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Author Topic: Soundtracs topaz 24x8  (Read 14213 times)

meverylame

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Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« on: June 12, 2004, 12:08:41 pm »

I've looked around at several budget consoles (A&H 16*2 DX, Soundcraft ghost, Yamaha PM-1000, even some mackie and unbearableringer), and I've decided that the real winner in the price/features list is the Topaz. My only real hang up is that I've never actually heard one. One of my instructors told me that the the pre's and eq suck on it. However he's also well know for talking out of his ass. He suggested the A&H, which is pretty decent, it just doesn't quite have all the features I'm looking in a board. So Harvey, I know you own one. What do you think of it? What are your thoughts of it compared to other consoles in its league? And in particular, what you think of the pre's and eq?  
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2004, 12:52:50 pm »

It's not a particularly rugged board, but the Topaz is probably the best board in that price range that I've ever seen.  The pres are very useful and good sounding, and the eq is great.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2004, 01:11:58 pm »

Then my mind is made. I just sold my Ken Smith 5 string to finance it. Thanks loads Harvey!

Jason
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Zoesch

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2004, 03:05:36 pm »

The Topaz is probably my least favorite board in the Soundtracs range due to its reliability and ruggedness, but provided you treat them with care they will last you a lifetime. At least they sound good, close to the larger PC Midi and Megas desks.

Tim, from Studio Systems in the UK is probably the last major Soundtracs repairman in the world...

His Topaz page is here in case you need more info.

I've just got a Soundtracs MRX modular split/in-line desk after three years of being mixerless (in the analog way Very Happy) since my Tascam M3700 bit the dust, and I chose it over a couple of Solo Logics (Which are good, but not modular) and a Quartz (Which was unfortunately in VERY bad shape and would've cost me a fortune to bring back to spec). What you'll find with these desks is lots of headroom and solid EQ, they are quiet, maybe not as quiet as current desks, but quiet enough for studio work... the pres and the EQ are indeed the highlights of the desk and worth the money.

Make sure you get spares for buttons, faders and knobs... they are getting hard to come by.
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2004, 05:32:57 pm »

Zoesch wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 15:05

The Topaz is probably my least favorite board in the Soundtracs range due to its reliability and ruggedness, but provided you treat them with care they will last you a lifetime. At least they sound good, close to the larger PC Midi and Megas desks.

Would you reccomend anything else?




BTW: anyone reccomends a SSL,  I go to their house and club them like a baby seal.
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2004, 06:18:38 pm »

He's just saying that it's at the very bottom of a great range of Soundtracs boards.  Get the 32 x 8 if you can.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2004, 07:14:52 pm »

hargerst wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 18:18

He's just saying that it's at the very bottom of a great range of Soundtracs boards.  Get the 32 x 8 if you can.

Thanks for the post back Harvey, though I did get the point of Zoesch's post. Why do you reccomend the 32x8, besides the bigger is better?

My current setup is a 001 with an alesis ai-3(yes its sad, I know.) and an eight track tascam reel. Thus only 24 tracks. Should I plan for upgrade? Or maybe some other reason I don't see cause I'm a newb.
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2004, 07:50:22 pm »

meverylame wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 18:14


Thanks for the post back Harvey, though I did get the point of Zoesch's post. Why do you reccomend the 32x8, besides the bigger is better?

My current setup is a 001 with an alesis ai-3(yes its sad, I know.) and an eight track tascam reel. Thus only 24 tracks. Should I plan for upgrade? Or maybe some other reason I don't see cause I'm a newb.

When you have all the effect sends routed to the different effect units you plan to use, where do the return signals come back? Returning the effects to channels 25 thru 32 lets you play with eq on the effects, and inserts on the effects as well.  Adds a lot more flexability and the used price on the 32 channel Topaz isn't all that much different than the 24 track (and it looks cooler too).
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2004, 08:26:46 pm »

hargerst wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 19:50


(and it looks cooler too).


Cool looking nibnob? Hell yeah. Because thats really what matters...Laughing

Yeah I'm really a dumbass. If I had stopped and thought about my  question the answer would have been right there. So excuse me while I kick myself in the backend for a while.

Jason
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Zoesch

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2004, 09:45:55 pm »

Yeah, don't think for a sec that I think the Topaz isn't a good desk, it is. Soundtracs desks are like the larger Tascam desks, few people know them and thus few people buy them... those who know about them and about modding them never let go of them.

Good purchase either way, but as Harvey said... get the 32 channel version, regardless of how many tracks you record on your facility.
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weihfool

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2004, 03:58:44 pm »

I have one of the 24x8's and I love it.  If you need help with any analog Soundtracs service (i'm noticing you're in the U.S.), the guy to speak with is Steve Magalnick.  If you need any information or just want to speak with him, he's the Soundtracs authorized U.S. tech.  PM me and I'll send his info your way.  

The cool thing about the Topaz line is that there is a little mod you can do that's outlined in the owner's manual that'll convert all of your I/O (with the exception of the inserts) to +4dB balanced, where as most ship from the factory with the direct out, tape returns, etc. set to -10dB unbalanced.  Steve can help you with that as well.  Let me know if there's anything else about the console you'd like to know and I'll do my best to help you.

