1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Experience with focusrite octopre? not MkII

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by GregLarson, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    Im doing some recording this weekend (drums) and I know have a focusrite octopre in my arsenal. What are everyones experience with the octopre? its seems as though there are not many switches or knobs per channel and seems fairly easy to use. Just would like to see what some pro's or home studio guru's had to say. Thanks.
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    At this level, tuning the kit, placing it in the room, choosing and then positioning the microphones are all more important than the interface.

    Don't use too many microphones. A pair of SDCs as overheads, a snare mic (SM57) and a kick mic are all you need, especially if the space is confined in height and area. Take the time to work on the positioning to make sure you are getting a good overall sound from the overheads, then add in the kick and snare for extra punch.

    For the Octopre, keep the gains relatively low so the peaks are around -12 dBFS. You can bring them up later in post processing, knowing that you have gained the advantage of working in the sweet spot of the interface pre-amps. Drum tracks are particularly taxing for this level of interface.
     
  3. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    the music I'm recording is metal or "deathcore" as us kids call it these days, so I definately will use tom mic's as well. but thank you for that advice. we're going to be spending our whole first day soundchecking and trying different options. Im excited to see how this octopre handles things.

    If anyone else has any input I'd love to hear it :)
     
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I have an Octopre with A/D conversion. I feed my API 3214+ to line inputs 5-8 of and those are my kick, snare and overhead channels. While I'm saving up for another 3124 I use the Octopres channels 1-4, usually for under snare, high hat, and toms. Most of my mix is the API channels, though I usually use a fair amount of the under snare. The Ocotpre preamps don't have the head room of the API (very tough to drive those too hard) but they aren't all that touchy. I've had no problems with them even with heavy hitters. I think it's a good unit - one of the best in its price range. It has gotten some negative reviews, but a lot of them are from people who expected 8 channels of Focusrite red for $100 a channel.

    I've used the dynamics controls some, but I they don't turn me on. They don't add any color that I really like, and the only reason I see to use dynamics in real time is to add color.
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Just because you're doing death core doesn't mean you need microphones on the toms. Boswell is superbly educated, skilled, experienced and so is Bob. A lot of us don't need no stinkin' microphones on toms because we know where to place and how to choose our overhead microphones & tweak our preamps. Your units have a good reputation for a clean open quality but that might yield a thinner sound than what Bob & I attain thanks to the API & Neve preamp stuff. If I'm not mistaking, even Boswell likes that stuff too? Talk about huge and fat. Not Boswell, not Bob (but I am 30 pounds overweight) so I think you'll find in many situations less microphones means a more focused quality to the sound. There are less timing delay problems with fewer microphones. When I have microphones on toms, I'll frequently gate them so that the leakage causes little if any time delay problems. Microphones only a few inches apart yield very short time delay differentials which will cause a nondescript smear to your sound. Sure, you can gate those toms in software but it seems to be a little more tricky to create a good gate in software as compared to good old-fashioned hardware units. Compression and limiting is different in software in that respect. But I digress. And while many folks like to mix & match preamps, I have different feelings about utilizing different preamps while tracking drums. Of course, you have to use what you have and not everybody has all of the preamps they want. The reason why I don't like to mix and match on drums is because each preamp has its own speed at which sound flows through. There are minute differences in the speed of different preamps. This could potentially create some time & phase issues but as Bob indicated, he uses his secondary preamps on the secondary sound sources, bottom snare, etc.. It's like you wouldn't want to use 1 API preamp & 1 Neve preamp for a stereo recording with a matched pair of microphones. Or using two different microphones in XY/ORTF and matched preamps. Of course, if you want that for an effect? That's different. Which is another way to accomplish recordings when you don't have all the equipment you think you need. Now remember both Bob & Boswell are extremely well-educated in fact Bob teaches at Virginia Tech. I on the other hand are your highly experienced, talented and least educated underachiever and proud of it in this group. But hey, after 40 years, I'm starting to get it right, whatever that means?

    Counting on my fingers for math
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Remy- Sorry to say that if my drum recordings were as fat as my body I could quit my day job. I'm at the Jabba the Hutt stage trying to diet my way down to Sidney Greenstreet.
     
  7. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    thanks for your very detailed explanation remy, that makes alot of sense. I guess i've been close-minded when it comes to how to mic the kit. We're soundchecking tonight so I'll definately see what properly placed overheads can do for me before I run to my tom mics. Any tips on overhead placement?
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    A lot of us love to use 414 LDC for overheads. Unfortunately, I traded off one of my 2 matched 414's for a lousy U67. But I also love using the small capsule Shure SM81 or Neumann KM-86 multi-pattern or, 84 cardioid, I've also had a request to use the guitarists $50 US each Octava 319's? Or was that $50 for the pair? I forget? I thought those sounded fabulous for the bucks into my API 3124's.

    As far as the placement goes, I'll not always have them directly overhead and symmetrically placed but a little offkilter to capture more of the toms tone. Altitude above the drum set is between 2 to 5 feet depending upon how much drum versus cymbal I'm looking for. If the cymbals have a trashcan lid like quality, I'll generally not use a large diaphragm condenser microphone. Those seem to accentuates that trashcan sound. The small capsule condenser microphones are a little more linear sounding and are less likely to accentuate the dreaded trash can effect. If the cymbals are already too thin & zingy I'll use the LDC's to capture more of that midrange bite. And on some occasions, I'll put a couple of Sennheiser 421's on the toms for a fatter or more aggressive tone. But most of the overall sound is from the overheads. And for heavy metal/death core I think you'll be amazed with the overheads. That's the stuff!

