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Author Topic: Live console in studio?  (Read 3801 times)

Audio Engineer

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Live console in studio?
« on: April 29, 2004, 07:08:53 am »

I'd like to hear your opinions on using "live" consoles in the studio. For under 5 grand, one could buy an A & H GL3000 live console. How would that compare in a studio environment to a Soundcraft Ghost for example? I read that Fletcher uses a Yammy PM2000 in the studio and is pleased with the results he gets with it.

AE
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Zoesch

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2004, 07:18:30 am »

Audio Engineer wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 21:08

I'd like to hear your opinions on using "live" consoles in the studio. For under 5 grand, one could buy an A & H GL3000 live console. How would that compare in a studio environment to a Soundcraft Ghost for example? I read that Fletcher uses a Yammy PM2000 in the studio and is pleased with the results he gets with it.

AE


It depends on what you use the console for... facilities, number of channels, monitor returns, number of direct outs, number of inserts, number of sends, quality of the EQ, quality of the pres, headroom... all these things will vary from a studio desk to a live desk.

Workflow and ergonomics will vary as well.

I know a few people using GL3000's in their studio, as front-ends/monitoring desks but they mix in the box, so depending on your needs it can be made to work.
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Vertigo

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2004, 10:04:18 am »

The difference between live and recording consoles is usually just a matter of additional features - a recording console will generally have extra features like VU meters for each channel, direct outs, EQ bypass, etc. Some live consoles such as the Midas Venice series or the old Yamaha PM-1000 are actually highly recommended in a studio environment by many of the regulars around here (for the price range anyway). The bottom line is if the console has quality pre's, is quiet, offers true stereo separation (the channels don't bleed), and has plenty of available headroom then it will probably sound fine in a studio environment. The main thing you want to look for aside from these things (as Zoesch mentioned) is whether the console has the features that will work for you in your studio setup. I recently purchased an old live Midas console (made in 1978) and so far I'm THRILLED with the way it fits into my studio setup. I did have to make a few mods to it to get it to work in my environment, such as adding direct outs to all of the channel strips to use the pre's - but nothing too labor intensive. I hear good things about the A&H GL series used in studios and the features on these boards appear to be good for a studio environment. The last GL I saw had 5 bar LED VU meters beside the faders on each channel strip, eight busses, and all the input/outputs that you would need for mixing and tracking. Just do your research, consult someone knowledgable in the console you are considering (posting here was a great idea), and learn every detail you can about the board before you buy it and you won't go wrong.

Other consoles I would consider that can be found in this price range:

-Soundtracs Topaz

-Midas Venice

-TAC Scorpion (I like the sound of them anyway, although the general consensus around here is to "avoid the Amek stuff like it causes cancer")

-Speck

-Soundcraft Ghost

Just one word of warning - be VERY wary when considering older consoles! Have a tech that you can trust check the console out and determine any repairs/maintainence that may need to be performed and decide whether it's worth it to you before writing any checks. I was EXTREMELY lucky when I purchased my Midas - it was owned by a brilliant tech that loved and pampered it for 20 years and was in 100% working condition when I purchased it. YMMV.

-Lance
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raw-tracks

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2004, 11:10:10 am »

Like the others have mentioned, it really depends on your situation. If you are using a 24-track recorder, you are going to need 24 channels to monitor the tape/hard-disc returns. You will then need 'x' amount of channels for your sends to the recorder. 'x' is going to be determined by how you are recording. If you are tracking bands, you probably should have at least 24 channels for inputs. Now you are up to a 48 channel console. A console designed for recording will have a tape monitor section built into it, either in-line or split. It is almost like having two mixers in one.

In the case of the Allen&Heath GL3000, they only made that up to a 40 input frame, of which 36 are mono and 4 are stereo. I am not sure if that console had direct outs, you really should have those.

That being said, if you just need a "front end" feeding into a computer based system, a console like that may be fine. It just really boils down to what you are doing.
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pene8

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2004, 03:15:31 pm »

I have the A&H GL2200. I bought it because I can use it live and in my non professional studio. IMHO it is the best sounding console it its price range. many people compare the sound to the midas venice witch is almost double in price.

on the plus side (beside the sonic qualities)
- direct outs (balanced) on every channel beside the stereo inputs
- good eq's
- robust built
- all 6 aux can pe switched pre/post
- direct outs can be soldered to pre/post fade
- with the sys link option, 2 desks can be linked together for a bigger setup
- 4 segment LED on every input

on the not so good side:
- only 4 groups
- no control room out. I use the headphone out (there are 2, one on the backside of the desk) into a transformer (rane LT 22) to get a balanced signal for my active monitors)
- only 28 mic inputs on a 32 channel console

If you're running out of channels while tracking, you can always use the inserts.

your chain would look like this:
Mic - A&H mic input - Insert send - your favorite comp - DAW Input - DAW out - Insert return.

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Family Hoof

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2004, 09:19:44 pm »

No need to reitterate what's already been said. I'm told a lot of these live boards mentioned sound spectacular but the reasons they're live sound consoles and not often used for recording are fairly obvious. Many don't have direct outs and they all lack tape returns and an ample supply of busses. This is fine if you're only using it for tracking or only for mixing digital outs in analog land.

One solution, however, that hasn't been mentioned is that you can turn any board with channel inserts into an inline mixer. Take a Y-type insert cable with the TRS end that goes into the insert jack and instad of plugging its unbalanced send and return jacks into a compressor, plug them into the input and output of a your multitrack or DAW interface. You've now got it so that the mic pre goes directly to tape and then the output of that track returns and uses the rest of the channel EQ, sends, fader, etc and is monitored for mixing. Need to use a compressor or EQ that normally would've gone into the insert? No problem. Just put it inbetween the insert send and multitrack input.
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Family Hoof

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2004, 09:23:22 pm »

Whoops! I should've read more carefully. Pene8 already mentioned this method. Sorry! Only 4 groups is still a major setback though. I guess you can use all of those prefader sends to compensate during mixdown.
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Fletcher

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2004, 06:59:03 am »

My PM-2000 had 8 groups [2 have to be used for monitoring... but it still has 8 groups], 6 sends [2 generally get used for the cue mix... but we've done it with one in a pinch], giving me a good dozen to 13 groups if I really need them... I also have a couple of other outboard mixers so I've never been stuck for group summing.

When mixing, I set the groups up as follows... 1&2 = drum / percussion sub, 3&4= instrument sub...guitars/keys 5&6= backing vox sub, 7= bass sub, 8= LD Vox sub... if necessesary I've used the aux sends as an additional subgroup... but that was only once so far.

More than half the stuff we mix is done straight to 2 buss [cutting a few additional amplifiers out of the program is a good thing... even when they're good amplifiers]... most of the tracking is done "direct" [last drum kit we did featured 15 microphones going to 12 tracks... the desk was used for the necessary summing, the remaining tracks went direct either from the desks "channel outs" or directly from their outboard pre-amps.  Amusingingly, the kik drum went from 2 outboard pre-amps to the PM-2k for summing to one track.

Using a "live" desk in a studio application, especially with the audio quality of many of today's live desks... isn't really a big deal... you just have to get used to the flow of thinging about routing schemes as you work.

What the hell... it's a good excercize that any decent engineer should know anyway...

Best of luck.
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mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
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If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
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kents

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Re: Live console in studio?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2004, 11:12:30 am »

I use a Midas Venice 32(0) in my home setup. It has direct outs, which can be made pre/post fader. To me the other big consideration is monitoring, which has already been well described with a 24-track example. If you can work with it, it's great. I'm on the side of those using and working with the console (and around it where needed).

Kent
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