edited almost 2 years ago
Under the Radar but pretty solid overall.
My Teac Model 15 is a full size frame with 18 channels built in, 2 stereo/4 mono 'echo' sends and 4 stereo/8 mono busses depending on how you configure things but no dedicated mix bus. Mine is set up opposite of the one pictured. The bus/master section is to the right and the channels start at the elft after 6 spacers filling where the other channels would be if it had a full 24 modules.
The meter bridge has a needle meter for each mono busand the meters way to the right that you would expect to be for the master mix bus monitor the headphone amp and you can basically assign anything to that. You can run any channel into any bus for mixing and link any 2 mono buses that are side by side. You can assign any echo return to any bus or even to an unused channels strip so you can enjoy the nice EQ across effects you are running in parallel. There's an insert on every channel as well as an effects insert on every bus strip. If you mix down on this board completely (which I generally don't) you have to assign your last pair of buses as the master and route any other busses you are using as submixes into it. Generally whe I have mixed with this board I use it to create groups using the nice, warm analog busses onto a reel-to-reel 1" 4 track and then record them all into a DAW and to finish my mix through the DAW's mix bus. Or I just give the stems from the tape to the Mastering Engineer.
The weird thing about the Model 15 is its outputs to the recorder are all RCA jacks! I've never had any issues with this, but the next time I set this guy up I plan to take the output section apart and hardwire EVERYTHING to a patchbay.
The preamps on each channel sit somewhere between API 300 series pres and some of the post-A-series Trident stuff. It has a more American flavor to the pres, think Calrec preamps, but not as fat. Solid bass response, clear mids, slightly muted top end that really lends itself to condenser mics over ribbons and dynamics if you are not using the EQ section while tracking. Suffice to say they are not my favorite preamps, but they sound full and detailed enough to track an entire album with nothing else. The preamps feature a -10dB pad but my board does not have phantom power (this would have been an upgrade option for the HUGE power supply that the guy who ordered mine musta thought was unnescasary). Also, if you track everything through these pres your mix will really glue together easily as they have a serious sonic signature.
The EQ section is a 4 band affair with low and high shelving and 2 mid-bands with selectable center frequencies on 3 way rotaries like a Neve. Also like Neve's early EQ there is no width (Q) switch to toggle between wide for boost or narrow for cut. I feel like the mid-bands get narrower as you cut but feel wide and gentle as you boost, so maybe there's something going on with the Q that's inherent to the circuit like some Neve-style inductor based EQs. Regardless, the EQ section is very musical and sweet and the fixed mid-bands keep you from fuckng up a good thing. I definitely like to use the high shelf to boost while tracking to add a little air to dynamics and ribbons since the pres are so warm. Because of the lack of phantom on my 15 I tend to put a little 5k or 8k boost on most tracks while recording because its quite a sweetener. The pres do lend themselves to Neumann style capsules and LOVE acoustic instruments from guitar to cello!
When mixing, overloading the buses produces a lovely lower mid-range growl across a group. One of my favorite ways to use this board in mix down is to create stems (as I previously mentioned), but sometimes I make 8 stems on a rock record. 5 stereo stems will be submixes of drums, bass tracks, guitars/keys, and vocals in whatever combinations tickle my ear and then I wills et up 3 stereo parallel compression busses. Each stereo compression bus will feed an outboard EQ feeding a Compressor that excels at a certain frequency spectrum. Of course the EQ will be tweaked to eceentuate some of the best frequencies of my raw tracks and to omit or at least subdue anything I am trying not to compress. So I will create a low mid and high compression stems and print those as independent stereo tracks to belnd in later to make certain things pop without resorting to mis or even overt submix bus compression. BANG! Dynamics preserved while getting all the benefits of compression artifacts.... yeah, I am nuts, but its a great trick that only a mid-format console can do. If you try it in a computer you will get phasing issues. Even the fastest system with independent DSP cards has latency, but electrons move at the speed of light guys.
Anyway, Teac Model 15 consoles are solid and affordable mid-size consoles in an easy-to-understand in-line format. Lots of features and really good design make this a good buy if you can find one that's working.