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Buying a mixing console, desperately need help! Multi-Channel Preamps
Old 22nd August 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

Buying a mixing console, desperately need help!

Hey, this is my first post in here, I've been reading this site so far
but here I am in a "situation"...

I've been working 2 years now in digital, and I have a very nice setup:
API 3124+ pres, Great River MP2-NV, UA 610 (+1176), UA 4110, some spl,
joemeek and so on, all of them beautiful nice pre-amps.
all going through lynx aurora16 with great results.
I've been mxiing through a passive summing box some guy built for this
studio going through the Great River.

Anyway, I've had a Mackie 32/8 console lying around here for ages
and last week me and my partner, hooked it up just for the sake of it,
(i'm a total newbie with consoles...) to see how it feels mixing otb.
of course with only 16 outputs it ain't that functional but still
I WAS BLOWN AWAY.

Just bringing up the faders and setting the pan pots, gave me an image
bigger, wider and more three-dimensional than I ever recall hearing in my
studio. Even Mackie's really, really low-end EQ sounded more "true" than
the most sophisticated digital (analog-modeled) plug-in. And I pretty much
have them all.

Anyway in 3 hours work time I realized there's no turning back,
I'm going otb.

Now my two options are:
1. Toft ATB32
2. D&R OrionX.
(I don't think I would be using any of their pre-amps, so thats not the issue)

I've read some threads about D&R consoles around here, all of them
stating over and over again how transparent they are.
My question, even if it sounds weird (or a bit stupid) is, will the D&R
be better than the mackie in terms of color? I really have no point
of comparison, How are the EQs? everyone 'round here says they aren't
warm enough, how are they comparing to plug-ins? how is the summing
bus? should I go with the Toft? should I stick with the Mackie for
what it worth?

The real big question here is will I lose the "oh so analog" color by going with D&R? Does it really sound so sterile? And will it be worth the bucks?

What d'you say? I really need help on that one.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
1. Wait. Keep your powder dry. Don't rush out, spending money right now!

2. Go round and look and listen to every room out there that is using a desk.

3. Look at the market, look at eBay and look at what the various brokers and used desk dealers have on offer. Watch what they are up to for some time.

4. If you want to mix out of the box, think out of the box. Don't limit your choices, look at EVERY marque. Trident, Amek, older and better Soundcrafts, Studer, ADT, there are literally hundreds of names and types of desk out there and one of them will be right for you.

5. After doing 1 - 4, write down what you want the desk to be capable of. (5.1? Perfect mic-pres? 24-way routing? Type of EQ? In-line? On-board dynamics? No. of aux-sends? Fader and input flips? Talk-back? Solo-afl-pfl? Automation? Inserts? Buss inserts? Recall? VU or peak-meters? Direct outs? Stereo channels? M-S decoding? and on and on and on . . .)
Old 22nd August 2007
  #3
Gear Head
 

thanks for the good advice,
I'm interested in a console that'll be used mainly for mixing, stereo not surround, I'm doing mainly alt. rock, pop and folk music around here,
so it has to be (not to be cliche) warm sounding, EQs are important cause
I don't wanna spend a lot more on outboards (I will buy a great dedicated
outboard EQ, but I rather buy 1 than 10).

The thing is I'm in Israel and the market is rather limited around here.
Its either wait 3-4 months for the Toft or buy this second hand D&R.
Shipping a console... buying from ebay... sounds kinda scary just now...

Anyway I really want opinons on the D&R... especially my specfic questions (above).

Thanks!
oh and btw, how would you go and check a console at a studio you don't know? Take some of your own tracks? What d'you suggest?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by azulay View Post
oh and btw, how would you go and check a console at a studio you don't know? Take some of your own tracks? What d'you suggest?

Call or email them and tell them what you're wanting to do. Chances are they'll either need to charge you what they would normally per hour or if they have some downtime they may just let you come in and run some mixes through the board. I've talked to several gearslutz over the last couple of years that have been willing and eager to let me come in and listen to their gear.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
firby's Avatar
 

I went through it. I just got a Trident 24 and I am loving it.

Don't buy a used board without having a tech look at it. A D&R board is a good board. Even in israel there will be a few consoles for sale. To get a good one is a matter of taste, strategy and daring. Fools rush in.

Find the good tech in your area. Ask him what he thinks he might know of other boards for sale. Contact studios with similiar boards and go and run a mix on them for a bit. Figure in the amount of money you will need to spend cabling, cooling, transporting the console.

