Alice 828 Mixer
April 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm #15170DrIncredibleParticipant
Recently came by one of the small format broadcast desks you are purported to have had some involvement in. Is there any truth to this? And if so, could you clue me in to where i might be able to get a schematic for it, and possibly a little banter about the merits of its components and likely spares etc
Dr IApril 5, 2009 at 8:20 am #15470
I do indeed purport!
The 828 was our most successful design… we sold hundreds of them with customers ranging from the Singapore Army to Wimbledon Tennis Club. It was the classic of its day, a simple 8-channel transformer input mixer with a very useful stereo limiter compressor on its output.
There are many ‘gee-wizz’ stories about 828s; one of my favourites actually happened to me…. on a visit to Pinewood I was shown the brand new (as it was then) sound stage with its outrageous Neve mixer that required at least 3 operators, and in the centre on the script area was an 828…… they were doing the final mix for the Bond movie ‘Thunderball’ through it because they liked the limiters!
As it happens, I do have all the circuit information for the 828 and I will send them to you on normal email tomorrow.
Technically, the 828 was very interesting in hindsight…. the channel retained a transformer for the mic in; it was made for us by Dr Sowter. The channel amplifier was extremely simple with minimal feedback and running in class-A, and the mixing, very unusually, was passive! The result was a signal path with virtually no odd-order distortion (class-A and minimal feedback), the noise at the output was not great by modern standards, but was certainly good enough for professional studio use.
With its very high input overload margin, the performance was perfect for speech applications and it became the preferred mixer for radio and television O/B use as well as being ideal for commercial production.
The 828 was living proof of a number of ‘ground rules’ about quality sound reproduction…..
Overload margin (headroom) is everything.
Noise is relative.
The unpleasantness of distortion has little to do with the numbers.
And now after all these years, it was proof that low impulsive distortion sounds right!
I designed the 828 with help from Steve Dove (this was actually before Barry Porter’s time with us at Alice.)
You talk about ‘small format broadcast desk’…….. I think we invented it.
April 5, 2009 at 8:54 am #15471DrIncredibleParticipant
The mixer i have, (and have yet to receive btw) has one cracked vu meter glass and possibly a tip or top missing here and there. Is there any way to improve the noise with modern components or would that interfere with the aforementioned topography?
Also, as i have yet to receive it, could i have it sent to you first for some servicing. If so how much would you charge and what realistically could be done with it to launch it screaming into the 21st century?
thanks again.April 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm #15472
I’ve got a policy here, that I will fix any old gear of my design for a fixed fee of £25 plus the cost of returning it.
This is stretching it a bit!! But what the heck…. I can’t promise to replace the meter glass although I will have a look around….. and I don’t have any stock of the faders, but I can get it back working properly again…. I would seriously avoid any modifications, in terms of performance these mixers stood up well…. it will be interesting to hang a spectrum analyser on it!
Yes, when You get it, let me have it by all means (I’m assuming you are in the UK) and I will fix whatever it needs.
(If you are in the USA… and this goes for anyone sending equipment, we have had recent problems with customs on equipment sent back for servicing; it’s not impossible, but there are delays.)June 5, 2009 at 9:59 pm #15469brillmukParticipant
Found this discussion board through a description of an 828 currently on Ebay!
I recently acquired one of these excellent small broadcast mixers. Serial Number: A324-1219.
Inside I found the initials MHF and 11/6/79 presumably the day it was built.
There is only one small problem which I would like to fix. Monitoring of main output is about 20db down on one side.
When a prefade button is pressed, monitoring level (mono) is fine on both sides. Main outputs levels are fine, only the output monitoring has the problem. Hopefully just a leaky capacitor or something fairly simple.
I am confident that a circuit diagram would help me find the cause. Any circuit diagrams or information would be very much appreciated.
Description on Ebay mentions phantom power which I don’t think is true, unless it was an optional extra.
I would prefer PPM’s rather than VU meters, do you think this would be a feasable modification?
Thank you in anticipation
Sound EngineerApril 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm #15474SEED78Participant
what difference is there with the version of this mixer that has Guaranteed Venues written on it?April 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm #15475 The ‘Guaranteed Venues’ mixers were just standard 828 mixers but with the customer’s name silk-screened on them. We built about 20 mixers for that outfit, and as a concession we put their name in them. There were a few small modifications on those mixers….. we made provision for blanking plates to be fitted over the rotary controls to stop people fiddling with them! But to answer your question, they were standard 828 mixers.April 11, 2012 at 10:49 am #15473SEED78Participant Thanks very much Ted – again
great that people are still enjoying these mixers! maybe I’ll be a proud owner myself one day.September 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm #15476TaxusbacataParticipant
I have a good working condition Alice 828 for sale on eBay:
Made in 1979. Serial No. A163-1187. Makers initials and manufacturing date (MHF 14.5.79) on inside of main cover.September 10, 2013 at 9:18 am #15477
That looks like a really nice one! It is truly amazing how these mixers have survived and how many are still in use.
I use an 828S as my monitor mixer in my studio/laboratory…. It’s a really convenient multi-input mixer that just sits there and works.
The electronics design of these is simple and does not try to do anything too clever, just clean amplification and mixing with lots of overload margin.September 14, 2013 at 8:22 am #15478TaxusbacataParticipant
Thanks for the compliment, Ted. It’s been we’ll looked after and indeed always performed extremely well. sadly it’s now surplus to requirements, hence the sale.November 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm #15479jennifermParticipant It was me who bought it. It will be going to a good home, working in series with a Neve 16 channel summing mixer. The 828 will add eight channels of nice analog EQ, between the DAW outputs and the Neve (via the 828 direct outs), and a spare stereo mix buss and some extra sends via the 828’s own outputs. It should warm up the digital stuff nicely!
JenniferNovember 13, 2013 at 9:53 pm #15480jennifermParticipant
Hah! No, it’s a different one I bought, same spec, for almost exactly the same amount! They do come up on Ebay occasionally. I have another one, bought a few years ago, in my other place. The prices are certainly on the up, deservedly so. They are massively underrated, though perhaps that’s changing as prices for old Neves and the like become silly.November 14, 2013 at 11:49 am #15481 At this rate it looks as though all those old Alice mixers we made between 1975 and 1990 are still in service somewhere!
Yes, the 828 does have a very good sounding EQ section; the secret is that it is very simple. It is ‘class A’ circuitry so any distortion is 2nd order, which is musically good and adds to the smoothness and musicality of a system. And those output limiters are legendary…. The funny story about that design is that it originally came from a ‘Mullard book of transistor circuits’ from about 1958. I found the circuit there and in its original form it was just a toy, but after just a little ‘tweeking’ it turned into a superb limiter…. but you have to be careful with it, it is easily possible to overload it and not realise.October 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm #15482ash_wmParticipant
I found this forum whilst searching for info on my Alice 828. I’ve had it for a long time and it has been both a wonderful workhorse for live front-of-house mixing for pub gigs and a beautifully warm studio pre for my digital recordings. I’m selling reluctantly as I need the money and came across this forum. If anyone is interested in owning one of these one of a kind mixers, here is the link on eBay…
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