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Author Topic: Please Critque my first Studio Setup  (Read 4118 times)

Zephyr

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Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« on: October 05, 2005, 03:32:41 am »

Hi, I will be forming my own entry-level studio very shortly and need some suggestions and critisisms of of my potential gear selection. This is not intended to be a Pro Level Studio... More of a "starter" studio that is appealing enough for me to get bands in to to practice tracking and mixing for free (And possibly rent out), and have the capability of an acceptable sound.

Here's the List of gear currently owned:

Motu 896 + Digimax LT

Mackie HR-824 Pair

Oktava MKL-2500

Groove Tubes GT-55

Nuendo 2.0

---

Gear I have been eyeing/intend to purchase:

Yamaha MG-16/4 (For Cue Mixes, Talkbacks, And Control Room Volume)

Lexicon MPX-1

Universal Audio UAD-1 Ultra Pack

2x ART ProChannels

Furman PB-48 Patch Bay (Signals will be multed after pres so one path goes to MOTU, and other goes to Cue Mixer)

3x Sure SM57

1 x Sennheiser E-602 mic

3x Sennheiser E-604 mics

2X Sennheiser E-914 mics

2x Audio Technica AT4040 mics

Plus 1 some what high-end LDC

1x Bass DI

---

Well, that's basically it. The list doesnt include things like Headphones, cables and stands, or room treatment...

I've used some of these microphones before (The 4040s, 602, 604s, and 57s) and liked the sound...

I know Hi-End Pre amps are very desirable, but I dont want to invest 2K on them right now.... When/If I start charging people and turn into a commercial studio, then I'll go all out and invest 5-10K in pres.

Anyway, Critiques would be very appreciated... also Interested what people would suggest for the LDC (One $500-800 that has the "I'm on the Radio" type sound) and what they think about the E-914s too.

Thanks

- kelly
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BoMoFo

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2005, 10:57:32 am »

It looks like you are off to a great start kelly.

the only "critque" i have to offer you is consider a different cue solution than simply doing a mult after the pres.  If you work with players with their cue send after the preamp then on playbacks they will not hear the recorded track.  Probably what you would like to do would be work through another output of the Motu that is set up as an aux send output (aka a cue send) and put that into the cans.  Nothing different gearwise, just a slight change in routing.

B!
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Vertigo

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2005, 02:59:24 pm »

The MOTU 896 comes with CueMix - zero latency monitoring and all of the routing options you could possibly need. So forget about multing your pre's, you won't have to Wink

Personally I'd recommend a Beta52 or a D6 over the e602. I have an e602 and have never found it particularly useful.

The e604's are great - the trick is that you have to aim them at the center of the drum, NOT directly down at the drum head. I had to learn one that the hard way  Rolling Eyes

-Lance


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John Ivan

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2005, 03:05:49 pm »

Kelly wrote on Wed, 05 October 2005 02:32

Hi, I will be forming my own entry-level studio very shortly and need some suggestions and critisisms of of my potential gear selection. This is not intended to be a Pro Level Studio... More of a "starter" studio that is appealing enough for me to get bands in to to practice tracking and mixing for free (And possibly rent out), and have the capability of an acceptable sound.

Here's the List of gear currently owned:

Motu 896 + Digimax LT

Mackie HR-824 Pair

Oktava MKL-2500

Groove Tubes GT-55

Nuendo 2.0

---

Gear I have been eyeing/intend to purchase:

Yamaha MG-16/4 (For Cue Mixes, Talkbacks, And Control Room Volume)

Lexicon MPX-1

Universal Audio UAD-1 Ultra Pack

2x ART ProChannels

Furman PB-48 Patch Bay (Signals will be multed after pres so one path goes to MOTU, and other goes to Cue Mixer)

3x Sure SM57

1 x Sennheiser E-602 mic

3x Sennheiser E-604 mics

2X Sennheiser E-914 mics

2x Audio Technica AT4040 mics

Plus 1 some what high-end LDC

1x Bass DI

---

Well, that's basically it. The list doesnt include things like Headphones, cables and stands, or room treatment...

I've used some of these microphones before (The 4040s, 602, 604s, and 57s) and liked the sound...

I know Hi-End Pre amps are very desirable, but I dont want to invest 2K on them right now.... When/If I start charging people and turn into a commercial studio, then I'll go all out and invest 5-10K in pres.

Anyway, Critiques would be very appreciated... also Interested what people would suggest for the LDC (One $500-800 that has the "I'm on the Radio" type sound) and what they think about the E-914s too.

Thanks

- kelly


Hi Kelly,

I would look for a used sound craft console. The low end Yamaha's are sorta cheap and if you look around, you can find a great little 16 channels4 sound craft. Also, you could do away with the art channels and spend that money on more/better mics.{use the pre's in the mixer.}

I don't know much about the E-series mic's but, I love the AT stuff.

