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What benefit would a console be.......
Old 3rd February 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

What benefit would a console be.......

Hi Guys,

Very ignorant as to how a studio works so hang with me.....

Over the past few months I have been researching and buying gear. At present I have nice preamps - API 3124, Avalon, etc. Compressors - LA2A, 1176. I will be making dance music mainly ITB but with hardware synths, some vocals and using outboard effects (Eventide).
I have tried reading up as to how a console might be integrated as I am going for the highest sound quality possible but it is all over my head as I have never touched a hardware console. The basic question is - would using a console be a waste of time and money as I already have great preamps and eq. If not, how would I integrate this and what would it do for me. I will be using Logic and eventually Orpheus Prism converters.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 

They look really nice.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
axisdreamer's Avatar
Get yourself a console that sounds good maybe with some transformers in it and some good eq on every ch and you'll love it ! I have good outboard eq's too but always use my console eq's when I mix.The right comsole will make your sound seem bigger & sweeter & warmer.You dont need to spend more then a few grand for something that sounds good either.A cool old Allen and Heath all discrete console just went for $2800 the other day listed on here and sold through ebay.Good time to buy a console!
Old 3rd February 2011
  #4
JL.
Gear Nut
 
JL.'s Avatar
 

I don't think now a days you need one at all. But it depends on how you like to work.

I've recorded in studios with high end gear but no console and they have great sounding recordings. They've won awards. So it depends on if you want a hands on approach I guess.

Oh, and that's a lot of nice gear for someone that's ignorant on how a studio works.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thanks Axisdreamer -
Problem is I would not even know if a particular console sounded nice or not and I am not in a position to compare. Even if I had two side by side any differences would probably be a result of me using different settings etc. So far I see that the benefit would be eq and a warmer sound (from going put of the computer, through the console and back in....I guess).
Anybody else in my position think they would justify a console...and why?
I am not really interested in having something like this taking up space, but if it made a big difference then I would sacifice the space for sound quality.

Oh, one other question - will all consoles let me bypass the preamp section in favor of my outboard gear?


Thanks
Old 3rd February 2011
  #6
Gear Addict
 

If you're setup In-line, and with a patchbay.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #7
JL.
Gear Nut
 
JL.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashey View Post
Thanks Axisdreamer -
Problem is I would not even know if a particular console sounded nice or not and I am not in a position to compare. Even if I had two side by side any differences would probably be a result of me using different settings etc. So far I see that the benefit would be eq and a warmer sound (from going put of the computer, through the console and back in....I guess).
Anybody else in my position think they would justify a console...and why?
I am not really interested in having something like this taking up space, but if it made a big difference then I would sacifice the space for sound quality.

Oh, one other question - will all consoles let me bypass the preamp section in favor of my outboard gear?


Thanks
If you're not in a position to know, then you are asking advice as in if you should buy one or not. You don't need one necessarily, but there is only one way to find out. If you have the money, buy one used, learn it, record with it and see how you feel. If you don't like using one, then sell it. Hands on is the only way you will know what works for you.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #8
Sky
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Sky's Avatar
 

Would using a console be a waste of time and money? Not necessarily, but for modern music it's not an absolute requirement either, imho.

If you're already getting good results ITB producing dance-oriented music, adding a console may barely improve sound quality while complicating your current setup and workflow, especially because you already have nice preamps and converters (Prism). It sounds like you're competent mixing with a mouse, so why change unless you have a specific reason for doing so?

Disclaimer - I've mixed on consoles but currently prefer working ITB with a 003R and very few outboard sources. I do intend to upgrade the I/O (to Avid Omni) which will be more than adequate for occasionally tracking acoustic instruments and monitoring through the improved D/A.


Sky
Old 3rd February 2011
  #9
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sleepingbag's Avatar
What benefit would a console be.......

To me it sounds like you have absolutely no need for one. Learn more about recording and work with what you have, which is already a lot better than what I have and I do this professionally.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #10
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Hope this helps!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JL. View Post
I don't think now a days you need one at all. But it depends on how you like to work.

I've recorded in studios with high end gear but no console and they have great sounding recordings. They've won awards. So it depends on if you want a hands on approach I guess.

Oh, and that's a lot of nice gear for someone that's ignorant on how a studio works.
I like this point here.
Very good point.

From working on one I can say.
It was just different to me very different coming form ITB and using a console (with no experience in real HW consoles).
I expected it would make my sound better but mh; even a well known brand in consoles is not a magic thing if you have no experience with it.

