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New Toys For Tots

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Davedog, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Hi kids. The upgrade has officially started. The first item has been on my list for a very long time. Chances are it will never leave my side. I have wanted a special chain for that great vocal sound, specific lead instruments etc, one that stays patched because it is what it is and it starts with a great preamp. (okay purists....I'm one....it starts with the source......but AFTER the source and the mic....)

    I have found and added a very good condition Groove Tubes ViPre. Aspen Pittman is a genius and this thing is proof of it.

    Next....Phoenix DRS-Q4 and a Summit DCL-200.
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The Soundcraft Ghost went away today. It was time. Its a 97. I've had it since 2002. sad........BUT.

    In its place sits a cute little Toft ATB8. And the veil across my monitoring went away. I only was using 8 channels for a tie from the drum room and this thing is perfect for drums. However, the architecture is kickin my butt for some reason.....having trouble getting the headphone monitoring system back to where I want it. But I WILL WIN..

    Recorded a track today as a test..the ViPre sits in its new home. All cozy and ominous looking. So, a Strat through a Blues Jr with a 57......Okay. THIS is why I bought this thing. The meter wasnt working. Apparently someone pushed the bezel in so I got to repair it today. Something about really industrial stuff makes the world a better place. Easy fix.

    The Phoenix and the Summit are coming next week. The Phoenix looks to be something incredible. Dont you just love it when they put inductor EQ's in stuff?

    Still i the market for an optical comp. yeahyeah buy an La2a........maybe......ElOp
  3. pan60

    pan60 Active Member


    So you did not care for the soundcraft?

    I have always liked them.
    Pretty amazing want a recap and some very basic mods can do.

    Keep us posted as to your thoughts on the toft as time moves on.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I LOVED the Soundcraft. But it was getting old and because it is a 32X8, the footprint was a little large for what it was being used for. I'm not a person who lets go of gear easily. I've had the thing since 2002 and made a lot of recordings with it. When I was just using the Alesis HD24 it was a perfect combo. Now that I've moved on to ProTools and outboard gear it was overkill. I seriously looked into modding it, however, (and I'm sure I would have been completely happy with that) it still would have been too much of an ergonomic problem with the 003 factory being in the wrong mix position (which has been a year and a half at this point). Basically I was only using 8-12 channels of it anyway from the drum room so it was a decision based on what I do here rather than my emotions and familiarity with a piece. The Toft is sort of a side-step in some ways, in other ways its got features the Ghost didnt have and the slight blurring in the low-mids is gone now as well as the master section sounding like it should. The Ghost needed to be recapped and the cost differential was small......so here we go.

    I'll update things as we get to know each other with the Toft. Its a pretty powerful and forward sounding mixer. Very clean and detailed and aggressive with a beautiful EQ. I'm getting to know the routing and it looks like a very usable piece. Since I use a lot of outboard, I very rarely use the 003 pres, and the fact that until I move up to HD I'm going to continue to be limited to 16 or 18 tracks at a time, the Toft appears to be correct for my space. I would have preferred a Neve sidecar but I didnt have 50K to spend! Since its going to be mostly a drums device, I think its going to work well.

    I'll know a lot more in the next two months as I have three album projects starting soon.

    Hopefully I've got everything how I want it.

    I will say that the GT ViPre is an amazing piece. I've said that ever since I got to record a project with one several years back. And now I have one. Its going to be my primary vocal chain starter and next week I'll be trying it on everything in the room just for fun. Will let you know how that goes too.

    I also will take delivery of the Phoenix DRS-Q4 and a Summit DCL200 next week. I'm one more classic compressor from having the rack done for now. Optical.

    I'm really looking forward to the Phoenix. I'm going to use it on a LOT of stuff. The four bands of EQ with that incredible micpre will do all kinds of things for my recordings. Between these pres, my ISA428, and the ADK AP2 with the Toft I'm set for now. Not extreme high-end but very very usable and discreet well built gear with a better than average voice for each.

    Home recording at its best.

    One day I'll build a room and these are the start of a collection for that time.
  5. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I grabbed a delta but want a ghost.
    But friend is working with me on mine to added some feature I want.

    You still use the Alesis HD24?
    I always heard they where pretty darn good.
    Seems like a great alternative to in he box mixing.

    I use to have some old AKAI DR-16's but getting into the DAW was going to be about as costly as just moving to some decent converters ( was going to have to upgrade to much so just upgraded and dropped the AKAI DR-16's ). Kinda wish I had them back at times, or at least something similar but more modern.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Because the Delta has individually removeable channels, modding them is a bit easier than with the Ghost. Very similar architecture in the mic pres.

