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Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014
Old 15th September 2008
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014

An audio engineer recently contacted me asking for some advice in the overall planning of the renovation of his recording studio. This is a privately owned mid studio doing quite a bit of everything like many these days: music tracking and overdubbing, mixing, audio Post, V.O,... etc, with increasingly tighter budgets and often stressing deadlines.

One of the biggest concerns in the planning was, not unsurprisingly, which console to put in (if at all), with all the ITB_vs_OTB and Sound_vs_Recall stuff we all well know.

Almost all currently existing options were considered. On one hand, good old (used) big desks had to be discarded, even after some quite atractive offers, for the obvious reasons of maintenance, electricity and HVAC costs, and anachronistic workflow (it's not the 80's anymore). On the other hand, there was the ICON route, which brings a truly great system, but all things considered it's quite a big of chunk to invest in what's essentially just a software controller, one which is btw tied to a single DAW.
Then there was the new breed of smaller consoles from SSL, API, Portico and Neve, which are all quite nice desks, but somehow they seem to fail in fulfilling all of one engineer's typical needs at some point or another, and all (but SSL) noticeably lack in terms of proper automation, not to mention DAW control.

A fourth corner on this square was (on this particular engineer) a simple fixed obsession, with Neve 80xx series consoles nonetheless. Unfortunately, those are not only extremely expensive nowadays, but they all require a good 24/7 tech in the neighborhood for seamless work. The only good chance on approaching a classic Neve would be trying to find one of those stripped 8014 frames, carefully restore it and fill it with new 1073/1084 modules. Such a feat would go for around €80k (and that prior to fit in any automation system).


Anyway, the 8014 route got us thinking. Why not try to recreate a modern version of it with one of the newer consoles, specially with Neve now reissueing the 2245R?

After some deliberation, the decision went on for SSL's Matrix, because, one, it's by far the cheapest of them all at €16k+VAT and, second, it offers the best automation and DAW control among them (also, how closely the Matrix resembles a classic 8014 in terms of features and workflow, played some role).
Now, an SSL Matrix along with two racks at either side loaded with 16 (in total) Neve 1084 modules would be around €68k (incl VAT), which wasn't too bad for a brand new and automated version of a modern 8014 desk (BA modules instead of Neve were also considered).
But then, further in the argument there was the thought that 1084 modules, unlike 1081s, are a bit limiting when mixing, so perhaps some alternative EQ modules should also be put into the equation, etc, etc.
In the end, the decided setup was as follows:

-SSL Matrix console
-8x 1084 in a 5U rack
-SSL XRACK loaded with 8x EQs
-2x API 3124mb+ preamps (with a twist)



The entire package costs €50k (incl VAT). Now, why this particular combination? The reasons were:

1) It falls nicely within budget and offers both the classic analogue approach, an ITB route, and everything in between. While not as powerful as an ICON, it is on the other hand a multiplatform DAW controller, for both his PTHD and Logic, and the entire analog/digital setup (and a basic patchbay) comes with automation and TotalRecall.

2) The SSL EQs bring more control and a nice contrast to the eight 1084s, while the API pres are also chosen to overcome one of the pet peeves of the SSL Matrix: lack of busses. Each 3124mb+ includes a 4:2 mixer, thus along with the Matrix's REC, MIX (and CUE) busses, the desk becomes a 32:8:8:2 console (16+16 inputs, 4 st returns, 4st busses).

3) Buying separate items instead of a single small desk or an ICON helps to avoid, in these uncertain times and to the engineer's opinion, putting all eggs into a single basket. Residual Values and ROI are to be considered in any business. Also notice how the eight 1084 alone cost more than the console.

4) While not as impressive as an 8014 or 4048 desk, it puts the tools right there just like on such consoles, and it still might be quite good looking when properly assembled (see photos). It also offers a much bettter integrated workplace than any other option out there, and for the odd demaning client still brings the "SSL" and "Neve" names (and its famed quality and great customer service to the studio owner).




Anyway, all this is still in the preliminary phases and the engineer might flip it any other way, but I thought it might be interesting for all of you to see.
-
Attached Thumbnails
Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014-matrix_8014_scene_4s.jpg   Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014-matrix_8014_scene_6s.jpg   Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014-matrix_8014_scene_9s.jpg  
Old 15th September 2008
  #2
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matskull's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Looks like a pretty good setup, the desk also looks nice, hope it works out for you!
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #3
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squidsquad's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Is there any reason for having the side racks so far away? It seems to me that they'd be a pain to reach from the position your see-through man is in.

