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After months of curiosity‑arousing, X‑Files‑style advertising, Soundcraft's Ghost is here, offering the project studio owner automated 8‑buss mixing at a highly competitive price. David Mellor deliberately avoids all jokes about transparent EQ and haunting sound quality...
When manufacturers first started to design consoles for the home and project studio market, they didn't seem to know how to make the equipment affordable enough without cutting corners. They threw out important features, loaded up the compromises — and then wasted all these savings by using clumsy, labour‑intensive manufacturing techniques. We ended up with minimalised desks that didn't really perform as well as we wanted them to. But bit by bit, low‑cost manufacturing techniques improved, and the features we need have returned — and more have been added besides. We asked for more, and we have got it. Enter Soundcraft's Ghost. I doubt such sound and build quality, and well‑directed facilities have ever been available before at such a canny price.
There's No Such Thing!
When reviewing a desk with a name like this one, from the company which is also responsible for the Spirit range of mixers, there's an overwhelming temptation to indulge in a tirade of ectoplasmic puns — but that would be to divert your attention from what is actually a very serious, 8‑buss mixing console. Available in both 24‑ and 32‑channel frame sizes, and with the option of a 24‑input expander module, the in‑line Ghost is currently available in two different versions, depending on your automation requirements, or lack thereof: the straightforward, manual mixer with no automation (the so‑called Ghost Le), and a version with mute automation and machine control (as reviewed here).
Despite the name, this console has few insubstantial qualities. I can see that it has been aimed at the top end of the home project studio market — there's nothing cut‑down, cut‑price, or anything less than professional about the look, feel and sound quality of the Ghost — and for those in this bracket aiming to sell studio time, the appearance of the console is very important.
This is a traditional analogue desk, and whereas digital recorders have certain sound quality advantages over analogue tape, in terms of low noise and low distortion, even the top‑end digital mixers are still hard pushed to rival the dynamic range and headroom of analogue mixers. In addition, there is no learning curve with a 'traditional' analogue console — you just sit down and start mixing. There is one knob or button per function — no menus, no shift keys.
Construction & Connectors
The construction quality of the Ghost, given its price, is impressive. Soundcraft have made a sensible compromise between a non‑modular construction (which means that if a single channel fails, the whole console has to be taken out of service for repair), and fully modular construction, which, at the extreme, is frighteningly expensive, due to the more complex metalwork and robust connectors that are necessary. If a channel on the Ghost gives up the, er, ghost, then apparently the console can be disassembled (though even the technical manual doesn't explain how), and the circuit board replaced or serviced.
In common with other budget‑conscious consoles, the connectors are on the top panel, which is downright ugly, as well as an open invitation to meddlers. I think Soundcraft will sell the optional meter bridge with just about every Ghost ordered — and a lot of people may only use it to hide the connectors! Perhaps they could also consider selling a non‑functioning version for 50 quid? But seriously, in the past it was considered very important to be able to meter directly from the console, rather than having to turn elsewhere to look. Nowadays, the unforgiving nature of digital recorders means that it is natural to look on the recorder's own meters as the primary, most accurate reference, and meters on the console — even for the stereo output — have become more or less redundant for many. Perhaps the next development in consoles will be ADAT, TDIF or other digital inputs to drive the meters directly, with absolute accuracy, from the digital output of the multitrack? If anyone's working on this, AES/EBU and S/PDIF connectors would be nice too, please.
The Ghost's input and output connections are on conventional TRS jacks, with XLRs for the mic inputs. The main outputs are ground‑compensated, which in theory makes them compatible with both balanced and unbalanced inputs. Conventional electronically‑balanced outputs need different wiring according to whether they are connected to a balanced or unbalanced input, which is inconvenient in the studio. The Ghost's inputs are all balanced, apart from the insert points, where the connector configuration does not permit it. In addition to the audio inputs and outputs, this console (but not the Le manual version) has a trio of MIDI sockets, and a timecode input and output, so there is rather more going on than simple mixing, as we shall see. But first, let's have a quick run down the channel strip — the pic on page 116 should help.
A screaming vocalist into a high output‑level mic? No problem for the Ghost, which will accept an input signal of up to +14dBu. When you consider that 8dBu is usually considered peak level (allowing for headroom) for line ‑level equipment, you realise you shouldn't have any distortion problems here. There is a phantom power switch for each mic input, and a switch for line input, plus further switches for phase and a high‑pass filter. The last of these has a cutoff frequency of 100Hz, and a slope of 18dB/octave, which is useful for cutting off the very low end of a bass boost applied with the EQ section proper. The filter is, of course, also useful for removing the standard problems of microphone pops and the results of vocalists kicking the mic stand during the best take!
Since this is an in‑line console, the tape input appears in the channel strip, and there is a useful tape trim control. This comes in handy if you are using a particular sound very low in the mix, but you still want precise control over it on the fader. Just set the tape trim to a low value, and you will be able to operate the fader in a higher position. Tape trim is also useful when you have recorded a track at too low a level! A reverse button ('flip' on some other consoles) swaps the channel and monitor signal paths for mixdown. The insert point is pre‑EQ, which is good for gating and not so good for compression, but you can always compress via the group insert point going onto tape. Every channel has an output to send signal to the multitrack, so the Ghost can handle as many tracks as it has channels. This output can be switched as a direct output from the channel, or routed through to the groups.
So far, everything is OK, but not exciting. The EQ section is where things hot up, almost literally. We have been asking for more, and Soundcraft have given it to us in the form of a 4‑band EQ with two fully parametric mids. Fully parametric means that for each section, there are three controls, for gain, frequency and Q, Q being the sharpness of the filter. Generally speaking, a lowish Q (0.3 is low) is more useful musically, and a high Q (6 is fairly high) is good for picking out single instruments in a mix signal, or for correcting problems with the sound, such as mains hum. The Ghost's Q ranges from 0.7 to 6. I don't feel 0.7 is quite low enough to satisfy everyone, but this is a fairly minor point. A Q of 6 is about what you would get from a guitarist's wah‑wah pedal, and I had a lot of fun simulating this effect on a track I was working on, by setting maximum Q and sweeping the frequency control rapidly up and down. I ended up with a sore wrist and the feeling that the controls were just a tiny bit too close together — but it was fun! Two mid sections like these are just what we need in a cost‑conscious mixing console, but the high and low sections are quite standard filters at 60Hz and 12kHz, providing up to 12dB of boost or cut. Judging from the graphs in the manual, and what I can hear, these filters seem to have a gentle slope, which helps make them musical, but by the same token, it makes them less incisive in difficult situations.
