Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

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hNRk
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Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by hNRk » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:19 pm

Hi there,

since recently i have the opportunity to get a Spirit Powerstation. i am thinking of using it for my production as my external mixer. till now i did everything in ableton and never thought about external mixers. so i am wondering if it would be any good to use one. esp. i was wondering about the following:

1) i read that analog/tube mixing consoles give, lets say, additional fatness/flavour to your mix when mixing everything down. does that also count for transistor mixing consoles like the spirit?

2) what advantages in general could you think of in general for using such a machine within producing (besides that it looks very important)?

AK
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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by AK » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:41 pm

Very strange, I say that because I was on Gumtree yesterday and guess what I was looking at? http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/sound ... 0/92597006 :shock:

I can't tell you anything about it as I don't know but I have had Soundcraft before and was well happy with the desk at the time. I don't notice any difference whether I mix ITB or externally but then what I'm using at the moment, isn't really expensive and doesn't have any particular characteristics to impart on the audio. I'm a bit dubious about peoples claims of saturation and whatever because I personally don't hear any difference between a subtle desk enhancement compared to a plugin like PSP Vintage Warmer et al. Just my 2 cents but I think it's overkill to simply get a desk for the purposes you described, I need the channels due to my hardware and all their multiple outs, but I'm not thinking about what it can impart on the sound, I think if I were consumed with that idea, I'd be looking towards a Pre of some kind or other front end solution. To be honest though, I'm not clued up at all with this kind of stuff, I don't even know how to use a mixer properly, once they get beyond your basic studio desk, I'm confused as fck.

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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by steevio » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:29 pm

most mixing consoles are transistor based, so i wouldnt worry about that.

ive had various Soundcraft mixers (including my current mixer) and they are basically good mixers but certainly not top of the range.

like AK says if you havent got any outboard gear you have to question whether its worth it or not.

however i disagree about there not being any difference between ITB and OTB mixing, of course a hardware mixer will impart some warmth and driving the opamps can give you a fattness that is different to ITB. its just more natural, and easier for a start. you want some warmth and fatness on a sound, and its there in 2 seconds without thinking.

but everyone has their opinion on this, mine is based on using analogue mixers creatively for a very very long time, i simply could not go from an analogue mixer to ITB, it would be like being bound and gagged, and for me there is no comparison.

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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by hydrogen » Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:50 pm

Lots of truth to what AK and Stevio are saying.

It's also worth checking out Slate VCC and Sonimus Satson. These are designed to simulate a mix bus. You put them on your channels and then you place the bus plugin on the bus or master. Then you control the amount of saturation you have per channel.

The sound is not super obvious unless overrdriven to crap but when they stack up on the channels and mix into the plugins the mix begins to work nicely and somehow the mixes come together faster like you would expect with an analog desk. I find myself using way less plugins with these tools.

Edit: forgot to actually answer the op... I think unless you are doing real time mix downs with hardware using an analogue mixer like this is a thing of the past. I just think you can get 99% of the way there with the virtual console style plugs.
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AK
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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by AK » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:54 pm

I couldn't mix outside the box nowadays because even if I had a big desk, I'd still lack a lot of things I can do itb. I'd just be using it to set levels, I don't have any outboard efx units ( only efx onboard bits of gear and a half decent built in mixer efx but no capacity to tweak delay times ) I simply couldn't do what I do out of the box. I'd literally have to spend thousands and thousands. If I lack anything, it would be in the area of true saturation but to my ears and when all tracks are summed together, good plugin emulations cut it easily for me.

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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by NoAffiliation » Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:17 pm

i use the sonimus console emulations as well as outboard summing and i couldn't go back to in the box mixing. i also have a small soundcraft m4 for drum machines so it's almost two levels of summing.

other than just sound improvement, a mix is going to sound different on a console just from the faders being analog and not restricted to a digital resolution when moving them in a mix. especially with fast movements a MIDI controller will skip values but analog faders are just electrical voltage.

you can use the console for more than just mixing as well, sending individual sounds out to overdrive them and record back in or doing submixes and recording those and summing stems again... lots of possibilities

my personal opinion is that if you are using ableton live outboard summing or some type of external processing is almost mandatory.

