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Console mainly for preamps or no?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Console mainly for preamps or no?

Hi - we're building a studio and we will be looking for 24-32 channels. Is it worth considering a console simply for the collection of preamps into two UAD x16s, or should we go with 3 or 4 x8ps and use Unison preamp models? I know there's a major cost difference, but let's not consider that in this context.

We have no history with consoles, so we have no nostalgia or loyalty to the format.

If we went without the console, could someone recommend a good device for master volume control, sending cue mixes to the live room, etc? Also, I assume we will need a patchbay. We are coming from 8 channel studios so these are new considerations.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Nick Morris's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The impression I am getting from your post suggests that you are not ready for a console. I would offer the opinion to avoid one until you NEED one.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
It's not a matter of being ready. I need preamps for 24-32 channels, plus a monitoring setup. I'm happy working in the box, but I'm trying to assess the best way to have many preamps and a monitoring system.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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microwave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lehmannmusic ➡️
Hi - we're building a studio and we will be looking for 24-32 channels. Is it worth considering a console simply for the collection of preamps into two UAD x16s, or should we go with 3 or 4 x8ps and use Unison preamp models? I know there's a major cost difference, but let's not consider that in this context.

We have no history with consoles, so we have no nostalgia or loyalty to the format.

If we went without the console, could someone recommend a good device for master volume control, sending cue mixes to the live room, etc? Also, I assume we will need a patchbay. We are coming from 8 channel studios so these are new considerations.
Consoles with good preamps are very expensive new , and buying second hand consoles is often a route to endless trouble, so if you are not planning to make full use of it - ie, eq, summing, routing, foldback mixes and what not, you’d be better off with the two UAD 16s and some nice stand alone preamps. Depending on your budget you could go with anything from Audient, to a rack Camden 500s, to a couple of Neve 10730 plus some lunchbox units for variety.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 
I kinda ran across this the other day. I was watching an interview with Mike Plotnikoff and he said, instead of getting a bunch of external pre's for tracking, why not just get console. So they found a small Neve....probably 24 channels with the big blue knobs.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by microwave ➡️
Consoles with good preamps are very expensive new , and buying second hand consoles is often a route to endless trouble, so if you are not planning to make full use of it - ie, eq, summing, routing, foldback mixes and what not, you’d be better off with the two UAD 16s and some nice stand alone preamps. Depending on your budget you could go with anything from Audient, to a rack Camden 500s, to a couple of Neve 10730 plus some lunchbox units for variety.
Thanks for the reply. We have decided to go new so we aren't dealing with maintenance. We do have a budget so most options can be considered.

We were thinking of the Neve BCM10/2 Mk2 for the first 10 channels, then a collection of some other preamps for the rest. 500 series is definitely something we should look into.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #7
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lehmannmusic ➡️
Thanks for the reply. We have decided to go new so we aren't dealing with maintenance. We do have a budget so most options can be considered.

We were thinking of the Neve BCM10/2 Mk2 for the first 10 channels, then a collection of some other preamps for the rest. 500 series is definitely something we should look into.
Even with a new console you will have some maintenance to factor in. just like with car ownership periodic routine, preventative maintenance will extend the usable lifespan considerably.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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the fxs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
if 500 series is an option, i would suggest you take a look at the Looptrotter Modular Console and/or the Sphere Eclipse Alpha 2.
that way you won't have to settle for just one type of preamp in your console.

Last edited by the fxs; 1 week ago at 08:35 AM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs ➡️
if 500 series is an option, i would suggest you take a look at the Looptrotter Modular Console and/or the Sphere Eclipse Alpha 2.
that way you won't have to settle for just one type of preamp in your consle.
Thanks. I will look into those.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
I have decided that if I want more preamps, id just get another 8ch unit. And just use passive "summing" mixer. To get pan control, and stereo out. Then just monitor out of my interface.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs ➡️
if 500 series is an option, i would suggest you take a look at the Looptrotter Modular Console and/or the Sphere Eclipse Alpha 2.
that way you won't have to settle for just one type of preamp in your consle.
Since when did having only one type of preamp (in a recording console), ever make a bad record?
Just wondering.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If you really want 24-32 great preamps, it will be cheaper and easier to use on a mixer.

