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Talk me out of some of this gear for small studio/mobile studio

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by MattLactose, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    Hoping to spend about $3,000 + or -

    This is for a home recording basic set up, with hopes/dreams of building upon it. I would like to be flexible and able to record a variety of instruments. I've been researching for awhile now and feel like this fits my budget and needs. I want the things I do buy to be able to be used in the future, as much as possible. My set up would need to be as mobile as possible because I will be moving spaces in the future and would like to be able to use different spaces if need be.

    Just seeing if I can be talked out of some of these things to get a final list.

    Mics - Rode NT5 mp, K2, shure drum mic kit (I currently have a sm57, beta 87a which I need to get rid of, nt1a)

    M-Audio 2626 ( I want at least 8 xlr ins)

    Furman PL8

    Avalon U5

    Built 2x4x6 oc703 panels made...more needed

    Good cables - instrument, mic, monitor etc

    Protools 9

    Mackie MR8 monitors - key here is budget...need upgrade for future.

    Mic stands - I need stands that will last...the onstage mic stands I've used have seemed that they wouldn't/haven't stood the test of time...any suggestions here?

    Cases cases cases. I want to take care of everything as well as I can.

    1 TB external hd...not sure on this either

    Lunchbox + a mic pre. I don't feel like I need this at the moment because my space for mixing and recording wont be as ideal as I would like and feel like if I should focus more on sound treatment and get that figured out before I spend another good chunk of cash. I'm excited to test out these oc703 bass traps I'm building.

    I already have a few items. MacBook(needing RAM upgrade to 4G), sm57, beta 87a, couple boom mic stands, rode nt1a, lr baggs para di and lots of instruments for use.

    I'll list more if I think of anything, but this is what I've been looking at for the most part.
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    OK, I'll play.

    1. You are trying to save money in the place where I'd spend the most resources: the interface. If you get a good interface you can put off pre amps for a long time. I don't know anything about the 2626, so maybe it's better than I think. But if it were me I's start with a Fireface 800 or something of comparable quality and figure out how to make the rest work. UPDATE: Oops - only four preamps for the FF 800. Still. More money on the inerface.

    2. I wouldn't buy the Avalon until you have a couple of DIs of the Countryman/JD Radial level, including at least one passive DI.

    3. If you know and like the K2, fine. But it's not a vanilla mic. It's heavy and needs a very good stand (which you need to budget for).
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I have mic stands by Atlas, AKG, Ultimate, K&M, Latch Lake, and On Stage Stands. The On Stage Stands are used every time my mobile rig goes out. You won't have any problem with them. My mobile tall stands are also On Stage Stands and they reach way up too. As a home project studio you don't need Latch Lake.

    Why would you ever even think about getting rid of an SM57. Don't. For that matter, you could probably use a couple more.

    I would agree with Bob. Get a better interface than the M-Audio 2626. Since PT9 no longer limits you to M-Audio or Avid then don't limit yourself. Since you are trying to limit yourself to 3K (very difficult when first setting up BTW), I would normally recommend the Fireface 800 or UFX but I will "downgrade" the recommendation to the TC Electronics Konnekt 48 and save up for a set of preamps w/ADAT. I'd skip the lunchbox until you can afford to throw five or eight modules in. One or two is not cost effective. Go with Glyph drive enclosures. They are the best. The Portagig uses the latest Oxford 934 chipset and has every kind of data connection you would require. The GT series is rack mountable and is what I've got in the mobile racks. Generally I use 500GB drives for working projects and have a couple very large drive for archive purposes.

    Mackie monitors. The 6" monitors work much better/tighter than the 8" in the HR line which is normally what I would steer you towards. I doubt the MR are significantly different other than no 6". Go with the MR5 MK2 unless you have a very large room (large for a home) and you really think you're lacking bass from MR5's in that room.

    Cases and cabling is expensive. I happen to use SKB cases now. Only a couple are shockmount cases. When I had a full PA rig everything was Anvil and everything was shockmounted. For a home studio that is not mobile then shock mounting is not critical. You can get "studio" racks that don't have lids or wheels and that may or may not be cheaper. EBait is a good place to get SKB or Gator rack cases since they do their job even if scuffed up. Just watch the shipping charges as that can throw costs into retail price land.
  4. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    why would you suggest getting more DI's in that price range before the U5?

    the 2626 fits my smaller budget. I couldn't go much above the $700-$800 range...but could save some money on not getting the U5 and put that towards the better interface.

    same deal with the k2. I would like to have a tube mic, because I already have the nt1a.
  5. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    I'm keeping the 57, getting rid of the 87a. I got it for when I perform live, but find that in places that don't have that great of PA's it doesn't even matter, and if they don't have phantom power then your screwed, which has happened to me...maybe that just says something about the places I've played.

