Trident 65 Console Dilemma

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Binze
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Trident 65 Console Dilemma

Post by Binze » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:03 am

Hey there. I run a small analog studio used mostly to track and mix my own bands with occasional outside sessions coming through. The music I work on is classic Soul, Rhythm & Blues, and Rock 'n Roll (think Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals). I picked up a Trident 65 console about a year ago and have used it on every session since. I know these desks don't get a lot of love on the forums but I think it sounds fantastic and has excellent signal routing capabilities. If you haven't already guessed, I'm really not going for a pristine, transparent sound. In fact, I welcome the gritty character my gear imparts on the recordings.

While the Trident is certainly functional, there are quite a few problems (4 input channels out, 2 auxes out, 4 groups out, scratchy pots/switches, etc.). I'm guessing it's going to need some major work at some point. I've located a tech who will replace the original power supply (it's under built) with Acopians and implement new power distribution and grounding. I would also anticipate some recapping and a mod to improve the master section.

Here's my dilemma -- should I get all of this work done or sell the Trident and pick up a completely overhauled MCI JH series console? The cost of the Trident plus power/mods/recap would just about equal that of an MCI in top shape. The popular opinion seems to be that the MCI is an upgrade from the Trident but I've never had the opportunity to use one myself. I'd really appreciate your input. Thanks!

The Scum
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Post by The Scum » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:32 pm

Most of the MCIs I've ever had the dubious pleasure of working on (as in troubleshooting and fixing, not mixing) were feeling their age. They're beasts to work on - electronic design and manufacturing came a long way between 1975 and 1985.

T65's are quite a bit easier to keep running, in comparison.

An MCI 400 might be right up your alley, sonically. But they're painful maintenance beasts. About the point that you've got all of the light bulbs working, they start going out again. 500's aren't much better. If they don't include an extender card, (or you're not comfortable learning to use an oscilloscope), walk away.

A notable exception might be Sony 30xx desks...the crown jewels of the MCI lineage.

I doubt that the T65 problems you describe are that catastrophic...possibly a few hours work for an experienced tech...some possibly as easy to fix as reorienting misplugged internal connections (don't laugh, it really does happen!). Or use it to learn to do the tech work yourself...once you're comfortable with it, you're ready to graduate to an MCI.
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Binze
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Post by Binze » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:49 am

Thanks Scum! You make some great points here. I hadn't considered the age difference between the desks as a factor in maintenance. I'm getting some basic tech skills together but I don't feel comfortable going too deep at this point. I'm hoping to do some recapping on problematic input channel modules myself.

I'm curious to know your thoughts on the T65 power situation. Do you think it's worth investing a good amount of money for a new supply and improved distribution? I haven't had any serious problems with the headroom but I do notice it's fairly limited.

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vivalastblues
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Post by vivalastblues » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:22 am

I'll buy your 65 off you if you get to a point where you want to sell it :)

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kakumei47
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Post by kakumei47 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:16 pm

As someone who brought a 500 series MCI back to life and got it to about 98% reliably working and who has helped a couple other 500-series owners with their boards, I'm going to agree with The Scum on the maintenance end. I put over 500 hours tech work into my console, so it's not for the faint of heart (or for anyone who doesn't do their own tech work). Once you get it working well it will destroy the trident sonically but I would hesitate to trust anyone saying theirs is in "top shape" unless you know it's been fully recapped and cleaned, and a ton of switches have been changed, and every molex connector in it has been resoldered.
I put maybe 6k+ in parts into mine after getting it, and that's with me doing ALL of the tech work. There are only a few handfuls of these really in "top shape" out there...

A 400 series MCI will be older and need similar work, but it's a lot simpler (less routing and headroom but also way less parts to change). Unless you're ready for a big project something to think about...

And maybe stay away from 600-series mci...much more similar probably to your trident so not worth changing

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