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Allen & Heath GS3000 8-Bus Recording Console – with tubes (valves)! (part 4)

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Moving down, the auxiliary sends look rather less capable at first sight than
they actually are. There are four knobs, but the lower two can switched on individual
channels to aux outputs 5 and 6. Auxes 1 and 2 can be globally switched to either
pre-fade or post-fade. Global switching of auxes is of course a cost-cutting
measure, but it is I think reasonable and any problem you might have can be
worked around by some other means. Auxes 3 to 6 are all post fade, which is
most appropriate for reverb and delay effects. A red button close to the aux
sends curiously labelled “XFX” provides an additional stereo aux send
when mixing. It’s a nice touch, but only people who consider the user manual
suitable bedtime reading will ever take advantage of it.

The lower section of the channel strip is actually the most interesting and
exciting part. This is where Allen & Heath have decided that the GS3000
will mimic a high cost commercial studio console as closely as possible. Top
pro consoles, as you will almost certainly have noticed, have two faders per
channel strip. Project studio consoles just have one. Well the GS3000 has the
full complement of two, and is all the better for it. The small upper fader
controls the level going to the multitrack recorder. The large lower fader controls
the monitor level of each track during recording and overdubbing, and the level
of each track during mixdown. Yes, what I said is correct – the small fader
is the multitrack send and the large fader is the monitor. This is the exact
opposite of the traditional in-line console, but it is actually becoming increasingly
common, and when you think about it, it does make a lot of sense. You can build
your mix as you go along, and there is no need to switch from the small to the
large faders when you start mixing since you are there already! For some curious
reason, although the large fader is smooth and easy to operate, the small fader
is quite stiff. They do their job though. The group routing buttons are, a little
confusingly, located next to the monitor fader (I still hate this clutter around
the faders. I always have and I probably always will). They can however be switched
to either the channel or the monitor signal path so perhaps this is reasonable.
Both channel and monitor faders have large LED-equipped mute buttons controlling
and signalling whether the source is sending signal to the busses. Big buttons
with LEDs are indeed pro features because you need to see what’s active
and what’s not at a glance. These buttons don’t latch because they
can also be controlled by the muting system, which is a very powerful facility
when mixing recordings of bands and other non-MIDI combinations of instruments.
The console also offers Solo-In-Place as well as conventional PFL. There is
also an alternative Mix B buss with a number of possible uses for the creative
engineer. Both of these are important features.

David Mellor

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David Mellor