soundcraft 200 series board 4 buss

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oceanic
pluggin' in mics
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soundcraft 200 series board 4 buss

Post by oceanic » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:18 pm

I just bought this board used. it works. Any valuable opinions or information would be much appreciated. thanks-scott.

patternagainstuser
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Post by patternagainstuser » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:21 pm

i have it. i use it. it sounds good, especially for rock drums. i wish it had direct outs.

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Roboburger
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Post by Roboburger » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:26 pm

Audio Engineer Euphemism for going number two: "Rollin' off the Low End."

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Punkity
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Post by Punkity » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:48 am

Hey Oceanic,

I've had one for years, starting with a 16 channel one, then bit-and-pieced together a 32 channel one. Just used it today. I think you have a bunch of board for the cash you likely spent on it.

If you got the most common channels with shelving eq, don't let that get you down. While you won't be able to do any sonic surgery with it, the eq works well for getting things to fit together. Just start with small adjustments, you might be suprised what a difference a tiny eq adjustment can make. Extreme cuts and boosts work too without sounding harsh or grainy or empty or bad. The eq just works well at all settings. For more surgical stuff, just get an outboard eq or two. If money is an issue, try the Orban 642B. These run from $150-$300 on ebay and are two channels of outrageous control. This is a black faced model. Don't go for the blue faced stuff; IMO they just sound like crap.

Some things to keep in mind about the 200B:

The inserts are different than the standard. Normally unbalanced inserts have the send at the tip and the return at the ring. The 200B has it reversed with the tip being the return and the ring being the send. If you plan on using the RNC, which are designed to plug straight into unbalanced inserts with a TRS cable, you are going to have to solder some cables with the tip and the ring reversed at one end. The are handy to have around, because they can also be used as polarity reversing cables.

There is no polarity switch anywhere on the 200B, so it would be wise to wire up some polarity reversing cables even if you won't be using the RNC on inserts.

The 200B is a noisy beast, but there are cures. One is to change the grounding scheme to a star-buss configuration. While this does require ripping into the console, the only special skill you need is the soldering you have honed from making those polarity reversing cables. I go into detail on another message board http://studioforums.com/eve/forums/a/tp ... 6391022311 . Do this, I am not kidding, DO IT. It is easier than you could ever believe (after you get past the "You want me to cut THAT!" phase).

Another way to reduce the noise, although not as effective as the star-buss grounding, is to change the line inputs from +4 to -10. The manual you hopefully downloaded will give you a clue on the document page 21 of the first download. All you have to do is to unscrew each input channel and look for a mini switch or a black plastic square jumper near the top of the circuit board. Hopefully yours will be marked so you know which switch or jumper position will be the -10. Some people will shriek "-10, why that's BLASTPHEMY!" Don't listen to them, this shit works. It should be noted that this only works on line inputs, and doesn't effect the noise if you are using the mic pres; however, if you are using the mic pres and running out of the channel inserts into the recording device, noise shouldn't be much of an issue (and will be a non-issue if you do the star-buss grounding).

Speaking of mic preamps, the ones on the 200B are OK, but not great. Get some outboard pres as money will allow. I use and like Syteks. They are cheaper per preamp than the RNP, and IMO sound better. Save up some extra for a pair of money preamps. I suggest Sebatron VMP2000 as a great less expensive preamp pair.

Other issues. Hmmmmmm. Ah yes, gain structure. The 200B does not have a bunch of head-room, so watch the gain structure like a hawk. If you find that you have to run the busses or the main outs faders lower than -5 to get the level under control, the board is going to start compressing like crazy and not in a good way. If you are running the mains at -10, things are going to sound like serious crap. The best way I can describe it is that each element (guitar, bass, vocals, etc.) is going to sound like it is in its own little, ugly box completely separate from all other elements. On the other hand, if you find that you are running the faders all the way up, you are going to have noise noise noise even with the cures I noted above.

John Williams at Audio Upgrades http://audioupgrades.com/pl1.html works on 200B (quotes for Delta 200 are the same as the 200B), but I can do most of the stuff he does myself, so I've never done it.

I noticed that the downloadable manual doesn't have schematics or flow charts. I have a copy with them included. PM me and we'll figure out how to get them to you if you want them.

This is a bunch to chew on. I'll gladly elaborate if you have any particular questions.

The thing is built to last, and with a little care and small modifications it will serve you well for years to come.

Cheers,
Will.
Signage of the times.

oceanic
pluggin' in mics
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Location: ID

Post by oceanic » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:11 pm

thanks for the info. I'm mostly just going to use it to mic up instruments individually, and use pro tools more like an expanded four track. I'm going to be running my mics through the 200 board, into my digi 001, and multitrack some rhodes, guitars, drums, and vocals. I've never used a board before my digi 001 inputs, so I'm hoping this will be at least a small improvement. thanks -scott.

blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:03 am

beefing up that little ass power supply would probably do wonders for anything over 16 channels..... they work fine for the little 8 channel 200/200B's but you start adding a bunch of inputs and running it hard, and the audio will start going south pretty quickly..... not much leeway in the PS means not much headroom in the console. big electrolytic filter caps need to be replaced/upgraded on 20-25 year old power supplies. mid-level console manufacturers like Soundcraft and Allen & Heath were notorious for cutting corners in this department. blame the company bean counters...

i like all the old Soundcrafts - star grounding the modules is definitely recommended, though, in this day and age of 30-40+tracks-per-song, DAW cleanliness and squashing the beejeezuz out of everything. that way your gain structure does not have to be such a balancing act. you'll gain an additional 10 dB or so of noise floor - not too shabby.

sluggoaudio
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Re: Soundcraft 200 boards

Post by sluggoaudio » Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:56 am

Here are a few hints about quieting down a Soundclown 200/200B:
1) Replace the SIP resistor pack in the input mic preamp with 4x 1% metal film 4K7 1/4W resistors (they fit standing up).
2) Disconnect the meter lamps. They're probably burned out anyway, but they can introduce all sorts of trash into the power supply rails.
3) The console should have about as much headroom as any other console with 17V rails and 5532 sum amps. When you are setting your channel gains, remember that you are using Vu meters, not peak meters. That said, running the masters at -3 or so will improve overall S/N.
You can try replacing the sum amps with Burr Brown (TI) 2604's if you are working with a board that is more than 16 inputs.
4) The star ground mod does work and is totally worth the trouble. Don't forget to do separate returns for the L/R sum amps, the group sum amps, the aux sum amps and the ground of the headphone connector. The individual ground returns from the master module involve breaking tracks on the card and running them off to the star point via a Molex connector. This requires skills and patience, but as the sum amps are the most noise sensitive part of the whole circuit, it is a critical mod. Don't use a screw-in bus bar as one writer suggests: if you have the soldering skills to dissect the ribbon connector, you have the skills make a superior star ground with 2 ground lugs and a piece of #16 solid wire for soldered ground connections.
5) Replace all the electrolytics with Panasonic FC series from Digikey. Don't go crazy with oversizing them. Don't forget the power supply.
6) Each input has 2x 10ohm resistors in series with the supply rails: these are used as fuses in case you dump a beverage etc into the console. Inspect them carefully: if they are at all discolored, replace them.
7) if you are feeling ambitious, replace the little white box caps in the EQ circuits with polypropylenes from Digikey. This has nothing to do with noise, but it will reduce distortion a bit, especially if you are using a lot of boost.
These are all mods that I haven proven in my old 200 that is still running strong after 22 years.

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