While 1998 will undoubtably go down in history as the year of the digital mixer, analog consoles are by no means outdated. Far from it! Here’s a historical note: Remember when the pundits proclaimed analog synthesis to have gone the way of the dinosaur? Look what happened there: Analog synths are red hot today, and even digital synths are laying claim to “true analog sound.” What’s more, you could easily make a pretty compelling argument that today’s analog mixer is of a higher quality and packed with more features at a lower cost than ever before.

Case in point: The Allen & Heath GS3000 8-Bus Console with patchable valve preamps. Yes, we said valve preamps, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A bit of background is in order. The Allen & Heath folks have been designing and building professional audio mixing consoles since 1970. The company once consisted of a handful of enthusiasts (some might say zealots) building custom audio equipment. Today, Allen & Heath has advanced design and manufacturing facilities in Cornwall, at the extreme Southwestern tip of the British Isles, where it is producing high quality consoles for sound engineers around the world. But make no mistake, that old passion and enthusiasm is still there!

Every single Allen & Heath console is designed, built and thoroughly tested in Britain, using a combination of the latest automated processes and the skills (and finely-tuned ears) of the factory’s highly trained production operators. Of course, many have long felt that the finest audio equipment is produced in Britain, particularly mixing consoles.

Now everyone knows that analog consoles have been used to record countless hit singles and multi-platinum albums for decades. And we’d all have to agree that there’s a special warmth to recordings made on analog equipment that is legendary, so it’s no wonder there are so many products out today that claim to add that warm analog sound to digital recordings.

But let’s get back to the GS3000 and what makes it special. Yes, the 3000 combines innovative design with the best, cutting edge analog technology. Yes, the 3000 offers the convenience of intuitive, instant control plus the reassurance of proven dependability and ease of service. But unlike any other console in its price range, the GS3000 gives you two patchable Symmetrical Valve Technology (SVT) tube preamps - whoops, this is a British console, so make that valve preamps - allowing you to add that unmistakable tube warmth to your mixes.

But tube preamps aside, what does the GS3000 offer? How about up to 32 track recording, an in-line twin fader signal path, four-band equalization on all mono inputs with fully parametric mid bands, two dual stereo channels with automation as standard, six Aux Sends with two automated master mutes, MIDI Machine Control and mute automation and up to 68 inputs to the mix.

The console’s twin fader, in-line format gives you total control at every stage of the recording process, while the highly intuitive (you have to see it to appreciate it) panel layout makes creating the perfect mix, well, perfectly easy. Each input strip has two paths: One for the music source and one for the multitrack record returns. What’s more, the mix set up for the studio monitor during tracking becomes the main mix for your mastering.

DUAL PATHS–DUAL FADERS. Like most modern large format recording consoles, the GS3000 has in-line architecture, which means that the recording (channel) path and the monitor/mixdown path are both contained in the same channel setup. This increases the number of input channels for any given frame size (24 or 32 inputs), gives more tape track returns and makes the console infinitely easier to use because the monitor fader is in line with the recording channel fader. If you’re still not clear on how this makes studio work more streamlined, check with your Sweetwater Sales Engineer for the complete details. One you get it, you’ll appreciate exactly why this saves wear and tear on the old gray matter.

BRITISH PARAMETRIC EQ. An integral part of the GS3000 is that much sought-after British EQ. Each channel strip has a four band equalizer with two fully parametric mid sections. The “Q” is continuously variable from 0.6 for subtle changes, up to 2 for radical correction and effect. The frequency range of the mid sections is extended in the low frequencies and the cut and boost increased to give more creative potential. For additional flexibility, the mid sections can be inserted either in the recording channel path or the mixdown/monitor path, as can the high and low frequency EQ sections. The EQ IN switch provides quick in and out comparisons in all setups.

NEW MIC PREAMPS. The GS3000 uses a new microphone preamp which has been specifically designed to give a wide gain range as well as high linearity and extremely low noise. In fact, noise performance at mid gain is as much as 12dB quieter than most designs from other manufacturers - that’s a clearly noticable difference. Phantom power switches are on every mic input, plus phase switches, low cut filters, EQ splitting capability, individuial stereo mix bus routing and automated muting on both channel and monitor paths.

THE VALVE PREAMPS. You were wondering when we were going to get back to this one, weren’t you? Here’s the scoop: Two double triode ECC83 valve amplifiers can be patched in to add that special tube warmth and color to any inputs or mixes. Based on resurgent high fidelity vacuum tubes, Allen & Heath’s SVT can be configured in symmetrical mode for regular mic/line or mix sources, or in single-end cascaded “guitar” mode to give you that pleasing harmonic distortion so characteristic of those astronomically-priced vintage tube amps.

What all this means is that you can have that richly saturated tube sound with its characteristic soft clipping, and you can have as much or as little of this as you’d like, depending upon your program material and personal taste. All of which means that you engineers out there with ancient analog tape recorders you’ve been loathe to give up (the ones held together with duct tape and chewing gum) can finally put them out to pasture. That fat, saturated sound can now be yours simply by using a GS3000.

IS THERE MORE? Much more! A machine as advanced as this just cannot be covered in such a small space. We haven’t even touched upon many of its features like its advanced MIDI functions (including automated mute with up to 128 scenes or mute patches) and full MIDI Machine Control. Clearly, the GS3000 is classic British analog (or analogue, if you prefer) design at its best. If there is a feature or function you need or are looking for in a superior quality console, this could just be the ideal mixer for you. Add in the dual valve preamps and you have to say this is a mixer that legitimately has no equal in the industry.

For more information on the Allen & Heath GS3000 and, of course, your special low Sweetwater price, pick up the phone and call your Sales Engineer right now