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Advice on a Amek big board! Summing Mixers
Old 9th August 2009
  #1
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lordward's Avatar
Advice on a Amek big board!

Hi all! I've done some searching around the forum already.

Thing is, I'm going to take a look at a used Amek Big 28 console. I can get it really cheap! I'm aware that I need to do some re-capping and I want to change some chips to mod it a bit. I've worked on these consoles a few times in the past 15 years so I'm still very familiar with its features and functions.

Where I could use some help is: what should I look out for when checking this desk? Any parts or areas of concern? I'm going to use the console as a summing mixer mainly so the mic pres are really not important to me at all. Eqs only partially.... mainly I need the tape returns and the master bus section to be fit. Any advice?

Cheers
DW
Old 9th August 2009
  #2
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lordward's Avatar
In addition, I've heard some voodoo about using the returns of the inserts sounds better that the tape returns themselves. Anyone care to comment on this?

RnR,
DW
Old 9th August 2009
  #3
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
Hi all! I've done some searching around the forum already.

Thing is, I'm going to take a look at a used Amek Big 28 console. I can get it really cheap! I'm aware that I need to do some re-capping and I want to change some chips to mod it a bit. I've worked on these consoles a few times in the past 15 years so I'm still very familiar with its features and functions.

Where I could use some help is: what should I look out for when checking this desk? Any parts or areas of concern? I'm going to use the console as a summing mixer mainly so the mic pres are really not important to me at all. Eqs only partially.... mainly I need the tape returns and the master bus section to be fit. Any advice?

Cheers
DW
These guys are great:
Audio Maintenance Limited Manuals
They designed some micpre drop in replacements for Amek desks, dunno about the "Big" tho.

In servicing the desk, start at the power supply and check for
leaky caps, proper voltage, etc, etc. Proper working and healthy PS is the key to a solid desk IMVHO.
If the desk is old, there very well may be hundreds of caps to replace.
Upgrading the caps to hi temp Panasonic or Nichicons is a good idea as well.
I'd get it working properly first, then dive into modifications.

If you are handy with a soldering gun, there are a myriad of ways you can upgrade the summing amps. Forsell and Hardy both have white papers for DOA circuits and I believe there is an API repro cat who does the legacy summing amps DIY.
Old 9th August 2009
  #4
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
These guys are great:
Audio Maintenance Limited Manuals
They designed some micpre drop in replacements for Amek desks, dunno about the "Big" tho.
+1 on that. Our desk engineer knows the designer of the Carnhill pre-amps very well and apparently the pre-amps are very similar to a well known British made legendary pre-amp. They do upgrades for Mozart, Hendrix, Angela etc. (about £40 each) but not sure about the Big.

We have a Mozart and have actually tried the insert returns over the tape returns and I can't hear any difference (don't know about the Big). However, the VCA's need bypassing because they sound really quite nasty.
Old 9th August 2009
  #5
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lordward's Avatar
Great stuff! A big help, indeed! Keep it comming!

DW
Old 9th August 2009
  #6
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lordward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadsweeper View Post
We have a Mozart and have actually tried the insert returns over the tape returns and I can't hear any difference (don't know about the Big). However, the VCA's need bypassing because they sound really quite nasty.
I've done a lot of records on the Mozart as well. I remember it getting really, really HOT! I know you could bypass the VCA's on the Mozart, don't remember if I could do this on the Big.... Interesting....

DW
Old 9th August 2009
  #7
Gear Nut
 
odeon's Avatar
 

hi there,

since you are from germany you should contact mega audio in bingen.
they have been the distributor for amek in germany and are experienced in maintaining those desks.

Mega Audio | Professionelle Audiotechnik

best

holger
Old 9th August 2009
  #8
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opentune's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by odeon View Post
since you are from germany you should contact mega audio in bingen.

Mega Audio | Professionelle Audiotechnik
Probably the best thing you can do. These guys are in the know.
Old 9th August 2009
  #9
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
I've done a lot of records on the Mozart as well. I remember it getting really, really HOT!
DW
Was that with the RN modules? I have heard that they get stupidly hot. Unfortunately we only have the MZ11 modules and they don't really get hot at all.
Old 9th August 2009
  #10
Gear interested
 

Link to the Amek/TAC Forum

You should ask this at the AMEK/TAC forum located here: Analog Console Forum • View forum - AMEK & TAC Consoles

Good Luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
Hi all! I've done some searching around the forum already.

Thing is, I'm going to take a look at a used Amek Big 28 console. I can get it really cheap! I'm aware that I need to do some re-capping and I want to change some chips to mod it a bit. I've worked on these consoles a few times in the past 15 years so I'm still very familiar with its features and functions.

Where I could use some help is: what should I look out for when checking this desk? Any parts or areas of concern? I'm going to use the console as a summing mixer mainly so the mic pres are really not important to me at all. Eqs only partially.... mainly I need the tape returns and the master bus section to be fit. Any advice?

Cheers
DW
Old 9th August 2009
  #11
PDC
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
Hi all! I've done some searching around the forum already.

