Professional Mixing Setup

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Gear' started by aaronwaudio, May 25, 2011.

  1. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio

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    I want to get some gear to set up my mixing setup. I went to UW Oshkosh for recording and percussion, which was amazing for helping me learn what to listen for and how to get what I want, but since it is a full University instead of a tech school, budget was limited and although I feel very prepared to learn more and work in the recording field, I have a sever lack of knowledge of what gear is out there. I am opening a studio with a couple of friends, but I want to have my own mixing setup at home where I can do my mixes. I need them to sound great, and I understand that that will mostly be based on my work and knowledge, but if I need a good mixing setup what are your suggestions? All I have right now is an Apple iMac with 4 Gb of RAM, and a 3.02 GHz Intel core 2 duo. My current plan is as follows.

    Pro Tools 9
    Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 interface (I want plenty of inputs for future tracking use)
    KRK VXT6 monitors (tested many and these are my favorite reasonably priced monitors)
    Izotope Alloy and Ozone
    Waves Gold Native

    That would be my starting point. I work at Guitar Center, so I get an awesome discount on most things, and I am more concerned with quality than price, since I can mix at our studio until I get this up and running, so there is no hurry. What do you all think? Any Suggestions?

    Aaron Williams
    Aaron Williams Audio
    OuterEdge Studios
     
  2. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio

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    I was also wondering about the importance of AD/DA convertors for mixing. Are they really necessary?
     
  3. kmetal

    kmetal

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    Hey arron. It's cool that you made a studio with your friends and can work without waking up people. My first question for you is why do you want to mix at home, verses a purpose built studio. Mixing requires, a very accurate room, and speakers, besides knowledge and gear. Sure you can treat an average room to improve it, but why after the intense labor and attention to detail it takes to make a studio, would you want to mix in a residential room?
    I can understand editing/arranging at home which can easily be done at home on a laptop w/ headphones if thats whacha got.
    Okay room, check.
    Professional mixing gear-really nice eq's, compressor's. This will cost more than the gear list you've supplied. Monitors mid priced tried and trues that i've used are yamaha ns-10's, Mackie hr's. We use quested, and meyer sound monitors at the studio, along w/ yamaha hsm's. The quested and meyers are about 7k a pair. Remember monitors are there to hear what is being played back, not to 'sound good." They will 'sound' good when you play back a good mix, and bad otherwise. Is Izotope really necessary if the bundle includes a peak limiter/maximizer like the L2?
    Since converters are uber-important, you may consider an interface w/ good converters, perhaps an Apogee, RME, or motu, which is the only one i've used out of the bunch. Think quality, not quantity here. The studio i work at is set up for 48 live input channels, and we have not yet used more than 24. this includes a heavily mic'd live band. i get away w/ much less at home.
    Mixing board? Either a control surface, or digital mixer is what you need. there's some affordable euphonix stuff that they sell at GC, but i have not used them. As far as mixers go, i use the aging, but capable, Mackie d8b. Upon upgrade i would go w/ the yamaha digital mixer for 10k, or the Tascam DM for Aaround 5k. The advatage to a mixer is portability (live use), built in effects (ease on your computer), they function as a control surface. While the Mackie only communicates 8 channels of hui to the computer, the Tascam does 16/24. One thing to watch here is sample rates. The effects built in are usually workable, leaving the high end pluggins power for more integral parts of the song. I mean do you really need an LA-2 on the high hat? The advantage of a powerful computer and control surface is that the surface may be tailor made to play nicely w/ software and pluggins.
    My humble reccomendation is- motu interface, Mackie/yamaha monitors (8's if your room is pretty big, 6's if it's not), The Waves bundle that's like $600 i forget what it's called, but i was looking at it at GC the other day. It comes with a limiter, some renaissance stuff, a paragraphic eq, all the solid foundation of Waves stuff. as you progress you will find you want specific units, like perhaps a tube eq emulation or whatever.
    I've used both Izotope and IK multimedia stuff, they are both nice, but not necessary depending on what other pluggins you have. They certainly can be misused. I'd hold off untill you know exactly what your missing in your mastering arsenal. cuz a basic Waves bundle comes w/ nice eq and a nice loudness tool. you may find that you need some character of a certain pluggin/piece of gear.
     
  4. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio

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    Cool. I think you are thinking of Waves Gold or Silver. I can get Gold for $300, so I think I'll go with that. So are you saying I should get Waves or Izotope, not both, or are you saying you just like Waves more than Izotope? I just want to be able to mix at home because I am not expecting to live in this area for the rest of my life, and I want to be able to build up my own business for when I leave the studio. I also would like to have the flexibility to be able to do it wherever and whenever I want (or can). Thanks a lot for the input. I will definitely revise what my plan was and come up with something. Still taking suggestions.
     
  5. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio

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    New plan:
    Sticking with KRKs (can get for $197/pc.) since I have tested them against NS-10s, and 8 inch yamaha (can't remember model number right now), and I haven't ever been a huge fan of the Mackie monitors I have heard.
    MOTU 896mk3 interface (not sure on price yet, 995.99 from GC at full price)
    Yamaha n12 digital mixing console (not sure on price yet, 1199.99 at GC at full price)
    and Waves Gold ($300)

    Trying to get a NFR (free full version for one year) of Pro Tools 9 and a bunch of plugins through Avid, which should be possible since I work for one of their dealers, and that should hold me over until I can buy PT for $300.

