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GS-R24m vs ZED R16 for the project studio
Old 10th September 2012
  #1
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TexaCali's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
GS-R24m vs ZED R16 for the project studio

Howdy Gearslutz,

I'm currently using a ZED R16 in my home/project studio and lusting after a GS-R24m. But at ~$9k for the GS-R24 vs ~$2k for the R16 I have to wonder, is it really worth it?

The main motivation for the upgrade is recall/autimation and better DAW integration. With the motorized faders I can still mix OTB and have fader recall. It would also give me control over mutes and record arms. Oh, and the 2-way midi buttons are nice (as are 100mm faders)!

The GS-R24m will also give me 8 more channels and 4 sub groups, which will be very welcome and will be put to use (during mix down), but I can live with 16 and no sub groups if I have to. Setting up more than 16 mics in my home studio isn't something I see happening, and the GS-R24m is too big to drag off for location work, so the extra pre's will be mostly unused.

The 2 additional aux sends are nice, but not something I plan to use at the moment.The valve channels are also nice, but I can always use outboard pre's with my R16 (though having the DAW returns mapped to the R24's pre's without the need for patch cables or re-amp boxes is a nice touch).

The metering is cool, but the DAW meters work fine - and are what really count at the end of the day. Are we under 0dBFS for the converters? Does anything else matter?

I have a hard time believing the audio or build quality will be significantly differnt between these boards, but I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised. The R16 is pretty good and I seriously doubt the GS-R24 steps it up to the level of API/SSL/etc. Or am I wrong?

Bottom line, it looks like in upgrading I'd be spending and extra ~$7k mainly for fader automation and record arm buttons on each channel. Am I missing something here?

FWIW - I employ a hybrid approach, using some plugs and ITB automation (or occasionaly summing) where needed, but mix primarly OTB using outboard comps/eqs/verbs plus the eq's in the R16. I really like having an analog board and control surface in one location - the ergonomics improvement is huge. I also like haveing the converters in the board as it saves the space of extrnal coverters and offers great routing possiblities without a ton of cables and patch panels, etc. I've considered older pure analog boards, but given the improvements in analog circuitry over the last 2 decades I believe the A&H is the better choice. Other new options (SSL Matrix, Audient, etc) all wind up costing significantly more.

So what am I missing? Is the GS-R24m a huge step up in sound or build quality? Is it really 5x the board the R16 is?

Thanks!
Old 10th September 2012
  #2
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexaCali ➑️
So what am I missing? Is the GS-R24m a huge step up in sound or build quality? Is it really 5x the board the R16 is?

Thanks!
I'll be stepping over to the GS R24 from the R16 in a couple of weeks, so I'll be able to give you a more informed opinion after I've had time to explore the board hands on. However, I have asked Mike at A&H about the sonic differences and he confirmed that the channels on the R16 are identical to those of the R24, but he did say that the master bus converters were a step up in quality from the R16. The rest of the upgrade is indeed all about improved workflow, meter bridge, 8 extra channels, 2 tube channels, 4 group channels, improved DAW control, moving faders etc. As to whether this makes it '5x the board' depends on your preferences.

Cheers, Pete
Old 23rd September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Keep us posted on how you find the switch - I'm very interested
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
will do. should have it in next week.
Old 26th September 2012
  #5
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Woohoo! My GS R24m arrived today.

This being mixingtable.com the first thing I did was replace the plastic sides with a beautiful pair of wild walnut panels. mmmmmm, nice!

The PSU is arriving in the post tomorrow so I can't fire it up until then.

In the meanwhile here's a pic of my R16 and his big brother.

Old 28th September 2012
  #6
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The first thing I noticed upon turning the desk on was that the PSU has a fan in it.
If you're coming from the R16 which has no fan and therefor a completely silent operating level, it's something to take into consideration, as it will add to your ambient noise floor
unless you can stow it somewhere.

The fan has a low level hum, and not a high pitched whine. Probably comparable to adding another low rev fan to your computer case.
Luckily I have a cupboard available near by with a sliding door that I can house the PSU in. The cable from the PSU to the R24 is 2.9 meters.