Since this is an in‑line console, the high and low sections can be split off into the multitrack monitor signal path. Quite often, the monitor mix can benefit from a little bit of EQ to make it sound more like you know the final mix should. Also, when the monitor inputs are used as extra signal paths into the mix during mixdown, the versatility of being able to allocate your EQ resources as you wish, although not unusual, is certainly valuable. Finally in the EQ section, I'm happy to report that there is an EQ In/Out switch — something that's missing from too many budget consoles.
The Ghost is very well equipped with auxiliary sends; there's a total of 10 busses grouped as six mono and two stereo pairs. On each channel, you have to select whether to use busses 3 and 4, or 5 and 6, but that's fair. The way you handle foldback on the Ghost is unusual, and I'm not sure it suits my own way of working. Stereo foldback to musicians in the studio can be derived from three sources: the mixed stereo output (independent of the solo buttons), the monitor mix (Mix B), and Aux 1 (left) and 2 (right) — and these three sources can be mixed together. Although this offers a certain degree of flexibility, I don't think it is an ideal arrangement. For example, if you want to use the aux sends for foldback, you have to use both Aux 1 and Aux 2, otherwise the signal will only come out of one earpiece — unless you set up your headphone feeds to give you the same (mono) signal in each ear.
There are, actually, two foldback output sections in the console, but the fact that they have the same signal source options means that they are not as independent as they should be. I don't doubt there are workarounds, and that most engineers will find a method of using foldback that suits them, but I feel that a rethink is necessary here. I would also have liked to see at least one of the four effects returns route directly to the foldback for setting up quick and easy reverb in the headphones, which you can't do at present.
Moving on past the monitor section, which has level, pan, cut and pre‑fade listen (PFL) in addition to the EQ and aux options mentioned earlier, we come to the fader section. The faders are nice and smooth for this class of console, and the solo and cut buttons are illuminated, which is an excellent feature. A Signal Present LED informs you when a channel has a signal at the input (great for live work), and a multi‑point peak detector tells you whether the signal is approaching distortion at any point in the channel. Curiously, this LED will light if an extreme EQ boost is set but the EQ is switched out, so I assume it is connected to the EQ output. Perhaps it's good policy anyway to prevent distortion products buzzing around the console, even if they are not in the direct signal path.
Over on the output side, just to give you some brief information, the eight groups can be subgrouped to the masters either in mono or stereo (odd numbers for the left, even for the right). There are four stereo effects returns, with level and balance controls, PFL, and routing to all groups and masters. All the auxes have master level controls, of course, and PFL. The oscillator offers frequencies of 1kHz and 10kHz (what happened to 100Hz for analogue fans?). Talkback can be routed to tape, to the studio or to Aux 1 and 2. All that is pretty standard, but there's also a level control for PFL and a warning LED for Solo In Place (SIP) — both welcome after working with limited budget consoles (see the 'Solo In Place' box for more information). Also welcome are the four mixable control room monitor sources — channel and monitor mixes plus two stereo sources. The control room output has a button for an alternate set of power amp and speakers, and there's the essential mono‑check button, which won't cure your stereo phase problems, but will at least let you know when you have them!
Automation & Machine Control
This is the aspect of the Ghost that many people reading this review will find particularly interesting. Taking the machine control first, this is definitely a pro feature — the mighty SSL company was virtually built on it. Having machine control incorporated into the console means that you don't have to mess about with the controls on the multitrack itself, or have an autolocator box lurking inconveniently around the mix position — you can do everything, in theory, from the mixer. Soundcraft have taken advantage of MIDI Machine Control (MMC), which is rapidly gaining ground in audio circles at all levels of professionalism. Having said that, on some products, MMC just isn't implemented in a well‑thought‑out way. How about the sequencer, where once you activate MMC, you can only record on the multitrack, and not on the sequencer (which is precisely what you would most want to do)? Oh well, it's a learning curve for manufacturers too.
I was able to use the Ghost's machine control with both my Fostex RD8, and ADAT plus BRC. First of all, I had to hook up two MIDI cables between the multitrack and the console, and also a third cable for timecode (this machine stripes its own timecode, but the Ghost has a timecode generator, should you need it). I followed the instructions carefully, and set the machine type from a longer list of machines than I would have expected (including Alesis ADAT with AI‑2 or BRC, Tascam DA88, and Sony 9‑pin for video machines) — and then I was ready to go. If I point out what actually happened in my situation, bear in mind that with other multitracks, you might get different results. I found that I was certainly able to play, wind and record as normal, and I could see the timecode coming back from the machine in the Ghost's display (even in fast wind, since the RD8 can throw out timecode when winding). I could arm tracks (the Ghost can control the arming of up to 48 tracks!) and drop in and out of record. However, the one thing I couldn't do was shuttle with audio. If you have a hard disk‑based multitrack, you should be able to use the Ghost's scrub wheel, but do check out features that you think will be important to you. The Ghost has four locate positions, which can, like other data, be stored via MIDI dump (unfortunately, there is no floppy disk drive). A 4‑position locator doesn't sound like much, but it's certainly enough for me — I have 100 positions available on my RD8 and I never use more than two! My own eventual conclusion, based more on hands‑on use than analysis, was that I was better off with the RD8's remote. You might feel differently, and since the Ghost has a port to attach a PC for software updates, a lot more might become possible.
The Ghost's mute automation is quite easy to use, even without the manual. To perform simple manual mute grouping, all you do is set up the mutes on the faders, then allocate that setting to one of the four buttons. That setting will be recalled simply by pressing the button. If you want to go further, up to 128 mute snapshots can be set up and automated against timecode. This isn't actually what you would call mute automation (which works on an individual channel basis), but it is certainly extremely useful, if slightly more complicated to set up than the mute groups. Full mute automation is available if you use a MIDI sequencer — the mute on/mute off messages are then transmitted as MIDI Note On and Note Off messages. Ease of mute information editing, therefore, depends on which sequencer you're using — and some sequencers also have a limit on the note lengths they can record, which could pose a problem. Finally, for committed MIDI users, four of the group faders can be designated as MIDI controllers. This is great, but of course you lose four group faders, so maybe separate MIDI faders would have made more sense.
