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Another "Help me blow my money" thread!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ClarkJaman, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Ok so here is what's up. I am finishing up a client recording project right now, and in January I will get my final paycheque for the project plus tax returns later on. So I will have about $1500 to spend on recording stuff (as long as everything goes as planned :p ). My two options:

    1) Buy a sub and a pair of SDCs. Right now I am mixing on a pair of KRK V4s, so I think a KRK 10s would compliment them nicely. This would leave me enough money to buy a pair of AKG C451s. Right now the only pair of SDCs I have is a couple of Apex 180s. They sound pretty bad, and I never really use them. I always reach for my C414, MXL V69, or AT 2020 instead. I also own an SM57 and an SM57A. I feel like being able to record a high quality stereo image is a pretty essential task that I can't really do right now with what I have.

    2) My other option is to buy a Gibson Les Paul studio. A buddy of mine is trying to sell his, and will sell me it for $1400. It's in immaculate shape, but it has some of the factory defects typical to Gibson built guitars these days. I would have to get a bit of work done on it to clean it up, plus locking strap pins, so it would come to about $1600, for a guitar that was worth over $2500 brand new 4 years ago. This is obviously a killer deal, and I feel like this would be a great investment for a studio guitar. Guitar/bass are my main instrument(s), and I just bought a really nice custom built dreadnaught acoustic guitar in the fall, so my current electric guitar- a Godin strat- is really out of balance. If I bought this Les Paul, I could still keep my Godin for gigging and playing on the road, especially since it is matched really nicely with my pedals and amp (Fender Blues Junior). I am totally a strat player at heart. I've been playing exclusively on strats for half of my life, but most of the music I record would be complimented nicely by a Les Paul. Further, I play guitar for pretty much all the recordings I do, whether it's for fun or for hire. I feel like as a guitarist who does a lot of recording and engineering, being able to utilize both a strat and Les Paul would be a big bonus. It's like a painter who is able to paint with oils and acrylics. I would mostly use it for recording through a DI box with amp simulators like POD Farm, GTR 3 and Guitar Rig 5.

    This is ultimately a debate on what is the best bang for your buck. Some people would say that the microphones, preamps and mixing equipment makes the bigger difference, but I tend towards the opinion that what you put in to the box is what you will get out. A crappy old instrument recorded expertly with top mics and preamps, and mixed well with excellent plugins still won't sound as good as a really nice instrument that was recorded and mixed decently with mediocre gear.

    Option 1 would probably be the smartest investment, but option 2 is just a killer deal that won't be there later if I don't seize it now, so right now I am leaning towards option 2. What do you guys think?
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Right now I would pass on the sub. Good near fields are good enough. You need a great room to handle the subs. All they will do is add more low energy problems in your untreated room which will cause you to mix your bass with less accuracy. My bet is you will have even thinner sounding music if you add a sub right now. If you are choosing, invest in trapping over subs for certain. All the gear in the world will not improve your final product or help you learn beyond this point in your career. What you hear is what you get.

    SDC are the best investment.
  3. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    Hmmm that's a good point. Maybe 541s and $500 worth of home made bass traps then?
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    les paul studios go used for much less than you have mentioned.

    I just sold one, a '74 in vgc with a factory hard case for $600. i see them on CL for even less sometimes.


    if you are going to try to pull serious low end out of your room you really need to start from square one with a room that has proper dimensions. otherwise just keep everything above 40 Hz. bounderies and boundries and no amount of trapping, regardless of how good it is, makes a boundary disappear.

    i vote for the mics. maybe you can get lucky and find a vintage matched pair. i had some but i just sold them. i do have 3 that aren't matched but i don't think that's what you are looking for. take a look at THIS!
  5. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    Well maybe I could knock down his price on the Les Paul a little bit and still get a pair of SDCs in addition. Thanks for your help guys, this is very helpful! :)
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i wouldn't buy the 451 pr, one is fine for acoustic, unless your going to consistentily have just one acoustic, then i'd consider stereo. why not get your stereo from your sm57s? maybe get a combo amp w/ the rest of the money? maybe a fender twin? roland jazz chorus? you could use different pickup/mic/setting configs to fill out the sound. that les paul, is in name only, unless it's one in a 100-thousand. i;ve played epihone's that were better than lp customs. so when it comes down to electric pieces of wood, it's magic to you, or it's not. that is the determining factor. and you'll know in 5 sec. whether it says studio or custom shop turbo signature latta dattaa, if it feels right, its the right guitar. often when it feels right it'l sound right, they seem to come hand and hand :)

    put a sub in your car, or hi-fi home entertainment system. if ya read interviews w/ the big dogs, they almost always mix on nearfields.

