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Home/project studio in development

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Mandachuva, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Well, then... This is going to be a pretty large post, so buckle up, people. :)

    I started getting into the recording/live sound business a few years ago; I've done at least some of my homework regarding acoustics, and studio gear, I've recorded quite a few songs with first batch of recording gear, and mixed a few live shows (with borrowed equipament to complement my own), all with PRETTY good results. I also work for a Romanian pro audio gear company (I'm Romanian, BTW - it's quite a bitch getting gear in this country), so I can get my hands on some gear cheaper than any european shop.

    I have a DIY acoustically treated tracking/mixing room, of the 4.5/3.75/2.7m variety - wideband absorbers made out of 8cm (if I remember correctly) thick Rockwool of 90kg/m3 density. With the absorbtion, and my Yorkville YSM1P monitors, I managed to get an even bass response (+-3-4dB at most, ETF says), and easily translatable mixes. The room seems pretty dead, from an acoustics point of view, but it has intelligiblility, and is also "live" enough to use for band rehearsals (I also play drums/keyboards/some bad vocals is a couple of bands), and it seems adequate for tracking everything except drums (which I don't as of yet have the gear to do; I hopefully will soon). Here are some pics of the
    tracking/mixing room (corners, behind the DAW, in front of the DAW):

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/7.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/6.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/5.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/4.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/3.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/2.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/Mandachuva/1.jpg

    Sorry, couldn't resist adding the pic of my dearly beloved (the Clavia NL3). :)

    Except the desire to expand, what seems to bother me is the vocals... Either the mic doesn't cut it (AT3035), nor the preamps (I had an M-Audio DMP3 before the Saffire LE which I now use for AD/DA and preamps, it sounded cheaper than the Saffire to my ear), or maybe the room isn't all it should be... But I cannot seem to be able to record vocals that sit properly in the mix, or sound as good as I'd like them to. Or it could be my mixing abilities, but I've managed to get satisfying (to me, at least) results with all the other instruments I've recorded, including acoustic guitar... Hell knows - that's why I'm jumping in the "need more gear" bandwagon.

    By now, you must be wondering WHY THE HELL am I posting this in the Pro Audio Gear forum... Well, I'll soon be reaching the "what should I buy next?" part of this post - I just wanted to give as much info regarding my condition before I reach that part; also, in some time I'll be asking some room design questions for a standalone studio room I'm building based on Wes Lachot's design from Realtraps. And I guess all the info should also be in that post. My guess this will turn into a pretty long "project studio development" thread. Please bear with me and/or move the thread to an appropiate forum, in case it doesn't fit here.

    Regarding the gear I intend to buy - all of it should be used for studio, rehearsal AND live sound situations - pretty small clubs; I simply cannot afford to have separate gear for all three.

    Until now I have the following:
    DAW - oc'ed to hell and back AMD A64, 1Gb RAM, 3 hard drives (440Gb in total)
    -> no upgrade neccessary; it's got enough processing power for me

    Audio interface - Focusrite Saffire LE
    - I love it's converters; 4 analog ins, 1 SPDIF I/O -> too few inputs to accomomdate my future desires, but I do have a Saffire Pro 10 I/O which I can borrow at any time;

    Preamps - Saffire LE's preamps
    - seem all right until know... I do wish for some flavour, and more headroom for drums

    Mics - AT3035 (vocal, sometimes 2nd mic on cabs, acoustic guitar), SM57 (cabs), Behringer ECM8500 (acoustic measurements), Behringer XM8500 & Shure C606 (vocal mic for rehearsals)

    Monitors - Yorkville YSM1P
    - love them, I don't feel the need to change

    PA - a homemade amp & speakers for rehearsal/live monitoring, a pair of Db Technologies Opera 602 speakers for the front speakers in live situations

    Headphones - 2 x Behringer HPS3000 (cheap... and that's about it)

    Cables/connectors - hand-soldered top-of-the-line Cordial cables and Neutrik connectors -> no need to change

    That should be all... Now for the "Santa Claus is coming!" list:

    - I DO NOT have the opportunity to test any of these (long live Romania!) :-( - so it's a buy before you try situation -

    - Groobe Tubes The Brick Pre/DI - I am a big fan of natural/vintage sounds; and the Brick seems to have that certain character and great reviews; i'll be using it as a somewhat flavour pre for mics and as a possible DI for bass guitar in studio and for all live situations