The UAD is a great choice too.

Looks like your on the right track. I just have a thing for old work horse mixers. :-}

Ivan..............
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Frob

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2005, 03:34:15 pm »

i would ditch the art PROchanels get a couple of groove tubes bricks insted, the EQ and Compersors on the UAD1 will be more then adaquate, and for the LDC i would recomend two mics that if you shap around will top you out at the 800, first the at4047 this is a great dark growl mic, and is fanstic on manny things you want that 70s fet type sound. the other is the CAD M9 this is a crystal clear mic with smooth transparent highs, and sensative as hell.

Zephyr

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2005, 08:37:06 pm »

"Personally I'd recommend a Beta52 or a D6 over the e602. I have an e602 and have never found it particularly useful."

Every time we used the E602, it sounded good (And the 603s), but the pre-EQ on it makes me wonder about how varied it can sound. I'll look at the D6.

"I would look for a used sound craft console. The low end Yamaha's are sorta cheap and if you look around, you can find a great little 16 channels4 sound craft."

I was actually considering the soundcrafts before the MG. I ran into both of them in a store, and the MG won me over because of the actually decent spacing between knobs, and I liked the feel of the faders better. I think the MG's pre's are noiser, but it doesnt really matter considering it's only going to be used for the cue and talk-back. None of the low end console pres interest me Razz

I will consider ditching the ART ProChannels.

I didnt intend to use the Pres on them often, but instead use them to compress ans EQ signals on the way into the MOTU. I also wanted to use them as outboard compressors in Nuendo, since Nuendo 2.0 can latency compensate for analog hardware. I liked the way the ART VLAs sounded, and for a little bit more you get EQs and relatively fast Vari-Mu compression.

I havent heard a software compressor that I've liked better than hardware yet either (Barring the High-ends Waves plugs). Maybe the UAD system will change that.

Thanks people

Ps: Any more rock/alternative LDC vocal mic suggestions?
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spankenstein

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2005, 09:43:00 am »

I would skip the board unless you are mixing outboard. I have so much flexibility with my 828mkII that I don't need a mixer anymore. I'm now eyeing some for analog mixing but you don't need that for monitoring.
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redfro

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2005, 10:43:09 am »

Vertigo wrote on Wed, 05 October 2005 13:59


Personally I'd recommend a Beta52 or a D6 over the e602. I have an e602 and have never found it particularly useful.



I would chose the 602 over the D6 or the Shure any day. I actually just sold my D6 cause, outside of live work, I've never had it work for my sound. And the Beta 52 I don't even like for live work.

Just goes to show, try out everything in your space and pick what you like, not what some hack like me tells you is cool.  Laughing
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redfro

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2005, 10:44:53 am »

...and now, my 100th post....
















....wow, that was exciting.
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John Ivan

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2005, 11:14:21 am »

spankenstein wrote on Thu, 06 October 2005 08:43

I would skip the board unless you are mixing outboard. I have so much flexibility with my 828mkII that I don't need a mixer anymore. I'm now eyeing some for analog mixing but you don't need that for monitoring.



Yes, it's true you don't need this for monitoring. I think having a console can be really good for someone who is learning this craft. You can mix in the box and then,mix on the console to hear the difference. And,you can do both. Do some editing and some comps in the box and bring stuff out to the mixer in groups. There can be a big big difference in the EQ's AND in how the channels on the mixer and the buses sound compared to the box.

It's just a great learning tool and I think it sounds better.

My 2 cents.

Ivan............
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tats_dragon

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2005, 01:30:06 pm »

Frob,
Just wondering for what sources you used the Pro Channel on. I've read (of course, I believe everything I read on the net)with a tube change these units are quite good.
I will be using it for my Akai DPS24 and possibly as an acoustic guitar preamp for live as well.

Jun
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Frob

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2005, 01:30:48 pm »

i know exactly what your talking about when it comes to soft compressors and yes the UAD1 will change that, and the comps in the art i havent used so i cant comment on. also why nuendo? why not Cubase? unless your woking in a workstation envroment there is litle that nuendo can do that cubase sx cant.

Jeff4h

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2005, 07:33:24 pm »

I dont think you need a board, I use the mackie universal controller and it is great, Im not that familiar with some of the gear you have, I have a presonus central station and it is great for the control room, you will love the uad-1 card, it is awsome, the fairchild is unreal along with the 1176, L2, and the pultech stuff and the new plate reverb is great, stick with that what ever you do, you can pick up some older hi end reverbs by yamaha like the rev 7 that still sound wonderful, good luck

                                                Jeff
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Vertigo

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2005, 08:50:16 am »

Yeah, you can't go wrong with the UAD. The 1176 and Fairchild are smoking, and the LA2A has been my secret weapon for heavy guitars for a while now. I find the 1176SE to be a surprise winner too - very different than the 1176LN, but almost equally as useful. The EMT is great for a lot of things, and I've gotten a LOT of use out of the new CE1.

