AudioMedia - February 2012 - (Page 42)
studio recording mixer
There’s been a lot of talk about the R16 and its new bigger brother, the GS-R24. So much so, that the mixer itself could fail to live up to the hype. ANDREW GRAEME finds out if it will.
Allen & Heath GS-R24
usual thermal noise, this was never a problem when it came to tracking quieter sounds with a low-output ribbon mic. The pre has masses of headroom and even when very heavily overloaded, showed only marginal increases in distortion. The inserts are the usual tip-send, ring-return, and the user will probably want to add semi-normalled patchbay strips to give ‘feed-off’ and ‘break-in’ points for every one of the channel inserts, line-inputs and direct-outs, to give the ultimate in flexibility of ins and outs and match the extreme flexibility of the rest of the desk. As a bonus, you get two tube channels, which without EQ or auxes, are useful either as an effect, or as an alternative pre-amp. Driven hard, the two valve channels provide excellent ‘bite’ to a vocal, or can be used on mixdown to crush a heavy drum kit in a very satisfying way.
n paper it looked almost too good to be true, but I was to find out that the new GS-R really does live up to its promise – and more! I had already heard some of the excited buzz about the R, a budget desk from Allen & Heath with built-in AD-DA converters and -channel Firewire output. The GS-R is hailed as the logical development of R – into a full-blown hybrid desk.
THE REVIEWER ANDREW GRAEME is Studio Manager at the Byre Recording Studio, in the UK (www.the-byre.com).
Each channel strip is fully featured, i.e., mono strips means mic pres and EQs. The rear of the desk has analogue ins and outs, as well as inserts, for just about everything, including groups and the extensive monitoring section on regular 1/-inch jacks and XLRs. The physical build is good, in fact good enough for the desk to be taken on the road. Although the front of the desk is one sheet of steel, each channel is on its own circuit board and the fader is a separate component. The power supply is reassuringly heavy, has a toroidal transformer, and is conventionally built. It probably provides about double the current the desk actually needs, which is how things should be. For some strange reason, many retailers list the power supply as an optional extra. Access for servicing and changing the jumpers is done by taking off the back panel. All channel strips are clamped from the rear with a metal bar held in place with screws and again, access and removal is fairly easy, given the right tools and sufficient care. In these straightened times, speed of service and repair is important. Allen & Heath has obviously built the desk so that it is both physically robust and easy to service, and is another sign of the thought and care that has gone into the design of the GS-R. The attention to detail does not stop at the channel strip. Just about every other desk, large or small, uses op-amps to sum the various buses, but not so the GS-R. Designer Matt Griffin claims that, by using low noise transistors instead, he can get between and dB less noise across the whole desk, than would otherwise be possible The mic pres are clean and showed plenty of current reserve for tracking meaty drums and other sudden transients. Although the last few decibels of gain had the
For me, the EQ is the star turn of this desk. Two fully parametric controls can boost or cut by ±dB with bandwidth controls between two octaves and a quarter of an octave. The upper controls range from kHz down to Hz, and the lower section goes from kHz down to Hz. Yes, you read that correctly – Hz! Two fixed frequency shelving controls also provide ±dB at kHz and Hz. The EQ can be switched in and out, and an LED lights up when on. There is also a very useful Hz HP filter in the pre-amp section that is not within the EQ. The phase compensation for the EQ can only be described as immaculate! There just is no phase drift whatsoever, no matter what you try to do to it. Also, frequency selectivity is perfect. I fed the pre-amp a sine wave with a little glitch at the crest of the curve and observed the results on an oscilloscope. On altering the relevant frequency on the EQ, the glitch expanded and contracted without the main wave form changing shape or otherwise moving. Similarly, by changing the selected frequency on the EQ, the body of the sine wave could be altered, without the glitch changing shape. That speaks of perfectly calculated circuitry and the sort of quality you could reasonably expect from a studio desk at a completely different price level.
AUD I O MEDIA FEBRUARY 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AudioMedia - February 2012
Audio Media - February 2012
Special Report: BVE
Cut Scene: PS Vita
New at NAMM
NAMM Show Wrap-Up
RND Portico 5024
Untrason Signature Pro
Final Cut: Drive
Allen & Health GS-R24
Product Sampler: Broadcase Consoles
ClassicCut: The Haunting
AudioMedia - February 2012