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Just a few questions

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Ingham76, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    Alright I've read alot and seen alot of people get flamed, but I'm just trying to get answers.

    I'll be straight forward. I want to rap, hip hop r&b type stuff. I found good reviews on the AT4050. I found a preAmp Grace M101, a compressor dbx 160a, then I found an interface called the MOTU UltraLite-mk3.

    Now I'm wondering if any of you think this stuff is good? Or what do you think would be best for the AT4050? &Also, if I got the MOTU, does it have a build in compressor and pre amp?

    I'm sorry if these questions seem stupid, I just don't want to waste any money.

    & I also wanted to know all the things I need, I would not only like it all to be good, but to be right.

    By things I need is programs, & equipment.

    Please, and thanks.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Certainly nothing stupid about your questions. Welcome to the group! Flamed? Why would anybody want to flame you about these questions? They are all quite valid questions.

    OK! You've got a very nice microphone preamp. A very good and respectable compressor/limiter. A lovely, very professional, computer audio interface. The AT 4050, very nice tube, large diaphragm condenser microphone. So yes! All of your equipment is quite good, totally top shelf professional. You only got flamed because people were jealous.

    Now do I think the 4050 is the right microphone for rap, hip-hop? Not necessarily? For R&B? Absolutely. Sure it will work great for hip-hop if you know how to work that microphone properly and you don't eat too much of it. Good pop proofing and working at the proper distance will make it a winner. If you want to hold onto something, try a SHURE SM or, Beta 58, with the additional foam pop filter. You need and want that additional foam pop filter, believe me. And don't freaking cup the metal ball, of the microphone, in the palm of your hand. I'm sure it looks cool on TV with all of the other brothers doing it. But that sounds like crap. Total crap. If you must hold it, hold it along the body. Because if you cop the ball with your hand and without an additional piece of foam pop filter, it will sound like doggie Doo Doo. But if you do what I recommended, it will sound like a $3300 Newmann U87, guaranteed. Really, truly, honestly. And you may find it actually better for rap vocals, then the German 87 or the Japanese 4050?

    In a sense, if you want it to sound like you're on television use the 58. If you want a more intimate studio experience, use the 4050. Both are great and are great into your preamp and into the MOTU preamps as well. You may however only detect a subtle difference between your Grace and the UltraLite. No, I do not believe the UltraLite offers any kind of hardware-based real-time compression like your DBX 160 provides. It's available after you record when you mix your recording in the software. So where many people may tell you to record your vocal dry, without any compression, those folks just don't really know what they're doing. I always record vocals with real-time hardware compressors. So unless you're UltraLite allows for a insert of a DBX 160 after its internal preamps and before the analog to digital converter, you might also be able to utilize the DBX with your UltraLite and without the Grace? Otherwise, the output of your Grace into the input of your DBX 160 is actually the way I do things. Substitute API or Neve for Grace and you are talking other subtle differences that I utilize.

    So please be confident in what you have and what you want to achieve. You did not mention software? Software however is your next hurdle. Some software is much better for your genre of rap than others. It may also mean or include MIDI might also be needed? And that will largely depend on the software you choose to integrate with your UltraLite. But everything you have and all that you have presented is all good. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

    Next question?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. havana

    havana Active Member

    The AT4050 is my regular mic that I use for voice-overs, promos and ads etc.
    I've also used the AT4050 for almost everything from acoustic guitars, guitar amps, vocals, choir and even drum overheads. Awesome mic for the price. I also like the multi pattern, Omni, Cardiod and Fig of 8.thumb
  4. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    Thank you so much this has actually helped me a ton! I looked up the Shure SM, which one should I get the SM58? And if I do get it, should I get the X2u bundle? Also when I order a mic, does it come with a pop filter or is that extra?

    As for PreAmp, Compressor & Interface, what would you suggest (with the Shure mic) that I should buy? All 3? If so, what kinds? Keep the Grace? Or buy the API? Keep the DBX, and the MOTU or buy something else?

