Interesting to look back at my old post from 3 years ago where I was 3 months into working at my own room after an 8 month break from when Europadisk closed.
Lots of things have in fact remained the same but some things have changed.
|TotalSonic wrote on Wed, 28 June 2006 04:55|
Digital Source (SAWStudio DAW #1 w/ Lynx One AES outs, DA-20 or PCM2600 DATs, MD350 MD player. Denon or Philips CD players)
-> Z-sys digital patch bay
-> 2 Lavry Blue DAC's (1 direct to Coleman M3PHmkII for source monitoring, 2nd to chain) ->
Analog Source (Sony/MCI JH110M / Sansui SR717 turntable / Denon cassette deck) ->
Nothing different here except the PCM2600 died and was replaced with a Panasonic SV3700 (which also goes just as unused!), and I added a Sony DVD player, a Yamaha 4-track cassette deck and a Panasonic VCR player (not that any of these have gotten much use either but I still like to be able to offer transfers from as many formats as I can).
I also recently added an Otari MX5050 to allow me to actually record to 2-track tape when desired (my MCI JH110M is a playback only deck) and to playback 1/4" 1/4 track tapes - just got the transport fixed on it but still have to get heads relapped for this one so it hasn't seen any action just yet.
I upgraded my phono pre to a Simaudio Moon LP5.3 - been really happy with this. I've also been thinking of upgrading my turntable - have my eye on this one - www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject-RM-5-Turntable
Amek Medici eq ->
OR pair of custom modded NTP179-120 ->
The Medici is still my primary go to eq, and the API2500 still gets plenty of work here as well - but the NTP's are out of the chain now - replaced with a Focusrite Blue 330 and a Pendulum OCL-2.
Mytek Stereo96 ADC ->
Z-sys digital patchbay ->
SAWStudio DAW #2 (w/Sydec Mixtreme192 & ibox AES4)->
This is all the same but I stopped using the ibox AES4 to connect to the Sydec Mixtreme and replaced it with an Apogee Soundscape 896I/O as it gives a ton of connectivity into the DAW (8 channels AES, 8 channels TDIF, 8 channels ADAT, 8 channels analog i/o in case I have to do multi-channel transfers).
RML Labs Levelizer &/OR Waves L3 ->
Both of these limiters are now almost never used - replaced by Voxengo Elephant 2 & 3, as well as occasional use of GVST GClip and Stillwell Audio Event Horizon+. I also bought the Flux Pure Limiter II recent but haven't attempted to solve my system's severe stability problems with the full version of it yet.
Sonoris Dither (or sometimes Waves IDR dither if the L3 is the final processor)
Using the Sonoris Dither exclusively these days.
Of course a lot of times things aren't as "simple" in which case the above might get augmented on the analog side by:
-> pair of Filtek MKIII eq's - if I need either a hardedged bottom or more bands than the Medici gives me,
replaced by both an API 5500 and a modded Sontec MEP250EX
and sometimes a
-> SPL Vitalizer (I have the original stereo version, the SX2) if dealing with something that has too much "M's" (i.e. Mono-ish, Muddy, Muted, overly Mid-rangey)
I had Dan Zellman swap out a number of the IC's in this for ones with lower distortion and lower self noise - definitely helped make it give cleaner results.
& on the digital side (either patched into the playing DAW or receiving DAW depending on the processor) as needed of:
(fully automateable 64bit processing SAWStudio native plugins)
JMS Audioware Hi-res EQ
Sonoris Mulitband Compressor
Sonoris M/S codec
Sonoris Linear Phase EQ
Brainspawn Stereo Panner
The updated versions of Sonoris EQ & LPEQ are getting lots of work for both minor tweaks and surgical needs here - the 2.x versions of these are simply some of the best digital eq's ever made. Been using the Flux Stereotool instead of the Brainspawn Stereo Panner these days though. The rest of these plugins only get used rarely although occasionally I do still like the JMS Hi-res EQ in preference to my other options for creating big low shelf cuts with really high slopes in order to reshape the bottom end away from rumble and into thump.
Virtos Stereo Processor
Virtos Noise Reduction
Sony NR2.0 Click Remover
AIPL Warmtone (only used in rare cases to distort side channel)
Added Acon Digital Studio Clean (primarily for it's excellent declicker/decrackler), Voxengo Redunoise, and Wave Arts MR Hum to help with restoration tasks. I also got a UAD-1 card loaded with the Precision series plugins but frankly I almost never use it beyond occasional use of the Precision De-esser (it's just it's resale value is lower than the value I get by having it listed in my gear list).
As far as things I'd like to change in the chain:
* well, while the Filtek's usually work well as a secondary eq - I'd still like to find another option that could be a lot more subtle as the Filtek's 2dB steps tend to be overkil for most applications.
I ended up selling off my racked pair of Filtek MK3's and got a Sontec MEP250EX (modded so the pots gain ranges are half of what they are stock), and an API5500. Both of these have a lot more headroom and versatiliy than the Filtek's although once in a blue moon I do miss the hard edged bottom the Filtek's had. The 2dB steps with them were definitely deal killers.
* I had Dan Zellman open up my Medici and he's pretty sure he could open up the sound a little more by upgrading the caps in it. I'd like to replace the pots on the input gains (seems Neve doesn't see any problem with this as the same kind of thing is on the Masterpiece) with stepped switches in 1/2dB steps also.
I ended up getting these mods done (stock cheap Korean caps replaced with current Panasonics that have much better specs) and am definitely glad to have done it.
* I'd like to get either a Weiss DS-1 or a Maselec de-esser to hopefully better handle this chore than my current in-the-box options
Didn't get either - instead I got a pair of Empirical Labs DerrEssers in an Avedis R52 rack - cheaper than either of these other options but it works fantastic to my ear for dealing with both sibilance or edgy overly bright percussive elements.
* definitely would eventually like another dynamic processor - the DW Fearn VT7 really caught my ear recently - but I'm open to other options
Ended up getting not one but two new options (Focusrite Blue 330 and Pendulum OCL-2). Definitely happy to have these options now as they both give very different sounds from my API2500. The one mod I still want to do though is to get rid of the OCL-2 output pots and have these replaced with stepped switches.
* and definitely would like to get an analog M/S matrix. Think the Dangerous S/M box might be the ticket - but I'd be curious to see if I could just get some of the older Neumann or Telefunken "panorama" modules racked up to get the same functionality for less cash.
Ended up instead of getting a pair of ADR Propak Audiomates (now discontinued) and then had the input pots and bypassed and the opamps upgraded from the stock JRC's to NS LM's (forget the actual part #).
* I downloaded the Voxengo Elephant 2.5 demo recently and, unlike the first version, was pretty impressed with it, so this will be my next digital processor purchase as another alternative to the other digital limiters I have
Which indeed it was.
* I'd like to look into possible upgrades beyond the stock repro amps for my JH110B
still on the to do list.
* and finally thinking of getting a Lavry Blue ADC module added into my 4496 box as an option to my Mytek.
Also still on the to do list. Been thinking of Lavry Black or Burl B2 as possible options as well.
...but at this point all these things are of lower priority than getting a few things sorted out in my monitoring - so at this point stands for the N802's and some more treatments for the room that will be my next purchases.
Which they indeed were - both the Sound Anchor stands and tons of GIK Acoustics bass traps made a big difference in getting things sounding more accurate in here.
The biggest other change to my chain is going to happen in about a couple weeks when my Manley Backbone finally gets here. I'm excited to finally be able to insert processors with a button instead of having to physically repatch things.