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converter/preamp combo for classical recording

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Mice256, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Mice256

    Mice256 Active Member

    Hi all!

    I come from rock/pop background in recording and i want to get more into classical recording. currently I have been recording with PT and my mackie onyx mixer. I want to upgrade to a converter and preamp setup since I do everything in the box anyway. I was thinking of going for apogee converters with the aurora audio 8 channel pre's, but I don't know how that works in terms of recording classical music. I have been reading, and i see more things about prism and lavry converters, and pres from lachapelle and true systems.

    any opinions from you more experienced engineers? To me apogee has always had great products and i know aurora audio gets great reviews, but classical music is a different realm for me. I'm not that familiar with classical recording gear, other than mics. Is there a classical music recording techniques magazine of some sort so i can get more info?

    Thanks!
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Lavry Blacks are choice as a 2 track. The pre's in them are great too. The AD11 pre/AD/USB/AES/spdif combo is wonderful for exactly what you need if 2 track is enough. The Orpheus is outstanding as an 8 track ADDA and the pre's in those are great too. I own both units and love them. I also use them as a second AD for mastering to a second DAW which has put my sound the best I've ever heard. No more SRC going on makes your mix exact and that much sweeter. I am however going OTB, doing some hardware tweaks and mastering to the second DAW via the Orpheus or AD11.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It should be said that the APOGEE line of products only work with Macintosh. And you didn't indicate what your computer platform was? I'd love to use APOGEE products as I also know Bob Clearmountain's whose wife owns APOGEE the company. And my queried Bob about why APOGEE doesn't offer PC drivers, is lame excuse to me was " we're a small company with only about 40 employees ". So what do they need? One more guy to write the code for the drivers? I think that's a severe marketing error on their part. There's no excuse for not having PC compatible drivers. Especially since all Macintoshes today utilize the same Intel processors as PCs. It is just discrimination I tell ya'.

    I hope you also understand that your current system is more than adequate for fine arts classical music and symphonic/operatic recordings. You're just upgrading from clear and clean to other clear and clean. Sure there is a difference if you're ready to spend a boatload of cash. But why bother? What's the purpose? Where's it going? Who wants it? Unless you want to go for something more colorful that includes Transformers? Like API or Neve. The huge round and smooth effect you get from those devices is unlike any transformer less transparent, naked, neutered stuff. And that doesn't necessarily mean your recordings will sound better. I like a lush sound (maybe because I am a lush?). And the API and Neve stuff gives me that huge round sound that has great depth to its character. Yeah, it colored with lots of pretty colors. And a good set of converters to complement that with. So maybe all you need is a Lunch Box with a couple of 512's? And then perhaps some APOGEE converters that are only line level input.

    What's an upgrade?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  4. Mice256

    Mice256 Active Member

    thanks for the response!

    Remy you always ask some great questions and with humor too! I am using a MAC and i agree that it is discrimination! i Just feel like I want to upgrade to some with more color to it like the Aurora audio/neve preamps. I'm also looking for some rackmountable and portable because that onyx mixer can be a pain to carry along with everything else. I also feel like I have to turn up the gain too high on the onyx preamps resulting noise. If figure this way I can still do rock/pop as well as classical. I know classical loves transparent converters and pres but I feel like it could use some colouration.

    For my purposes, maybe the lavry or prism converters are overkill. Since Aurora Audio is near me and they have received great reviews, I think I will go with them. I am still considering the API's though.

    Thanks a lot!
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    If you think that the Onyx preamps were noisy? They are no noisier than anyone else's. Neve, API, Aurora are not going to be any quieter. And really there is only a nuance difference. Your real differences will be in your mic selection and where you put them. Personally, I'm not a big fan of transformer less equipment, at all. Not in the digital age at any rate. We needed those crispier, brighter sounding equipment back in the analog days of tape, just to cut through the multi-generational nature of analog tape. With digital recording already being a linear format, all of these bright crispy preamps make a lot of things sound like you are crunching potato chips right in the bag, in a merciless way, LOL. So while you might want some clean, clear, transparent, open quality for fine arts, symphonic/operatic style of recording? Too much bright and crispy with bright and crispy microphones just sounds like rice crispies. The best you each morning. Quite frankly I prefer a little more frosting on my sound to give it that buttery smoothness which you get from transformer coupled, all discrete transistor circuitry.

    While people say their equipment is clean, clear, transparent, neutral, it isn't. Every piece of electronics has its own sound. They think their sound is clean and clear and transparent but in fact that is just another type of coloration. It's for you to decide if it's the right color for you. Because I don't believe that clean, clear, transparent is the proper color for everything. That to me sounds like nothing more than pen and ink, black and white, see-through with no lusciousness or warmth. And without lusciousness and warmth, what is there left to enjoy it in a symphonic event? I don't need to hear a cold, crisp, transparent and stringy sounding orchestra. So a lot of this technical rhetoric and marketing hype I feel is baseless or is that bass-less? I think it's both. Even though it potentially, through direct coupling, could go virtually down to DC in its frequency response. That doesn't necessarily indicate warmth. It merely indicates response. So don't be judging sound with your eyes but with those two peculiar flap like devices on either side of your head. And always remember... there really isn't much truth in advertising. Advertising is merely there to get you to purchase a product. And some of it can be quite compelling. So while there is certainly an element of difference to be heard, it doesn't necessarily translate across the board for everything. And a lot of it comes down to your engineering technique and style. It comes down to how you see that sound in your head. And then to translate it from your head to an actual recording. And you can't do that by just reading marketing hype and specifications even if you want that clean, clear, transparent outcome. Because it comes more from your microphone selection and placement than it does from your preamps or converters, first. Preamps second and whoever's converters you choose to use at the end of the line. I mean, for instance, I would never use a small diaphragm condenser microphone, with direct coupling on an overly bright sounding coloratura soprano singer. That is not unless her delivery was that of a horny, panting woman, who sounds like she is ready to throw her naked body upon yours. Then I'd use that small diaphragm condenser microphone. And if she was tight up on it and ready to go down on it, or so to speak. Which of course an operatic soprano would not be doing to a microphone. And further away which would make them brighter and more squeaky sounding yet. Which is where a ribbon microphone might be a better choice than a transformer coupled or transformer less preamp would be? And then you can have that clean air and crispier analog to digital converter, when you've got your warmth built up in the front end.

    I'm more like a frosted Flake because I'm Grrreat!
    Mx. Remy Ann Tiger
     

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