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Amek Mozart.. how is it, and what is it worth? Consoles
Old 4th February 2008
  #1
Amek Mozart.. how is it, and what is it worth?

hi guys,

Fletcher told us once that we should not touch or think about buying a desk from the "deadman-series" consoles from Amek (Mozart, Einstein... )

what is the current price and value... AND SOUND of those desks?

cheers
Old 4th February 2008
  #2
Old 4th February 2008
  #3
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Old 4th February 2008
  #4
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I will be looking for a console shorty and would like some info as well.
Old 4th February 2008
  #5
up to the top :D
Old 5th February 2008
  #6
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I cannot comment on the board but I do have two channel strips from the Amek Mozart
and they sound great,eq is really nice. EARS NYC put these together in a rack.
Old 5th February 2008
  #7
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The board is notorious for cooking its own modules. Good luck.
Old 5th February 2008
  #8
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I was thinking of getting one a few years ago until I gave one a test drive. I can't comment on the pres. The mix bus is all right but I thought that it was a little dark and smeared sounding. I thought the eq was ok but nothing special. I think that it was around $14K. It was in good shape, but it did not have any "neve" channels. IMHO my Sony 3036 sound better and was less money.

Just like any console, it's really important to check them out and see what you think. It seems to me that more important then the make/model of the desk is how well it's been maintained.

Good luck,

Reed
Old 5th February 2008
  #9
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I have a Mozart. It's a 56 channel frame shortloaded with 42 channels. It's all RN (rupert neve designed) channels except for 2 stereo modules. It has the PC based super true automation. They do require some additional venting to stay properly cooled, but if that is done they are no harder on caps/circuitboards than any other large console. Ask Slipperman about the venting, he is the one that told me.

I bought mine for what I thought was a really good price, but was lied too about it's condition and where it had been stored (turned out to be NON-climate controlled in DENVER). Uggghhhh.

Anyway.... a LOT of time and money later it is almost fully restored (will be finished by the end of the month). Dave Rochester (former head tech for Amek Nashville) did a lot of work on it, and then a FULL restoration and cleaning is being finished up by Creation Audio Labs (whom I might add is one of the BEST in the business of console restoration... these guys are brilliant!).

At this point, I am absolutely CRAZY in love with how it sounds. Just really, really good. The pre's and EQ's are awesome. The mix bus sounds really, really good. Definitely better with the VCA's off (they can ALL be bypassed), and if you are mixing in the box, or just tracking... they can just stay off. The automation if you ARE going to use it is quite good and easy to use. I like that I can turn the VCA's on/off for only the channels I want to automate. When I do full mixes on it, I do most of the automation in the DAW, but sometimes I will want to automate something on the console because of the outboard gear it is routed through (compressors). Great little setup computer with easily storable presets. Saves me a LOT of time.

The patchbay, though different from what you are used to, is AWESOME once you figure it out. Very logically laid out and you can get to ANYTHING.

Routing is also AWESOME! You can work truly inline very easily. You can route to either pre/or line in, through the EQ, to the little fader, then to the tape machine, then back in on the big faders/pans for monitoring.

Sends are great too. 8 mono, and 4 stereo!! All pre/post switchable.

I really, really love this console. Unfortunately, I did not have all the restoration in my budget, so I am going to try to sell it. I don't have to sell it... but all this cost has just about killed me so I am going to put it on the market when Creation is finished and I have fully gone through it to be sure everything on it is fully functional.

I have been working on this console for 9 months now, and I have to say this is definitely better than Neve V series console sonically to me. I like it better than SSL 4000's and Neotek Elan/Elites as well. It's not better than a classic neve like an 8068... but what is?!?!

I really would love to keep it... but the numbers just aren't adding up. If it doesn't sell for what I think it's worth... I will just bear down and keep it. It's an amazing sounding desk, my clients love it's sound, and well.... I just love it.

Kathy Matteas new record "Coal", produced by Marty Stuart and mixed by Mix Conley was mixed through it (mainly for summing). I think it comes out in a few months.... so buy it and check it out. heh

It was cut on Nuendo, then they brought the project here to Mix. The chain was this:

Cryptic Globe Recording custom DAW running Nuendo>Lynx Aurora converters>console for summing>out console 2 bus into API 5500 EQ>Alan Smart C1>UA 2192>spdif into RME FF400>2nd Cryptic Globe Recording custom Mastering Computer.

heh
Old 5th February 2008
  #10
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drBill's Avatar
Love Mozart - the composer.