    Good info on the monitors.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Because you are just starting out and need basic equipment before you get something more exotic. There are plenty of people who prefer the countryman to the U5 for a DI and everyone knows its a good DI. It's sort of in the category of an SM57.
    But if you really don't like the preamps of the 2626 you will end up spending money upgrading those as soon as you can. Look into firewire mixers as possible interfaces. Presonus StudioLive 16, Mackie Onyx, etc.
    Forget the "tube mic" thing. You have two good condensers. The k2 is another condenser that (1) sounds different (2) is multipattern. If you have listened to it and like the sound, fine. If you don't like the sound it doesn't matter if the sound is caused by a tube. If you need a multipattern mic find the one whose sound you like best and fits your budget. But basically, within this budget I would not go for another LDCs. Keep your 87 for now.
  7. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    Good comparison to the 57, gives me a clear picture. What do you think about the sansamp? The U5 is something that I really just want to have, but don't really have to have it right at first.

    Currently I own a 1220i and really the main reason I want to get rid of it for something else is because it only has 4 xlr inputs. I like the 1220i, for where I've used it and with what mics I've used with it, I've been pleased. It has reproduced a sound that I would think is very natural, whatever that means to anyone. I was looking into trying to keep my 1220i and not go another route, but was too limited with what I would like to do. I also really like having physical knobs too, and it's super well made and sturdy.

    Would the 1640i be a better option than the pf2626 ( beyond having lots of channels ) ? Does the 1640i or 2626 have better pre amps? Dumb question here, but you can run external mic pre's through the 1640i right?

    I don't want a multipattern mic for sure. the K2 isn't multipattern though, also thought about the NTK which is a little cheaper.

    What exactly would the 87a be used on? Same kind of application as a 57?

    So you think stray away from a tube mic? They do pick up a lot of room noise don't they...and I don't have an ideal room at the moment.

    If I went with something else what would you suggest. I have the rode nt1a currently. The only mic I can say I really don't like is akg perception series mics...sounds like it's too harsh on the high ends for my tastes.

    Lots of questions here...this is helping me out greatly.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The onyx preamps are good-better than the M-Audio by quite a bit. You can run external preamps in through the insert points but its a bit of a hassle. The Presonus Studio Live maybe has that better configured, I don't know. The Allen Heath Zed R16 would be another very high on the list. However now.you've really torn up your budget.
  9. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    Ha, the budget....stupid limitations.

    I really do like my 1220i, I hopefully sell that for a little and sell the 87a, skip the U5 and I'm back close to my budget.

    The 1640i would also allow me to be more mobile, double the mic pre's, and analog mixer. I think it would make more sense, like you're saying, to go ahead and spend more here and budget in other areas.

    Still confused on which mic to go with.
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    What style(s) of music do you/are you wanting to record? Quality mic's are almost the most important part of the audio chain. A bag full of Shure SM57's can be more valuable than a half dozen cheap chinese condensers or low end AT or AKG microphones. And an SM57 is better than nearly any MXL or equivalent mic period.
  11. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    I play more acoustic folk, not a lot of electric but with various instruments like accordion, rhodes, horns, minimal electric guitar and bass + - some things. I'm interested in the same style of music for the most part, but I'm not picky. It might be hard to do more metal/hard rock stuff but I would always give it a shot and find out for sure. I imagine it will be more acoustic singer songwriter types at first.

    So I would say that I would try to sell myself for more acoustic laid back material. I agree with you about the akg cheap cheaps. My nt1a sounded much better then the akg with the same eq in the same room through the 1220i. It sounded as if it had a fake tone, that's how I would describe it.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Both AT and AKG make low end series of microphones. These aren't the microphones that made there reputations but something to compete with the crap that gets rebranded from china. The AKG microphones that get recommended all the time (C414, C460, C391, C12, etc) are a different story. Same with the AT 4000 series being quality and the 2000 series not so much. The Rode microphones are decent quality and quality control. The NT55 is one of the best values around really.