Thing is, I'm going to take a look at a used Amek Big 28 console. I can get it really cheap! I'm aware that I need to do some re-capping and I want to change some chips to mod it a bit. I've worked on these consoles a few times in the past 15 years so I'm still very familiar with its features and functions.

Where I could use some help is: what should I look out for when checking this desk? Any parts or areas of concern? I'm going to use the console as a summing mixer mainly so the mic pres are really not important to me at all. Eqs only partially.... mainly I need the tape returns and the master bus section to be fit. Any advice?

Cheers
DW
AMEK Big consoles are ok mid-level consoles, a step up from a Mackie, etc. Nothing more.
Old 10th August 2009
  #12
Harmless Wacko
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
AMEK Big consoles are ok mid-level consoles, a step up from a Mackie, etc. Nothing more.
From a functionality standpoint alone that is a gross mischaracterization.

Not even remotely true.

SM.
Old 10th August 2009
  #13
PDC
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From a sonics standpoint, it most certainly IS true. They were nothing special at all. Their market WAS the small to mid studio. I was selling Amek/TAC when they were released. None of their reviews were "glowing". They spoke more of the function than the sonics. We sold a couple along with a few 501s, and they all had issues (the 501s more than the Bigs) and one studio that I serviced eventually turned it off and just left it in the room so clients wouldn't freak out. The value of them dropped rather quickly.

I find it odd that many of you here worship some of the stuff that the pros in the 80s and 90s could not wait to get rid of because it was over-hyped and unsupported poop.
Old 10th August 2009
  #14
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
In addition, I've heard some voodoo about using the returns of the inserts sounds better that the tape returns themselves. Anyone care to comment on this?

RnR,
DW
Yes, I worked on a BIG for about 5 years and this is actually true!

Watch out for scratchy ST ( stereo bus switches )
EQ in out switches as well ( these seem to go all the time )

And lastly the super true automation , this can go wonky whenever it feels like it. Channels would stay muted for ever , then one day be fine, automation engaged or not.

Oh, the power supply!

Best get it serviced before you start , our one was blowing fuses and killing headroom every other week until we gutted it.



Good luck!
Old 10th August 2009
  #15
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lordward's Avatar
Good stuff to know! Thanks!

I'm aware that a Big console is no SSL 4000 but after making my own summing test, using the Neve 8816, the Dangerous, ADT MT-5, Neve VR 72 and, yes, a Mackie 8 bus... I found that with a simple stem mix using 8 stereo stems sounded equally good in all of these systems! Not a REAL big difference in sound color IMVHO. I just want to create a hybrid system and need a clear sound for this purpose. And since I've done lots of recordings on the Big and on an 8 bus I'm not intimidated about the sound being only "a step up" from a Mackie.....dfegad
DW
Old 10th August 2009
  #16
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lordward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
I find it odd that many of you here worship some of the stuff that the pros in the 80s and 90s could not wait to get rid of because it was over-hyped and unsupported poop.
I don't worship anything or anyone, I'm just staying within my realistic budget. I'm aware that a Mercedes S class is better than a VW Golf... But the Golf will get me to work in time so I can make enough money to get my S class eventually. Like I've said, I can get this board really, really cheap....!
Old 10th August 2009
  #17
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lordward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadsweeper View Post
Was that with the RN modules? I have heard that they get stupidly hot. Unfortunately we only have the MZ11 modules and they don't really get hot at all.
I honestly cannot remember. I do remember when I would lean over the board that the heat would radiate out to the point I felt I was flippin' burgers. I remember flippin burgers....
Old 10th August 2009
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
FLUKE's Avatar
 

Used to own one, long time ago...
Preamps are good, the eq is nothing special.
The supertrue automation can be dodgy indeed. On ours it never really worked flawless.

Cheers,

F.
Old 10th August 2009
  #19
Geariophile
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLUKE View Post
Used to own one, long time ago...
Preamps are good, the eq is nothing special.
The supertrue automation can be dodgy indeed. On ours it never really worked flawless.

Cheers,

F.
......and then you had a Jade.....if you are who I think you are..... ;-)
Old 10th August 2009
  #20
PDC
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
I don't worship anything or anyone, I'm just staying within my realistic budget. I'm aware that a Mercedes S class is better than a VW Golf... But the Golf will get me to work in time so I can make enough money to get my S class eventually. Like I've said, I can get this board really, really cheap....!

I wasn't saying that to you specifically. I understand that you have to do what you have to do with what you have. I was just saying that some people here goo all over some of this stuff without using it the first time it was around, and have a working knowledge of being on the engineer's side of the phone or the dealer's side of the phone when stuff went south.