Of the consoles I've looked at recently, the Soundcraft Ghost has come closest to replacing my 1988 vintage crosstalk generator — sorry, mixer — and I think that it is only my finickiness about the buttons around the Ghost's faders that might put me off. I found the sound quality and overall usability of the Ghost to be excellent, and superb value for money. What's more, people don't come to my studio any more and say, "Where's the mixer?". They know a professional piece of kit when they see it. 'Nuff said!
Feeling Solo: A Word On Solo In Place
Solo In Place, or SIP, is regarded as a professional feature, because it completely destroys your recording or mix if you use it at the wrong time! The Ghost has a button to select SIP or conventional PFL (Pre‑Fade Listen). SIP works by killing all the other channels apart from those on which you press the solo button, allowing you to audition them at their fader and pan settings.
Upmarket consoles often have a Solo Safe button on each channel, which means they are protected from the effect of SIPing another channel. This is useful for channels which are used as effects returns. Of course, this means having an extra button, which, at the Ghost's price point, is probably unfeasible at present. As a workable compromise, all of the Ghost's effects returns are always solo safe. If you wanted to EQ your reverb returns by bringing them back through channels, you would have to SIP them at the same time as you SIPed any other channel using that effect.
Small Things Make The Difference: Knob Design
It may seem like a small point, but I think Soundcraft have designed the perfect knob. It has a distinctive pointer that extends all the way from the top of the knob to the bottom. This means that it is visible from whatever angle you look at the knob, and you can check precise settings without having to consider parallax. The gently curved surface of the knob is also perfect for marking with a wax pencil, which is useful for live work, or for 'Chinagraph' mix automation.
I was a little irritated that the colour of the aux sends is very similar to the EQ level controls, meaning that I often grabbed the LF EQ when I wanted to adjust the reverb. However, the solution was simple — I just pulled off the white Q knobs and swapped them for the grey LF EQ level controls on all the channels!
Moan & Whinge Corner
I like to get my moans over in one go, because it's very boring and no‑one likes a moaner. But if I tell you what I think the worst points are about this console, and you think, "Well, I can put up with those", then surely you will know that the rest of it is OK. For me, the Ghost's most annoying feature is the location of the routing, Cut and Solo buttons alongside the faders. A mixing console to me is a musical instrument, and if someone said I had to put up with a load of buttons in between the keys of my piano I certainly know what I would say back to them! Look at any top pro console, and you will see that the faders are either completely clear, or that only the low‑profile automation buttons occupy the same space. Mixing is a process requiring care and precision, and clutter should be kept well out of the way. On a purely practical note, many engineers both in live sound and recording mark fader positions with a wax pencil, and the room for manoeuvre here is very limited.
My other major moan is about the noisy external power supply. The only noise I want in my studio is the noise coming out of my speakers — that's my responsibility! All other studio equipment should be absolutely silent. Designers will insist that if the equipment doesn't have a fan, it will overheat. This may be true — but have they explored the limits that can be achieved by convection‑cooled heat sinks? Have they tried to design quieter fans and perhaps employ the kind of noise reduction techniques that are used in studio air conditioning? Ticking hard disks are another contentious issue, but I am in no doubt where I stand. The Ghost's power supply cable is about seven metres long, which does facilitate mounting it remotely, but the manual warns against extending the cable further. On a happier note, just as SOS was going to press, we heard that Soundcraft were already working on a replacement PSU after receiving some other comments similar to mine!
My third moan is directed not at the Ghost or Soundcraft per se , but the mixer industry in general, although the point was inspired by one of the Ghost's features: its insert points are wired with the ring of the jack as send and the tip as return. Many mixers now seem to be made this way (rather than having tip as send, which used to be more common), the idea being that you can use the insert point as an additional direct output by plugging in an ordinary jack halfway, rather than having to make up a special cable for the purpose. I'm not sure that I like the idea of plugging connectors only halfway, but since everyone seems to be doing it, we'll all have to get used to it!
Together In Silence: Mute Groups
Mute groups are the unloved, unappreciated and seldom understood feature of a number of mixing consoles. Put simply, mute groups allow you to select a number of channels and assign them to a button so that when this button is pressed, all those channels are muted. Two or four mute groups are common (the Ghost has four). Mute groups are a rudimentary form of automation, since you can carry out many more mute operations during a mix than you could possibly do individually, and you don't have to go to the trouble of programming a sequence of mutes — you just do it manually as the tape runs.
Mute automation does half the work of full automation. If you record real instruments and voices, as opposed to synths and samplers, you will inevitably end up with a lot of rubbish on the multitrack tape — guitar amp hiss, singers humming and making other strange noises when they are not actually singing, and sundry clicks, thumps and things that go bump in the night. If you are a connoisseur of all things analogue then you'll have tape hiss to contend with as well. Twenty‑four tracks of tape hiss mixed together sounds like ocean surf! With mute automation, you can get rid of all these unwanted sounds without having to have lots of noise gates, and without all the time it takes to set these up correctly.
An additional bonus of having mute automation is that it allows you to record more material than you need — particularly textural parts — and then mute out the bits that you don't want in the mix. When you have mute automation, and you become accustomed to using it, it is surprising how useful and effective this technique can be.
Ghost Costing: The Prices In Full
As mentioned elsewhere in this review, the Ghost is available as two different models; the Ghost Le (with no automation), and the automated standard version under review here. Both these models come in either a 24‑channel or 32‑channel format, resulting in complex pricing arrangements. All prices given here include VAT, and the cost of the power supply.
- 24‑channel version £3877.50.
- 32‑channel version £4700.
- 24‑channel version £4465.
- 32‑channel version £5287.50.
- 24‑input expander module £TBA.
- Meter Bridge: 24‑channel version £634.50; 32‑channel version £740.25.
