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Author Topic: Toft ATB  (Read 14896 times)

kats

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Toft ATB
« on: October 23, 2008, 10:40:29 am »

A funny thing happened to me while building my new studio...

I was working out of my house with a Toft ATB console for 5 months during construction. The ATB was never really considered for the new room and justifiably so.

1. No meter bridge
2. Only partially modular - you have to unplug all your I/O then remove the bottom plate of the desk to access components.
3. Build quality not suited for a pro room (to clarify, the workmanship was good, but by design to meet a price point, compromises had to be made.

Anyhow, we put in a brand new Neotek Elan in the room. Built like a tank with excellent workmanship and materials. Very flexable and quiet - a real pro desk.

But here's the thing, after mixing a few projects on the Neotek - I would say the ATB sounds better Smile The eq has more character and the summing imparts the desk's character (in a cool way)the more you drive it. The Neotek has better preamps though (but I rarely use either boards preamps) is quieter, and much cleaner sounding.

Ultimately, if I had to make the choice again, I would still buy the Neotek - without a second thought actually. Besides it's robustness, it's more suited for a wider variety of musical styles whereas the ATB finds it's home as a "rock" board.

My point of this "acid test"? The "cheapness" of the ATB rears it's head in many areas, but not in the actual sound.

I think it's a great board if your doing the various genres of rock in a studio enviroment that is not extremely demanding. It's also a great budget board for those who don't have a lot of choice outboard, but like a vibe in their sound signature. Albiet, one sound - but at 10% of the price you pay for a Neotek (for eg) it's not a bad trade off.
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Tony K.
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Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

Blas

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2008, 05:49:53 pm »

Sooooooo Tony, are you saying the Toft will be hitting the hard pavement of ebay?

Blas
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kats

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2008, 08:57:43 am »

Oh, it's already gone Smile
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Tony K.
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Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

danickstr

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2008, 11:09:09 am »

one could take the Ferrari approach to a Toft:  buy 2 - one for the shop and one for the show.  It would be more cost effective over at least 10 years.

You would have to put your connectors on elco cables, or something, but it may work.
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grantis

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008, 08:14:23 am »

This is great, as the Toft ATB was on my list of consoles my little studio could afford in the near future.  Thanks for the user experience tips!

Are you saying that the Toft preamps are noisy?  Or are the Neotek's just very very quiet?


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Grant Craig
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kats

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 09:09:38 am »

grant richard wrote on Sun, 26 October 2008 12:14

This is great, as the Toft ATB was on my list of consoles my little studio could afford in the near future.  Thanks for the user experience tips!

Are you saying that the Toft preamps are noisy?  Or are the Neotek's just very very quiet?





I don't know about the pre amps, they seemed quiet - I literally tried them once. But the overall noise floor of the board as well as the cross talk is higher than the Neotek. Not "bad" higher, just higher. There's quiet, and then there's quiet if you know what I mean.

I actually should mention something here that the board was a pilot program board and some improvements have been made to the latest revisions. Not the least of which was switching from Selman to Alps faders.
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Tony K.
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grantis

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 09:16:25 am »

Excellent, thank you!
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Grant Craig
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Barkley McKay

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 09:49:18 am »

We have three ATB's from the pilot program here at work (Leeds College of Music)

There is nothing in the new price range as far as analog goes that can touch them. We are a music college that teaches music production, not music technology, so for us they fit the bill at a good price point.

They sound decent, the mixes seem to retain definition, and the EQ is really well defined (compared to others I have used in my humble experience) but as an educational tool they are perfect.

It may be a ball ache to service, but you CAN service them, unlike the Mackie etal. Not to mention the simple addition of a polarity reverse switch. MS processing, here we go...

One gripe is that the monitor could do with at least one extra prefade aux, but not too major as you can set it up as a split console, especially if you have the 32 channel. Also an afl on the aux masters would be useful.

For us, it has marked a transition where students now really understand the correct workflow when tracking much sooner in the curriculum.
When we moved to digital, it was not always clear how the topology related to the needed architecture of any recording system, but now the students get it with less fuss, and there is less likelihood of them fudging it and losing confidence, as the real learning is how to manage the musical project itself.

hope that helps, and sorry if I strayed a bit OT there.

barks
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seedyunderbelly.com

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2008, 12:31:59 pm »

Hi Tony,

Did the Toft have as much power or muscle as the Neotek in the EQ?  I mean did it hang in there sounding ok if you cranked on it as well as the Neotek?

Thanks

j








kats

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2008, 06:15:08 pm »

Good question Seedy.

A definate NO on the bottom end. There was only so much room on the bottom of the ATB's EQ before it sounded like crap. Just not enough there. I normally would use outboard EQ for bass or kick (etc) (I love the Chandler Curve Bender down there) if I needed some real low end power.

The Neotek OTOH has way more headroom on the eq. But having said that, I find the Neotek eq more sterile sounding than the ATB in the mid and upper frequenices with judicial use. I really like the Neotek EQ on drums and percussion though, but a real bore on things like acoustic guitar, voice, and other similar instruments of that timbre.

In either case, I think you need a good compliment of outboard eq if your a cork sniffer. Personally, I wouldn't be satisfied with either board w/o my outboard.
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Tony K.
http://empirerecording.ca

Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

Barkley McKay

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2008, 06:15:48 am »

I find it really easy to hear what the top end and high mid are doing.
Brushwork detail gets pulled out nicely without sounding wrong. Its very easy to work the EQ (in my humble opinion) without ever having to solo, so it all stays in context.

