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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => SR Forum Archives => Road Test FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Jason Dermer on March 15, 2009, 01:04:54 pm

Title: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Jason Dermer on March 15, 2009, 01:04:54 pm
We just fired the first shots in anger on a brand new APB Prodesk 4, with my lead "young dude" Joe V. at the helm. So far so good, 22 out of 24 bands to go before the night is over.


System:
2 VRX932LA DP over 4 VRX918DP
DBX and TC outboard
Shure and Audix mics
APB Prodesk 4 32 frame (this system usually goes out with a GB4)

Initial impression:
So this is what this system really sounds like. The difference with just playback wasn't much, but once 20 channels are summed there is just no comparison.Granted, the console is several  steps up in cost and market, but it sounds like we took a tarp off of the mains.
More later...
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:52:57 pm
I picked this desk up at APB Headquarters in Totowa, NJ on Thursday and delivered it to Jason's shop for subsequent beating up, handing around, and testing. I took some photos I thought you all might find interesting.
Title: Beginning Assembly with Master Section and Power Supply Circuitry
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:53:42 pm
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Title: Input Module Innards
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:54:36 pm
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Title: Nearing Completion, Missing Master Section to Expose Bus Wiring and Output Circuitry
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:55:32 pm
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Title: Almost Finished, Awaiting Final Testing
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:56:24 pm
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Title: Spectra/ProDesk Power Supply Circuit Boards Ready To Go Into Chassis
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:57:13 pm
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Title: ProRack Assembly Area Stocked With Parts
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:58:14 pm
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Title: 32-Channel ProDesk 4 in Motorized Road Case
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 12:59:16 pm
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Title: A,P, and B in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 01:10:54 pm
This is the room where every APB product goes before it gets shipped, and at least two techs separately check every single channel, bus, and control for correct functionality. Between them and the assembly teams they can move consoles through the shop pretty quickly, I saw two completed Spectra consoles go out the door over the hour I was there, plus a ProDesk, and there was a whole cart of tested MixSwitches ready to be boxed and shipped.

From left to right that's Chuck Augustowski, Felipe, Taz Bhogal, Wilton, and John Petrucelli.

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Title: Re: A,P, and B in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Tim McCulloch on March 16, 2009, 01:15:37 pm
Great pics, Bennett, but you got Taz and JP backwards in your caption...  And no pic with Olga?  She's the engineer that makes it all fit inside those metal boxes!

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: A,P, and B in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 16, 2009, 01:26:34 pm
I believe Olga does the circuit board layout too, and is the reason they can get such incredible density into their products... I know in the ProRack there are several 4-layer boards, and I thought I heard rumor of one 6 or 8 layer. Getting all that to fit, and avoid interference, is a real feat of engineering.

Olga always manages to avoid my photos, just like Irene and Mary, who are APB's face to the world and the friendliest people imaginable.
Title: Re: A,P, and B in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Chuck Augustowski on March 16, 2009, 01:40:55 pm
I think Olga was the only one working during Bennett's visit....

Chuck Augustowski
APB-DynaSonics
Title: Re: A,P, and B in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Tom Young on March 17, 2009, 06:31:12 am
Bennet got it right.

JP is on the end (on the right when looking at the photo) and Taz is the 2nd dude (with glasses and in middle) to the left of JP (again; when looking at photo).
Title: Re: A,B, and P in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on March 17, 2009, 10:02:18 am
Tom Young wrote on Tue, 17 March 2009 05:31

Bennet got it right.

JP is on the end (on the right when looking at the photo) and Taz is the 2nd dude (with glasses and in middle) to the left of JP (again; when looking at photo).


Bennet's post was edited 1 minute before Tim posted, and since Tim didn't quote or post his version of the correct order, we can't be completely sure but the original (updated) post is now correct AFAIK, I don't know the two techs.

JR

Note: I corrected the topic title for photo order.  Laughing
Title: Re: A,B, and P in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Paul Bell on March 21, 2009, 12:18:34 am
Hey Bennett, how'd you get the A, the P and the B all at the plant at the same time??

Anyways, this'll clear up any names and add the missing faces.

 http://www.apbdynasonics.com/about_us/AboutUs_ThePeople.html
Title: Re: A,B, and P in Final Testing Room with QA Staff
Post by: Bennett Prescott on March 21, 2009, 12:30:10 pm
Apparently if you call ahead you can get a "reservation"... the whole gang was there, it was good to see everyone and chat.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: bo putnam on March 21, 2009, 09:23:05 pm

Jason Dermer wrote on Sun, 15 March 2009 10:04

...
So this is what this system really sounds like. ...it sounds like we took a tarp off of the mains.


That is a great quote.  A high compliment (and I know that APB feeling...).   Smile
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Joe VItagliano on March 25, 2009, 03:04:58 pm
Here are some pictures of the prodesk 4 in action at the show Jason was talking about.  This console was great to work on.  Easy navagation amazing sound quality.  This is another great product from APB. I will post a more detailed post shortly.  
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Jason Dermer on April 08, 2009, 07:52:37 pm
Round 2. I've put the console into the Saint, http://www.thesaintnj.com/ a 100 cap club, for the next week. It replaces a Venice 320. The system is one modifed for biamp JBL MP415 flown (correctly) per side with four center clustered JBLSRX4718s. Amps are Macrotechs and DSP is a Driverack PA. Outboard consists of an M1, D2, and a nice little mix of Symetrix, RNC, and DBX inserts. EQ is DBX 2231, monitors are folded back on four mixes from FOH.

The house guys Brett and Dan have promised to join the Lab and post reviews.


Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on April 08, 2009, 08:45:38 pm
Must be a cool club. I didn't recognize one group except for  "battle of the bands",  they seem to be everywhere...  Laughing

JR
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Jason Dermer on April 08, 2009, 08:56:05 pm
It's not a bad little place. They have decent techs that keep it running smooth and have us in every couple of months to do a full maintenence run through. They get some baby nationals that aren't yet big enough for the Pony on top of a good local scene. Every once in awhile they will have a bigger act on an off night, I went to see the Tony Levin Band on a Tuesday there not long ago.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Steve Payne on April 11, 2009, 05:40:43 pm
We took delivery on our 24 channel ProDesk in mid March and have been putting it through the paces.  I put our order in a year ago when Chuck and the guys first announced the ProDesk.  I have to say it was worth the wait.  We replaced a Crest HP-8.  As soon as the money starts flowing in a bit this season I plan to order a second ProDesk and replace our Midas Venice.  I don't have time to do a really in depth review, but would like to share some quick thoughts.  #1 is, this is the little desk I have wanted someone to build for 20 years.  It is built like a tank.  Has every feature I could want and it sounds great.  That's about it in a nutshell.  Things I really like:
[]  as with all of APB's previous products - the sweep high pass filter.  I do not think it can be overstated how much more powerful and usable the rest of the consoles eq becomes when it is not crippled by a fixed freq HPF.
[]  and speaking of eq (and mic pres!) they are responsive and a joy to use.
[]  metering - everywhere.  Really cool is the Master / PFL metering which can be switched to display:  RMS/Peak/RMS+Peak (my favorite.)  We can thank JR for this really cool contribution to the ProDesk!
[]  USB in and out with high quality on board AD/DA converters.  Really cool to simply plug your laptop into the USB port on the ProDesk and be able to playback Itunes libraries for walk in/fill music as well as make a 2 track archival recording into Garage Band, Peak, etc....  easy,easy,easy!
[]  On board dual redundant PS (second PS optional, but I wouldn't have it any other way.)
Hot swappable.  If required, they can be changed out in about 60 seconds with a phillips head screw driver.  Complete PS status is displayed next to the Master Meters.  No more lugging around external PS racks.
[]  Headroom - forever.
[]  The pro level features just go on and on.  BIG lighted solo buttons.  BIG lighted mute buttons. (in fact, indicator lights for most of the more important functions). 4 mute groups. A really cool Subs on an Aux routing scheme. On board 1k/pink noise generator.  A ton of other really useful stuff without one "stupid" feature.
[]  It is just plain FUN to mix on a console that sounds this good and is this easy to use.

Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy

As with all of the other APB products, if you're looking for the cheapest entry price, this won't be it.  If you are looking for an absolutely amazing value in a full bore, no regrets pro tool....check it out.


Front of House duties for the Irish Festival -2 days, 20 bands, great fun.

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Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Steve Payne on April 11, 2009, 05:42:34 pm
and doing 6 monitor mixes the next week.

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Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on April 11, 2009, 07:54:28 pm
Steve Payne wrote on Sat, 11 April 2009 16:40


[]  metering - everywhere.  Really cool is the Master / PFL metering which can be switched to display:  RMS/Peak/RMS+Peak (my favorite.)  We can thank JR for this really cool contribution to the ProDesk!



Glad you like the meters... I am very pleased with this project. Very Happy It was a pleasure working with the APB crew, and I really appreciated their design chops and attention to detail.

One minor point the VU response is average, just like a real VU meter.  JP actually fired up a real VU meter next to a ProDesk meter prototype in VU mode and we dialed in the attack/release time constant to be to be the same visually.

Note: the Peak mode uses 4 mSec attack time similar to the PPM peak meter standard, but used the same release time constant as VU mode so in Pk+VU mode when the signal decays, the gap between Peak and VU display will remain steady.

JR

PS: My favorite meter mode is "Peak+ VU" too... Hard to image not using both if you can.

Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Brett Smith on April 12, 2009, 04:47:12 pm
Hey folks, Brett Smith here.  Haven't posted much on these boards, but I told Jason I would post up some reviews.  I'm one of the main house techs and engineers at the "Saint" in Asbury Park.  I also do some studio work as an engineer and producer.  

Took delivery of this demo console early this week.  We almoast couldn't fit it into our FOH booth, but with the removal of a few screws and some TLC, got it to fit.  I have worked this venue for 4 years and know the frequency response of this room like the back of my hand.  

All I can say, is WOW!!  I really dont want to give this board back.  The transparency is superb, seperation is simply amazing, preamps remain incredibly stable under high gain. The amount of head room in the subgroups and master bus section really says something about the quality of this console.  I was able to kiss the limiters of the driverack while only hitting a few yellow leds on the master bus, something the Midas board is not capable of without coming dangerously close to clipping the master bus.  EQ is powerful, but not too powerful.  For the first time in this club I was able to make a 58 sound exactly the way I wanted it to.  Under normal circumstances, I would be desiring a third parametric, but you simply dont need it on this console.  The LF reproduction took me by surprise and even caught the ears of some regulars.  It was tight, punchy and more importantly, "UNIFORM."  The LF holes weren't half as bad as they normally are with the Midas.  Like Jason said, "It's like taking a tarp off the mains"

As far as the layout, everything is set up to be extremly user friendly.  I have mixed on the Spectra T plenty of times before, so I had a slight advantage, but still, the learning curve is almost nothing.  Faders and knobs have a solid, quality feel to them.  I've always been a fan of knobs that have a slight bit of resistance.  It really helps against accidentally sending signal when your doing a 1000 things at once.

Props to the guys at APB for building another superb console.  I will be convincing my club owner to buy one ASAP!  

My first test drive of the console was with an instrumental electronica band.  All members are superb musicians and have top notch gear.  I decided to throw up a ton of inputs to see what this board was capable of.  I will upload a sample of the live recording.  Recording was a live matrix with  2 MXL 90 LDC mics ((x,y)10 feet from stage hanging from ceiling) and 2track board mix.  Heres the input list.

