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which mixer for summing: Toft ATB or Speck Xtramix Summing Mixers
Old 15th August 2008
  #1
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which mixer for summing: Toft ATB or Speck Xtramix

hi,

i mix OTB and need lots of FX sends/returns, as well as some top-notch EQ... been using pretty crap mixers (some Mackies, mostly Allen&Heath MixWizards) my whole life and want to finally step it up...

so i've narrowed my choices down to 2 based on my budget and the features that i need. which of these 2 options would you consider best sounding?... i don't care about pres or tracking... i already have considered the +s & -s of both, feature-wise, so i really am only looking for opinions in terms of sound quality as a summing type mixer solution (i'll be mixing mostly 16 channels of D/A from Logic)

option1: Toft ATB (note: i have no decent hardware compressors)

option2: Speck Xtramix + SSL Duende

any opinions would be appreciated!

thx

jason

PS if it matters, i'm mixing strictly electronic music, production-wise in the Aphex Twin to Yazoo range
Old 15th August 2008
  #2
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Cutoff's Avatar
 

Both are great choices, just bare in mind that with the Toft you have no recall capabilities.
I also produce mostly electronic music and sum 24 channels from logic to a tonelux rack and a spl mixdream. I love what Tonelux does to the drums and what the SPL does to the synths, also use a SSl duende.
Sorry if I don't answer your question in regard of the Toft and Xtramix but I don't have much experience with those.
Just my 2 cents

Luis
Old 15th August 2008
  #3
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Using your criteria and the fact you've considered all the features, then I'd go with the Xtramix and Duende. The recallability of the Duende and headroom of the Xtramix (for me) would be the decisive factor.

You might want to consider adding some Avedis EQs for the critical channels. I've tried these with the Xtramix and the two compliment each other extremely well. Throw a Bricasti on the FX insert and you'll be smiling.

Warning on the Xtramix, keep the manual close by. It's not the most intuitive piece of kit. But, the sonics of it (very clean) are worthy of twice the price tag.
Try to get the one with balanced i/o's.

Good luck.

Laser
Old 15th August 2008
  #4
The Toft is an excellent choice should you need its thoughtful routing features and its excellent EQ on every channel. But I would suggest the Speck is a better choice because of sound quality and headroom capability.

You'll get the function of a 8-buss console in either direction, but you should really take into consideration the other components that the ATB offers. The Speck mix buss and channel inputs are going to have better "Spec's" PARDON the pun, but the Speck stuff is rather remarkable as far as clarity, space, depth, tonality and distortion less response. I do think your going to get the benefits of summing with both, so its more a matter of features.
Old 15th August 2008
  #5
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The question is totally incoherent...

If you mix OTB, what are you considering a Duende for? You will have to provide 32 channels of AD & DA to get in and out of it, and trust me, it most certainly is not worth it (sold the Duende for a bitter loss).

I have never seen any point to the Speck mixer. I don't think they understand what they are doing.

The Toft sounds like a good idea for what you say your needs are, but really, I can't make head or tail out of what you actually need (you have no compressors?).

OK so now I see you're actually working in Logic. Then I don't know why you feel a need to get a desk? I don't see any advantage for you and plenty of disadvantages. I thought you were using lots of outboard synths or something and composing in MIDI.

Get a Neve 8816 or something like that and use a decent EQ plugin if you absolutely think you need to sum OTB. You don't need fx sends off the board because you can do those sends in Logic. You have no per-channel outboard anyway!
Old 15th August 2008
  #6
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the question is not incoherent... if you don't see a point to the speck mixer, & you can't fathom why i would want to mix OTB, then (A) you have a very narrow understanding of the different ways that people work/mix, & (B) you are not someone who's opinion i value

thanks for the other replies so far, though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
The question is totally incoherent...

If you mix OTB, what are you considering a Duende for? You will have to provide 32 channels of AD & DA to get in and out of it, and trust me, it most certainly is not worth it (sold the Duende for a bitter loss).

I have never seen any point to the Speck mixer. I don't think they understand what they are doing.

