As sequencing / producing software packages are getting better and better and as plug ins available really start to be on-par with their HW equivalents (occassionally even better) there are less and less people using middle size analog consoles in their studios. Beautiful mixes can be done completelly ITB and every single mix can be recalled by a flick of the button.
Having said that, there are still few old skool farts like me who would occassionally want to mix OTB with true outboard analogue gear and analogue mix bus insert compressor. And if you are recording a band you would anyway need to use quite a many channels for drums alone and at least I do not have that many rack preamps available so I need to use what ever my desk is giving me.
Some background…I was involved with a small hobbyist studio - normal reel-to-reel and later on digital multitracking devices without computers. I was working with Studiomaster and Fostex mixing boards and later on we bought Soundcraft Spirit Studio 24. I loved that desk. Serious bang for the buck - adequate preamps and really nice, musical EQ and good routing options. True in-line design. 6 Auxes. Fairly silent and enough headroom on mix bus. 8 groups, DI’s and inserts on every channel and you were able to split EQ per channel for monitor / channel inputs. Complete with sine wave generator. Nice.
Time moved on and I needed to move abroad (Yorkshire, Lorraine, North Carolina) and my mate sold this Spirit console and bought a Ghost. I did some work on that and I liked that a lot as well. Preamps were even better but I did prefer Spirit EQ. Anyway - I was lucky and the guy who acquired our Spirit wanted to get rid of it so I bought it back 'round ten years ago and have had it with me everywhere I go. Still love it. Haven’t had single problem with it and EQ still sounds wonderfull…long story, sorry…
Okay, let’s get to the point…
I know that my desk will die sooner or later and I need to get a new one. The problem is that I would like to have at least 16 channels if there are 4 stereo aux returns and preferably 4 groups. And the preamps should be okay even if slightly abused. And EQ must work for boosting as well (I can always cut in Cubase but I’d rather boost in analogue). And I want to have at least semi-parametric high mids and low mids. Possibility of varying Q would be a bonus (do not have that option with my current desk anyway).
So that rules Mackie and infamous bear-ringers out. Allen Heath ?
I got A&H PA and GL series mixers already stored in flight cases my Garage for live PA but I would not record or mix with them. Never tried this Zed series. Any comments anyone ?
Audient 2802…looks good and can be integrated with DAW but no EQ and only two auxes (would like to have 4 at least).
SSL Nucleus - really interesting one but not really an analog mixing board…and no EQ. X-logic desk…too small and not enough auxes.
…well Toft ATB 24…has all I need on paper…looks good…wooden armrests and sides…trident legacy ? But lots of bashing in forums…everyone is saying that EQ is good but other things $uck. Dunno. Never heard this desk in action…so, any comments anyone ? Not something you read or heard someone has said but something you have actually heard when using this thing for mixing ?
…and no, I cannot have SSL 9000+ series or even AWS as I need to eat every now and then as well. Otherwise I would…