Downside of mixer: Space, cost, the signal has to go through the pan stage of the mixer, most mixers weak link.

Upside of mixer: Monitoring and speaker control becomes handy. You gain EQ and inserts on every channel.

Running a compressor or EQ hot is a good way to achieve saturation. On a mixer you do this using the insert. The preamp turns it up, the fader turns it down. The alternative is to have EQ's/compressors to into an attenuator before A/D.

Do you like mixing and matching preamps with mic's or prefer that all preamps have the same sonic signature?

EQ's ITB or OTB should make your decision. Do you want to spend $1K+/channel to get a good mixer with preamps and EQ?

Do you want to have a few great preamps, then a bunch of OK preamps for say toms mic's and the 3rd guitar mic?

Buying a mixer, you are basically buying a bunch of preamps with EQ's and routing. You better like the EQ's or it's not worth having.

To know if a preamp or mixer is good. I look at two things. What is the hottest level the input can take. +12 is a low end board. +24 is a high end board. +28 is really really good (Often called headroom). The other detail is the power supply. How many voltages and how high a voltage is being used for the preamps. 500 series puts a limitation on how much voltage is available vs. high end preamps and mixers.

I went for half way between. Small mixer and other preamps. I have other stuff not in the pictures, but most of it's lower end. 8 mono in on the mixer and 11 other preamps shown. Have not wired all this up yet.
Attached Thumbnails
Console mainly for preamps or no?-img_1613.jpg   Console mainly for preamps or no?-img_1616.jpg   Console mainly for preamps or no?-img_1624.jpg  

Last edited by elegentdrum; 1 week ago at 02:46 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm an outboard preamp guy myself, but if I were dealing with 24 or 32 channels on a session I'd want most of them to be the same thing so I didn't need to think so hard. I'd want everything within arm's reach in the same rack, so probably three eight-channel units normalled into my converter set and perhaps a few "specials" available in the same patch bay.

An important question to consider is how easy it's going to be to get multiple cue mixes together during tracking. There's a latency tradeoff between doing it your DAW (higher latency) or using your interface's low latency foldback mixer which often has no EQ or dynamics processing available. Another concern for my interface was that I had two identical boxes connected to my DAW, but they couldn't share channels for foldback. Ultimately, I ended up mult-ing my preamp outputs to a separate analog cue mixer. It's not a "console", just a Mackie 1604 in the same rack as the preamps. But it's got EQ on every channel and I can actually ride a fader if I need to "tune" a vocalist who's over- or under-singing something.

The advantage of a real console, digital or analog, is that the cue mix can quickly become your session rough mix. The disadvantage is that you've got something the size of twin bed between you and your monitors.

David
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't like getting into the one hundred preamp world. I like my console preamps and even if I altered my setup greatly, I'd probably just a bunch of the same preamps anyway.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Also in response to part of your question. I don't buy into the unison software bit. What hits the converters is one thing. Adjusting with plugs is another. Why not wait until the mix is closer to finished to make decisions after the converters?

This is close to the same thing as tracking without EQ & compression vs with. But that is about using analog gear before the converters. Not using software after the converters.

I suggest one or two really really high end preamps for the main vocal chain and all the work done when you are working on one track at a time.
Coil70, dw fearn, Redd are good examples of great preamps. Also get used on overhead when focused on drum takes.

Then either a mixer, and perhaps a bunch of these:
https://www.reviveaudio.com/index.ph...product_id=170

if you want to have a person pick this up in Germany for you.
https://reverb.com/item/16849597-ame...-plug-and-play
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #16
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slainbabyyc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➡️
Also in response to part of your question. I don't buy into the unison software bit. What hits the converters is one thing. Adjusting with plugs is another. Why not wait until the mix is closer to finished to make decisions after the converters?

