R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: suggestions... please  (Read 2981 times)

malone

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
suggestions... please
« on: May 26, 2004, 12:08:47 AM »

The discussions here have been the best education i've had in years, and i'm trying to find my way through how to apply that to my recording situation... so, i'm offering this info. up to ask for advice:

All of my recording is in several rooms of an old house. There's all variation of recording, and editing; from straight forward single tracks, to complicated cut ups to custom fit specific phrases in a piece/song. I've been recording bands, solo artists, and doing film work... and i have had a great deal of luck/work with the natural sounds of rooms.

Recently, i've been finding that i've exhausted this set up and i'm looking for more... reverbs, limiting, compression, slight effects... all of which sound terrible to my ears as VST plug-ins after having spent so much attention to the natural sounds of rooms.

I am running Cubase VST-32 on a G4 with a Delta 1010.
I am not happy with the plugins, or with the Waves Bundle for basic accents for my sounds and i'd like to cut them out completely. i'm looking to use the 1010 to send parts out to other units for effects/enhancement/manipulation.

I own a few mics: some 57's & 58's, 4 adapted MXL 2001's, two AKG SE300B's, and a few other odds and ends.

I have been renting/borrowing the Mackie VLZ 1604's for pre's, a Drawmer Tube EQ, and a Lexicon effects unit.

As much as i like these, the Mackie is hit and miss for me, and i'd like something that is a little more reliable long term. I cannot afford the Drawmer, though i love it. The Lex i can afford, but i am wondering if anyone else has any suggestions.

Here's what i need:

-a reliable, quiet, and preferably transparent Mic. Pre (or Pre's) that i can use with the 1010. I do use 4-8 inputs when recording bands, but i am not adverse to a number of different pre's, or one reliable set. there are a few mackie 1604's floating around here for about $500 used now that the VLZ Pro's are out... should i stick with these and put my money elsewhere?

-a reliable and precise limiter and/or compressor.

-an effects unit.

-any other suggestions for a set up?

as for price, i have little money, but i am willing to save if it's worth it.
i am looking at $4-6000 for everything above. on my limited budget, that's about all i'll be able to set aside in the next year or so.


any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm finding it very hard to see through the world of options that are available and talked about on these boards. . .

thanks.

Logged

natpub

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 394
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2004, 01:50:16 AM »

So you are looking to spend about 2k on pre's, 2k on compressor, and 2k on effects, max?

1. Super clean, transparent pre: GML 8304 - can find for 2k used, 4 channels (George is the original Mr. Transparent:-)

2. Modestly colored and flattering: API 3124 - can find for 2k used, 4 channels.

You can't go wrong for $500 a channel on either of these units. They are both at the absolute top of the game in their own way.

If you need to go much cheaper, maybe the focusrite octopre, which is 8 channels for about $1k. But that is not much different from the Mackies, which I would avoid.

The RNP is 2 channels for about $450, so you could always get the little racks for 4 of them and make a really cool 8 channel box for about 2k. That is probably how I would go if I had to have 8.

 ************************************************************ **

Very accurate compressor for 2k? Tough one--you can get one or two RNC's for a few hundred bucks, but I would not call them invisible.

It depends on how critical your applications are. The next step up is a pretty big leap.

Maybe the new 2 channel Distressors? But it sounds like you are doing very clean style musics, and these things are colour boxes.

In that case maybe a used Smart C2 or the new Drawmer 1969? Heck, there is always the old DBX 160's, which can be very cool for super cheap.

Again it depends on your applications and how critical they are. From the sound of things, I would probably, again, rack up for RNC's with those 4 RNP's I mention above. That gives you a really neat 8 channels of Pre AND compression for just over 2k.

 ************************************************************ **

2k for "believeable" reverb?? Hmm, well, I would say the only thing likely to be close is the Kurzweil KSP8 for just over 2k. However, you can get many of those same exact reverbs in a MUCH cheaper box, in the Kurzweil Rumor--$500?
 ------------------------------------------------------------ -

That should give you a few options, depending on how much cash you wanna drop. Any of the things mentioned are of good to superior sonic quality and reliability.

Hope that helps.

