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What I've got... where to go?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by soapfloats, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    First, this is my current gear, and will likely remain so (w/ perhaps a few small additions) for some time.

    Not mentioned is my monitoring system:
    2 Alesis One MKII (passive)
    2 M-Audio BX5a
    1 Yamaha Sub (forget model #)

    In the future, I would like to start upgrading the weaker links.

    What I want to know is - what do YOU think are the weaker links?

    ADCs? Monitors? Mics? Preamps? Instruments/amps? Outboard gear (comps, etc)?

    Thanks for any input!!
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Your question is far too generalized. Rock-and-roll? Orchestral operatic? Liturgical? Electronica? Death Metal? These can all be a factor in your decision-making.

    Your question is like I have four tires, what car should I put them on?

    You've got some excellent control room monitors. Beautiful references. So you are starting off on the right track.

    Weaker links? Yeah, your weakest link is having a bunch of control room monitor speakers with nothing to plug into them. That's a weaker link.

    How many tracks are going to record simultaneously?

    What kind of microphones do you want to purchase?

    What kind of preamps are you looking at?

    What kind of crappy Chinese condenser microphones are you looking at?

    Whose cheap preamps are you investigating?

    Your question is one of blind youth & not interested in any of our suggestions.

    The weakest link are people such as yourself. If you are good engineer? RU a competent engineer? a broadcast engineer? If you really want to know what the weakest links are its most everything that's cheap from China. There are those bargains out there but obviously you aren't interested. The weakest link means you don't know how to make a good recording on crappy compromised equipment. If you did? You wouldn't be asking your above questions. If you use a "Sound Blaster Card"? Not Brink. If you use a professional digital audio interface with FireWire connectivity? Very Brink. Mixers under $40,000 all sound the same. Not Brink. Quality API & Neve preamps. Quite Brink. A locker full of Shure SM57/58's. Very brink. A bunch of bargain Chinese/Russian condenser microphones? Hardly brink.

    Missing link
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    You don't mention sofware...so do you record into the AW16G? If you record into the AW16G, THAT is what I would upgrade.
    Buy yourself an Otari MTR90 MKII. You'll love it.

    The only effects you list are stomp boxes. I'm guessing your recording into a computer and using plug-ins...whatcha got? UAD? Waves? What do you use for EQ, Reverbs and Delays? Great quality reverbs can make a WORLD of difference.

    Looking at your list of preamps,
    19 channels of PreSonus
    2 channels of 'nobody says the B word'
    4 channels of Focusrite
    4 channels of Sytek

    It looks like you've got an overabundance of mediocre/crappy preamps.

    It's those first 21 channels that I would think about upgrading. And, because of the nature of those devices, your A/D interface is tied to them. So if you get rid of the pre, you lose some of your interface as well. But you've got 8 good pre-amps, get yourself a good interface for them and you'll be rolling. Of course the downside is that you'll have fewer channels that you can use at once. But you can get rid of stuff piece by piece to minimize that.

    So, to sum up, upgrade the pre-amps and A/D conversion stuffs.
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Sytek? 'Mediocre/Crappy'? Reall?, the Neo-tek desk I mixed was anything but 'mediocre/crappy'.

    Please explain...
  5. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    OK..I guess I could have arranged the statement and list a bit differently (which I've done now) to avoid possible confusion.

    However, if you had understood the paragraph that followed (where I specifically say "those first 21 channels") you would have known (or should have known) that I was talking about all the presonus stuff. I even went on to mention that the Focusrite and Sytek stuff is good (But you've got 8 good pre-amps) and should be kept.

  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, it was early....;)
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Sorry Remy - I'll clarify.

    I record up to 16 simultaneously, depending on the project.
    Primarily "Rock n roll", and its offshoots. Though I've done some acoustic and jazz/fusion.
    Everything is routed through the Firestudio (Digimax, monitors, pres, etc).
    I have crappy chinese condensers (MXL), but also have 2 414s, a bunch of 57s, a 52, 2 421s, a Bluebird and Blue Ball, and some Cascade (Fathead and M39s). And a Senn 835e (my 58 substitute) and AT2020.

    Right now I am not really looking at any new mics or preamps - unless these are deemed "unacceptable". I'm relatively happy w/ my mics/pres for now.
    If I were to buy new preamps/mics, it's the usual suspects: Neve, API, Neumann, Royer, etc.

    Nice thing about what I have is, the drums and bass get tracked through the "good 8", the others are used as scratch tracks, usually, and then overdubbed. There are certain things I like the Presonus external pres for, and I don't use the "B-word" ones anymore.

    As far as my competence as an engineer, I can't measure that easily. I'm relatively new to "studio" engineering. What I've listed has been built over about 2 years, piece by piece, as I found I needed something else to deliver on a specific project. I read/research with a vengeance, bounce my ideas/work off other engineers I trust, and have had the privilege of recording 3 bands nominated for local entertainment awards (1 winner), and more are coming in. No one's been unhappy with my work so far, for what it's worth.
    This is basically a culmination of my transfer from a bass player who tapes live shows to an engineer who happens to play bass.
    I'll be the first to say I have A LOT to learn. And a lot of practical experience to accumulate. Still, I have learned a lot the hard way - trial and error, trial and error.
    Truth be told, what I really need is more time in the studio to work on techniques. While I hope this will provide somewhat of a viable income soon, right now, it's a second job/hobby, and 20hrs a week just isn't enough.

    The AW16G was my old device - I used it to do live shows.

    Yes, I record into the computer and use plugs - mostly those that came w/ Cubase SX3 and some well-recommended free ones. I will be getting the Waves stuff as one of my collaborators has it.

    Bottom line, anything I get will be a "big-ticket" item, and likely a few years down the road. I was trying to get a sense of: If YOU had what I had, and had a couple grand to upgrade one component, what would YOU change?
    Looks like I need to think about replacing the Firestudio w/ an interface that has better ADC?
  8. lostindundee

    lostindundee Active Member


    I was considering a sytek. So are they a good quality pres then?

  9. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I think so. Others may disagree.

    Just remember, it's 4 channels @ around $900 or $225/channel. For $1000, you can get much better single or two channel stuff.

    I'd be interested in hearing what others have to say as well.
  10. lostindundee

    lostindundee Active Member

    Thanks Soapfloats

    I would be interested to hear others' opinions too.


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