The next thing is SPACE.

Space both physically and mentally.
The physical distance between the channels on the R24 is 30mm compared to 25mm on the R16.
Sitting behind the desk is a different feeling. I never considered the R16 to be a toy, it's a capable desk in it's own right, but the R24 does have that large format console appearance, and it's beautifully laid out.

Setting the desk up in Cubase 5 was pretty easy. A&H have a template you can download to get you started with the midi control and after loading it up and studying it the setup was pretty clear.

The moving faders are definitely something to get your head around if you've never worked with them before.
Very cool.

Once a track in Cubase is put into Write mode (Read lights up automatically on the cubase channel) and you have the fader write button enabled on the desk all you have to do is touch a fader and the cubase channel in the sequencer turns red to let you know you're writing midi automation info to it.

For stereo channels I figured out pretty quickly that you can program two faders in the midi setup dialogue to follow the same track automation, so moving one fader, the other will follow the and vice versa.

Another thing that I wasn't expecting was the bonus of the meter bridge. Never having worked with one I'd always considered them to be eye candy
(you have the same information in your DAW mixer) but it did improve the workflow and added to the enjoyment of mixing.

Tube Channels!!!
Excellent! I already love these. I wish there were more of them and that there was a comprehensive EQ and AUX sends as on the normal channels.
Sending samples through them added a touch life and vibrancy to them, a huge bonus, especially if you don't own much outboard processing.
Loved them on bass and guitar so far.

Headroom.
I'd mixed on the R16 for 2 years until now, and I'm pretty sure the R24 is more forgiving in terms of the signal strength it can handle.
Not sure if the tech specs will bear me out on this, but it was definitely an impression I got after the first day of playing around with it.

Didn't manage to peak the VU meters yet.

I've only had it a day of course, but so far I'm absolutely loving it.
Old 1st October 2012
  #7
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TexaCali's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the write up and the pics Pete! The side by side photo comparison is very interesting. No question the R24 is much more of a professional studio desk than the R16. Please keep us updated on your impressions with this board.

Oh, and your side panels look very nice! I do a bit of wood work myself (personal only, not for sale)...I'll have to post some pics of the mahogany and Russian birch desk I made for my R16.

BTW - Saw a GS 3000 in a studio today. The owner was very fond of it and said it was a very solid reliable board that had never given him any trouble and sounded great. (For anyone reading who doesn't know, the GS 3000 was the predecessor to the GS-R24).

Cheers,
Mark
Old 1st October 2012
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for this thread - I have ordered a GS-R24 but I guess it will be awhile before I get it - fairly back ordered I hear. I'm replacing a Yamaha O1V-96 and hoping that it will be a noticeable upgrade - in other words, that I will be able to tell the difference. We'll see! Thanks again and all best -
Old 2nd October 2012
  #9
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hi Guys,

haven't had any more time to mix with the R24 as yet but here are a few more pics...




this one shows the racked PSU next to the desk...


the back of the PSU showing the fan... the airflow is from the back of the unit and blows warm air out of the front...


I'll be doing my first full mix on it this week. It's a track that was already mixed ITB, tracked through the R16 pre's. I'm probably going to send a couple of tracks back through the R24's tube channels and re-record them, then use the R24 as an automated midi controller to continue the ITB mix, as I don't have the time to set it up as a full summing mix back through the R24. However this shows one of the strengths of the R24... it's versatile and you have the option to choose your workflow method.

I'll let you guys know how I get on with that.

Cheers, Pete
Old 2nd October 2012
  #10
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Beautiful looking setup Pete. Pleas keep us posted.

-R
Old 4th October 2012
  #11
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
R16 for sale

Hi Guys, due to now being the proud owner of an R24 I'm selling the R16 you can see in the pic above.

Ad is here in the classifieds.

Cheers, Pete
Old 5th October 2012
  #12
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Ok, so last night was my first full on mixing session with the R24.

