Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:28 pm

audioio wrote:
Paul Maybury wrote: It was in poor shape and nobody wanted it.Too big and everything it does can be done with a laptop now. It was about to go in a skip. I had to rescue it from such an ignominious fate.

That we should all make such discoveries. I move in the wrong circles!

There are numerous stories of Pultecs being thrown into dumpsters 30 plus years ago when they were deemed old technology and past their use by date. And how many EMT plates were being shoved out the door when Lexicon started rolling out their new fangled digiverbs in earnest?
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby Paul Maybury » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:35 pm

I was very fortunate in his case. I had a lot of help from friends in moving the damn thing. It wouldn't have been possible without the foreman skills and experience of Casey Rice.
It was completely dismantled and took months to put back together and get working. Everything we have subsequently fixed has kept working along with whatever was already working. It's a great console and easy to maintain once you know how it goes together. Access panels everywhere and mostly generic parts.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:43 pm

Paul Maybury wrote:I was very fortunate in his case. I had a lot of help from friends in moving the damn thing. It wouldn't have been possible without the foreman skills and experience of Casey Rice.
It was completely dismantled and took months to put back together and get working. Everything we have subsequently fixed has kept working along with whatever was already working. It's a great console and easy to maintain once you know how it goes together. Access panels everywhere and mostly generic parts.
Paul

Did you have to replace many switches and/or pots in the D&R or was it mainly cleaning?

I've got a couple of ultrasonic cleaners, a little Jaycar one for small stuff and a bigger tank for larger parts.
They're great for cleaning PCB's and patchbays etc. and even knobs.

We ultrasonically cleaned all the patchbay cards in the Series 30 a fews months back.
Worked well and you end up saving money in the long term not buying lots of cans of cleaning solvent.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:33 am

Mostly just cleaning.
Still a lot of scratchy switches. Pot's and faders are all fine if in regular use.
The patchbay was and is perfect. Every external connection bar power is on Dsubs.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby casey_rice » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:01 pm

rick wrote:ELANS
hmm the ones i am talking about were more modern with the step in them


I have the Élan from Metropolis. There was another Elite in Melbourne owned by Adam and Chris from The Calculators that came out of Sony in Sydney. They sold it a few years ago but I don't know where it ended up.

The Élan and Elite are similar. Same preamps, the Elite EQ has switchable bell/shelf on the top and bottom bands...and cue width switch on the middle ones. The Élan top and bottom are shelf only and the middle bands are not switchable but narrow in cue as the cut/boost raises. If I recall correctly. The Elite has short faders in the middle as opposed to pots on the Élan and a few more routing features. It also has trimmable line input gain. It's a lot more "Feature Laden™" but both essentially have the same basic sound.

I have used both of the consoles at Electrical in Chicago. My recollection of those and using others (Series 1, 2 and 3) is that the more modern ones are quieter, and are slight more "hi-fi". The EQ on the older models is far less useful in a musical sense...they feel more like filters and I don't recall ever loving them. The mic preamps were more "exciting" like a Neve or Trident (A/80).

There were a LOT of Neotek consoles in Chicago as they were manufactured there and like other large urban areas, there were a lot of studios. An old friend still has a couple Series 1 consoles. They still work well and and repairable.

After Neotek sold to Martinsound and then further to Sytek, the service isn't as warm and friendly as it used to be. When I worked at Idful Music in Chicago in the 90s, if ours broke the person who put it together personally would come over after work or on the weekend and fix it for us. The good old days.

I really like my console, but my tastes are counter to the transformer saturation/pleasant distortion preference of many. I will be using it tomorrow morning!

:ymparty:
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby casey_rice » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 pm

PS It's the EQ on the modern ones that is the best part.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:49 pm

casey_rice wrote:PS It's the EQ on the modern ones that is the best part.


Yeah the EQ was one of the main reasons for getting the Elite.

I'm still only aware of four Elite's here in Australia.
Headgap and Birdland in Melbourne, a studio called Twin Earth in SA and this one.

This particular Elite came from Montreal and before that I believe it was in Texas.
Still work in progress but it's getting there.

IMG_6205.JPG

I had a nightmare transaction buying the damn thing through a gear broker who is based in Nashville.
Still I was luckier than another guy over here who got screwed VERY badly by the same broker.

