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I HAVE $25k to Spend! I need Advice Getting to the HIGH END LEVEL!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by deadsound, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. deadsound

    deadsound Active Member

    Jun 17, 2012
    Sacramento, CA
    I am a first time poster and a long time reader, really happy to be here this place rocks!

    It is time for me to change the layout of my entire studio with new gear! I have 25,000 to invest! I have been awaiting this time for years and I need help getting into the right setup!


    Computer: Mac Pro decked out pretty well with cores and RAM
    Interface: Apogee Ensamble
    DAW: Logic/Abeton/Reason and Pro Tools in 2013
    Plus tons of plug ins

    I have been running this system since 2012 and invested in Apogee to run with my Mac Book Pro back in 2008. I am getting into a new space, building an iso room and really going balls out with gear.

    I share this to tell you all I want to start moving "out of the box."

    Here is what I am looking to get:

    About 10k in Outboard
    One killer Microphone
    One controller or analog console: Looking at SSL Nucleus and Toft (both around 5k)
    Perhaps analog summing unit like Dangerous, Neve, or something around 2-3k zone

    Here is what I need help on:

    Right now I think that I am going to have to expand my I/Os. The Apogee only really runs 6 after the Main outs are taken out of the equation. I read several threads over the last week with people talking Apogee expansions dating back to 2009. I am not sure if I am in need on a Apogee 16x or Rosetta unit to add more I/O with Apogee. Obviously if the SSL Nucleus is the way to go I will use that as my interface.... not sure how I feel about not using the Ensamble at all I think it sounds great.

    I am in need of 16 I/O. I want to run several outboard gear on tracks. Is the summing route the best way to do this?

    I know that being the Apogee is I/O, on paper, that I can not run a summing unit that has more than 8 I/O. This is why I thought it was best to expand I/O and perhaps then invest in 16 channel summing unit. What do you all think?

    I guess overall what I am asking, is if you had my setup (computer, ensamble, and a bunch of plug ins) what would you do??

    Invest in Analog console and go less on Pres? Go the analog summing route? What would you add to expand I/O section? Keep Ensamble and add to it, or buy another 1-2 units which are better suited for more I/O?

    I would really love to hear what you all think. I have been producing for 10 years in the box, and this is the year I make the jump out. I have investors on the line, projects starting in 2013 and I need to do some serious expansion!
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Resource Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    the thing w/ analog stuff is recall. your best bet is notes, and notched knobs. if ya want a mix board like the trident, i'd use it in and out w/ good converters. your in the market for good converters.

    Are you saying your apogee unit has just 8 'analog' ins. cuz it does. it also has digital ins. there are various pre-amps from focusrite that have digital outs, so do other companies, presonus comes to mind. if you buy a console, you'll need it to either, have digital outs, or get a new converter box, or add an interface (wast of $)

    i'm gonna have to say the same old sh+t anyone whos experienced it knows. put your loot into the room. you have a sweet setup, nice interface/converters,cpu.

    get a pre-amp w/ the digital outputs and be fine.

    the question is 'what are your hearing'? what room and speakers. mics? thats the stuff.

    the room, thats how you use most of your budget. make it so what you hear "in there" sounds good "out there".

    since you need inputs, man, i suggest presonus eureka's (w/ digital option), or focusrite 828/octopre.

    no equipment matters until you hear it in your room. which is why you make you room the best.
  3. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "I guess overall what I am asking, is if you had my setup (computer, ensamble, and a bunch of plug ins) what would you do??"

    I would work on my ability to use the gear. Me being the guy I am I would say fix the room, that can accommodate your lack of skill which I think is needed to make better recordings to begin with.

    Nevermind what they did At Sun or in Detroit, those days are dead and gone. But still, the ability to use your gear, that is still a key focus. So while dropping 25K on a small project might excite you, it doesn't do anything for me. I spent thousands over a decade + and no one still knows my name:)

    So your goal is to better develop what it is you are doing, who you are doing it with and ultimately is not for profit really where you want to go.

    Gear is gear, in the box, out of the box, hybrid systems, it all depends on what it is you are wanting to do. But it also depends on where it is that you are at, physically, in trying to reach this goal which I assume you have one.