- Stand: 24‑channel version £428.88; 32‑channel version £440.63.
- No hints of amateurism about this budget‑conscious professional console.
- Solo In Place as well as PFL.
- 2‑band, fully parametric mid EQ.
- Mute groups and mute snapshot automation — and full mute automation is possible with a MIDI sequencer.
- Routing, Cut and Solo buttons clutter fader area.
- Noisy power supply.
- No pre‑fade foldback mix from monitors.
- Meter bridge is an expensive extra.
If you want a console in your studio that looks the part, as well as does the work, then the Soundcraft Ghost is a must‑see. As a cost‑effective 8‑buss console, Ghost wants for nothing.
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- soundcraft ghost
Well, it's happened. I've outgrown my Roland VS 1880 and am wanting to move on and up.
I've been seriously considering the purchase of a used Ghost (or perhaps a new LE) and teaming it up with a HD recorder - Tascam MX-2424 or Mackie HDR-24/96 appear the front runners right now. I don't need the MIDI and mute automation capabilities on the Ghost at present, but may in the future.
Anyway, anyone have experience or thoughts with the Ghost's? Most of what I've read about them seems quite positive.
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Either Ghost platform gets you all the bells and whistles associ
Either Ghost platform gets you all the bells and whistles associated with this console...except of course the lack of the midi-muting in the case of the LE.They are really the best console in the price range and offer extensive patching and routing as well as great EQ.The pres work better with the big power supply and a constant voltage to it in the higher range of its specs.
I personally like the MX2424 better as a HD recorder.The mackie is a bit buggy for my tastes and have been limited to 30mb harddrives until recently.The HDR system comes with no converters or I/O which are a bunch more money. Search the archives for a thread detailing some of the major aspects of most of the available and popular HD recorders. I bought the Alesis HD24 to go with my Ghost and think its the best buy for the money.There is a new 24/96 version just out and theres a $199 firewire drive that allows you to simply remove your storage drive from the HD24 and drop in all your track files into whatever DAW you might be using...since the Alesis records everything in both wav and aiff format files.For the price difference between the Mackie/Tascam and the Alesis, you could buy a very nice mic or outboard compressor or pre....
Hi Dave, and thanks for the info - I looked at the Alesis as
Hi Dave, and thanks for the info -
I looked at the Alesis as well and it's certainly attractive from a price standpoint. Problem is, it apparently doesn't have the depth of onboard editing that the Mackie or Tascam units have and I'm trying to do away with DAW's altogether. I have to work with computers all day long for the day gig and, while I have no problem bending them to my will, frankly I hate them and want to minimize their presence in my studio. I'm basically trying to go to a kind of "old school" setup - minus the 2 inch tape of course. Most of the reviews I've read on the Alesis say that, while the unit is solid, it's design philosophy was basically that the user would fly the tracks into a DAW for most of the editing.
I've perused the Mackie's manual and it appears to have most of the editing features I'd find useful without having to use a DAW. Not sure about the Tascam's - haven't read through all of it's manual yet but I get the impression that one needs a separate WinDoze or Mac system to access it's editing functions. Is that correct?
You're right of course that the Mackie requires additional I/O cards (at 350.00 a pop!). Does the Tascam come with the necessary I/O options installed? Wasn't sure about that part but I don't think it does.
WRT to the Ghost, what's your impression of the onboard pres? I have some outboard ones that would be the "go to" ones most of the time, but I've heard the Ghost's are pretty nice. Again, thanks for any thoughts you have on this.
Skeetch, I have a MDR 24/96..... and with the exception of
I have a MDR 24/96..... and with the exception of a few odd problems with the clock screwing up (which i have come to understand is not unusual with the Mackie HD recorders) I really can't complain.
If you aren't looking to tie into a DAW at all - the onboard editing functions are pretty decent and (IMHO) fairly intuitive. You also have the option of the remote controller - which actually gives you more functions than you have on the main screen.
That having been said - the MDR 24/96 has been abandoned - so anything sitting on the shelf is dead technology...... although it has a replacement (the SDR24/96)...... I have been told that the problems with the clock screwups have not been fixed. (What i mean by this - I have performed a "cut and paste" and had the paste just dissapear in the mix...... only to find it playing somewhere else (sometimes early - sometimes late) in the song - however i have always been successfull fixing this with the undo commmand)
If I were making the buy today - knowing what i know - i would probably go with the Tascam MX2424... same features as the Mackie, roughly the same cost per card for upgrades - but a little bit more stable from what i have been led to understand.
I dont really need to edit too much...as an old 'tapehead' I sti
I dont really need to edit too much...as an old 'tapehead' I still believe in best take makes the tape.And while some editing is nice for fixing a flat vocal here and there, its the very reason I didnt buy all the editing power of the Tascam or those freakin OS freezin Mackies.The Mackie is just a celeron OS and has never been debugged as far as I can tell.You say on one hand you want to get back to the 'old school' kind of recording, much like tape and then you talk about having a lotof editing power much like a computer.The Alesis is the most 'tapelike' system in that it is a destructive system.No virtual anythings and no clocking to speakof because of this.There is a bit of editing you can do and it doesnt require a computer to do it.Its a bit of a pain because of the small screen on the unit but is very easy to do.And for the price, if you dont need the outboard I mentioned earlier, then buy TWO of em and have 48 tracks.Wouldnt ever need to edit anything...Plus with a Ghost, you woulkd have plenty of channels at mix since its an inline console.A 24 channel gets you 48 at mix.
As for Ghost pres.....There isnt much in its price category that are better.A used sidecar of maybe a high-end brand will get you 8 channels for the same price, but since you seem to want to move away from computer recording, this probably does you no good.The Ghost pres are accurate and clean and a bit sterile @ regular 117 to 119volts, house current.When you run the input voltage on the power supply up to 125 volts, they take on another life.They get creamy and you can drive the crap out of em with no 'bad' distortion, just like a Neve or something like that.I've learned to ignore the red lights on the inputs and simply look for the red on the recorder going in(digital distortion is BAD)...Ya really cant go wrong with these consoles.Be sure you get the BIG power supply.There were three models made and you want the PS-275 when you buy.
