Here's the classic old Studiomaster Mixdown 16:8:16 mixer - This is basicaly the 16-8 console with a dedicated 16 mini-channel tape/aux return to run a 16 track studio session - so you get 16 input channels, 8 sub-groups switchable to feed up to 16 tape inputs & stereo master feed outs - and a right-side 16 'AUX/LINE channel return monitoring section - each main channel also has a direct OUT - this model features an integral PSU, full 3 band EQ with Studiomasters excellent swept Mid's and sweep Lows/bass eq's...
Input Channels (image left) feature:
Mic & line & tape input sockets
Below those is the send/return insert & 'tape out' direct out sockets
Next comes individual phantom power IN/OUT switches (nice!) these are cool cos they are set below the surface level of the mixer chassis so you can only depress them IN using a pen or other pointed implement so you can accidently depress a phantom switch with your finger!,
Next comes TAPE switch and a 20dB pad switch - then the eq itself...
Treble hi-feq shelving eq
280Hz - 8KHz mid sweep eq with 16dB boost/cut
25Hz - 350Hz sweep bass eq with 16db boost/cut ( nice!)
Below that is the EQ-Cut, then the aux sends...
You get a wacking 6 total aux-sends with this board... 3 post fade aux sends, and an additional aux4 /5 shared send, (4 post, 5 pre) then aux 6 is fixed pre-fade.
Finaly comes your pan, fader - red 'SOLO' PFL switch & peak LED indicator - brown coloured Channel IN/OUT button with green led indicator - The your L/R mix-IN & sub-group/buss assignment buttons along with the fader....
The eq on these old Studiomaster's rocks as mentioned, having the sweep mid AND sweep bass really allows you to get excellent bottom end definition and tune into the sweet-spot for synths, drums and other sounds...
These old British 80's boards like Studiomaster, A&H, Alice etc, offer really excellent value for money when you can pick them up so cheap in the local free-ad's - Checkout also the Allen&Heath SYSTEM8 page for a full rundown on the classic old System8 boards which are another killer cheap s/h 'proper' mixer you can get in the free-ad's...
A board like this can be had for less than ��400 quid (UKP) - I picked one up for 300 quid with a manual this week in fact! - they have a really punchy well defined sound due to the excellently matched & versatile eq which is a feature of all the Studiomaster boards... having an eq cut is a luxury on cheap mixers now and you get that too - it's a full-on mixer with direct outs, full compliment of busses, tons of options to get channels in from your outboard for mixing cos you get about 32 channels on mix by using the sub-channels on the right which although only having basic eq, work great to route in stereo synths etc or just to have a fixed routing for your sampler outs etc to send to your PC inputs. - the sweep bass & mid eq's really are well made and crisp & punchy, mixes done on these old studiomasters sound like records basicaly, a wide fat well defined phased sound with excellent stereo imaging, the eq allows really clear mixes to be acheived and for live they are great too. They can be slightly hissy at times so check them out, but the ic's can be upgraded to get them quieter, and spares & support for these boards is extensive with many upgrade mod's possible - check it out!!...
Servicing the desk
Some guy wrote recently asking about advice for buying an A&H System 8 - All I told him several times over to really emphasise the point, is that when you buy a mixer of this age, there's a high chance it has wasted pots or other problems. A good clean might solve alot of this, but sometimes parts'll need to be replaced. So anyways I decided to do a channel on the Studiomaster Mixdown Gold... Right now there is no way I have the time to do it all, and I don't want taken-apart mixer strewn all oer my flat right now, so I just did the one channel, anyways it might be interesting to add something about that, and asap I'll make it into a proper article with some pictures.. but until then seeing as this page gets very high google ranks and people looking for stuff on this mixer find our page easily, I'll just add this text at todays date: 10/5/07
Ok, firstly it took about an hour to do one channel board!.... so, on this model Studiomaster there's 16 channel boards, then 8 subgroup boards (each holding 2 monitor returns = 16 monitor bus's); then there's the master boards, so it's about 28 or 30 boards (I cant be bothered to open it to check)
ok... it took about an hour to do one board, including removal and refitting, so as you can see, it's firstly a very time-consuming job.
Ok, secondly, i didn't really do it the way I'd like. I would really say that one should blow out the pots and faders and buttons with compressed air first to remove dust and loose miniscule particles, then lube it... I only lubed it, but this was enuff to turn a scratchy channel into one which makes no sound when pots or fader is moved and it's stable in terms of potential signal breakdown while passing through any audio program material.
