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D&R analog consoles Consoles
Old 20th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

D&R analog consoles

Dear all,

as a short intro to my post & questions I'm planning to get a good analog console for tracking & mixing and am currently doing a lot of research / reading to come down to a small list of "prefered" ones to look for. Given my limited budget (bellow $10k) I'm more looking at the used market, especially these days that it seems you can find great deals on used consoles that would have been way out of this price range when new years ago.
I "discovered" D&R consoles thanks to this (great) forum, and after having gone through quite a bit of older posts they sound like great units for the value. Also descriptions of their "sound" looks like it would suit me: "clean, transparent, big headroom, air, details, dimension,..." seem to be adjectives often associated with those consoles and are what I would look for in a recording/mix.

I would then have a few more precise questions about those consoles:
- I understand that the main attribute of those consoles is their clean and transparent sound; but do they still provide some "musical warmth" in some way? What I would not want is something "clean" but also "sterile", if that makes sense for a console
- Do you find/use them also good for tracking? In what "league" are the preamps? Do they differ from one model to another?
- Are there some particular models/period to avoid, and/or some to be prefered? Do some models "sound" / are better than others? I haven't found many info on how the different models compare (dayner, vision, orion...)
- In particular I have seen a few older Dayner (late 80's) for sale, what do you think about this particular model? They seem to be more available around here than other (newer?) models and can be found quite cheap; there's for instance this big Dayner advertised for 1100 euros, missing frame and that may need a little cleaning according to the seller (was in storage since the last 6months):



What do you think? Would an old model like this be great or would it be better to hold for a newer (better?) model?

Calling all D&R users


Also to extend the discussion, I have been in a kind of dilemna in this research for a console, between looking for something with a strong "character" or something with more "fidelity" and transparency... I tend to lean towards the later, thinking that a strong clean & big beautiful "fundation" would be better, on top of which I could "add" character with outboard gear if needed..
Then old Trident was the other main alternative to D&R I had identified, but it seemed also that I would need way more $$ to have a Trident console of the same "caliber" than a good D&R (80 series?).

Thanks in advance for any input / feedback / advice.
Old 20th December 2010
  #2
I have that D&R dayner you are showing here. Mine is a 29-8-2 and it still works great.... I'd give it a decent testrun... But it looks to be nice.
It has a warm and musical sound.
Old 20th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
idylldon's Avatar
 

Paging drbill.

Drbill to So Much Gear, So Little Time, STAT!

Cheers,
--
Don
Old 20th December 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 

Thanks Don heh, DrBill seems like one of the main D&R user and suporter here! (btw nice signature)
Thanks muziekschuur for your feedback.
Old 20th December 2010
  #5
I see, besides the groupfaders, eight black knobs and two, three dipswitches and two red lights. That looks to be a custom thing. As I'm quite sure that is not on a standard D&R.

In that case I'd clean it out completely and check all ribbon cables in there. And check with the owner what's going on with those switches.
Old 20th December 2010
  #6
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anje View Post
Thanks Don heh, DrBill seems like one of the main D&R user and suporter here!
Quote:
Originally Posted by idylldon View Post
Paging drbill.

Drbill to So Much Gear, So Little Time, STAT!

Cheers,
--
Don
Geez, can't a guy get an evening off around here?!?!?!?

Anje, you have a LOT of questions, it's late, I'm tired, so I'm probably not going to cover all of them. BUT, if you ask again with specifics, I'll check back in and answer again.

I wouldn't call D&R's either "warm" or "sterile". They definately have an analog sound, but are extremely transparent and phase coherent - ie:
clean, wide, deep sounding and 3 dimensional. From what you said, that's sounds like what you want. If so, it would be very difficult (IMO) to find a better console to meet those needs than a D&R. Certainly a Trident would not be better. They have a "sound" and start saturating fairly early on as you hit them hard. The D&R does not saturate, the headroom just goes, and goes, and goes, and then breaks in a not pleasant distortion. Back in the day, using analog, I LOVED that aspect of the console. Now, with Digital, sometimes I like some grit and/or saturation. When I do, I reach for an outboard pre where I can drive input and turn down output - like a Neve or the VP26 or the La Chapelles or for decapitator. heh You won't be using the D&R pre's in that fashion - ie: drive the input attenuate the output.

D&R's are NOT tooby, dirty, gritty, smeared, or grainy. You know, all those things that are SO popular these days due to the clarity of digital.

