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Gear suggestion...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by bussamutu@gmail.com, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. bussamutu@gmail.com

    bussamutu@gmail.com Active Member

    I having been recording guitar with two sm57's through an audiobox 22vsl with audacity. For voice I have been using a Rode NT1-A. I have around 600 dollars to spend, and am interesting in simply increasing the sound quality and clarity of my recordings, especially for voice.

    I was thinking about buying a better interface but I do not have Firewire and really don't need more than 2-4 inputs. Would it better to spend the money on a quality condenser mic for voice?

    Does anyone know any good interfaces in that price range? Are USB to firewire converters legit?

    Also, would buying a mixer be usefulin acheiving better sound definition/control over sound?

    I'm sorry if these questions are dumb/ if I posted this in wrong place...You have guys have been VERY helpful int he past, so thank you.
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Are you talking about a mixing control surface, or a true mixing console? The control surface is really just a tool of convenience. The real mojo happens with the knowledge, the ears, and the tools.

    Now, if you are talking about a true console - and not just an extended control surface that allows you to tactically move faders and pans - then yes, a real analog mixer can indeed make a difference, depending on what you are doing and what you have to spend. However, there's really nothing within your $600 range that's going to improve you much, in terms of a console.

    You may be better served by upgrading to a better pre, at which point you could blow through that 6 bills pretty quick on just the pre amp alone. Focusrite makes some nice stuff around that price range.

    How is the room you are recording vocals in acoustically? I ask because a condenser may not be the best choice for you. And with the right pre amp, you'd be surprised at just how good a dynamic mic can sound.

    I think you are being optimistic in your hopes that you'll get a remarkable difference/improvement for that $600. Like I said, you could kill that money buying just a pre amp. To add in a decent condenser that would sound good enough to make an actual difference is... well, it's just not gonna happen. You're better off sticking with a dynamic like a 58 (or 57) and running it through a decent pre amp than you are buying another cheap condenser and running it through a decent pre amp.

    IMHO of course.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    RME babyface is Highly regarded as for preamp and converters if you find one used. But before you go there, how's your listening environement ? Monitors, room treatment ? Maybe that money could be better spent there.

    If your monitoring is nice, I agree with DonnyThompson, get a used ksm44 or AKG414 or a single better preamp (a new ISA One or a used UAD 610)

    If you still want to change your interface, make sure you get one with Spdif digital input later one when you'll want a new preamp, you could get one with digital output. That way your signal won't be degraded by electronics of the interface. (Adat is nice to have too)
  4. bussamutu@gmail.com

    bussamutu@gmail.com Active Member

    Thank you so much for the responses!

    Ok so I'm a little confused. I know I need a soundcard and a preamp and that obviously the presonus interface consists of both of these. I were to to buy another preamp wouldn't I have to also get another soundcard (which come as individual units?)? If I bought the UAD 610, I would run it into my pc through the presonus? But only if it has digital input?
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    They are one and the same.

    Any device that allows you to get audio into and out of your computer is an "audio I/O". This includes an actual PCi card that you install into a slot on your motherboard, or the cheap cards that come with many store bought PC's (Realtek, Soundblaster, etc). In the past few years, external devices have become very popular, because they provide pre amps, where as the actual cards do not.

    These days, the two terms have kinda melded together, and it can be a bit misleading.

    With an external audio I/O preamp like the Presonus, you don't need a soundcard, because the audio is converted and sent to your computer via USB (and there are some that also use Firewire as well).

    There are standalone pre amps that do not deliver audio I/O to your computer via digital connection. These are analog devices; the 610 Solo is one of these standalone devices. It is a tube pre amp, designed to deliver a warmer signal than what you would get with a cheaper audio I/O - preamp. It offers XLR for both input and output. You can use this to "front load" into an audio I/O, or even a console where the pres may be "just ok"..