Does it come with a patch bay ?

Have the tech check the thing out.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

While you're hunting around for a new console, you can improve the performance of the Mackie quite dramatically by doing this:

- Connect the 8 buss outs and the 2-buss of the Mackie to your passive summing box / Great River combo

- Split your mix into groups and route them to different busses. (example: 1&2: drums, 3&4 guitars etc..). Keep the tracks with most energy on separate busses, drums, bass, vox.

- You can monitor through the 2-track in or an external monitor controller.

This way you have WAY more headroom and a better sounding mixbuss than the Mackie actually has. You "spread" the headroom limitations of the mixbuss to the separate busses and have the Great River do the heavy lifting since it can handle it.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by azulay View Post
Just bringing up the faders and setting the pan pots, gave me an image
bigger, wider and more three-dimensional than I ever recall hearing in my
studio. Even Mackie's really, really low-end EQ sounded more "true" than
the most sophisticated digital (analog-modeled) plug-in. And I pretty much
have them all.
.
I have been saying this for years and everyone thinks I am nuts. I would rather mix on a Mackie than in the Box and I have done enough records mixing on Mackies to prove that I am not just saying it to get a rise out of people. I have Mackie Mixed tracks that sit next to my SSL mixed tracks on demo reels.

A D&R OrionX would be a great choice. I have a D&R series 4000 and there is a good chance my next console will be an OrionX. The D&R EQ is plenty musical and the sound is clean but not sterile. When I mix records its often about 80% console EQ, 5% plug ins and 15% outboard EQ with mojo.

A D&R will be a much better console than a Mackie. Much more open sounding and will expose a lot more detail than the Mackie. The D&R pres are very usable. Not as good as the cool outboard pres that you have but very usable for the lesser important tracks.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #8
SMT
Gear Maniac
 
SMT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post

- Split your mix into groups and route them to different busses. (example: 1&2: drums, 3&4 guitars etc..). Keep the tracks with most energy on separate busses, drums, bass, vox.
Hmmm... I would recommend the opposite way. I have been working on a Mackie 8-bus for a couple of years now, and I kind of recently discovered that everything sounds bigger and better when going from the channels straight to the L/R bus. I feel that when splitting the drums, guitars, vocals etc to 1-2, 3-4 etc it tends to sound more constipated...
But maybe that´s just me....
Old 22nd August 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMT View Post
Hmmm... I would recommend the opposite way. I have been working on a Mackie 8-bus for a couple of years now, and I kind of recently discovered that everything sounds bigger and better when going from the channels straight to the L/R bus. I feel that when splitting the drums, guitars, vocals etc to 1-2, 3-4 etc it tends to sound more constipated...
But maybe that´s just me....
In my experience, the Mackie Digital console sounds TERRIBLE

fyi
Old 23rd August 2007
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post
While you're hunting around for a new console, you can improve the performance of the Mackie quite dramatically by doing this:
That's a GREAT idea! I tried to do something like this, (Connecting the
Great River as insert on the master bus without really returning it, then sending it to the DAW) but your way is much better, not to mention saves
me the trouble/money of finding a way to attenuate the signal...

Anyway I don't think I'll stick with the Mackie for long...

You're all correct about not rushing in but the trouble is my studio has to
go into mixing of some albums in a month or so and I don't want to delay
anything any further... (and not mix on the mackie either)

Today I'm going to check out the D&R. It has a patch bay on it.
I hope I will be able to play around with it. The guy says its good as new...
I really hope it is. anyway he wants 10k($) for it. is that reasonable?

Anyone can comment further on the Orion's/D&R's color/lack of color?
Or in a way, the general vibe of this unit? How does it feel?
I know it sounds kind of abstract, but if you know what I mean... well
you got the point
Old 24th August 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
In my experience, the Mackie Digital console sounds TERRIBLE

fyi
Totally my bad - the original poser was referring to a Mackie 8-bus - and I spaced out.... the Mackie 8-bus is analog.

sorry - my bad
Old 24th August 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 
dubrichie's Avatar
ah, you're terrible!

* refuses to use emoticons, winks *
Old 24th August 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 
dubrichie's Avatar
sorry, i know that was no help to the OP, but i think that i've just had so much of the ratty to and fro of opinions on the various PT HD vs Native threads that any chance to lighten up and let off steam around here is just irresistible.

as you were...

Last edited by dubrichie; 24th August 2007 at 01:59 AM.. Reason: typo.
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