Recommend an older 8-channel mixer with 'mojo'?

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midgrowler
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Recommend an older 8-channel mixer with 'mojo'?

Post by midgrowler » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:05 am

Hi, I'm new to this forum. I've been using a Tascam 424mkII for a while, and now have a Tascam 238 to replace it.

I therefore require an outboard mixer with 8 discrete inputs & 8 direct outputs, and inserts on each channel would be helpful too.

At least 2 auxes/effects send/returns and a monitor section would be a bonus.

As well as this criteria however;
I am looking for a mixer with some complimentary 'character' or 'mojo' - I realise these terms are sometimes used on this forum and would best describe what I'd like.

I'm not interested in 'airy' or transparent, crisp, faithful, hyped pres; - rather, I am after more 'colour' with maybe a low-mid bump and smoother highs, maybe a bit of 'dirt' or 'grain', too. Noise or hiss dosen't bother me, and I don't mind re-capping or the odd bit of soldering.

I mainly record 70's style funk and have basic diy outboard valve pres and a chinese ribbon mic which I use regularly, they sound good with the 424.

A Tascam M-35 or M-208 or M-308B? Soundcraft Spirit FX8? Studiomaster? Any others anyone could recommend?

Many thanks

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Post by The Scum » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:17 am

Yamaha PM1000 and the old Soundcraft Series 2 might fit the bill. (Be warned, Soundcraft also have a new series 2...same name, very different desk...and of the old series 2s, the one with the fixed midrange EQ points is more desirable than the swept EQ).

Both may require modification to add direct outs. Detailed service manuals for both can be downloaded from their respective companies.

For 8 tracking, you might consider a 16 channel board - use 8 channels as preamps to feed the recorder, and the other 8 to simultaneously listen back to the recorder output.

An old Neve Melbourne or Kelso, MCI 400 series, or an API 1604 might also fit the bill.
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midgrowler
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Post by midgrowler » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:09 am

Thanks, I'll check those mixers out. That 16-channel idea sounds great, I'd never thought of that.

I'm talking cheap used 1970's/80's/90's era mixers which have a certain low-fidelity about them.

Also, would an ADAT blackface/XT20 compliment this type of sound do you think? Using grainy discrete ADAT converters as opposed to forcing a stereo mix into my E-MU 0404 USB?

My 0404 sounds good, but it's very clear and 'presicion' - anything recorded direct in sounds kinda thin.

Thanks for your replies, I appreciate other people's experiences with obsolete gear.

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Post by Jim Williams » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:05 am

Tascam M-15 and an old MS-16 16 track deck. Lots of mush, nice and cloudy. You should be able to get both for under $1k.

Then, find used 1" tape, old 456 is great. Keep the q-tips handy though. After enough plays that tape will sound nice and mushy too.

Do not use a DAW, it will sound modern. Mix to 1/4" tape, 7.5 IPS. Any old home deck will do like a Teac. Send that 2 mix tape out for disc mastering, don't convert to digital, it will sound modern. Your vinyl will have plenty of colors and flavors by then.
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Post by wren » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:44 am

I've had a Studiomaster Trilogy for quite awhile that I still really dig. It's definitely got a nice sound - it's a little "soft"-sounding and I feel like it lacks a little depth, but it has fantastic routing capabilities, mixing through it sounds (for your purposes) good but appropriately smear-y, its preamps are perfectly usable, and its EQ sounds really good IMO.

Fairly recently I got an Allen and Heath Scepter to replace the Trilogy; the Scepter's preamps are much better and mixing/summing through it sounds cleaner and better and significantly less "soft," but I was surprised that I liked the sound of the Trilogy's EQ a lot more. Like, there-wasn't-even-a-contest more. The Scepter definitely replaced the Trilogy, but I've kept the Trilogy around as a "sidecar" of sorts a) because of how good I think its EQ sounds, and b) in case I need to do some really insane and unforeseen headphone-mix-routing or something like that someday.
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Post by allbaldo » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:09 pm

You might check out a Sound Workshop 1280b with the "Super EQ" option. Neat little mixer designed by some of the designers behind the API 550 EQ. Transformer balanced mic pre's, and plenty of vibe. They've been going up in price, but they still show up cheap from time to time. I have one that I really like. There's a Sound Workshop Yahoo group where you can find info, and people who can give advice about maintenance, repair, upgrade, etc.

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Post by E.Bennett » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:50 pm

not sure if this has direct outs, but it's a cool cheap little mixer...

http://musicgoround.com/detail.aspx?id=1097984

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Post by eh91311 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:57 pm

The old Tascam desks you mentioned (M-35, M-208/308) are probably your best choice. I have a Tascam 1508 (8x4x2, no phantom power) that is a little newer but probably sounds similar to the older mixers.

The 238 is a little 'cleaner' sounding compared to the 4-track portastudios, but still has the cassette multi-track sound; no real low lows, no very high high end, but more of both than the portastudios have. I'd use a decent 2-track 1/4" tape reel-to-reel to mix down to at 15ips, like an Otari 5050-II or a Tascam 22-2 or model 32. You don't want to use a home-type reel deck at 7.5 ips, that will just bury your 2-track mix is a haze of murky tape modulation and hiss, stick with a 15ips-capable deck.

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Post by The Scum » Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:53 am

Also, would an ADAT blackface/XT20 compliment this type of sound do you think?
At their best, ADATs are a mediocre sounding pain in the ass that eats tapes at the worst times.

Jim's recommendation of a 1/4" 2 track for mixing into is valid.
mush, nice and cloudy.
Huh? Who are you, and what have you done with the real Jim Williams? He would never recommend such things!

The bastion of clear, fast and transparent has lowered his guard!
Sound Workshop 1280b
Come to think of it, one of the first basement studios I was ever in had a 1280 and a 328...
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midgrowler
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Post by midgrowler » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:05 am

Wow, thanks for your replies. Very encouraging.
I'm really enjoying the workflow of using a 424 - recording, auxing, bouncing, listening back and making decisions as I go. It also makes my playing more focussed. I'm waiting for the 238 to arrive, and look forward to having 8 discrete tracks and a potentially greater stereo field without bounces. Maybe I'll get rid of my DAW one day and use minidisk/ADAT instead.
I've been experimenting with mixing down to a minidisk deck on LP4 mode - the drums get pretty crunchy!
I'm thinking it might be better to find a 16-channel board so I don't have to use a patchbay.
Thanks for your help guys

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