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I want an analog console (console advice) Consoles
Old 5th January 2012
Lives for gear
recordinghopkins's Avatar
There's a Peavey AMR 800 on knoxville craigslist right now, condition unknown.

Just in case you're interested.
I have no affiliation with the seller.
Old 5th January 2012
Gear Maniac
Don Hearl's Avatar
You are in the Nashville area, right? Have you talked to Randy Blevins yet? He can get you into a board. If not then talk to Chris Mara. He will set you straight on MCI. All of this talk about cloudy this and that is just BS. Listen to the new United Record Pressing recording of Brendan Benson or Cory Chisel straight to 2 track recorded through a what...a what? an MCI JH618 with two band Eq and with factory preamps...

Old 5th January 2012
Gear nut

Thread Starter
I haven't talked to anybody because, again, I don't have the money yet! I'm just getting ideas on what's out there in my ideal price range. Someone has already messaged me about Randy Blevins though. When I'm ready to buy something, I'll be calling him to see what he's got.

But, if I'm not mistaken, doesn't Chris Mara only deal in MCI tape machines? My friend Jon bought a JH24 off of him and is real happy. On the mention of Chris' name from Jon, I went to his website and I didn't see anything about console restoration. But I do have him in mind for when I'm ready to buy multi-track analog, that's for sure.

I'm going to check those recordings out! Thanks for the info.
Old 5th January 2012
Gear Maniac
Don Hearl's Avatar
Chris can source about anything and has restored a bunch of consoles. He recently found a MCI 428b board and commisioned it for our friends Reel East Nashville, among others. Actually, he is coming over in about 35 minutes to help me with some gear! It would be no harm to get his and Randy's advice while you get the fundage together. I only say MCI, because in this price range it is a great way to go for a modular console. I've got a little JH618 that has not been any trouble maintaining...of course I'm considering recapping the power supply and master section, and all the other things that go along with a 30 year old board. I still would choose this over a new non modular design.

It's a good community here in Nashville, as you know. Good LUCK!

Old 5th January 2012
Lives for gear
dualflip's Avatar

I tried it on my MCI, to be honest we tried A LOT of opamps on our MCIs including OPA627 and many others, No ultra fast video opamps, sorry. And let me tell you that most people are keeping the 5534 because they just sound great, the LME49710 does sound good only in some key areas, but replacing every 5534 sounds like the console got castrated.

BTW im not trying to flame you or anything, to be fair I think you are one of the guys here who know what he is talking about, In fact, i wouldnt mind sending a couple of boxes to you for some audio cleaning.

Above all, i disagree when somebody asks something as simple as, "which caps should i use for my XXXX?" and you reply by saying that all the opamps need to be replaced, that he should resolder everything with silver solder, and that its the only way that XXXX will ever sound great. It would be like asking "what kinda motor oil do you recommend for my car?" and replying that he should replace the engine, transmission and suspension; something not only irrelevant to the original question, but also uncalled for....

Dont get me wrong, I love doing upgrades, but i dont think that its the only way to make things sound right, some things just sound right, and you may have to learn to respect other people's tastes, even if that means "colored".
Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
heyman's Avatar
Going on year 4 of my Toft.. One Fader that needs some massaging.. That's it.

To the earlier poster who owned the Trident 70. Transformers vs transformerless.. What the Toft lacks on the mix buss it makes up for with the eq and routing. I would love to see some mods for the 2 bus - it doesnt like to be pushed..

Overall- I am very happy integrating my outboard with it. Not an itb kind of guy..

If your handy and want something else in that price range used, be prepared for alot maintanence..

