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How to beat my competition!!! need help!!!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by HMNP, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Hi Guys, Well this is my 1st post here. I truly find this website and its collaborators to be a true godsend!!! Its good to see such a great vibe between fellow recording mates. Ok To my dilema!!!

    I own a recording studio which I charge $150 per song. I find the quality of the studio to be extremely good for the price tag. I compare it with other studios close and over my price and they just run flat. I know this because I have my calendar always full 2 to 3 months in advanced. And I've been forced to open a second studio and hire extra people. NOt bad I guess for a guy who never studied recording engineering. All I have learned has been from helpfull forums like this and internet research.

    My main focus is recording hard rock bands, alternative, Metal and hardcore. My main competition is another studio which charges mainly $1000 per song, and I'll have to admit that his recordings sound extremely sharp, with lots of prescence and punch (same type of bands). I find that my work sounds a with less body and fullness and not as sharp (both unmastered). By all this I mean, I do an A/B comparison between his songs and my songs and im not that off, but I know I can do so much better with the right guidance. This is what i have in my studio:

    -AKG 414's BULS for overheads, vocals and guitars (figure 8 sideways for guitar)
    -AKG-D 112 for bass guita cabs
    -421 for snare, and Sennheisser e604 tom mics
    -For bass drum and added cut I use Ddrum 4 triggers and modules combines with the mics.
    -I have a Mesa boogie dual rectifier and recto cab for guitars and Ampeg svt-4 pro for bass with 6 x8 SVT cab.
    -For recording I use Steinberg Cubase SE, a Mackie 24:8 recording console and the outs run into Aardvar Q-10's into my PC.
    -I used variouse plug ins from Waves.
    -Event 20/20 monitors

    I know Im missing a good pre amp, external compressors, and etc. Please try to help me into what to purchase next so I can dramatically improve my quality. A couple of weeks ago I bought a Focusrite Isa 220 session packed, and honest to god, I barely notices any difference. I ended up returning it. I know I can do so much better with what I have. If you need for me to be more specific please let me know as I know this post might be confusing, Im getting the hang of this as I know you guys like to keep it straight and to the point when posting in the forum. Thank you very much for any help needed.

    PS-my budget is around $5000 - $8000
  2. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    looks like you need some quality pres- this is a subject that has been discussed at lenght in these forums- if you do a search you will find a lotta info. $5000 to $8000 should get you some nice pres- there are many choices, great river, api, manley, avalon, etc, the list goes on and on.. some pres a little less expensive include sebatron, sytek-
  3. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Thanks maitinger, Ive got My eye on the Great River MP-2NV mic prea mp, I as amazed at Kurt's review on thism pre amp. It sounds like it can help me alot. Any other suggestions ?? differents mics ?? Modules ?? External signal processors ?? Anything ?? Thanks again!
  4. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Can't go wrong with the great river- a few channels of that will work wonders- What are your pres now? How many channels you will need? Are you doing full bands, at least 12 16 pres at a time?

    you know if you at leas get 2 quality pres for vocals and o'dubs that will help your sound considerably...
  5. heyman

    heyman Guest

    You may want to look at the way you are summing your mix as well. Looks like you do it inside the Daw.

    Take a look at the API or Dangerous Music Summing BUS RAck Stuff. That can really open up the mix and make it sound bigger and more natural.

    Your Analog to digital Audio card could be the problem as well.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think the question to ask is, "What is your competitor doing that you aren't?"

    Check his / her equipment list ... do they have a Neve console? Great pres? UREI compressors? Could it be mics? What are they recording on? Analog tape has a much different sound than DAWs..

    The pres in the Aardvark are discreet class A pres, probably better than those found in the Mackie .. use those for kick, snare, overheads, bass, vocals and other critical tracks. The Mackie has a lot of issues in regard to headroom and summing distortions. If you are forced to use it , it's best to try to get in and out of it as quick as possible ... that is, don't use the bus's ... instead use the direct sends ... try not to use the EQs if possible ... do as little as possible in the Mackie ..

    Great pres like the Great River and UA610s ... Manley, Vintechs ... good mics like AKGs and Neumanns, sweet compressors like the 1176 and the LA2a, Manley ELOP .. all will help but truth is you don't have to have them to make good recordings.. They are a nicety. They can get you that last elusive 10% in quality that you get with premium pres and front end (at a 1000% increase in price) ... but with talent you should be able to get close, even compete with the gear you have. Just try to keep all the recording paths as short as you can and keep out of the Mackie if at all possible.
  7. HMNP

    HMNP Member

  8. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    What do you mean by summing up my mixes?? Yes, when I mix my tracks, I do it inside of Cubase, is this wrong ?? Is my Q10 my analog to digitl thing ?? Thank guys!!

  9. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Which one would you recomend to record hard rock bands and metal, the UA610 or the Great River MP-2NV ? Would you recommend for me to just sell the mackie 24:8 and run everything straight into the Aardvark ??? Or when I get my hands into some good pres feed them to the pres then the Aardvark ?? Something I did notice that really improved my sound a few days ago was that I was recording in 16 bit 44.1 khz resolution. I ran some test and switch it to 24 bit 96khz and it sounds much better. obviously it takes like 4 times more hard drive space to record like this but I certaily think its worth it. I always thought that by recording at 24 bit, 96 khz when mixing back to cd specs (16 bit 44.1) I would mess up the whole thing.

