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Good Sounding Console
Old 27th June 2012
  #1
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Good Sounding Console

I am looking for a good sounding analog console with 16 or 24 channels. From what I've read SSL's are very sterile sounding. I am going to be recording to tape.
Old 27th June 2012
  #2
What is your budget?

I like these:
Allen & Heath GL2400
Soundcraft GB4-24
Allen & Heath ZED-R16
Soundcraft MFXi 20

My Favorites:
Audient's ASP4816
Toft ATB24

My most favorite;
The Audient ASP8024
Old 27th June 2012
  #3
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spectrasound's Avatar
Midas

It's a sleeper...Midas Venice 320, 240. Basically the same pre as it's big brothers. May want to mod. the direct outs for pre-fader/pre-eq
Old 27th June 2012
  #4
Facepalm
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddpaulbell View Post
From what I've read SSL's are very sterile sounding.
That's right. No one ever recorded a hit record with an SSL.
Old 27th June 2012
  #5
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facepalm View Post
That's right. No one ever recorded a hit record with an SSL.
Regardless of how good or bad an Ssl sounds you pay over the odds for the name. You can buy a used desk for a lot less that no one would dispute sounds just as good. The main attraction of Ssl desks seems to be recall and reputation as far as I can tell. If those things are important to you then maybe its worth considering.

My vote goes for older broadcast gear, you can get a lot of quality and functionality for not much money.

You could get 3 desks like mine (calrec m series) for the price of a Ssl and I've never heard a better sounding desk, different but not better. It's been extremely reliable and cheap to run too.
Old 27th June 2012
  #6
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cheu78's Avatar
Get a nice studer 963 or 900 series or a Soundcraft 8000 (with some slight mods for the studio) or an Amek Classic or a Midas xl250, xl3 or xl4, depending what do you need.. (the small sized venice is also pretty good)..

Great boards..especially the studer's and they go rather cheap these days compared of how much they wanted when they were new..

I'll have for sale a 970, a 963 and an Amek Classic shortly..I guess..
First come first served.. I'll put some pics in the classifieds with the ads..sorry forthe shameless plug.



Cheu
Old 27th June 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
I have a Cadac available in the ads section Expandable up to 18x10
Loaded with Iron, wonderful signal path.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #8
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jackinthebox's Avatar
 

Whereabouts are you? I also have a nice Cadac A type available in London.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #9
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Magnus's Avatar
 

API 1608 is nice.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #10
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stevelindsay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
My Favorites:
Audient's ASP4816
Toft ATB24
I have an Audient ASP4816 and I think its a great sounding 16ch console. But what's great sounding to me may not be great sounding to you. By the sound of it you do not want a sterile sounding desk, so maybe something with a lot of iron? The 4816 is a clean-sounding desk but you can patch plenty of iron in en-route to tape via outboard pres/comps etc.

For me, this is the better route to go (ie a transparent/clean desk that you can add outboard iron to) as opposed to having a heavily coloured desk, and then wishing you could do some really clean/uncoloured stuff with it from time to time. Horses for courses, as they say.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelindsay View Post
I have an Audient ASP4816 and I think its a great sounding 16ch console.
It's actually 32 channels (16 with long faders and 16 with short faders) but only 16 eqs/pres. And 40 mixing channels if you count the group faders. I have one and I love it. It's a clean console but definitely not sterile.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
I love my D&R Triton, and once I had spent the time refurbing it, it now sounds amazing. Clear, warm....like an audient or neotek. Those desks are the useful ones, that give you the transparency you need if you are using lots of outboard pres and processing.
I use an SSL in another studio, and love that too...definitely not sterile,....but maybe it is compared to a soundtracs or MCI!!!!
Old 3rd July 2012
  #13
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rocksure's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Bernstone View Post
I love my D&R Triton, and once I had spent the time refurbing it, it now sounds amazing. Clear, warm....like an audient or neotek. Those desks are the useful ones, that give you the transparency you need if you are using lots of outboard pres and processing.
I use an SSL in another studio, and love that too...definitely not sterile,....but maybe it is compared to a soundtracs or MCI!!!!
Nice. I see you are in NZ too. Did you pick up the Triton locally or import it?
Old 3rd July 2012
  #14
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rocksure's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksure View Post
Nice. I see you are in NZ too. Did you pick up the Triton locally or import it?
Freakin heck just seconds after I hit the "submit reply" button we had a size 7.0 earthquake not far from here. Shook the place real good, and made me dive for cover, but luckily it was 230km deep.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #15
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!!
This happens when I hit the 2bus hard on my Cadac.
Awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksure View Post
Freakin heck just seconds after I hit the "submit reply" button we had a size 7.0 earthquake not far from here. Shook the place real good, and made me dive for cover, but luckily it was 230km deep.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #16
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Tony; Louis .. You still there !!!
Old 3rd July 2012
  #17
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddpaulbell View Post
I am looking for a good sounding analog console with 16 or 24 channels. From what I've read SSL's are very sterile sounding. I am going to be recording to tape.
hi there.
shameless plug, but i am selling a 28 channel Amek Tac Bullet that has just been recapped and modified by Soren Wittrup. the recap and mods took the sound of this console to another level, definitely nicer sounding than my old Midas Venice..................