Form this short experience I just had the impression that using a console instead of mixing ITB slows down the process.
And this felt good because my judgements where more clear ... and this helped to get the sound I wanted.

But with the ITB possibilities of today and a proper tuned room I have my doubts if a console would be the solution to get a much better result.

I think it is also a part of preference how you like to work.

"In the END of the DAY you need a great mix ...."
I love this sentence by Eric Zobler.

Or hear what Fab Dupont said:
"No gear is improving your sound to 100%"

Ask yourself what a well experienced engineer could do with your current gear.

May this brings you back to the answer that it would be more clever to work on your skills or maybe to put money in your room treatment.
Both of these options last the rest of your carer.
Just my 2 cents.

Lets here what more experienced engineers say to your question.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #11
Gear Head
 

Thanks guys, I think my question is answered. This wasn't about the work style, I am happy enough to work ITB but the fact that I might be missing out on a possibly "bigger" sound going the console route has been niggling me. Not necessary to impress clients with the board neither since I have no clients and I do this for pleasure and work outside of a studio setting but in the music industry. So with that said and no real benefit in sound quality to be had I guess I have saved some money even though i was getting quite excited at the prospect of learning to use one.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #12
Gear Nut
 

I have a 20 channel mixer which I use during tracking to allow me to create a quick monitor mix without having to use a mouse. I have stereo groups/buses coming out to pairs of faders: 1: Main (keys, guitars) 2: Vocals 3: Drums/Percussion 4: Bass. Plus any microphones or instruments being recorded come through the desk for monitoring.

This allows me to instantly mute any group and set up a mix for headphones when recording. This would be much harder and slower without the mixer.

When it comes to mix time, I mix in the box, as I don't think the mixer really improves the sound.

So for me the mixer adds convenience and speed.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #13
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashey View Post
Thanks guys, I think my question is answered. This wasn't about the work style, I am happy enough to work ITB but the fact that I might be missing out on a possibly "bigger" sound going the console route has been niggling me. Not necessary to impress clients with the board neither since I have no clients and I do this for pleasure and work outside of a studio setting but in the music industry. So with that said and no real benefit in sound quality to be had I guess I have saved some money even though i was getting quite excited at the prospect of learning to use one.
My guess work is it wont make your sound better or bigger or anything like this. Bur it may will make you feeling better and for god sake it will change your workflow and this can have big influence on your output.

If think you fell the music better moving real faders and money is no issue so go that route.

But keep in mind it is not only the console.
Decent converters at least RME wit enough Outputs.
Good cables and learning how to set this up.
Learning how to work with it- because you have to domains form there on you work in digital and analogue.

And you give away total recall a thing what I love on DAW mixing you can have a break work on other stuff and you can go back in seconds to an old song.

As much as I love seeing a console but maintaing it keeping it alive and all the other stuff that can happen in the analogue domain keeps me away form it.

I remember the stories of a friend who owned a big studio.
I am at least happy with the problems I have to solve with a small hybrid setup without a console.

Ask yourself do you really want to go this route!

Go to a studio who have console and mix there a song together with an engineer. This is what I did and in the end I was a happy ITB camper.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #14
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axisdreamer's Avatar
I have had my console for maybe close to 12 years and never had much problem with it.If a ch does have a problem I just pop out the module and put in a spare and later fix the problem module and often that is just putting in a new opamp or cap. My console in moduler and I can take modules out while the console is powered up.Consoles are not for everyone.I always used one from day one when home studios gave you no other choice back in the 70's.The console does not slow me down.I keep a running mix as I am tracking so I can do a quick mix at the end of the day. Guess it's all about what you are use to using.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #15
Gear Guru
ashey- Let me make an alternate suggestion. Instead of buying a console, it would be a better use of your money to hire a professional engineer.

Short term, no piece of gear is as important to the quality of the mix as guy operating it.

Long term you could use the experience to observe, ask questions and learn. Think of it as an education.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by magus888 View Post
They look really nice.


Honestly, do your basic self-instruction first, learn what the functions and roles of various elements in the recording and mixing chains do -- as well as understanding what the alternatives are in the many areas where there is more than one (or two) ways to do things.

When you understand how it all fits together and works, get some real world, hands on experience. Test out different ways of working and approaches to the extent you can. Often, one can work out those things on quite inexpensive rigs. Diving head first blindfolded only works if you're lucky enough to jump into just the right spot. Blindfolded. Take off the blindfold and don't be afraid to stick a toe or two in the water before you ease in.

A lot of folks seem to take the approach that they want the 'best' -- that's great, as long as they know what they're doing and what the 'best' is in their circumstance. But the best for me is not necessarily the best for you.