Personally, that's how I want my console. Going thru a 80 series neve 2-3X's is going to add a lot of mud. Maybe that's good, or maybe it's a disaster. Depends on what you do and how you do it. D&R's phase coherency from any input to any output was quite literally the best in the biz.

But, for a little "character" I prefer to tweak the sound on the way into my PTHD system, or via inserting analog into the chain, and then the console just spits it back to me - as is. I do such a wide variety of music that being locked into one "sound" would not be good for me.

I track with the console all the time. "league"? I'm not sure how to answer that. They are not going to hold up to a $2000 per channel hi-fi tube pre or a 1073. But that does not make them inferior. Just different.

The pre's hold their own just fine against pre's in the less than $1k range. I use them interchangeably (albeit they sound somewhat different) with API's, Shadow Hills (not the iron tranny), Biz, etc. pre's. They are NOT Neve-ish, but hold well with the abovementioned others. Punchy, and clear. Again, they do not saturate, they have high headroom, and then collapse when hit too hard. (That's not a NEGATIVE comment, it's a description of the sound) They work extremely well for OH, Vox, percussion, etc. Fast and detailed. They have ALL the headroom you would normally need.

D&R is minimal signal path. Straight wire philosophy with a modern full functional design.

Dayners are not my most favorite D&R, but are solid, professional boards. Their mic pre is different (discrete I believe, but don't quote me on it. So it may be better or worse depending on your perspective. Ask someone else about their pre's as I do not have enough time on them. They will be somewhat different than the more modern D&R's I have described above) than the newer D&R's - Triton, Avalon, Marilon, Orion, Vision, Cinemix, Octagon, etc.. There are a LOT of dayners in use. Probably more than any other model of D&R so that's why you see a lot of them. I'd say that's a great price if it's in decent working order.

Dayners come in both split and in-line design, so take note. The more modern D&R's have more functionality built into them, and are a little more complex to operate - although really, their signal flow is brilliant (floating subgroups) and easy for an experienced engineer.

D&R will still help you with replacement parts & support.

Again, Neve 80 series, Trident 80B, API - these are "character" boards. D&R is the chameleon. Or more accurately the invisable man.

Good luck with your search and post back with any other questions you may have.

bp
Old 20th December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 

Thanks a lot Bill for the extensive and detailed quick reply!
You confirm my feeling about D&R being a great option to me.

Following Bill's comments, has anyone else been able to compare the older Dayner to newer D&R?

Bill, talking about those newer models you list (Triton, Avalon, Marilon, Orion, Vision, Cinemix, Octagon, etc..), do you have a favorite and why? Would it be possible to compare them more into details, "plus" & "cons" of each?
(Anyone having experience in some of them is more than welcome to share his experience too of course )
My "needs" would be mainly focused on music projects, not really on TV/films/5.1 work.


Thanks muziekschuur, yes I spot those weird knobs too, I went through the Dayner manual on D&R site and could not find any reference to something similar so I also thought it would be some kind of custom work added.
btw After a few simulations and research, this 59 frame I posted above looks a little too big for my current room, so I may hold for a smaller one (or find a way to free more space )
Old 20th December 2010
  #8
I own a Dayner. big 50 channel monster. Mine has not aged well and is quirky as anything, which can get very annoying. However, the sound is absolutely fantastic. Especially for mixing. My last major project was on an SSL board, a real nice one, and honestly this board sounds as good. Maybe even a little wider open and distinctive. However, the SSL could run circles around the dayner in terms of build and functionality . . . In terms of the pres, they are very clear, yet a little bit warm. I've tracked my whole CD on them, more or less, and they sound great, not a Neve, but a very nice, clear and warm sound. The only thing that the high end pres have over them is perhaps more dimensionality/3d-ness.
Put mine up for sale recently as the quirkiness is getting to me, no one seems to want it, so I guess I'll try giving it a good cleaning, and keep on making incredible sounding mixes heh

DP
Old 20th December 2010
  #9
I often work on a D&R Triton that I really enjoy. I'm all about sweepable EQ, I'm not a fan of "fixed frequency points", it's nice to be able to "search and destroy" with a tight Q.