It's funny, i just became friends with the creator of ableton on his personal facebook page. There's a photoset of him mixing his new album "GHOSTS" (Monolake). If you read his production notes all he says is "produced in ableton live." However live is no where to be seen in his photoset. Just him mixing his new album on a $35,000 Avid Icon Console on Protools HD

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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by AK » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:41 pm

NoAffiliation wrote:i use the sonimus console emulations as well as outboard summing and i couldn't go back to in the box mixing. i also have a small soundcraft m4 for drum machines so it's almost two levels of summing.

other than just sound improvement, a mix is going to sound different on a console just from the faders being analog and not restricted to a digital resolution when moving them in a mix. especially with fast movements a MIDI controller will skip values but analog faders are just electrical voltage.

you can use the console for more than just mixing as well, sending individual sounds out to overdrive them and record back in or doing submixes and recording those and summing stems again... lots of possibilities

my personal opinion is that if you are using ableton live outboard summing or some type of external processing is almost mandatory.

It's funny, i just became friends with the creator of ableton on his personal facebook page. There's a photoset of him mixing his new album "GHOSTS" (Monolake). If you read his production notes all he says is "produced in ableton live." However live is no where to be seen in his photoset. Just him mixing his new album on a $35,000 Avid Icon Console on Protools HD
Who is going to be able to afford such a console? The vast majority of people have small, home based set-ups and it's probably debateable as to whether affordable home studio mixers are going to impart anything substantial enough to warrant the effort and price. If we were talking about some nice pre or other front end solution that has the capacity to impart its character on the audio, there's probably more in that than simply summing a series of tracks via an outboard mixer. Just running sounds through a mixer at unity for example, just can't achieve anything unless it has some magical space dust to sprinkle on. The saturation thing is negligable because, if you just have a smidge of it, the noticebale difference between it and emulated saturation plugins is hardly going to be spotted. There's always the option of burning stems to disk and doing a final mix at some studio with high end outboard gear but for all the money you'd spend on even budget studio outboard, you'd probably end up seriously disappointed when you realise the results just don't justify the expense.

I'm way more interested in musicality than how good someones production is anyway. If I had a choice to pick between a great tune with a poor mix, or a dull track which was mixed well and sounded great, I'd go with the former all day. I also think there's a need to question the sound design and source sounds if the objective is to look for ways to improve them. If I were to buy anything for the purposes outlined, I'd be more inclined to look at a decent analogue filter, a quality pre and sh!t hot converters or something. The mixer thing for me, just doesn't carry the same weight. If you have a good desk and you know how to hit the sweet spots, that's great but it's not a magical solution for great mixes, there's just too many other things invloved in the process to single out one thing as having that much of an influence.

I'm not sure about the fader thing as well, if a gain step is in some sort of digital increment as opposed to an analogue continual ( whatever that is ) who is going to be able to actually spot the absolute minute sonic difference? And say if I don't ride any faders in a mix? :lol:

I hardly use any sort of distortion but have some capabilities via various inputs on a few of my external/hardware synths ( only one analogue filter input and distortion though, the rest is digital and I don't like the sound of those so rarely use them ) I've actually got a small old analogue mixer somewhere, it's only got a few fully working channels but if I wanted, I could set it up for overdrive purposes but I have tried it and the results ( for how much I would use ) are'nt even worth the effort to connect it.

Each to their own but I am absolutely convinced that you get get the best possible mix either ITB or OTB. There's lots of things I could pinpoint where I know I would get better mixes but most of that would be down to room acoustics and monitoring and a current lack of satisfying analogue bottom end.

One thing about ITB mixing though, and it's a pet hate of mine, is the absolute digital silence. This can have a sterile effect as the sound can be percieved as one-dimensional. This IMO is a bad thing, I don't like the crystal clean mixes like you might hear on Beatport or wherever a bit of noise, grit, hum or room ambience is welcome in my book and I'm aware of this when I mix ITB and actually introduce these kind of artifacts deliberately. Whether it's placebo or not, I'm a lot more satisfied when things get a little grittier and that horrible dead digital background is lifted. I almost 'print' the music onto a manufactured background. Hardly noticeable but as soon as I remove those recording anomolies, it's immediately evident. I don't even gate anything, I just leave it in, noise and all.

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Re: Soundcraf Spirit Powerstation Transistor mixing console

Post by steevio » Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:13 pm

@AK
i know we've disagreed on this before, and its bit like going over old ground, but i can only assume you've never had a decent analogue mixer, or you wouldnt be so sure of your attitude towards analogue mixers.

i honestly cannot accept most of what you're saying bro, a decent analogue mixer is total luxury compared to the sterile, awkward and unergonomic environment of ITB mixing.

when ive tried to mix ITB, it takes me fifty times as long to get inferior results. i can literally put a mix together in seconds on my desk, its as intuitive and as simple as breathing.

come round for a visit, and i'll change your mind.

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