R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Topaz or Not ?  (Read 2394 times)

Adam Mottley

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2
Topaz or Not ?
« on: February 13, 2006, 11:35:26 PM »

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here on the ProSoundWeb recording forums after many long years of lurking around. I need a bit of advice, if you guys have the time.

I have a minty 24 channel Topaz Project 8 and meter bridge in my home studio. The board sounds great. I've used it for a few years running an Alesis HD24 and a Cubase SX rig. I actually bought this particular board after reading some of Harvey's (and other's) posts in this very forum. Thanks guys.

Here's my dilemma:

I run a small sound reinforcement company in addition to the usual home studio setup. A couple of years back, I bought a Yamaha O1v96v2 for the SR business. After using the board for about a year exclusively for sound reinforcement, I had an opportunity to use it along with the HD24 to catch a few live shows via multitrack. The results were very good, so I put the O1v96 through it's paces in the control room. I must say I have been duly impressed. I've had a bit of trouble getting Studio Manager to interact correctly with SX, but other than that niggle, the O1v96 sounds really good, as well as being a real time saver (scene recall). Routing cue mixes on the Yamaha is really easy and flexible in comparison with the Soundtracs. I find myself using less of my outboard dynamics and effects, and using the O1v96's internal processing along with the usual computer processing (UAD-1's, Powercore, yadda yadda). The Topaz just sits there, idle.

This afternoon, I fired up the Topaz and associated outboard (a bevy of RNC's, a vintage dbx 162, an old SPL Vitalizer Classic, a Rev 500, an M-One XL, and a Finalizer 96K). I gotta say, the Topaz/outboard has a sound of its own. I really enjoyed the sound of the rig, but I found myself glancing over at the Yamaha when doing certain things. On the other hand, some things seemed more intuitive on the Soundtracs. The mixing session on the Topaz was, admittedly, more "hands-on" than a session on the O1v96, but in a "touchy-feely" sort of way. I burnt a CD via Masterlink of some stuff that I had initially tracked using the O1v96 (and mixed on the Topaz) and compared it to the same set of tracks mixed on the Yamaha. Surprise time.

I had expected the Topaz mixed version to have more of an "analog" feel in comparison with the Yamaha mix. I expected the Yamaha mix to be cleaner and more precise, eg: more "digital". Actual listening tests showed a surprising result: Two mixes that were very comparable, each with it's own signature, yet only noticeable when listening with a very critical ear. The Topaz mix was slightly noisier, but only just so. The Yamaha mix had just as much "balls" as the Topaz mix, and this is one area I had thought the Topaz would have the upper hand. An interesting unscientific test, to be sure.

So, what are your thoughts ? I've debated selling the Topaz, but I'd hate to sell it just because of the "convenience" of the O1v96. I do enjoy tracking with the Topaz, although the enjoyment may just be in the "vibe" of the board and the "feel" of the knobs (same goes with the outboard... there's a feel there that the Yamaha doesn't have). As I stated before, the Yamaha has the Topaz beat when dealing with multiple cue mixes, but there's something about the Soundtracs that is appealing (it's hard to put a finger on it [maybe that "is" it... I can put a finger on it]) during tracking. An interesting conundrum, at the least.

I'm looking for honest opinions. Anything goes, I guess. I really like both desks, but for different reasons.

Thanks in advance,

Adam
Logged
"Why do you call this research ? I thought you were trying to find something new."

A quote from an unknown engineer

hargerst

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1458
Re: Topaz or Not ?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 11:54:30 PM »

We had a similar experience when a group spilled beer into our Topaz.  We switched to a Tascam DM24 and the sound was noticably better.  BUT, the board was a nightmare to use for tracking, and we finally switched back to the Topaz and everybody's happier.  

The DM24 had better sound, but it slowed sessions down to a crawl, or brought them to a complete stop altogether.
Logged
Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Adam Mottley

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2
Re: Topaz or Not ?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 01:12:46 AM »

Harvey,

Sorry to hear about your misfortunes with the Tascam. I've read a bit about that situation here on the forum, and it sounds like you had quite the "time".

