Summing vs. Console dilemma.....

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darnell
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Summing vs. Console dilemma.....

Post by darnell » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:27 pm

Hey all,

This question has been bouncing around in my head for a while now, and I figured I would get some real world advice from some knowledgeable people and go from there.

I was fortunate enough to pick up a complete Yamaha Pm1000 16 ch console for a ridiculous price about a year ago. I basically traded 2 low level keyboards for it that probably only set me back $60 for both keyboards. The yamaha board had been worked on previous to me acquiring it, with the ps relocated outside the chassis, and it is fully functional. I haven't attempted a mix with it, since I need to invest in cabling. All channels pass signal, eq works, and everything seems good. DEF needs a global recap, and I would want to change the eq points after the fact to make it a bit more useable. My initial impressions were "cloudy" and "choked" with the signal routed through it, so I can see it is going to need some work.

I have a modest outboard collection. 7 stellar outboard pres (2 sage, 2 Eisen Neve, 2 Eisen 312, 1 Eisen 990) all in a lunchbox. I am eventually going to get an Avedis MA5 to fill my 6 space lunchbox and be done with pres for now. 8 channels of comps that would prob make Joel Hamilton proud (2 160x's, MXR Dual Limiter, Valley Dyna, 2 Sym 501), plus some fun delays/verbs and a patchbay for it all. So remote recording for guitars, bass and Vox is all set. Just looking to use this board as a summing mixer with eq, and I have api plugs for eq ITB. I do most of my parallel/bus and whatnot in the box and send to stereo channels, so the limited routing of the PM is not really an issue.

I also work at a studio with a recently recapped Neotek Series 2, so all drum tracking and mixing can be done there if needed, but I would like to start having an auxillary setup for working with bands on a budget, and hopefully move towards having this space be a sort of "b room" to the studio for overdubs and simple mix/experimentation.

My question is..... Would putting $ and time into a recap and cabling for this board be something that will get me what I am looking for, or should I just suck it up and buy a summing mixer (dangerous?). The one thing I like about the PM is the option for the inductor outboard eqs (though not as flexible as the Neotek) on the channel strips. This is the one dilemma I have with summing vs. consoles option. I like the option of having specific eqs for "tweaking" especially after comp/processing that seems to only be available with a console.

I am not rich by any stretch, and can't afford to pick up a Manly 16x2. If I had enough for that, I would just pick up the Neo Series III in the classifieds and be set for life!!!!! :D

So anyway, any thoughts or experience regarding this age old question would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Daryl Rabidoux
Strangeways Recording
http://www.strangewaysrecording.com/studio.html

dsw
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Post by dsw » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:17 pm

Rolls Folcrum summing box is pretty affordable, sounds real good.

http://www.rollmusic.com/folcrom.php

$775
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darnell
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Post by darnell » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:30 pm

Fulcrum is cool. Passive, so I could use my Eisens for summing amps. I def have given that some thought.

Dangerous 2 Bus LT as well.

I'm just torn between sinking $300 into the PM1000 for a recap and gaining the eq, or getting some sort of summing device for at least double that. Without eq.

Anyone other thoughts?

Daryl Rabidoux
Strangeways Recording
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Post by drumsound » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:18 pm

A console is going to offer a lot more flexibility and options than a summing mixer. You have have plug ins for things the console EQ doesn't work for you. After a recap, I'm pretty sure the PM1000 will sound much different once it's recapped. YOu might also contact the Mercenary/MethLab folks, as they might know of some good mods for the PM stuff.

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darnell
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Post by darnell » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:31 pm

Thanks Drumsound.

I was actually thinking of contacting Adam at Mercenary. He is a good friend of a friend, and I would love to pick his brain. I know they are advocates for the PM's, and have been told they can sound great with a little elbow grease.

Anyone have any tips or experience with the PM1000 before and after a recap, so I know what to look for?

Thanks.

d.

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Post by The Scum » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:08 pm

I've been mixing on a PM1000 for about a year..it's an experimental step towards eventually maybe designing my own uber-console.

Recapping can improve the low end, and remove a bit of noise. If your console ticks or pops or crunches periodically, it's probably due to old caps.

Recapping won't significantly change the noise floor...it's dictated more by the transistors...which you can swap out as well. I haven't found a really good mod for the midrange yed...but I'm not exactly starving for musical EQ.