    I'm full of stuff
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  9. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    you indeed are full of stuff! very helpful stuff at that! i appreciate you taking the time to explain in detail. If recording had a president you'd get my vote haha
     
  10. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    soo tonight when we went to soundcheck we were getting alot of jitter from the octopre...my chain is mics into octopre....optical out...optical in on 002 factory....pro tools le 8. Any idea how/where/why I was getting this horrible jitter? I know it was the octopre because i went straight into 002 factory and it was fine :/
     
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Did you change the clock from internal to ADAT?
     
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Did you remember to disengage the parking brake?

    Driving since I was 14
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  13. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    i did not, i'm thinking that may have been the issue. Live and learn lol, i've only been recording with pro tools for 6 months. I will definately try that when I go to track bass. I'll be posting the drums I recorded yesterday later tonight, If any of you could critique them and give me some pointers i'd appreciate. Just going to post the raw tracks as of today so you can hear how they sounded when they were recorded.
     
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    We won't ask how long you have been parking.
     
  15. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    wait is this code for something or am I just missing the connection to a joke? haha
     
  16. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I was wondering if there was a generational divide on the term "parking."
     
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm just normally full of stuff. You know what kind of stuff. Yeah, joke. I'm looking forward to hearing how your recording came out.

    Rikki Tiki a.k.a.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  18. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    they're up guys....this is the track without tom mics...raw tracks

     
  19. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Greg that was interesting to listen to. A little more information would be desired here. Is this just the overheads? I do believe I'm listening to a snare drum microphone however? The bass drum definitely needs some work. What kind of microphone and what is its placement? There should be a much better thud on that thing and it's empty. One of the other tricks to try is to only invert the phase of the bass drum. This causes a certain amount of phase differential cancellation. This can actually work well for the bass drum because... All the other drums are miked from the top skin. They aren't miked underneath the batter skin like the bass drum is. So if you miked backwards you should invert phase just as you would on a bottom snare drum microphone when combined with a top snare drum microphone. It gives you a harder thud with the phase cancellation. When you take it in phase I find that it sums together with the rest of the set but the low frequencies are the ones that start to cancel first because they are longer waves and are more omnidirectional when they combine with the rest of the kit. This can create mud and a lack of solid definition. When I'm listening to heavy rock 'n roll, I want SOLID DEFINITION. I want to feel like my rump is getting kicked by that bass drum. I don't want to feel like I am being hit with a pound of spaghetti noodles. And this is also where gating drums can really come into play. Try getting bass drum & snare drum but don't gate the overheads. You'll have more control this way. Of course you indicated these were raw tracks and those generally sound that way. Sometimes, I'll pull a fast one on some of my clients that have asked me to record multitrack shows for them. When I'm tracking, most of the time, you don't play with phase. But what I'm tracking drums and for my own monitoring purposes, I'll invert the phase of the bass drum. When I do that, it records the drum that way on the multitrack. I'm nasty. I don't necessarily tell the client what I've done. They take their tapes/discs or hard drives to go mix it themselves or to have somebody else mix it. If it's a real engineer, they'll know what to do if they don't like the inverted bass drum. If they aren't enthusiastic musician wanna be engineer, they'll just mix it that way not knowing that the bass drum has been inverted. I don't always do this to the bass drum. It really depends on the musical genre and the overall feel of the band. Sometimes bass drum is in phase like for jazz. But when I rock 'n roll I want to rock 'n roll and I get that with an inverted bass drum/compression/gating and of course some EQ to remove the "cardboard box" effect. Sucking a little out between 200 to 400 Hz usually does the job.

    You indicated that these tracks were raw one thing I noticed was, there was no feeling of any dynamic range in the recording. Now this is because of the genre but perhaps an error in game trim before recording? There just is no sparkle and there should be. Sure, I can hear the cymbals just fine maybe a little too fine so lowering the altitude of the overheads might behoove you next time. It's really fun experimenting with those overheads on drums because even a couple of inches can make the difference between night & day. And that's why sometimes it takes people 3 hours to mic up a drum kit. Moving your mics 1 inch here or there is what the studio experience is all about. In a live application you just have to roll with what you've got and make it work in the mix. So, with my ADD in high gear, I generally just throw some microphones on the drum and go for it. No, I really don't throw them even though some folks would believe that since I said that. But in that respect, I recorded some heavy metal earlier this summer at a nightclub. 3 bands played. The drums were miked with SM57 snare, AKG 112 bass drum & a pair of U87's 3 feet above cymbals for overheads. Everybody loved the sound of the drums no Tom Mike's necessary. BTW who the heck is Tom Mike?

    Okay I'll be honest, I like 421's on Tom's whatever
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  20. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    I used a shure pg52 on the bass drum, pg56's on the toms (not applicable in this though), sm57 on the snare (top only), and audio technica at4041's for overheads. gotta go 2 work, will post pics later. thanks for the advice remy
     

Share This Page