Yes, it gives you space to put stuff on, but then you're going to be obscuring your racks.

I'm just interested to see whether there's a reason I guess.

Nice drawings, by the way, did you do them in Sketch-up?

Last edited by squidsquad; 16th September 2008 at 03:11 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 16th September 2008
  #4
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
Anyway, all this is still in the preliminary phases and the engineer might flip it any other way, but I thought it might be interesting for all of you to see.
very cool jindrich, thanks for posting. noticed the PCM 96 and Bricasti. true slut.
Old 16th September 2008
  #5
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️


Anyway, the 8014 route got us thinking. Why not try to recreate a modern version of it with one of the newer consoles, specially with Neve now reissueing the 2245R?


-
Well the reason it can't be recreated is that a console is a sum of the parts not just a bunch of parts cobbled together. So you would need the frame, the busses with all of its transformers, the summing network with the trannies and 1272 make up gain, all of the routing and of course the physicallity and design.

A Neve console is just not the mic pres, just like an SSL console is not the mixbuss compressor.

Basically you would have to design the system as a whole first and see how all the parts interact together. When you do so you can see what things really work in reality not just on paper.

One thing that i like in a console system is that i like having everything in front of me when i look down. I personally detest having to reach over to try anything no matter if its the coolest of outboard gear. I was thinking recently that the days i am most unmotivated to work in the studio is when i know in the back of mind i will have to patch alot of gear in just to get a mix going. In my mind perfection would be to have a console that i can do everything without having to inject any outboard EQ's or compressors. The reverbs would be normalled to some aux sends but that's it. No monitors or computer screens. Just turn the knobs, move the faders and i am there.
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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tomdarude's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
thatΒ΄s the kind of stuff we dream about lying awake late at night, isnΒ΄t it hehheh

looks like a nice idea....and I must say for a couple of key outboard pieces the
Patchbay-Total-Recall of the Matrix looks great!!!
the sound of the summing/busses/console....if I spent 50k+....hmm...dunno....mods??



Have you thought about a 24ch Wunderaudio Console with Tonelux-Automation (maybe only on a couple channels?)
maybe with a mackie control/command8 in the center/ to the side ??


12ch. Wunder + Matrix ??

you probably know that you can fit 1073/1084s into the Wunderbar!
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 15 years
jindrich,

As allways you came up with a very intelligent & ergonomic concept.
I imagine the combination rocks.

The funny thing is that this sort of thread has a predictable routine.
The console guys say that nothing beats a console.
The hybrid guys (like me) are in love.

Non the less great layout - congrats

I thought about going the matrix route for a while
but the lack of EQ/dynamics controls + poor fader resolution within PT
probably will make me go the digi surface route...
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
squidsquad,

the desk's final layout is not definitive, some cm might be cut here and there, like both racks put a bit closer to the console, for instance. Anyway, the racks are not that far away, the distance from the edge of the table to the start of the rack is of just 41cm (16 inches), so if you were seated close, your arms would reach the knobs no problem. The SSL is only 95cm wide. Maybe i chose a bad perspective in the the dummy man pic.

raal,

yes, the bricasti is a great unit, I was quite impressed when i got a personal demo in Frankfurt 2 years ago when it was still a prototype (only missed modulation presets). Fact is, you might not need a 480L anymore with the bricasti, lex96 and eventide. And that trio gives you 4 great independent rev/fx cpus for way less than what a TC6000 or Lex960L cost.


Thrill,

Yes you're right, a console is more than the sum of its parts, and the only way to get a truly faithful recreation would be, as mentioned, to restore a 8014/8016 frame and fill it with new modules.
But the truth is, as good as those consoles are, it doesn't make sense to pretend it's the 70's anymore. A 80xx console fills in as a very niche product these days, you can't do ANY kind of project with them, from start to finish, anymore (think Post).

