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Speck xtramix vs SSL Xrack vs Toft ATB
Old 30th January 2009
  #1
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Speck xtramix vs SSL Xrack vs Toft ATB

I have 12 channels of mediocre/ok outboard EQ, 12 channels of ssl xrack dynamics and ssl and api mix bus comps. I have room in my 2nd xrack, so the cost is about the same on the small format mixers.

The Atb is appealing because of the EQ and 8 bus. The xtramix has more inputs, better headroom and also 8 bus. The xrack is appealing as a total solution, with expansion and total recall.

Just how good is the atb eq compared with the xrack eq? How different would the sonics be between the three?

Will any one of these clearly outperform the other two? Or is it a matter of fashion?
Old 30th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
2/3

I can speak to two out of three.

I too own the Xrack with SSL EQ and a Toft ATB.

Very hard to compare the two because they are very different animals.

That said, I'd look to each of their strengths. I like the SSL EQ, but I feel that strength is in their comps while EQ is the strength of the ATB.

For the price of 4 SSL EQ modules, you can buy an entire Toft ATB... beyond price, I'd sill use the Toft EQ over the SSL in many or most occasions.

For what its worth!


-a
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Solid State Logic
 
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🎧 10 years
Depends what you want it for. All 3 could potentially be the right solution for you. Try them out. Listen to them. See which you like the sound of and let your own ears be the best judge
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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Xrack and atb

Thanks jim and dirty halo!

Re eq: That's what I was thinking. I had a couple g383 rack units and didnt particularly care for the eq.

Dirty halo,
How would you compare the summing between the toft and ssl then?
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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laser's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you have top notch eq's/comps that have some color (which it sounds like you don't on the eq's and do on the comps), the Xtramix is for you. The true value of the Xtramix is it allows the color and personalities of your eq's and comps to shine. I plugged both an Avedis E27 and an A-Designs EM-PEQ into the Xtramix and it was sonic bliss. Very high end. Excellent headroom. Very low noise for something in it's price range.

With mediocre or colorless EQ's, the Xtramix was okay--nothing special.

The Toft ATB24 gives you 24 very good EQs into a very mediocre board. I haven't heard one I really liked, but I did like the EQs.

The XtraMix was built better, but the controls are a little tight to operate and the layout not the most intuitive. For a portable recording gig, the XtraMix, a RADAR and a couple of 500 racks filled with sonic goodies would be my first choice.

Can't help on the SSL.

Laser
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Toft only for the EQ with a summing mixer?

Laser,
Is the Toft EQ sweet enough to justify using it solely as an outboard EQ with an xtramix? 16 channels of atb EQ is far less costly than 16 500 series. Its roughly 300 a channel.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I assume the Xrack summing is very solid, but I don't have direct experience, so I won't fain an answer.

The summing on the ATB is good, but it's one area that I took it upon myself to modify and make better.

You can't go too wrong with the Toft EQ and despite what some may say, I think its a very good console, as good or better than many that are 3x its price.

Independent of me, Fletcher (who hears a ton of gear and differently than me) also agrees with that.

Add routing, FX sends, inserts on every channel, groups and inserts, etc... you have some massive bang for the buck.

That said, I have an SSL Xrack with comps and a few EQ's that I use along with the board. I always love those SSL comps!


Hope that helps a little.


-a
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
ATB package at affordable price offers not bad EQs, as well as, usable summing, to my ears not on par with xtramix and SSL that are both not my cup of tea.
SSL EQs are close to clean EQ I would prefer in similar ballpark with Speck's EQs, but both might appear less alive than Toft's. Saying that I would not pick ATB over Xrack EQs for general purpose EQing.
IMO ATB is good board among affordable boards, probably the better one. I would use it as synth submixer without hesitation, but I wouldn't feel satisfied on complete, higher resolution and great dynamic mix, what is not reasonable expectation of such mixer after all.
If you prefer expandable system (from appealing brand) XRack might be optimal solution.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Gyang,
Thank you for your views.
Another thing holding me back on the toft atb is the weight. I travel on assignment and would need to ship, carry on or check in my rig. The speck is small enough as is the xrack.
I was considering the API system, but some levels are set to -2 which might make integrating other pieces difficult. Plus, its going to color everything. Ive got a 2500 comp for this when desired. But API is also a total solution, especially with the 7600 channel strip.

