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Good analog console for mixing?
Old 29th January 2009
  #1
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BrandRecordingCo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Good analog console for mixing?

I am in the process of putting together a good home studio so I can start recording local bands and stuff. I want to mix on an analog console, and have been looking at a few and comparing. Below is the setup I am wanting to go with as of now:

-Pro Tools M-Powered (tracking/editing) and Logic8 (mixing)
-M-Audio Lightbridge
-SSL Alpha Link (24 in/out converter)
-A few outboard compressors/effects (dbx 160, RNC, etc.)
-??? 24 channel analog console???

That will be the basic set up and will allow me 24 ins/outs to record and mix on the board. I have been looking at the A&H GL2400, the Mackie ONYX, A&H ZED 428, etc.

This board will be a STARTER to get my studio up and running and I eventually want to buy the Toft ATB 24. So, I am looking for a board with 24 channels, decent pre's and workable eq. I realize that for my budget, which is around 2k, I will not get an awesome board. I'm just looking for the best I can get to mix on right now. I will eventually be buying some other pre's and things, but to start will probably use the board.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Old 29th January 2009
  #2
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BrandRecordingCo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Also, aside from the Zed 428, how bout the Zed-24? It is only $699 on musiciansfriend. Seems like a great little mixer that would be a cheap but good way to get my 24 channels. I know there are a few limitations that the Zed-24 has that the Zed 428 doesn't, but for the price, they are things I can live with.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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Heartfelt's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Usually when people have a restricted budget for EQ, the advice given is to stay in the box. I think people would agree that there isn't much to gain by mixing on a ZED with low end outboard. A toft and quality comps and eq's would be a different story.

Having done live work for years, it seems to me that it would be a really big band to need 24ins. I could get a lot done with 16. If you are starting out, there are a few interfaces that give you 16 ins and some with pres.

just .02
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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BrandRecordingCo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the response Heartfelt. The 24 channels is more for mixing, not recording. I would need maybe 12 to 16 inputs at most, which is what the Zed-24 comes with. I want 24 analog channels to mix with coming from my DAW. I have been mixing ITB for years now, and HATE it. I just can't stand sitting in front of the computer clicking a mouse for everything. I just graduated with a degree in audio (whoopie...), and we mixed on an SSL Duality in school. I love analog mixing. I am by no means a pro yet, but am not just starting out with recording, mixing, producing music and feel that it is time to upgrade a little. I want a decent set up that will get me going on mixing with a console. I plan on investing in good converters (SSL alpha link) and some decent outboard compressors (dbx 160, RNC, etc.). Not top notch, but not bad stuff either. This will mainly be for local bands who can't afford to go to a commercial studio. I like hands on and playing with knobs and faders!

I realize that the Zed consoles, or even the GL2400 will not necessarily "improve" my sound, however, b/c I mix better on a board and will enjoy it more, that is why I want it. I cannot see mixing on one of these "severely" hurting my mixes, and if it does...I'll stop. I will also always have my DAW plugs for eq, compression, etc if I need them as well.

A control surface is out of the question as they are not worth the money and I don't like them. I want to feel the music under my fingers, and I can't do that with a mouse or control surface.

Thanks again. I am looking for anyone who has had experience with the Zed 428 or Zed-24. Are the pre's decent? Is the eq usable for basic equing during tracking/mixing?

Anyone else doing what I am wanting to do or close to it? I look forward to your responses.

Thanks!
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Buy used, ebay? Or Craigslist? I see descent older true analog boards on those sites all the time for a third of what the Onyx goes for.

I own the onyx 24-4 for live use, and I've recorded with it live and in the studio. I'd have to say I'm not all that impressed with it for either but it does okay live.

I can't wait to pick up my latest find, a yamaha m1532 for 500 bucks, its needs some motification to be studio worthy, but for 500 bucks I get a 32 channels of usable eq, decent pres and it looks like a piece of furniture the way a studio desk should look:o)

Just my thoughts.. the used cheap kickin boards are there, you just gotta look.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Fast_Fingers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Well, using a Duality in school explains your love for in the box. To be honest, if you want simplicity, I'd save up for the A&H R16 (review). It'll interface nicely with the M Audio stuff (having ADAT outs...unfortunately not SMUX) and can control your DAW like the Duality through MIDI (no 100mm automated faders though). Plus its EQ is more adjustable (don't know about musicality) than the Toft. I'd stick with Logic and this mixer for now, and expand with M Powered and ADAT if you feel you are reaching its limits.