Rod - I'd heard that about the MDR's. Any info on whether o
I'd heard that about the MDR's. Any info on whether or not thost quirks were carried over into the HDR series? Also, it seems the the Tascams require the use of a separate WinDoze or Mac machine to access the edititing functions. I'm still plowing through the Tascam's manuals right now so I'm not sure if that's correct, but that's the impression I've gotten so far.
My preference would be for the Tascam, but not if I've got to have another PC in the control room to access the onboard editing. The Mackie will apparently allow a user to simply connect mouse, keyboard and monitor directly to it and away you go. Well, relatively speaking anyway. Nothing is truly THAT easy. ;)
Skeetch....the MDR is a scaled down version of the original HDR.
Skeetch....the MDR is a scaled down version of the original HDR...Mackie discovered that their base price was way too high when they introduced the HDR and so they went to a scaled down version.There is no editing options as far as plugging in the mouse and monitor in the MDR, though I've heard that real computer guys have gotten inside and modded theirs to be able to do this.Perhaps Sheet will jump in here and correct all this as he knows the ins and outs of these machines.
Skeetch, Davedog is 100% correct....... on the back of the H
Davedog is 100% correct....... on the back of the HDR there are ports for connecting the mouse and keyboard, and it also comes with a video card...... I believe these ports exist on the MDR but are covered up. In addition you also would have to install a video card.
I spoke with a tech who works on these things and he said that in order to connect you would have to install the HDR operating system on the MDR machine - but that the system will not recognize the operating system as being correct for the MDR - and he believes that you would have to install the bios for that machine before it would work.
He told me that he doesn't see any difference between the boards themselves....... but i have not seen them side by side myself.
So with the MDR the only functionality you have is either on the face of the machine or through the use of the remote controller. Not with mouse and keyboard.
However - if there is a way to get from A to B here - i would love to know it - turning my MDR into an HDR would create a better world for me to live in.
Dave - Yeah, I know I sound a bit conflicted with the old sc
Yeah, I know I sound a bit conflicted with the old school/onboard editing thing. I'm still sorting some of that out myself, but I don't want "alot" of editing capabilities (mostly things like a few cut and pastes here and there). For example, I like the idea of v-tracks, but agree with you that the best take is the one that goes to tape (or disk). Autotune? F*** that. Do another take and this time sing or play in tune. Do the Mackie's or Tascam's even have that kind of thing onboard? I haven't seen anything in their docs that indicate they do, but I haven't gone through all of them yet. Neither appears to allow for the use of plugins (which I'm not all that interested in either).
I've currently got an older HP laptop (PII/366) running Win2K that serves basically as a host for AcidPro 4. It doesn't get used much but works reasonably well when I need to add some "spice" from Acid. It doesn't have the horsepower to run any kind of modern DAW application and I'm not in a position to lay out even more cash on a new PC or Mac on top of what I'll be laying out for the board and whatever HD recorder I wind up getting.
Here's what I am sure that I don't want:
- the never ending rat hole of upgrades, computer hangs, driver conflicts, having to find a spot in my very small control room for even a small form factor case and its associated mouse, keyboard and monitor.
For me, that's technology getting in the way of making music. Rather spend my time recording, not troubleshooting a driver conflict. If the Mackie's as buggy as you suggest, perhaps it isn't the way to go either. Think I'm gonna poke around the HDR forum and see what the users think too. I prefer Tascam anyway, but if it's gotta be hooked up to a PC or Mac to access its editing, that's a minus for me.
Not sure if any of the above makes much sense, but that's where I'm at for the moment. Thanks for the info on the Ghost PS BTW, that's good to know.
Skeetch forgetting the keyboard, mouse, screen - the MDR has
forgetting the keyboard, mouse, screen - the MDR has on board editing capabilities, including cut and paste, you can edit and delete pieces of a single track - thus if a bass note was a split second late - you can slide it back to where it belongs (to within a thousand of a second)... you can also do an insert to move it forward as well.......
PLus you can do all of the other normal things that you would expect a deck to do.
You do have the capacity to use virtual tracks on it - thus opening up even more to record on if you choose...... plus the editing is non-destructive - so if you screw up you can always go back.
Seriously - if it wasn't for the little problem with the time clock - this would be perfect in my mind.
And even with that glitch - i have not had to throw anything away that i have done.
It's never occured during an actual recording - only in the edit mode.
Thanks Rod - I was reading some of that in the HDR's manuals
Thanks Rod -
I was reading some of that in the HDR's manuals about editing. I like the idea of having that capability. Hmm, maybe I don't want to go quite as old school as I thought. Plus, with the use of a KVM box I could probably share the mouse, monitor and keyboard between the laptop and recorder. Aw crap, I guess I really need to think some more about this.
Was also just reading about the latest BIOS u/g for the HDR's (re: the 32G limit) not being officially supported for MDR owners. Any thoughts on that?
Skeetch, I would be surprised to ever see it happen - i mean
I would be surprised to ever see it happen - i mean - i wouldn't waste my time developing anything for a technology that i had abandoned...... why would mackie?
The last statement by Rod is the crux of my bad appetite for Mac
The last statement by Rod is the crux of my bad appetite for Mackie.To abandon something before they ever perfect it, tells me they werent searching for any solutions to the problems in the first place.And while the HDR platform has its share of satisfied users, there seems to be a horror story to go with every successful one.If you want the do-all be-all hardisk system you should look at a Radar.Very spendy but very supported and sonically without parallel.All of your cut and paste functions exist in the Alesis.And its OS has been around for years.(adat)The newer SDR Mackie was again an attempt to recapture market share that they missed with the first two,MDR and HDR.Theres a lot of road recording being done with the Alesis simply because its capable and doesnt crash.
Dave, you truly said a mouthfull. If i had the cash in my
you truly said a mouthfull.
If i had the cash in my pocket right now - i would pick up the Radar in a new york second.
I do not advocate purchasing the Mackie - although i am still working with it........ however i believe that if one purchases it - at least they should do so with their eyes open.
I try to open eyes.
Well, consider mine wide open. WRT to abandoning a product
Well, consider mine wide open.