    Thanks alot Kurt
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    A lot here to answer ... first you're welcome HMNP ...

    Yes 24 bit does sound better than 16 bit ... I hear better low end and also better separation / spatial detail.

    I like both the 610 and the Great River pres ... I can't say one is better than the other for any type of music .. All good pres will work for any kind of music.. this thing that certain pres are better for certain kinds of music is mostly silliness ... other than classical / symphony stuff needing transparent transformerless pres.

    I don't recommend selling the Mackie ... at this point you should probably just keep it. Lots of ohhh factor ..(it looks good). The EQs are pretty unusable and you don't want to do a lot of summing in it.. but you probably wouldn't get enough for it to justify selling it.

    I would keep the signal path as short as possible... if you can just use the Aardvarks pres, then do that. there will be times when you need more than 8 mic pres, use the Mackies then for the less critical tracks, like keys and background guitars.. etc. Take the directs out of the Mackie .. don't go through the bus's ...

    None of this gear improves a sound .... not even the really good stuff... it only modifies the signal ... the downside is it also degrades the quality at the same time it is modifing it. It's a double edged sword.

    In regards to your competitor ...
    You should pose as a potential client and ask for a tour of the facillity if possible .. "External DAW" implies that he is using some kind of an analog or digital console as well ... if it's a good one like a Neve, API, MCI etc ... even a Neotek or a Amek / TAC ... then he is going to be trouble for you ... your dealing with a big boy and the kind of product he can deliver will be hard to best .. Just provide the best service you can, keep your prices lower than his and try to get the best mics, pres and front end gear you can afford ... The fact that you are DAW based and can do editing and automated mixing with full instant recall may be a selling point for you ...
  11. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Sorry to throw so many questions at once Kurt. I have sooo much doubts in my mind and you guys seem to have the answers to almost everything (if not eveything). Thanks again, Im keeping a small diary next to my PC writing everything down of all the stuff Ive learned from you guys so far.

    Im already up to page 74 in this forum, clicking on all the articles that interest me. And its amazing at the amount of knowledeg thats in here. Many other profesional would send all our questions straight to hell saying <Im not going to tell my secrets to these people so they can take my business away from me. But this is not the case here. I can have the same equipment Kurt uses in my studio and maybe not even be close to achieving what he achieves because of the years experiences he has (Im not saying you old Kurt). And there is no forum that adds years of experience just by reading. :cool: Thanks Again!!!
  12. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    btw, do NOT record hardcore on analog :!: , it is a disaster...

    Just a tip there in case you wanted to ever switch :cool:
  13. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Thanks alot for the tip. I think im sticking to DAWs :cool:
  14. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Right on- the board will give you lots and lots of that ohhh factor which is priceless. I used to have an huge old studiomixer board in my studio. I only used it for monitoring but when a new client came in the size of the board filled his eyes with that ohhh factor Kurt was talking about. It works. :D
  15. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Why in the world is that??? Can you believe that's the main reason I bought that piece of junk ??? The first thing that people look at is the mixing board. And they go nutz!! "Ohhh my god, i went into a studio which had 128 channel mixer" It could of been 3 behringers glued together and they dont care, they just want to see endless lines of channels running the lenght of the whole studio. If it were up to me Id buy a whole bunch of really big mackie mixers (all broken) and just glue a whole bunch of LED's that turn on and off. Or even better, Christmas lights inside the consoles. They could be empty inside, but WHO CARES!! they are there for that eye candy flavor!! its freeking unbelievable!
  16. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    But it works with the people that don't really know about gear. Big mixers fill their eyes, make them think of big time studios. One of my friends turned me on to that a long time ago- he said that you had to set up and "look"
    the part. That's why when I set up my commercial studio I got this huge old studio mixer board like for $500- I used it for monitoring as it did't sound very good. Actually, sometimes I used the pres to track drums- they were ok- When I sold my studio i suspect one of the reasons it sold right away it was because of the huge board. you never know in this business until you see it for yourself!
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yep .... ohh factor ... it's really pretty silly but it's true.

    What is really funny ... a couple years ago there was a company that was making "rack fillers" .... one and two rack space panels that had graphics and lights and a small cheap mic powered by a 9 volt battery. When sound in the room excited it caused the lights and meters to jump around .. There was even one with a "MORON KNOB" which the engineer could tweak when the client was asking him to do something the engineer didn't want to do ... he could twist the knob a bit and then ask "Is that any better?"

    23_30_112.gif <--engineer

    4_17_209.gif <--clients
  18. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    That is funny but it is indeed the way it is!
  19. HMNP

    HMNP Member

    Jesus Kurt, Im laughing my ass off here!! When I expand my studio I plan on doing the same as Maitinger did, Buy a big, old and cheap mixer board. One with 128 channels and only 3 work ajajajaj Thanks for the tips!!
  20. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    eheheeheh... i can't stand all the laughing...

    when i was around 17 and started to look at recording i too thought that those endless mixers were the bomb... just the other day my other guitarist was looking at a musicstore catalog and in the mixers section he pointed at one of those big behrigers and whished he had one! he doesn't have recording tools what so ever but he wanted one of those... i asked why and he said, why would why need it, like he was making a statment that understood much about that...

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