    As a final note, you may or may not be happy with the results of this unit. It's a tube device, so you will pick up the sonic coloration that tubes offer. If "clean, clear and crisp" is your goal, you probably won't get what you want with the 610. I'm not saying you shouldn't get it, I'm saying you should do a bit of research first, and if at all possible, try it out before you buy. There are many analog standalone pre's out there, some tube, some class A, some with EQ, some with nothing other than gain control. I'm not sure you've looked at all the options yet, and this includes waiting a little while until you can add a few more $ to your budget to increase the number of choices. ;)

    I have a suspicion that maybe you are looking at this UA 610 because it clocks in at right around $600, which is your stated budget. And I'm not sure that this would be the wisest choice for you.

    Part of me wants to tell you to consider a 2 channel standalone, and another part of me wants to encourage you to wait...

    Or.... LOL.... I can just shut up. ;)
  6. bussamutu@gmail.com

    bussamutu@gmail.com Active Member

    Yeah, I think waiting until I have some more $$ before I look into buying a new preamp, although I definitely will do some more research. I would invest in room treatment but I plan on moving this summer and currently do not have many options for recording space. Would buying something like a ceiling cloud be worth it?
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    The thing w room treatment panels is that they can be mount semi permanently, this includes clouds. And it is always a good investment. If your considering a pro quality pre, better sounding room is gonn help u discern the subtleties, or no to subtle differences between the demo units u compare. U can vn make portable panels that can be temp mounted on mic stands.

    i encourage u to tryout and familiarize yourself w the different types of pres that Donny mentioned. I like color and rock and roll so I lean towards transformer based and tube pres. But it really all depends on you tastes and what you usually record.

    also, it would help if you could identify what it is you don't like about the presonus pres u have, and what sort of improvements ur looking for. I think that pres are very very integral to quality sound, but they are no magic buttons that go from beginner to pro results.

    i think newer people to recording get caught up in conversations w seasoned vets geeking out on small differences between they're high end stuff and think oh ill just get expensive gear. Basically that stuff will collectively add up to the last 10% of recording quality and cost 10x more than average gear.

    someone could give me a highly tuned sports car, but it doesn't mean I could just start racing pro drivers, or even know what to do w it.

    pres and eqs and compressors do make a difference, but you could easily spend well over a grand on some pres, and be like, oh that's it? Room and instrument and playing quality will effect the sound much more significantly than than a boutique pre ever would. I would totally get a mic that best suited your voice first, cuz that's the next thing in the chain after the room and your voice. Then mate that mic w a pre that's perfect for your voice as budget allows.
  8. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Room treatment doesn't have to be expensive, I paid less than $500 for my current treatment.

    Acoustimac not only sells bass traps and panels, they sell d.i.y. kits and materials!

  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Acoustic panels and bass traps - acoustimac

  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Also one thing to consider when buying a pre is that most budget audio interface don't have inputs that lead directly do the digital converter. In a way you may have the perfect sound going to some electronic part of your audio interface and be degraded before it hits the converter and go to the DAW. This is why I suggested going with an interface with digital input and a pre with digital output (like the Isa One).. There are stand alone digital converters but to have quality the price is high.
    Be aware that digital comes in a few format, spdif can be RCA or fiber optic. So you need to match your purchase accordingly
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Ooof I wish got my 703 that cheap! That's a great deal they got goin on!
  12. ondray

    ondray Active Member

    You have $600, so I would focus on increasing the quality of one item really well, over spreading $600 on multiple gear... Let's follow the path. Mics in my opinion are fine, with a popper stopper and good vocal performance, the mics these days are good. What is the Pre Amp you have now? that's next in line, so maybe invest there. Maybe get a new Interface with a good pre amp. I would stay away from looking to get a mixer at the time.

    Look at maybe a used Focusrite ISA pre, with an Apogee Duet or RME babyface interface.

    Now achieving better sound definition, this is in how you place the mics and performance... then mixing. Experiment with mic placement, this will save you lots of time in mixing.

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