WRT to abandoning a product or idea before perfecting it, I can say from personal experience that an awful lot of companies (audio and non-audio - including my own) are increasingly geared towards that. Seems to be a symptom of the quarter-to-quarter thinking that everyone does now. Too much focus on each quarter's bottom line and not enough on testing, quality and customer support.
I want to thank you both very much for your thoughts and input. It's truly helpful, though I don't think I'm any closer to knowing which recorder to go with. I'd of course love to have a Radar, but they're prohibitively expensive at this point (gotta start buyin them lotto tickets). The Ghost seems a shoe-in however.
Hi Skeetch. You may be interested to know that if you choose th
Hi Skeetch. You may be interested to know that if you choose the alesis unit you will not be limited to any specific editing functions. You can place this unit in a network computer system where you can call info off the hard drives right into the computer. What this means to you simply, is that editing and processing, are only limited to the software package you purchase. IF I were to place my vote, it would be with the alesis. Take the money you save and purchase a nice mic, a pre, some beer...uh huh.
Just a thought
Yeah Skeech, I forgot to mention that the Alesis becomes a serve
Yeah Skeech, I forgot to mention that the Alesis becomes a server when asked....though it seems to me an easier route would be to have a bay open on the computer and simply drop in the drive caddy and all.....open as a drive # whatever...of course were back to the computer editing which is in fact all the Mackie is anyway.A rather basic one at that.
Dave - Just got to thinking about something on the Ghost - s
Just got to thinking about something on the Ghost - sorry if this an utterly boneheaded question.
How do you handle click tracks? The desk itself doesn't have any kind of built-in click does it? Not seeing that in the docs.
Also, talkback mic capabilities. I'm not seeing this either in the docs, but I haven't got all the way through them yet. There doesn't appear to be a dedicated TB mic jack.
The lack of either of these wouldn't sway me away from getting the board, but I just wanted to be sure about these two items. Also, bummer that the phantom power switches for the channels are behind the meter bridge (if you have one installed that is).
I use a Zoom drum machine for clicks(when and if I need it) the
I use a Zoom drum machine for clicks(when and if I need it) the talkback mic is built in to the mastering section and can be fed to 3 different locations.And yes the phantom power switches are a bit awkward with the meter bridge...I have a 32X8 with the complete meter bridge...the extra channels are really nice....
Thanks again Dave. I'd love to have the 32 channel board but th
Thanks again Dave. I'd love to have the 32 channel board but the 24 will just barely fit into my control room as it is.
Well, it's (almost) over but the shouting. Send payment off Mon
Well, it's (almost) over but the shouting. Send payment off Monday for a 24-channel Ghost (full version, not the LE). It's a chunk-o-change, but I'm looking forward to getting on a "real" console. The HD will have to wait as my "discretionary funds" account will need to be replenished after the Ghost purchase.
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SoundCraft Ghost User Manual
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Table of Contents
- Additional Features of Ghost
- Frame Sizes & Expander Module
- Power Supply
- Wiring Considerations
- Optional Meterbridge
- User Modifications to Ghost
- Tape Return Levels
- Stereo Inputs and Group Master Outputs
- Optional Meterbridge Source Select
- DIN Connectors
- Hookup Diagrams
- Multitrack Recording
- Live Public Address
- Composing to Picture
- Quick Start Guide
- Recording Basic Tracks
- Mixing down
- Control Room Monitoring
- CRM Signal Monitoring
- CRM Tape Monitoring
- Studio Monitoring
- Studio Signal Monitoring
- Monitoring Summary
- Adding Effects and Processors
- Block Diagram
- Block Diagram Explanation
- Solo Detect
- CPU Mute Bus
- Signal Flow
- Mute and solo
- CUT Switches
- SOLO/PFL/AFL Switches
- Effects Returns
- Other Inputs
- Dir/Tape Snd
- Control Room/Headphones
- Overview of Main Signal Paths
- Back and Rear Panel Description
- Input Rear Connector Panel
- Master Section Rear Connector Panel
- Functional Description
- The Mono Input Module
- Input Section
- Channel Input
- Line Switch
- Input Sens Knob
- MIX B (Tape) Input
- Insert Point
- HMF/LMF Knobs
- HMF/LMF FREQ Knobs
- EQ in Switch
- Auxiliary Sends
- MIX B Output
- Main MIX Output
- SOLO Switch
- When solo Is Used as a PFL Switch
- When solo Is Used as a Solo-In-Place Switch
- Optional Meterbridge Input Meters
- Output Section
- Group Outputs
- Control Room
- Studio Foldback
- Multitrack Tutorial
- Overview of Mixers
- Source Controls
- Processing Controls
- Processing and Routing Controls
- Application Notes
- Metering and Signal/Peak Leds
- MIX B Section
- AUX Section
- CPU Application
- Upgrading the Software
Summary of contents for soundcraft ghost.
- Page 1 GHOST Contents...
- Page 2 Information in this manual is subject to change without notice and does not repre- sent a commitment on the part of the vendor. Soundcraft shall not be liable for loss or damage whatsoever arising from the use of information or any error con- tained in this manual.
- Page 3 G G H H O O S S T T C C o o n n t t e e n n t t s s 1 Introduction Features of Ghost and Ghost LE 2 Installation Optional Meterbridge User Modifications to Ghost...
Page 4: Table Of Contents
- Page 40 CPU MUTE BUS B CPU MUTE BUS A GRP O/P BUS (1-8) MIX B R MIX B L MIX R MIX L GRP 8 GRP 7 GRP 6 GRP 5 GRP 4 GRP 3 GRP 2 GRP 1 AUX 8 R AUX 8 L AUX 7 R AUX 7 L...
- Page 135 ( ( N N o o t t A A p p p p l l i i c c a a b b l l e e T T o o G G h h o o s s t t L L e e ) ) GHOST Application Guide...
Page 136: Introduction
- Page 137 Using Snapshots To Store Controller Fader Parameters 4.42 Using Ghost With A Sequencer For Dynamic Mute Automation 4.43 How Mute Information Is Transmitted And Received By Ghost 4.43 Setting The Global Tx/Rx MIDI Channel 4.43 Notes On Setting Up The External Sequencer 4.44...
- Page 138 Mute Group Activation Record-ready control of external tape machines Snapshot Control switches (4,8,9,10) These switches are used for storing and recalling mute snapshots and system parameters, and for enabling automatic replay of snapshots to timecode. GHOST Application Guide...