In the present time it's all about "yesterday" and "changes". DAW and Recall are esential, you know it very well. Also notice how in the above planned "recreation", eight of the 1084s are replaced with SSL EQs for convenience. The approach here is not to build an exact clone, but a modern, flexible version of a great desk.
If money wasn't an issue, I'd get an original, restored 8014/16/68 frame, strap a D-Command between the chs and the master section, double the number of auxes and busses, fit in Flying Faders and brand new Neve modules, and perphaps some portico and SSL eqs, I dont know...

If you're a top gun doing mixing exclusively, you can choose to get a 8076, 4080G, 9K or whatever floats your boat. For many other people, specially doing all kinds of things, form follows function (Bauhaus fan here). If you need speed and flexibility, you cannot tie yourself to a big desk anymore.
Still, you don't have to get away from the tried and tested layout of the traditional mixer. Look at the photos, you stilll have a typical console, with the eqs at the sides, set vertically to match the input chs, and everything is at a hand's reach without even moving your chair, the compressors stay in a side rack as they're so big you can't put them anywhere else. The twin 23" TFTs are there as this is intended to be a tracking/overdubbing/editing/mixing workstation, but if you feel like it's the 70's, just tuck the screens (on moving arms) away behind the desk, and there you are, no distractions, and it's an analog only path.

Anyway, now that you're here, I'd like to have your say regarding this setup. Would you also put eight 1084s and eight SSL EQs? Any other idea?
Old 16th September 2008 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
Anyway, now that you're here, I'd like to have your say regarding this setup. Would you also put eight 1084s and eight SSL EQs? Any other idea?
i'm not thrill but IMO 1084s alone would be limited for mixing (3 bands), though the low/high pass filters are very cool. for tracking of course they're great - then again if you need an extra band you could always go ITB for a little help.

if your idea is to use all 8 for tracking, thumbsup. if you're looking at them as a mixing tool i'd go for something a little more flexible. just thinking out loud. besides 1084s we have some BA racked 1272s here and if you don't go over 40-50dB they really do sound like 1084s, so if budget is an issue you may want to think of 1272s or neve DPD for tracking and maybe ITB EQs for mixing... just saying. if the budget's there though, the neve rack will come in handy for sure.

also don't forget to leave a rack space above and below the bricasti.
Old 17th September 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 15 years
This seems like a logical way to build a setup with the Matrix, more or less like SSL intended. Of course you can put whatever outboard you want next to it. Instead of the 3124+'s you could also put a 10 slot API frame with 512's to have everything lined up vertical. Cosmetic detail. (Edit; you would miss the extra busses then of course, an extra coloured summingbus/submixer may be an option?)

Personally I don't see this as the perfect setup for mixing though... if you can use a Matrix and have a free choice of outboard I would go for much more different stuff. GML EQ, 1176, some different bus compressors, 500 series rack etc. Name it. Also consider that you have actually 32 inputs so your not limited to 16 channels. (allthough in a way you are)

One thing I like about the Matrix is that you can put your keyboard above the faders; you don't really need the deskspace you drawed in front of it. Actually I think that would put you to far away from some controls on the desk. Same goes for the way you have drawn up the outboard, I would put it directly against the desk so you can reach it.

Sorry if all this seems to critical but, despite the very slutty setup, it just wouldn't be the ultimate way to set it up. For me of course, I can definitely see this work for you!
Old 17th September 2008 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 15 years
Tom, Wunder is as expensive as a real Neve, and Tonelux automation gave me a very DIY impression last time I saw it (a year ago). The SSL was chosen here for its excellent price/features ratio.

Shaman, thx for your kind comments.

raal, this thing is supposed to be used for tracking, mixing, post, etc, that's why 1084s were considered, but not more than 8 as some more precision eqs are required for mixing. I know about the bricasti heat and fan noise, i guess they did it on purpose so they can sell you the remote.



Here attached there is a more close up image, where the racks have been put closer to the console, and now absolutely everything is at hand's reach without even having to roll the chair a single inch.

Curious how much it ends up resembling the old SSL's OmniMix. Does anyone here remember it?



Gosh, has it been 15 years already?
.
Attached Thumbnails
Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014-matrix_8014_scenec_1s.jpg  
Old 17th September 2008 | Show parent
  #12
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matskull's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Still looks good but I got to agree that I would put the rack closer to the front so they can be easily reached.
Old 17th September 2008 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull ➑️
Still looks good but I got to agree that I would put the rack closer to the front so they can be easily reached.
hmmm, how long are your arms? those racks are just 40 cms from the border of the desk!

