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most essential tracking tools, gear and why...

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by audiokid, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Name the most essential pro audio product(s) you are most interested in adding to your recording chain and why?
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'll start with an obvious one - good cables - and one that doesn't get mentioned very often - good chairs.

    Cheap cables are a false economy. Sure they are OK when they work, but too many times you have a problem that you can't figure out and it turns out to be a cable. Better to pay for quality once and sleep easy for years.

    And chairs that are comfortable, don't squeak, and put you in a position to play or mix correctly should not be an afterthought. Nothing like a squeaky chair to kill an acoustic guitar solo.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    A good headphone system. The Hear Back systems are a great one to keep in mind. Nothing's worse than fiddling with a crappy headphone amp and trying to explain to the drummer why he can't have "more me" when the singer needs to hear at the same time...

    Coffee pot -
    It's one of the first things people ask for when they come into the studio.

    Clock - (A quiet one)

    Okay- so the last two aren't "Pro Audio" but they belong in every studio, so perhaps they are.

    Good mic stands of variety of shapes/sizes/support. Having an 800 sq/ft studio won't do you any good if you've got nothing but tripod stands. You'll get half of the drum kit mic'ed up and won't have room for the guitars, bass, etc.

    Also, a few good sturdy stands are great for drum overheads or getting a vocal mic into some hard to reach places.

    Adapters -
    XLR to TRS, 1/4" to RCA, 1/4" to 1/8", etc.
    Example: You'll never know when your client will have an iPod and they want to hear the mix that was done at the "other" studio, but you have no way of playing it back for them.

    Fingerease - nuff said

    Gaffer's tape - see above

    Shure SM57s. When in doubt, try a 57.
  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    This sounds like a question about FUTURE purchases? I just bought a variety of mics, so I guess that doesn't count anymore. What do I need/want most of all for future tracking work, eh? Hmmmmmm......

    Storage space comes to mind, all the time. I"m always looking for bigger, cheaper, saner hard drives to save client's projects. Since I never throw anything away, Big HDs are always on my mind. Eventually, solid state, afforable big chips are going to take their place. I'm waiting, waiting, waiiiiiiiiting.......
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    love the chairs... amen to that
    excellent cables... absolutely
    clock that doesn't grind or tick.... we should sell them here!


    what do you like about teh Hear Back systems?

    What HD's are you looking at. I agree... Solid State are on my list. quite drives... hmmm
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Either ADC or an interface (ie several ADCs) because onboard audio leaves me with a floor (wrong term?) of -40dB on each track. Thank God for (software) expanders.

    That said I record live. However tracking is part of live setups as well so in that case, a second pair of hands.
  7. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    I have two...

    1. A control surface - mice and trackballs are driving me nutz
    2. A control center - Right now I do this using a combination of heaphone amp and patchbay but I'm always having to patch something and it's a constant PITA. Plus I would like a master volume knob instead of having to control everything ITB.

    I guess I should just get me a console and kill both birds with one ton of electronic wizardry.
  8. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Microphones still remain the most essential product

    once you have enough units to get by
    then enough Mic-pres to get the job done

    now comes that problem of monitoring
    this includes what Cucco said about Headphones and Headphone system

    Main Monitoring and Secondary monitoring
    remember this is just the recording proccess and not mastering

    we would ALL love to have unlimited budget here but reality is that we make do

    then comes the room
    I know Chris asked... product(s)
    but the room the space ... there is magic in the space
    I just can't afford ... the room
    so I end up out at locations ... therefore it's not my fault and there is nothing I can do ... cos you chose the location
    it's a cop out

    when is it my turn to win the lottery ?

    but a comfy chair would be nice

    JoeH mentioned Storage Space
    he meant Hard Drives
    BUT I'd like more space to store my old junk
    I've got a lot of stuff and it takes up so much space
    I need more real estate

    I need that lotto win
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Go for it.
    I'll buy two.

    I love the flexibility - having a single point of entry for your line inputs and a CAT 5 cable to feed each of the modules allowing each musician to adjust their own in-can mix. What a great concept!

    And considering a starter pack with the base station and 4 modules is $1500, that's a pretty darn cheap price of admission.

    I don't own them but used something similar at the XM Satellite studios and the flexibility and ease of use was just staggering. No more of the musician saying "I need more X in the mix!" and then me fiddling with knobs or computer-based faders. They just reach over and grap a knob and they're done.
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Right now on my list is a New PC. I have a need for speed.
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Where to start where to start? :shock:

    Theres so many things in a fine chain that make the tracking sooo much easier.....

    Room. Yeah Kev...You and I both know where this goes if its right!!! :wink: Makes those 'other' purchases seem like they were made by a GENIOUS!!!

    I always want mics. Mics and guitars.....and basses.....and a nice keyboard....Triton or somthin.....

