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What gear = what quality standard?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by swanmusic, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    I have a DAW with 3.4 Intel, 2 Gig RAM and 320 gig in hard drive space. I use Delta 1010 and Audiophile 24/192 cards. For some reason, the quality of recording on Audiophile 24/192 (not 24/96 card which came out initially) sounds better than on Delta 1010. I record keyboards and vocals mostly and rarely Guitar and I was comparing the quality of vocal parts. Moreover, I had used KSM44 on Delta 1010 and I was using a cheap $100 Senheizer on Audiophile.

    Since I am planning to upgrade my studio, I was wondering if I should go for high end AD/DA converters, Avalon preamps etc. or just stick with my current sound cards (or may be get Presonus Firepod or Echo Layla 3G) and get Avalon pres.

    Also, I had seen one of my friends use a Mackie 1402 vlz in his studio and he had a cheap 250 dollar PC (may be Pentium 3 or something) and a SM58 and still his recordings sounded amazing. (He did mostly keyboards and vocals too). I'm so attracted to that mixer since that time.

    I'm just worried that I might spend money on upgrading my studio and get no upgrade in quality of recordings. There's just too much out there and a lot of it is not required !!
  2. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    You really need to make sure that your friend isn't more talented a producer than you. I have much better gear than the guy that tought me how to record, I made sure I bought at least what he had or better and in most cases I bought the better and his recordings still kick my ass.. Another thing, what are you using for monitors, if you're using computer speakers or something cheap, and he's using something good that could be another reason for his mixes sounding better than yours. Don't go out and buy amazing gear expecting it to do the work for you, it won't.
  3. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    The most important upgrade is the one that starts closest to the sound source, and then as it moves away from the original source it is slightly less important (although your sound is only as good as the weakest link). So in order of most important to least IME:

    1) Room/recording environment
    2) Microphone
    3) Microphone preamp
    4) Recorder (which includes converter if digital, high quality analog tape machine with wide track format if analog)
    5) High quality processing, i.e. compression and EQ.

    Best of luck.
  4. axel

    axel Guest

    jonnyc wrote:


    better gear will improve your recordings / sound, but make shure that you "squeeze" everything out of what you have FIRST before digging into new or better gear...

    try, experiment, and record as much as you can, that gives you more time to save up for something really yummy on top of it :D
  5. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Everybody's setup is different and everyone is recording different types of music and working with different applications.

    My first reaction would be "definitely pop the coin for some nice outboard converters" but it seems likeyour ears are directing you already. If you like what you're hearing from the Audiophile 24/192 you may want to stick with that card and invest in better mic pre's. Your engineering strengths are going to be different than your friends (as atlasproaudio illustrated) so the Mackie 1402 may do you no good whatsoever. As a matter of fact I'll second everything that's already been said, especially regarding your monitors. Make sure your monitors aren't fooling you. But that's easy to test: Do your mixes translate accurately to consumer stereo systems? Simple. If the answer is yes, then there's not need to upgrade your monitors...no matter What they are. If you've learned how to work with them and you're getting accurate translations then don't mess with them.

    With DAW interfaces I'm a fan of M-Audio stuff too so your Audiophile 24/192 may be the card for you. For instance, I love my 1010LT and am getting exactly what I want from it so my upgrades have the tendency to be a new mic pre this month and a new mic the next month, so forth and so on.

    As the others have said, be careful with your purchases and make them wisely. Personally, I would recommend you buy a decent pair of pre's, see if they give you the "WOW!!" factor you're looking for and take it all one step at a time.

    You're looking for the Wow! factor now and I'm of the philosohpy that, aside from your engineering skills and knowledge, higher quality pre's is the best place to start.

    Also, if you don't have a good compressor in your signal chain between your pre's (or board) and your DAW, that may be a good place to start with upgrades too. Quality compression has the ability to change your entire outlook as a recording engineer and it has the potential to enhance the sound of everything you're recording...instantly.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Nathan said it best. It's a chain of elements and each one can be as important as any other.
    My experience has taught me that pres play a large part of the equation ... and I consider the mic and the preamp as one ... in most cases, an inexpensive mic will sound better through a decent mic pre that a great mic through a crappy pre.

    I spell checked this time. Happy?
  7. axel

    axel Guest

    cheers :D LOL
  8. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Well Kurt since you insisted...

    You might want to trade in your spell checker because "that" should have been "than".

    "...through a decent mic pre that a great mic through a crappy pre. "

  9. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    That would be a grammar checker. The word "that" is spelled correctly.
  10. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Sure it's spelled correctly, if examined out of context.

    If taken in context though, it's a typo, dude.

    But, whatever.
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    ... it's a very common typo I make when I am typing quickly.

    I'm soooorrrrry!

    I spell checked this time. Happy?
  12. axel

    axel Guest

    :D :D :D LOL, guys you must be really bored, aren't you? :wink:
  13. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    You brought it up my friend. I was simply indulging you, that's all.

    Axel's right, it must look like we're extremely bored. :wink: Cheers, Axel.
  14. axel

    axel Guest

    he he, it's getting better and better..... :D,
    hugh... looks like i'm bored too :wink:

    forry, any ryping cistakes jere??
  15. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Here I'm thinking that i'm gonna get into a good discussion about something because the thread is 13 posts long and I get suckered into my 10 grade english class.
  16. swanmusic

    swanmusic Guest

    Thanks to most of you who gave good suggestions. One thing I do not like about these forums is that a lot of times the main focus of the thread completely shifts. It seems like a bunch of unemployed people with a lot of free time come on here and pass time. Sorry if it sounds too stiff!

    When a post is put on the board, a few assumptions have to be made such as (Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate your replies you guys) :

    1. If a person has pro quality sound cards, he/she is definatlely going to have good monitors (monitor headphones at least). Why would people spend hundreds on sound cards and get cheap PC speakers??

    2. Of course recording skills matter but when you compare a piece of hardware with another piece of hardware, it's not a matter of skills, it's a matter of the quality of hardware. Would you compare a Mercedes with Kia? Of course the Mercedes is going to be better, no matter how well you drive.

    It's just that in the case of recording gear, it gets confusing because a mic like SM57 or SM58 give you amazing sound quality at such cheap price and compare to some other very expensive mics. Some might end up spending on some mics which are expensive but still don't sound as good as the SM57s/SM58s. (Please let's not start with microphone placement techniques!! ;-))

    Since there's just so much recording gear available, opinions of people with experience counts and hence this post.

    Please help....

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