This is close to the same thing as tracking without EQ & compression vs with. But that is about using analog gear before the converters. Not using software after the converters.

I suggest one or two really really high end preamps for the main vocal chain and all the work done when you are working on one track at a time.
Coil70, dw fearn, Redd are good examples of great preamps. Also get used on overhead when focused on drum takes.

Then either a mixer, and perhaps a bunch of these:
https://www.reviveaudio.com/index.ph...product_id=170

if you want to have a person pick this up in Germany for you.
https://reverb.com/item/16849597-ame...-plug-and-play
you don't have to print the unison plugins when you record, you can use them solely for monitoring
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lehmannmusic ➡️
Hi - we're building a studio... should we go with 3 or 4 x8ps and use Unison preamp models?

If we went without the console, could someone recommend a good device for master volume control, sending cue mixes to the live room, etc?
This video from Universal Audio would seem to answer your question, no?

Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
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the fxs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyeguy ➡️
Since when did having only one type of preamp (in a recording console), ever make a bad record?
Just wondering.
where did i say that a console full of the same preamps will result in a bad record?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs ➡️
where did i say that a console full of the same preamps will result in a bad record?
'Settling' for just one type of preamp, makes it a bad thing, no? Could make the record 'less' than it could be, no?
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Well you can buy some time to inform yourself about and audition the myriad of options available to you using this strategy . . .

Look up the threads here on the JBL 7510A and 7510B units. You should be able to find a used fully loaded one for under $800. These are 4 preamps per card with 6 cards going into it's rack frame for a total of 24 mic pres in 3 rack spaces. They have an API mid forward voicing and are decent pres with individual I/O on the back of each card. You will have to make a small exterior mod to make the unit work in the studio better which is detailed in the threads and it's simply plugging in a DB connector to the back of each card that has some resistors and jumper wires soldered to it. You are looking at less than $10 in parts and very little time to make them so the JBL unit's gain range is ready for the studio. Once you make your final decision and implement it then simply resell the JBL unit and you should break even on it. It buys you time with 24 decent pres to use for basically little to no cost.

As for your big decision there are pros and cons for all the options and you will simply have to pick your poisen like everyone else. It will likely boil down to using separate no latency analog cues or your interface's software mixer low latency cues. Going through the DAW is just too much latency.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #21
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the fxs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyeguy ➡️
'Settling' for just one type of preamp, makes it a bad thing, no? Could make the record 'less' than it could be, no?
no.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lehmannmusic ➡️
Thanks for the reply. We have decided to go new so we aren't dealing with maintenance. We do have a budget so most options can be considered.

We were thinking of the Neve BCM10/2 Mk2 for the first 10 channels, then a collection of some other preamps for the rest. 500 series is definitely something we should look into.
If you can afford Neve board that includes inductor EQ. Do it!
Very old saying "Record on a Neve, mix on SSL"

Since that is not enough preamps for you, Get at least two tube preamps (for non tube vocal mic's) and two clean preamps (for ribbons).

Since mixing is mainly ITB these days you will also want to consider the computer. I went with a Sweetwater creation station because I did not want to spend the cash on a Scan UK computer. With the computer it's all about the cards. My computer had 6 PCIe slots. Went with:
RME MADI fx (two slots)
Two UAD Octo cards
USB card (6 more external usb ports)
4 plug network card (Daunte in the future, controllers, etc)

Pay somebody to set up the computer for recording. Was worth it for me to not mess with optimizing a PC for audio.

RME MADI FX card is fantastic. At 96K I get just under 1ms ASIO reported lag. it's a workhorse. Also has a built in talkback control that may avoid the need for a hardware monitor controller.

Plugs....get UAD, SSL native, and the NI suite as a good starting point.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Nut
I have a slapped together baby SSL (using an XDesk, a rack of SL502 Eqs and a vca comp and fusion in the insert) but I'm a gluton for punishment and came from a Trident/Toft background so my workflow was pretty baked into a console.

With that said, I'd probably suggest sticking with good converters and some workhorse pres (UTAs if the budget allows) and then get a couple character pres (Retro Powerstrip or similar).