    I could stand an upgrade on my phone system....if I was taking clients right now, it would have to happen.

    I would also probably have to get an HD ProTools to be competitive.

    While its true that I can make great sounds with what is here, relying on the hours of training I have (Over a Billion served!!!! :p ) there's just too many guys with a decent computer setup that know how to 'fix' things and can charge next to nothing. I'm still old school ....I want those tracks to mix themselves....this is done in the tracking process so its here I would have to be all that I am, but I'd still have to have the ProTools to sell the space.

    Doing this would also bring me to an upgrade on the board. Likely, I'd mod 8 channels and the master section and subs. For those that dont know, I have a Ghost. With ProTools it would be plenty of routing and monitoring and with the mods, a good number of high-end inputs to track with.

    A couple of permanent outboard pres. Right now I get to use high-end stuff when my friends arent busy. I can borrow all I need for small sessions, but having two high-end chains and a lunchbox of variety would put me on a plane with a LOT of other studios here. With the 8 channel mods to the board, and these, I could do drums and a band live like I like to do.

    Its all about the performance.

    My U87, AT4033, the modded ADK's, and the rest are getting lonely for a new mic or two. I'll probably get a PR40 first and then I really want a new pair of SDC's. Audio Technica has put out a matched set of 4041's in a nice box and has discounted them to certain dealers. This may be the set I would opt for right now. A ribbon after that. And then a TLM193 or 170. Plus lets not forget the Kel HM-2.

    Then theres the 'need' (dont try using that word to describe gear around MY wife!!!!) for a new boutique guitar amp for the studio. A VHT Bulldog with 1-12 is the ticket for me. Probably one of the most versatile amps out there.. It'll do Fender glassiness and Marshall grind. Is there anything else?

    So come on sevens!!!! 8)
  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    How about a new bulb, the old one just blew...
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    This is a good example of the weakest link theory. All links in the chain matter greatly. Rather than debate the merits of one piece or gear over another, which often leads to nowhere as personal preference can't really be argued, I think the real questions are:

    How does one identify the weak links?

    What links have priority over others?

    Which links offer better value than others?
  14. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Monitoring and outputs first, IMO.
    Get them and some decent amps, then you can notice the improvements everything else makes.
    For recording, the acoustics come next, once you sort your monitors.

    Then improving ADCs (to record high quality crap from radio shack mics) then the mics themselves, followed by cables to reduce RFI etc.

    So long as there is some talent near the start of the chain, and if you know what you're doing, as said before on the forum, you can make a Behringer sound acceptable.
  15. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Did I misread the topic/question?

    I thought it was, a question asking us what the most essential product(s) was that we were most interested in adding to our recording chain, not weak links and what we think is important for any recording chain.

    I guess it doesn't matter as this is all good info.
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    No, you didn't misread. I was just steering it in a different direction to get users to think and consider more about their overall audio system.

    I think what you will usually find is that what is essential to one person can be quite different, or of far less value than to someone else.

    Or I just could be talking out my ass...
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    hehe, keep talking AG, you are improving our POV indeed.

    I'm so sick of crawling behind solid racks so I finally added some racks, that tilt, on wheels. :)
  18. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    " ... weakest link theory .. " Gaff is right

    " ... question asking us what the most essential product(s) ... " pr0gr4m is right

    aaarrgggghh my brain hurts

    I want it all !!!

    " Name the most essential pro audio product(s) you are most interested in adding to your recording chain and why? " quote audiokid

    mmmusssstt tthhink hhhard


    I have a mic
    I have a mic-pre
    I have a DAW
    I have some monitoring
    I am able to finish a project

    I don't need to add another product or ... anything
    I do want many things
    but none are all that essential
    ... if I am really truthful with myself

    if I could
    ... I'd have a room
    ... a space to be proud of
    a space to make others envious

    a space you walk in and shuffle your feet and click your fingers and listen and say
    " I want to record in here "

    must buy lotto ticket
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Another AEA R84, a pair of Peluso 22 47's, 8 channels of API pre's and a GREAT Espresso machine.

    The mic's are necessary to round out the mic locker to attract clients once we open the doors on the new place.

    The API's are essential to round out the selection of mic pre's. That would give us 32 channels of good to high-end pre's, and complete the flavor range from Yamaha, Joe Meek and Langevin, to Great River, Quad8, Neve, SSL and API.

    The Espresso machine.... pretty much self evident.......... No studio runs without good coffee!

    Oh yeah... some euro electrical adapters and a 500' spool of Mogami star quad.

    The euro adapters are for international clients and folks who own gear that came from Europe.

    The Mogami because you NEVER have enough mic cables.
  20. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    What Is Essential? That I am enjoying what I am doing AND without being frustrated by the tools that I am using.

    It Is Essential that I have great tools that fulfil my needs, and/or desires, so that I am able to achieve the goals and results that I am after...

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