Best of luck..
Old 6th January 2012
Gear Head

re: the Sony/MCI MXP 2916:
will try to answer your questions the best I can:
The MXP 2900 series of consoles is amongst the last MIC built boards-
the one I have originally shipped direct from the MCI Fla factory- which had been purchased by Sony.
Wonderful sounding and perfect for small footprint Pro Tools OTB summing-
It was originally conceived as a broadcast console to mix hi end broadcast audio to digital decks
such as Sony D2 and Digital Betacam-
I have not heard anything sweeter in that footprint (the 2916 is 33 inches wide) and I've worked on everything in NYC.

when you say it has VCA grouping, is that "channel linking" where you control all faders from their respective points together?
answer: yes exactly- It has the facility to do up to 4 separate VCA groups- depending on how many group faders your consoles is configured with- most of the MXP 2916's came fitted w/ 4 group faders- I left two in my set up and I swapped two of the group faders for two additional channel input modules. Can always put them back in.

As for the two stereo sub groups, are they assignable independent of the master stereo bus?
answer: yes- you have a flexible choice to send any channel to any or all of the two sub groups and/or stereo mix bus.
There are basically 3 buttons on each channel that allow you to select either or all of the stereo busses.

You say it has a multiple monitor function and a main mix out. How does this work?
answer: The console has facility to send to two different sets of monitors-
#1 a standard control room setup and #2 a separate "B" mix output-
there is also an output for what the manual refers to as "studio monitors (to differentiate from control room monitors) but it would be either the "A" mix or the "B" mix

I'm assuming the "16" in 2916 is a reference to the number of channels it has. I've seen this number change in my research. I'm really liking this Sony more and more, and especially at the price and footprint.

Could you send me a good photo of a channel strip and the master section? I've seen some pictures online but they're not that great.

answer will try to - busy for the next few days

And does this thing have mic pres in it or is it just a line mixer?
answer: yes- Sony/MCI originally offered the channel modules with or without mic pres-
My MXP 2916 is a 20 module frame -16 of which are input channels- the one I am using is set up as: 12 input channels w really sweet sounding mic pres, 2 stereo input channels without mic pres, two group modules, master module, monitor module, communication module, and dynamics module. The 2916 is a 20 module frame. The input channels for the MXP 2900 series were available with or without transformers- All the channels on the console I have do have the transformers-
that may be one of the reasons for the tone. The MXP 2900 series offered a choice between channel modules that had: two mono line inputs, or one mic and one line input, or stereo channel modules w 3 stereo line inputs.
I really like the mic pres on the MXP 2900- I ran a rough test on acoustic guitar finger picked- using the console mic pres vs. a Millennia HV3- using a basic AKG 414 - I thought the millennia had slightly nicer hi end definition/articulation-
but thought the Sony had very nice mids and harmonic warmth- just a personal opinion. in any case the Sony/MCI mic pres sounded great.
This board is a bit like discovering a cool little Mercedes sportscar that everyone seems to have overlooked -
Excellent MCI sound-w broadcast features that are very useful for composers doing splits or stem mixes. I have a feeling when the word gets out on these consoles- composers will be trying to get them- not sure how many Sony had built out of the MCI factory. reminder GET ONE W/ THE CONNECTORS.
Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
For a budget of $2-5k just stay ITB and invest in some CR treatment and better monitors. That will make 1000x more of a difference in the "mojo" of your mixes than an analog console in that price range -- that is, if you haven't already covered those bases.

This is coming from a Trident Series 80 owner with over $26k invested in the console alone, and another $40k in outboard patched into it. As great as the console is, without the outboard and the routing it would be nowhere near the same; the 2bus compressor alone (Red 3) brings it to a whole nutha level.

There's no way you will find a vintage console worth the hassle for any less than $15k BEFORE refurb !!! IMHO the "entry level" threshold of $ invested where one will distinctly notice the "game changer" aspect of an analog rig is right around $70k! Again, this is merely entering the ring at the absolute bottom tier -- but is still a HUGE step up from the ITB/hybrid/summing bus hellzone.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but it's the unapologetic truth from a seasoned veteran of the game.

Old 6th January 2012
Not vintage? Burn it.
Alex Breaux's Avatar

Ehh.. I agree, but before I bought my console, I looked at some pretty clean MCI's for around $5k.. MCI would not be a bad investment at all.