Spend the money you save on monitoring and mics.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #24
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crosscutred's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyeguy ➡️
'Settling' for just one type of preamp, makes it a bad thing, no? Could make the record 'less' than it could be, no?
There can be significant advantages in having all the same preamps, things can sound more like they belong together.
Of course it depends on what you want from a recording, most of the recordings we all admire were probably made with a console and all the same preamp.

It can certainly cause problems using all different preamps into a daw, we have all heard records where the different elements sound like they have nothing to do with each other, not what I want to achieve usually.

One of my favourite things to do is use the same pre for everything except the main vocal, that can really help it stand out.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred ➡️
There can be significant advantages in having all the same preamps, things can sound more like they belong together.
Of course it depends on what you want from a recording, most of the recordings we all admire were probably made with a console and all the same preamp.

It can certainly cause problems using all different preamps into a daw, we have all heard records where the different elements sound like they have nothing to do with each other, not what I want to achieve usually.

One of my favourite things to do is use the same pre for everything except the main vocal, that can really help it stand out.
I agree totally. For me, preamps are mainly utility. I don't see the point of changing preamps when you can already change mike's, positioning, instruments, rooms, etc.

The best records ever were made with one type of preamp...in a console. For the vocal...a nice tube pre can be nice. I don't even really feel the need to change that. I won't go out of my way to change different pre's for say bass drum and snare. Nope! Silly. .02
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Off topic briefly for member Elegantdrum,

If you go Dante in the future you will need to use the Dante interface's propriatary PCIe card to get studio acceptable low latency (or any of the ethernet formats for that matter). Using any network interface though a computer will not give you that. More specific info regarding that can be found in the Dante / Rednet product threads here. Ethernet interface marketing can be misleading implying you only need to plug in (which you can) but if you want studio acceptable low latency you need a propriatary PCIe card to plug into.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
eqs are more important than the preamps. you can record 40 tracks using the same 4 channels of preamps over and over. but when it is mix time, you can't "re-use" the eqs. you are going to want one on every channel.

if you have a budget of around $50k, the ssl origin is going to be the standard to compare against.

Last edited by gearstudent; 1 week ago at 04:49 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lehmannmusic ➡️
Hi - we're building a studio and we will be looking for 24-32 channels. Is it worth considering a console simply for the collection of preamps into two UAD x16s, or should we go with 3 or 4 x8ps and use Unison preamp models? I know there's a major cost difference, but let's not consider that in this context.

We have no history with consoles, so we have no nostalgia or loyalty to the format.

If we went without the console, could someone recommend a good device for master volume control, sending cue mixes to the live room, etc? Also, I assume we will need a patchbay. We are coming from 8 channel studios so these are new considerations.
I completely understand where you're coming from... I was recently in this situation.

The entire time I was thinking that the cost averaging of decent utility pre's was the driving force for considering a console. Now I believe that the master section... with monitor management, source management, TB, HP...ect Is much more important.

I've switched gears to outboard pre's and searching for the holy grail of master sections. Mostly because of the costs associated with owning a console, and the fact that what I would want could only be found in a higher end board... which also means paying for several features I wouldn't utilize.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For someone who's mixing ITB and has already got their preamps, converters, and cue mix strategy worked out, a Grace Design m905 monitor controller can be the missing piece. It gives you a great DAC with level control and calibration, playback stream and monitor selection, talkback, and a user interface that you can still run after 10 hours in the chair and that will never leave you guessing where the heck your audio went.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #30
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TweakedPost ➡️
I completely understand where you're coming from... I was recently in this situation.

The entire time I was thinking that the cost averaging of decent utility pre's was the driving force for considering a console. Now I believe that the master section... with monitor management, source management, TB, HP...ect Is much more important.

I've switched gears to outboard pre's and searching for the holy grail of master sections. Mostly because of the costs associated with owning a console, and the fact that what I would want could only be found in a higher end board... which also means paying for several features I wouldn't utilize.
Any thoughts on master section controllers?
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