    godin makes extremely expensive, high end guitars, maybe ya just need a setup? i've played they're mid level stuff and wasn't blown away, or disappointed. you can use mic position to take some bite out of a strat, and get some 'body'. but pay any more than what kurt was saying for a lp studio is a rip. the last one i played at the local store was asking 450, in mint condition. does your 'friend' also have a used car, and bridge for sale?

    maybe you'd benefit from a nice d.i. radial is defacto but there are plenty of others on that level.

    i don't think bass trapping is ever really a bad thing, but, it comes down to dimishing returns real fast. so really it should be assessed what the actual room problem is, and, if your budget will make a worthwhile dent in it.
  7. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    Well one of them is a 57 and the other one is a 57 Beta A. They have quite different frequency responses, so I don't know how a stereo pair would work. Plus, correct me if I am wrong, but I have a feeling that 57 stereo micing would work pretty good if you were near micing, but for something like a choir or string section, where there has to be a considerable distance between the mic and sound source, it wouldn't be so great.

    Do you guys know where I could find an appraisal on this Les Paul? It's a 2008 sunburst studio.

    Pax Caritas et lol,
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well stereo doesn't really mean symmetrical. listen to blood sugar sex magic, by the chilli peppers, on headphones. the room sound is not the same left/right. a typical drum kit isn't either. got ya lows on one side highs in the other. your 57's are close enough. recording rooms are built on 'a'symetrical principals anyway. so say you 57a is brighter, keep the duller instruments of the arrangement on that side, and vice versa.

    if your using those two on acousitc guitar, (typically) ones lookin at the fret 12, and one at the hole/brgide. so your already working two different responses. What is the advantage of a matched pair? it's going to take a different gain structure, eq (optional) compression (optional) anyway right?
    Your not trying to capture a redundent source, it's a stereo spread, which is different parts of a same source.

    use the mics to complement the instrument in that way. i'd start 57a on the body/12fret and 57 hole/brige. eq w/ microphone placement, and room position, then take it from there. maybe you will need nothing else.

    for choir stuff, why not add another 414? it'll work great, and do well on just about anything else. i regularly use 414s on the 'room'. i'm sure there are better, or more specific, like coles, or km's, but, i haven't used them, and they exceed your budget. maybe m-s w/ a new ribbon mic? hmmm.
  9. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    Yeah, but I can already do a pretty nice asymetrical stereo field with my C414 and V69. That's how I usually mic acoustic guitars; 414 pointed back at the 12th fret/soundhole, V69 pointed forward toward the bridge/soundhole. The 57 and 57A are probably just as varied as the 414 and V69. But if I want to do a coincident pair or something like that, I would need a matched pair, or at least a stereo set.

    That's a good idea too. I will probably end up getting another 414 after I win the lottery. :p

    Pax Caritas et lol,
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    it'll save money on a guess paul.

    -i say don't buy anything until your familiar w/ wacha got.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Ahh yes... the age old dilemma of where to spend the money. I haven't had that dilemma in a while. LOL The Electric, Gas, Insurance and Mortgage companies have pretty much alleviated that problem for me. ;)

    Subs: I don't mix with a sub. Even when I had my real control room, designed from the ground up, I still relied solely on NF's for mixing. I would occasionally listen back to a final mix with a sub, but I never mixed with one.

    Les Paul:
    I'm not sure that the deal on the LP is the best deal. I've seen them for less than what your friend is asking.

    Stereo Recording:
    As far as stereo recording...You could get into a pair of matching entry level SD condensers that will perform just fine... for example, AKG C 1000's, you could probably get a pair for under $400. Are they the best? No. They're not Shoepps, nor are they Bruel and Kjar's or Neumanns... but for the money, you'll get fine results, and sound decent on almost everything.

