Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

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musicweasel
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Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by musicweasel » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:51 pm

In the late 90s I had a Tascam 24 channel 4 bus mixer that has great pres and eq - nothing immaculately transparent but it had character. I forget the model though....

For 15 years I've just summed and mixed in the box. Now I have some more outboard again and am looking to go back to the old days. I've been looking at Soundcraft Ghosts and Sountracs consoles but I'm wondering if there's anything modern that is simple and sounds good - 16- 24 channels for under $2500. I hate how all these consoles now double as interfaces and effects. Why are they doing that? Why?

Let me know if you have any suggestions!

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by maxl0rd » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:38 pm

There are tons of consoles on the market.

In your price range, the Allen and Heath options are popular. The interfaces and effects are optional on most models. They are going to be much cleaner sounding than Tascam.

An older desk will get you more for your money in exchange for servicing headaches. $2.5k isn’t much for a console that size, so don’t expect magic.

The Toft consoles are also pretty nice if you’re looking for more channels and professional features.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by jimfowler » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:25 pm

if you’re near nyc I have a ghost I’ll sell you.

You can’t beat a hands-on console.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Koekepan » Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:11 pm

Depending on your opinion regarding character vs transparency, Yamaha has quite the reputation for quality, transparent work. Best in the business? Maybe not, but a very solid option.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by whyfarer » Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:31 pm

I recently upgraded from a yamaha mt8x to an allen and heath mixwizard wz3 16:2. I'm pretty impressed with the quality for the price. I think the wz4s are also well regarded, and if you're looking for more they have the GL2400.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Arneb » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:15 am

musicweasel wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:51 pm
I hate how all these consoles now double as interfaces and effects. Why are they doing that? Why?
Because, everything else being equal, more features are considered better than fewer features. And these days everything else is equal, because for every console on the market there's bound to be someone on Muffs who used to own it and hated it.

Anyways, there's the Mackie VLZ4 series. Yamaha also makes versions of their MG models without the USB port and effects section (but still with one-knob compressors). So, there's that.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by underthebigtree » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:20 am

Last year I bought a 48-channel Soundcraft GB8 analog desk on Reverb. It was basically new. I paid $2700 for it. There were several on Reverb at the time that were under $5K.

Steve Roach hipped me to these desks for synths. And it is absolutely awesome. UPS mangled it while delivering it, but I got it repaired and all is well.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by thetwlo » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:29 am

underthebigtree wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:20 am
Last year I bought a 48-channel Soundcraft GB8 analog desk on Reverb. It was basically new. I paid $2700 for it. There were several on Reverb at the time that were under $5K.

Steve Roach hipped me to these desks for synths. And it is absolutely awesome. UPS mangled it while delivering it, but I got it repaired and all is well.

that's just digitech / Harman now, functionally it looks great. how does it sound? what opamps and xformers? are in it?
Soundcraft was sold off 10+ years ago.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by jdkJake » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:50 am

Might want to take a look here:

http://www.speck.com/

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:11 pm

i wondered that myself 6 months ago. i was annoyed with the limited options but wanted something new that wouldn’t need to be repaired all the time. the allen & heaths are nice for what they offer. i picked up a midas venice 320 a few months ago and couldn’t be any happier. its very warm and feature full. this is before they were installed with firewire so its just a mixing console. i have a bunch of gear patched in and use the direct outputs (with pre and post eq) into patch bays that feed into my motu 16A. its modern enough for my needs. my only complaint would be that its only 4 bus, 8 would’ve been more ideal. but it offers enough flexibility that its not an issue.
Last edited by Red Electric Rainbow on Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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maxl0rd
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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by maxl0rd » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:15 pm

Another thing to keep in mind with a 16+ channel desk in this range is that you are in for another $1k+ in patchbays and cabling before you are using it effectively, especially if there is a multitrack recorder involved. It’s a strategic investment in copper.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by KL1982 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:21 pm

There are many great analog consoles on the market - unfortunately most are outwith your budget/I can't advise - but I'll point you to some great analog consoles you may enjoy having a look at:

In terms of great consoles, notwithstanding budget, there are a small number I'd recommend - but Tree Audio represents what is perhaps the pinnacle of analog consoles. See here - https://www.treeaudio.com/consoles

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by StillNotWorking » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:53 pm

maxl0rd wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:15 pm
Another thing to keep in mind with a 16+ channel desk in this range is that you are in for another $1k+ in patchbays and cabling before you are using it effectively, especially if there is a multitrack recorder involved. It’s a strategic investment in copper.
I went with the the SSL X-Desk/Panda solution and outboard EQ & coloration on inserts. Man that D-Sub to TRS conversion to make it useful with synths really was not calculated in when decision where taken. Still arent finished as modules are more temting than a 100€ cable.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Happyanimal » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:06 pm

StillNotWorking wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:53 pm
maxl0rd wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:15 pm
Another thing to keep in mind with a 16+ channel desk in this range is that you are in for another $1k+ in patchbays and cabling before you are using it effectively, especially if there is a multitrack recorder involved. It’s a strategic investment in copper.
I went with the the SSL X-Desk/Panda solution and outboard EQ & coloration on inserts. Man that D-Sub to TRS conversion to make it useful with synths really was not calculated in when decision where taken. Still arent finished as modules are more temting than a 100€ cable.
Have a xdesk as well. Do you really have enough gain on these line inputs for all your synths?