- Page 139 I I n n t t r r o o d d u u c c t t i i o o n n The CPU section of the Ghost gives you power and functionality not available on any other console in this class. Using the controls available on the CPU, you can: l Remotely control tape machines, hard disk recorders and MIDI sequencers,using the Transport controls and timecode display.
Page 140: Upgrading The Software
- Page 141 (hrs:min:secs:frames) enabling tape position to be monitored even if the machine itself is not visible. It also means that Ghost can provide its own Locate and Cycle functions, eliminating in many cases the need for a bulky and inconvenient tape machine remote.
- Page 142 M M u u t t e e S S n n a a p p s s h h o o t t s s In addition to the simple manual Mute Group system described above, Ghost also has a more powerful system for storing and recalling various combinations of Channel and Mix-B mutes.
- Page 143 1. A unique note number is allocated to each mute switch on the console. This MIDI data is sent out of Ghost's MIDI out port whenever a mute switch is pressed, and can thus be fed to a sequencer where it can be recorded on a dedicated track.
- Page 144 -many use sys-ex messages for internal controls, and so cannot be controlled by Ghost's controller faders). It should be noted that the Ghost's MIDI faders are real-time only -they only trans- mit MIDI information when they are physically moved, and the values sent are not storable within the console in any way.
Page 145: Appendix A
- Page 146 Sony 9-pin P2 (no record enable) AKAI DR4/DR8 (MTC) Notes: MTC and LTC Master modes are used to make the Ghost behave as a virtual machine, generating timecode when PLAY is pressed, to which other equipment can be synchronised. LTC Master mode is useful for striping tape.
- Page 147 S S e e t t t t i i n n g g T T h h e e C C o o r r r r e e c c t t T T i i m m e e c c o o d d e e F F r r a a m m e e R R a a t t e e Ghost's internal timecode generator and reader need to be set to the correct frame rate, in order to synchronise properly with other equipment in the studio.
- Page 148 U U s s i i n n g g t t h h e e L L o o c c a a t t e e a a n n d d C C y y c c l l e e b b u u t t t t o o n n s s Ghost incorporates a basic autolocator as part of the machine control section. This comprises four LOCATE 1-4 buttons (5) and the CYCLE 1-4 switch (5), all posi- tioned immediately above the main transport switches.
- Page 149 If any of tracks 1-4 are required to be set to record ready (armed), press the cor- responding Multifunction select switch. This will cause the switchs LED to start flashing, and the appropriate command to be sent to the machine via the current machine control interface (MMC or 9-pin). GHOST Application Guide 9.15...
- Page 150 D D r r o o p p p p i i n n g g O O u u t t Press any other transport button other than RECORD. Normally, pressing PLAY is recommended, as it means the tape keeps moving at the same speed and thus maximises the chance of a smooth drop-out. 9.16 GHOST Application Guide...
- Page 151 U U s s i i n n g g T T h h e e M M u u t t e e G G r r o o u u p p s s The Mute Groups facility on Ghost gives you a valuable tool for greater real-time control during a mix.
- Page 152 U U s s i i n n g g M M u u t t e e S S n n a a p p s s h h o o t t s s The mute snapshot system on Ghost allows up to 128 different snapshots of the...
- Page 153 (edited) later by storing a dif- ferent mute status into the snapshot, without affecting the timecode value. See the end of this section for a suggested way of using the automatic timecode recall feature. GHOST Application Guide 9.19...
- Page 154 Edit mode as described above, or the ALL snapshot can be selected, in which case all 128 snapshots will have any timecode values cleared. The console is shipped from the factory with no timecode values assigned to any snapshots. 9.20 GHOST Application Guide...
- Page 155 Receipt of a program change message at the MIDI in port will automatically select and recall the corresponding snapshot. The only setting up required in Ghost is to make sure the correct MIDI channel is selected for reception of program changes. This is done as follows: Press the DISPLAY MODE button (6) repeatedly until the Setup LED next to the switch is illuminated.
- Page 156 7- segment display reverts to timecode display (the TC DISP LED illuminates) and the message "Storing..." is displayed briefly, indicating that channel has been memorised. This setting will be retained until it is changed again by repeating the above procedure. 9.22 GHOST Application Guide...
- Page 157 U U s s i i n n g g T T h h e e M M I I D D I I C C o o n n t t r r o o l l l l e e r r F F a a d d e e r r s s Ghost has four faders which can be used to transmit MIDI controller data. Each of these faders can be set up to transmit on its own MIDI channel, and have its own controller number.
Page 158: Appendix B
- Page 159 Store mutes and Controller fader setups to the same snaphots. Mute Snapshots required for certain tasks, various Controller setups required for differ- ent tasks: Store mute snapshots to snapshots 1-100, store Controller fader setups to snap- shots 101-128 (for example). GHOST Application Guide 9.25...
- Page 160 MIDI sequencer to act as the recording and storage device. Ghost has been designed to allow each mute switch to transmit MIDI data in the form of note-on messages, which can be recorded on a dedicated track in the sequencer alongside (and therefore synchronised to) normal music tracks.
- Page 161 (e.g. in Cubase, this is done by enabling the Chase Events option). If this is not done, Ghost will not be able to keep track of the sequencer if it is started mid-way through a song.
- Page 162 R R e e l l o o a a d d i i n n g g T T h h e e M M e e m m o o r r y y l Make sure you have already backed up the current memory con- tents of Ghost, if you want to keep it, as reloading will erase all cur- rent memory!! l Connect MIDI OUT of the data recorder to MIDI IN of Ghost.
- Page 163 R R e e - - i i n n i i t t i i a a l l i i s s i i n n g g T T h h e e M M e e m m o o r r y y In exceptional cases, if problems occur with the Ghost CPU which cause it to stop responding to controls, or erratic behaviour is experienced, it is possible to re-ini- tialise the CPU.
- Page 164 9.30 GHOST Application Guide...
Page 165: Troubleshooting
- Page 166 Make sure Ghost is properly connected to the power supply unit (PSU) that ships with Ghost; that the PSU is set for the correct voltage for your country; and that the PSU is properly connected to a working wall outlet and turned on.