    I still use the HD24 but mostly as my converters for the outboard into the Ptools 003 digitally. Since I can do 8 analog and 8 ADAT ins at once this is where I can bypass at least 8 channels of the digi converters. The specs on the converters in the HD24 arent as impressive as a lot of others but they have a very musical quality and to my ears sound every bit as good as things many dollars more expensive.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Tracked drums today thru the Toft ATB. Good stuff. Nice transient response. Very fast and accurate and able to handle the voltage swings. Excellent musical EQ. I haven't used EQ at tracking in a long while as I didnt like the extra low-mid mud the Soundcraft was capable of. I didnt mind the Soundcraft EQ ONCE in the chain but never twic....so nothing at tracking was the norm for me. The Toft has enough Q in the mids to be somewhat surgical if needed, but mostly what impresses is its ability to stay open and honest even with some boosted EQ. I really like the 80hz roll-off and used it to smooth the cymbals down a bit. Nice to touch up the hats for these tracks too. I only have one weight of cymbals currently so you have to make do.....This EQ in the board is going to save having to rely on the EQ's in the software. I only use a couple anyways...I like the McDSP stuff a lot and the EQ in the UA Neve 88RS strip is very nice.The rest I dont like the phase shift too much.

    Today was more of trial run to cement any headphone problems, routing screwups, and basically just reaffirming my grasp on the new setup. Patching has changed as has the outboard quality as well as new mics and I have wanted to test drive all the mics I have accumulated for the drum room over the last three years.....really test them all. My drummer partner showed up and we spent about 5 hours taking things down and putting things up and tracking the same old song. Gave us a great perspective on mic performance. I was hoping the Phoenix pre would be here for this as I wanted to put it on the overheads or the kick and snare tracks but this was a good trial for the ability of the Toft to do the work it was intended to do. Its not a large format console, but it has enough of a power supply to do the job and it is one punchy little board. I couldn't really overload it easily and for me this is a good thing as my experience lends itself to dime the needles whenever possible (within reason!!)Something you shouldn't do when recording to a DAW............

    Speaking of mics.....I have a even greater respect for the AT4041's. Today they became tom mics and aquitted themselves very very well. I wound up with a single overhead for this song, an ADK TT tube mic in partial omni. This mic loves brash and sharpedged sources. It simply smoothes them out with losing the immediacy of what they are trying to say. I also got to use the guitar combo amp mic protocol again. This is a Royer R101 with an ancient SM57. Tonight on the 1974 Deluxe Reverb. What can I say.....These are perfect for the job. Tomorrow I'll use the SM7B on the bottom rotor of the Leslie. Maybe it'll work.

    Next week I should see the Phoenix pre and the Summit comp.
  8. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    ; )~

    cool beans Davedog!
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've wanted a Summit comp for years. Looking forward to reading your comments on all these new goodies, Dave.
  10. warpengine

    warpengine Member

    Yea, look forward to see comments :)


    My Mixer:
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The Phoenix DRS-Q4 showed up yesterday (Saturday). Its a beautifully packaged device. Very heavy and striking. Sunday evening I ran a bass track through the direct Injection and used the EQ a bit. I have three other bass tracks already on this song as I'm using it to demo all the new devices and one feature I have searched for is the 'perfect' bass DI. Since I'm a bass player it only makes sense. I have used so many in the past and quite a few in recent months that I'm getting a very good handle on what works for a particular sound. I have several basses so its not the one trick pony search.

    Recent great tracks have come from taking the DI from my TC Electronics 500 bass head as well as a mic with it through a single 12" ported bass cab with a 400 watt Celestion in it. The mics have been both a Studio Projects B3 condenser and an ATM25 on different tracks. Both have had their strong points. The DI on this head is very good. I used both a fretless J-Bass and a very cheap old 5string that just happens to sound great. It has Thomastik flats on it so thats probably why.

    Another set-up I've recorded lately has been one of my friends' sessions with his Avalon U5 and his L2000 G&L 4 string. I've also put that bass through several other inputs, the DI on the ISA428, the DI on the ADK Custom Shop pre, and a Summit 2BA-221.

    Sunday I ran the Fender J-bass, fretless, through the Phoenix pres' DI. It may be the best high-fidelity and still warm sound I've ever gotten. The only thing I have here close to it is the ADK AP2 pre with a Neve based opamp and a Sowter tranny. That combo is a pretty deadly combo in all respects but the Phoenix has a tremendous clarity and with the inductor styled EQ it has a versatility not found with a lot of other pres with DI's. It also sat in the guitar laden mix very easily.

    More as we move on.
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Okay.....For YEARS I have been a sorta "meh" contributor to the opinion of the sound of SM7 mics. I owned one and it never really got me where I wanted to go. It was a pre 'any letter' model so maybe thats the difference. Yesterday I started the new Blues record for Franco and The Stingers. They are representing the Pacific Northwest in the international Blues competition in Memphis this coming late January. So we are on the move for a finished SECOND product for their inevitable signing by a major.......lets all get in a comfortable position and chant..."Sign the Stingers...Sign the Stingers....etc..." now breathe..Yep. Uncle Dave gets his money when this happens. (For all you novice producers....this is where you put the dough....its like a blind bank account.....!!!!)