My APC 1000 was $15k, but with wiring "I didn't have to do any long runs", moving costs "in my own bobtail", and commissioning, I think in the end it was between $18-$20k. But my desk is HUGE, 3300 lbs to be exact.

And smaller desks cut costs down on a lot on many things.

Bottom line I think-

$5k- you can probably make it happen with a decent desk, but its iffy

$8k- much more logical

$10k- you can start looking at some pretty good desks

$15k- you can get a GREAT desk

$20-$30k- you can now get a real desk. Amek, SSL, Neve

My friend called me the other day and he told me he wanted to get a small 24ch console. He tells me he has $3,000.. I told him to look at Wheatstone and desks like that. He found a few decent deals and called me back to tell me about them. I started really thinking about it and I told him to WAIT until he has at least $5k-$8k. I told him at that point he would get something that is worth buying. Other then that, its hopes and dreams. He started talking about doing mods on soundcrafts and wheatstones and I told him by the time he's done with the mods he will be up to $5-$8k anyways, and it still wont sound as good as a high end desk.

I duno.. My 2 cents..
Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
cheu78's Avatar
I was there during another recording, the smoke fairies.. And I was shocked on how good things sounded throughthat MCI.. of course Chris knows what he's doing, which helps.. heh

I remember a 3 band eq, but I might be wrong.. I was totally surrounded by the music..

The Upstairs at United series is a must have IMO !!

beautiful Nashville!

Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear

Well I have to disagree with the premise that you have to spend $15k as the starting point for a decent desk or you may as well stay ITB. Frankly a Mackie 24-8 or 32-8 will give you added 3D over ITB at less than $1k if you are willing to put up with their other limitations. There have been plenty of good D&R's and Neoteks under $10k that have been up for sale in the classifieds here to prove that point (wasn't there a nice D&R for under $3k being shopped here recently?). If you go through a middle man or broker there will be plenty of extra cost so the key is smart direct shopping and waiting for the right deal. Of course you would be silly not to factor in other costs like cabling and converters but it's simplier to keep the cost of a desk at the price you pay for the desk to make apples to apples comparisions a bit easier. The bigger questions to answer regarding desks are: How many channels do you need at mix? How many channels do you track at a time and will you be using the desk's pres? How good / usable is the desk's EQ? How many busses will you need? How flexible is the routing - both Pre and Post inserts? Are you looking for a transparent or color desk? It's not just about budget, it's defining your needs then seeing what fits them in your budget range.
Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
oldgearguy's Avatar

Actually, I think the poster earlier was saying $15k total investment (desk + repairs + routing/patchbays + outboard fx). Given that, (and based on my limited experiences), I'd have to agree. The initial price of the console is not the final cost of the system, even if you don't have to sink and time/money into fixing up the console.

Oh - and earlier when I was comparing my Series 70 to the ATB, I was talking about the Series 70 line inputs (no transformers there) not the mic inputs.
Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
heyman's Avatar
Sorry, my bad... Still have no complaints about my toft.
Old 6th January 2012
Gear Maniac
Don Hearl's Avatar
3 band yes. My mistake on that, and I even heave the board.

Not the Para EQ


Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
cheu78's Avatar

LOL! heh

Say hello to Chris! I loved Nashville when I was there..

Take care,

Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
You forgot to mention Trident and API in your "real" desk category -- and when I say Trident, I'm only talking about the flagships -- A range, TSM, and Series 80. Everything else they made were not in the same category IMHO -- not even close.

The Series 80 (not the later b or c) is a BEAST of a desk if it is recapped and up to spec. I've had several well known techs tell me that the design is much closer to class A than the later Bs and Cs where lots of corners were cut.