As for the bass, I cannot comment as I'm a coward.

barks
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Fig

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2008, 11:44:19 am »

Barkley McKay wrote on Wed, 29 October 2008 05:15


As for the bass, I cannot comment as I'm a coward.

barks


Too cowardly to comment, or to use it?
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Barkley McKay

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2008, 01:01:00 pm »

Oh, just a coward in such esteemed company!  Embarassed

Actually, we have three ATB's here, and as befits any educational facility, staff don't actually get a chance to use them for long enough to come to a full conclusion except through teaching the micro elements of tracking and routing etc during a class.

I did spend a little time with some material (acoustic jazz) I'd already tracked and found the top end EQ really nice(esp on snare brushwork) but never really explored the bass end as the material was pretty ok in that region. That is where I drew my conclusion from as the mix sounded pretty good quickly without having to really do anything.

I do like the potential control of having the 80hz HP and selectable shelving between 60 and 120, which is pretty cool for a desk of this pricepoint.

So thanks for drawing me out of my shell...


barks
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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2008, 05:14:55 pm »

kats wrote on Thu, 23 October 2008 09:40

A funny thing happened to me while building my new studio...

I was working out of my house with a Toft ATB console for 5 months during construction. The ATB was never really considered for the new room and justifiably so.

1. No meter bridge




They're putting meter bridges into production now.

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Adam Brown

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kats

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2008, 03:07:21 pm »

I just have to say -

I've done a few more mixes on the Neotek, and I'm REALLY starting to dig it. It's fricken punchy man! Clean, but slammin'.
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Tony K.
http://empirerecording.ca

Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

rob s

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2008, 08:34:29 pm »

an 80B doesnt have killer bottom end either, though.
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marcel

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2008, 11:27:46 am »

kats wrote on Sat, 15 November 2008 12:07

I just have to say -

I've done a few more mixes on the Neotek, and I'm REALLY starting to dig it. It's fricken punchy man! Clean, but slammin'.

Hi Tony:

How about expanding on this a bit (obviously in another thread)?  I'd love to hear more about the Neotek as I'm considering a console purchase in the near future.
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Best, Marcel

breathe

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2008, 03:56:27 pm »

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Yamaha PM-2000.  I had to let mine go when I moved from Portland to Los Angeles and didn't have any space to install it into, plus I was moving into an ITB mixing setup.  That being said, I had 3 great years with my PM2k, and I think it's an amazing sounding board, every aspect of it.  The EQ, despite what some people say, is reallly awesome and extremely musical.  You can literally boost any frequency as much as you want and it never sounds bad/harsh.  You can crank the gain on the inputs and get beautiful saturation that sounds very similar to tape compression, I used that all the time.  6 aux sends switchable pre/post.  Just a really amazing sounding board, and given the demos I heard of the ATB on the Toft website, the PM2k DESTROYS the ATB, and works for a lot more styles of music than just rock.  The ATB just sounds really flat imo, whereas the PM2k has so much depth.  The only thing I felt I needed to augment my PM2k with is some equalization that had more precision than what the PM2k has.  I found that either the DBX 905 (amazing!) or the EQ built into Samplitude would be able to notch out annoying frequencies and for the broader EQing I would do on the PM2k.

Anyways, I just sold my PM2k in Los Angeles for $3400, in perfect condition.  If the dialogue is about whether you should get a ATB or an Elan, I think it's obvious that the Elan is vastly superior (never heard one but I love the sound of the Neotek Elite).  If you are on a budget however, I don't think the ATB can touch the PM2k.

Nicholas

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Kris

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2008, 02:59:21 pm »

Hey Breathe, are you judging/comparing the ATB based on some mp3s you heard on the net?!?!?!  If so you should re-evaluate.
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Phil Mayor

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2009, 09:46:47 pm »

Have a listen to the latest Arcade Fire and the Hard-Fi albums, they were major releases that were tracked and mixed on the Toft ATB.

I bought one a couple of months ago to do an album on.

The eq is wonderful on it. Smooth as silk, great controlled bottom end. The build quality and flexibility is stunning for the price. Don't under estimate the pre's, they are nothing to be sniffed at, I certainly prefer them to some SSL desks.

There isnt anything comparable at this price point. Im 100% happy. Customer service is excellent, you can ring Malcolm Toft direct and discuss anything with him. Great guy.

The Elan is much more expensive, $18.5K for 24 channels is it not? I think 'vastly superior' is a little strong. The point is that Malcolm has designed a classic pro-sounding, fuctioning desk for very little money. Once you get to this level 'vast' is how I'd describe the increase in money you have to spend to 'vastly' improve the sound, definitely more than $18.5K anyway.
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kats

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2009, 09:16:59 am »

Phil, I agree with most of your points. One thing I would like to add that a console is not just about sound, it is a tool. Build quality, reliability, and ease of maintenance all come into the picture and play an important role in a pro studio. So while the extra 10 or 20k might not buy you better sound, there are other concerns.
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Tony K.
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Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

Eric H.

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2009, 10:58:23 am »

Like a better master section?
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eric harizanos

Phil Mayor

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Re: Toft ATB
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2009, 01:37:50 pm »

Hi Tony, yep I'm with you on that. For me it wasn't so much of a concern as it's for my own use and not for clients. Ie not commercial, heavy use.

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