    Any thoughts?
     
  6. kmetal

    kmetal

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    Much more on point IMHO. But... The n12 doesn't function as a control surface. And it has no automation built in. You want to have at least, one of these functions, otherwise you'll never, be able to reacall a mix later, easily. imagine you mix 4 songs for a band, and they say hey man can i get a little more high end on the vocals on track two?. well your options are tediously set up the levels again by ear, which you spent hours writing down, or click open session # in PT, or open the mix up in your mixer. Since you already have a reasonable amount of i/o w/ the motu interface, you don't need a mixer, unless you want to do live stuff, or built in effects. There are a few control surfaces @ the same price point as the mixer, i'd say look at them instead. it'll make life easier, unless your mixer has automation functions.
    As far as pluggins go, yeah stick w/ a basic Waves bundle, based on your needs. Izotope make good stuff, but if you already have a paragraphic eq, and bus-style compressor in a bundle, why do you need another one, besides for it's unique characteristics, which you'll want, because you spent countless hours w/ yours, and know what else you want.
     
  7. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio

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    Oh yeah... Well then. Tascam FW-1884. Looks like a decent one.
     
  8. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta

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    For mixing, your DA converters are paramount, along with your monitors and the acoustics of your room. These, unfortunately, are generally the most overlooked of all components in the chain due to the overhyped focus on the front end (preamps, AD converters, etc) in recent years.

    Holistically, it all matters. However, if you're only going to be mixing I would suggest not skimping on your DA converters but to actually spend a good portion of your budget there. It's also easy to overlook the fact that your room greatly influences what you are hearing from your monitors. After all, your monitors and DA are the last call between the audio and your ears so if they're inaccurate you'll always be embroiled in a guessing game.

    Take my word for it. If you start off your journey with a well treated room, a good DA and a good set of monitors that you can trust, it will be a far less bumpy ride.

    Cheers :)
     
  9. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio

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    Thanks a lot for your help. Very informational.
     
  10. audios

    audios

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    I've been a recording engineer, producer, composer and now a sound designer for over 30 years. And now with the advent of cheap DAW's and "Pro-Summer" gear anyone can purchase equipment, set it in a basement or room at home and call themselves audio engineers/mixers. Do yourself a favor and, save a lot of money. Record tracks at home on Protools or Logic Pro 9, then take the session to a pro studio to mix. IMHO
     
  11. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta

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    What about Cubase, Digital Performer, Reaper, or others?
     
  12. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    Fun topic, glad to see some new members here :)

    If budget isn't an issue: Sequoia 12 is coming soon and it is supposed to work on Mac and PC. If you get a break on gear, I'd look into this beast. It is a killer DAW. The mastering section is worth every penny. I bought it because I know that the final mix is what counts and the editing on it is so logical, wow. Before I dove in, I searched to see what what the majority of mastering engineers use and why, Sequoia is it. Its stellar for mixing , mastering ,scoring, midi and routing hybrid.
     
  13. audios

    audios

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    Cubase I haven't worked with but I understand it is a valid DAW program.(not the LE version however) Nuendo is my favorite Steinberg software DAW. I have Digital Performer and Reaper along with ProTools. My first jump from analog to digital was with Digital Performer in 1994 and i have been a loyal user since. The only reason I have ProTools is to convert sessions I do in DP to PT formats because other studios need the session files for their rooms. Other than that, I never use it. Too expensive to maintain and the plugs aren't any better than i can get for less elsewhere for DP. Reaper is a great MIDI DAW and I'm just now diving into it for scoring sketches and MDID notations. Very nice so far. I still feel that when it comes to mixing any project, music or film sound, got to a pro studio. You will be amazed at the differences and besides, mixing is an ART in itself like mastering engineers, sound editors, dialog editors, Foley pit crew, etc., etc.. Specialization means you're getting a person that understands their specialty in audio better than anyone else because they focus on the methods, tricks and gear that produce the best sound in their specialty.
     
  14. Cleanpants

    Cleanpants

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    I could not agree with Mo Facta more, he said it perfectly. Converters, monitors, and the room you are mixing in are probably the three of the most overlooked and, to me at least, the most important pieces of the mix puzzle. Personally, I love using the tried and true NS-10's because they make me work to make it sound good and won't allow me to be lazy. The KRK's, in my opinion, will sometimes lie to me about what I've got going on in the low end. If the mix isn't balanced, isn't clear, or just sounds like crap the NS-10s let me know in a hurry. The engineer I came up under always used to tell me that the reason we use NS-10's is because if you can make your mix sound good on them, it will sound good anywhere. I would also budget heavily on the converters (big fan of Apogee and RME) and room tuning. Along with the NS-10's as near-fields, we have a set of Augsberger TAD's in the wall with a dual 18" sub setup. That combination is awesome, and gives me a very good sonic picture. At our studio, before every large project I have the room re-tuned by a professional just to make my listening environment as accurate as possible (It's that important).
     
  15. audios

    audios

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    +1 with Cleanpants. And to think I was one who first put a pair Auritones as near fields in a studio in 1976. But our spot production was the best in phoenix, AZ for AM and FM
     
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