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a bit of advice about where to go next...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by israelsonny2, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. israelsonny2

    israelsonny2 Guest

    Sorry, I know there is probably an endless stream of posts almost identical to this one but i'd appreciate some advice/input from the members of the board.

    Anyways, im a hobby homerecordist and i'm gradually learning more and more about it in general. I just have a standalone recorder, behringer mixer (cringe), some decent entry level mics (think sm57, sm58, sp b1 etc) and thats really about it. I record most of the elements of the usual rock band (from my band)
    ie. guitars, bass, drums, vocals, some keyboards. We all have decent and in some cases very good instruments so theres not much problem there.

    My real question is about what i should be looking at getting next to improve what i have. Obviously pretty much anything will improve what i have, and i'm aware of the limitations of standalone recorders (especially ones that can only record 2 tracks at once!). I'm really only interested though, in getting the best out of my recorder as it is and i know i could improve my recordings with some purchases.

    I sort of know what i should be getting next but i'm still a bit shaky on details. I'm guessing i should be looking at buying a nice mics preamp to replace the shoddy behringer ones, and perhaps a compressor/limiter? what exactly does everyone recommend?

  2. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    What's your budget? Are you sure that you're attached to your recorder? What kind of stand alone recorder is it? Is it analog or digital? Do you have long term plans or do you just want to do a quick personal project?
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I would first ask what are your monitors? If not very good, i would look at the Yamaha MSP5s. Powered, and they sound really good for the money. Good monitors are a must. No way around this.

    Next I would think about a pre / comp / eq deal all in one box. Most of these things are crappy but I saw the Valley Audio 401 that is pretty good for the dough. Valley is a good company. Or you could look at the DBX PROVOCAL. This thing is a mic modeler (ugh!) but it is a pre and a comp eq too and it goes for about 300 bucks. Also of intrest in this type of product, Symetrix 528E for around 500 bucks and the Rane VP12 at $450. All these box's do mic preamping, eq and compression.

    I usually don't recomend this type of gear but in your case because you say you wnat to stay with the limited recorder you are using, nothing more would make much sense.. These things will probably get close to where you want to be.. Kurt
  4. i have a used valley audio 401 for sale...
    its a nice unit.. clean sound.. the eq can get a little bright with some mics, but the unit sounds really nice.. i'm looking to upgrade to a sebatron
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    There you go Ryan!
  6. israelsonny2

    israelsonny2 Guest

    thank's for the responses guys.

    John - its not an absolute necessity that i stick with my [digital] standalone recorder (Zoom MRS1044), but getting a new one/switching to DAW would mean much more money wouldn't it? My budget isn't very big but at the same time it's hard to put a figure to it.. As you may have worked out I live in Australia so i think $300 US is about $450 here in Oz... In any case my budget wouldnt be too much more than $300 US (i was really only looking for one upgrade) :)

    I'm just a home-recordist but like any recordist i'd like to get semi-pro results (and keep improving as i go along). The thing i'm most concerned about is that if i stick with my standalone recorder then there will always be limitations (tracks,inputs, etc) no matter what i upgrade externally... I just dont know if i will be able to acheive semi-pro results using my standalone recorder. At the same time, i don't want to spend huge amounts of money on a new recorder/DAW even though in the (VERY) long-run it will mean i can potentially have better results...

    Bit of a stalemate huh?

  7. nocaster

    nocaster Guest

    What about the Behringer Shark DSP110? A$155 (inc. GST) at Musiclab.com.au
  8. white swan

    white swan Guest

    Since we know almost nothing about your room, your skills, or what your recordings even sound like at this point, it's hard for anyone to give you a meaningful answer.

    But, all is not lost! If I were in your situation, here's what I would do. (As a matter of fact, I've done this myself!) Find a pro audio engineer somewhere in your area who's work is generally well-respected locally, and inquire about what it would cost to come to your studio and do a consultation. Chances are, it won't cost all that much, and the advice you get will be well worth it. The pro should be able to spot the weakest links in your gear chain, as well as make suggestions about acoustics. If you play some of your projects, they may also have some excellent advice on recording and mixing techniques.

    It might be the best money you ever spend!
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    A great suggestion! In fact I do over a dozen of these every year for the local newbies and weekend wankers for sometimes as little as $50 hour. And you can get a vast amount of real good info out of an experienced, qualified someone in just an hour.
  10. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    If only I lived in ? gaff. Or maybe somewhere between the desert and the left coast.
  11. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member


    I'd say start with the room acoustics. Check out some of Ethan Winer's literature. But right now you're in the perfect position. You get to practice your craft with a consumer level setup. Like me! When you do finally get your good gear, you'll not only appreciate it more, you'll understand why you're spending so much money.

  12. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    AudioGaff spends a great deal of his time in, and around the boudries of Silicon Valley and the far left coast where real hippies are said to still be found...
  13. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Ah I see.

    Mitz on the other hand, dwells amongst the stiff shirts who continually remind themselves of their own importance.
  14. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    In my opinion the biggest improvement per dollar spent would be on a multi-track system of some sort. If you're going 2-channel only, this will open a whole new level.

    If you have a decent computer (anything over 500mHz and 128M RAM) with an open PCI slot it'll probably run a digital audio card. There are LOTS of them out there, and they're not all that expensive. I picked up an Aardvark Aark24 for about $600 and that was 4 years ago. They sell on Ebay for $300-$400 now. That'll give you 8 inputs. If your mixer has direct outputs for each channel, then you can use it as your preamp (can you use effect inserts for this as well, if you only connect to the "out" plug?).

    It'll make a whole world of difference to your drum recordings, if nothing else.

    If your mixer doesn't have a way to get sound direct out from each channel, there are cards out there with built-in preamps, but they cost a little more. I also have an Aardvark Q10 and it's phenominal.

    These soundcards also come with software for recording and mixing multi-track, so you don't HAVE to buy it separately- although you will probably want to later on... the included software is capable, but limited.

    Good luck!

    "to hell with the CD sales- download the MP3s and come to the shows!"
  15. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    Mitz made a good point about gear acquisition, and no matter how much $ you have to throw around, or how good you get at this business, I think it's a good point to follow...

    You'll know the difference between Radio Shack and pro gear when you hear it now.

    I think it's best to improve and upgrade your system one piece at a time. You'll hear the difference each piece makes, and you'll force yourself to get the most out of it that you can before upgrading something else.

    Right now, my system is pretty solid- meaning that I'm not missing anything vital, and all the pieces are at least low-end pro level. I recently moved into a room that I could really put some sound treatment work into, and not long afterward I got new monitors. My next step up will be a large-condenser mic, because I've yet to own one.

    And all the old hands on the board are now nodding their heads, knowing what I'm in for when I get there. For now, I have a handful of dynamics and small condensers, and they'll get me thru what I need to do. And once I have a couple good LC mics I'll wonder what I did without them.

    But you're on the right track. Good luck!

    "to hell with the CD sales- download the MP3s and come to the shows!"

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