Hate Mozart - the console. I'll be happy if I never have to work on one again.
Old 5th February 2008
  #11
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T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Love Mozart - the composer.

Hate Mozart - the console. I'll be happy if I never have to work on one again.
I was thinking the answer to the question for me is $hit and nothing
But your answer is far more diplomatic ...
Old 5th February 2008
  #12
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
I was thinking the answer to the question for me is $hit and nothing
But your answer is far more diplomatic ...
heh heh heh That's me, Mr. Diplomacy.

I don't know, your answer has a nice ring to it.
Old 5th February 2008
  #13
ok besides that it might suck for some.. how much is it worth=?
Old 5th February 2008
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
I was thinking the answer to the question for me is $hit and nothing
But your answer is far more diplomatic ...
This is such a strange reply to me. These desks (other than the heat problem which can be resolved with a very basic modification) are held with a lot of respect here (in Nashville... the recording capitol of the world).

I know lots of people that have owned them or worked on them, and they all speak highly of how they sound. I never heard a bad word about them until I came on here (gearslutz). And I have been doing this a long time, and get props for being somewhat of a good engineer, having worked on MANY fine desks (mainly a Neve 8068 before I opened up this place), and I KNOW that mine sounds QUITE good.

Yes... some older model Ameks don't impress me much... Einstein, Angela II, etc... But the Mozart with RN modules is a really great sounding console, and stands shoulder to shoulder sonically with Neotek, Neve, and SSL consoles made around the same time. And even the before mentioned models sound and work better than a Soundcraft Ghost or something like that!

I would question how much time the detracters have actually spent on a Mozart RN, what condition the desk was in, and whether they knew enough about it to know that they should turn off the VCA's.... especially on the 2 bus.

To answer the question about worth.... well.... Interface Audio had one on Ebay very recently for $35k, and it either had no RN modules, or only a few. I don't know if they sold it or gave up. I do know that they sold a similar one for around that price last year.

I think the worth is greatly dependent on what kind of shape it's in, and the size of the desk (they came in 40 and 56 channel frames. It also depends on the automation (PC or atari), and whether or not it has virtual dynamics, etc. I have seen them as low as 10k to 12k, but these were either with no RN modules, or in dire need of recapping/restoration. A fully restored, fully working RN with at least 40 channels should sell for at least $30k. Probably more. You might have to wait a while since the console market is very unpredictable. I will let you know as I will probably be putting mine on the market next month.
Old 5th February 2008
  #15
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I had no problems with the Mozart..preferred the Angela sonically..but the Mozart is capable of helping you make great records. Only thing to realize is that it's not really a transparent desk..so it's inherent colour builds up as the tracks build up.. this colour darkens mixes in the low mid. It worked great for me when mixing metal bands in the 90's. It was indeed questionable on more acoustic projects but the channel EQ's were very capable and at the end of the day things usually worked out fine.
Automation ran very smoothly, btw. The Mozart was quite popular and i saw 3 in different studios..ALL of them had at least 1 dead channel ..so with that in mind and Tony Belmont's post...Be careful!!
Back to the question of price..i'm no expert ..10K?..get googling and check it out.
Old 5th February 2008
  #16
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
This is such a strange reply to me. These desks (other than the heat problem which can be resolved with a very basic modification) are held with a lot of respect here (in Nashville... the recording capitol of the world).

I know lots of people that have owned them or worked on them, and they all speak highly of how they sound.
Steve, can't comment about N'ville as I'm in LA. A studio that I used to work at a lot had two of them. I didn't like the headroom (or lack thereof) on them. I had a difficult time monitoring thru them as I couldn't really tell what I had on tape (2") until I got back to my own studio. I once had a session with 20 union singers on double overtime there (due to being at a different studio with tech problems before moving to this studio). The budget was spiraling downhill faster than I could even think, and the producer demanded that I put it in record and GO!!! I bypassed the input on the console and cut thru a couple of API 512's that I scavenged from another studio, but even monitoring thru the console, I couldn't tell what I had. I did what he wanted, but I knew that we had wasted thousands and thousands of dollars - until I got back to my studio. What I thought was scratchy, edgy, loaded with harmonic distortion, etc. - ie: unuseable for big group vocals, actually turned out to be only slightly problematic and easily dealt with. Go figure, I ended up with a grammy for that record. I'm not sure if that particular studio had the RN modules in it or not. I know they had SOME RN modules in ONE of their consoles. I don't know if I had the VCA's in on the masters or not - I was kind of distracted. Maybe so. ??? All I know is that after that session, I have never had to use one agaiin, and that makes me happy. heh
Old 5th February 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Steve, can't comment about N'ville as I'm in LA. A studio that I used to work at a lot had two of them. I didn't like the headroom (or lack thereof) on them. I had a difficult time monitoring thru them as I couldn't really tell what I had on tape (2") until I got back to my own studio. I once had a session with 20 union singers on double overtime there (due to being at a different studio with tech problems before moving to this studio). The budget was spiraling downhill faster than I could even think, and the producer demanded that I put it in record and GO!!! I bypassed the input on the console and cut thru a couple of API 512's that I scavenged from another studio, but even monitoring thru the console, I couldn't tell what I had. I did what he wanted, but I knew that we had wasted thousands and thousands of dollars - until I got back to my studio. What I thought was scratchy, edgy, loaded with harmonic distortion, etc. - ie: unuseable for big group vocals, actually turned out to be only slightly problematic and easily dealt with. Go figure, I ended up with a grammy for that record. I'm not sure if that particular studio had the RN modules in it or not. I know they had SOME RN modules in ONE of their consoles. I don't know if I had the VCA's in on the masters or not - I was kind of distracted. Maybe so. ??? All I know is that after that session, I have never had to use one agaiin, and that makes me happy. heh