    If throwing 25K at this is going to make it better, and I defend it will not, then maybe you might want to consider spreading 5 or 10 percent around to those that know better than I around here where it is you should spend you money in order to get the best bang for your buck.

    There are plenty of opinions around here about how to spend money but you should make decisions about what it is you are trying to achieve and base the input from the answers based on that goal.

    If I had 25K, I would pay off my tax debt to the IRS, but that's just me...
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    I'm with kmetal and Space. Room and monitoring.

    When I first saw this thread, I wasted 2 hours writing stuff that I though would help this guy get started with hybrid summing. Then saw the same post over at GS, read through it all and thought, what a quagmire of thoughts and suggestions Then one guy mentioned room acoustics, I came back here and deleted all I wrote.

    All the gear in the world sucks if you can't hear what you are doing. The best advise indeed is: invest in the room(s) monitors and then you will know what you need from there and won't be asking such vulnerable and naive questions like this.
    $25,000 won't get you into high end. That's just the start. Power supply and cables can cost that for some. But it will get you into mid stream with monitors and some acoustic treatment. Low end analog is a joke. Don't waste your time if you are serious about this.

    There are so many ITB studio's today, you need to be very special to turn a buck now-a-days.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    You've already got a nice rig. SSL attracts a lot of interest from a lot of people. And if that fills the bill with 16 microphone inputs, I'd personally go for that one. And the cool thing is, you'll still be able to use your Apogee's. The SSL will not keep you from doing that. Though I think you'll rather like the SSL microphone preamps. And they're better than their old 4000 series desks. I find they were nice and musical sounding to me. No, they didn't sound like Neve or API. For that, you need Neve or API into your Apogee or the SSL. So ya get the SSL and ya get a couple of API's and a couple of Neve's annual have the same kind of control room most other top shelf studios have. Other outboard gear you might want to couple with those preamps would be like an 1176 or, LA-2 or 3's? And that's all. Killer microphone? Plenty to choose from. What do you think is killer? I have lots of killer microphones. I like the cheap ones best like the SM58 most of the time over my banshee can rather valuable Neumann U-67's/87's. I will however grab that a ribbon before I grabbed for a condenser depending on who or what I'm using it for. Condensers all sound like condensers. Dynamics sound like dynamics. Ribbons sound like nothing else. So ya want a couple of ribbon microphones also.

    I wouldn't bother with an analog console unless it's something special and you can get it for a steal. But I would look towards getting some of those analog preamps from those consoles to have a couple of each. Which is the way you're finding most of those vintage consoles today. In pieces. Racked up. Or get yourself one of those nice Radial 500 series racks. Everything you could possibly want has been rereleased to fit those. And I think those things make a lot of sense if you want something with multiple tutti-frutti pieces in a convenient single box interface. But those are not analog-to-digital converters. But I really think there is a place for a fully integrated digital control surface/console in a control room. And the rest of those other outboard pieces like in a 500 rack and a couple of vintage compressor/limiters for that sound and for that look.

    I took a different route myself. I got at fabulous incredible irreplaceable all original, pure discrete transistor, no integrated circuit chip, British Neve 36 input consoles. For a price I should have never gotten it for OMG! Suffice it to say, my previous two consoles cost $10,000 and $17,000 each. And I'm too embarrassed to tell you what I got was other console for. I also have 16+ API microphone preamps to supplement the 24 Neve's in the 36 input console. 12 inputs had no microphone preamps or equalizers so those last 12 are outboard. And this feeds one over two, three or four, 24 track digital hard disk multitrack recorders. While it also simultaneously streams via fiber into a MOTU, 2408 MK 2 to an external USB or FireWire hard drive, for immediate delivery. And we're my multi-track has a safety backup on its internal drive.