    You may be better off not worrying about condensers right now until you save up your next bundle of cash and pick up a few more SM57's for the time being.
  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The K2 is a continuously variable multipattern mic. I own one. A tube is just one way of powering a condenser. There is enough variation in both tube and FET condensers that its not useful to generalize. Buy a condenser based on sound, not architecture. I have both tube and FET.

    The SM 887a is an interesting mic. I had two of them when I was running live sound. I still have one but don't use it much in the studio. It's a condenser that works well on female and high tenor vox. It's also hypercardioid which helps on feedback if you use it right. You could make use of that in the studio to reduce isolation.

    The bigger question here is why do you want another mic in the first place? All the mics you've talked about are good, but I don't see what you are really trying to do. What kind of stuff do you want to record? Are you looking at one track at a time or recording a band all at once? What kind of bands are we talking about? We haven't talked about the NT5 pair. That's a good choice or a first SDC pair, but what are you planing to use it for?
  14. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    I'm planning on getting the shure mic drum kit with the three sm57's, plus my 57 I currently have. I have heard good things about those mics too. I feel good about the nt5's as well and plan on going with those.

    I'm also thinking getting more at once to get a better deal, or if I can get the same deal over a couple months of getting more things as need be. I'll have to see what they say at ol sweetwater. I've really enjoyed my experience with them, and can't beat free shipping plus the extended warranties. Plus I can call them and annoy them instead of you guys for awhile.
  15. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    I want to be able to record full bands (not playing together at once) ranging in styles from softer acoustic to harder indie rock. I would like to lean more towards singer songwriter, but i'm totally open to different styles. Those are the styles of music I understand and know the best. I would like to have a ldc for male/female vocals, and something that could have other uses like electric guitar or acoustic guitar. I would think that I would prefer the LDC to better fit vocals then one that's better for instruments. A good blend would be ideal, but it is hard to do that. I live in Portland OR and this town is dominated by indie rock/folk bands, and would like to appeal to that group.

    For the nt5's I would like to use them as drum overheads and be used for acoustic guitar.
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There is simply no reason on Earth to spend money on one of those drum mic kits when you can buy the very same components in it for half the price and get a decent case at the Goodwill to store em in. Less if you buy used....The "KIT" is marketing hype IMHO that is for people looking for things they need but know nothing about.

    Since you're in Portland, please dont tell me you are shopping at gitarmart for your gear......Go the Superdigital and talk with Donnie. He'll steer you right. And you mentioned PT9. They are dealers. In fact they have everything you could ever want or need and will work to fashion you a package to get things moving forward.
  17. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    sm57 $99 a pop new x 3 plus beta 52a $189 new so that's $486 and the kit is $400 with a case and drum mounts. I find sm57's used for $75 most the time, I could go that route and find all these used, which wouldn't be too hard.

    I'll check that store out tomorrow and see what they can do. I would prefer to buy here, but I haven't found a store here that I trust and would really want to give that much money to. With that being said, I've never been to Superdigital. Thanks for the tip.
  18. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    That's good info. It means you can get started and record everything you need to with four good preamps. You can record a drum set with two, three or four mics in the genres you are interested in. Check out Recorderman and Glynns Johns setups. Great for acoustic or indie. This opens up a huge collection of high quality interfaces that are in striking distance. It also means that if you get an SDC pair like the NT5s you have everything covered in terms of mics. That means you can get a high quality interface and add high quality mics and preamps one at a time as money allows.

    Yes, I agree that a better ldc vocal mic is a high priority, but take your time. You can get good tracks with what you have. After a little experience you will be able to make a better decision on your new A mic. Right now you are going a lot on brand names, curiosity (tube mics), and the advice of fools like us on the internet. You'll know a lot more in six months, more than that in a year. Much better time to choose a $1000 mic.

    Basically, I'm advising you to buy the minimum quantity and the maximum quality. Make do with what you have and improve over time.
  19. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    Good advice. The recorderman setup sounded really good. I would be interested to see how that sounds.

    I'm going to a shop today and get some more advice. After all these suggestions, I am going to wait on the u5 and use that money towards a better interface. Still not sure about the mic. Hopefully today this shop will have some of the stuff I'm looking for and I can get a good listen. There are shops in town that do have this stuff, but I refuse to set foot in them. You gotta treat your customers right...

    All this info has been very helpful.
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Be sure and tell Donnie that Dave sent you......It wont get you stuff cheaper its just you'll get more attention to detail. AND you'll get to hear stuff.

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