1.Kick In - D6
2.Kick Out - Homemade subkick
3.Snare - I5
4.Hats - SM 81
5.Rack 1 - D2
6.Floor - D4
7.OH - KSM 141
8.OH - KSM 141
9.Bass DI - Radial J48
10.Bass Mic - MD 421
11.Gtr - 57
12.Keys - Groove Tubes passive
13.Keys - Groove tubes passive
14.Congas - 57
15.Misc percussion - SM 81
16. Guest Gtr - 609
17.Vox 1 - MD 431 II
18.Vox 2 -  58
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Brett Smith on April 12, 2009, 06:19:15 pm
http://media1.youshare.com/Guest/17775b966acff5ad-T.jpg



These mixes are fresh off the disk.  No mastering.  

2 MXL90 large diaphragm condenser mics in x,y, hung from the ceiling 10 feet from the stage, feeding a cheap Yamaha line mixer with a HPF at 80HZ and stock yamaha channel compression, combined with a flat board mix from the Prodesk with no compression.  Heavier on the board mix, lighter on the house mics.  
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Brett Smith on April 12, 2009, 06:24:40 pm
http://media1.youshare.com/Guest/17775b966acff5ad-T.jpghttp://media1.youshare.com/Guest/8073fee4a9e6d535-T.jpg

Heres another.  

The stereo image this board acheives is enough to put a devilshed little smile on anyones face!
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Teri Hogan on April 25, 2009, 08:08:54 pm
APB just informed me that Phil Junior (my APB ProDesk 4) has left the building!  Of course, it's headed to OptiCase, my case builder, so Opti Dave can build it some new clothes before we put it to work.  I can't wait!
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Randy Gartner on May 03, 2009, 09:23:13 pm
Jason's description " sounds like we just took a tarp off the mains" is exactly what I thought the first time I mixed on an APB console.My system consists of JBL loaded custom Muelller Boxes from Mueller Speaker,QSC PLX amps,Ashley Protea and Crest X4 console.Not a shabby system.But just susbsituting the APB console for the Crest X4 made my system seem cleaner. The vocals were crystal clear and the instruments had more punch.It kind of put space between everything in the mix.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Mike Goodreau on May 07, 2009, 07:54:35 pm
Ordering my 32 input Pro Desk next week! It will be perfect for the mid-sized rig. We bought the Prorack this winter and everyone that has used it has loved it so far. The build quality is superb and it just sounds great.  Mike
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Teri Hogan on May 31, 2009, 03:33:48 pm
Well, our 24-channel ProDesk 4 finally arrived and we immediatley put it to the test, doing 3 shows in 4 days.  After the very first sound check, John turned to me and said Jason Dermer described it perfectly...someone just pulled the tarps off the speakers.  Couldn't have said it better ourselves!

This board is really a condensed version of the Spectra-C.  There is no audible difference between the ProDesk 4 and our Spectra-T, which we absolutely love.  It has so may gozintas and gozoutas, you have to pay attention when you're setting it up.  Last night we did a show where we, and 3 other people wanted to record and we had plenty of space for everyone, including one guy who used the USB port to record on his computer.

What a feature set!  And John says it's a genuine joy to mix on.  I've got to say, it's not only a Venice killer but it sounds better than the Verona, as well, and now we're talking about two entirely different price points.

We are so tired of wearing out small desks in 4 or 5 years.  I get the feeling this one is going to be like my Crest LM, which is still on the job, working fine 15 years later.

By the way, we named our Spectra-T "Phil Spectra", so this desk is "Phil Junior".  And for those who don't know that we're getting out of the sound provider end of the business, John is now thinking twice about it because between our two APB consoles, life is so much more fun!

If you get one and want a really great case to put it in, Opti-Case designed one for us and has it in their computer, ready to crank out over and over.  It's a really solid, functional case.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 01, 2009, 10:12:41 am
Used the ProDesk 32 on monitors for Jody Joseph last weekend, and it was wonderful. 6 mixes and a multitrack recording from the direct outs.

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Title: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 13, 2009, 03:40:38 pm
OWNING TWO !!!

Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy

 Just took delivery of our second APB ProDesk 24.  I now have one on each end of the snake of our 24 channel rig.  Man, this is really one high quality little package!  Used the set together for the first time last night.  A really cool show.  Very talented local, Susan Greenbaum and her band,  did an absolutely stunning job of performing Carol King's tapestry album in it's entirety from start to finish.  Performance was presented in a great sounding outdoor 2400 capacity amphitheater in downtown Richmond, Va -Dogwood Dell.  
 Mixing opening acts for national one offs does not always provide a great platform for critically assessing equipment performance.  This situation was entirely  different.  A band of very accomplished musicians performing clean, dynamic, faithful arrangements of a set of material that ranks right up there with the best of the best.  Wow!  What fun!  I cannot say it enough, the APB consoles - across the range - are a joy to mix on.  The control and responsiveness just has to be felt and heard to be fully appreciated.  I can't believe I can do something for a living for 33 years and still go to work and have this much fun.  I'm stoked. Once again, thanks and kudos to Chuck, JP, Taz and their support crew for continuing to bring top notch analog products to market!


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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 13, 2009, 03:41:15 pm
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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 13, 2009, 03:42:51 pm
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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 13, 2009, 03:43:47 pm
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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Tim Tyler on June 14, 2009, 12:49:14 pm
Hey, Steve!

It was a pleasant surprise seeing you and your fantastic rig at the Susan Greenbaum show - I was expecting to see the "folksinger on stool with guitar", but was treated to the full show with band and killer sound!  

When I got to the parking lot, I heard what I thought was a CD playing, and as I got to the amphitheater, lo and behold, it was the band... great sound, sir.