Have you ever been in front of a real console? the EQs on a 4000 or 9000 SSL are much farther away than that.
Old 17th September 2008 | Show parent
  #14
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4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️


Thrill,

Yes you're right, a console is more than the sum of its parts, and the only way to get a truly faithful recreation would be, as mentioned, to restore a 8014/8016 frame and fill it with new modules.
But the truth is, as good as those consoles are, it doesn't make sense to pretend it's the 70's anymore. A 80xx console fills in as a very niche product these days, you can't do ANY kind of project with them, from start to finish, anymore (think Post).

In the present time it's all about "yesterday" and "changes". DAW and Recall are esential, you know it very well. Also notice how in the above planned "recreation", eight of the 1084s are replaced with SSL EQs for convenience. The approach here is not to build an exact clone, but a modern, flexible version of a great desk.
If money wasn't an issue, I'd get an original, restored 8014/16/68 frame, strap a D-Command between the chs and the master section, double the number of auxes and busses, fit in Flying Faders and brand new Neve modules, and perphaps some portico and SSL eqs, I dont know...

If you're a top gun doing mixing exclusively, you can choose to get a 8076, 4080G, 9K or whatever floats your boat. For many other people, specially doing all kinds of things, form follows function (Bauhaus fan here). If you need speed and flexibility, you cannot tie yourself to a big desk anymore.
Still, you don't have to get away from the tried and tested layout of the traditional mixer. Look at the photos, you stilll have a typical console, with the eqs at the sides, set vertically to match the input chs, and everything is at a hand's reach without even moving your chair, the compressors stay in a side rack as they're so big you can't put them anywhere else. The twin 23" TFTs are there as this is intended to be a tracking/overdubbing/editing/mixing workstation, but if you feel like it's the 70's, just tuck the screens (on moving arms) away behind the desk, and there you are, no distractions, and it's an analog only path.

Anyway, now that you're here, I'd like to have your say regarding this setup. Would you also put eight 1084s and eight SSL EQs? Any other idea?
Hey Jindrich,

My comments were more directed at the comment about building a new 8014 or any new console out of parts more than your idea itself which i totally understand where you are going with it.

Actually myself and Raal threw similar ideas around offline before built not around a Matrix but with the Neve Genesys, API 1608 or Aurora mixer system itself.

In every configuration we came up there were compromises galore. There just isn't a perfect mixing system out there and even creating something worth while out of pieces can look and feel hap-hazard. Certain clients just want to sit down at something that looks intimidating and sturdy especially when they are paying big bucks(well at least to them) to mix. Also for me i know i want to be inspired every day when i have to dig in and work and a control surface built around an Argosy just won't cut it. When i walk into a control room and see something like this it just screams to me "project studio".

As to which EQ's to build it around it really comes down to function versus sound. I think the 1084 or 31102 like Raal said is not the ideal mixing EQ and the SSL X-Rack EQ without the filters and being is a rack to the side is not as functional either. It has the recall though which it comes in handy.

I think the RND 5033 EQ is much more functional but is not as great on the low end and has no recall. For an SSL EQ i would choose the Signature E series but they are expensive and have been discontinued and no recall.
Old 17th September 2008 | Show parent
  #15
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matskull's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
hmmm, how long are your arms? those racks are just 40 cms from the border of the desk!

Have you ever been in front of a real console? the EQs on a 4000 or 9000 SSL are much farther away than that.
My arms are pretty long, I'm 6,4 so...
Yes I have been in front of a real console and still am pretty often.
I think your racked gear should be at the same level as the "eq" part of the ssl instead of the meter bridge.
Don't know if I'm being clear...
Old 18th September 2008 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 15 years
Hey Thrill,

the goal behind this project was that the engineer wanted for his tracking, overdubbing and mixing duties, a small, first class, kick ass 16 ch analog desk (like a Neve 8014), with as much automation as possible, plus all the ITB and DAW control stuff.
Why only 16 channels? Because he doesn't want to reset or manually recall more than 16 channels, and he says he can fit anything into those 16 if they're of the "golden category" (I'm with him in that), and for the rest he still has all the billion ITB resources.