    - Joe Meek ThreeQ - flavour pre - in case it sounds good on a certain sources, it's going to be used in the studio; otherwise, only as a channel strip for vocals in live situations (both me and one of the vocalists in my bands NEED compression - that's why I say I want the bastard; also good EQ, from what I've heard)

    - AT4040 - the main reasons I'm heading towards Audio-Technica is the fact that I can get them about 30-35% cheaper than any european store, and that I quite like all I've heard from them; it's going to be used for vocals, maybe acoustic guitar/guitar cabs

    - Oktava MK012 matched pair with omni/cardio/hipercardio capsules - SDC -> mainly for drum overheads and other situations where a SDC will sound good; I'm in love with everything Russian, and it seems to have great reviews... greater bang-for-the-buck alternatives, anyone?

    - Audix A6 - mainly as a bass drum mic; it has raving reviews, from what I've seen

    - Allen&Heath MixWizard 16:2 - again, I can get this cheaper; it's main use will be as a live mixer and also for it's (supposedly) clean and with lot of gain/headroom preamps (for drum recordings - the Saffire's pre's don't seem to have enough headroom for that, from what I've tested); also for adding a bit of reverb to tracking-monitoring vocals/acoustic guitars and as a band rehearsal mixer with effects

    - maybe a FMR RNC as a bus comp for live situations and comp for studio recordings and a TC M350 for separate effects on vocals or for my Clavia NL3 (which is great, but doesn't have effects); also, a pair of Audio-Technica ATH M50 (cheaper for me) for tracking and live monitoring for me (I'm the drummer)

    Hell, that was tedious... I've been planning to write all of this down for about a year, but I couldn't get myself to do it. I hope at least some of you managed to go through all of this.

    So, the question actually is: what do you think of my future gear choices - any suggestions on improving the list without going any higher in price? Also, some room treatment suggestions, in case you can tell from my pics?

    E.T...

    All the best,
    Mihai Toma
     
  2. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Thanks for moving this thread it to the more appropriate "Home, Project Studio's" forum. Hadn't though of it, myself... :oops:
     
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Mandachuva...we meet again! Love your Clavia....love mine even more! I do wish that there were built-in effects, but you can't have everything, eh?
    You mentioned that you can get AT mics (the 4040) at a good price. You might want to look at the AT4047. I have found that it has a lot more character than the 4040 or the 4033, especially for vocals. Also, the 4050 is great, with its' multi-pattern abilities.
    As for the GT Brick, I had a couple of those, and they were OK. They are a "budget" box, though, and I found them less than ideal. I replaced them with one box: the Summit 2BA-211. The 2BA has a lot more control and flexibility. Variable impedance, mixable mic and DI input (you can DI the bass AND mic up its' cab through this at the same time!). The variable impedance helps bring out the most from my E-V RE20 for voiceovers, and then adjust for an LDC like the 4047. The insert point works well with my FMR RNC (which the Brick seems to have issues with). Check it out.
    You mentioned Joe Bleak, er Joe Meek. I had a small box when they were British. It was wild, it could trash anything in a good way! No more, it died. Now they're made in China, and the reputation here in the States isn't as good. I bought a Toft ATC-2 (also from PMI, made in China), and liked it for a while, especially the EQ. BUT it's starting to give me troubles, and so I'd say stay clear of the Chinese gear if possible. I wonder how long all these new Toft consoles are going to hold up based on what my ATC-2 is doing (switch and meter issues, mainly)...Besides, the Summit can go from very clean to fat 'n' nasty in a very nice way, so if you can go with that...
    I used a pair of Yorkies for years. Take care of yours. And Good luck!
     
  4. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Hello again, moonbaby! Yeah, the Clavia is one real jewel - and I got it from eBay, in absolutely mint condition, for 1000euros. (y) One lucky month of work on audio projects over the Internet, and it was mine. No luck since - not one project available. :-(

    Thanks for the tip about the Summit. Unfortunately, it would add up to something like double the price of a GT The Brick for me (Romanian VAT and custom fees), and also, it doesn't matter any more, because...

    Some serious family troubles have ensued in the last couple of days, which will put a definite HALT to all my plans of expanding my small home studio, for quite a lot of time. Back to drooling over audio gear. :)

    I'm killing this thread as of now - I'll come back maybe when the time is right.

    Mihai Toma
     

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