I was going to just use it as a midi controller to finish off a mix I had started ITB, however when I pulled the mix up in cubase I saw that the master bus in the DAW was pretty congested and the mix was sounding boxy (that's just how I'd saved it in the previous session working on it ... nothing to do with the R24) so instead of doing the usual pulling down the faders and re-adjusting the gain staging in the DAW I decided I'd see how the R24 handled it as a summing mix.

It took me about 10 mins to do the necessary routing in Cubase.

I don't have any outboard to work with, so parallel compression for the drum buss happens ITB. I chose to route the complete drum buss as a stereo group to faders 1&2, bass guitar to 3, piano and synths next, guitar buss to the tube channels, FX all coming in on the stereo channels, vox and backing on separate channels... still had loads of space left across the board.

The difference was immediate. The R24 handled all the levels without batting an eyelid. The mix opened up and started to breath and still tons of headroom left. That was a nice moment for me. I'm not saying a similar sound couldn't have been created ITB... I've done a ton of ITB mixes and I know you just have to be really careful with the gain staging ... just saying that the headroom I noticed in my first impressions is definitely there.

The tube channels didn't fail me, it's pretty easy to get enough gain into them to get some serious grunge happening and I was able to choose the amount of tube distortion without wanting for more. The dials ended up at 3 o'clock.

some more nice things...

The meter bridge is great. Once I had my routing set up ITB I realized that I could actually mix and not need to look at the computer screens. The meter bridge gives you the visual feedback you need and you can concentrate on the sound more, rather than staring at the DAW.

Of course all my effects and compression was happening ITB so I needed the screens on to be able to tweak those.

The 100mm faders do make a difference. I found I was more confident in riding the faders though a mix compared to the 60mm faders on the R16, and in fact I actually did this on the last mixdown of the evening and it was a lot of fun (old school console guys will be rolling their eyes by now... that's the way it was always done of course) to grab the drum buss and the vocal faders and alter the dynamics of the mix intuitively while recording back into the DAW.

I could have set up the DAW to record my fader moves and play them back to me, but I was so into mixing I forgot I had the option

I remember reading on another thread that someone commented that just engaging the EQ section, even if the EQ gain is completely flat, makes things sound better. I must say I have to agree. It's very subtle but I did end up using the EQ's engaged on every channel. The EQ is exactly the same as on the R16. Just great.

those are my thoughts so far.

You guys have any specifics you want me to answer?

Cheers, Pete
Old 5th October 2012
  #13
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djmukilteo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Very nice setup mitzush....and I know exactly what you mean about opening up and headroom..
That was the thing that amazed me with using the R16. The analog headroom really changes a dry bland ITB mix. And you seem to be able to get that right away without the struggle ITB.
That meter bridge, motorized 100mm faders and the tube channels is a big step up from the R16. Those right there are adding a lot of $$ to the GSR. Not to mention the added channel strips and busses.
The R16 is a great board and I will have to be happy with it for a while...

Specific questions:
Are there any optical or ADAT features? (Not that you need them really)

Did you build the wood side cheeks for the GSR and the case for the PSU or did they come that way?

Good luck and have fun!
Old 5th October 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmukilteo ➑️
Very nice setup mitzush....and I know exactly what you mean about opening up and headroom..
That was the thing that amazed me with using the R16. The analog headroom really changes a dry bland ITB mix. And you seem to be able to get that right away without the struggle ITB.
That meter bridge, motorized 100mm faders and the tube channels is a big step up from the R16. Those right there are adding a lot of $$ to the GSR. Not to mention the added channel strips and busses.
The R16 is a great board and I will have to be happy with it for a while...

Specific questions:
Are there any optical or ADAT features? (Not that you need them really)

Did you build the wood side cheeks for the GSR and the case for the PSU or did they come that way?

Good luck and have fun!
Hi djmukilteo, the R24 with the firewire card has 32 ADAT channel I/O OR a combination of ADAT + the 24 analogue channels on the board.

We make the panels and racks ourselves ... we also make panels for the R16. Check out Quality 19 inch racks, cabinets for modular synthesizers, replacement side panels and dust covers to see what we do.

Cheers, Pete
Old 5th October 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitzush ➑️
Hi djmukilteo, the R24 with the firewire card has 32 ADAT channel I/O OR a combination of ADAT + the 24 analogue channels on the board.