The Toft sounds like a good idea for what you say your needs are, but really, I can't make head or tail out of what you actually need (you have no compressors?).

OK so now I see you're actually working in Logic. Then I don't know why you feel a need to get a desk? I don't see any advantage for you and plenty of disadvantages. I thought you were using lots of outboard synths or something and composing in MIDI.

Get a Neve 8816 or something like that and use a decent EQ plugin if you absolutely think you need to sum OTB. You don't need fx sends off the board because you can do those sends in Logic. You have no per-channel outboard anyway!
Old 15th August 2008
  #7
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peeder's Avatar
 

Well you'll be very popular with the dealers and manufacturers, as you will have to spend tens of thousands to justify the mistaken purchase, and then tens of thousands to fix the mistake in the first place.
Old 16th August 2008
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s o l v e n t View Post
option1: Toft ATB (note: i have no decent hardware compressors)

option2: Speck Xtramix + SSL Duende

strictly electronic music, production-wise in the Aphex Twin to Yazoo range
If you`re gonna use the Duende for compressors and eq`s there really isn´t much point in going OTB. Maybe the Duende would be a better partner for the Toft?

If you go with the Xtramix you sould get some nice hardware comps , otherwise it might not do that much to the sound.

If you like mixing on a console the Toft seems more suited to you than the Speck?

Thomas
Old 16th August 2008
  #9
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it's friday night - shouldn't you be up on a comedy club stage somewhere?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Well you'll be very popular with the dealers and manufacturers, as you will have to spend tens of thousands to justify the mistaken purchase, and then tens of thousands to fix the mistake in the first place.
Old 16th August 2008
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Well you'll be very popular with the dealers and manufacturers, as you will have to spend tens of thousands to justify the mistaken purchase, and then tens of thousands to fix the mistake in the first place.
From the sale to the coffin....nice. I think your premise is mistaken.

Productivity is an engineering trait as well, you may want to check how productive that statement was.

Peedy, what the hell is wrong with a HYBRID Analog and digital setup. You do know that you can use the BOX [computer] as a SEND/EFFECTS BOX, don't you? Besides the OBVIOUS, there is most definitly a reason to have an analog monitoring/routing system in a digital studio. I see nothing wrong with having both analog hardware and digital hardware. The OP seems to want analog ability with digital recall....seem's pretty productive to me.
Old 16th August 2008
  #11
Your answer....
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Quote:
is totally incoherent..
I have never seen any point to the Speck mixer. I don't think they understand what they are doing.
Are you serious? Take a Lilo and put one of these in the room next to it and call me in the morning.

RTFM
Old 16th August 2008
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasWho View Post
If you`re gonna use the Duende for compressors and eq`s there really isn´t much point in going OTB.
well then why are summing mixers so popular? i have mixed a few projects ITB and it just doesn't sound good to me.... & the reason that Speck is my only real option as far as a summing-type mixer is, i like to use a lot of hardware FX & i like to do a lot of on the fly FX sends/tweaking/etc... if i were to send/return all of those hardware FX within the DAW, i would need a *lot* more AD/DA (6 stereo FX units - that's 12 extra ADs!)... plus i just don't like the sound! also when i mix ITB i end up being lazy and resorting to plugs when i know that a hardware FX is going to sound so much more alive... anyway, i wasn't looking to justify or explain my needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasWho View Post
Maybe the Duende would be a better partner for the Toft?

If you go with the Xtramix you sould get some nice hardware comps , otherwise it might not do that much to the sound.