    I then have the option to either mix ITB or OTB through the vintage 1974 36 input Neve. Then either to analog stereo tape or back into the computer or both. And sometimes I miss having that digital SSL desk I used at NBC-TV. Four shows you did every day or every week, you would just press a couple of buttons and you are ready to go. Electronic routing is hard to beat along with the recall ability. I mean each engineer had their own way of how they would patch and route things. While at the same time, we all pretty much strived for a similar consistent sound. And some engineers were known for their particular expertise over others. But we all shared what we did with each other. And that's real audio engineering teamwork style on the network level. And while most music engineers have their secret recipes and sauces. I've been doing this for so long, I can't really ascertain whether I started with recordings and then became a broadcaster or started with broadcasting and then became a recording engineer? I guess because I just keep vacillating between both? Obviously I was too stoned back then to know what I was doing at the time which made it all work. And I find today, it's much more difficult to get your mix to sound right when you can't get everybody else stoned. So now ya have to rely on your engineering expertise and talents. Now it seems like work. Now it's elected job. Oh the humanity...

    It's OK... I could still make them sound good if they're not stoned. Remember I'm a 1970s engineer. Let's get that straight.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Aurora 16's or Dave Hill's Spider... depending on your taste... but pure bang for the buck that is worth it... Aurora 16's.

    Outboard... solid patchbay, and patchbay hell are in your future... invest SMARTLY here... you can end up hatin' life if your patchbay is a dog.

    Everyone's all moist over 500 series... go for it... there's too many flavors of the same thing for my taste.

    You can't really go wrong buying solid rack stuff... 160's 165's are still kickin' it good, Snag a PCM42, maybe a 960? a pair of Distressors, maybe a 1969 or a TG1... the STC-8's been on my radar for a LONG time... Hammer and Nail are in my sights for this year.

    Mic's... you're on your own, since we have no real idea what's in your locker already, or how many various types of instruments that you track at once.

    Here, I typically track anywhere from one to 18 channels at a time, and I'm feeling comfortable with only 24 channel of conversion dedicated to input... but I only have 24 channels dedicated to outboard I/O, with a maximum of 46 channels completely patching in the tracking patchbay on a regular stereo mix... 42 channels on a 5.1 mix. I'm finding it somewhat confining, but it's plenty doable as it sits with 24 & 24.

    If you're an electron jockey, you can usually find V72's on fleabay for decent dosh. I'm sold on the A-Designs stuff... Pacifica's are a good bang for the buck if you want a solid, but forward sounding color. Melinnia's and Focusrite Reds are dandy ear candy. 1073's are prolly a bit beyond budget, but you never know what you might find out there. Daking and Grace are valid options as would be picking up a Melbourne, and thus covering pre's and some good character'd summing.

    ust a lil' bit of a different perspective.......
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    I recently added the Hammer, its so sweet Max.
    Have you looked at the SSL X-Patch Max? I'm about to buy this or the Liaison. Can't decide. I don't want traditional patchbays.
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    I have SEVERAL mates that RAVE on the Hammer... so... I'm droolin'.....

    Since I'm pretty well satisfied with my patching/I/O routing system, I stopped looking at them awhile back.

    They're intriguing, but can't see any obvious advantage over what I have in the HD rig and being able to route I/O.

    For someone without an integrated I/O management from within the DAW, they might very well be an interesting possibility... which was one of the larger factors in my choice of getting the HD rig... e.g. no 2nd or 3rd party needed to be included in the fray, just to manage my routing, as I wanted to leave the possibility for just about anyone, from Bob Ludwig and Dave Pensado to little Johnny, from down the street, to be able to walk in, and KNOW how to find their way around the rig in less than 15 minutes.

    What I'd like to find is a summing box that can handle 8 channels and has 8 inserts, with a main insert on the summed two bus.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    Buy my MixDream, it rocks Max. But it is 16x16 or 8 stereo IO ( 2 x 8 Dsub) ( you need that many, its ready). It also has 16 inserts that can be bypassed individually. A master insert for stereo processing that can be hard bypassed too, 16 direct outs to feed other things! .NOTE: All area's can hard bypass.

    The mono and expander is really cool. Keep Vox, snare, kick, bass, dead center and add width to the sides like overheads, choirs etc.. Its special for that time you want to spread things out and go ya.... Fast and simple. Its hard bypass too.
    This is, 60v rails, super low noise floor and silk transparency. It also has the optional Lundahl tranny if you want some of that but truly, once you use this, straight ahead is where its at. Has a clean monitor send and master send. Its perfect for you. I love it but I just bought the NEOS so its not needed now. I have 24 IO now, bigger brother.

    Retails for $3400. Yours for $2000. Its mint, original boxed and manual.


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