That's the first time I've heard the Turbo 50 degree Aspects - very nice sounding everywhere I walked, smooth, not beamy.  

The Prodesk.  It's surprisingly compact, I thought it would be larger, from the photos I've seen.  It's a bit "thicker" (taller?) than a typical 24 ch desk, but I guess it has to be, with all the controls & connectors! (got a pic of the front?)  And recording usb output?  cool.  I had the idea that this was going to be a simple 4 bus offering from APB, but it's really much more than that; I get the impression that a smaller physical size was the goal, not a "dumbing down" of sound quality or features in order to reach a price point...  more like a "midget" version of its bigger brothers than a "lesser" offering, if that makes sense.   Looking at the graphics in the monitor world pic made me smile.

Thanks for your report & pics.

-Tim T



Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 15, 2009, 01:02:34 pm
Tim,
 Thanks for the kind words!  It really was a special moment!
Regards the Aspect Wides - yep - seamless.  The entire Turbosound line is voiced very similarly.  It's just a matter of how much horizontal coverage you want, how far you want it to throw and how loud you want it to play , then choose the appropriate system:  TQ, Aspect Wide, Aspect, Flex....life is good.
Cool
 I think you are right on about the ProDesk.  It is NOT a dumb downed, corner cutting, built to a price point product.  Like everything else APB builds, it is the real deal.  It is targeted toward an intended professional application.  Also, you are right about the height - they couldn't have made it any "shorter" and crammed in the comprehensive interface provided.  Here are some photos of the "back" - or "front" as you call it!

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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 15, 2009, 01:03:08 pm
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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: Steve Payne on June 15, 2009, 01:03:45 pm
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Title: Re: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk?
Post by: ThomasDameron on June 15, 2009, 08:45:03 pm
Steve,

Those things sure are pretty.  I wish I could have fit in one when I came through town.  I told the FOH boy that he missed out big time by choosing the computer (as Grant calls it) instead of the Spectra.  Do you have a pair of Pro Desks now or are they on different gigs?  

What's funny to me about the Apb family is that to some extent it seems that the things that they're doing right are so obvious to us end users.  There's no one thing that they're doing that's really ground breaking.  Every other console mfg. has some amazing example of "sure it's _____ but why in the WORLD did they ___."  It seems that Apb is releasing really well thought out products with OBVIOUS evidence or being people who use the consoles and listening to people who use them.  Oh yeah, they sound great.  Maybe the only other company who hasn't made a boner of a console yet is Digidesign.  However, they've only made 3, so there's that.  Also, it hasn't played out yet, but they seem to still be figuring it out as they release each new console.  If they don't start working new features into the older pricier consoles, they'll really shoot themselves in the foot IMHO.  

just a couple of cents,
thomas d.

Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: drewgandy on June 24, 2009, 01:34:14 am
Teri Hogan wrote on Sun, 31 May 2009 14:33

Well, our 24-channel ProDesk 4 finally arrived and we immediatley put it to the test, doing 3 shows in 4 days.  After the very first sound check, John turned to me and said Jason Dermer described it perfectly...someone just pulled the tarps off the speakers.  Couldn't have said it better ourselves!



Ok, so can anybody with one of these things do the measurements and tell is with proof that the console does not have a high shelving boost built in?  Maybe 3db of that "Air" that Mackie used to do?  
Wink

drew
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 24, 2009, 12:24:28 pm
drewgandy wrote on Wed, 24 June 2009 00:34


Ok, so can anybody with one of these things do the measurements and tell is with proof that the console does not have a high shelving boost built in?  Maybe 3db of that "Air" that Mackie used to do?  
Wink

drew


I have had some private conversations with JP on this subject. I am pretty sure there is no funny EQ tricks involved, but this would be simple enough to test. Note: I once encountered a european powered mixer that had some bass boost when set flat, but that turned out to be because they were using a knob designed for vertical instead of horizontal orientation on the tone control, so it was a half spline off. Despite being unintentional (?) it sounded audibly different at point of sale.

My suspicion with the APB is that there is a cumulative effect of decades of solid electronic design practices, and good ergonomic design. How a product responds when you twist the knobs will impact perceived and real results.

JR

PS: I always thought that "air" knob on the mackies was to compensate for the suck.  Cool
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 24, 2009, 02:52:30 pm
Spent two days straight at the helm of the ProDesk mixing monitors for some particularly picky people who, despite their pickiness, didn't have the budget for more than 6 mixes. A good time was had by most, however, and I finally got the chance to really kick the tires on the new toy.

As usual, it sounds stellar. I'm so used to it now I don't notice that what goes in comes out the same until I have to work with something else. The controls are all very responsive, it is easy and quick to get the desk to do what you want. Variable high pass is a godsend, and the EQ sounds great even when you get a little whacky with it. I did miss the ability to drop a band into a narrow bandwidth mode, but that's not the fault of the desk.

Defeatable EQ, HPF, very flexible pre/post auxes... all a joy. Extensive metering, also wonderful. The main meters are very nice and large, although they didn't get much of a workout this time so I had less of an opportunity to play around with their ability to display dynamic range. I did very much appreciate that the board still sounds great even if you leave a little less headroom than you'd thought... one singer suddenly discovered his stage voice when it came time for the actual show, and the bassist and the drummer both didn't really start playing until the show started either, so I was in the red a little on a few channels. Listened for a bit and decided not to play the gain pot versus aux pot game, left it alone because it sounded totally fine.

The surface was also very easy to get around on. Very little thinking to remember which aux gets what channel to which wedges. Of course, it's hard to get too lost on a 6 aux console, but the color scheme and layout made it simple nonetheless.

One of these shows was also multitracked, and the direct outs of the desk worked like a charm. Through some quick experimentation we determined that they are pre just about everything, which was perfect for the task at hand.