--KT

Logged
Kurt Thompson
Vibrational Arts, Inc.
Blue Skyway Music
Sonic Sorcery Studios
Austin,TX/Columbus,OH

Buzz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 717
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2004, 07:55:11 PM »

For a clean low cost killer pre try the Sytek MPX??ii for around $750 very clean and useful , also for a compressor get an 1176ln colored but VERY usable 1000-1500 , and a Lexicon PCM91 reverb about 1300

Later
Buzz

floodstage

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 543
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2004, 08:26:11 PM »

I asked a similar question about compression in another thread (compressor that can do high gain reduction in a transparent way) and the Crane Song Trakker was highly reccomended  (1975.00)

By the way, Mackie 1604's (not VLZ or VLZ Pro) go for 300-350, not 500.
Logged

malone

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2004, 12:18:31 AM »

natpub, thanks for the thorough reply. i have been looking at the RNP and the RNC for a while, and i just found a place close to me that sells them, so i am heavily considering picking up a couple Pre's and a Compressor to try them out.

I have not had an opportunity to try the Rumor, but i believe that i have used the KSP8 (it's been a while, so correct me if i'm got the wrong Kurzweil in mind) and have had good experiences with it. I particularly liked setting the decay parameters for the hall setting down to the room setting and using them to bring out some warmth... great stuff.

I have a feeling that the reverb for that price will be the biggest thorn.

I'll look into the GML 8304. I have a friend who swears by hers, so i'll see if i can do some work with it.

Buzz, I've never had a chance to use any Systek gear. i'll look into that.

Floodgate, I have used the Song Trakker, and it was pretty good. I'm going to try some other things with it in a couple of weeks, such as using it on a section of 4 double-basses to see if i can even out parts of their phrasing and get more control where their natural boom collides. Thanks for the heads up about the Mackies going for 300-350. My mistake. I forgot to mention that i am in Canada, so with the dollar exchange, i'm looking at about 500 here, which for all the trouble i've had with these things, and the dull pre's in them, is alot for my ears.

I appreciate the answers so far. if anyone has any other recommendations that i can check out, i'd appreciate it.

thanks.

by the way, i have a couple of old Sony reel to reels that i have been using as Preamps. They're not the greatest, but for the time being, they're kicking the shit out of the Mackies.

Logged

natpub

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 394
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2004, 09:01:24 PM »

Couple things--the RNP is 2 channel, same as the RNC, so it is a pretty amazing value--the boxes arent all that strong, and the knobs are small, and the wall-warts can be mildly annoying, but otherwise they are both kick ass units, and are made to work together.

Other thing, the Rumor and KSP8 have some pretty good converters in them, better than your Delta 1010 I would reckon. That might be a plus too.

G'Luck,

--KT
Logged
Kurt Thompson
Vibrational Arts, Inc.
Blue Skyway Music
Sonic Sorcery Studios
Austin,TX/Columbus,OH

malone

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2004, 10:08:06 PM »

thanks.

i am not very happy with the 1010, or cubase for that matter, but they were all that i could afford at the time. i want to get some pre's and effects so that when i leave the 1010 and Cubase behind i won't outgrow the rest of my equiptment too.

Logged

debuys

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 83
Re: suggestions... please
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2004, 02:02:43 AM »

malone wrote on Fri, 28 May 2004 03:08

thanks.

I am not very happy with the 1010, or cubase for that matter, but they were all that i could afford at the time. i want to get some pre's and effects so that when i leave the 1010 and Cubase behind i won't outgrow the rest of my equiptment too.




I am probably not much higher up the food chain than you so I hope my advice is even more relevant. I think that good recordings have a priority list like this:

1. Song
2. Performance
3. Source material (gtr, amps, drums, singer's talent, etc.)
4. Microphones
5. Room (recording space)
6. Mixing environment (room again, monitors, comfortable chair, etc.)
7. Simplicity of control (grabbing a knob vs. 23 mouse clicks and zeroing a non automated board vs. loading a song in a software mixing environment)
8. Converter quality
9. Pre amp quality
10. Effects

I am placing certain minimums concerning this list. Mackie or better per’s and a reasonable room with bass trapping, diffusion and high-end absorption.

First off, I would consider the gear you are tracking with. I had tons of guitar and bass gear, but buying a good drum kit has been one of the best investments I made for recording ($3000). I can't give you a price point on the guitar gear since I'm a collector and that's my main gig. I'm well over $40,000 there. (Don’t tell my wife).

A good selection of micas has been a boon to me. My U87 is used adnauseum. My MD421's get lots of use, as do my 414's. I have many other mics, but I mention those since they are somewhat ubiquitous. I learned awhile back when you see something used allot there is a reason; it works consistently.