I have yet to do a full blown session with the O1v96, but based on my experiences with it live, I think it may prove very easy to handle, tracking-wise. The menus on the Yamaha aren't that deep once you get used to navigating around the board, but I still like the "feel" of analog in the studio. I guess I'm just an old guy...

Digital technology has certainly made my life easier when doing SR, but I am hesitant to give up the familiarity of analog in the studio. In your case, was the deciding factor one of familiarity or functionality ? What I mean is, what aspects of the Topaz won you over ? I realize the Tascam is quite a different beast than the O1v96, but you get the gist...

Thanks for your time,

Adam
Logged
"Why do you call this research ? I thought you were trying to find something new."

A quote from an unknown engineer

zekmoe

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18
Re: Topaz or Not ?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2006, 01:40:05 AM »

This thread has some interest to me, as I also have a mint Topaz, and have considered buying a newer digital board. My biggest fear is that I'll be slowed to a crawl as mentioned due to my lack of super studio skills. I though of one of those new Tascam board/HD units. My main use is usually live guitar/bass/drums tracking, and the topaz has worked will for this. But the ability to fire up and recall settings is really appealing.
Logged
Bob
Not a downstroke, fistpicker.

hargerst

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1458
Re: Topaz or Not ?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2006, 01:10:04 PM »

Adam Mottley wrote on Tue, 14 February 2006 00:12

Harvey,

Sorry to hear about your misfortunes with the Tascam. I've read a bit about that situation here on the forum, and it sounds like you had quite the "time".

In your case, was the deciding factor one of familiarity or functionality ? What I mean is, what aspects of the Topaz won you over ? I realize the Tascam is quite a different beast than the O1v96, but you get the gist...

Thanks for your time,

Adam


DM-24 - How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

Soft buttons and knobs.  These change depending on function, and it sometimes takes several keystrokes to get to the function. That's ok if you're mixing and you have some time to play around, but during tracking, it's a real pain to just add some treble boost to the snare quickly. That alone can slow a tracking session down to a crawl, while you're busy scrolling thru all the different functions, or trying to find the knob you need.

No outboard effects during mixdowns.  Aaaarg.  I've spent years acquiring some great outboard processors and learning how to use them and now, I hafta only use what's built into the board?  That sucks.

Punch-ins.  Recall a special setup to do punch-ins?  Gee, might that slow things down a bit?

32 channels?  Right.  It's 16 channels at a time. And when you're working on the second bank of channels, the first bank is pretty much unavailable for anything.

A lot of different setup screens, but none of them lets you do all the things you want to do.

Nomenclature.  How about using common terms to describe common functions?  But, noooooo, we're gonna make you reach for all the 5 different owners manuals if you wanna figure something out.

Monitor mixes for the musicians?  Bussing stuff is a whole nuther ballgame, depending on whether you're mixing, tracking, or punching in.

Reliability.  It would come up different when you powered it on.  Sometimes, it wouldn't come up at all.  "Wait, I know I stored this before."  "Try 37 or maybe it's 43."  "I know it's here someplace - I did save it. Just hang on."

Conclusions?  It might be great if you just wanna use it for mixing, and you have lotsa time to screw around with it, and IF it would let you use outboard effects. For tracking, it's just a big, slow, pain in the ass, compared to an analog board.
Logged
Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

zekmoe

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18
Re: Topaz or Not ?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2006, 09:08:43 PM »

Do you think the DM3200 is the same? I keep thinking I'll be held up just as mentioned. I really haven't exausted the Topaz. But I was curious...
Logged
Bob
Not a downstroke, fistpicker.

hargerst

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1458
Re: Topaz or Not ?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2006, 10:15:52 PM »

zekmoe wrote on Sat, 18 February 2006 20:08

Do you think the DM3200 is the same? I keep thinking I'll be held up just as mentioned. I really haven't exausted the Topaz. But I was curious...
I think the DM3200 is a more well thought out DM24.
Logged
Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.038 seconds with 22 queries.