Some photos of one of the shows, courtesy of John Cavanaugh:
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Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 24, 2009, 02:52:59 pm
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Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 24, 2009, 02:53:26 pm
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Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Tom Young on June 24, 2009, 05:36:50 pm
No close up of the rack (center stage) ?

Evil or Very Mad
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 24, 2009, 05:51:23 pm
You don't actually want to see that.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Lee Brenkman on June 25, 2009, 01:35:10 am
Mohegan Sun?

If that's who I think it is I hope the close up video wasn't HD Smile
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Tom Young on June 25, 2009, 06:23:57 am
I trust you on this.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Petrucelli on June 26, 2009, 06:26:05 pm
Drew,
We design our products with the flattest freq & phase response that we can. With the ProDesk-4, we use the same plug-in circuit modules that we use in the ProRack series, so overall the response and "sound" should be very similar across the 2 products.
Here is the freq response of a ProDesk-4 Mono Input channel routed to the Main Left Output.
30dB of channel gain with the channel mixed to the output at unity gain: -20dBu input level, +10dBu output level.

index.php/fa/23432/0/

As you can see, we're pretty flat within (and well beyond) the audio band. That may have something to do with the overall sound...  Rolling Eyes

PM me if you have any questions.

Thanks,
JP
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Jason Dermer on June 26, 2009, 08:35:44 pm
That model rack has quite a few offspring and does not lend itself to close operation.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Petrucelli on June 28, 2009, 11:13:38 pm
LABsters,
Although some of you already know of his involvement, I wanted to give a public  Surprised -THANK YOU- Surprised  to JR for his contribution to the ProDesk-4 console.
I think most everyone on the LAB (at least) suspects that JR is a pretty smart guy. We first met during the Peavey/Crest "Strategic Alliance" and have kept in touch after we both left the PV family. When I was planning the PD-4 meters, I asked him for some advice on micro-controllers (he uses one in his Resotune drum tuner).
After talking a bit, he said that he always wanted to resurrect a meter design he first implemented (and patented) in the 70s. It was able to display Ave and Peak simultaneously; he could now do it "easily" with a micro. How could I say no?
We worked together to produce the meter sub-assembly below; JR wrote the code and came up with the basic HW design, we did the layout & packaging.

index.php/fa/23476/0/

JR was even able to incorporate some later suggestions Bennett made at a trade show (hey, it's only software... Rolling Eyes )
The ProDesk has been very well received and everyone LOVES the metering.
So once again, Thank You, JR! Couldn't have done it without you.

JP
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Teri Hogan on June 29, 2009, 01:20:11 am
I used our ProDesk 4, Phil Junior, as a monitor desk this weekend and I ditto everything Bennett said above.  The band loved it so much, they asked if they could buy it for their future plans of going in-ear.  I explained that they couldn't get five stereo mixes out of this desk and that they DEFINATELY did NOT want to go mono.  But there is always the option of a ProRack Monitor, which would sound exactly the same as this desk.  They were sooooo impressed, and so was I.  But I expected to be.  I used our Spectra-T as a monitor desk for a week when we first got it two years ago.  Piece of cake!
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 29, 2009, 12:02:26 pm
John Petrucelli wrote on Sun, 28 June 2009 22:13

LABsters,
Although some of you already know of his involvement, I wanted to give a public  Surprised -THANK YOU- Surprised  to JR for his contribution to the ProDesk-4 console.
I think most everyone on the LAB (at least) suspects that JR is a pretty smart guy. We first met during the Peavey/Crest "Strategic Alliance" and have kept in touch after we both left the PV family. When I was planning the PD-4 meters, I asked him for some advice on micro-controllers (he uses one in his Resotune drum tuner).
After talking a bit, he said that he always wanted to resurrect a meter design he first implemented (and patented) in the 70s. It was able to display Ave and Peak simultaneously; he could now do it "easily" with a micro. How could I say no?
We worked together to produce the meter sub-assembly below; JR wrote the code and came up with the basic HW design, we did the layout & packaging.



JR was even able to incorporate some later suggestions Bennett made at a trade show (hey, it's only software... Rolling Eyes )
The ProDesk has been very well received and everyone LOVES the metering.
So once again, Thank You, JR! Couldn't have done it without you.

JP


While Peavey/Crest was indeed my first face to face meeting with JP, IIRC he bought some stuff from my kit company decades earlier so this is truly a small world. Chuck is well known to anyone in the console business, and I met Taz on my several working visits up to Crest in NJ. I used to escape into JPs office to talk circuits and other fun stuff to take a break from the BS I was working on. I wasn't up there in a strictly engineering capacity and that's enough about that.

Indeed this meter project was a labor of love for me. My old patent is now expired so even I can use it now.  Rolling Eyes  I am an old analog dog who has been turned to the dark (digital) side... I have been trying to drag the APB guys into the digital world and consider this a limited victory. If you think about it even analog LED meters are digital output, so this just pushed the A/D conversion further upstream.

This meter project worked because it does everything the old analog approach did, better, for the same price or less, in less real estate, and provided the flexibility to add new features and tricks. We came very close to being able to release the first cut PCBs to production but extra features were added to the design, so we could ignore any mistakes I made. Rolling Eyes

For those not familiar with my greatest hits song book, this meter invention displays peak and VU (ave) simultaneously as a single LED for Peak, and bar graph for VU. This is easy to read because peak with even a modest hold duration will always be higher than VU. Many people associate this approach with Dorrough but his is pretty much a curved version of mine which was patented before his.

link to video of meter working
http://www.johnhroberts.com/Candy.wmv

The notorious "Bennet" LED was something I was thinking about but it was crystallized by an exchange with him.  In effect, when the meter is in VU only mode, the top LED is still responsive to Peak level with some extra hold, so even when mixing in VU mode you still get visibility into headroom status. This is similar to the practice of adding a peak LED to a mechanical VU meter.