If you like mixing on a console the Toft seems more suited to you than the Speck?
thanks thomas, i appreciate your thoughts, but i don't quite understand the logic of what you're saying... i believe that summing in the digital realm just doesn't sound nearly as good... i know there are producers who could prove me wrong, but i'm not one of those producers, and when i mix OTB, it always sounds more full and alive... hardware EQ has something to do with that, but more so i think it is the summing & the mix of different hardware FX........ what sets the Speck apart for me is when i read things from people like Mercenary Audio saying "The Speck mix buss and channel inputs are going to have better "Spec's" PARDON the pun, but the Speck stuff is rather remarkable as far as clarity, space, depth, tonality and distortion less response".... generally it seems that the Toft gets more mixed reviews from discerning ears
Old 16th August 2008
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
The OP seems to want analog ability with digital recall....seem's pretty productive to me.
for the record, digital recall is not the key consideration for me, but definitely a bonus... my main requirements are:
- lots of FX sends/returns (minimum 6, preferably 8)
- minimum 16 channels, preferably 24+
- highest quality summing signal path
- budget in the $4000-6000 range
Old 16th August 2008
  #14
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peeder's Avatar
 

Make the fx sends/returns hardware inserts (ideally digitally) and run your 2bus through something like a Fatso or Themionic Vulture and relax. You will have better workflow and probably better sonics given your budget.
Old 16th August 2008
  #15
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Hey Solvent, I sent you a pvt messege
Old 16th August 2008
  #16
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laser's Avatar
 

The man put his qualifiers on his initial post. I'm going to assume he's done his homework and understands his set up well enough to know what he's looking for.

I have not tried the Xtramix with a DAW, other than a RADAR, so I can't comment on how much it will bring to the table.

I did put the Xtramix through it's paces with the RADAR.

The beauty of the Xtramix is:

1) First and foremost: It compliments the colors of other hardware. I tested it with a Fearn preamp, as well as a Phoenix Audio DRS-2. Both sounded excellent through the RADAR/Xtramix combo. The Avedis EQs with the Xtramix gave me sonics to die for. I also tried it with the A-designs EM-PEQ--another great match. If you are using the Xtramix with hardware, it's a great piece of kit. Otherwise, there are summingboxes (including one Speck makes) that costs less and may give you more of what you want.

2) It's very clean and has great headroom. Because it's so neutral, I don't think it's a good match for someone doing everything ITB and then using it for summing.
It's not going to add that "analog something" that ITB users miss from the good 'ol days.

3) A lot of functionality in a very small format.

I haven't tried the Toft, but I've spoken with three people whose ears and opinions I trust who did. Any comment I have is heresay, so I'm not going to elaborate other than the concensus is that it's an entry-level board with good EQs. If you need 16, 24 or 32 good EQs and a full board with marginal functionality (but more functional than the Xtramix), you're getting a good deal with the Toft.

Hope this helps.

Laser
Old 16th August 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Solvent , I think I misunderstood your original premise. Sorry. Do you have hardware comps and eq`s already?

My point was just that the biggest plus with going OTB is the coloration you get from the analog circuits , nice hardware. I might be wrong , but in my experience digital summing is fine if you use enough headroom (like 20 db ) .

I also thought you meant that you always mix on a console and that´s what you`re used to. That`s why I thought the Toft would be better for you , to keep that workflow.

Sorry if my reply was unclear .

If you are ITB now and want to move OTB I`d suggest you do it gradually. Like Peeder said , start with some inserts , on the 2bus etc. And grow from there. It`s an expensive route if done "right".

Thomas
Old 16th August 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laser View Post
2) It's very clean and has great headroom. Because it's so neutral, I don't think it's a good match for someone doing everything ITB and then using it for summing.
It's not going to add that "analog something" that ITB users miss from the good 'ol days.

Laser
This was the point I was trying to make , since Solvent said he had no hardware compressors yet the Xtramix probably wouldn`t help that much. (right now at least)

T
Old 16th August 2008
  #19
Gear Addict
 

thanks thomas & lazer, you've given me some things to think about.... i def don't want to give the impression that i am sold on the soft-EQ/Xtramix idea... the Toft is definitely a serious contender. maybe if i do go the Speck route i will need to invest in some good hardware EQ/compressors sooner rather than later

thx

jason
Old 24th November 2008
  #20
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Anyone used both and have a favorite and why?

