The rest you can do in the box. Build your own plate, it's easy! The rest you get used on eBay.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
4) $2.5K overhead & you are looking to recoup $1500 a month?

Bad math which equals bad business which equals trouble.

The place has to at a minimum pay for itself. Are you going to have any employees? You have to pay them correct? What about the bills? Electric, Advertisizing,security,insurance,repairs. All of these have to be factored in as well.

I think you have lots of things to think about.
Agree!!! Totally!!!

Failing businesses have one thing in common - the management refuses to do the maths.

A simple example would be the cost of electricity. What does a kilowatt-hour cost? How many kW does a piece of equipment use? How much does the AC cost to run? Because recording music is a cottage industry, the boss has to have those figures at his fingertips and even in his head. That Rembrant will cost you 50 Cents an hour to run. Your HD3 rig costs you 20 Cents an hour.

And so on, with insurance, taxes, rent, repairs, debt repayments and of course the one cost studio owners just refuse to calculate, depreciation.
Old 9th July 2007
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
That's kind of sad. I remember in the mid 90's it seemed for the most part everybody knew what a Neve or Trident console was that were potential recording clients (i.e. just musicians, not engineers).
I remember those days. It didn't mean the client knew anything other than some name that was dropped. I'm with Byre on this one. Heck, most new "engineers" don't even know how to align a tape recorder anymore.

Names don't help sell records, if they did you would see gear lists and pics of the console on the CD cover. Buying gear for the staff or guests is just about as useful.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 3rd September 2007
  #28
Gear Nut
 

I know of a few rooms using a Neve 8128 and cutting major label projects without any problems or complaints. These boards sound great for the price. The key is to make sure that the console is properly maintained.

Don't buy a Neve 81 series before consulting the guys from 81series,com in NJ. They have quite a few of them going through a complete refurbishing and sell them commissioned (if needed) and fully tested and working.





Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamusic View Post
I currently am using a Soundcraft 2400 with a PTHD3 rig for summing and mixdown. In the back I have a Soundcraft 6000 which I was going to upgrade. Now my engineer is telling me that if I really want to attract new clientele, I should have a name brand console (Neve or SSL). I'm okay with the idea, but have somewhat of a limited budget and have to make sure that if spend some big bucks, that I can at least pay the toll. There is a Neve 8128 with automation available for 40K or so, that I am kind of interested in. However, I am told that model is not really the most desired Neve, but that it sounds good and the pres are useable. Where would a mixer like that rate in terms of what I have available, how does it sound in general, etc. The music I am interested in going after is retro, pop, 60's-70's, Classical, blues, Classic rock, etc. I'm not interested necessarily in rap, or synth based stuff. All comments welcome.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump