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Author Topic: Investment: R84, KM-69, DC-96B, MSS-01, V71DI, NPNG, MP-2NV, A2D, ORPHEUS, ...  (Read 1926 times)

DA Nijs

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  • Real Full Name: David Alexandre Nijs

Hi,

Iíve been running a project studio for about ten years, first utilizing a Mac with Pro Tools as DAW, before switching to a PC running Cubase and comfortably writing and mixing music ever since. Fortunately, the computer technician I have been dealing with since I started this business always built me very reliable systems and from there Iíve always enjoyed working digital, so I developed my workflow around a computer keyboard, a mouse and a MIDI-controller, mixing with plug-ins and mostly playing/programming virtual instruments using a MIDI-keyboard and MIDI-capable guitars.

A while ago, I carefully started recording in remote locations on request of some clients, either for the purpose of live jazz and world music projects or for overdubs in electronic music productions. The tools I bought therefore were entry-level, ę prosumer Ľ if you will, partly due to financial restrictions, but mainly because they happened to be just what I needed back then.

Over time, my humble knowledge, great interest in audio and (potential) client list have grown to the point where part of my actual gear no longer meets expectations in terms of audio quality. With the substantial budget actually at my disposal Iíd like to invest in new equipment that will help me fill this void.

I hope some of you could share some thoughts and/or experiences with the gear listed below, taking into account the fact that Iím currently planning on having a small rectangular room at home (15 m≤ - approx. 50 ft≤ with ceilings at about 2.5 m - approx. 8 ft) turned into a rather efficient modular control & recording room by an acoustical engineer (I might have to cut into the list, depending on the costs of that roomís design and construction). Iíll have to deal with outside noises, but it shouldnít be too much of a problem since the studio will be located in a little mountain village where a harvester drives by every ten years or soÖ do you get the picture?

So this would be the new gear:

-   AEA R84 (x2): The pair is part of a special offer at a pro audio store including a NPNG DMP-2NW.  What do you think about these pieces functioning together? The preamplifier has been on my shortlist for quite some time and Iíd like two figure-eight mics for guitar & vocal recordings amongst others. How does the R84 perform in close-miking applications? What other apps could I cover with these mics (together or not) in a small room like that?

-   MA MFG KM-69 (x2): Another special offer combo, with a Great River MP-2NV this time. Another great deal if you ask me, but again, Iím concerned about the use of a stereo pair in a maybe less than ideal recording space.

-   Milab DC-96B: They go for about 1000 Ä (more or less 1500 $) over here. Am I wrong thinking that, at this price (any?), itís as good as it gets for recording acoustic instruments (at least in my given situation)? Iím also looking at a Microtech Gefell UMT-70s or the UM70/MV692. In short, Iím after one great versatile LDC and vocals could become its main application, while Iím already using a Shure SM7B purposely. What would you go for in this case?

-   On the D.I. side, it will be, next to the Great Riverís Direct Inputs, a Martech MSS-01 that Iíd put before the GR or the NPNG or even an API A2D on one hand and on the other hand a TAB-Funkenwerk V71DI that could be plugged eventually into one of the Prism Sound Orpheusí preamps.

-   So, ADC & DAC would be provided by the Orpheus, the A2D and a Crane Song Avocet for stereo monitoring. The Prism seems to be exactly what I need, but I honestly donít know what to expect regarding the quality of their drivers and although this is for the computer tech to find out, Iíd like to read some feedback on how the latest versions perform on Windows 7. It is of the upmost importance that I can keep working peacefully in the digital domain.

-   The Avocet will be connected to a pair of ATC SCM25A Pro three-way active monitors. I had the chance to compare a few mixes listening to their SCM300ASL Pro models in a great sounding room and they were a perfect match to my sense of aesthetics, reproducing very precisely everything that I knew was going on (right or wrong) in the audio content. The ę 25A Ľ will certainly be a great tool to mix on, although Iím disappointed I never had the opportunity to do the same tests on a pair of Focal Professional SM11: In the studio where I listened to the ATC there was a pair of SM8 that were, in their own way, impressively close in terms of response to those big boys in the wall. Now I can only imagine the SM11Ö

-   Anyway, regarding my workflow, I really need to keep my habits intact. So Iíd like to stay ITB when mixing. I might make a careful step towards a hybrid setup, but the outboard gear should than be as versatile as possible, meaning that I must be able to track a lot of different stuff with it, then eventually use it in the mix and then eventually put it on the stereo output of a Roll Music Systems RMS 216 Folcrom, in combination with one of those fine preamps Iíll be buying (or would that be over the top?). Iíd really like to record (a) whole chain(s) before printing and already be done with the track(s) once mixing. Moving the right mics around is of course the best way to get it, but still, Empirical Labs Lil FrEQ (x2) and FMR Audio PBC-6A (x2) could be lifesavers in my particular case, isnít it? What do you also think of my idea to ditch these first if budget requires it?

-   Still regarding my workflow but on a different level, I need a very realistic feel when playing the MIDI-keyboard. Whatís your opinion on the Roland RD-700NX? Itís not primary, but it would be nice if the incorporated sounds were useable. Most importantly I want to feel like if Iím touching a real piano keyboard, if that makes any senseÖ

-   Finally, I mainly use UAD and Cubase stock plug-ins, along with IK Multimedia T-Racks from time to time. Iíd like to add the Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Plug-in Bundle, the PSP Audioware Oldtimer and the new (expensive!?) Steinberg emulation of the Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5033. Any thoughts?

Well, apart from a good patchbay and some cables and accessories I still need to figure out, that would be the equipment Iím going for in the second half of this year. I hope we can discuss this all together soon, because so far, you have been a great help in gathering the information I needed over the last two years. Iíve never posted on a forum before, so hopefully Iím doing this right and you wonít be bored reading this lengthy post.

Thanks in advance,

David A.
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David A. Nijs

Sean Eldon Qualls

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I'll say that that's quite a big list o' stuff and enough text about equipment to make most peoples' head spin (but at least it's broken up into paragraphs! Good on ya!)...

Sometimes it's better to go "a little at a time" rather than jumping into 10-15 new gizmos at once -- so you can really evaluate each piece on it's own and see what it brings to the party and what it lacks, and then go from there.

It's also worth noting that the TAB V71 does not need to go into a mic pre. Go right into the converter from the output of the V71.
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Sean Eldon Qualls
Mercenary Audio / sean@mercenary.com
METHods & Applications LABoratory

"I am vanishing into the trees! Defenders, get onto your knees!" - Marnie Stern

DA Nijs

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Thanks for the advice and information Sean. Iíll keep that in mind.

Sorry for the amount of text, folks. I hope those paragraphs make it possible to quote and stay to the pointÖ
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David A. Nijs
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