The only "quirk" with that console is the meter bridge drivers. They seem to go out a lot, and the op-amp drivers, as far as I know, are obsolete so when they go out you have to pay $10+ for a replacement.
Old 20th December 2010
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the inputs.
Wow nice feedback for the Dayner Darth Preamp, I would not have expected those to be prefered to some big SSL for sound/tone! That would make them even more a fantastic value for the money. Have you by chance been able to compare your Dayner to newer D&R models?
Old 20th December 2010
  #11
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Preamp View Post
Iso I guess I'll try giving it a good cleaning, and keep on making incredible sounding mixes heh

DP
DP - have you sprayed and reseated the ribbon cables? That could fix 98% of your problems. Also, check the power supply voltage rails to make sure they are balanced. I BELIEVE - but you should check with the factory first - that they should be +/- 18v. Good luck.
Old 20th December 2010
  #12
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Sullivan View Post
I often work on a D&R Triton that I really enjoy. I'm all about sweepable EQ, I'm not a fan of "fixed frequency points", it's nice to be able to "search and destroy" with a tight Q.

The only "quirk" with that console is the meter bridge drivers. They seem to go out a lot, and the op-amp drivers, as far as I know, are obsolete so when they go out you have to pay $10+ for a replacement.
hey Sean - my FIRST D&R was a Triton. Loved that console. I remember the opamp driver problem. It seems to me somewhere, deep, deep in my memory that at some point D&R switched circuits to something more long lasting. You might check into that with them. Then again, I might just be dreaming.....
Old 20th December 2010
  #13
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anje View Post
Dayner to newer D&R models?
Once you get past the Dayner to newer models, it's more about functionality and features when it comes to the differences. They sound very similar.

My personal preference is the OrionX - which I own. I'm going to be buried in it. heh

For me, it's the perfect blend of size, functionality, and features. In-line design. 6 bands of EQ per mod, with the 2 mid bands switchable into either path yielding a 4 band EQ WHEREVER you want it, floating subs, and automation. It's not analog under digital control like the Cinemix or Octagon, so IF it goes down, it's easier for my local tech to deal with, and I don't need to keep as many spares. I tend to like simple and less complex, but that's just me.

The Cinemix and Octagon are probably out of your price range, but they are Analog consoles that are Digitally controlled (like an SSL recall is to some degree)

As for DP's comment about the Dayner being "wider" that's due to the phase coherency component, and I'd tend to agree.

Do you want an in-line design? If so, look orion or triton. Split? look dayner or Vision.

Good luck.
Old 20th December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

Many years ago I had a D & R 4000 (model before Dayner) . . seems it was 36 input, but I can't remember. It was the largest D & R offered at that time. It was a pretty good console . . I still go back and listen to some of the old mixes and marvel at them. BUT, there were many things to consider (the acoustic design of the room it was in / the music / I hardly if ever used the internal pres etc). You will either like the limited buss system or hate it / the master section options are weak. BUT it can sound pretty good!

I will tell a funny story though . . . at the time I was producing a record for Clive Davis. I had done it all in my studio but decided to go to an SSL room to mix (of course these are the old SSL days / and I'm no fan of SSL) . . . it was a HUGE SSL that had been a fairly recent install where there was a beautiful old Neve beforehand!! We busted our asses trying to get those mixes to sound right on that SSL. They sounded terrible next to the old mixes from my place. We kept complaining to the studio owner (who was a friend, so he felt bad) . . he would call SSL and say "I'm listening to his mixes from a D & R and they are blowing the SSL away". SSL kept saying things like . . "well if you want it (the SSL) to sound good, we have some mods"!!!! The studio tech also found out there were some low end phase issues that needed to be corrected inside the console . . . but STILL! I ended up sending Clive the D & R mixes. I am not saying the D & R will blow away an SSL . . there are so many things to consider. I say get it and enjoy it . . . though it doesn't look like it's in too good of shape (where are the side / front panels?). Though I would think if you do indeed have $10,000 to spend on a console you will find better options then THAT D & R or D & R in particular.
Old 20th December 2010
  #15
Gear Head
 

Thanks Bill and Knox for all the info. I now have some homework and search to do.
Knox, just to be sure I understand correctly, by "other better options" do you mean "another D&R better than the one posted as example above", or "better option than D&R in general = other brand"?
Old 20th December 2010
  #16
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Knox's Avatar
 

depends . . . if it were me, knowing the type music I do and my likes / dislikes (available techs etc), I would possibly look into a MCI, Quad 8, Sphere (price?) or Neotek among other things over D & R. There are other options . . but I'm not totally aware of prices of certain Tridents / etc right now. What kind of music do you do? Do you have other pre amps / eqs? Inputs needed?
Old 20th December 2010
  #17
Gear Head
 

The music is mainly in the "classic rock" style I would say, but can oscillate between a more hard rock big riff tone to some cooler spatial / ambient & airy stuff, depending on the moment..
I don't have any other particular Preamp/eq worth mentioning at the moment (I've been using only Apogee ensemble until now), but I could get a few in addition to the console depending on the remaining budget and/or if needed for color/tone in addition to the console.
(btw I don't know if that matters but this will be mostly for a "private & friends" use, there is no commercial intent so far as for the use of the "studio").