its in great shape and totally gone over from head to toe.

this console is perfect for working with a 24 track machine.

PM me if you want to know more.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #18
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rob S's Avatar
Why are you selling it?
Old 3rd July 2012
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddpaulbell View Post
I am looking for a good sounding analog console with 16 or 24 channels. From what I've read SSL's are very sterile sounding. I am going to be recording to tape.
Nothing "sterile" about any SSL I've used. They are quite powerful desks with very useful EQ and if you get one with dynamics then you're looking at some very cool sounding compression/limiting. The preamps on the newer "Super Analog" style desks are clean, quiet and dimensional sounding to me. Lots of detail, no harshness. So whatever you're reading that's talking "sterile" is talking nonsense from my perspective.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred
Regardless of how good or bad an Ssl sounds you pay over the odds for the name. You can buy a used desk for a lot less that no one would dispute sounds just as good. The main attraction of Ssl desks seems to be recall and reputation as far as I can tell...
The main attraction of SSL is mixing. I don't know any other company that has developed a better mixing desk than the Duality. And while the AWS series is expensive, as hybrid mixing goes it's about as elegant as things get, besides the Duality. On top of that the circuitry is killer on SSL these days. They are super clean and things sound really big and full without haze, unless you patch in haze or other various distortion artifacts. I don't think there are many consoles that sound just as good as a recent model SSL, but of course "just as good" is a subjective assessment anyway.

If anything you're paying for mostly really high quality circuitry, excellent features and an overall product that is small in sales quantities, relatively speaking, so it's pricey. But that's really the case with any well made piece of gear. So while you can find a used desk from wherever for less it doesn't necessarily mean you're paying mostly for the name when you buy a "big name" brand like SSL and/or Neve or whatever.
Old 3rd July 2012
  #20
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
Why are you selling it?
got a screamin’ deal on a Neve 5452-4.
gonna do the tranny balanced direct outs mod to it and call it a day.
i have been wanting something a little more portable that i can track and mix through and this fits the bill...........

i was not even in the market for a new console, but the Neve came up at a price that was just ridiculous, so i bought it.
when we are done with it, it should be killer.

but.........somethings gotta go.........

-A
Old 3rd July 2012
  #21
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
The main attraction of SSL is mixing. I don't know any other company that has developed a better mixing desk than the Duality. And while the AWS series is expensive, as hybrid mixing goes it's about as elegant as things get, besides the Duality. On top of that the circuitry is killer on SSL these days. They are super clean and things sound really big and full without haze, unless you patch in haze or other various distortion artifacts. I don't think there are many consoles that sound just as good as a recent model SSL, but of course "just as good" is a subjective assessment anyway.

If anything you're paying for mostly really high quality circuitry, excellent features and an overall product that is small in sales quantities, relatively speaking, so it's pricey. But that's really the case with any well made piece of gear. So while you can find a used desk from wherever for less it doesn't necessarily mean you're paying mostly for the name when you buy a "big name" brand like SSL and/or Neve or whatever.
Good Sounding  ConsoleSSL 4000

This one is £30,000 including VAT

I paid under £10,000 Including Vat for my Calrec.

Now, I have 8 less channels and no automation, for £20,000 extra that doesn't seem like alot. I like the sound of mine better too.

Nothing wrong with SSL stuff though, I find the Alpha Link very good.
Old 4th July 2012
  #22
I don't know which console you have or what features it has or how it sounds in any way. So while I think it's great that you found what you apparently are looking for, it means nothing in the discussion of whether or not one is paying for the name when one buys an SSL or any other "big" name. Even in the example you have cited the 4000 has automation, eq and dynamics on each channel, total recall, etc. It's not the same beast as just any console one can buy and at 25k it's not a bad deal if it is indeed in good working condition.