lol... sure, I understand. Very probably a console with issues, not RN modules, and with VCA's on. What you describe sounds polar opposite to the Mozart RN I have here (though with all the VCA's on.... I could understand the monitoring issue)... and of course opposite to all slippy's descriptions of his.... so I guess we will have to chalk it up to a poorly maintained, poorly configured console. What I LOVE about mine is that I truly get just what I hear. I do some mixing and most editing in studio "B" here which is totally in the box, and tracks translate to that system perfectly. I never find a descrepancy.

rock on...
Old 6th February 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
To answer the question about worth.... well.... Interface Audio had one on Ebay very recently for $35k, and it either had no RN modules, or only a few. I don't know if they sold it or gave up. I do know that they sold a similar one for around that price last year.
No Amek consoles have been sold on ebay in the last 30 days. There have been several listings but none have them were sold.
There is one on ebay for 34K ... way overpriced IMO.
Old 6th February 2008
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Steve, can't comment about N'ville as I'm in LA. A studio that I used to work at a lot had two of them. I didn't like the headroom (or lack thereof) on them. I had a difficult time monitoring thru them as I couldn't really tell what I had on tape (2") until I got back to my own studio. I once had a session with 20 union singers on double overtime there (due to being at a different studio with tech problems before moving to this studio). The budget was spiraling downhill faster than I could even think, and the producer demanded that I put it in record and GO!!! I bypassed the input on the console and cut thru a couple of API 512's that I scavenged from another studio, but even monitoring thru the console, I couldn't tell what I had. I did what he wanted, but I knew that we had wasted thousands and thousands of dollars - until I got back to my studio. What I thought was scratchy, edgy, loaded with harmonic distortion, etc. - ie: unuseable for big group vocals, actually turned out to be only slightly problematic and easily dealt with. Go figure, I ended up with a grammy for that record. I'm not sure if that particular studio had the RN modules in it or not. I know they had SOME RN modules in ONE of their consoles. I don't know if I had the VCA's in on the masters or not - I was kind of distracted. Maybe so. ??? All I know is that after that session, I have never had to use one agaiin, and that makes me happy. heh
Would I be correct in assuming that this was at "The Bakery"?

Which room were you in?
Old 6th February 2008
  #20
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
lol... sure, I understand. Very probably a console with issues, not RN modules, and with VCA's on.
Mmmmmmm, perhaps. But I'm not convinced. It's not the only time I've worked there. Never liked the sound. But hey, it takes more than one console to make the world go round, eh? Glad you enjoy yours! thumbsup

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJGreene Audio View Post
Would I be correct in assuming that this was at "The Bakery"?

Which room were you in?

Ummmm....OK, ya got me there. heh heh That is correct sir. That particular session was in A, but I've worked on both their Mozarts.
Old 6th February 2008
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Mmmmmmm, perhaps. But I'm not convinced. It's not the only time I've worked there. Never liked the sound. But hey, it takes more than one console to make the world go round, eh? Glad you enjoy yours! thumbsup




Ummmm....OK, ya got me there. heh heh That is correct sir. That particular session was in A, but I've worked on both their Mozarts.
I worked there from 1990-1994. The A room was a 48 input Mozart serial #2 with 24 standard modules and 24 mic/line modules with eq. The B room was a 56 input console with 32 of the first Rupert Neve Modules that came right off the AES show floor. I along with the studio tech and the AMEK tech spent hours modifying the mic pre because of a design flaw that caused the pre to run away in the 300khz range. Big oops on Ruperts part. I didn't have a lot of issues with the Mozart's but I was also into the Amek sound from the earlier consoles.

