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Analog Mixer With Best Mic-Preamps?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by KingRazor, Dec 19, 2011.


  1. Assuming you could afford the best, which analog mixer would you say had the highest quality mic preamps?

    And I'm strictly talking about sound quality, not features.

    EDIT: Talking about boards being used for live sound production...not recording.
     
  2. I like the API preamp. 32 512 modules and a bunch of Burl converters as the front end to a digital console would be pretty awesome.

    Back in the real world I don't really worry about it. Midas/Crest/Yamaha/whatever. Once you have a for-real console the micamps are all fine. Routing and layout and EQ are different but I don't even think about the pre itself really.
     
  3. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    API/ Neve/ SSL/ Helios are all top quality, the point is at this level you are talking about different flavors of win. That's why I want a Tree:
    Tree Audio 500 Web Site
    I have used 500 series modules by all these companies to get the best of all of them, and have been collecting these modules slowly. You can put modules by all these companies in a Tree frame, and get the ideal sonic imprint of all these companies in one desk.
    Live I like Midas Xl series followed by heritage series for analog.
     
  4. NOVAX

    NOVAX

    Feb 7, 2009
    Kalifornia
    My Idea of the holy grail would be an Amek 9098. From the mind of Rupert Neve
    comes great things. A sidecar of Neve 1073 modules would look nice next to it.
     
  5. Oh yeah, I should have mentioned for live sound mixing.
     
  6. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    Live... Midas XL series, ATI Paragon desks are also killer (comp/gate on every channel) but a bit less common to say the least...
    nice thing about the 500 seres modules is taking them along in a rack to augment these desks, and bypassing the on board pres.
    I still can get my API/ Neve on.
     
  7. Isn't the Midas XL series digital though?
     
  8. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    I'm referring to the XL4, XL3, XL200 which are the best analog desks Midas made, before the heritage series (I believe the designer went on to form the outboard company xta before the heritage was produced).
    You are thinking of the most recent digital line, with the XL8...
    sorry for not being clear.
     
  9. Ah ok. No problem.
     
  10. ok, so the boards here all appear to be in the 15k+ range, I asked for the best, and you guys offered it, so thank you.

    Now I have another question: Assuming your budget could be no more than $5000, what analog board would you get if sound quality was of the utmost importance?
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I had a Midas Venice 240. I loved the preamps in that. Someone told me that they're the same preamps as the ones in the Heritage series. Anyway, they sound great.

    Also, the Venice 240 comes in right under your $5K mark.
     
  12. Very nice.
     
  13. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    The Venice is a beautiful sounding desk; sublime in fact. My only "complaint" is that it's pretty bare bones in terms of features. However the new VeniceF with firewire recording output is pretty bonus.

    I've also been fairly happy with the Soundcraft GB4 and GB8 consoles. Again, pretty bare-bones in terms of features but the mic-pres sound very nice after spending countless hours mixing on Yamaha boards.

    If you can find one on the used market, the Soundcraft K2 is a classic. The footprint is large but you get some great added features like a sweepable HPF, 8 auxes (switchable between pre and post in pairs) and 8 groups, mute groups which can be programmed manually or via MTC, as well as the all-important ability to run a redundant power supply.

    But before you go and drop $5k it's important to answer some pressing questions: is this console strictly for recording or will it be responsible for mixing FOH? If yes, will it also have to mix monitors? If yes, how many mixes? How many fx sends do you need and how many stereo returns and/or stereo channels do you need for fx returns and stereo input sources like keyboards, DJ's, sequencers, and playback? Do you need mix matrices to feed multiple locations? Do you already have sufficient outboard gear or would it be more cost effective to step up to a digital console and save the expense (and real estate) of buying outboard EQ's, Comps, and FX units?

    Much food for thought...
     
  14. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    The Venice has nice pres, decent eq, but lacks polarity switch which i feel is a key component.
    The mix buss also loads very easily, which is the weakest point on this desk. There is a new version out with FireWire capability for recording, better eq and polarity switch plus a few other features... Not sure if it's under 5k. In that price range, I really like the soundcraft offerings. Gb8 24 is a loaded desk with 8 aux, 8 sub
    groups(pre or post), dual sweepable mid eq, 24 channels, stereo and mono main buss, and is around 3,500.00 new. Only missing part of these desks is an optional input pad, but the design allows for this to a degree. There are 32 and 48 input versions, plus a gb4 version (4sub groups, 8aux). These have been great install desks for me, as well as mobile rental, and are built like tanks. That would leave enough dough for an outboard compliment of eq and comps/gates.
     
  15. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    Ha, testing, you mirrored my thoughts as I was typing...
    I would like to add though that I've had bad experiences with the k series, usually the insert points
    going bad.
     
  16. Oh, I know. I was just curious.
     
  17. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    King ...

    This is irrevant - not enough info

    If for your church gig.....

    Training and educational materials are probably the biggest factor --- mackie may have easier to comprehend comic bookish manuals

    Fewer options may be important as more knobs = more folks dorking with gear.... In this case analog may not be your best option
     
  18. Not looking to fill a specific need, just asking a question. That's why I said "not asking about features, just quality". I wanted to see what people thought.

    My church already has a digital board that we're more than happy with.
     
  19. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    One of the nicest analog boards out there today IMO is anything made by APB
    Analog Audio Consoles - APB-Dynasonics.com

    For just slightly above your $5k price you could get a nice 32ch. board from them.

    I have seen and demo'd there entire line, beautiful product with EXCELLENT customer service.
     
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    +1

    I have one of the old Crest XR-20s that was built under their watch. Their upgraded model is a really nice piece.
     

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