The hard part is the choice of EQs to fit in. For the thing to work just like a smooth traditional console and don't require extra "thinking", it was decided the best was to have 8 eqs at either side, in a vertical fashion. Here the 1084s and XRACK EQs were perfect, would compliment each other wery well and the XRACK have also recall.
I personally would prefer to include some more EQ variation, like 2x 1081s, 2x GML (2032s) and 2x Pultec (and for the remaining 12 chs, the 1084s and XRACK), but how to fit them in such premises? The only way would be to get all that in horizontal modules and then flip the rack 90 degrees, so you'd still get horizontal EQs, like in a console...

Left Rack: horizontal 4x 1084, 2x 1081 and 2x GML 2032, rack turned 90 degrees
Right Rack: 6 SSL XRACK EQS (and the St bus comp) and the 2 pultecs

Is there a way to build a custom 6U Neve rack that would hold 4x 1084 and 2x 1081 horizontally? (to fit in a 8U rack, along with the two GMLs, and turn it later 90 degrees)
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #17
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Saudade's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
just a thought...have your fren looked at the Speck LiLo? Just high quality analog clean line mixer with routing. Add patchbay if necessary. Throw in an Euphonix Artist for tactile ctrl/automation/recall. Use the extra dough you save to buy many more tasty pre/EQ/Comp/channel strip modules.

I would go this route today if I were building a studio. This way my console/summing buss sound can change flavour if I got sick of it after some time. Anything from API, SSL, Neve, Chandler(EMI), Pacifica (Quad 8), 610, Helios - just get buy-sell/trade in/rent 16 channels of each - think of the possibilities. Why settle for sonic monogamy when you can be a swinging bachelor? heh

Or tell your fren just get a fully loaded Neve Genesys if budget allows
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
Is there a way to build a custom 6U Neve rack that would hold 4x 1084 and 2x 1081 horizontally? (to fit in a 8U rack, along with the two GMLs, and turn it later 90 degrees)
again sorry i'm not thrill, but i don't think so. i have 2 X 1081 and 2 X1084 in horizantal racks -- 6U just for those four. we also have 4 X neve 1272s which ony take up 2 rack spaces, so that would be 8U for eight pres, but only 4 EQs.

i've been going, along with Thrill, through years of trying to find something that actually does what we'd like it to but it just doesn't seem to exist. the Genesys seems to have gotten close but it turns out the frikkin' EQs won't have hi/lo pass filters. how crazy is that?

even a full blown Duality only has HUI for PT, doesn't have automation on the 2nd input gains, etc. i hope that at some point someone will release something Thrill, myself and a whole lot of other people would actually consider:

a combination between a Duality/Matrix + more busses, or Genesys with full EQ+more busses, linking capability of EQs, yada yada.

til then i have a D.control with plenty of outboard. it gets the job done nicely but i still daydream about a nice analog board someday... sigh

but your rendering looks very cool jindrich. with a rig like that i'm sure your friend will have a blast. if you add some Pultecs etc.it'll be rockin'.
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #19
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
Hey Thrill,

the goal behind this project was that the engineer wanted for his tracking, overdubbing and mixing duties, a small, first class, kick ass 16 ch analog desk (like a Neve 8014), with as much automation as possible, plus all the ITB and DAW control stuff.
Why only 16 channels? Because he doesn't want to reset or manually recall more than 16 channels, and he says he can fit anything into those 16 if they're of the "golden category" (I'm with him in that), and for the rest he still has all the billion ITB resources.
Than i would have suggested the full out Neve Genesys with the EQ's and the chokes. Everything under one package. Also he won't have to leave the sweetspot to use it and it comes in a frame.

Sure it won't sound like a Neve 8014 but a bunch of 1084's and a Matrix won't either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
The hard part is the choice of EQs to fit in. For the thing to work just like a smooth traditional console and don't require extra "thinking", it was decided the best was to have 8 eqs at either side, in a vertical fashion. Here the 1084s and XRACK EQs were perfect, would compliment each other wery well and the XRACK have also recall.
Understood.




Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
I personally would prefer to include some more EQ variation, like 2x 1081s, 2x GML (2032s) and 2x Pultec (and for the remaining 12 chs, the 1084s and XRACK), but how to fit them in such premises? The only way would be to get all that in horizontal modules and then flip the rack 90 degrees, so you'd still get horizontal EQs, like in a console...
Does he have that kind of bread to spend?