Often times, it makes more sense to start with a modest but reliable set up, bring yourself up to speed and learn the approaches that work best for you in your situation the way you want to work.

The cost difference between top-end stuff and decent entry level gear is often 10, maybe 15 times more. Someone plunging in without his wits about him might buy some really great pieces, but if they don't work together optimally or work for that individual's needs, that's a drag. An expensive drag.

Better to learn your way around first and then spend money.
Old 3rd February 2011
  #17
Sky
Lives for gear
 
Sky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
As much as I love seeing a console but maintaing it keeping it alive and all the other stuff that can happen in the analogue domain keeps me away form it.
This is an important point. It's one thing to work in a facility with an engineering tech available to keep everything running, and another to have to become that tech in a project studio during a creative session.

Sky
Old 4th February 2011
  #18
Gear Head
 

Thanks for all the great advice guys. I should have mentioned that a big part of running a console for me was the educative element. Sure, I have all the knobs and faders in my DAW but I felt by using a console I would fully understand everything better. I get quite lost when I read about you guys doing this and that, strapping compressors over busses etc and I basically would love to undestand this inside out and I think it will give me a clearer picture when using a DAW.

I have spent a lot of time researching my gear before I buy it and I try to pick up very reasonably priced pieces that I can sell on if I decide later that they are not for me, desirable pieces that I know I can unload if need be. When looking at consoles I had narrowed it down to a Toft and a Soundcraft. The Soundcraft may be the lesser of the two pieces but what appealed to me was the extra functions on the Ghost that I could educate myself about. I have the chance to buy a Soundcraft Ghost, and while I realize this is not a high end piece, getting it for $1,300 would give me the opportunity to see if a console is for me and if not, I could sell it on and not lose too much money and learn some things into the bargain. Also, at this price if I did like it I could potentially have it modded and have read great things about doing this on the Ghost.

I live out in the sticks but if i lived in the city (San Franciso) i would have no hestiation in approaching studios to let me work there for no pay for three of four months for the experience. I do music for a living but every record I have released has been a case of flying out of the country to the label, sitting down with engineers and letting them do all the dirty work but recently I have become fascinated with the idea of doing this myself in my own project studio and doing it the best I can and basically have a ton of fun with it. My only regret is not doing this earlier.

I am far from tech savvy and basic stuff like connections drives me nuts, tons to learn but i guess I will never get bored. Talking about basic stuff - the other night I started to think about "what mono is" - kind of embarrasing to admit but i am still not quite sure. That is, sound coming from two speakers but mono. However, it was refreshing to find out when i did some digging that quite a lot of people are in the same boat as me on this basic subject.

Anyway, thanks for all the nice input and I will invite you all to the grammys when I hit it big (hehe).
Old 4th March 2011
  #19
Gear Head
 

Theblueone......

Thanks - if a console wouldn't have much of an impact on the finished sound of my recordings what you are saying would be my secondary reason for using one - education.
I find that I drift along ITB because everything is so automatic with routings etc that I don't need to think all that much and it is important for me to learn all about routings, signal flow etc and if I buy a cheap mixer the cost of this education could be well worth it. When you guys talk about sends, inserts, busses etc and use a bunch of other terms I get lost. I read books a lot for info but like driving a car you could sit forever reading about changing gears, acelerating etc but until you actually get behind a wheel you are never going to become a skilled driver.
Old 5th March 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashey View Post
Thanks for all the great advice guys. I should have mentioned that a big part of running a console for me was the educative element. Sure, I have all the knobs and faders in my DAW but I felt by using a console I would fully understand everything better. I get quite lost when I read about you guys doing this and that, strapping compressors over busses etc and I basically would love to undestand this inside out and I think it will give me a clearer picture when using a DAW.
To me, it sounds like you could benefit from taking a mixing class or something like that first. I've taken many classes, and they have really helped me expand my knowledge, make smarter choices, and get a better view of the whole picture. Using busses, inserting hardware, send/returns, etc. is all very fundamental to mixing. Your DAW functions like a virtual console, and learning how to use it will help you understand the basics of a real life setup for free. You can figure out ITB what you need to get by on to make your mixes (how many Aux busses, channels, etc.) and then look at the realistics of a physical setup and weigh cost vs. what you need. You show a great desire to learn, and it might be benificial to get some more basics down before committing $ to product whose limitations you may not fully understand. Then again, if you've got the cash and you're GAS'ing, I totally understand. I just thought I'd share my perspective, and I hope that this comes across as me trying to be helpful not rude. - paul
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