- Page 167 MIX B signals. assigned to the MIX B path. The only way to use it with the MIX B signal is to set the REV switch to the DOWN position, thereby reversing the Channel and MIX B paths. GHOST Troubleshooting 10.3...
Page 168: Optional Meterbridge
- Page 169 31) SOLO-IN-PLACE (SIP) is activated. 31) When SIP is engaged, the Channel switch, the PFL/AFL Trim knob has no SOLO switches do not function as PFL effect. switches and are not controlled with the PFL/AFL TRIM knob. GHOST Troubleshooting 10.5...
- Page 170 TO MIX-L or R switch and its associated TO MIX-L+R switch.Note: The TO MIX-L+R switch also deter- mines if the Group signal will be routed to the PFL/AFL buses in Mono or Stereo, when its associated AFL switch is pressed. 10.6 GHOST Troubleshooting...
- Page 171 38) When the MIX B TO MIX switch MAIN MIX. pressed. is pressed in the master section, all MIX B signals are routed to the MAIN MIX. To prevent this, make sure the MIX B TO MIX switch is in the UP position. GHOST Troubleshooting 10.7...
- Page 172 10.8 GHOST Troubleshooting...
Page 173: Specifications
- Page 174 E E q q u u a a l l i i s s e e r r s s e e c c t t i i o o n n HF EQ turnover frequency 12kHz Maximum boost/cut +/- 15dB LF EQ turnover frequency 60Hz Maximum boost/cut +/- 15dB HMF EQ frequency range 400Hz to 20kHz HMF Q range 0.7 to 6 Maximum boost/cut +/- 15dB 11.2 GHOST Specifications...
- Page 175 D D i i r r e e c c t t o o u u t t p p u u t t n n o o i i s s e e 22Hz-22kHz Mic sensitiviy @ -10dB Channel fader at unity -95dBu EQ out -93dBu EQ in GHOST Specifications 11.3...
- Page 176 D D i i m m e e n n s s i i o o n n s s a a n n d d w w e e i i g g h h t t s s Frame Size Overall width Weight(kg/lb) 1059.36mm (41.71") 44.0/97 1303.20mm (51.31") 53.6/118 24 Expander 815.52mm (32.11") 33.0/73 11.4 GHOST Specifications...
Page 177: Glossary
- Page 178 +4dBu and the consumer line level of 10dBV. DIM - To lower the level of a signal. In Ghost, the control room outputs are auto- matically dimmed whenever a Talkback routing switch is depressed.
- Page 179 (knobs) for MIX B, MIX B master, and AUX masters. FADER, MASTER A single fader used to control the output level of all signals sent to it. In Ghost there are master faders for the Group, MAIN MIX, MIX B, and AUX outputs.
- Page 180 10,000 Hz. LEVEL The amplitude of a signal, expressed in decibels. LINE On Ghost, a Line Level input for the Channel, made via a 1/4" jack connec- tion. LINE LEVEL There are two line levels in current use; one pro and one con- sumer.
- Page 181 Ghost (not Ghost LE) has a SMPTE TimeCode Reader/Generator/Converter in its CPU section. MIX B - In Ghost, the term used to refer to the monitor path in the Channel strips. It is usually used to monitor the tape returns from the multitrack recorder.
Page 182: Connections
- Page 183 (denser) over time. REVERSE In Ghost, a switch (REV) in the Channel input section that allows you to send the Channel Input to the MIX B path, and the MIX B input to the Channel path.
- Page 184 SOLO SWITCH With Ghost, only the Channels have SOLO switches. All other solo functions are by means of PFL and AFL switches. When SIP is not engaged, then the Channel SOLO switches function as normal PFL switches. When SIP is engaged, then when a Channel SOLO switch is engaged, all Channels without their SOLO switches engaged are muted.
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What is Hamas, and why did it attack Israel now?
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Hamas’s aim as the creation of a Palestinian state along the borders that existed before the 1967 war. Hamas does not recognize the existence of Israel and is committed to replacing it through armed struggle with a Palestinian state stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. In addition, an earlier version of this article inaccurately characterized Qatar's relationship with Hamas. Qatar works with Hamas to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in the Gaza Strip, but it does not directly support the group. The article has been corrected.
Israel declared war against Hamas on Sunday, following a surprise attack by the Palestinian militant group based in Gaza that included the taking of civilian hostages at a music festival, where at least 260 bodies have been recovered. Israeli security forces, caught off guard, have pounded the Gaza Strip with retaliatory strikes, and U.S. officials said they expect Israel to soon launch a ground incursion into the enclave as violence escalates in the conflict-ridden region.
Israel is searching for more than 100 hostages, including Americans, believed to have been taken to Gaza by Hamas. President Biden labeled the actions of Hamas as “beyond the pale” in a speech Wednesday.
Since winning legislative elections in 2006, Hamas has repeatedly attacked Israel with rockets and mortars, emerging as a defiant adversary. Israel has retaliated with its superior firepower and a punishing blockade, restricting imports and the movement of civilians in a strategy of collective punishment. The blockade and recurring Israeli strikes have contributed to Gaza’s poor infrastructure and living conditions. Israel declared a full siege of the enclave on Monday, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant promising “no electricity, no food, no fuel” and calling Hamas militants “savages.”
The Gaza Strip and its history, explained
Here’s what to know about Hamas and the latest violence .
President Biden warned that a new Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a “big mistake” as food and water supplies run dangerously low for Palestinian residents. Follow the latest news and live updates .
Hostages: Israeli officials say Hamas militants abducted about 200 hostages in a highly organized attack on Israel . Among those abducted from their homes or seized from a music festival are a mother, her two young daughters , a restaurant manager and a DJ. Here’s what we know about the hostages taken from Israel .
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Here is a timeline of the decades-old conflict and what to know about the more recent violence in Israel and Gaza . The Hamas -controlled Gaza Strip has a complicated history , and its rulers have long been at odds with the Palestinian Authority , the U.S.-backed government in the West Bank.
Americans killed: At least 30 U.S. citizens have been killed. Here’s what we know about how the United States is getting involved in the Israel-Gaza war and how other foreign nationals were affected .