-Sean
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2004, 05:46:14 pm »

Steve is absolutely great.  He talked us thru some changes over the phone when the board crapped out just before a session, and we were up and running in time for the session.

Yes, we did the +4 mods.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

bigfurry

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2004, 08:28:03 am »

meverylame,
your advisor has just discredited himself by saying the eq sucks. One could complain about the pre's not having enough headroom, one could bitch about reliability, but the eq- you would have to spent many, many more dollars to get to that level in another board.
The pres sound good, just that they cant be slammed.  The weak point is with repairs-a major hassle.  I have a problem that will require a pilgrimage to Long Island to deal with.  
Harvey, Zoesch, you've got me totally intrigued now about mods for the Topaz.  I did the -10 to +4 thang, but I wasn't aware of other ones!? Could you describe them, and who does them?
Thanks!
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covert

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2004, 09:10:19 am »

weihfool wrote on Mon, 14 June 2004 15:58

I have one of the 24x8's and I love it.  If you need help with any analog Soundtracs service (i'm noticing you're in the U.S.), the guy to speak with is Steve Magalnick.  If you need any information or just want to speak with him, he's the Soundtracs authorized U.S. tech.  PM me and I'll send his info your way.  

The cool thing about the Topaz line is that there is a little mod you can do that's outlined in the owner's manual that'll convert all of your I/O (with the exception of the inserts) to +4dB balanced, where as most ship from the factory with the direct out, tape returns, etc. set to -10dB unbalanced.  Steve can help you with that as well.  Let me know if there's anything else about the console you'd like to know and I'll do my best to help you.

-Sean


Are you sur it gives you balanced outs?  The impression I got from the manual was that it only changed the level.
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2004, 11:43:21 am »

As I recall, there are two jumpers per channel that must be modified.  If you modify one, it's unbalanced; two to have it balanced.

But I wouldn't bet money on my memory being 100% correct.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

weihfool

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2004, 02:24:32 pm »

covert wrote on Tue, 15 June 2004 09:10


Are you sur it gives you balanced outs?  The impression I got from the manual was that it only changed the level.


I'm pretty positive Steve said it would balance the outputs.  I know I've been using them with balanced inputs with no problems that I've noticed, but then again, I'm a fool Very Happy, so anything is possible.  I need to give Steve a call anyway to get help with a Sound Workshop Series 30 he gave me that's still in pieces.  I'll ask him about that mod when I speak to him.  

Be well,
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2004, 11:40:42 am »

Just out of curiosity, how does the SOLO stack up? It seems to be a cheaper board.
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Zoesch

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2004, 01:23:55 am »

meverylame wrote on Thu, 24 June 2004 01:40

Just out of curiosity, how does the SOLO stack up? It seems to be a cheaper board.


Depends on which version of the SOLO we are talking about, the SOLO Logic which is VCA automated is an alright board, it was the first non-modular Soundtracs but it still had a discrete transistor pre front-end, sounds alright, EQ is good. The normal SOLO only had MIDI mutes and no meterbridge.

The SOLO evolved from the Megas which is great sounding board... I personally prefer the modular PC-MIDI/MR/MXR boards.
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2004, 10:51:25 am »

Yeah, the lack of meter bridge definately got me. I think I'll hold out for a topaz.




'
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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2004, 11:12:17 am »

I was looking at the solo, the lack of a meter bridge really sucks on any desk.  


Peace,
Dennis
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2004, 07:53:20 pm »

Harvey, what are the dimensions of the 32x8? I can't seem to find it on any sites.
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2004, 11:34:24 pm »

I'll measure it and get back to you.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

weihfool

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2004, 12:49:44 am »

covert wrote on Tue, 15 June 2004 09:10


Are you sur it gives you balanced outs?  The impression I got from the manual was that it only changed the level.


Hey sorry for the delay in my response.  I got to speak with Steve the other day.  You are correct.  The mod does NOT give you balanced outputs. However, you do get the +4 output from the direct outs.  
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2004, 04:45:21 pm »

I just bought a 32x8 board. I have a new problem. I need to get it to me. What the best most economical way of doing so?
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2004, 07:19:43 pm »

Where is the board curently located?
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Rocc

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2004, 07:30:31 pm »

Would anyone know where I could find a meter bridge for my Topaz 32. I really would like to find one.

"Rocc"
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2004, 09:34:31 pm »

Hollywood, Ca.
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2004, 10:00:15 pm »

meverylame wrote on Wed, 07 July 2004 20:34

Hollywood, Ca.

Well, it's a nice drive this time of year.  And you're welcome to spend the night here when you come thru.  These consoles don't travel well, so unless the packing is done really well, it won't survive the usual carriers.  Take a few days off, leave on a Friday morning and drive till you get tired.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2004, 10:01:53 pm »

Rocc wrote on Wed, 07 July 2004 18:30

Would anyone know where I could find a meter bridge for my Topaz 32. I really would like to find one.

"Rocc"


Talk to Steve Magalnick, he's the Soundtracs authorized U.S. tech
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
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Rocc

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2004, 03:49:16 pm »

I did , he don't know where one is ether.
Thanks anyway.