    I digress...The SM7B I talked myself into has a bigtime use. At least here at the DoggRanch. No serious vocal track as of yet, but a marker vocal went down and I was impressed. Franco has a rich tenor/baritone with a lot of high-lights and when we do track serious, the vintage U87 comes out and wraps itself around this great voice and puts him right in your lap (ladies)....But now, I'm thinking the SM7B aint such a slouch....Of course it was plugged into the GT ViPre....maybe that was it all along.

    The new Phoenix DRS Q4 pre was used on a pair of AT4041's as overheads on the kit. I'm liking what this does to the entire kit and I might wind up with this and a single snare mic (under) and a single kick mic (outside) for the entire drum sound on some of the songs.

    The bassist is a fine player. Best attack I've ever seen. Its like having your own limiter.....(" Uhhh Timmer, could you watch the attack on those last three notes in the second chorus???") ["Sure."] ......Meters remain in an upright posisiton with only two db's of deflection.........Allrighty then...So he gets the ADK AP2 with the Neve based opamp and Sowter tranny and a touch of Aphex Compellor.

    Yeah. We are high rent here.

    One of these days (soon I hope)....the compressor will get here. Exchanged the Summit for a DBX 160SL. And a play book.

    I'm REALLY starting to seriously LIKE the Toft board. Nice nice pres. Clean and aggressive and the EQ is fairly comprehensive. I need to talk to their techs about the intended routing. Still a puzzlement to me. I have what works for the time being but I think they have a great idea that I'm not grasping the fullness of.

    Hell, its only wire and connectors.......
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Tracking has started in a big way on the new Franco Paletta and The Stingers record. 11 tracks this time. All the arrangements are stellar and theres some serious hard hitting blues going on here. The first record, "Cant Kick Love" was a very nice record and this one is going to ratchet it up another four or five notches.

    We have about half of the drums, bass and keys done and we are working on guitars.

    There are two separate rooms here at the Dogg Ranch. So we are able to track everyone at once which to me as Mr. Producer Sir is essential for the Blues. There has to be that live interplay even though in this case the arrangements are set in stone and well rehearsed. You still have that push pull from each instrument. We have been tracking with a click track and the drummer is very steady and the click helps him with his 'pressure' moments....not rushing back into the feel. It has tied it all nicely and I feel has enhanced the performance level.

    The guitar tracks are becoming an interesting foray into voicing. We arent really interested in this being a 'traditional' blues record so we are making it more like a rock or a country record with the Blues still being the primary feel and sound. This means multitracking and dubbing for the essential voice of the guitar. We are using multiple amps and micing techniques. Primary amps are a Fender Prosonic and a VHT Pittbull 45. Both have 2-10's. I am micing both amps with a ribbon and a 57 each. The Prosonic has the Royer 101 and one of my antique Unidyne III's and the VHT gets a bit more modern sound with the Avantone CR14 and a newer 57. we are also using a 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb and a VHT Special6 for little bits here and there. Both get a single ADK A51 model V with Hamburg guts.

    The keys at this point are primarily with a Nord and an old Kurzweil for the piano sound.

    All the guitar tracks and keyboards have been captured through the ISA pre. I'm using the Phoenix as the overheads for the drums the ViPre for the vocals and the Toft for the rest of the drums.

    I'll try and post some pictures soon and there will be a couple of partials up on soundcloud soon. Mostly raw and unprocessed.

    more later
  14. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I am a hugh VHT Pittbull 45 fan!
    sold mine ten plus years back to a friend and planed on getting another one but just never have: (

    and naturally a fender fanatic: )
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Okay. lets hear a portion of the proceeds.....

    This is Franco And The Stingers...The song is "I Like It Like That" ..This is bare bones with only an ML4000 McDsp limiter on the output....No reverb except the lead guitar....All the drum tracks and the bass are UAD Neve 88RS...Its an experiment...................GO........http://www.soundcloud.com/droolndoggrekords/4-audio-track
  16. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I hope we have another CD coming Dave? Your last one is in my truck and boat!
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Yep. We are about halfway through tracking at this point. Franco and the boys won the regional competition here and are representing on the Journey To Memphis competition in late January. Maybe we get signed and the Dogg gets his money! Thats not the only reason but if you are doing this as a professional business, getting paid is always a good thing.

    Chris, do me favor and run that track through your gear. I'm starting to think that I dont like that limiter I've been using. Let me know what you find.
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    That's a great band that should be making money, right on news! Pleasure running this through the rig.
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Thanks Chris. Its the main reason I've been producing them. They are really good. Its nice to do Blues records without a single 'cryin in yer beer' song on em.....

    as far as the track info....I just need to get your take on the nodes and the dirt you find. I have really good monitoring but you cant always hear everything. This McDSP limiter I'm using has a certain 'stretched' sound in it....It might be okay for this kind of material though. It certainly makes a pretty good brickwall. I have another mix that I ran through the UAD 88RS channel. I love what UAD does with the Neve emulations....I recently bought a basic UAD Quad and I'll be adding a Harrison EQ as well as the SSL strip.

    Of course this is all pre-mastering. I would not presume to EVER "master" anything here. As a side note to those that think their little programs that say "Mastering" on them.....they really arent.

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