This console SHOULD be cheap. It was a not a stud performer. It was a bang for the buck board for budget studios. There is no sonic advantage to it. Call Andy at Cloud9 Studios in Tulsa, OK. They turned theirs off and used it for a purdy armrest when PT5 came out. They had too much into it to sell it. He will tell you all about it.
Old 10th August 2009
  #21
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Radiogal's Avatar
Well, for sure the AMEK BIG preamps sound great. Let me explain:

About 5 years ago I was recording for one specific CD project in different pro studios... using many expensive 3-5K stand alone preamps and others consoles like Neotek Elite, Harrisson. I recorded everything from drums to bass, acoustic & electric guitars, fiddle, banjo and so on.
When recording the lead singer, I would always use the same mic, same compressor, same AD/DA, but in different pro studios with the different consoles and pre amps.
During this period of time I bought a used AMEK BIG 44 and put it in my studio.
I went on with the CD recordings on the AMEK BIG and started recording some vocals on new songs.. same singer, same mic, same compressor, same AD/DA and now the AMEK BIG.
I compared the recordings with the earlier recorded ones on the other songs.
Than the singer looked at me and smiled and said, "Well, I think ur gonna ask me to do all the vocals all over again".
The AMEK sounded sooooooooooo much better!!!!

The AMEK recordings gave us goosebumps all over.

Than I realized I have 44 of those pre amps!! heh

Soon after that 2 former ABBA musicians came for recordings to my studio for this very album and they asked me what my secret was. They claimed they never heard their instrument sounding that good and realistic in any studio before..
I had one producer that wanted to buy the console. He started bidding.

I mixed this album on the AMEK also.
The album got great CD reviews with statements like "The best sounding and produced record I´ve heard in along time."

Well, U all might think I´m just telling u my wet dream but this is in fact a true story.

So, common, think again before u blame the AMEK BIG of not sounding any good!

<<<------------- On the pic.... me and dear Mr Amek.
Old 11th August 2009
  #22
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lordward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
I wasn't saying that to you specifically. I understand that you have to do what you have to do with what you have. I was just saying that some people here goo all over some of this stuff without using it the first time it was around, and have a working knowledge of being on the engineer's side of the phone or the dealer's side of the phone when stuff went south.

This console SHOULD be cheap. It was a not a stud performer. It was a bang for the buck board for budget studios. There is no sonic advantage to it. Call Andy at Cloud9 Studios in Tulsa, OK. They turned theirs off and used it for a purdy armrest when PT5 came out. They had too much into it to sell it. He will tell you all about it.
Sure, I know what you meant! I just wanted to make it clear. Also, I am VERY familiar with this console in sound terms, I'm just not a technician. Can open them up and change a part but in the event of a problem I wouldn't know where to look first. I have also worked on Modded versions of this console with other chips and that's what got my interest up. I also did a recording in a studio (Never VR 72) and then continued recording on this Modded Big. Other than noise floor I was very surprised how good this console sounded in comparison (tracking only) although I used minimal EQ of the board and quite a bit of external Mic pres. I want to have a clean path for summing and I want to do some small mods on a few channels just for fun, to see if I can hear the voodoo too!

By Very cheap I mean around $2k.... and He assures me it's been re-capped and well taken care of. NOt bad if you ask me!

DW
Old 11th August 2009
  #23
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Cameron Johnson's Avatar
 

I had an Einstein for a while, and though it's a different board, all of the above suggestions are completely relevent and your Big should also go through the same motions. Caps in your power supply and the like should be checked and replaced as a first step. A lot of the caps are probably dried out unless they were recently replaced, so it wouldn't hurt to replace those first. Then go on to every channel strip and go from there.

Cheers,
Cam
Old 17th March 2011
  #24
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
Hi all! I've done some searching around the forum already.

Thing is, I'm going to take a look at a used Amek Big 28 console. I can get it really cheap! I'm aware that I need to do some re-capping and I want to change some chips to mod it a bit. I've worked on these consoles a few times in the past 15 years so I'm still very familiar with its features and functions.

Where I could use some help is: what should I look out for when checking this desk? Any parts or areas of concern? I'm going to use the console as a summing mixer mainly so the mic pres are really not important to me at all. Eqs only partially.... mainly I need the tape returns and the master bus section to be fit. Any advice?

Cheers
DW
I bought a Hendrix and have no idea how to hook up the multi pins from the in/out snakes to the underside of the console. The previous owner had tape and letters to hook it up but during transport from Nashville to winnipeg it got ripped off. so i am lost please help.....
Old 3rd July 2012
  #25
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haryy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
In addition, I've heard some voodoo about using the returns of the inserts sounds better that the tape returns themselves. Anyone care to comment on this?

RnR,
DW
Old thread, but yes, inserts sound way better than the tape ins.
Old 13th January 2018
  #26
Gear Nut
Does the AMEK big have compressors and gates on each channel? If so, is it hardware, or is it computer software?
Old 13th January 2018
  #27
Several comp/expand algos are included in their supertrue automation, if you can get it to work.
Old 13th January 2018
  #28
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duckoff's Avatar
 

Quote:
I know you could bypass the VCA's on the Mozart, don't remember if I could do this on the Big
Had a 56 channel one for a few years & yes you can bypass VCAs per channel (but you lose the dynamics section on that channel).
Dynamics (optional) gave comp, double comp, compander, limiter, gate etc etc via supertrue
You'll wanna check the automation / recall computer - gonna need a trusty OLD PC!

Not amazing but I liked it for the record
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