We make the panels and racks ourselves ... we also make panels for the R16. Check out Quality 19 inch racks, cabinets for modular synthesizers, replacement side panels and dust covers to see what we do.

Cheers, Pete
Yes I've seen your panels and website...they are fantastic. I sort of figured those were your panels!....they are beautiful....

So with 32 channels is the sample rate reduced with ADAT and how many ADAT channels are available in that configuration...I would assume you would get 8 channels of ADAT + 24 analog to get to that 32 channel limit?
Also what sample rate are you using with the GSR currently?
It's interesting that the master channels on the GSR have an upgraded converter over the R16. I know the R16 uses a separate stereo 2 channel ADC/DAC.
I would assume the 24 channel strips are using the same converters as the R16 but using three or four?? 8 channel chips rather than the two used in the R16?
Old 5th October 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmukilteo ➑️
Yes I've seen your panels and website...they are fantastic. I sort of figured those were your panels!....they are beautiful....

So with 32 channels is the sample rate reduced with ADAT and how many ADAT channels are available in that configuration...I would assume you would get 8 channels of ADAT + 24 analog to get to that 32 channel limit?
Also what sample rate are you using with the GSR currently?
It's interesting that the master channels on the GSR have an upgraded converter over the R16. I know the R16 uses a separate stereo 2 channel ADC/DAC.
I would assume the 24 channel strips are using the same converters as the R16 but using three or four?? 8 channel chips rather than the two used in the R16?
I believe 48k is the max sample rate using ADAT, and yes you can have 8 ADAT channels and 24 analogue.

I'm using 48k at the moment.

I'm not sure exactly how the master buss converters are implemented or exactly what kind of chips it uses, there's no description of them in the manual as far as I can see, so I can't comment on that.
Old 8th October 2012
  #17
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Cody's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
This looks awesome! Presently I can't justify the GSR24, but would love to own one if I make more records. The summing on the R16 has been pretty awesome so far - I couldn't imagine having 24 channels and two stereo busses...
Old 5th November 2012
  #18
Gear Addict
 
TexaCali's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hey Pete,

Looks like I'll be joining the GS-R24m ranks soon! I just placed an order.

Everyone,

Look for my ZED R-16 to appear in the classifieds soon.

To answer my original question - R16 vs R24 for the home studio - I think it really just comes down to how much you want to spend. The ZED R16 is more than adequate for most home studios and all I really needed for the music I produce. It is also a joy to use and a all round great board. The GS-R24m is just a more refined and expanded version of the R16. I don't expect it to make my mixes better per se, but I should get there faster and have an even bigger smile on my face from sitting behind the even more fun to use board.

-Mark
Old 5th November 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexaCali ➑️
I should get there faster and have an even bigger smile on my face from sitting behind the even more fun to use board.

-Mark
Yep!
Old 28th January 2013
  #20
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
push it hard

So, after a couple of months use, I can definitely say that this desk likes to be pushed hard. Anyone else feel the same?
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #21
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Deltones's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitzush ➑️
So, after a couple of months use, I can definitely say that this desk likes to be pushed hard. Anyone else feel the same?
Speaking of pushing hard, for those who've had the GSR-24 for a while, has there been issues, any issues at all as far as reliability goes? I'm in the process of looking at options to replace my Venice F32. I've written about that already as to the why.

There are not a lot of choices below 10k and most of them are live boards. My eyes are currently on the APB Prodesk-8, but the GSR24 is such a beautiful and tempting console. But the "Made In China" on the back of the A&H, when we're talking in "k" dollars, just scare the crap out of me after my adventure with Midas.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitzush ➑️
So, after a couple of months use, I can definitely say that this desk likes to be pushed hard. Anyone else feel the same?
I'm sorry to have to ask such a noob question ... but it's much better to be embarrassed and informed than smug and ignorant.

Being relatively new to using boards (with a ZED R16), I don't quite understand. Could you please explain/ example what is meant by "pushed hard?"

I assume it has to do with gain structure, but I'm not sure if you mean channel, or main, or both or?