Buying gear like consoles from overseas can be fraught with pitfalls.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby berkfinger » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:31 pm

i'm not certain as I think this console was supposed to have two power supplies but only arrived with one.


Well if it was made for 2 then I guess it needs two! My point is that my Neotek is stock but recapped in every way and has really tremendous headroom and noise floor, so I don't believe you need to pimp beyond what Neotek designed, as long as it is intact and functioning properly. I guess the Series 2 is less power hungry and therefore needs only 1 supply as it has less routing options than you do.

I did replace a lot of C & K switches, but you probably already know they are cheap at Digikey.

Also with the Molex stuff, I have followed the Neotek google group and talked a lot with the guys at Electrical about their desks and the common belief is that the Molexes are a weak point (they replaced all the Molexes with gold connectors at great cost and effort and I believe they still have trouble!) . I had a lot of issues originally and when a genius German tech checked my board he discovered a design flaw that simply doesn't allow the Molex to make a solid connection on the motherboard. We took my board apart and carefully trimmed all my PCBs about 2mm and now they connect fantastically and fully. I have all original molex connectors (I did reflow all of the male and female solder connections as well) and I have ZERO seating issues, 18 months on. Before that I would have to reseat modules every day... if you have seating issues, I would have a good look under the hood. I think the Molexes get damaged from people pushing on the channels trying to get them to connect, when really the Neotek guys messed up and didn't allow enough depth in the console construction to ensure the connectors have a really good chance to fully click in... so maybe don't blame the Molex! But of course that is just my experience.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby berkfinger » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:41 pm

The EQ on the older models is far less useful in a musical sense...they feel more like filters and I don't recall ever loving them. The mic preamps were more "exciting" like a Neve or Trident (A/80).


Casey come over and check this one out, I reckon you'll dig it!! Maybe I just struck it lucky with my cap selection but the feedback has been real good, I would describe the EQ as musical compared to an SSL or the like and I honestly can't find any noise... it is so silent it is spooky and a bit offputting. I wonder if it doesn't make and $$$ sense for Albini to spend money on his Series II and therefore it has original cheap caps etc? But as I said before, I need to get a go on a good Elite, because if it is better than this then I am sold, sold, sold! One trusted engineer friend says the Sony Elite was his fav desk, would be interesting to know where it went...
Simon R. Berckelman
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby tactics » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:51 pm

casey_rice wrote:I have the Élan from Metropolis. There was another Elite in Melbourne owned by Adam and Chris from The Calculators that came out of Sony in Sydney. They sold it a few years ago but I don't know where it ended up.

I have this Neotek at my studio Twin Earth here in Adelaide, got it from Adam & Chris about six years ago.
Its 32 channel, 4 stereo channels & four mono effects returns. Great sounding console & was in good condition
when I got it. All the paperwork/schematics etc has CBS/Sony all through it & I have a photo somewhere
of it in Sonys control room from an old ad in Audio Technology. Here's a recent photo.....it's an Elite Mk2.

Image
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:47 am

The single Neotek PS3 power supply that came with it has got pretty hot.
There's a few black hot spots on the PCB so I figure it was struggling.

As I said the two power input connectors had been removed and the dual feeds inside the console had been cut, spliced and taped together as a single power input.

Regarding the Molex issue, Neotek changed over to ribbon cables for the Elites and Elan due to the connectivity issues with the motherboard designs of the earlier Series 1 and Series 2 consoles.

However I think a lot of the connection issues with the Series 1 and Series 2 boards is also caused by the wooden frames getting out of alignment and/or sagging over time which in turn results in less than perfect mating of the Molexes.

This is less of an issue with the Elites and Elans with their use of flexible ribbon cables. (although ribbons have their own annoyances!)

My 1988 Elite has a hybrid wooden/aluminium frame and when it arrived it was pretty loose and wobbly.
The centre of the console had sagged in the middle almost 2cm but the armrest is now reinforced by a 3 metre length of 75mm x 50mm x 6mm aluminium angle bolted to the wooden side cheeks.

Loose misaligned frames aren't so much of an issue for the channel modules which are connected by ribbons but the Elite's four master section modules plug directly into their own motherboard Molexes (somewhat like the older boards - no ribbons) and this also results in dodgy Molex connections over time as the motherboard just literally hangs off the Molex connectors.