That's $65K in EQ channels alone.




Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️

Is there a way to build a custom 6U Neve rack that would hold 4x 1084 and 2x 1081 horizontally? (to fit in a 8U rack, along with the two GMLs, and turn it later 90 degrees)
Nope unless you get Brent Averill to rack each one seperately in a one space rack.
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Nice setup! I have a 16 fader Icon D-Control with the producer's desk with a BAE Neve rack filled with 4 1084's and 4 1073's, amazing for tracking, I feel like I am working on an old Neve. It is great to have the Neve rack laying flat on it's back right in front of you. I have an API 10 space rack filled with API EQ's and micpre's above that, best of both worlds. I would have also bought an SSL X-Rack, but the lack of filters on the EQ is a major mistake, might as well just use the Waves plugin(but not for the Compressor). Still might get an X-rack filled with 8 compressors, or a combination of summing and comps. I am using the Manley line mixer as a summing buss right now, the bummer is I have no room to put it in the Digi Producer's desk so it is in a vertical rack to my side which is not optimum. The manley mixer has a unity gain switch mod for easy recall, I use it when time is limited(unfortunately most of the time.)

I would go with Comps instead of EQ for your SSL X-Rack and get API EQ's which are relatively easy to recall. Or you could get the newer rackmounted Neve series which has recall.
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bforest4 ➑️
I would go with Comps instead of EQ for your SSL X-Rack and get API EQ's which are relatively easy to recall. Or you could get the newer rackmounted Neve series which has recall.
+1.


bforest,
the digi guys once showed me a pic of a D.Conrol with a producer's desk/pres just like you described... must've been yours! looks very cool indeed.
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #22
A2D
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🎧 10 years
how about an SSL Duality?
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 15 years
Thx for all your comments. The suggestion of Brent Averill enclosure might be a good one, I'll try to find out.

The case of this particular studio, is that the engineer could go all the way ITB, at least for mixing, as he does not just music but almost quite everything that gets thru the door, like VO, Post, etc. The analog stuff is a bit of a vanity thing, although seeing where he's putting the money not that bad a choice, as however the industry and technology spins in the future, you'll always need an analog front end in the tracking and overdubbing stages.

All current small consoles have been considered, but they all lacked in automation and DAW control (or were too expensive). As for the Genesys, I honestly can't believe how Neve could design such a mess. The ergonomics are terrible, the pan pots reversed, the soft rotaries on the top, no LCD scribble strip (!), no use of colour to avoid confusion in the pots, no retroilluminated switches, a small LCD screen for tweaking, the 1084 modules dont have pres, nor filters, nor transformers (what's left?), etc, etc. And if you equip a 16ch Genesys with eq, automation etc, it costs a real fortune, much more than an AWS+.
As for the ITB route, a basic 8 fader D-command alone is €13k while the SSL Matrix is €18k, that's why it appeared to be the best option in terms of price and features (analog+automation+DAW control).
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 15 years
... and now, adding $18k worth of compressors.


This should be the complete setup. I'd like to point out that EVERYTHING you see now here in the attached pic below (except for the monitors and reverbs), costs exactly the same as an AWS900+ (around €68k, incl VAT).

The AWS was also considered (along with those desks from Neve, Portico and API, ICON... etc), but then the choice had to be between getting a console alone, or a smaller, fully custom equipped, first class analog console (+DAW controller) instead. Here lays the emphasis on the Neve_8014_theory "less is more", being the 8014 on its own a relatively small and simple, but truly great 16 ch analog console.

The thing is that for this particular engineer and studio, it was more interesting the choice of the Matrix along with a collection of first class classic outboard, than investing all the money into one simple standard desk. The Matrix offers a bit better DAW control than any other current SSL to date after all, and brings a total of 40 analog inputs to the mix. With the combination of all that outboard, the engineer gets "16 gold analog channels", plus all the other resources of the console, as well as everything ITB in a hybrid ITB+OTB scenario if he ever needs to.