Like I said, SSL makes consoles that work well for those that mix on consoles a lot. How much in cash features are worth to a user, and whether or not they sound as good as another desk's are subjective assessments. So it's not necessarily the case that one is primarily paying for the name when one pays for a console with a well known brand.

It's also not apples to apples with certain comparisons. If the feature sets and build quality are identical then we can draw certain conclusions. And paying for the name is one (but not the only) possibility for price discrepancies. But so far we're not even comparing like objects.
Old 4th July 2012
  #23
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
I don't know which console you have or what features it has or how it sounds in any way. So while I think it's great that you found what you apparently are looking for, it means nothing in the discussion of whether or not one is paying for the name when one buys an SSL or any other "big" name. Even in the example you have cited the 4000 has automation, eq and dynamics on each channel, total recall, etc. It's not the same beast as just any console one can buy and at 25k it's not a bad deal if it is indeed in good working condition.

Like I said, SSL makes consoles that work well for those that mix on consoles a lot. How much in cash features are worth to a user, and whether or not they sound as good as another desk's are subjective assessments. So it's not necessarily the case that one is primarily paying for the name when one pays for a console with a well known brand.

It's also not apples to apples with certain comparisons. If the feature sets and build quality are identical then we can draw certain conclusions. And paying for the name is one (but not the only) possibility for price discrepancies. But so far we're not even comparing like objects.
I don't know how we can compare apples to apples with a question so broad as the OPs.

but.....

I think we certainly are comparing like objects in terms of the OPs question...
It is possible to record and mix music using tape on both.

It cannot be denied that SSL consoles have a certain cache and will attract customers to your studio, this is reflected in the second hand price of SSL consoles. There is nothing wrong with that but if you are not in need of that particular feature then you can save your money.

I am referring to second hand values because, like cars, consoles will drop in value significantly as soon as they have been installed anywhere, there are plenty of used ones about and if you're at all handy with maintenance then you save an huge amount of money buying used.

Surely it's important to take subjective assessments into account also? It's a hard task trying to listen to all the consoles that are on the market and other peoples a opinion of the sound as they subjectively hear it can be a useful tool, if you collect enough data.

So, my (subjective) opinion is.... "There are better sounding desks for less money than an SSL."
I can qualify that opinion with... "You obviously need to compare functionality in relation to your needs"
Old 4th July 2012
  #24
I think the crux of the matter lies in what one needs.

If you need flexible, great sounding, well built preamps, EQ and dynamics on each channel (or other features) then just about whatever option you look at will cost more than options without whether they be new/used, big name or lesser known. As far as I can tell that drives the price more than anything: build quality and inclusion of "essential" features.

So yeah of course one can do without certain features and get off cheaper. But it's the question of what can one specifically do without that determines even which consoles one looks at, because they don't all have everything. I think that means that while it's possible to record with just about any of them, it's NOT possible to do certain functions with any of them, so they end up in totally different categories of console, with prices to match. I guess my point is that I don't find SSL exceptionally expensive when you start comparing their offerings with desks that can do what they can do.

Are there "better sounding" desks for less money? I really don't know because that kind of thing depends on the individual's definition of "better sounding".
Old 4th July 2012
  #25
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danly's Avatar
 

what is your budget?

i'm working with tape too. Trust me, tape is enough color, a clean mix bus isn't necessarily a bad thing. (as long as you have good pres).

I have three mixers, a Soundworkshop 34C, an api 7800, and ADM custom sidecar.

The ADM is freaking sick for summing pro tools stems.

The api is small and I use it for tracking myself out in the live room. Limited in functions, but sounds really good. No meters is a pain in the ass and no efx returns.

The soundworkshop is a real console and does all the routing that you need it to. Soon I'll be moving up to 2", and I'm really gonna need the console for that. it also makes my studio look pro, if that matters. I am going to mod the mix bus with some api line amps which will hopefully be amazing. Stock it is fine too. For now, I'll run the mix through the line inputs on some neves.

The one thing that worries me about consoles is that I'm not able to compete with people using small discrete punchy summing mixers.
In reality though, the summing on most pro consoles is actually really clean, nothing to worry about. Apparently the SW has a huge copper ground bar running under the modules. I'm hoping the api amps bring things to a whole nother level, and I think they will...
just a major tech bill
and downtime.

You should look at the Sytek website. The Elan II looks really really cool and is half the price of a new 1608.

Don't get a Toft.
don't do it.

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