Thanks.
Old 29th January 2013
  #23
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Moatl's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deltones ➑️
Speaking of pushing hard, for those who've had the GSR-24 for a while, has there been issues, any issues at all as far as reliability goes? I'm in the process of looking at options to replace my Venice F32. I've written about that already as to the why.

There are not a lot of choices below 10k and most of them are live boards. My eyes are currently on the APB Prodesk-8, but the GSR24 is such a beautiful and tempting console. But the "Made In China" on the back of the A&H, when we're talking in "k" dollars, just scare the crap out of me after my adventure with Midas.
My GSR24M says "Made in the UK" on its back..
Old 29th January 2013
  #24
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🎧 10 years
Oh and no issues so far...I'm lovin it - great desk!! Thanks mike and A&H!!
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #25
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Deltones's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moatl ➑️
My GSR24M says "Made in the UK" on its back..
It does? Did you get unbelievably lucky and snag one of the early UK made production units?
Old 29th January 2013
  #26
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I thought it was the ZED R-16 that was originally made in the UK and then later fabricated in China ... but the 24 was and is made in the UK.

Could be wrong ... but someone will know for sure.

Last edited by prado escondido; 29th January 2013 at 06:02 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #27
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mitzush's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by prado escondido ➑️
I'm sorry to have to ask such a noob question ... but it's much better to be embarrassed and informed than smug and ignorant.

Being relatively new to using boards (with a ZED R16), I don't quite understand. Could you please explain/ example what is meant by "pushed hard?"

I assume it has to do with gain structure, but I'm not sure if you mean channel, or main, or both or?

Thanks.
Hi Prado,

By 'pushed hard' I mean the sum of a mix coming through the master buss is approaching maximum headroom. The way analogue circuitry reacts to a signal changes depending on it's strength... inducing more non linear distortion/crosstalk etc. as it increases.

Some equipment doesn't like it, and sounds worse as it reaches it's maximum capacity (always subjective - granted), in my experience the R24 tends to sound better as it approaches clipping, and the VU meters start to pin.

Never really tried this with the R16, maybe because of its lack of VU meters as a visual feedback.

Just had a look on the back of my board and it says 'made in England' on it.

By the way, Deltone, asking for negative feedback about a piece of equipment on a forum is pretty dangerous . You will always find someone with a horror story or two. I can say that I've had a look inside the R24, and it's a very well laid out console. No soldering needed if you did ever need to replace a board, and A&H support is outstanding.

Loving mine more and more as I discover its character.
Old 29th January 2013
  #28
Gear Addict
 
Moatl's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by prado escondido ➑️
I thought it was the ZED R-16 that was originally made in the UK and then later fabricated in China ... but the 24 was and is made in the UK.

Could be wrong ... but someone will know for sure.
That's what I thought, too

I believe to remember A&H being asked about this in another thread and they said that it might happen they shift production of the GSR24 to China at some point in the future but for now there's no plans to do so.

It was more like they can't promise to keep production of the GSR in England like forever but they would try to...

...so it's probably better not too many people buy it so they can keep up with production right there

Actually my GSR24M sucks big time don't buy it ;P
Haha - no I have to admit I kind of feel the same way about it as mitzush - the more I use it the more I love it - great sounding console - and the routing options and DAW integration is outstanding!!
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #29
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Deltones's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitzush ➑️
By the way, Deltone, asking for negative feedback about a piece of equipment on a forum is pretty dangerous . You will always find someone with a horror story or two. I can say that I've had a look inside the R24, and it's a very well laid out console. No soldering needed if you did ever need to replace a board, and A&H support is outstanding.

Loving mine more and more as I discover its character.
Was not looking at horror stories as much as some reassurance that they are not into ATB's territory as far as reliability goes. Doesn't seem to be the case, which is great.

Thanks for the input.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #30
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Deltones's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moatl ➑️
I believe to remember A&H being asked about this in another thread and they said that it might happen they shift production of the GSR24 to China at some point in the future but for now there's no plans to do so.
Ah, so that's what I probably remembered from the giant GSR24 thread at the time. Thanks for the clarification.
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