    Thank you so much! You've helped me alot!
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    There is nothing else that you need to purchase other than a $100 SM57 or 58. A little more money for the Beta 58. Both 58's, while they share the same appearance, they do sound distinctly different from each other. The Beta 58 is just a SM58 on steroids. And yes, you will have to shell out a few extra dollars for the foam pop filter. SHURE actually makes one designed for the 58 but any foam pop filter will do quite nicely. It doesn't matter that the metal ball has more foam in it than the 57. They can still pop and blast without some extra help.

    Your Grace preamp is quite nice. Only if you want a different sounding preamp should you get another preamp. And your Grace will play nicely with your DBX 160. Keep everything that you have purchased already and just pick up one of those microphones to supplement your 4050. For instance, you might do your rap on the 58 but do other vocals for the backups on the 4050? Or maybe vice versa? Only you can tell. This also aids in keeping that sameness like effect from becoming boring sounding. It's good to have a couple of flavors of differences.

    Further down the road, you might want to try a API or Neve preamp? What you currently have and these others all sound very sweet. If you have the money, you might want to purchase that X2u bundle? Almost any SHURE microphone is worth owning. Although they do make some drastically cheap ones that really don't excite me much. PG 48 for instance. That's basically a poor man's 58. I would never mess with those unless that's all I had. Of course we all had to start somewhere and that somewhere was generally a lot of cheap microphones that really weren't all that great to use. But you use whatever you've got and you work it. You work it good. And you squeeze every little bit you can get from your stuff.

    When it comes to recording your vocal and going through your Grace & DBX, the general rule is not to over do any compression too much. You can always add more later in software. Because it's damned hard to try and remove excessive dynamic range processing when you've added too much. Thankfully software can also help to undo too much dynamic range processing but you have to know how to do it to get rid of it. Downward expansion in many multi-track software packages can be fairly straightforward at creating it. If the software says "gate", you don't necessarily want a gate. It's too abrupt and relatively heavy handed sounding with a gate. Downward expansion is actually something I regularly use on most vocal tracks. You have to set the threshold carefully and govern how much it will downwardly expand. That gets rid of acoustic room anomalies, abnormalities, noise and generally makes your vocals sound much tighter and more intimate. It also can prevent the sound of you gasping for air. That is unless you want to accentuate a gasp? And sometimes you do if you want to accentuate an emotion? (Gasp) because I love you (gasp) and I have to have you (gasp) don't want to live without you, etc. Otherwise you might want to eliminate that gasp to otherwise create a sweet intimate sound into her ear? I want you... I have to have you... I can't live without you.... You see how much different that sounds? LOL. Sometimes all it takes is a breath to evoke an emotion. Other times it sounds like you are drowning. Help! Gasp! I'm drowniwow ow wowng! Gasp! No need for a downward expander for that line. Just throw me a lifesaver. Peppermint would be fine.

    It's Miller time. Which I think is in the Central time zone? Maybe Eastern?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    You're actually helping me do much, I'll go with the Beta, and now I have that. I have many other questions to ask.. Should I ask them here or is there a way we can instant message eachother ?
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Thanks for the compliments. Glad to be of some help.

    If you would like to share your questions and the corresponding responses, you can feel free to ask your questions here. It may help others? If you would like to PM me to keep a lower profile, please feel free to do so. If you'd like to pick up the phone and talk shop for hours, I also love doing that. And I will now... put up my phone number for all to see and to have. Quiet please! Go to black and roll in 3, 2, go to black and...This is my business line that I use professionally and actually don't pick up on. Brought to you by blather and my answering service. I'll get your message as soon as I check my e-mail. 202-239-7412, for Crowmobile.com, 24/7/365. Please leave your number and a good time for me to return your call. We can also chat utilizing Facebook or, some other instant messaging service. For that will have to try to schedule a time.