Tell me, What is your cup of tea?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman ➑️
Gyang,
Thank you for your views.
Another thing holding me back on the toft atb is the weight. I travel on assignment and would need to ship, carry on or check in my rig. The speck is small enough as is the xrack.
I was considering the API system, but some levels are set to -2 which might make integrating other pieces difficult. Plus, its going to color everything. Ive got a 2500 comp for this when desired. But API is also a total solution, especially with the 7600 channel strip.

Tell me, What is your cup of tea?
I'm a fan of the ATB (and it's not a price based decision), but I would agree with what you say, not so much the weight, but the board, while it sounds fantastic, is not built like a tank... it wouldn't travel well at all.

Once in a studio, fantastic!

I have to admit, the API DSM system looks damn appealing to me!


-a
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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carlheinz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
For portability the Toft is a probably a no.Bang for Buck it's the best.
If you don't wan't to color everything then the API is a no.Still very nice etc.
As as all in one solution with recall.. I see the Xrack...YES.If you like SSL.

The SSL Eq has many tricks up it's sleves that are not apparent at first...especially if you are subtracting frequencies.It will do what you ask of it.The G curves in the top 12k etc for that extra"air" can be very nice.The HPF is very nice for notching out mud.Very usable EQ...if you like that clean SSL sound.If you want to do very small but effective adjustments....they work very well...very easy.

I'm still not sure what kind of work you are doing but there are many choices.

I'd have some kind of Lunchbox and an Xrack to cover all the 31 flavors
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If you already have the X-Rack, you are crazy not to go with the X-Rack summing. It is such a cool integrated, and compact solution, and one of the only solutions with the all important recall. If you travel with your setup, you would be adding no more rack space, plus great marketing value, you would have a mini SSL mixer with the combo of your comps and the summing. How many great sounding records have been mixed through an SSL J, K, AWS, or Duality compared to a Toft or Speck?

I am building a very similiar SSL X-Rack setup, 4 comps, 2 E comps, 2 E EQ's, and a summing rack, should have it complete within a few weeks. I will be using this with 6 API EQ's, Massive Passive and 8 Neve BAE's. I have done mixes on an AWS, and a 9000 J, which always sounds a step up from staying ITB.

For more EQ's, to stay compact, you should stick with a 10 space API rack with a combo of API, Avedis, etc.. , or maybe get some Neve Portico modules which don't use alot of space. I would stay high end with your analog outboard, otherwise I would rather just use Waves API, Neve, and SSL plugins.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Deleted User
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Bforest4,

Thank you.

What is keeping me from pulling the trigger is the lack of busing. It wants to be a mixer but it's still just a summing rig. The work arounds hAvent been discussed. What do you plan to do for fx and groups?
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
For FX, I will use the insert send on each Xrack summing input as a direct out to go back into an aux input in protools dedicated to sends. I would put any analog EQ and Compression before the input of the X-rack module. For a 16 ch. summing mixer, I would have to create 16 new aux input tracks in protools. This is a hassle, but on the plus side, you would have more sends, automated sends, and instant recall of your sends vs. a matrix or AWS 900.

In my case(20 input summing system), I am getting one of the 8 input modules which only has inserts on the first four channels, so I would use the last four channels for stereo Fx, and all the extra tracks that will be summed and processed digitally and already have digital sends assigned. I only have 16 inputs on my protools system, and need to leave 2 inputs to print back the mix, so I will have to live with 14 aux input tracks for post analog processing sends in protools.

For bussing, I will do it in protools, and use the one extra record buss on the xrack to do a drum buss, or a parallel compression drum buss.

(The other solution that you could go with is Stereo Stems with dedicated FX per stem all going through a dedicated stereo out. The downside would be that analog eq and compression would be applied to everything at once, post FX processing, which might get weird. )
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Solid State Logic
 
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🎧 10 years
I use an aux send in my DAW patched out direct to my outboard reverb and bring this in on 2 channels of my X-rack. Simple workaround you can use for any line mixer...
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bforest4 ➑️

I am building a very similiar SSL X-Rack setup, 4 comps, 2 E comps, 2 E EQ's, and a summing rack, should have it complete within a few weeks. I will be using this with 6 API EQ's, Massive Passive and 8 Neve BAE's. I have done mixes on an AWS, and a 9000 J, which always sounds a step up from staying ITB.

.
If you use the summing unit in the X-rack you will need the monitoring card as well. That means you can only get 6 more cards in an X-rack.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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jindrich's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
If you use the summing unit in the X-rack you will need the monitoring card as well. That means you can only get 6 more cards in an X-rack.
What's the monitoring card??