Keep in mind, frequently with analog summers like the Dangerous Music 2-Bus and Neve 8816 people specifically group their tracks so it'll fit into 16 outputs (or they get another box for 32). The details are in the 2-bus link above.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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BrandRecordingCo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the suggestions guys! Good info there. The Zed R16 does look really cool, I was just attracted to the Zed-24 price tag and really want to eventually get the toft atb, so don't know that it would be worth investing 3k in a temporary console for now. I will think about it though.

Yeah, the Duality was awesome in school, however, for all of my projects I would use it in analog mode as I do NOT like in the box mixing. You could also use it to control Pro Tools and things, but I didn't really use it for that so much. I liked using it in analog mode and mixing on it just like any other analog board. It was a dream.

I still have a little while to think about it. And when it really comes down to buy a mixing board, it will depend on how much I have saved up. I would like to go no more than 2k for now, unless my situation gets much better really quick. However, if it sounds decent...I have no problem spending only $700 on a Zed-24 to mix up some projects.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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GZsound's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I may be wrong, but from what I have read, the Toft ATB seems to be fairly noisy as far as THD specs compared to other competitive boards.

I shopped a lot for a good studio board to replace my old Mackie 24/8 and ended up with a Soundcraft Spirit 328 digital mixer.. Very clean, quiet and easy to use. 16 channels of ADAT I/O or TDIF I/O.

It was $950.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Xestenz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In that price range, you will get more bang for the buck with a digital mixer IMO like the Tascam DM3200. Will give you the 'feel' of mixing on a board along with 16 pretty decent mic pres --but with WAY more flexibility than a Mackie (automated mixing, multiple i/o configurations, decent to good conversion, templates for controlling various software programs, etc.)
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Dav Iridium's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've got a ZED 436 and I love it. The preamps sound great, the line ins and outs are very clean and balanced, the eq's very useable, all in all it's pretty solidly built. The faders feel a tiny bit flimsier than a GL series, but the only main drawbacks are A. no SOLO function (there's a PFL) and B. no control room level section. You could route the matrix out to your monitors and the main outs to your recorder, or vice-versa. I find it's a great desk to send massive amounts of stems to. With the 432 and 428 being exactly the same, disregarding frame, I can highly recommend. Lots of BFB.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I'm kind of in the same boat, and have been leaning towards a used Tascam Dm3200 myself--I don't think I can really enjoy mixing without automated faders, which I had on my old system (a Roland VS2480). I wish there were more lower-cost options to choose from--I don't really like control surfaces either. I'm sure it's mostly psychological, but who am I to argue with my subconscious?
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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BrandRecordingCo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks again for all the replies guys! I have looked at some of the digital mixers, and have mixed on a few, and I just can't get into them. I know it would be best to keep the sound in the digital world, have automated faders, lots more routing options, etc...but to tell you the truth the whole reason I like an analog board is because of it's simplicity. You run audio to the board and you turn it into music! I can always write automation in PT or Logic and have those faders move, and just set my board faders and leave them. So I'm not worried about that. When I am mixing in a DAW or on a digital console or control surface, I feel like it is too technical or something. I feel like there is a right and a wrong. Can I make it sound good? Sure, but its just not as fun and it takes me longer and involves more thinking and effort (not in a good way) to get there. It's just the way I am I guess.

I realize the limitations of an anolog set up, especially on the lower end. But this is what I am wanting, simplicity. I will always have the DAW's and plugins to get as technical as I want, but I want a good analog console to just make music with for the majority of my projects. At least for now...

Thanks!
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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gransonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Buy used! I got a Soundcraft Ghost 32 LE with meterbridge for 1120pound, which today, isn't much Can't even get an old 8bus mackie in germany for that kind of money.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Xestenz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by $uper$tar ➑️

I realize the limitations of an anolog set up, especially on the lower end. But this is what I am wanting, simplicity. I will always have the DAW's and plugins to get as technical as I want, but I want a good analog console to just make music with for the majority of my projects. At least for now...

Thanks!
I hear ya, and sounds like you've thought this through. However, if you are mixing tracks coming back from digital (ITB) the mixing experience between an analog console and digital console won't be all that different, IMO. At least once the digital mixer is set up and configured (usually the hard part.)

A friend of mine was using a Soundtracs Topaz in his rehearsal/project studio, and I always liked the sound of the pres and eq on that board.

In fact, look right here:

Soundtracs 24-8 Topaz Mixing Console- NO RESERVE - eBay (item 200302729864 end time Jan-31-09 22:13:42 PST)
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
recordhead's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you considering used at all don't over look the Sony DMX R100.
It's alot of board for the used $. Plus its analog and digital.

John
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