    It's nearly 5 AM here in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC and I get the impression you are on the left side of Canada? I'm just getting ready to pass out for the night. Of which I have one more hour of LOL. (55 minutes and counting)

    I am the proverbial insomniac and that's why for so many years I worked the midnight to eight shift in radio and TV. I love this time of day when everybody is asleep. It's so tranquil that I don't need NyQuil, where Benadryl and the birdies fly. I just like listening to the peace and quiet when the control room monitors are not blaring. It's amazing all the noise you hear during the silence of nothing.

    Time for another smoke. Why is my bed on fire?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Slight correction if only for accuracy sake. An AT4050 is not a tube mic but everything else is as described. 4050,Beta58,Grace,MOTU,DBX= good to go for anything.
  9. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    I'm gonna buy the Beta 58, but I was wondering if you can buy a mount a pop filter and all that all in one? If so, can you show me? & also I'm rebuilding my basement into a studio, including a booth. I was wondering if you could direct me to a sound proofing website where I can give all my measurements & buy it?

    Also I would need a mic that would be good for pop? Basically something that would make the chorus to the songs I want to produce.

    Oh yeah & I asked in another thread if I should buy a PC or a Mac? & for the Mac I was thinking a Quad core, but I can afford the 12 core so should I just buy that?

    & Before anybody thinks that I'm some poor little rich kid who gets all of his money from his parents, I actually have no social life or anything, I gave it all up to work all the time, make money so I can build a studio and pursue my dream.

    ... I keep editing my post. Forgetting that I have more to ask.

    I want to know what cables, adapters, or extras I would need. Also monitors, just basically everything I need to build a full good/great studio.

    & I'm actually from Ontario, I'm a nightwalker like you, bed time for me is 5-6 a.m.
  10. havana

    havana Active Member

    How big is this basement? What is the booth for? Vocals or control room. Do you plan on doing live bands or just sequenced/programmed music? What software's and hardware do you already own?

    You could save $1300 USD by getting a Quad core which is more than enough for production purposes. If you plan on running a lot of virtual instruments, then go for the 12 core.
  11. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    My measurements for the basement are; 14ft long, 12ft wide and 6.5ft high. The room I wanted for the booth is 7.5ft long, 3.5ft wide and 6.5ft high.

    The booth is for rapping, vocals. No live bands, just sequenced/programmed music I guess? I have nothing at the moment, that's why I came here. I'm asking you all these questions before because I don't want to invest blindly.
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I love Ontario. I grew up in Detroit. Went to Windsor, Toronto, Montréal, quite frequently but mostly Windsor. I grew up listening to and watching CKLW. As a kid I loved Razzle Dazzle.

    I wouldn't know what Canadian professional audio dealer to send you to? Not sure if they have Guitar Center in Canada? You'll find plenty of Canadian friends here that can better direct you. Please stay on the line because your call is important to us...

    As to your question, whether you should purchase a dedicated PC or Macintosh for your DAW? I think it may have been more of a valid question a few years ago but no longer. Macintoshes just work. PCs are more malleable, configurable, customizable. Many of us are pure pit PC users and others are Macintosh happy. Some use both. I got tired of their cartoon like GUI. I like my operating system to look like something of industrial strength drain cleaner. And what software you have chosen if it is not cross-platform? The question is like what kind of undershorts should you wear? Boxers or jockeys? I'm not big on Fruit of the Loom, I like nylon panties with the cotton crotch.

    Not clear on your secondary microphone chorus part request? I would say one of the greatest ways to teach yourself the art of recording would then be to supplement your 4050 and your 58 with a ribbon microphone. I am using ribbon microphone as a generic term. SHURE has a couple, Beyer of Germany, Coles of the UK, AT of Japan, Cascades of the US imported from China, AEA West Dooley US, Royer US, Rupert Neve Designs, a whole lot more. Ranging in price from around $159-$3500. This is one of the earliest of the microphone technologies created back in the 1920s. There are plenty of used vintage collector ribbons such as the RCA's. I'm lucky to have two 77 DX's. I'd love to have a BX 44 since that is what we refer to as a long geometry ribbon. I just have short ones. Nothing else sounds like them or works like them. You'd be crazy not to own one, any one. Operators standing by.