You have probably addressed the main issues I did have with the consoles and that is the master buss. The tech did some mod's to the master buss and was able to clean them up quite a bit but they still never had a HUGE amount of headroom. I always felt there was a substantial amount of smear on the buss. Jim Williams came in to measure the console for the review that he published in REP. Jim found a huge number of issues that when you added them up would effect the sound in a detrimental way. Maybe Jim can chime in here and elaborate since I don't remember all the details. The one thing I do remember is that the review really hurt the sales of the Mozart console and really pissed off everyone over at AMEK.

Saying all that I also have to say that I have done a lot of really great mixes on the AMEK Mozart, both at The Bakery and also on the console that used to be at "Tiny Lights" studio that was in the old TTG studios building in Hollywood. (Plus I had the pleasure of watching a drive by shooting happen right in front of me. Gotta love Hollyweird) So you can do good mixes on those consoles. But then again I have done good mixes on a bunch of other consoles that I thought were total pieces of **** and I tend to believe that its not the gear but the ears.

Would I buy a Mozart today? No. It was a nice pro console that filled a niche when it came out. The early modules ate capacitors like chicklets and even if you bought a console with some of the later modules they would all be in need of a major re-cap at this point. They ran hot and there are a lot of caps on those modules. If your talking about the RN modules then your dealing with a massive number of caps and daughter boards that all will have to be replaced. Not to mention very expensive pots and switches that more than likely all will need to be replaced. It had a nice automation system that was simple to use and it had a lot of features at a price point way below the other players of the day which were Neve and SSL. If you buy a Mozart that ran off of an Atari your screwed. Your only marginally better if it ran off a PC. AMEK had huge hopes in the Mozart and they had even bigger hopes for the 9098 but by the time either of those consoles came around it was a Neve and SSL world and everyone wanted that sound.

It was a fine console in its day and in the market that it was geared to but I would stay away from them today. They will be a massive amount of work to maintain.
Old 6th February 2008
  #22
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drBill's Avatar
Michael - thanks! Nice informative post.

I must know you I think. Do you know Rick Ellis? Rick's a good buddy of mine. He's the smart one - left the audio biz and is making a KILLING in the software biz - residing up in Bend.

I have a funny story that I just remembered about Studio A. One time I had to record some indiginess Mayan antiquity percussion and the producer booked A. The percussionist showed up with a bunch of bizzare stuff and asked where I wanted him to set up the water drums. ??? I didn't know. I said right in the middle of the studio. Before I realized it, he had a bunch of big tubs on the floor and had proceeded to bring a hose in the back door, and was filling them up. Holy #@$% Water was splashing all over. Yikes!!! I quickly helped him so it wasn't splashing. I was praying Andy didn't walk in and have a heart attack. LOL

Oh, and the audio for those sessions wasn't too great either. Maybe I just never got along with Amek stuff. Fun session though....

Bill
Old 6th February 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apexman View Post
I cannot comment on the board but I do have two channel strips from the Amek Mozart
and they sound great,eq is really nice. EARS NYC put these together in a rack.

Which revision modules????
Old 6th February 2008
  #24
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Michael - thanks! Nice informative post.

I must know you I think. Do you know Rick Ellis? Rick's a good buddy of mine. He's the smart one - left the audio biz and is making a KILLING in the software biz - residing up in Bend.

I have a funny story that I just remembered about Studio A. One time I had to record some indiginess Mayan antiquity percussion and the producer booked A. The percussionist showed up with a bunch of bizzare stuff and asked where I wanted him to set up the water drums. ??? I didn't know. I said right in the middle of the studio. Before I realized it, he had a bunch of big tubs on the floor and had proceeded to bring a hose in the back door, and was filling them up. Holy #@$% Water was splashing all over. Yikes!!! I quickly helped him so it wasn't splashing. I was praying Andy didn't walk in and have a heart attack. LOL

Oh, and the audio for those sessions wasn't too great either. Maybe I just never got along with Amek stuff. Fun session though....

Bill
I remember the name Rick Ellis. Good for him to make some money elsewhere. Some of us hit the jackpot while the rest of us enjoy our "art".

That is a great story. The best part is Andy would have walked in and said "thats cool" Its John who would have flipped out but not to the client. He would have had every second and secretary walking around with towels. At least the floor was vinyl tile so it wouldn't have hurt much.

