Here is some info about our Neve mixing console. I originally posted this on Gearslutz.com on our thread about building our studio. You can find that by clicking here: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/photo-diaries-recording-studio-construction-projects/827222-decade-sound-studio-build-tacoma-wa-5.html
MY CHOICE OF MIXER FOR MY STUDIO……
OK, for anyone that doesn’t know, my background is mostly in live sound and touring stuff even though I have owned a couple of studios and even had one burn down a while back. For this studio I had some different criteria than what most people would to try and combine a bunch of things all into one desk. The criteria is as follows:
1. Frame size: It had to be a large format analog console – I love analog desks, the way they look as much as the way they sound.
2. Heritage: It had to be a very nice high quality console with a great pedigree. If I am spending money on building this space, my desk had better make me happy!
3. Price: It had to be priced well so I could get as much bang for my buck as possible. I know this sort of goes without saying but since I am paying cash for everything on this build as I go, the value really had to be there!
4. Features: It had to have all of the features of a studio console, plus some great features from some of the better live consoles since the building will also be used for rehearsals.
5. It had to be tough. I hate things that don’t work or work when they want to. A large format console can be a money pit!
6. It really had to have the “WOW!!!” factor when clients see it for the first time. I remember that first look into so many control rooms. It can be a very powerful selling point!
7. On Board Dynamics: It would be great if the desk could have some on board dynamics that could be used during rehearsals so I didn’t have to use the Chandlers, Distressors or the the API.
8. Automation is not necessary as most automation moves can be done ITB. BUT the ability to save some settings would make life easier….
9. It had to be in fantastic cosmetic shape. I hate junky looking stuff. It is not hard to take good care of stuff and I just don’t want to be staring at a crappy looking hammered on desk for the next 10 years.
10. It had to make my wife happy! If she likes it my life is easier! Being able to pay cash for everything as we go is a huge plus. My wife and I hate debt so keeping the costs down and not using any credit to buy something that depreciates is a good thing!
OK…So that is pretty much the criteria……
Here is how I ended up with this desk….
As I kept researching consoles I kept on noticing that the large format desks were coming down more and more in price. Especially the live sound desks! Live sound companies are finally getting comfortable with going digital all the way and are getting rid of their very large consoles to save on space, trucking costs, and man power to move them as well as the maintenance they require. So this meant there were a ton of great deals out there.
I had considered a used Midas XL3, XL200, XL250, Soundcraft Series 5, Crest Audio VX, and just about every other live desk that I ever had a great experience mixing on…But nothing really grabbed me as “MY CONSOLE”
So I started looking for used Otari desks, Harrisons, AMEK Motzarts, Einsteins, Rembrandts etc. Soundcraft DC200 etc etc etc…After listening to a lot of recordings I decided what I really wanted was an Amek console but after talking with several AMEK experts I learned that the Motzarts et al were all getting pretty long in the tooth and could become big money pits.
AMEK built some amazing sound studio boards but………………………………………………………………………………………………………
One thing that most studio guys DON’T know is that AMEK used to make a couple of live sound consoles: The 501 by Langley, and the Recall.
After doing a bunch of research I decided that the Recall was exactly what I was looking for!
Able to store and recall settings?
Bang for the buck?
OK, so that meets a lot of the criteria. Now…..
After deciding which console to look for, I learned that there were some channel options for the Amek Recall.
1. They were available only it two frame sizes: 40 channel and 56 channel.
2. Amek has been out of business for a while now so finding one that has not been toured a lot may be tough…I may want to consider a console that was used in an installation if I can find one.
3. There were two power supply options available – the 400 series which is your basic power supply, and the MPS15 which was a significant upgrade.
4. Two mono channel options were available the Langley standard module……..and one designed by none other than Mr. Rupert Neve!!!!
SOOOOOOO………..This got me to thinking…Could I find a 56 channel Recall loaded with all Neve modules?????
So I started looking all over…..Soundbroker.com, Solaris Network, Ebay Craigslist, Analog Consoles forum, Gear Slutz, Ebay UK, Ebay EU…..anywhere I could search, I was searching.
About 6 months ago I got in contact with Dave Rochester from TechAud.com as he used to work for Amek and as it turns out, he he drives all over the country doing repairs and service work on Amek consoles as well as many other large format desks. He also does a lot of studio design work. He actually designed Michael Wagoners studio, Wire World.
I told Dave what I was looking for and we talked about a lot of different things and generally hit it off pretty well. I asked him to keep his eyes and ears open as he travels the country doing repairs on various Amek consoles.
About a month after our initial conversation, Dave sends me an email stating that he may have found what I was looking for and that it was in a church, they were the original owners and it had never been moved or toured….it was a 56 channel Amek Recall loaded with 56 channels……. ALL RUPERT NEVE MODULES!!!!
OK…Dave you now have my undivided attention!!!!!!
He said they needed some basic service work on it. He didn’t know if they wanted to sell it at all and he was not scheduled to be in the area for a few months….Bummer……
So every week or so I would send Dave an email asking if he had heard anything new about the Recall sitting in a church and for what seemed like forever he kept with the same reply….”No. Nothing yet”……So I would pry….”Do they want to sell it?”…Dave would usually then reply with something like “I don’t know”, or “I have no idea”, or “I may not find out until I go there to do the servicing on it”…I know that Dave is very busy and travels a lot so sometimes getting a lot of info, emails and phone calls etc can be a bit difficult. But at least he found what I was looking for. Just not sure on the status of it.
During this time I actually found several other Recalls. One in the Czech Republic, one in Hungary, a couple in New York, one in LA, and two more in Nevada…I even found on here in Washington State that had 8 of the Neve modules that was on Soundbroker.com. However, in true Soundbroker fashion that console had been sold 3 years ago and they just never updated their website….so they got a nasty email from me as it just made me feel better and then magically they removed it from their site and updated the rest of their site…
Most of the Amek Recalls I found were either all Langley modules or had one or two of the Neve modules. I would certainly be good with the Langley modules, but having a few of the Neve modules would really brighten my day!
So if Dave really had found exactly what I was looking for in the US, I was all over it. I asked him if he could have the church send me some pics….It took a week or so and they finally showed up in my email…….WOW!!!!
I sent a reply asking if they were selling it and what their asking price was. Dave got back to me a few days later saying the church was interested in selling it and gave me their asking price range. I made sort of a counter offer and a price was agreed to.
Next we had to work out transporting the desk from its original home in Oklahoma, with no flight case to Washington State.
I made the recommendation to have me and Dave meet at the church and spend a few days going over the console. I would fly into Oklahoma, work with Dave on the desk and learn as much as I can about it, then put it in a rental truck and drive it home. And that is exactly what I did.
The drive home was also quite an adventure by myself with not much sleep, tornadoes, and a GPS that seemed to want to work only when it felt like it…..
Pics of the console and the trip will be posted below……
A HUUUUUUGE THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Dave Rochester!!!! Dave is THE MAN!!!!!! While we were at the church they asked if he would look at their Euphonics console too and Dave is such a bad ass that he was able to trouble shoot many of their issues right on the spot. If anyone reading this needs a FIRST CLASS tech and FIRST CLASS guy, give Dave a call. His website is http://www.techaud.com/