    When I started working in this field, and before, I had this burning sickness to purchase tasty delectable audio stuff. Social life? Concertgoer? I was frequently asked what concerts and bands I go to see and hear since my engineering was so good? Nobody was generally the answer. I valued my hearing very highly and never wanted to do myself any damage. I did like things that loud. I wanted the control of the volume control. And the only place you could get that... was in the control room where I had control of the controls. I used to tell people in my commercials for our studio (playing on the number one rock station in Baltimore) " If you want a better Master? Come to the Master Betterer's. Where at Hallmark Films & Recordings... our hands are on the controls. " (Circa 1978)

    Cables, adapters, mic stands, headphones, Direct Injection a.k.a. DI direct box/boxes, monitors, ancillary outboard goodies and all the rest should go on to your Christmas list. The cables and adapters, mic stands, for your applications, get most of the stuff the music store has on sale. You know there's always top-of-the-line and bottom of the line and it all comes down to budget. This regard most advertising and other marketing hyperbole as it's all BS. Everybody is struggling to move viable and fulfilling lives. That doesn't mean the new stuff is good but it's all 100% adequate. They can all produce a professional product. The only reason the product would not sound professional is mostly due to the professional creating it. A good engineer can use anything. I've used anything and everything. From cheap broken old stuff to the top-of-the-line and highly sought after vintage collectibles. I get great recordings on a Mackie and a couple of 58's no other gobbledygook. A recorder to plug it into. Monitor speakers I'm familiar with preferably. Headphones if required. Less is more. Keep it simple stupid. When's lunch? Don't fix it if it ain't broke. More cowbell. I said pepperoni not anchovy.

    OK so you want to build a booth? Why? Do you believe in waves? I believe in waves. I wave back at my sound. It waves to me. But when you have to wave your sound in an area like when a little bug is flying around your head your arms bang into the walls of the booth and the waves. Now wait... wait... this is a serious thing. When you're in a bathroom and have to do a serious thing... the end results are much worse in a very small bathroom booth that a large and spacious bathroom. Where the fragrance of the sound can bloom into the room from your spoon of the moon... Unless it's otherwise going to disturb a lot of people? Booth = Bad... Room = Good. Booths are OK. We've all used them. Sometimes necessary. Most of the times not. When it comes to home recording acoustics I usually ask myself..." what acoustics? " Simple answer. Nothing good. Official Home Recording Studio Sound! But don't despair. It's all good. It's only Rock 'n Roll and I like it... like it... yes I do. So it works great when you can find a good place to put your recording rig and we're monitoring sounds right to you. This usually means you're going to have to move yourself around the room with this set up until you start to find the right place to start working from. It's not always where you think it is or you think it should be. That's when everybody starts buying foam and acoustic diffuser gobble Butkus devices. And some of that's a necessary evil. Small spaces just don't sound good. That doesn't make them unusable. It just makes them challenging. And that's exciting. It's the passion. And that's exciting. You've created a work of art. And that's exciting. Yeah... I got you. It got you... forever. Enjoy! We all do.

    Oh yeah... Your need for DI a.k.a. direct injection boxes, is a tossup depending upon their intended purpose. Taking guitars directly? FET based active DI's. Everything else, transformer based DI boxes. You get what you pay for. Lots to choose.

    Speakers are really quite personal. I have worked on lots of monitors in 41+ years. My primary monitor today is the same monitor I fell in love with 40 years ago. JBL 4310/11/12's. Crown DC 300 A type II. KRK's both passive and active work for me too. FOSTEX 6301 mini self powered single full range four-inch speaker with a 10 W amplifier. I want multiple different monitors to listen on. My speakers are sort of like daddy bear, mommy bear and baby bear. And then there are the little headphones earbuds running around. Isn't it cute when they play? I mean you have to have the kind of speaker that you want to wake up next to in the morning. And then maybe you can have a frolicking rock in the morning?

