Allen & Heath GS3000 8-Bus Recording Console - with tubes (valves)! (part 7)
I knew when I first found out about MIDI machine control that one day it would become important, and I think that day has definitely now arrived. If you have a multitrack that will accept MMC, which any modern multitrack should - tape or disk, then there are few reasons why you should ever need to touch the multitrack again other than to insert tapes or for editing. Next to the stereo master fader there is a bank of seven transport control buttons: Record, Play, Stop, Rewind, Forward Wind, Locate and Mark. Track enable switching is performed by holding the record button while pressing the mute button on the relevant channel and an LED glows to show you which tracks are ready for recording. This works very beautifully. I connected the MIDI OUT of the GS3000 to my Fostex RD8 (which is a bit like an Alesis ADAT with a BRC remote control built in) and it responded beautifully. I did wonder whether my other ADAT would respond to track enable commands since it, naturally, would be connected to the console to channels 9-16, but it all worked fine. So one final polish and the front panels of my ADATs will never get any finger marks again. It might be possible to quibble about the single locate point, but its amazing how much work you can get done when you stop worrying about entering locates for every verse, chorus, middle eight and guitar solo. The only real points of issue are the lack of a time display for which you still have to look at the multitrack and the lack of an audio in shuttle mode. This latter point is a problem that has more to do with MMC than the console itself.
Every recording console should have Solo-in-Place, it is so useful. Conventional PFL means that when you press the PFL button on a channel, you hear that channel alone at its full level, usually disregarding the pan setting. This is great for hearing that the signal doesnt have any faults, but it is difficult to assess its artistic merit properly. Solo-in-Place however works by muting all the other channels (even to the group and master outputs, so dont use it while recording - or broadcasting!). Solo-in-Place goes hand-in-hand with Solo Safe. Solo Safe means that certain channels or auxiliary returns can be protected from the action of the Solo-in-Place function. The end result is that you can Solo-in-Place a single channel, and you will hear it at its correct level, correct pan position, and with any effects you have applied to that channel. Solo-in-Place is unbelievably effective for fine tuning a mix and as I said, every console should have it. The Allen & Heath GS3000 does have it. By the way, Soundcraft should look at the way Solo Safe is implemented on this console. The Soundcraft Ghost does have it, but its not as good as this.
Channel Insert Point - Pre or Post EQ?
If the channel insert point comes before the EQ then it is easy to set up a noise gate. Once you have found the correct threshold level, then it will stay exactly the same and gating will be reliable whatever else you do to the mix (apart from adjust the gain control which you wouldnt have to do if you set it correctly in the first place). But many engineers find it better to insert a compressor after the EQ - subjectively it often sounds better, and there are good reasons why it should. Allen & Heath have opted for the first option and placed the insert point before the EQ. But the thing is that the muting system, with the potential for mute automation, is so good that you would hardly need ever need to use a noise gate. The insert point could have been post-EQ and we would have had the best of both worlds