As discussed above what I have in mind for a recording & mixing console "tone" and what I would look for in general in a recording/mix would be: "clean, transparent, big headroom, air, details, dimension,... dimension / depth & clarity would be very important, yet natural & musical warmth".
As far as "pronounced character" I would tend to prefer to be able to add that where / when / how I want, especially that for me the most important in tone is 99% of the times the source I work with, that's where I go to get the "character" I have in mind. It would not be "natural" to me to wait for the signal to come through a console to get most of the "tone" I would have in mind from the beginning... I don't know if that makes sense? at least that's how I "feel" about it. (btw I'm no expert recording engineer, I'm first a musician / composer who likes the engineer/producer part of the music and wants to go further that way, and learn )
Old 20th December 2010
  #18
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anje View Post
what I would look for in general in a recording/mix would be: "clean, transparent, big headroom, air, details, dimension,... dimension / depth & clarity would be very important,
That would not be a stock MCI or Trident IMO. Quad8 or Sphere is way out of your price league unless you have deeper pockets than you lead on..... (not to mention they are 10X's more rare)

Also, every one of those consoles is going to be more maintainence heavy than a D&R. Again, my opinion, but one based on living in this industry for 25+ years.

Neotek would be an option your should check. One step less transparent, one step more warm.
Old 20th December 2010
  #19
Gear Head
 

Thanks again Bill.
Old 20th December 2010
  #20
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uh . . . as I said . . . . "if it were me" . . . . . 'I' would look at those other consoles. And I HAVE seen Quad 8s in your range. Given your situation . . . and you being somewhat new, I'm sure a D & R Dayner would be ok but you will grow out of it and want more. A MCI 400 / 500 series would be very nice with tons more 'vibe' . . . but it will need maintenance from time to time if you find a nice one (but so will an old D & R like the Dayner). The pres / eqs infinitely more usable on a MCI . . . . and you can certainly make records on it! MANY great records have been made on MCIs. D & Rs? Not that much. If you are tracking bands live, the D & R Dayner pres will leave you somewhat underwhelmed at times (they are ok / though not punchy in the least for drums etc). BUT if you can get that one cheap . . . maybe you can buy some nice pres and use the board for monitoring. Remember, cabling expense for both and the fact that it (Dayner) has no patchbay. Bill of course knows more about the newer D & Rs and may recommend something that can fill your pre / bay etc needs for the price beside the Dayner. Neotek is something you should look into. DDA is a consideration. I don't know what your tech situation is, as I don't know where you live . . . but you should consider that as well when it comes to 'used' and vintage.
Old 21st December 2010
  #21
Gear Head
 

Thanks Knox that's very interesting & valuable feedback. I'll look into those other brands / console too.
As for the tech situation, I'm in France, currently in the Paris area, so finding a tech if needed should hopefully be ok. Also I should be able to do some work myself if needed. But yes the maintenance / reliability criteria is also a quite important one (I'd prefer not having to spend X hours / week or X00's euro every Y months to keep it in good health )
Old 21st December 2010
  #22
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
As Knox knows, I'm not an MCI fan.

I haven't even seen a Quad8 or Sphere for sale in years, but that doesn't mean they're not out there somewhere.

Pretty much ANY mixing console can be had for pennies on the dollar these days. I don't know how long that will last, but for now, USED consoles are the biggest bargain in pro audio, and it's a buyers market.

The reason you haven't seen more D&R cutting records in the US is because of lack of penetration by D&R into the US market, not because they are not good enough. I've actually seen the price of D&R Orions go up the last year or so because there are just not that many of them available and those that have them seem to be hanging on to them. Personally I hated the MCI consoles for a variety of reasons, but again, it's a personal taste thing.

DDA's are worth looking into, as are Soundtracs, but if it were my $$ I'd look at D&R or Neotek first. Support is a major issue these days, and D&R is still strong and in biz (mostly broadcast though they still support their recording boards) and I believe the guy that builds Neotek is still at it as well.