You're going to love the UAD Wink

Check out the waves Ren plug-ins too, VERY useful. The RComp was the first plug-in I ever heard that sounded "warm".

-Lance
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John Ivan

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2005, 10:30:49 am »

Kelly wrote on Wed, 05 October 2005 19:37

"Personally I'd recommend a Beta52 or a D6 over the e602. I have an e602 and have never found it particularly useful."

Every time we used the E602, it sounded good (And the 603s), but the pre-EQ on it makes me wonder about how varied it can sound. I'll look at the D6.

"I would look for a used sound craft console. The low end Yamaha's are sorta cheap and if you look around, you can find a great little 16 channels4 sound craft."

I was actually considering the soundcrafts before the MG. I ran into both of them in a store, and the MG won me over because of the actually decent spacing between knobs, and I liked the feel of the faders better. I think the MG's pre's are noiser, but it doesnt really matter considering it's only going to be used for the cue and talk-back. None of the low end console pres interest me Razz

I will consider ditching the ART ProChannels.

I didnt intend to use the Pres on them often, but instead use them to compress ans EQ signals on the way into the MOTU. I also wanted to use them as outboard compressors in Nuendo, since Nuendo 2.0 can latency compensate for analog hardware. I liked the way the ART VLAs sounded, and for a little bit more you get EQs and relatively fast Vari-Mu compression.

I havent heard a software compressor that I've liked better than hardware yet either (Barring the High-ends Waves plugs). Maybe the UAD system will change that.

Thanks people

Ps: Any more rock/alternative LDC vocal mic suggestions?


Hi Kelly.

To be clear, I was talking about the old sound craft consoles, like a 200-B or one of the old studio consoles. The pre's in those can sound very very good for the money.. The EQ's can sound REALLY REALLY Great too.Your idea about the ART units is good. The VLA's do sound nice and you can use em'' in the computer rig...

As has been stated here,,if you don't want to mix on a console,and you don't need the pre's, get one of those master section controller's and a surface of some kind. Those master deals are cool. you can monitor a bunch of different stuff, check Mono and all the other stuff the control room section of a console will do..

Ivan..............
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Zephyr

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2005, 04:35:36 am »

"To be clear, I was talking about the old sound craft consoles, like a 200-B or one of the old studio consoles. The pre's in those can sound very very good for the money.. The EQ's can sound REALLY REALLY Great too.Your idea about the ART units is good. The VLA's do sound nice and you can use em'' in the computer rig..."

Actually, *before* I even considered the Digimax and anything else, I was looking at grabbing a bunch of MCI channel strips. Didnt work out... and the Motu/Digimax/Furman all came racked together for a nice price, so I grabbed it.

Regarding the Cue Mix.... for windows, that doesnt work correctly with the 896, only the 896HD... so I do need a low end console for monitoring. You can only do latency free monitoring with a single stereo pair with the 896 non HD.

Wow, I'm really glad guys like the UAD so much. Cant wait to try it. After hearing the fairchild guitar demo on UA's website, I knew I had to have it. I havent heard any software compressors that can shape instrument attacks as nicely as that.

Regarding the control surface... I plan to get one eventually. I actually think it's kind of essential because I've noticed mixes come out better when people interact physically with the levels. I'll probably get one once I have everything running smooth and I start letting people rent the studio.

I'm considering dropping the Prochannels in favor of a second UAD card or some type of harmonizer/auto tuner.

Regarding the LDC... I'm picking up an AKG SolidTube I found for a nice price (450). If I dont like it, I can sell it at no loss, so whatever. I'll look into the 4047.

By the way, I have a Digimax for sale now if anyone wants it Smile I'm grabbing and LT for the Inserts, so I'll be dropping the 48k which I currently have.

Thanks for your guys's help so far.

- kelly
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Frob

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2005, 04:31:20 pm »

yea a second uad1 would be a good bet, i never run out of cpu power on my computer but always tapp out my uad1, remember there all the same card. also if you buy before january you get 5 $50 off your first extra plugin download. but i cant remember if the corus comes with ultra pak or not. also if your just looking for a nice hard ware vca comp, you can get a dbx 160 for around 200 on ebay.

Zephyr

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2005, 03:11:11 am »

Ok, I think I've pretty much decided on dropping the Pro Channels, and going for some type of TC-Helicon Voice correction/harmonizer type thing. Strikes me as a lot more usefull.