I have worked on Tridents, Neves, APIs and SSLs, and I can tell you straight up that those desks are just sonically different from each other, but in no way superior IMHO. Neves are DARK, COLORED and WEIGHTY, SSLs are SHEENY and HI FI, APIs are PUNCHY, BOLD, and OPEN, and Tridents are SIZZLY, CRUNCHY, BOLD, and OPEN !!! And you'd BETTER have a qualified tech living next door for the API, Neve or SSL !!!! And the MCI ??? You'd better BE THE TECH unless you want to spend $3k per month in tech fees just to keep it running 70% of the time !!!

Actually, the only Amek I would put in the "real" desk category is the 9098 -- and you aint gonna get that for $30k !!! The other Ameks, IMHO, are a joke. The Hendrix and Einstien are VERY sterile (pretty much like a Soundcraft Ghost), though they look slutty. Actually, the Amek Angela is probably the best of the bunch sonically.

Then you've got the Neoteks which are pretty darn good (though rather sterile), but in the $15k category for a decent one.

After messing around with SSLs, Neves, APIs, and Trident I decided on the Series 80 because 1) it was sonically in the same league 2) it was known to have the least maintenance issues of that bunch and was BY FAR the easiest to do repairs on 3) it consumes the least power, thus not requiring a cooled machine room and 4) it was the only one I could fit thru my CR door without having to knock the wall down and rebuild it !!!

I had the $ to get anything I wanted, so that wasn't the issue. But, like I said, the desk (ANY desk !!!) is only a small part of the overall equation of what I would call a "game changing" analog rig. You need at least 20 channels of good outboard comps ($40 to $60k), along with a bunch of other ear candy toys to do stellar, hi track count modern rock/metal/pop mixes.

And even a great 56 channel console is just a glorified "summing box" these days when you have 128 tracks coming from the DAW.

Old 6th January 2012
Lives for gear
Lek's Avatar

I disagree with getting a Toft ATB at all - sounded horrible and no headroom. I'm currently using a Speck Lilo with digital or with my Ampex mm1200 16 track - I bought it used so got it at a good price - I use external hardware pres, eq's. Obviously the Lilo might not fit what you're doing though.
Old 7th January 2012
Lives for gear
79_Limited's Avatar

Old 7th January 2012
Gear Head

Sony / (MCI) MXP 2900 still looks pretty good at $1k

(2916 and 2936)
Old 7th January 2012
Not vintage? Burn it.
Alex Breaux's Avatar

Or I could have just put "etc".. I was not stating that trident and api's are not good, cause they are fantastic. I just figured ssl, neve, amek was enough to get the picture.

the 9098 is a amazing desk, some of the other Ameks are pretty good as well. Hyde Street had I think it was a Amek 2500 before the upgrade to my APC 1000, and they thought the 2500 blew away the 80's they looked at. But, I guess its a preference thing.

Have you ever worked on a APC 1000? Anyone that has say its one of the best sounding and user friendly desks in history. So I wouldn't discredit a desk that you have never even seen, let alone other ameks, etc.

I also think your idea of outboard is over the top. All I would need is a good 1176 and maybe a la2 on top of my 48ch of kepex II. But thats my opinion, and we all have our certain way we like to work. : )
Old 7th January 2012
Lives for gear
Never worked on the APC 1000, so that may indeed be a great Amek. The 2500s are good too, forgot to mention that. But they also (just like Trident) made some pretty crappy stuff too !!

Didn't mean to come accross so boldly, but I stand by my position on the outboard issue. You need at least 20 channels of "mojo" type outboard (or plugin equivalents) to cover all the bases on rock/pop/metal mixes -- unless you do all that at tracking, in which case you'd better be at the top of your game !! And I don't mean 10db of GR either (unless for paralell comp), I'm talking just on the inserts and barely even seeing the GR needle move at all. I'm talking stuff like la2as, pultecs, cl1b, 436c, gates sta level, 1176 (blue stripe & black rev d/e), la3a, la4, dbx 165 -- ya know, pretty much all the "standard" mojo stuff or newer variations thereof. The real pros use these for "color" rather than any type of real compression.