Even with those and other incremental upgrades, it's still a PM1000. It's still got all of the intrinsic pains that it came with:
-Only 2 auxes
-4 busses, but no simple way to dump one set of busses into the other.
-No direct outs.
-No mute or solo.
-The panpot is mostly active between 10 and 2 o'clock.
-The fader is mostly sensitive at the top of it's range...and the faders are tough to swap for something else, since nothing else fits.
-It doesn't really have a control-room section.
-Even with component upgrading, it's still a bit bloated sounding.

None of those are a simple component-swap to fix. You just get used to it being a bit cranky...and plan how a mix translates into the console features a little more carefully than you might on other desks.

I find that it's easier to know when a mix is "right" with the board...there aren't a million options to get sidetracked with...I push and pull the faders until things settle. I have to listen carefully when panning, because the center on the knob may not be the balanced electronic center. There are also times that I have to go hunting for clever workarounds, working quasi-ITB.

Mixing on a PM1000 is kinda like driving a tractor. It's overbuilt, does one thing well, and it shifts from a low gear to an even lower gear. If you want a sports car (or an airplane), it's not the desk for the job.

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evilaudio
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Post by evilaudio » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:30 am

+1 for Folcrom! I did a shootout with a D2B as well and I could tell no difference other than the flavors of mic pres I was using. Obviously, there was a difference, just not substantial enough to cough-up more dough for a D2B and I have a lot of great preamps. I used to own a PM1000 (and got it for basically the same reason. Summing), too much work for me and the sound was "blah"... (I'm sure it needed updating, etc...). Just thought I'd say I was in your situation and ended-up with a Folcrom and am very happy. I can't wait to rewire my patchbay so I can insert outboard comps and EQ's into my mix stems as well!!
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Post by getreel » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:22 pm

Just as a general opinion of mine, I prefer a good console as they are selling for very low money now and have so much more routing and options than a summing box. A PM1000 is a beast but a potentially good sounding one. You could go through yours and get it sounding great or it could fetch good money enough to buy another newer console that's not in need of any work. My $.02 anyway

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Post by Jeff White » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:49 pm

http://www.vintageking.com/Radial-Engineering-Workhorse

This is well worth the money and awesome...and you can pay for part of it by selling your current lunchbox.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my Philly-based home studio, the Spacement. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

ivanovich
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Post by ivanovich » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:56 am

i've gotten to use an api summing mixer extensively. it really does sound awesome. i like the fact that it can be used as a summing mixer or as an actual mixer($$$$/per channel i cant afford!). so i went out and got a soundcraft ghost. i do like the sound of the summing mixer a lot more but it just doesn't allow me to blend and liquify like the ghost. the api summing mixer has the line level, pan pot, two sends and some other buttons like mute n such. if you got the actual channel strips you'd get 4 busses, 4 sends etc etc etc.
the ghost is more affordable and you get a bunch of eq's, busses, and fx send/returns.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that i do prefer the mixer over the summer. specially if you have outboard gear. so i'd go with a flexible mixer.
if anyone is interested in an api summing mixer lemme know. i've got one up for grabs at a killer price. i'll prolly post it again in the buy/sell/trade forum....

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:36 am

"Fix The Mixer"

Summing ITB is still not quite there.

Using a summing box does not really give you any flexibility.

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Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by getreel » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:09 am

I also recently bought a Ghost and I am so impressed with it's sound overall and features for the money. I have done a few mixes on it that I had previously mixed ITB. The difference is huge and the Ghost really didn't add any noise to the mix so it wins big time with no trade off on noise that I can notice.

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evilaudio
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Post by evilaudio » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:55 am

noeqplease wrote:
Using a summing box does not really give you any flexibility.
Stand-alone, no. But, using a summing box within a patchbay with outboard gear sure does.
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Post by *cisko* » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:22 am

How much do you feel getting knobs and faders will help your workflow? does it work for you to be in the box more than outside it? its all about how comfortable you feel with your work interface, whether its a console, controller or mouse. I personally love the speed a console gives me and I don't have to spend that much time on menus and software. just patch up, push fader, turn knob. would you like to turn your console into a project?
you can get pretty deep with modifying it, or even just getting it to a point you like, to then save up and upgrade.

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Post by nick_a » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:26 pm

i'm totally with cisko. it really depends on how you like to work.

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