Another advantage of this combination against antyhing else, is that with a careful half-normalled external patchbay planning, and thanks to the Matrix's automated internal patchbay, every single piece on display here can be used freely without having to patch a single cord. That was a very strong point in favour of the small SSL. Any recall could potentially be performed then in a couple of minutes: TotalRecall for anything SSL and just 2 digital pictures, for the comps and 1084s. Done.
Attached Thumbnails
Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014-matrix_8014_scenec_2s.jpg  
Old 19th September 2008 | Show parent
  #25
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
now just put another rack on the other side w/Pultecs, maybe a Zener and an 8900, AMS verb and DDL, and then.... this is GS after all.

seriously very cool rig jindrich, if you can't make a record with that, the problem ain't the gear. it also looks very tasty. congrats.
Old 20th September 2008 | Show parent
  #26
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jindrich's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by raal ➑️
seriously very cool rig jindrich, if you can't make a record with that, the problem ain't the gear. it also looks very tasty. congrats.
Well, yes that was the point. To invest the minimum and yet obtain a flexible, high end rig with no excuses (if only i had...)

Would it be cooler to have an 8068, 4048G+ or a Duality? Sure, but with current budgets, schedules and changes, it is not an option anymore (except for a very few).

Anf the thing is, if you ever need a bigger rig, there are plenty of first class, well mantained and stuffed Neve and SSL studios for 500 a day, including assistant (at least at this side of the pond). Crazy.
Old 21st September 2008 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Wow, really compact and powerfull rig, great choice in compressors! I would probably get a tubetech CL1B instead of the LA2A, but no big deal either way. The other thing missing for me is a GML 8200 for the stereo buss and an SSL buss comp.
Old 22nd September 2008 | Show parent
  #28
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jindrich's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ergonomics

Ergonomics

Just one more view of the custom console. Another reason this particular rig was preferred amongst other different options is because of its great overall ergonomics. As you can see here, these three things, a full traditional (automated) analog console, a multi DAW controller and an edit workstation, are all integrated into a single and very ergonomic workplace.

There're so many setups out there, like those built around D-Commands and similar controllers, that give you wrist pain just by looking at how they've been set. How can people not consider essential things like that? Likewise happens with many of those traditional console plus DAW edit stations hanging around all over the place on roller structures, that give you neck problems in one single day, besides turning you deaf on one ear only (you're 90ΒΊ to the speakers and you edit in mono).
Last is the placement of all that gear in racks of very difficult, unpractical or uncomfrotable access, I never understood that.
I'll always remember how great UK Townhouse's studio 1 was (before they put in the last winged console), when all gear was almost horizontally set in a U kind of shape along the SSL, at the same height of the desk, so easy to operate.



Anyway, try to consider this stuff when you build your studios. On the pic here below, you'll see the frame has been designed so there's ample place for the mouse/trackball and (wireless) mac KB at your hands (dont need anything else as the Matrix has 320 programmable softkeys). There's a quite big armrest to rest your elbows or feet anytime ;-), console faders stay flat to the armrest so you can ride them seamlessly with your palms over the table, like in any big console, dual 23" screens are on moving arms to put them (or hide them) as close or as far as you want, pres+eqs stay simetrically at either side of the console (8+8) in a vertical fashion, to avoid the "extra thinking" (which channel im in with this eq?), and at perfect arm reach, and finally, the compressors' angled rack is at comfortable arm and visual level, at a side, so you can just roll the chair a bit back and tweak them while still being in the monitors sweet spot.

Nice, clean and effective environment. All these little details make such a difference at the end of the day.
.
Attached Thumbnails
Project: Turning an SSL Matrix into a Neve 8014-matrix_8014_scenec_3s.jpg  
Old 22nd September 2008 | Show parent
  #29
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rectifried's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
thats really a nice graphic..I think the matrix is very cool but have yet to have a big enough project to warrent it...plus i would go outboard crazy..added expense!
been considering some summing mdules for my xrack tho..
Old 26th September 2008 | Show parent
  #30
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jindrich's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
I think the RND 5033 EQ is much more functional but is not as great on the low end and has no recall. For an SSL EQ i would choose the Signature E series but they are expensive and have been discontinued and no recall.
I just found out SSL is re-releasing (again!) the brown EQ, and now in the XRACK format with recall . no filters though.

Doesn't sound too bad for the setup displayed in this thread. Eight 1084s on the left, eight E brown/black SSL EQs on the right.

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