6 Must-Use Classic Analog Consoles For Your Mixes - Part II

Posted by Rob B

Picking up from where we left off in part one, part two of our article brings you the sound of 3 more historic consoles.

6 Must-Use Classic Analog Consoles For Your Mixes - Part II

Harrison Consoles TV-3

Even if you've never heard of Harrison Consoles [a boutique Nashville-based audio company producing high quality consoles since 1975], chances are you might be familiar with an album titled 'Thriller'; I'll let you guess the name of the artist, but if it doesn't ring a bell, I strongly suggest you close this page and possibly consider a different career path. As it happened, Bruce Swedien recorded and mixed the entire record on a Harrison 32 series board, which served as the basis for desiging the TV-3.

Originally designed for the television and broadcasting industries, the Harrison TV-3 features one of the most precise, yet musical EQ sections ever found in a large format console. The musicality of those filters can hardly be described using words, as Bruce adds – 'Personally I don't think the sound of recorded music gets any better than the Harrison 32 series'

Superior in every way since its introduction, the TV-3 serves countless studios throughout the world, providing a yet another colour to the palette. We recommend simply passing your mix through the beast set to unity gain and let us know what you think of the result. 

1977 API 3288 

A classic all-American recording favourite since the '70s, the API Audio 3288 'is all about discrete analog love', mentions Clay, head engineer at Boulevard Recording. This is a rather unique piece of kit, having been originally installed at ABC in New York City, where it has received an extra pair of Jensen transformer upgrades and has been used for broadcasting purposes. Furthermore, it is one of only two known 48-channel split consoles from that era of API, the other one residing at RAK Studios in the UK.

Coloration can be achieved by passing audio through the various transform stages. For example, when a cleaner sound is desired, one can simply route the audio through the line amps of the individual channel strips and back out – this will make use of the desk’s 2520 op amps and 2 Jensen transformers. For a more colored sound, we suggest summing the audio through the master buss with each channel engaged, meaning the signal passes through another pair of op amps and transformers.

Whichever option you prefer, experimentation is key; Clay knows his 1977 API 3288 inside out and can guide you through the process to achieve the best possible sound for your project.

 

East Germany RFZ MP-4084

A rare piece of recording history, the RFZ MP-4084 was originally commissioned for the Leipzig Theatre Company. It was hand-built in East Germany in the mid-80s and after its intended use in the theatre, it went on to track numerous records before and after the fall of the Berlin wall.

Complete with brilliantly designed circuitry meant to cater to the highest standard of audio quality at that time, the MP-4084 features one of the best sounding induction-based graphic EQ section. Sonically comparable to the Pultec EQP-1A, it has a round and natural sounding bottom end and a pristine response for high frequencies. Simon’s particular console features two 7-band graphic EQs, two 9-band graphic master EQs with selectable frequencies and two RV-80 program limiters, apart from its 22 channels of FB-80 filter EQ.

Truly a work of art, the MP-4084 has a vibe of its own. Not only can it deal with clean tones, imparting great sonic clarity, but it can also be pushed harder for a more modern, mid-range focused result. Mr Ayton has personally arranged the transfer to his native Australia, where the unit currently resides and frequently gets used in tracking and mixing scenarios.

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