A common fix is to make up short ribbons to connect the master modules to the motherboard.
This is what I have done but I have also now squared up and heavily reinforced the entire console frame to make it rock solid.

The second generation Elite II's and Elan II's went to an all aluminium frame which is more rigid than the wooden/aluminium frames and less likely to work loose.

The bottom of my Elite had some pretty ratty thin plywood that was split and falling to pieces allowing a fair bit of the wiring to hang down.

I've since replaced the old ply with 9mm marine ply and screwed it all back in solidly.

As for the switches, well I'm bracing myself for those!

Anyway happy days!

berkfinger wrote:
i'm not certain as I think this console was supposed to have two power supplies but only arrived with one.


Well if it was made for 2 then I guess it needs two! My point is that my Neotek is stock but recapped in every way and has really tremendous headroom and noise floor, so I don't believe you need to pimp beyond what Neotek designed, as long as it is intact and functioning properly. I guess the Series 2 is less power hungry and therefore needs only 1 supply as it has less routing options than you do.

I did replace a lot of C & K switches, but you probably already know they are cheap at Digikey.

Also with the Molex stuff, I have followed the Neotek google group and talked a lot with the guys at Electrical about their desks and the common belief is that the Molexes are a weak point (they replaced all the Molexes with gold connectors at great cost and effort and I believe they still have trouble!) . I had a lot of issues originally and when a genius German tech checked my board he discovered a design flaw that simply doesn't allow the Molex to make a solid connection on the motherboard. We took my board apart and carefully trimmed all my PCBs about 2mm and now they connect fantastically and fully. I have all original molex connectors (I did reflow all of the male and female solder connections as well) and I have ZERO seating issues, 18 months on. Before that I would have to reseat modules every day... if you have seating issues, I would have a good look under the hood. I think the Molexes get damaged from people pushing on the channels trying to get them to connect, when really the Neotek guys messed up and didn't allow enough depth in the console construction to ensure the connectors have a really good chance to fully click in... so maybe don't blame the Molex! But of course that is just my experience.
Last edited by rowmat on Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:43 am, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:51 am

Hello to another Elite owner! :)
I suspected yours was probably the former Calculator's Elite.
tactics wrote:
casey_rice wrote:I have the Élan from Metropolis. There was another Elite in Melbourne owned by Adam and Chris from The Calculators that came out of Sony in Sydney. They sold it a few years ago but I don't know where it ended up.

I have this Neotek at my studio Twin Earth here in Adelaide, got it from Adam & Chris about six years ago.
Its 32 channel, 4 stereo channels & four mono effects returns. Great sounding console & was in good condition
when I got it. All the paperwork/schematics etc has CBS/Sony all through it & I have a photo somewhere
of it in Sonys control room from an old ad in Audio Technology. Here's a recent photo.....it's an Elite Mk2.

Image
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:09 am

Hey Simon,

Did you change the capacitor values in your Series II EQ's or just the cap type?
I'm thinking of replacing the high and high-mid EQ caps in a couple of the Elite channels with some polystyrene and polypropylene versions once I get it running. If I like it then I'll do the rest.

berkfinger wrote:
The EQ on the older models is far less useful in a musical sense...they feel more like filters and I don't recall ever loving them. The mic preamps were more "exciting" like a Neve or Trident (A/80).


Casey come over and check this one out, I reckon you'll dig it!! Maybe I just struck it lucky with my cap selection but the feedback has been real good, I would describe the EQ as musical compared to an SSL or the like and I honestly can't find any noise... it is so silent it is spooky and a bit offputting. I wonder if it doesn't make and $$$ sense for Albini to spend money on his Series II and therefore it has original cheap caps etc? But as I said before, I need to get a go on a good Elite, because if it is better than this then I am sold, sold, sold! One trusted engineer friend says the Sony Elite was his fav desk, would be interesting to know where it went...
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby gregwalker » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:18 am

Since we're on two of my favourite topics I'm going to chime in here as the happy new owner of a Series II Neotek. Just getting it up to speed now with extra patch bays and cabling. Loving the sound and functionality of it but I have to say the Headgap Elite has a really nice authority about its sound too.
Also +1 for the 1 inch 16 track format. May not have the biggest tape width per channel but to me this format brings out all the things I like best about the analogue tape sound, plus me and my clients can afford to buy new batches of tape now and again!
* * * * * *
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:03 pm

Hi Greg,

Did you pick up your Series II locally or import it?