It is the true benefit of digital, that you can do all kinds of related manipulations on the data in parallel just by writing code. I won't bore you with the other tricks which are designed to be transparent to the end user, just providing information they can use when they need it (Ignore the man behind the curtain).

It was a pleasure working with JP who is no slouch. His rigor in the hardware effort made it a better product.  I love (almost) all of my old inventions, so it is rewarding to see my meter back in the game. When it was new in the '70s this may have been too much complexity for old school mixers to embrace, but in this modern day of so much clutter on computer screens and TV tubes, this display is relative simplicity for the information it contains. Of course I may be a little biased..  Laughing

JR
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: drewgandy on July 18, 2009, 10:50:34 pm
Hi John,
I wouldn't expect any funny business with APB.  I was just joking about an eq boost. But I am very curious about these kinds of descriptions.  From an engineering standpoint I would expect these kinds of comments concerning different speakers or mics.  But the difference a console sometimes makes is hard for me to grasp.  I've been there though.  There are a few lower end boards that, no matter the speakers being used, just don't result in as pleasing a sound as other boards.  For awhile I thought it had something to do with that silky smooth fader thing that uber expensive consoles might sport.  You think that the sound is somehow better on account of the feel of the controls.  I had a recording guy once comment that he tried the mackie onyx 8 channel mic pre box and thought it sounded "steel gray" or something like that.  Well, that's pretty much the color scheme they went with.  Maybe it needed some red or brown on the front panel to "warm it up".  I worked with a band where a couple of the guys said that they could often walk into a bar or club and within a minute or two of listening decide which mixer they were using without ever seeing the FOH.  They said they had gotten pretty good at it after several years of playing 3-4 nights a week in places all over and hearing their own monitor mixes through various consoles.  I certainly don't dispute that we can be trained to hear certain things that the "average" person wouldn't pick up on but when a different mixer is like taking a tarp off the speakers, what's really going on?  

The graph that John Petrucelli posted is pretty impressive.  They obviously don't have a problem with the center detents on the eq not being flat.    

drew

John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 24 June 2009 11:24



I have had some private conversations with JP on this subject. I am pretty sure there is no funny EQ tricks involved, but this would be simple enough to test. Note: I once encountered a european powered mixer that had some bass boost when set flat, but that turned out to be because they were using a knob designed for vertical instead of horizontal orientation on the tone control, so it was a half spline off. Despite being unintentional (?) it sounded audibly different at point of sale.

My suspicion with the APB is that there is a cumulative effect of decades of solid electronic design practices, and good ergonomic design. How a product responds when you twist the knobs will impact perceived and real results.

JR

PS: I always thought that "air" knob on the mackies was to compensate for the suck.  Cool

Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Jamie Taylor on July 19, 2009, 02:45:10 am
I had the great fortune of meeting Chuck A during the 'Integrate' expo a few weeks ago, and had a chance to put my hands on one of these.

They looked amazing, and felt amazing.  I didn't get the opportunity to have a 'play', but I'm sure they sound brilliant.  Chuck also took the time to have a chat to me, and show me the Mixswitch, which I'm very interested in.

Good work APB!
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on July 19, 2009, 10:47:00 am
drewgandy wrote on Sat, 18 July 2009 21:50

Hi John,
I wouldn't expect any funny business with APB.  I was just joking about an eq boost. But I am very curious about these kinds of descriptions.  From an engineering standpoint I would expect these kinds of comments concerning different speakers or mics.  But the difference a console sometimes makes is hard for me to grasp.  I've been there though.  There are a few lower end boards that, no matter the speakers being used, just don't result in as pleasing a sound as other boards.  For awhile I thought it had something to do with that silky smooth fader thing that uber expensive consoles might sport.  You think that the sound is somehow better on account of the feel of the controls.  I had a recording guy once comment that he tried the mackie onyx 8 channel mic pre box and thought it sounded "steel gray" or something like that.  Well, that's pretty much the color scheme they went with.  Maybe it needed some red or brown on the front panel to "warm it up".  I worked with a band where a couple of the guys said that they could often walk into a bar or club and within a minute or two of listening decide which mixer they were using without ever seeing the FOH.  They said they had gotten pretty good at it after several years of playing 3-4 nights a week in places all over and hearing their own monitor mixes through various consoles.  I certainly don't dispute that we can be trained to hear certain things that the "average" person wouldn't pick up on but when a different mixer is like taking a tarp off the speakers, what's really going on?  

The graph that John Petrucelli posted is pretty impressive.  They obviously don't have a problem with the center detents on the eq not being flat.    

drew

John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 24 June 2009 11:24



I have had some private conversations with JP on this subject. I am pretty sure there is no funny EQ tricks involved, but this would be simple enough to test. Note: I once encountered a european powered mixer that had some bass boost when set flat, but that turned out to be because they were using a knob designed for vertical instead of horizontal orientation on the tone control, so it was a half spline off. Despite being unintentional (?) it sounded audibly different at point of sale.

My suspicion with the APB is that there is a cumulative effect of decades of solid electronic design practices, and good ergonomic design. How a product responds when you twist the knobs will impact perceived and real results.

JR

PS: I always thought that "air" knob on the mackies was to compensate for the suck.  Cool




I have had to bite my tongue several times to resist making similar comments. Consoles are not supposed to make night and day differences in sound quality. I am more than an interested poster since I have designed consoles and have even had the opportunity to review some of JP's schematics.

From the MR (meter reader) POV, a review of console specs and data sheets suggest that deviation from a straight wire with gain has several zeros after the decimal point and should be inaudible. From the GE (golden ear) POV, after a succession of hands-on users report sonic improvement, there appears to be some "there" there. Trying to resolve these two world views, the thesis of some euphonious EQ is an easy guess, and easily dismissed by JP's response plots.

