Otari Status Concept Elite +

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Otari Status Concept Elite +

Postby countryrockstar » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:47 am

Hi I have the opportunity to buy an OTARI CONCEPT ELITE + 40 Channel Desk in very good cosmetic condition for £4500, but I am concerned by this article written by a well known American recording engineer and studio owner. He has expressed his admiration of this Otari and other models but is very concerned by the lack of correct information given in adverts and other sales details. I have included the complete article below but would be very grateful of any help in confirming the details of the information and of any other details about the CONCEPT ELITE +, my worst concern is that the desk needs a Windows computer and operating system Win 95/98 to be plugged in and running to work at all, let alone to operate fully, both the computer and software are nearly 20 years old with boards and software that may not have been updated for either Windows XP or Vista let alone the newer versions? I know one advantage with Otari is that they are still a working company, unlike Amek, Trident and a lot of others.
Am I correct in my reasoning that there is this transition period where analogue desks that had the help of digital to make switching and other functions faster and simpler and were great at the time, are now, because the digital software and hardware were never updated, are basically useless unless they can be made to work by ripping out the so called digital controls? Which of course with the OTARI CONCEPT ELITE + cannot be removed because they wont work at all?
Here is the article warning about the short lifespan of the Otari.


I see these boards for sale on the web and on eBay sometimes, with LOTS of misinformation, or missing information that's pretty essential to the function and use of these boards, so I thought I'd put up a page that would show up in a google search for those considering buying an Otari console.
All the information here is accurate to the best of my knowledge, and I'm admittedly more knowledgeable about the Concept Elite, which I own and use daily.


A 12 buss board available in a few different sizes (24,32,40,48 modules), it's the first in the series of these boards which used the Digital Master Module (DMM) and an external PC with a special card installed to control nearly all the switching functions for the entire console. A typical console has aux assignment and track output assignments managed by physical switches on each module, the Otari boards use one set of switches on the DMM to control any selected module (one module, a group of them or every module). This consolidated control has a few benefits:
Fewer physical switches on the console so less maintenance and more room on the channel strips.
Ability to globally change every module with one or two buttons.
Ability to store and recall the switch status of the board under computer control either manually or via snapshots chasing SMPTE or via midi program changes.
The Status has two inputs per module, the top one with a short fader and the lower one with a full size (100mm) fader. These are VCA control faders, as both fader paths are automated. The lower faders could be moving faders as an option. The Status has one four band eq per module. I do not know whether it can be split between the channels or must be entirely assigned to the upper or lower fader path.
These boards came stock with a built in TT patchbay.
A dynamics option was available which uses the fader VCAs to do compression, limiting and gating.

Similar in principle to the Status, except that these consoles have 24 busses, full size faders in both the upper and lower signal paths, and a four band eq for each signal path-- that is, two 4 band eqs per module. The Concept has hi and low shelves and swept mids, the Elite has high and low shelves and parametric mids with the addition of hi- and lo-pass filters on the lower signal path. The Concept One and Elite share the same DMM, the Elite+ has a different DMM. The first DMM has a QWERTY keyboard and trackball, slightly confusing track/buss output assignments and slightly confusing input assignment for the two signal paths. There are four possible inputs to the upper and lower signal paths (mic, group, line input and tape output). The newer DMM has much more direct buss switching, easier input switching and lacks the trackball and keyboard.
These boards come stock with TT patchbay, also.
Ads that claim that these boards can do a "total recall" (that is, recall every pot, fader and switch on the console surface) in real time, or via a program change or snapshot, are simply wrong. The boards do have total recall (Otari calls it "Image Recall") BUT each pot must be turned by hand to its stored position. The LEDs in the meter bridge tell the user which way to rotate the pot to null it against the stored value. It takes me roughly 10 minutes to recall my 24 module console. Fader levels and switch states can be switched on the fly, but an instant Image Recall is simply not possible.

Don't buy a console without the PC server with a working Hovernet card.
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