My Good Ol' Board: Keep, Mod, or Replace?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by LSchefman, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I was thinking of selling off my good ol' Tascam M600 32x16x32, which has worked extremely well for me over the years, and has always sounded really good, especially on the low end.

    I ordered it was back in the early 90s because Tascam only had one or two left, and a friend was scoring 3 television series on the same model with no client complaints or problems. I figured if it was good enough for scoring national TV shows...so I wrote what was at the time (for me anyway) a substantial check, and then had patchbays and a wiring harness made to use with it.

    I've always maintained it and kept it covered, so it works and looks like new.

    People always say they're surprised at how good it sounds. Mine's been used on many a national ad campaign, films, and even TV work, and I've won quite a few awards using it for scoring, but I may switch to using one of the new summing busses instead.

    Today I started researching it, and it turns out that here are quite a number of people who are into these boards in a big way. Evidently, finding one that isn't beat is difficult, and there are even techs who specialize in modding them with upgraded "audiophile" parts, special grounding and shielding, etc.

    They're actually desirable. Mine sounds good. Good - not "big" like an SSL, but not crappy, either. In fact, I've done plenty of work on SSLs and Neves on the client's dime over the years, and while they sound really wonderful in the control rooms, by the time you listen to the final mix on a CD, the margin of difference isn't all that huge (yes, it's there, but a whole lot depends on who's mixing). So now I'm thinking of having mine modded instead of replacing it. Maybe I'm wrong about what it can do. Maybe I don't need to "upgrade." It works. People compliment my sound.

    I've been thinking it's nice having 32 decent mic preamps, it's nice being able to buss things around, and they aren't making them any more. A big SSL or Neve isn't something I want or need. I doubt I'd buy another big analog board. It's this as-is, or modded, or replaced with a summing amp.

    I've considered the Dangerous 2 bus, and some other models out there. Now I'm considering mods, or just leaving well enough alone, and spending my money on something I need, like food. ;)

    Yak yak blah blah blah. Has anyone heard a modded M600? Should it stay or should it go!
     
  2. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    I own an old Panasonic DA-7, sadly no longer in production.
    It sounds good, but what's better - it sounds different from what folks over here are using in their project studio (pro-stool, cute-basic, so-so-nar and the usual collection of plugins).

    IMHO if you have a "niche sounding" 'board you will probably attract some kind of niche client base. If you want to start to compete with the big boys and their x-pensive toys :eek: you may find you're cut out of "that" particular flow of business.

    At the end of the day I suppose the economics seem to dictate that you should go for some kind of hardcore mod and work with what you already know how to use and to make it sound good and unique.

    My 2 swiss cents' worth, YMMV*, etc

    JJ
    *(pretty unfair comment, as I drive a Prius hybrid, LOL)
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Ahh... a sure sign that summer's over! Les's annual "should I get rid of my board" post! ;)
     
  4. usc96

    usc96 Member

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    Les,

    I just checked out your website. Which came first, law or producing? In other words, how did you end up doing both?

    I've been practicing 10 years, but am considering a music related diversion (while keeping my practice), so i like hearing about success stories like yours. Thanks.

    Chris
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Chris, law came first, then a client who was creative director for an ad agency got me into scoring commercials after he heard my music.

    From 1991 - 2005 I did only music, no law. Last year I decided to hedge my bet, because around here it's all about US carmaker ads, and as you know, they're in trouble.

    Now I do both, but I'm still nearly full time with commercial scoring.

    Here's the thing: creating music for TV ads and producing have crazier deadlines than federal litigation, or any other legal work I've done, so be careful what you wish for. ;)
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Ahh... a sure sign that summer's over! Les's annual "should I get rid of my board" post!<<

    Heh. ;)

    Well, I've been seeing more and cooler summing amps come out in the past year - even Neve has one. Summing amps have been my mantra for a while, now I'm more tempted than ever.
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>IMHO if you have a "niche sounding" 'board you will probably attract some kind of niche client base.<<

    Actually, with very few exceptions, I'm the only client. My scoring business keeps the studio busy. So the only client I am concerned with attracting is me.
     
  8. usc96

    usc96 Member

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    Thanks. I'm very familiar with Federal scheduling orders. I'll probably start slow with a local community website. I represent several of the music venues already, so it's not much of a leap for me. I'm thinking of something like www.musicaustin.com or www.austinlivemusic.com, but for my community. Probably not a big money maker, but it could lead to other things, or at the very least, entertain me.

    :AOK
     
  9. joseph

    joseph Member

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    Les, presumably you've posted this on the more tech oriented BBs....just curious what they think..?


    From an outside perspective....is it 'broke' and do you need to 'fix it'.....or not?
     
  10. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Les, you've been dreaming about the "other woman" long enuf.