Rowan

gregwalker wrote:Since we're on two of my favourite topics I'm going to chime in here as the happy new owner of a Series II Neotek. Just getting it up to speed now with extra patch bays and cabling. Loving the sound and functionality of it but I have to say the Headgap Elite has a really nice authority about its sound too.
Also +1 for the 1 inch 16 track format. May not have the biggest tape width per channel but to me this format brings out all the things I like best about the analogue tape sound, plus me and my clients can afford to buy new batches of tape now and again!
* * * * * *
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby gregwalker » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:28 pm

Hey Rowan,

I imported mine. The shipping costs were a bit of a hurdle but the console itself came at a good price for what it can do. Fortunately it was really well packed and pretty much worked straight out of the crate which was a bonus!
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:14 pm

Did you use a broker?

gregwalker wrote:Hey Rowan,

I imported mine. The shipping costs were a bit of a hurdle but the console itself came at a good price for what it can do. Fortunately it was really well packed and pretty much worked straight out of the crate which was a bonus!
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby berkfinger » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:58 pm

Hi Rowan,

sorry for the late reply: I went through the schematic with the tech and some caps had a larger voltage Electrolytic put in, because he theorized it may increase low end headroom and the cost was almost the same. He argued it can't hurt to have higher voltage caps but it MAY help. The combo we arrived at was these East German Frolyt caps for all the bipolar and a combo of Panasonic FM and FCs. The Frolyt caps are not mentioned much outside of Germany but they appear to have amazing specs and are pretty cheap...I had to do about 1000 caps so the Poly ones were a bit too much coin for me and I was already very happy with what we had landed on so just went for it...

Did you change the capacitor values in your Series II EQ's or just the cap type?
Simon R. Berckelman
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:56 am

Ok thanks Simon.
Being electrolytics these appear to be more like coupling capacitors than EQ capacitors.
Hadn't heard of the Frolyts.
At least a Neotek recap is not as daunting as something like a Neve VR.
Now that would be scary thing to contemplate!
berkfinger wrote:Hi Rowan,

sorry for the late reply: I went through the schematic with the tech and some caps had a larger voltage Electrolytic put in, because he theorized it may increase low end headroom and the cost was almost the same. He argued it can't hurt to have higher voltage caps but it MAY help. The combo we arrived at was these East German Frolyt caps for all the bipolar and a combo of Panasonic FM and FCs. The Frolyt caps are not mentioned much outside of Germany but they appear to have amazing specs and are pretty cheap...I had to do about 1000 caps so the Poly ones were a bit too much coin for me and I was already very happy with what we had landed on so just went for it...

Did you change the capacitor values in your Series II EQ's or just the cap type?
Last edited by rowmat on Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Interview with Neotek's Mike Stoica

Postby rowmat » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:02 am

For those who are interested here's a 2007 interview with Mike Stoica of Neotek/Sytek and an insight into some of the design philosophy behind Neotek consoles.

Part 1.
http://candlewater.com/interviews/Neotek_Part1/

Part 2.
http://candlewater.com/interviews/neotek_part2/
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby Text_Edifice » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:41 am

That was great - thanks for sharing.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby mistersully » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:54 pm

If anyone has an Elan they're willing to part with, let me know.
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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby gregwalker » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:41 pm

Sorry, belated reply to Rowan's question re using a broker to purchase and ship my Neotek:

Yes I used Mick Wordley at Mixmasters. Mick did a great job - he's very experienced at getting a good result and smoothing the waves in these types of transactions.

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Re: Neotek Elite's - How many in Oz?

Postby rowmat » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:20 pm

Thanks Greg,

In hindsight I would have used Mick to import mine if I'd known more at the time.

After the problems I had dealing with a US based broker to procure my Neotek I would strongly advise anyone considering importing a console from overseas to use a reputable local broker to handle the transaction.

You have very little control dealing with problems from the other side of the planet if an overseas broker screws you around as did mine.

Rowan

gregwalker wrote:Sorry, belated reply to Rowan's question re using a broker to purchase and ship my Neotek:

Yes I used Mick Wordley at Mixmasters. Mick did a great job - he's very experienced at getting a good result and smoothing the waves in these types of transactions.

Greg
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