    Or, add another 414... I get very nice results using my 414's on a variety of stereo miking applications... from drum OH's to sectional strings, vocals, live remote work, etc.

    As a side note, if you do a search of last week's topics, you'll also find a post by a guy who has acquired an AKG C34 stereo condenser mic. A very nice mic indeed, with built in adjustable X-Y, ORTF and M-S capability.
    He hinted at selling it at one point... You may want to talk to him.

    **edit/update: I think audiokid is selling a matched pair of Rode SD's....

  12. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    CORRECTION: THE GUITAR FOR SALE IS A LES PAUL STANDARD, NOT STUDIO. That's why we are having the big price differences here lol. Sorry about that, my bad.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    the rode nt-5s are awesome for acoustic gtr. as OH's i wasn't a huge fan, i like to hear the lows more proprotional. a matched pair is a fantasy. even if the 2 mics had the exact same response, in a co-pair mic technice your pointing the mics at diffeferent places, so the capsule is vibrating differently on each one. as they wear in the capsules are going to respond accordingly. two of the same kind is close enough for me.

    even a less pual standard is like 1500 new, i like the feel of a les paul classic better, it's got hotter pickups (500t) and a thinner neck. thats just taste tho. that just sounds like a rip off. if you love the guitar i'd say offer 1k and get a ribbon mic like a beyer 160 (cuz i want one lol). or like donny said a SDC. the sm 81 is quite good as well. you can get a rippin' gtr sound w/ a 58, a 414, a les paul, and a marshall/mesa. ooof good combo lol.
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Les Paul Studios are not now nor have they ever been $2500 retail. Used ones can fetch up to $700-$800....maybe...Used is always what the "market will bear"... but a new one with a case and your choice of color is only going to be around $1100. Anyone who pays that much for a stunted model of a guitar had better be getting something that feels and plays perfect....like was said....That one in 100,000.........

    As for a pair of SDC's there are so many good choices. The C451 is a venerable mic. Some love them others dont. I like them a lot but these days there are 'better' all-arounder choices. The AKG's are bright. Detailed. Crisp. But in the 70's and 80's when they really made their name for recording rock acoustic guitars they were perfect with tape. The natural compression from the medium didnt dull their response to their sources. I really always liked em on drum overs...

    But at slightly more than half the price the Audio Technica 4051 does a similar thing and have a better bottom end....okay, "better" is a bad word to use....different. More rounded.

    But if a stereo image is all you're looking to accomplish (why? are you recording orchestras or chamber ensembles????) then I would go with another C414.

    Ah. I didnt see the later post on the LP. Still a borderline price and it should play itself at that number. I recently paid quite a bit less than that for a basically unplayed (well kept) SG Standard with the upgrade case, hang tags, all the candy, AND it was one of the one in 100,000.
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    my uncle got an 800 epiphone (usually a bad word to me) goldtop for like 400, and that thing is a real guitar. it's not one of those "i'm gonna buy a cheap guitar and get a low fi thing going', it was lets get 'em a new guitar. that thing sounds better than plenty of gibsons. it's rare, but true.

    when they pick out and grade gibsons, it's not based on sound. like, a les pual body is based on things like wood grain pattern. so there cast as elemnts before anyone knows what they sound like. i'm not one of those 'cheaper is just as good' guys, but no two guitars are the same. manufactured metals, like mics and stuff, can be much more consistent, but, carved trees w/ strings, anything 'could' work. yeah is is too much, go 800.

    i owned 2 mesa triple recs, one was brand new, one was a floor demo. i really screwed up by not keeping the floor demo. it wasn't a matter of breaking them in. i insisted on the brand new cuz thats better right? nop. that floor demo one sounded way way more balsy than the outa the box one i exchanged it for, at no cost. it was part of my buying agreement that i get a 'new in the box' model when the store stocked one.

    ya know, this conversation could move to 'vintage' and all that. it's really just case by case, for anything, i've heard old amps suck, and new ones suck. i will say i've never played an SG that i liked, all incarnations included.

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