Instead of starting a new thread, I'll just focus on the title of the original posting. Ignoring the duende part of his question, can someone comment on the sonics of these two mixers?
I have an xtramix, but I'm bugged about a few things. Ignoring the EQ and Mic preamps, I'm wondering if Toft would sonically be a move sideways or backward?
Old 29th December 2008
  #21
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In the same boat. I compose electronic music, and I'm wondering how both the toft and the xtramix compare.

Last edited by qtuner; 29th December 2008 at 03:51 AM.. Reason: typos
Old 30th December 2008
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by qtuner View Post
In the same boat. I compose electronic music, and I'm wondering how both the toft and the xtramix compare.
The Speck has better headroom, S/N ratio, as it offers higher quality, more well thought out electronics. Well thought out, meaning, Vince designs a HIGHER quality product than most out there at this price point.

It is NOT mass produced. It is BUILT in house. These units couldn't be MORE different. They are built for different purposes, and cannot be compared in any nominal way. If you compose electronic music, than the ATB seems like a good idea, as it will offer EQ, and many channels of AUX routing.

That would be important to me for that application. If you have a LOAD of awesome outboard that has its own sonic footprint for what you like, then the XtraMix is a GREAT choice because it highlights your existing equipment in a "console-esque" environment.
Old 2nd January 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
The Speck has better headroom, S/N ratio, as it offers higher quality, more well thought out electronics. Well thought out, meaning, Vince designs a HIGHER quality product than most out there at this price point.

It is NOT mass produced. It is BUILT in house. These units couldn't be MORE different. They are built for different purposes, and cannot be compared in any nominal way. If you compose electronic music, than the ATB seems like a good idea, as it will offer EQ, and many channels of AUX routing.

That would be important to me for that application. If you have a LOAD of awesome outboard that has its own sonic footprint for what you like, then the XtraMix is a GREAT choice because it highlights your existing equipment in a "console-esque" environment.
I almost purchased a Toft ATB24 last summer, but decided against it because it seemed like I would be paying for a ton of pres that I wouldn't use. Do the pres on the toft atb affect the line level inputs? I agree that eqs would be nice, so would the option of 24 channels of mixer.

My outboard is essentially nothing. Like starting with a good mic(or singer), I've focused my studio on starting with good sources which consist of the instruments that i use. My studio goal is facilitate composition not recording. My other requirement is that I must be able to play with the computer off. Thats my primary interest in these 2 mixers. i currently have a LM-3204 that is working fine, but I would like to upgrade at some point. A speck S72 seems like a perfect combination of the two mixers in this thread,(if I could find a good one) but it won't fit.

I'm about to post a thread in the studio build forum because I'm completely redoing my studio. I would like to do it once and do it right and within my constraints. My LM-3204 does its job well. I'm not sure I need a new mixer, but this is gearslutz.

Now to finish my white model of my studio
Old 2nd January 2009
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by qtuner View Post
Do the pres on the toft atb affect the line level inputs?
Every one of the input channels can either designated as Line [with gain trim] or microphone amplifier [with same gain trim].
Old 23rd January 2009
  #25
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I listened to both of these units before going with the toft as well as a number of others. As Adam correctly described, the Speck is a cleaner more neutral sounding unit with better depth and will probably be a better fit for someone working on electronica, pop, or orchestral music.

The reason that I chose the toft is that is has character and flexible routing as well as usable eqs. I do more rock and blues material and I like the color of the toft for that type of material. Its more grimey and sounds brown in the same way that my Vox AC 30 does. Organs, drums, and electric guitar just have a vibe through Toft that no other new board in this price range does. (At least that I am aware of)

For someone who simply needs summing capablilty, I think there are a lot of better options on the market than either of these units. The biggest issue with using a mixer without automation is working with the DAW. Its kinda pain in the ass if you primarily are automating in the DAW for mixing cause you just have to set the board to unity and can't use the faders. Unless you need all the pres and eq ( and really like the Toft stuff) perhaps look at a summing rig that allows you to mix with your chosen outboard gear.

I have a handful of nice pres, that I still use for vocals and other stuff but I wanted 12-15 channels for recording drums and the toft pres sound fine to my ears for this task. But they do not hold up against my GR and Pacifica pres.
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