Here's an example of a 24ch SSL summing mixer, Bus comp and master section included, all packed into a single X-rack.
Attached Thumbnails
Speck xtramix vs SSL Xrack vs Toft ATB-eur6.5k_ssl_24insumming_xrack.jpg  
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich ➑️
What's the monitoring card??

.
I meant the master bus module.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
I use an aux send in my DAW patched out direct to my outboard reverb and bring this in on 2 channels of my X-rack. Simple workaround you can use for any line mixer...
I want to send to my Reverbs, Delays, and modulation fx post analog EQ and Comp, thus my fairly complicated setup mentioned a few posts previous. This is obviously not necessary if you are doing fairly minor processing, but if I am doing severe compression, boosting or filtering, than I think it is worth doing.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
If you use the summing unit in the X-rack you will need the monitoring card as well. That means you can only get 6 more cards in an X-rack.
I am using 2 full X-racks, one for comps and eq's, the other loaded with summing modules.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Solid State Logic
 
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
I meant the master bus module.
The Bus Master module is only 1 slot wide.

the Master Buss Compressor module is 2 slots wide.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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Adebar's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GYang ➑️
ATB package at affordable price offers not bad EQs, as well as, usable summing, to my ears not on par with xtramix and SSL that are both not my cup of tea.
What would be your cup of tea regarding the summing (not the EQs and compressors)?
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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laser's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman ➑️
Laser,
Is the Toft EQ sweet enough to justify using it solely as an outboard EQ with an xtramix? 16 channels of atb EQ is far less costly than 16 500 series. Its roughly 300 a channel.
It really depends on how you would be using the Toft in this configuration.

If you're going line-in into the Toft, to the EQs and line-out through the direct outs (or aux sends), it would depend if the line-in's are truly bypassing the amp stage (or, conversely, they're using a pad) and it would also depend on how well the direct outs' (or aux out) circuitry is designed. It's been a while since I looked at the schematics. I'm sure a Toft owner/user would be able to give you better information.

The 500 Series is a more expensive option--no doubt, but I guarantee once you hear the Avedis EQ with a clean, well-designed, low-noise mixer, you'll understand why. There are less-expensive, 500-Series EQs that can be added to your system for the less critical tracks that sound quite good when used in an appropriate context. Most manufacturers/distributors will, at least, give you a one-week trial period; all you have to do is plug it in and either smile or send it back.

As I'm sure you've already figured out, it will always be a trade-off between affordability vs. sonics vs. flexibility vs. build quality vs. programmability. At some point, you have to decide which is more important to you and move forward.

Good luck.

Laser
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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Using the 8 input mod seems like a work around. I dont use a DAW for all my trax and I only have so many converter outputs anyway. Being able to bus/send-return is pretty important. I've thought about sub mixing into the Xrack, so I dont have to depend upon it and its 2 bus limitation. If I grabbed an API 8200a for some busing duties, I could drop this into the Xrack rig, ultimately using the SSL summing for the mixdown. Still would be very portable. Would This be a logical approach?

UPDATE:
So I grabbed an API 8200a and an ATI 8mx2, and I am going with an 8 input module based xrack summing rig.

Decided to skip the toft eq and continue buying outboard eq as I can afford it.

Thanks for all the wisdom all.
Old 14th August 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Update:
I never got the Toft to work with, but I did a few listening tests locally and really did love the sound of it.

I used the api and ssl for a little while but found the whole summing mixer "flow" not what I was looking for.

So, I bought a Midas Venice 320 and couldn't be happier. The summing is superb. Nice and wide, punchy and quiet. The EQ is great as well. And, like people say, a little goes a long way.

I compared the api system with the midas before I decided to sell the api and it sounded different but only in a tonal way. When I strapped the api 2500 to the midas mix bus, it was right there with the api 8200 system.
Old 7th July 2010 | Show parent
  #26
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SoZo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Old Post but thank you for your findings.. Im going to look in this direction also, any other board recommendations?

Thank You,
John
Old 21st August 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoZo ➑️
Old Post but thank you for your findings.. Im going to look in this direction also, any other board recommendations?

Thank You,
John
For the money it's almost impossible to beat the Midas 320. Some people like the old soundcraft delta boards and some of the older a&h, but the ones that I used just weren't as mojo as the Midas.

I've since moved into the box for mixing and analog sum on occasion using an Imagimotion mixer. The thing smokes.




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Old 21st June 2012
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
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