There are 3 units from them I'm looking at:

The VoicePrism Plus

Voice Works

Voice One

All of their units seem to over lap the others, yet miss some of the features of the next that it's really hard to choose....

For instanceL The Voice works has a 4 voice hybrid harmonizer... the Voice One is only 1 voice, but it has inflection on it's thickening, and has voice modeling/vocoder... But the Voice works has Reverb and delay where as the Voice one doesnt.

The VoiceWorks seems better for harmonizing, the VoiceOne seems to be aimed at doubling and sound enhancement, the VoicePrism seems like it's aimed as an FX proccessor...

Which one Smile
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Oliver

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2005, 09:26:57 pm »

redfro wrote on Thu, 06 October 2005 15:43

Vertigo wrote on Wed, 05 October 2005 13:59


Personally I'd recommend a Beta52 or a D6 over the e602. I have an e602 and have never found it particularly useful.



I would chose the 602 over the D6 or the Shure any day. I actually just sold my D6 cause, outside of live work, I've never had it work for my sound. And the Beta 52 I don't even like for live work.

Just goes to show, try out everything in your space and pick what you like, not what some hack like me tells you is cool.  Laughing


Haven't tried the 602. However, I bought the D6 on Lance's recommendation about a year ago. Others have called it a 1 trick pony. I wouldn't go that far but I would say that it gives a very specific kick sound somewhat regardless of placement. This makes it very easy if it makes you happy and near useless if it doesn't. Let me say that I LOVE this mic but IME it's not going to perform a lot of tasks in the studio outside of getting a certain mid-scooped kick sound. I haven't tried it on floor toms though. Anybody like it there?
Oliver.
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Zephyr

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2005, 12:00:01 am »

Update:

Besides some other things, I've now got a running UAD-1 card.

First thing I fired up was the 1176LN... This is one beats the crap out of any other software compressor I've heard up to that point. I tried it on drums and they just exploded... and the way the attack/decay responded was very nice indeed. The BombFactory emulation of this plug doesnt even compare... the uad-1 version just owns it (To my ears). One of the main things I hated about the BF version was that it was very easy to get the compressor's attack to "pop" in a painful way on loud transients (I have no idea if you guys know what I'm talking about). The UAD-1 emulation doesnt do that anywhere you set it.

The 1176SE was also useful. I found it to be more transparent sounding than the 1176LN, maybe brighter and a little less pompous. The LN was way fatter sound though. I thought the LN beat the SE, but I actually like both. I did the pop test with this one too and neither of them had the painful dynamics thing going. Long releases on this one sounds very different from the LN. Brighter and louder sounding... the  LN was darker and you could hear it pushing the signal down more.

The Putlec EQ absolutly owns. I dont know what it's doing, but just sticking it in the signal chain makes things sound better. It's definetly messing with the lows and highs...

I also like the GatesCom.. simple, but it sounds fairly natural.

Another two plugs that own are the Presicion EQ and Limiter.

I wasnt impressed with any of the reverbs other than the EMT, which sounded great. The CS-1 channel strip strikes me as useful.

I am not am not disapointed with this piece of equipment.

I also now have an AKG Solid tube (Bought it for $425, like new).

So now it's just down to the essentials: Mics, stands, patchbay, mixer, etc

Thanks for helping everyone

- kelly
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digibird

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2005, 01:20:22 pm »

Vertigo wrote on Wed, 05 October 2005 19:59



The e604's are great - the trick is that you have to aim them at the center of the drum, NOT directly down at the drum head. I had to learn one that the hard way  Rolling Eyes

-Lance





Good advice here, and I second their usefullness.  Buy the 3-pack from northernsound.net.
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brandondrury

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2005, 04:39:56 am »

If budget allows, I'd pick up an SM7b.  I'm finding them useful for all sorts of things.  It's a nice alternative to a condenser.

I'm assuming the pitch correction stuff was a plugin right?  There is no way I'd go with hardware, especially if you are mixing in the box.

Brandon

Jay Ridgeway

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Re: Please Critque my first Studio Setup
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2005, 07:29:21 pm »

Nice list Kelly! Some things to add to the top:

1) Realtraps. I'm a convert. This was the best money I ever spent since it makes every recording and every mix better.
2) Soldering iron. At the very least you will need to make and repair cables.
3) Peterson (virtual) strobe tuner. I can't tell you how much better musicians sound when they are in tune. Only accept Peterson!
4) Stabilant 22. If you are doing maintenance yourself, this is the closest you will get to true magic in your lifetime. If you are not doing the work yourself, make #4 a fat bank account. Rolling Eyes

Jay
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