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by StillNotWorking » Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:41 am

Happyanimal wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:06 pm
Have a xdesk as well. Do you really have enough gain on these line inputs for all your synths?
A synth like TS10 easily bring metering into red with Level Trim (-/+ 20db gain) at 3 o'clock. With desk metering default configured to +24dBu that equals +21dBu.

But you're right not all synths are capable of doing this so I got curious and just testet the +18dBu configuration and can confirm more red light up. Clipping LED now are configured to +16dBu and Yellow are 0dBu as opposed to +4dBu. This metering setting might be more inline with typical synth mixers?

As I have a tendency to have effect pedals on the output I need some sort of amplification anyway. Guess your point that a desk with build-in mic pre could be more useful. :tu:

My initial thinking where that a line level desk would have less hiss overall, even if I had to drop gain staging by a couple of dB. That might not be true compared with a desk where mic pre can be taken completly out of the circuit. However many low cost desk only switch out an op-amp gain resistor not optimizing the input impedance for mic/line level, — actually that might not be a bad thing with synths though.
Last edited by StillNotWorking on Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Analog Prophet » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:45 am

Even if I'm in a hybrid setup (SSL mixing console that also is my controller, analog synths, outboards and computer) I agree to the OP. The reason is simple: There is not enough market to make profit of great old school analog mixing consoles today. I hate to say it, but all its all about the money and the commercial main stream market, not for the love of great sound. The second hand market is the way to go if going good old school mixing route.
Last edited by Analog Prophet on Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Arneb
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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Arneb » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:56 am

Well yeah, there's little demand for high-end analog mixers, it's mostly professional studios who buy high-end mixers and they're all going digital by now...

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by jjmcclear » Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:13 am

musicweasel wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:51 pm
In the late 90s I had a Tascam 24 channel 4 bus mixer that has great pres and eq - nothing immaculately transparent but it had character. I forget the model though....

For 15 years I've just summed and mixed in the box. Now I have some more outboard again and am looking to go back to the old days. I've been looking at Soundcraft Ghosts and Sountracs consoles but I'm wondering if there's anything modern that is simple and sounds good - 16- 24 channels for under $2500. I hate how all these consoles now double as interfaces and effects. Why are they doing that? Why?

Let me know if you have any suggestions!
I have a 16 channel Mackie (4-bus) that I love. 1604VLZ4... $999

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... nnel-mixerMackie 1604VLZ4

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by musicweasel » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:42 am

Thanks everyone for the replies. Lots of good stuff to research here.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by slumberjack » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:36 pm

https://apb-dynasonics.com/

They have a wonderful 19" 16ch mixer available and did some wonderful desks which I think are not in production at the moment.

maxl0rd
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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by maxl0rd » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:50 pm

I use the APB now. It’s absurdly good but I was trying to keep it a secret.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by jdkJake » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:58 pm

maxl0rd wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:50 pm
I use the APB now. It’s absurdly good but I was trying to keep it a secret.
Why keep it a secret?

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(((EMP)))
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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by (((EMP))) » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:08 pm

I’ll echo what a few others have said here. The problem isn’t enough decent consoles being made, it’s people expectations in relation to their budget. If you want something above ‘prosumer’ (Mackie, A&H, Soundcraft, etc), expect to pay over $3000 minimum (and thats for a low channel count) or buy a used console.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Dave Peck » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:09 pm

IMO, the trick to finding the right mixer in that range for recording (aside from the sound and reliability) is finding one that actually has proper signal routing design that is intended for recording, as opposed to live use. Things like the Toft ATB series, the Allen & Heath GS3 (not the GL), and the Soundcraft Ghosts. These are all proper eight-bus mixers that have in-line monitoring, so you can easily monitor previously recorded tracks playing back from the DAW while recording new tracks into the DAW, and then when you are done tracking you can flip the main channels / monitor channels and do a proper analog mixdown.

I've been using a Toft ATB24 for many years (it's a very early unit from a pilot production run) and it has the right functions & routing and it sounds really good. But it's now discontinued. The Toft ATB series is now being replaced by the Trident 68 and 78 series, but they are much more expensive and they have omitted all of the 1/4" and XLR connectors and replaced them with DSUB25s. That can really add up when you just need to temporarily add a couple of extra connections for one or two direct outs, or a couple of channel inserts and you have to buy several more $200+ DSUB25 breakout snakes to do it. Annoying.

If your setup is anything like mine (lots of hardware synths connected to/from a DAW using 24 channel AD/DA converters) I suggest looking for a used Toft ATB in very good condition. And if you are sure you only need 16 channels, get at least 24.

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Re: Does anyone make a decent analog console anymore?

Post by Technologear? » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:41 pm

Have any Wigglers been down this path and decided upon a digital desk?
If so, any regrets?
What about using external hardware effects with digital desks like the OP wants?
I'm not trying to derail the OPs goal here, this just seems relevant considering the post above, which is the gold standard in flexibility I think, and the limited analog options to achieve it. I just scanned my countries second hand listings and couldn't find a ghost or gs

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