From my exposure to partial schematics, I am impressed with the attention to detail  I have seen in basic circuit blocks. If APB consoles sound different than the other consoles that reviewers are familiar with, I am inclined to be suspicious of the other consoles having subtle but audible shortcomings.

I have been in the business for a while and have uncovered any number of corners cut while bench testing competitors product. One observation to make about the MR's argument that the spec sheet doesn't leave room for audible deviation, keep in mind that the manufacturer gets to set the controls for published measurements. Specifications are often presented in a favorable light.

I believe there were measurable differences between the consoles that exhibited audible differences. Some of that may be from more user-friendly control laws, next perhaps some corners not cut, and finally some difficult to quantify expectation bias.

There are a number of subtle "human factors" considerations engineered into better consoles. APB is building upon decades of experience in repeating the stuff that works well, and improving what doesn't.

JR

Note: to readers and mods- I am not impartial about this company, and especially not impartial about this console, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: David Karol on September 08, 2009, 11:31:26 pm
We just finished our demo of the 32 channel ProDesk-4.  I had the opportunity to mix on the ProDesk for a variety of shows.   Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, and Ain't Misbehavin' were the big ones that week.  We also had a band called The Ivy League play through the console.  I've mixed numerous shows on the Spectra T.  As with the Spectra, the on board EQ is extremely responsive.  I can make a microphone sound exactly how I want it to.  The powerful EQ allows everything to just come together without a problem.  Having the two sweep-able bands and the high pass filter really helps. The faders and knobs are of very high quality.  When I'm mixing on the ProDesk, I feel like I'm on a console that costs at least twice what this one does.  It's really an expansion of the ProRack, filling the gap between that and the Spectra.  One thing I really like about this console is the new metering.  The mic preamps don't have a sound to them.  Transparency was obviously one of the focus points when designing the console.  They're just like the ones on the Spectra.  This is really a Pro Desk.  Mixing on this isn't work.  It's a breeze.   I don't know how APB managed to fit 32 channels into this console.  It's so compact, but there's really nothing missing. Every show that went up with this console was multi-tracked through a 003 into a Pro Tools LE system.  We used direct outs for the band, and then a mix of the vocals.  We recorded up to 16 tracks.  For the theatre shows, we ran up to 24 Shure ULX/P Systems with Countryman B3 lavs, and a mic'd pit orchestra.  In the next year or so, I'm hoping to install this console in another of our theatres.  Thanks Jason, Bennett, and everyone at APB!

A few pictures are below.


index.php/fa/24874/0/
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: David Karol on September 08, 2009, 11:32:14 pm
index.php/fa/24875/0/
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on September 09, 2009, 11:42:10 am
David Karol wrote on Tue, 08 September 2009 22:31

  One thing I really like about this console is the new metering.  


Very cool, thanx..

I know the guy who wrote the meter software.  Very Happy

JR
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Jason Dermer on September 17, 2009, 03:46:29 pm
The Prodesk has been delivered to the very capable hands of Mr Dave Dermont, who has promised to run it through it's paces as only a fellow well bearded soundman can. Smile
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Dave Dermont on February 25, 2010, 12:35:49 pm
Greetings from Greybeard central!

OK, so I've had the ProDesk-4 for a while now, and everyone's clamoring for a report. I've had a chance to use the ProDesk-4 and have sent it back to The Mother Ship.

My first use of the ProDesk-4 was as a monitor mixer for a show that consisted of two solo performers.

When I got the call for this gig, the guy hiring me asked if I had a monitor mixer available, since his inventory was tapped out for this date. I told him about the ProDesk-4, and along with being happy he found what he needed to do the gig, he was also very interested in checking it out the console.

The show's opening act was a woman named Judith Owen, who happens to be the wife of  Harry Shearer. Yeah, the wife of the guy who plays Mr. Burns (and dozens of other characters on The Simpsons) and Derek Smalls is about what you'd expect her to be.

The fact that she opened her set with a piano/vocal rendition of  “Smoke on the Water” pretty much says it all.

In the interest of expediency of set changes, a digital piano was used. Most of the sound check for this act was spent addressing the low-end rumble produced by a Roland keyboard amp placed on top of a portable stage deck. I suggested not using the amp and putting the piano through the wedges, but this option did not fly with this artist. (there's that “people skills” thing again) I was able to solve the problem by placing the amp on a piece of foam I scavenged from the microphone box.

For vocals, the artist carried her own Heil PR20.

Stage monitoring for solo acoustic performers has it's own set of demands that are very different than the “make everything louder than everything else until my ears bleed” requests so often encountered with rock bands. Providing detail and nuance can be just as challenging as squeezing out pure “balls to the wall” ear-splitting volume without feedback.

The EQ section of the ProDesk-4 proved to be just the tool needed to to shape the sound to the pleasure of the artist on stage. When the performer is happy, everybody is happy.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2760/4387140877_e8414d18c1_o.jpg

The headlining artist for this show was Shawn Colvin. The stage monitoring instructions given to me by her road manager were “start with everything off, and she'll ask for monitor if she needs it”. We then proceeded to check her guitar inputs, (a DI and a mic) and her vocal mic. After hearing what the room sounded like during our line check, the road manager expressed confidence that Ms. Colvin would not need any stage monitors that evening, and she was right.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4038/4387140871_c05e6c5d27_o.jpg

OK, so sitting there with the faders down might not seem like the best way to test a console. It did, however, allow me to listen to the inputs in headphones and “get a feel” for the console. It feels good. Real good.

After this gig, I took the console to what is presently my “regular” gig in a small club with a PA system that's way too big for the room.