    My advice? Shoot it out.

    Buy the summing stuff (Dangerous or what have you) from a dealer with a liberal return policy, or have it agreed to up front that your testing said rig on a trial basis. Have at her! You've got great ears - you'll know who the keeper is (or go Utah style and keep both - my prediction!).

    What have you got to lose, except learning that you love the way both rigs do things differently, and have to accomodate both?:crazy
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Les, presumably you've posted this on the more tech oriented BBs....just curious what they think..?<<

    Odd as it may seem, I only post here. I know and like most of the folks here, so I don't bother w/ other places.

    >>Buy the summing stuff (Dangerous or what have you) from a dealer with a liberal return policy, or have it agreed to up front that your testing said rig on a trial basis.<<

    Basso, I didn't think of that!! Am I ever a doofus. Vintage King are a great audio company, and they're in my area. They have everything. I'll call them.

    Thanks, mon!
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Red Ant-

    You suggested the Toft. Pros and cons?
     
  13. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    We have slowly migrated over to a system where we use our old MCI 636 as a summing/monitor mixer. We bypass most of the front-end stuff (evil automation VCAs in particular) and preset 5 pairs of stereo outputs from the computer and another 2 dedicated sends at a certain level.

    When I mix, I buss the sends this way:

    1/2 - Drums/bass
    3/4 - Guitars
    5/6 - Kbds
    7/8 - BG Vox
    9/10 - FX
    11 - Solo Instruments
    12 - Lead Vocal

    All levelling/panning/FX are done ITB, except for 11 & 12.

    This allows me to accomplish three things:

    One, be able to recall a mix in about 5 minutes. Virtually ALL clients expect this nowadays.

    Two, use the nicer analog gear we have on the lead vocal channel, which is very important to me. The only thing I need to document is the Lead Vox processing chain, and any gain rides I need to do on it. FX for this channel are done ITB.

    Three, when clients come around the corner into the control room and see the ol' boy sitting there, they KNOW they're in a recording studio... <g>

    I'll be the first to admit that mixing the "old-fashioned" way still sounds better to me, but this is a compromise that we've had to make to keep our clients happy. It's also VERY nice to be able to get a mix almost done, send a copy home w/a client for a week or so and then make any final changes.

    So, I'd say get a summing box in, do a few tests, and see if it sounds better. If it doesn't, keep your Tascam, if only for the looks.

    Loudboy
     
  14. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    It's not out yet. That's a pretty big con. Without seeing and hearing what it can do, it's pretty hard to say what the pros are. The first demo units are supposed to ship in the next few weeks though. I think the real question many people will be asking is how this compares to the Ghost, since that's really the only other decent console in this price bracket.
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>All levelling/panning/FX are done ITB, except for 11 & 12.

    This allows me to accomplish three things:

    One, be able to recall a mix in about 5 minutes. Virtually ALL clients expect this nowadays.

    Two, use the nicer analog gear we have on the lead vocal channel, which is very important to me. The only thing I need to document is the Lead Vox processing chain, and any gain rides I need to do on it. FX for this channel are done ITB.

    Three, when clients come around the corner into the control room and see the ol' boy sitting there, they KNOW they're in a recording studio... <g>

    I'll be the first to admit that mixing the "old-fashioned" way still sounds better to me, but this is a compromise that we've had to make to keep our clients happy. It's also VERY nice to be able to get a mix almost done, send a copy home w/a client for a week or so and then make any final changes.<<

    This is almost exactly what I do now. The console is essentially a giant line mixer-summing buss (I do what you do regarding lead vocals as well), and client-impresser. I use outboard mic pres except sometimes electric guitar/drums, for which I often like the pres on the console.

    >>I think the real question many people will be asking is how this compares to the Ghost, since that's really the only other decent console in this price bracket.<<

    I'm not a fan of Soundcraft gear, in general. But my concern is whether it makes any sense at all to buy something like a Toft, when (a) my console sounds good, since I only use it pretty much as Loudboy does, as a summing amp and for monitoring; and (b) I can buy a Neve, Dangerous, SPL and other summing amps for 3 grand-ish or less.
     
  16. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    what is a summing box?

    it's always nice to buy a new piece and have the old girl still around to shake the money maker...
     
  17. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>what is a summing box?<<

    It's like the summing amplifier section of a mixing console, the thing that sums all of the input channels together.

    If you use a DAW, you may not need the channels, with all of their hardware, just the thing that sums and mixes them together.
     
  18. Red Ant

    Red Ant Member

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    Well, I did get to play with one a few months ago, and well... I see no cons, unless you don't like the "Trident" sound.
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Red, I always liked the old Trident boards. Do these inexpensive ones sound like the old ones?
     

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