    Oh? Frock! It's 2 AM in the morning (Eastern daylight Time). It's time to frock down and rock out!
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  13. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    I'm saying I want 2 mic's, one will be the Beta58. But I asked what (in your opinion) would be best for a second mic? I looked up some ribbon microphones, they're all actually quite expensive, I was looking for one maybe below $500? Like the AT4033?

    I'll try the JBL 4310/11/12's.

    And for what my purpose is, what kind of DI box should I get? I would also like to invest in a keyboard, what kind should I get of that also?

    & Are you saying no to a booth?
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    There are ribbons available starting around $160 US. Cascades is one of those Chinese ribbon microphone suppliers. There are others with different manufacturers names but some of them are spittin' lookin' clones, all from the same manufacturer in China. All quite good actually. Great bang for the buck. You don't need the optional transformer. That raises the price another $100.

    I think the only JBL's you should consider are some of their newer self powered models. The ones I have are no longer in production. And in the last couple of years of production, they were rebranded as consumers speakers. Not consumer. The old-fashioned de facto, professional, rock 'n roll control room speakers. And you'd need a nice amplifier to drive those. Self powered monitors are the way to go today for smaller projects studios. They just make sense. So when I'm not using my JBL's I'm using my KRK's most of the time. I have a 7 inch pair and a 6 inch pair one powered one passive. Love them. Focal' also some nice. I recently found out that the speakers in my KRK's were manufactured actually by Focal. I didn't know this when I had heard them. I liked them as soon as I heard them. So my ear is tuned for a certain tonality I want to hear. Or maybe it's my brain or whatever there is left of it? I tried to fix it with rock 'n roll but I'm not sure it worked?

    I use Whirlwind, Pro Co. and Radial DI boxes. I have one crappy active DI box that was so underwhelming, after 20 years with it, I can't even remember the brand? I've mostly built my own in the past utilizing UTC & Triad, American Transformers. Even a RadioShack high impedance to low impedance transformer converter, a with a 1 to 2, 1/4 inch adapter can be used in a pinch but it will have no ground lift. Those might be horrible but they are usable. They do the job that needs to be done. Radial are the good going ones today. But they are pricey. A storebrand type is more than adequate. These aren't quite like microphones. Banned in many cases, aren't really needed all that much for a home project studio in the basement, bedroom, living room. And that's because most every computer audio interface designed to accept XLR balanced microphone inputs for condenser (with phantom power), dynamics and ribbons which require no phantom power, also have 1/4 inch, unbalanced/balanced guitar, keyboard type inputs. The difference here is that the instrument must be within 10-15 feet of the input device a.k.a. computer audio interface. The DI box allows somebody much further away than 10-15 feet to feed their guitar or keyboard outputs for distances of up to 1000 feet. And then they go into the microphone input and not the special 1/4 inch line/instrument input on your computer box gizmo. So they're something of a luxury while sometimes being a necessity. They're handy to have a couple around. Sometimes there is also a smoother quality to the sound when going into the microphone input. The microphone preamp imparts its own character of sound above and beyond what the line/instrument input has to offer. Sometimes it's the other way around. You might want a harder clarified edge from the line/instrument input? That's what you get to experiment with. And you'll quickly find your favorite way of doing it. I mean a lot of us learned fast. I can't even remember my toilet training? I was so young...

    Oh to be on again...
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. havana

    havana Active Member

    If I was going to work in a room that size, i wouldn't even bother putting a booth in. Just use headphones to do your takes. Or maybe get something portable. cust_maymi.jpg

  16. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    Alright thanks alot. Can you show me a good company that would sell sound proof foam?
  17. havana

    havana Active Member

    The link is right under the pic that I posted above.
  18. Ingham76

    Ingham76 Active Member

    Ah my bad had to do abit of research! Thank you!

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