Your favorite features...

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Your favorite features...

Postby artbeat77 » Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:23 pm

Might be an interesting topic to generate some posts (or maybe not).

To the gurus that be:

Why did you choose to buy your current console? What are the features that attracted you to it? Anything you would change about your current console? Will you still have it in 5 years?

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Postby crunch » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:19 pm

Great topic!

I'll start, but ours is not a very glamorous read...

We run a very highly modified 36 input TAC Matchless. We'd been looking around for something for about 2 years, figuring we'd find a Trident, Soundcraft or an MCI; our criteria was relatively straightforward; need a lot of inputs, 24 bus (at least), sizeable patchbay with console and fit into our extremely small budget. Whatever we got couldn't incur much more cost than the price of the console. Dream on. Easier said than done.

With any sizeable console, be sure to add at least $2000US to the price for getting it shipped to your door safely and carefully. Then, invite 6 of your closest and/or strongest friends and have their favorite brand of alcohol iced up and ready to go for them as an enticement to get the job over with.


We'd been looking around, found a lot, but everything was either way too small in terms of tracks or bussing, no patchbay or was way out of our budget. I was scouring Paul's site and noticed the advertisement for "Amek/TAC Matchless. Highly modified." and the price was _really_ low. I called and found out the info, that it had tracked many indie albums I was familiar with, and that 12 of the channels pre's had been heavily modified, with their own seperate PS, and that the results were very, very transparent, ESPECIALLY compared to the stock pre's. We wanted it, but also realized that getting it shipped to us properly from the east coast was going to cost another $1500 smackers. This, we didn't have. Paul went to bat for us, talked the guy into driving it here for pennies (has relatives here in Austin the seller wanted to visit) and the rest is history.

When we first got the console (took 6 guys to move it), everything "worked" but it was "very, very lived in" and was also someone's ashtray, so much time was spent cleaning the obvious stuff. The worst thing was we had the huge issue of tracking down a ground loop that refused to die. Initially, I thought it was because one of the three power supplies (1 for the 24 channels, subgroups and master section, 1 for the 12 modified channels and one for the meter bridge lights (which we don't turn on; purely cosmetic...) but the first time I lifted the main supply we blew every fuse on the power supplies. So, we tried everything else. David Hough from Austin City Limits came over and helped me go through the entire console. No cause. Eventually, a buddy of Dave's convinced me that one of those supplies had to be lifted. I remember the process as if it were yesterday, went something like this:

Step 1: Tried lifting the first PS again.


Go to store. Replace all fuses.

Step 2: Cheat and try lifting the Meterbridge PS fuses.


Replace all fuses. Bought enough so I wouldn't have to go again for a very long time.

Step 3: Lift custom supply feeding 12 modified channels.


No hum!


Turn on Power Amps.


No hum!

Actually turn up power amps.


No hum!

Actually push master fader to 0.


No hum!

Actually turn up control room volume.


No hum!

Put on Zappa's "Joe's Garage".

No sound.

Actually press Tape 2.


Turn down.

Sweet Mother of Mary, hum is gone forever... I called gg, blackieC, David Hough and Mixerman, in that order, with tears of joy in my eyes.

Been very happy ever since. In all honesty, the regular pre's on the board sound kinda boxy and flat. The 12 modified sound like pre's I can't possibly afford. Fabulous. Almost "sparkling", so nice. The eq is a little limiting and at times can sound a little boxy, but most of everything we track is pretty close anyway, so it didn't matter much. Good for minor tweaks. The console is a routing dream, I love being able to adjust line level inputs to get gain staging right, we do have a few noisy channels, but they are easy to work around, and I'll probably buy some chips from Colin once I have a few extra bucks and get those right.

In the future, I'll have had gone through all of the channels to clean them and inspect solder joints, I can also see see us modifying the first 24 channels to be like 25 through 36.

We're in the middle of a big tracking and mix project that has been going on for 3 months, probably for another month, but once that's complete, I'm going to start going through each channel.

Will we keep this one forever? Likely, even if I win the lottery and can buy a 9098i or Neve, this will sit in the B room. It's got a lot of fidelity, and since the main strip was modded (which I suspect makes it sound a lot more open than stock versions) it really, really sounds good.

If I don't win the lottery? Well, for starters, I don't actually PLAY the lottery so my chances are greatly diminished of winning, so it's a good thing I'm really happy with the gear. We simply want more square footage for the rooms, but if everything had to stay exactly the same forever, I'd still be very happy...

"I have a well-thought-out plan that carries minimal risk to innocent bystanders"
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