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Allen & Heath System 8 - 12-8-2


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Allen & Heath System 8 - 12-8-2

Category:  Products / mixing desks / analog mixers

Added: 10-Jan-03  |  Author: admin

New price: discontinued  |   S/H price: 200-400 quid

Allen & Heath System 8 - 12-8-2

Allen & Heath System 8 mixers can be found reasonably easily in the free-ad's and I think they are one of the finest choices for a cheap affordable s/h mixer despite their age. Back in the day, just before the super-budget breakthru of the narrow format tape machines arrived from Fostex etc, 3 mixers ruled the earth for budget price studio's. The Studiomasters, the Soundcrafts and the Allen & Heaths. These 3 companies must have accounted for a good 80% of all budget studio mixers which were in use at that time, and today these mixers still rock for a super-sweet sound!.

Of all the system 8's released, the ones I used were almost all MKI models with the browny-green colour (although I did work for a while with a later grey Mk3.

[later grey style mkII/mkII style]

The System 8 mixers were a very popular desk as they were quite price-breaking at the time of release (82/83 for the first series), and quickly found a home in many studio's and pa systems offering quality facilities in a non-modular format, built in meter-bridge and more.

Don't think cos they are old they are not as 'good' as a modern mixer, the eq on these mixers is SO sweet, really really warm and fat, and tracks mixed on this desk seem to have really good definition...

System 8's are not small! - so you need a bit of space... but then that to me is half their charm, you get a big working area, with plenty of space between channels and nice chunky pots... all is laid out clearly and working with one is a breeze, they are VERY easy to understand for the newbies too because you don't have any cryptic routing & switching modes like found on so many compact modern mini-mixers!

Ok, so that's my experience of this mixer series, and i would not hesitate to use one again as a front-end for a PC digital system nowadays if I had the space. They might be a tad noisier (on paper) that a modern 'mini/compact' mixer, but the sound!!... the sound is so so sweet! - These would be perfect also for anyone seeking to setup a budget/midrange classic analog style studio to accompany a 16 track. (or it'd be cracking to use with a couple of sync'd ADAT's too!

Another cool thing is the extention module which like the earlier Studiomaster mixers from this period allowed you to bolt-on an additional 8 channels. The add-on module is rare tho, but you might be lucky to find one included with the original desk! - Also these mixers could be cascaded together to link two! - quite an inovative mixer at the time and when it came out as i say it was a real blockbuster seller offering superb sound and pro facilities at a cost-concious price. You might have seen these in budget 16 track studio's with mebbe an old Soundcraft Saturn or Brennel mini-8 or Tascam 8 track tape deck or whatever.

On the left you can see a System 8 channel strip.

System 8's have Balanced XLR's with phantom & inserts on all channels, and input pad (20db) for mic signals - 3 Aux sends, one pre-fade, one post-fade & one switchable pre/post. Pfl & Mute switch, peak led indicator and a long-throw 100mmm fader with a +10dB overtravel for getting extra input gain. Output Routing is simple with the L/R & sub-group buttons down the bottom by the pan/fader. The mute switch makes it ideal for dub's and live dance mixing and there's no nasty popping or clicks when you use it.

The top Eq has selectable shelving 8/12k switch and the bass Eq had an 60/120hz shelving switch, top that with a nice sweep mid from 400hz-6khz and british design & quality components and the sound of these mixers really hums!... I used one in a reggea studio for a year or two I worked in and the tracks which resulted from various sessions in that time were really nice and warm and fat. The switchable top & bottom Eq shalving allows you to really tweak up the sound... Switch to 60hz for real ball-busting warm defined bass tweaking, or 120hz to work a bit higher up the range for gorgeous low-mid sweetness.. same with the tops, this eq is just so sweet and imo pisses on some of the supposedly 'British eq' clone mixers on the market today.
The Buss section has inserts on all outs & group/tape switching and you've got 2 aux sends on each buss. The buss channels can also function of course as basic returns for extra Aux return use or adding extra inputs (with no eq) which gives you a potential extra 8 channels on mix.

Master section has all the gumph, aux's & aux returns, pfl, monitoring, 1k slate tone, talkback, streo foldback etc etc, plus there's a headphone socket and a mic socket onboard to add a foldback mic. System 8 is a proper desk offering full functionality for all studio & live pa tasks with dedicated controls for everything.
Master section has all the gumph, aux's & aux returns, pfl, monitoring, 1k slate tone, talkback, stereo foldback etc etc, plus there's a headphone socket and a mic socket onboard to add a foldback mic. System 8 is a proper desk offering full functionality for all studio & live pa tasks with dedicated controls for everything.

Here is a System 8 (mk1 16-8-16) with the add-on 8 channel extention - sweet eh!

Here's some info from Allen & Heath's website.

The System 8 range was designed for multitrack recording or sound reinforcement. There were three different series of System 8 mixers: Marks I, II and III, each with its different models of input and output formats and each with different circuitry. The Mark I and II desks were a brown colour overall, and the Mark III was grey. The Mark I and Mark II models can be differentiated by the fact that the Mark II had faders with 100mm of travel plus an EQ Cut switch on each channel. The Mark I had faders with 90mm travel and no EQ Cut switches.

Production dates
MKI: Dec 1982 to Mar 1983
(serial numbers 0801 to 1657)
MKII: Mar 1983 to May 1986
(serial numbers 2001 to 3040)
MKIII: May 1986 to Aug 1993
(serial numbers 4001 to 4543)

Retail Prices
(Prices from August 1988 price list.
Prices exclude tax and are given for reference only. We are not able to advise on prices for used consoles).
System 8 1616 - 1900
System 8 2416 - 2395

System 8 MKI spec sheet

A big image of the 12-8-2

D/load zipped original brochure images

So there ya go - a classic 80's mixer worth seeking out in the free ad's - Thought I'd add it in to the old DT listings... Anyone use this still or has some fond memories?... Fel free to leave some user comments below!...

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User Comments

Product:  Allen & Heath - System 8 - 12-8-2
Name: andy willis
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 05-Mar-11

this is a lovely little mixer !!!!I have a system 8 1616 which has been lovely its needed a bit of love and a good clean inside and out but its just a great desk for learning on and a really nice warm desk i bought the 1282 while the other was in service for 60 on ebay and its really having it i would recommend these highly after starting with a small mackie and not understanding about character after getting a system 8 i finaly got the picture .they can be a pain to fix but just ring allen and heath and they will put you on to a tech who wil servive it its ben a real adventure getting these desks and sorting them out but i wouldnt go back to the no soul clinical vibe of a budget modern mixer so if you see one of these dont listen to the people who tell you not to bother it will be too much work etc get one get your hand in your pocket get it sorted and enjoy one !!!!!!!!!

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Product:  Allen & Heath - System 8 - 12-8-2
Name: andy wilis
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 18-Jan-15

Hello! Well years down the line Ive just got back my system 8 12 channel console after selling it to my mate ( i had the mk1 16 channel but couldn't fit it in my studio when i moved ) Ive just used it and its so sweet !!! i have sourced an 8 channel expander unit through sheer luck so im up to 20 channels and have got hold of a load of new buttons switch caps and a load of mk3 grey pot knobs and caps so im replacing all the vu units with better looking ones and have a few pots to replace and a cleaning and service to sort it but im buzzing at the moment and cant wait to swop my soundcraft 200B around and get this up and recording ....anyone needing spares for theirs i have a load plus a lot of really good mk 1 90 mm faders !!!

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