"Rocc"
www.gravytunes.com
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hargerst

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2004, 10:12:26 pm »

meverylame wrote on Wed, 07 July 2004 15:45

I just bought a 32x8 board. I have a new problem. I need to get it to me. What the best most economical way of doing so?

I might be able to help out - part way at least.  I may be going out to Las Vegas next week to see an old friend. I can get the Topaz and at least get it 1,400 miles closer to you.  The trip from Georgia to Dallas isn't too bad.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2004, 06:36:24 pm »

Really? That would be incredible Harvey. As for Dallas my Dad lives in Waco, so I'm rather familiar with the drive. Let me contact the seller and talk to him about that, and get back with you. Thanks so much.

Jason
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Zoesch

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2004, 09:52:51 pm »

Rocc wrote on Thu, 08 July 2004 09:30

Would anyone know where I could find a meter bridge for my Topaz 32. I really would like to find one.

"Rocc"



I'd give Tim Jones at Studio Systems a call as he might have one around.
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2004, 08:39:35 pm »

Zoesch wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 21:45

... those who know about them and about modding them never let go of them.
.

I called Jim Williams at audio upgrades about modding the master section. I know J. Hall had this done on his Amek. Anyone have any experience with actually modding this board? He's wanting 250 to do this. Worth while venture?
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Zoesch

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2004, 09:00:56 pm »

meverylame wrote on Fri, 16 July 2004 10:39

Zoesch wrote on Sat, 12 June 2004 21:45

... those who know about them and about modding them never let go of them.
.

I called Jim Williams at audio upgrades about modding the master section. I know J. Hall had this done on his Amek. Anyone have any experience with actually modding this board? He's wanting 250 to do this. Worth while venture?


For which board?

The Tascam mods are worth it as far as I know, if you are knowledgeable you could do them yourself as they basically involve modding the opamps (Replacing all the crappy TL072's with NE5532's and all the recapping and resistor changes needed for that to work)... I did that to my old M3700 myself (I did all the input modules and group modules as well) and the difference was like night and day.

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tom eaton

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2004, 11:35:44 pm »

Jim Williams does NOT replace TLO72s with 55 series opamps.  His mod to my Amek Angela helped the master section tremendously.  He uses video opamps and careful selection of cap / ferrite / filtering to extend the bandwidth of the module.  A regular producer who works here commented out of the blue about how much better the board sounded after the mod.  He didn't even know that the mod had been done.

His work is very clean, and EXTREMELY reasonable for the results.  A local (good) tech here quoted me $1000 to overhaul my master section; Jim did it for $250 or something like that.

He knows his stuff.

http://www.audioupgrades.com/

A satisfied customer...

Zoesch

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2004, 06:49:07 am »

Ter, I never said Jim used NE5532's... I said I did

Bandwidth isn't so much an issue with most opamps, it's the power coupling, the current drivers and the slew rate that really makes a difference.

I can vouch for Jim's work BTW, I've heard is mods on the Alesis HD24 and AMEK 2500 and they sounded great.
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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2004, 01:02:31 pm »

I was talking about my soundtracs topaz. I called and he said he's familiar with the board and can mod it. Any one hear said mod?
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theo mack

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2004, 10:31:47 pm »

I had a MRX 32 x 8 soundtracs desk for years.

I was really ok.  the eq's were very nice, not api nice but better than mackie. pres were nice too.

If fact the desk is still being used. A friend has it in a studio in palm springs. The only bad things I remember were:
The group outs were unbalanced, as were the input line ins. the group outs were a bit noisy. and the 2 bus master section would die about every 2 years. The control room solo relay would die from time to time too.  I bet the topaz with the audio upgrades mods in the master section would be sweet.
At $250 it's a steal for that kind of mod.

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meverylame

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2004, 02:53:38 pm »

Hi Harvey,
        I've got a real big problem. I bought that soundtracs 32x8 board about a month and some change ago, and I still can't get it shipped. I had arranged to have a freighter to get the board immediately. Long story short the freighter messed about and still hasn't gotten it. The guy that owns it is pissed because he spends 6 grand a month and wants it out. And the real kick in the nuts is he reccomended the freighter, and now its "Its not problem, he's not my guy". He's leaving town on friday for a month. Do you know anyone that can do the job? I'm really in a bind. Any help or advice would be awesome.
Jason
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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2004, 04:22:56 pm »

Rats. I never heard back from you, so I canceled my trip.  Go to http://www.Baxglobal.com and check with them about boxing and shipping it.  They're cheap, reliable, and fast - way cheaper than UPS.
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Indian Trail Recording Studio

Brendan

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Re: Soundtracs topaz 24x8
« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2004, 02:58:43 am »

I recently sold a 32x8 Topaz. Needed money for other gear.

It was a great mixer for the money--I'd say the best in it's price range. I liked the EQ in small doses.

The pres were acceptable. I was able to get some good drum sounds with them but I never once tracked a guitar sound that I was happy with through that board.

I'd still buy another one just to have, seeing how cheap they're selling.

It could be good board for mixing if supplimented with some outboard pres during tracking.
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