I did some great work in those rooms and it was a very intense and great way to cut my teeth. I really learned how to use those rooms quickly though and I always thought that the people who worked in those rooms on a regular basis learned the little "issues" and had the advantage over people who just did the occasional session. As much as I enjoyed those rooms you can only imagine the look on my face the first time I did drums over at Oceanway!!! It was pretty damn hard to go anywhere else after that.

Michael Greene
Old 6th February 2008
  #25
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJGreene Audio View Post
As much as I enjoyed those rooms you can only imagine the look on my face the first time I did drums over at Oceanway!!! It was pretty damn hard to go anywhere else after that.

Michael Greene
LOL You think??? My fav room became OHenry's due to the large API and great maintainence, but now, sadly, it's gone like so many others. Nice to talk, Michael.

Sorry for the hijack George. Now....back to your regularly scheduled thread.
Old 12th February 2008
  #26
no prob, it was pretty interesting :D

how much would you pay for such a console?
Old 12th February 2008
  #27
Lives for gear
I'll come to price in a moment, first let me have a quick rant -

The World is full of self-styled experts that seem to have a view on everything and anything (and I suppose I must be one of them!)

The problems arise when these 'experts' start voicing opinions on things that they just do not understand, or worse still, have absolutely no experience of. There are people out there (and on this very forum!) who voice opinions on equipment that they have never ever used - or at best, have used once or sometimes only seen at a fair or in someone else's studio.

This is not just a forum problem, magazines are full of hacks writing articles about equipment they do not understand.

You have people out there who have an opinion on, for example, grounding of equipment, who have absolutely no idea how electricity works. They spout off about microphones they have never used or only used once. They compare this and that mic pre without even knowing how a mic pre works or what the difference is between a good one and a poor one.

Then there are the technical experts - these can be dangerous and can cost people their jobs! They are the Bozos who think they know something about the design of mixing desks that people like Langley and Neve do not. "They should have changed the value of this . . ." they spout and claim all kinds of higher knowledge that somehow people like Langley, Priest, Jones and Neve have been denied. These are people that think, because they bought an AP workstation on eBay, they are now in a position to criticise every piece of kit they can name.

When I came to buy new monitors for my studio, I did not read some facile magazine review, written by someone who does not actually work, day-in, day-out, in a studio. I phoned a friend who had a set of mixing rooms, some kitted out with Genelecs, some with Dynaudios, some with M&Ks and some with something else. He told me that his customers and his engineers ask for the M&Ks, so I got them.

As for price - well, with any older desk, it is all about condition. A sophisticated studio desk is a very complex beast and if it has lead a hard life, then fixing it can be akin to knitting fog. If it was kept switched on day-and-night, if it was kept in a damp room, if it was transported in a bumpy truck, if it was in a poorly grounded room (many ifs!) then it might be worth very little, or even nothing at all.

A Mozart in near-new condition, fully loaded with RN strips is worth about €40k. Take off the cost of getting the actual desk into near new condition and you have the value.

(Angelas are simple and cheap to fix and cheap to maintain BTW, for what it's worth!)
Old 28th August 2008
  #28
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EBGB's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apexman View Post
I cannot comment on the board but I do have two channel strips from the Amek Mozart
and they sound great,eq is really nice. EARS NYC put these together in a rack.
I have this same unit. They are RN modules but I'm not sure what rev.
It is fantastic-- turns digital high end into a thing of beauty.
My go to for snare or any airy sweetness.
The EQ is very flexible and sounds great-- I sometimes use it as a mastering EQ.

However, these are re-engineered.
The designer told me they sound much better than when they were in the console.
They are stripped of the automation, which the designer likened to going through a Boss pedal.
The designer is a huge fan of the main chip or IC in this-- which IIRC is no longer made but is overkill on quality.
Old 28th August 2008
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBGB View Post
However, these are re-engineered.
The designer told me they sound much better than when they were in the console.
They are stripped of the automation, which the designer likened to going through a Boss pedal.

lol. An exaggeration, but yes... VCA's do degrade audibly. The nice thing about the Mozart RN is that you can bypass VCA's individually... or globally.
Old 28th August 2008
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
lol. An exaggeration, but yes... VCA's do degrade audibly. The nice thing about the Mozart RN is that you can bypass VCA's individually... or globally.
The VCA's are not really the problem. Its the grouping switches/circuit that the automation uses to store the settings for the mic pres.

Also on the MZ11 modules the line amps run through the mic pres which can totally smear the sound come mix time.
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