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Hi and please critique my gear before I invest

Discussion in 'Recording' started by zydeceltico, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. zydeceltico

    zydeceltico Active Member

    Jan 19, 2012
    Carbondale, CO
    Hi all – So happy to be here. Excellent resource. I am a music industry “veteran” who had a lot of recording time in the 80s and 90s. So…while not being a noob to the recording music world, I have been away a long while. I am a little familiar with DAWs and the recording culture of 2012 - -but only a little.

    I am ready to get back in and am hoping to get your feedback before I commit to a path that is ignorantly not where I want to go. I’ll be focused primarily on songwriting and producing my own songs to be placed with publishers and various other connections. So I want more than a little control and quality with out breaking my measly budget for a complete startup – roughly $2000.00.

    I already have an HP dv7, 8GB Ram, 7200 rps, 500GB hard drive. I am planning on getting the following: Pro-Tools 10 (mostly because I am familiar with what it will allow me to do); a Roland Quad-Capture (I would like the Octa but the price difference breaks my budget); EZ-Drummer, and I can’t decide between Guitar Rig 5 or a Line 6 Pod HD. Then, of course, various mics and such. I do have a 1985 JCM 800 2204 but it is way too much for my little house, kids, dogs, and especially - wife to bear. I will probably look around for a Fender Twin but will still be relying exclusively on an amp modeller for all of my writing and arranging until I find the arrangements I'm looking for.

    My goals are to spend the next 6 months writing pretty much solo which makes me feel better about getting the Quad instead of the Octa as the most inputs I’ll really have at any given time in the beginning will be stereo mics on acoustic guitars, mandolins, fiddles, etc. I am hoping (maybe against all hope) that one of the amp modelers I mentioned will be able to deliver a nice Fender Twin to over-driven JCM 800 for me. In the future, when songs are finally written, I'll be looking for a quality interface with more I/O options.

    And speaking of guitar amp modeling, I am really hoping – and this is probably number one or two on my list of needs/desires – that I can 1) not only find an amp modeller that sounds good, but 2) setup a system that will allow me to monitor the tone of the amp modeller while recording the track but only record a dry track so I can play with amp tones after the fact and not have to re-record the guitar everytime. I know that’s probably nothing to those who know but – like I said – in my time “away” there are some things I just don’t know anymore and I don’t want to buy a bunch of gear and software just to find out I can’t route things the way I am comfortable recording with.

    For what it’s worth as far as tones go, I am focused more on all forms of country from bluegrass to arena-country with a big huge sound. I say that because I notice a lot of emphasis on super overdriven metal tones for a lot of the amp modelers and I am not going to need that very much. I’ll need overdrive - just not Pantera or Nine Inch Nails.

    I’ve chosen EZ drummer primarily due to good reviews. Again – it sounds like I can find the tone I’m looking for - - but it seems to me there was another piece of percussion software that had an entire country-focused suite of drum tones. The second most important issue to me (and it really is a tie for first) is that whatever drum emulation system I am using will allow me to output each drum (especially kick and snare but preferably all of them – including the cymbals) to a single track in order to play with the tone of each drum isolated from the others.

    Wow – this is getting long - - sorry – but thanks.

    So…Thank You for your time and please, please feel free to critique any and/or all of my gear choices or methods - I am seriously looking for feedback before I invest. And of course – What am I missing? Advice on low cost, high quality monitors would be a big help too.
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    I've seen a lot of guys that sell "that" Marshall they grew up with because of reasons like that and they always regret it. You might want to look into an attenuator for it, because you probably won't like the sounds from the emulators, and for all intents and purposes, attenuators are fairly priced considering the price and rarity of a used but good condition Twin or JCM. Maybe get the attenuator and the POD HD (I would get that over Guitar Rig 5) and use the POD for clean tones if you can't get the clean tones you want from the JCM too, because it's a lot easier to get good cleans from an emulator than it is to get good distortion tones.

    The Roland unit is a 4 input unit, but only two are mics?? I think you will want four mic inputs at the very least. Is your computer is set up for FireWire? If it is, then these are some great units for cheap.

    Here is something to look into for not much above your price. 8 mic channels and good conversion.

    PreSonus FireStudio Project | Sweetwater.com

    Here's a GREAT sounding 8 channel pre for the price. A friend and I compared this unit against much higher end units for a lot more money, and this one sounded the best... go figure. You will need a separate conversion unit though, as it's just a pre.

    Focusrite OctoPre Mk II | Sweetwater.com
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Just talked to my friend, and he said that the old OctoPre's are the ones to get, might have been one of the older ones in the comparison. Maybe hit the used market? He also mentioned the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Wait a minute Guitarfreak. That Pre-Sonus FireStudio at $500 US, is a FireWire device allowing for eight simultaneous channels of recording. And it's good. All of their products have an exceptionally good build quality to them that has impressed me. And I'm hard to impress. I'm easy to repress, compress, undress though. Their MIC preamps are touted as being class A and they do have that smoother quality of tonality that makes me believe, it's true. But for something even more affordable their USB Pre-Sonus Audio Box with only 2 XLR microphone inputs is just as good for $149. And that device has some convenient front panel controls such as separate headphone and monitor outputs, XLR combo inputs for keyboards/guitars, phantom power along with their terrific Studio One multitrack software package which is quite capable for audio & MIDI. Albeit the Audio Box has no MIDI connections which would require a separate inexpensive external MIDI interface. You know that ProTools 10 will set you back $600 all by itself. So that sounds like a needless expenditure in comparison to the rest of your recording equipment. But then again, if you wanted ProTools, why not just purchase a Avid/Digi M-Box 2 or modern-day equivalent? That comes with ProTools generally version 7 or 8. And as you might know, any version of ProTools, Pre-version 9/10 requires Avid/Digi hardware which I also have and don't think much of. So I use mine not for recording purposes but for mixing purposes mostly because I'm running version 7 ProTools LE. Of course I get a discount on the upgrade to version 9 or 10 but it's still in the $300 region which I'm not bothering with yet. Soon just not yet.

    By the way welcome back to the world of recording. Glad you're back.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    Yes, welcome back, GF.
    Personally, I'd stay clear of the cheaper Focusrite lines. And the older ones had power supply issues, FWIW.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    If you are serious about a guitar emulator with sound and feel and you are going with protools, then you should seriously look at the Avid Eleven. It will do exactly what you're asking a guitar/amp modeler to do. Only it has a great front-end circuit that makes it FEEL like your Marshall when its cranked. I have one, as well as high-end guitars and amps and I gotta tell ya theres virtually no way to tell one track from another. Plus, you can use it to track with any setting you can conjure up, then reamp through it for something entirely different. You can use it as a mic preamp, you track with it exactly as you tracked guitars in the 80's, only no mic, or you can run it through an amp for the effects or, you can use its digital interface and track direct to ProTools as an interface. So it will do analog direct as well as digital.

    By the way, it will do a Twin as well as a JCM800, both of which I've owned more than once.

    I cant recommend this box enough. The Line 6and Guitar Rig are toyish in comparison....

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