Good luck Anje andto Knox!
Old 21st December 2010
  #23
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

orion here
clean, neutral, lot of headroom, flexible, not many technical issues

it´s a great board
if you want a really colouring "iron" desk, that´s not
but it can be when you add hardware
so it´s more flexible
can be good / must not

pre´s are also clean and usefull, again no iron
i got some api/neve clones and use them too
but i often also use the orion preamps

eq is very usefull and smokes any itb eq
smokes the midas eq as well imo (i had a venice before)
got some outboard eqs, too, helios, trident, calrec, neumann...
but again, i often also use the Orion Eqs

if you get a desk with a heavy colour, it´s always there
your decision/taste

it´s still an analog desk, so it offers all the analog advantages in sound
"clean" doesn´t mean that it´s boring

if you buy a used old desk, there are issues
not many if you´re lucky, sometimes there are
recapping isn´t bad normally, but it´s easy
cleaning faders, potis...some work, but nothing that couldn´t be done on your own
keep this in mind

D&Rs are a steal sometimes, so you could put some work and got a real good desk imo
Old 21st December 2010
  #24
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Actually, no . . . I didn't know that. I really don't know what you don't like, except I remember you not liking analog tape over PT. I just know if anyone says anything bad about D & R, you are usually somewhat off to the races. I'm not being argumentative btw. You, like me . . are passionate about what you like / dislike. btw . . . I had one of the first D & Rs in the US (if what the original distributer told me is true). I would say there has been plenty of time for them to be over here and they are! . . . and I absolutely have nothing against them . . they are good consoles for the money. But as I said in my post . . "if it were me" I would go a different route for my needs (which are somewhat similar to what he does / vintage or 'classic' bands) where I like a bit of a vibe. The OP is doing a classic band . . . you sincerely think a D & R would be more kick ass then MCI for that? Though I agree . . . a newer D & R would serve him nicely for various reasons. Now If I did what you do . . . a D & R makes MUCH more sense for various reasons then a MCI etc. so I understand why you like them. And I certainly would put DDA over Soundtracs . . . sheesh! Yea I have a DDA right now (though not totally blown away by the DDA) . . . it's much better then a Soundtracs (at least any Soundtrac I ever worked on) IF I read that right

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
As Knox knows, I'm not an MCI fan.
Old 21st December 2010
  #25
Gear Head
 

That's interesting to read and follow such discussion between experimented members, that helps perceive what's behind each-other prefered option; please keep comments coming thumbsup
Old 22nd December 2010
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
DP - have you sprayed and reseated the ribbon cables? That could fix 98% of your problems. Also, check the power supply voltage rails to make sure they are balanced. I BELIEVE - but you should check with the factory first - that they should be +/- 18v. Good luck.
Thanks so much for the advice!
I think you are on to something with this, as the harness was remade about 3 or so years ago, and when I was cleaning the channels when I first got it home, I was noticing some things were kind of barely fitting.
What would you use to clean it with? I have right now for pots MandG Contact Cleaner with Silicone, which seems to work very well at cleaning up pots. I also have MandG contact Cleaner? Would either of those work?
When reseating it, is there anything unique about how I should do it? ie a certain order, or very specific way to do it?

Thanks so much!!

DP
Old 22nd December 2010
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anje View Post
Thanks for the inputs.
Wow nice feedback for the Dayner Darth Preamp, I would not have expected those to be prefered to some big SSL for sound/tone! That would make them even more a fantastic value for the money. Have you by chance been able to compare your Dayner to newer D&R models?
The only D&R board I have experience with is the Dayner.

Best of Luck!

DP
Old 22nd December 2010
  #28
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rob S's Avatar
hey knox
how do you like your DDA?
how does that compare to your D+R and MCI experience.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #29
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Preamp View Post
What would you use to clean it with? I have right now for pots MandG Contact Cleaner with Silicone, which seems to work very well at cleaning up pots. I also have MandG contact Cleaner? Would either of those work?
When reseating it, is there anything unique about how I should do it? ie a certain order, or very specific way to do it?

Thanks so much!!

DP
DP - Whatever you use should be residue free and this is a place you do NOT want to make a mistake. The one with silicone does not sound right. Caig has a product that will work. Cantact either them or Paul Westbrook at D&R and order the right thing. Any weird or initermittent problems can almost always be traced back to the ribbon cables.

No specific order, just make sure the connector is seated well, and the two locking arms are in fact "locked". Good luck.

bp
Old 23rd December 2010
  #30
Spoke with Paul via email, He was very helpful

DP
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