Ok... so without images, you must first remove all the outer upper-face mounting screws which are all the screws round the very outer edge; there's not many... Now that's done, you can raise the back up like a car bonnet, and after about a foot of travel upwards there is an earth strap which will be at it's full length stretch, so you need to detatch that... it is a simple spade connector and a quick tweak with the fingers removes it, one thats disconnected there is just the power multipin from the supply to the board top (a bit like an ATX computer power block connector). That has a much longer ribbon cable, and so you can now lift the top face plate of the mixer right up like a bonnet and see inside.
If you lift it like that from the back, the front wont slide forward and fall onto the floor. The front cusion pad stops it from moving forward, so you can use that as the fulcrum edge to raise the top plate by the back as described.
Under the hood, the channel boards are fixed to the face-plate by the pot nuts under the black/coloured plastic pot-covers. Then there's a screw at the bottom and 2 more; one either side of the XLR mic socket.
SO you have to take off all the plastic pots, then use a spanner to undo all the pot nuts/washers, then undo the 3 channel-board fixing screws, then the fader top/bottom screws.
The channel board can then be lifted out of the mixers face-plate, as can the fader which si attached to the channel board by a lead and pc-motherboard-style plug/socket with a locking lever which clips it in position. Remove the channel-fader lead plug, and that can then be seperated from the channel board.
After that I went down the board injecting Phospro into all the pots and buttons via access holes in the units... so it's 'squirt' & put some lube in GENTLY, so that it's not spurting out all over the board and running everywhere!.... Just a tiny press of the spray button and a little bit of lube at a time so it goes into the hole...
Now this leads to another point... I realised that a smaller diameter squirter tube for the spray would be way more efficient to get the lube into the pots cos the holes are smaller than the typical aerosol tube diameter... so i'll have to investigate that at the parts shop, cos if a smaller diameter tube could be had (one which tapers to a finer point) then the time to lube all the pots would radicaly reduce from 45 minutes to something like 15 minutes.. that much!
So you squirt in the lube and then rotate the pot over and over and then turn it fully the other way, inject some more lube & again rotate & rotate the pot spindle fully in each direction over and over until it feels smooth and easy.
I did the same for all the buttons too; injected lube into the body of the switch and repeatedly clicked it and before that blew hard into them to dislodge any bits (compressed air really is needed again here).
After each pot was done i wiped clean any spray that had strayed to keep the actual board dry and clean where possible.
The detached fader unit can be done too. Each fader unit has a thin black plastic film cover which helps stop dust and fluff getting into the exposed fader track, so first I used a soft hobby paintbrush which I ran up and down the opening film cover to tweak out any bits of fluff which might be in the opening (especialy round the top and bottom of the fader) Then some lube and lots of sliding up and down to work the lube in and clean uo the tracks.
Next the sockets... noobs might not know but you can buy something called a metal burnishing jackplug. This is basicaly a solid metal 1/4" jackplug which has a very fine 'wet & dry' style abrasive finish on the shaft and tip. You squirt some cleaner onto the burnishing-plug's abrasive shaft/tip and then insert it into the socket and rotate and plug it in and out repeatedly. This repeated pluging in/out action causes the gentle abrasive to polish crap off of the socket's inside metal contact faces where they meet any inserted plug.
As you have the board removed of course you can turn it to any angle and thus you can see right thru all the 1/4" sockets; so after burnishing I like to then clean out the socket holes with Isopropyl alchohol and cotton wool buds. I can say you need ALOT of buds to do this mixer or most of the others in the Studiomaster range, cos you can also use them to clean up any lube spillage which gets onto the board itself in between components.
The XLR mic sockets are the same in that each of the 3 holes pass right thru to the back, so you can again as with the line-sockets, angle it to see right thru the 3 XLR socket holes. This allows you to easily use a thin strip of fabric or a small bud wetted with isopropyl alchohol to pass thru the XLR socket holes and clean out any grease and dust.
So thats what I did and it worked for that channel.
Anyhows... thats enuff for now, I'll tidy this up and add some pics soon, but the channel I did sounded nice when done. Clean and crackle free.
one other thing is, you can replace the channel boards in any order you like, so you can put the good ones starting left and any slightly dodgy ones you can leave till 15/16 and get them fixed as soon as required. At least that way you can say to yourself, "Ok, channels 1-14 are 100%" or whatever.
Btw there's nothing scientific/tech about this, yes I'm sure one should do some electrical tests on eq and line/mic amps, but for anyone thinking to get one of these, the point is, you probably will at the least have to clean all the boards unless you get the chance to try it first and can be sure it is flawless all throughout.