Let's just say that the bands that play this room like it that way.

The ProDesk-4 was a wonderful console in this application. Again, it was a bit of overkill for the room, but an absolute pleasure to use. As compared to the usual console I use in this room, which is named after a city in Italy, I enjoyed having things like a logical layout and real faders to go with the great sound of the console. I especially enjoyed the variable Hi-Pass Filter. How am I going to live without one now that I sent the ProDesk-4 back?

I suppose I'll survive, but I won't be quite as happy.

That's it for now.

Carry on.



Title: What's better than owning an APB ProDesk? ProDesk-8
Post by: Chuck Augustowski on June 18, 2010, 03:38:11 pm
We have now introduced the ProDesk-8 at Infocomm and will begin to ship these near the end of the 3rd quarter.  Below is a photo of the ProDesk-832.  Input configurations available (mono mic/line input channels)will be 24, 32, 40 and 48 and all versions have 4 additional stereo line input channels plus 2 Stereo Program input sections within the masters section.

Chuck Augustowski
APB-DynaSonics

index.php/fa/30872/0/
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Phil Ouellette on July 25, 2010, 02:30:26 pm
I'll bet the variable HPF has a lot to do with eliminating low end mud from the mix. Getting rid of that will do wonders for the clarity of a mix.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on July 25, 2010, 03:49:38 pm
Phil Ouellette wrote on Sun, 25 July 2010 13:30

I'll bet the variable HPF has a lot to do with eliminating low end mud from the mix. Getting rid of that will do wonders for the clarity of a mix.


If it was that simple, the Peavey monitor consoles with sweepable HPF would get similar raves (actually no.... because there is also listener bias involved). Indeed judicious application of HPF cleans up a lot of mud, and adds usable headroom in most applications.

As I posted before the APB consoles are very well executed (linear) audio paths, with good attention paid to human factors engineering.

I have tried to encourage them to branch out into high end recording products as another market that should appreciate their audio path purity. I fear the live sound and install markets will eventually be dominated by cheaper digital solutions.

JR

PS: the secret in the pro desk is really the meters. .  Laughing
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 4
Post by: Teri Hogan on July 27, 2010, 02:59:38 pm
For anyone who is following this post and now finds himself just dying to own a ProDesk 4, I have one for sale, in a high-quality road case, for $4,000.  It has just 7 months of use of it, just enough to shake it out and ensure everything is working up to spec, and we couldn't be happier with it!  But now that we have retired from the live sound provider biz, it needs to find a new and productive job.  This is a 24-channel desk which we have also used very successfully as a monitor console.  Come and get it from me!  Please.
Title: APB Pro Desk 8 !!!
Post by: Steve Payne on September 21, 2010, 10:24:18 pm
It's Alive !  We've had serial #0001 in our hands now for almost a week, doing the final beta testing for our friends in NJ.  This is one sweet puppy.  Those APB boys n' girls just keep figuring out more cool, useful features to pack into every new product!  Things like:  8 groups, 8 aux sends, 8 mute groups, 8 (8x12) matrix mixers...hey, I get it - Pro Desk EIGHT!
But really, in addition to everything you get on a Pro Desk 4 (x2), other great new features include:

[]  hi and lo eqs switchable between 8/12k and 60/120 hz respectively (still has the mid sweeps of course)
[]  fader flip between auxes and groups - for monitor application
[]  channel safes from mute groups w/ individual indicator lamps for local mute, remote group mute and channel mute safe
[]  variable level option on the channel mono assign for subs on an aux function without actually   using up an aux
[]  "dim" switch for solo and mute lights for that sexy stealth look at night

We had this desk out over the weekend doing a multi-act street festival.   It is basically a ProDesk 4 on steroids, so we were very familiar with what to expect from it performance wise. ( We have had two of the PD4s in use now for over a year and they are absolutely rock solid and sound fantastic.)  This little console will not disappoint.  It is a full on pro mixer in spades.  Everyone that used it at the street festival absolutely loved it. Actually, there was one engineer that refused to use it...
Labster Jim Brooks showed up with his headlining band "Casper", toting his very own APB Spectra C, complete with outboard compliment already dialed in and his show "premixed".  I think that Jim was impressed with the ProDesk 8, but not enough to give up his Spectra!

We've got another weekend festival scheduled for the PD-8 for real world tests as well as another week or so of listening tests in the shop.  We have to send it back mid October in time to make it's first official public appearance at the San Francisco AES Nov 4 thru 7.  If anyone is in the Richmond, VA area and wants to get a sneak peak before the official release, drop me a line.

index.php/fa/32673/0/

Looks like an APB Love Fest !  "Eggo" guarding over the ProDesk 8 and trying to look cool, while Labster Jim Brooks makes easy work of making his band "Casper" sound great on his Spectra.
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 8 !!!
Post by: Steve Payne on September 21, 2010, 10:37:20 pm
Billy Voigt going for the ultimate kik sound ?

index.php/fa/32686/0/
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 8 !!!
Post by: Steve Payne on September 21, 2010, 10:39:41 pm
and sometimes, it sounds so perfect, you just have to sit back and marvel... Twisted Evil


index.php/fa/32687/0/
Title: Re: APB Pro Desk 8 !!!
Post by: Jim Brooks on September 23, 2010, 09:19:13 am
My APB Spectra C is my first VCA console.
Didn't take long to like it tho.
One thing I didn't expect.
I get a lot of comments at gigs about how expensive the console looks.

Hope my APB Spectra C didn't make the ProDesk-8 feel bad.
It shouldn't because it's a great console.
You couldn't tell any difference in sound between my console and the ProDesk-8.
A lot of little nice features.
1/8" input on the front of the console for ipod input.
USB record.
A lot of attention to the details.
Typical APB.

Jim Brooks
casperband.com