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Recording detail quality

Discussion in 'Recording' started by yodermr, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. yodermr

    yodermr Guest

    I'd like to ask for some advise. I have read many many posts. I thank you guys for adding so much valuable insight and experience. Sadly altogther this only creates additional confusion for me.

    Background:
    I have a home studio. Sonar, Roland VM3100 pro/Rbus, a variety of dynamic mics (57, 58 D112)
    Mackie monitors.
    I play/record live guitar, drums and bass. Many years as a guitar player with quality equipment. Mesa Boogie Triaxes, G force, Rivera, Fane 2X12 and 2X10 Jensens in an isolation cabinet.
    I normally record the guitar with 57s in the iso cabinet.

    Problem
    When I record I don't get good sound detail, muddied a bit. Doesn't reveal all of the wonderful nuances of my rig. I have tried to mic the Fane cabinets live with a variety of mics as well. Even an AKG condenser mic.

    Solution
    I think I have done what could be done with the recording setup. I don't know of any technics to capture more detail in the recording. So I have some money to throw at it.

    Question
    What is the best place to upgrade? I have doubts in the preamp and converter quality. I don't have enough experience to know where the best bang for the buck upgrade is or a good path. Under $1000 is the goal. In addition to this I need more mic preamps to record drums live as well.
    I have looked at the every possible choice, separate components, integrated, etc... Again not enough experience to make a comfortable decision.
    Currently I'm thinking of an Aardvark Q10. Better converters and better preamp and more preamps?

    Help o' experienced ones

    Thanks much
    Mark
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    yodemr,
    I think I know what a large part of your problem is (speakers) but I just don't want to start a war here about it. Let me refer you to a thread. It is quite lengthy and gets a bit ugly at times but there are a lot of opinions there about this. Just be warned, it is not for the feint of heart. There's a lot of blood and gore over there. (The war is done over there and if anyone tries to start it back up here, I will stop it pronto! So please, just don't, mmmmm-k?) Here's the thread, finish reading this first then check it out.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    That being said, capturing anything perfectly has been the challenge to recordists since day one. Many have learned to accept that it is almost an impossibility and to work within the constraints of the medium. The sad truth is you may not be able to ever get exactly the sound of your rig onto the recorder. It may get close but it is almost impossible to get it exact. This is due to microphones inability to work exactly like the human ear (which by the way, are unique to each individual) and because no audio equipment really makes any signal or sound any better, it just translates or modifies it.

    The Aardvark is an excellent front end for the money and I recommend them to readers all the time. This will be a vast improvement in your recording set up. At some point you may want to explore the idea of purchasing a couple of quality condenser mics. These work in a different way than dynamic mics and will color the sound in a different way. Every recording rig should have at least one large diaphragm and one small diaphragm condenser mic. There are medium diaphragm condensers also such as the venerable Audio Technica 4033 and the new Shure KSM141. These may be a consideration too. Sennheiser 421's are a standard when it comes to micing guitar cabs and they exhibit a stronger mid range than the Shure 57's and 58's. This alone may be a solution for you. See if a friend may have one of these you can borrow to try. Using a combination of dynamics close micing and condensers distance or room micing is a standard practice in capturing the nuances of a guitar rig. I'm sure there will be others with some points I have missed or that I even disagree with, so stay tuned to this thread and watch for them. Good luck in your "Quest for the Holy Guitar Tone Grail". …. Fats
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoys, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D ,Genelec, Hafler, KRK, PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  3. yodermr

    yodermr Guest

    Fats
    Yes I have read the thread on the Mackies. What can you say? Work with what you got - at least for now. Further salt on the wound is that I used to have a pair of NS10s. Tweeter blew, my "inexperience" kept saying that they sounded great but lacked low end. Sold them off thinking this shouldn't happen with quality speakers. Blah blah blah, wasn't playing them that loud - Whatever, water under the bridge.I completely understand their utility now.

    Not sure that this problem has to do with speakers though. Playing decent CDs gives better detail.

    Never hear anyone say anything about the roland and I got it cheap so I just figured that that was the culprit.

    I did try that AKG condenser on the rig that didn't seem to reveal any additional detail.

    So you saying that the Aardvark is a good way to chip away at both preamp and converter upgrades?

    Thx
    Mark
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Mark,
    Yes the converters and pre amps on the Aardvark Q10 are reasonably nice. It's not Neve and Apogee quality, but what can one expect for under $1000 US?
    What you will benefit from is Aardvarks extensive background in digital clocking technology. Aardvark is widely respected in the Pro Audio world for their clocking and these benefits extend all the way down into their project studio line. Definitely a step up from the Roland.

    It still may not be the answer you're looking for. I have had experiences in Pro studios with great mics, pres and converters where the guitar player was still not satisfied with the tone. This may be an effect of the digital process or it may just be partly due to the reasons I mentioned in my previous post. All you can do is as you said "work with what you have" both in terms of the equipment and in the sound you capture. At this point all I can suggest is you try the Aardvark, experiment with mic placement, perhaps borrow or rent some other mics and pres and try them. If you hit upon a combination that works for you let us know. In addition I would ask that if you decide to go with a purchase of the Aardvark, drop a note and let us know if that did the trick ….. Fats
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  5. yodermr

    yodermr Guest

    Fats
    Well I got the Q10. Haven't had much time to play around with recording but right off the bat the stuff I recorded through the old system plays back with notibly better detail and definition. Strange, seems like the Roland did a better job at AD than DA.
    Whole new ball game here. Need to spend some time optimizing the box for this system and get used to the new preamps. With a quick record I am noticing that the Q10 picks up the low end much better, to the point tha I need to roll it off.

    I'm way off balance now. Need time to get a feel for this thing.

    Last comment - installation and setup was a very easy. Compared to the Studio pack folles, I am impressed

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Mark,
    What you are hearing is the improved clocking. Waaaay less jitter = better bass and definition. I am so glad you are happy with it. "I love it when a plan comes together!" Fats
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  7. 3dchris

    3dchris Active Member

    yodermr,
    in my experience your problem lies in poor quality of converters. I use mackies too but I have RME ADI-8DS and I get incredible detail. Guitar sound with sm57 should be incredible (just do not direct it toward the center of the speaker!). I know Fats will blame mackies (heheh) but I can guarantee they're not the problem in your setup. Just make sure you're monitoring with fairly low level. If PC is your "tapedeck" then you must use best possible converters to get the signal to it. If you don't want to spend almost 2 grand on RME ADI-8DS then consider Echo Mona (it has 4 very good preamps). I know it because I have one. It's not as good good as RME but it's not much worse either. Hope this helps!

    chris
     

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