I have some doors with angled shutter like slats that I used at home and still use now. I don’t recall what they are called, but you have probably seen them as folding closet doors. I covered one half with 1" foam. These are some of the most useful things in my studio for controlling acoustics. My wife is glad they are out of the house, but I am considering making more of them again for home now that I have a space. I miss them.

We use a Spirit 328 digital console at our studio. This console is one of the best budget pieces I have ever seen. The preamps don’t suck and I can mix without too many mouse clicks. Even if you were to consider this board sub par on so many levels, what it provides in ease of use and mix recall lets you get relax and twist knobs. The cost of a 328 and an RME card is less than 2 Deltas and a 32-channel low-end analog board.

Most high-end studios sound a notch above my mixes I think due to their converters. I can't say exactly why, but I have A/B 'd what I think to be identical performances on identical gear other than converters and the uber converters sound tighter. Throw a DAT or CDR (any outboard kind) in the rig and that difference goes away.

Concerning preamps, I have never done a gig that I consistently see the same pres in use. Every studio I do a session seems to be different. There is not the same level of consistency here so I can only advise that tastes vary widely here. I know my tastes do. I'm saveing for an Avalon. Essentially, though, I can get the same sound with a VLZ Mackie, 586 dbx, and Soundcraft pre. Soundcraft is a little better.

My experience is that I've never heard a plug in that sounds better than a high-end outboard unit. I can’t afford 16 good compressors, 4 limiters, 2 reverbs, and two delays with modulation and the channels and or inserts to go with them so I'm stuck with plug ins that sound nearly as good. In many cases though, especially concerning compression and limiting, the computer can be far more transparent.

I did not intend to brag or list my gear here just for the sake of hearing myself talk. What I wanted to do is give a little background on myself so that the following advice has sufficient perspective. The bulk of my experience is "on the other side of the glass" but I have been running a successful studio for 3 years now (low overhead, no debt, actual profit)

If you look at my above list and compare it to your gear I think you might want to consider getting an adequate console or good, but not awesome pres and a controller. Spend your money where it counts and not looking for a single sided silver bullet that may not serve your needs in the long run. If you have a $5000 budget you can do a bunch with that, but don’t focus it all in one part of your signal chain. If most of what you do is 2 channels then focus on getting the most out of it. Pay attention to how prices move on gear that is used in almost all "pro" studios.

From what you listed sounds like you are missing one of everything. If I were in your shoes I'd get a budget console that has 6 to 8 direct outs. I cant see that costing more than $2000 and it is always something that you can use later if nothing more than a monitor mixer. Even if you never use the console to mix on there are so many things you can use it for. For example a Mackie 1202 is still cheaper than 4 good DI boxes.

Buy a couple of proven, well-accepted pieces of gear and something that allows you to mix without using a mouse. In other words buy a doorstop and make an investment in real “pro” gear. Get something that makes your life easier in the short run and something for the long run at the same time. If your budget is what I think it is you can afford one item that will last forever and another that will get you to a better mix now. My priority list may not be the same as yours.

I would first of all look at a tried and true LD condesor such as a U87. Honestly that is a mic that I have EQ’d less than any other I own. It just seems to be right every time I use it. A large diaphragm dynamic such as an SM7 or MD421 is also missing in your collection. An EV RE20 or AKG D112 can be used here too.

Spending as little as $1000 on acoustic treatment will make a huge difference if you haven’t already covered that base.

There are other points to improve on such as converters but  spending to improve here is prohibitively expensive especially when the paradigm shifts as it does.

A pre amp is a better cost to sonic improvement ratio so I’d venture to say this is a good place to spend cash. I think having at least 8 good, but not great pres is better than having 2 great pres and needing to get clever to get additional pres and suffering with inconsistencies.

Don’t waste money on an above average new effects unit. Buy two older units and blend them. It’s a bit strange, but that’s been my experience. Get some stomp boxes that are odd and crappy. Collect them. You will love them. A high quality reverb or delay plug in will outperform most outboard units especially when you compare price. There is no substitute for knobs. Sadly though, most fx units are just computers with painfully small screens.

I hope this helped and it wasn’t too hard to read.
Logged
Robert de Buys
Dreamcatchers
1818 28th Ave
Homewood, AL 25209
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.02 seconds with 18 queries.