In all honesty, the outboard is much more of a factor than any console IMHO. That's why you see so many of these guys going hybrid these days, though to me that's like trying to run a marathon with prosthetic legs.

I've had the good fortune to sit in on 3 MAJOR rock artist tracking sessions that were later mixed ITB. What I can tell you is that 99.9% of all the "mojo" processing was done in the tracking phase with all the standard $MONEY$ "mojo" gear. It's pretty funny when you see $150,000 worth of mics, pres, comps, verbs, delays, eqs, etc. being used as the front end into PT; even funnier to know that 99.9% of all the knob tweaking and ear candy was accomplished at that stage by peeps who were at the top of their game and knew what they were doing.

Then you're falling off your chair laughing later when you hear peeps around here sayin: "hey, they mixed that record fully ITB so that means it's all just about talent".

PT Barnum is more relevant today than ever

Old 7th January 2012
Gear Nut
Silvan's Avatar

Sage advice.
Old 8th January 2012
Not vintage? Burn it.
Alex Breaux's Avatar

I would love to spend that much and get that gear, and I would love to have it. But because of what you just said, I would never pay it off. I honestly don't know if anyone could. U47's up to $16k I've seen? It seems like the only people that have gear like that in the masses are the ones that bought it when it was new.

I wish I had a time machine.. lol
Old 8th January 2012
Lives for gear
Joao B.'s Avatar

I have an AMEK M1000 and it's a fantastic desk. It was the last board they hand built and it sounds great. Lots of point to point wiring. Same EQ as the 2500, Sowter transformers, etc. I believe it's from 1979-1980.
Old 8th January 2012
Gear Head

please excuse the photo quality-
but this should help answer a few questions for anyone considering a Sony (MCI) MXP 2916 console
seriously sweet sounding - small footprint - summing mixer-
this one is configured as 2 stereo input modules, 12 mono input modules each w mic pres, 2 group modules, master module, monitor module, communication module, and dynamics module- directs out on every input channel- transformers TONE.

SONY MXP 2900 Pin out assignments from the manual

Transformers everywhere inside the Sony (MCI) MXP built like a tank rolling through the ardennes

Last edited by Stravinsky; 8th January 2012 at 08:46 PM..
Old 8th January 2012
Small world. Used to be in Bristol, in a barn in Piney Flats now! I finally made it, the big time at last!

Plenty of clients, mostly from out of town though. Let me know when you're up this way.
Old 8th January 2012
Gear Maniac
Over the years I have acquired a small but formidable collection of outboard compressors, eq's and pres for tracking, but have always mixed ITB (an MC Mix really helps ). However, I still lusted for a real console and am now in the early stages of getting two vintage consoles up-and-running: a massive 32-channel Yamaha PM2000 and a smaller 16-channel Soundcraft Delta 200. Both of these beasts were built like tanks - the Toft ATB feels like brittle glass in comparison.

Long story short - I have already invested too much time and $ into these consoles (neither of which I am actually USING yet), and could have / should have just bought the SSL X-Desk.

Live and learn
Old 8th January 2012
Lives for gear
heyman's Avatar
Hope you get Yamaha and Soundcraft up and running... But I have to say one thing. How much was either of those console brand new.... They were not 5 grand.. that's for sure... 3 times as much..? 4 times... ? I dont know..

Would I like to see the Toft built like a tank and lined with transformers.. ? Yes... But let's get realistic.
Old 8th January 2012
Gear Guru
u b k's Avatar

It's true, the headroom is slack, and it's soft on the transients. Mix bus mods clear that up pretty handily, but stock is no 2488... nor does anyone expect it to be.

As for 'sounded horrible', respectfully, that's just plain nonsense. It has its weaknesses, but it has many strengths as well, and you can make verrry good sounding mixes on the Toft. I know because I've done it, and heard others do it as well.

Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 9th January 2012
They fall apart. Some Radio Shack kits come partially assembled. Get a few of them and hot glue them together, you'll have a Toft.
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