Money is not an issue.

What is the ideal mixing console you would prefer to use in your own studio?

Think with ease of use, sound quality, compatibility with other studios, compatibility with Pro Tools (or some other DAW), etc.

I'm in the market. Please fill me in on what console is right for you and why.


6 Answers 6


Let me start with the caveat that I mix entirely in Pro Tools.

Clearly my thinking is small potatoes in comparison to an MPC (as Stavrosound mentioned) or a DFC, but I also have no experience to speak about regarding theatrical dub-stage mixing.

Additionally, as I was writing, my answer kind of evolved into an answer about business purchases in general, with an answer to your specific question tacked on the end. Sorry if I ran off the rails a bit, but it's a topic that has been on my mind lately.

I love my D-Command, it's the most advanced mouse I've ever used. The integration with PT is fantastic and I love its Custom Faders. The quality of the materials it's made with are decent, but not outstanding. I've been using this one in front of me here for five or six years and it's barely showing signs of aging. I think one fader has died, another is in need of attention. But a) they're easy to clean, b) they're easy to replace. I could see swapping out the stock faders for something a little nicer. But, in this facility, that's a decision that's currently outside of my pay-grade. Honestly, I don't even know if it's possible.

No money restrictions is a tough mind-set to put myself in. Even in fantastically-hypothetical situations like the one you're proposing, in the end, I'm still a business owner. And there is a point of diminishing returns. I'm always going to consider the value I receive for each dollar I spend, and the difference in potential earnings that all of my options can provide.

There is a point where you've gone beyond what you need and are approaching what would be freakin sweet. The question is, does the caché of freakin sweet have the potential to bring in more revenue than what you need? How much more? Enough to front the cash for it? Then go ahead and pull the trigger.

Another thing, note that I said "front the cash," not "afford the payments". This is obviously an entirely personal business decision, but advice I received from a business associate whom I respect very much told me once: "Always pay in cash. If you don't have twice the price in the bank, it's outside of your budget."

Having said all that....

With a substantial budget, I'd probably investigate a D-Control. After all, it's one level better than a D-Command, right? But with that same business-owner hat on I'd be a hard sell. See, I'd also be considering spending about half of that same $60k on a D-Command + fader pack, surround panner, and an Argosy console to put it all in. In my opinion, that competes pretty well with a D-Control. Then with the remaining $30k, I could invest in additional HD Core & Accel cards, additional I/Os, upgrading my speakers, hiring an assistant, etc. All of which can increase the overall quality or speed of turnaround on a project. Which in turn has the potential to increase my number of billable hours, expand my client base, and ultimately bring in more revenue so I can afford other pieces of gear/people that will do the same (or take me & the Mrs. on vacation cause I already have everything necessary to compete in the marketplace).

One thing that I know I'd take into consideration is ergonomics. For example, the reach to the top of the board. With the D-Command, it's a full arm extension from my seat with no lean-in. That's nice. You're going to spend a lot of time in front of this thing (hopefully), try to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.


My dream desk would be a three way hybrid - I'd want ProTools remote control/integration (like an Avid Icon) but I'd also want seperate digital DSP based high rez mixing (like a Euphonix Series 5 - it does things that PT simply cannot do ITB) and then I would want an analogue desk with beautiful clean mic preamps & characterful EQ, analogue outboard integration and automation, maybe SSL based. The best of all worlds!

  • Do you have a preference between SSL and Neve?
    – user6513
    Aug 31, 2011 at 17:29
  • Haven't spent enough time with either to make a call like that...
    – user49
    Sep 1, 2011 at 3:51
  • @tak i friend of mine who's a grammy winning engineer in Miami explains the difference simply as Neve is better for tracking and SSL for mixing. That seems to be the general thought about the two.
    – Brad Dale
    Feb 11, 2013 at 14:54

I wouldn't mind checking out a Harrison MPC, they seem pretty sexy especially with the vertical waveform pre-rolls. I don't know a huge amount about it personally or have spent any time around one that was actually running (although I briefly sat at one that was turned off on a Sony dub stage). But with price not being a factor, it one I'd definitely love to check out, know also that if money is not an issue, I could swap out at any time if it wasn't the right fit ;)

  • AH! Wouldn't have even thought of one of those. Thank you very much!
    – Utopia
    Aug 30, 2011 at 6:48
  • I've never touched one of these myself, but my buddy LOVES the EQ's on the Harrison products. Aug 30, 2011 at 19:47
  • We've got an MPC-3D - VERY nice console. EQ / Dynamics are AWESOME! We recently had Re-rec Mixer Greg Russell visit our stage - he mixes on a 4D and loves it. Loved ours too! If you're ever in town, come on over and check it out!
    – Colin Hart
    Sep 3, 2011 at 17:08
  • Thanks, I may take you up on that when I'm out that way sometime! I do indeed recall Greg Russell spends a lot of time on these bad boys Sep 3, 2011 at 17:36

Well I work in post, but the only console I'd actually dream about in the middle of the night would be the original EMI Redd from Abbey Road for music.

But since you're probably asking about post, I've watched some talented folks work wonders behind a Neve DFC. Harrison MPC consoles are also really nice for post.

  • I would also opt for an AMS Neve DFC. Been around the MMC for a while and it just seems so versatile! Aug 31, 2011 at 22:07

I would rock a Eucon System 5 MC front ending a supped up ProTools rig. I miss that system from Discovery Channel Headquarters.


I think it depends on the politics of your dubstage and the geography/local industry roles.

If you want purely a mixer and the guys driving it are just there to mix and not edit then a Dcontrol is a good affordable investment. If you want to fluidly move from mixing to editing and back again a DCommand can be set up more ergonomically - a keyboard in front of the sweet spot (transport/eq/dyn/custom groups) rather than to one side like the less ideal dcontrol. It's nice to have dedicated buttons for custom groups on the dcontrol and a few shortcut keys that are missed on the dcommand but I would still prefer a 40 fader dcommand over a 16 fader dcontrol.

More importantly ICON is a locked in digi protocol but eucon is more open, as in a eucon enabled console will work with things other than protools or a mix of protools and pyramix or nuendo etc. Given the vibe of Avid this last week and their rather radical annexing of their consumer business it may be a safer bet to stay on a more open platform.

That leads you to a Euphonix system 5. Eucon development is putting most ICON features onto the System 5 at a rapid pace, mixed with a best of breed digital audio engine and MUCH nicer hardware engineering than an ICON (better meters, faders, pots, just feels more solid). The ability to mix PT channels and Euphonix mixing engine channels together on a surface just makes for a killer mixing environment. Lovely downmixers and deliverable workflow as well - better monitoring than an ICON, bass mgt etc. Id also be concerned about a Neve product as Ive heard several guys in LA swear getting spare parts or servicing them is like blood from a stone (bought out by Tom Misner of SAE fame, now that's a reputable business...), and Harrison - really? It locks you into the Mixer+dubber workflow where picture changes are a nightmare of conforming desk automation outside your DAW doesnt it? In this economy ravaged business you'd want to work faster than that wouldn't you? 2c from an ex console sales dude returned mixer

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