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What to upgrade?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by caldous, May 9, 2004.

  1. caldous

    caldous Guest

    I've got an itch to buy gear and I figure I should upgrade my equipment. I'd like opinions on what hardware I should upgrade in my home studio? My current setup consists of the following. Funding would probably be capped at $2,000

    Behringer 24track board(MX 2442A)
    P4 1.5Ghz 512MB RDRAM
    Delta 1010
    Delta 1010LT
    Fostex PM-1 monitors
    MXL mics(2001 and 603s)
    Nady drum mics

    Any suggestions are welcome.
  2. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    I you don't have it already, my vote is for acoustic treatment.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    If the acoustics are already dealt with my vote would be for more mics, some good mic pres and compressors.
  4. by

    by Guest

    Go for Ethan’s acoustic treatment package, it's under 2k and is simply an awesome deal that will, without a doubt, improve how everything else sounds. Highly recommended.
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    First off, just becasue you have an itch doesn't mean you should scratch. If you are serious about your music and recording future, then I would suggest that you dump that Fostex crap and spend the whole thing on monitors so you can begin to hear what your are really doing and sound like. Then when hear what you really sound like, you'll quickly start to save up to replace the other gear weak spots.
  6. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    I don't know what type of music you are recording or want to record. nevertheless, some generic upgrading could include:

    room treatment (think Ethan Winer bass traps)

    In that order.

    You can't really do all of this well given your budget. Many would say to get started with treatment and monitors. For $2,000, you could do fairly well. For example, you can make your own bass traps that normally cost about $200 each (incl shipping) for about $50-$75 each. Add some mid and high frequency treatment for another $250 or so.

    For monitors, a pair of Dynaudio BM6 (passive) with a Hafler P3000 power amp (used), total about another $1,100.

    You still have about $400 left. Maybe a CAD M179 or AT 4050 (used).

    Then, when you save up another $2,000, you can tackle the pre big time.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.

    First, everyone keeps gravitating to acoustic treatments and that is not what the original question was about. If Caldous had a question about acoustics, I assume he would have made a post in the acoustics forum.

    Second, a lot of people seem to have the impression that a particular brand of bass traps and acoustic treatment packages is better than any others... even to the point of calling it "highly recommended" ... I would like to ask, who recommends it? The manufacturer? I have not seen any recommendations for these products from any industry pro although I do get almost every industry publication each month.

    As far as I can tell, no one has really been able to prove that one type of treatment is superior to the next. Test methods vary and are not standardized, thereby making an apples to apples comparison impossible. When asked to make real world comparisons of their products to others, almost all acoustic treatment manufacturers will talk about how come it can't be done, rather than attempting to find a way to do it, therefore leaving the whole question only answered subjectively. The only way someone can get these answers seems to be to purchase several different types of treatments, put them up one type at a time and then make their own decisions.

    My take on it all is as far as bass traps go, a person can simply pile up bales of fiberglass in the corners of their room. If this is unattractive I have read about people taking a large plastic garbage can and lining it with pink fiberglass. Then hang a loose piece vertically across the middle of the can dividing it in half's, and cover with burlap held with a bungee cord. I bet that works as well as those fancy $160 2' by 4' traps.

    Last I would suggest that if one were to take the advice of any acoustics manufacturer, it should be one who actually has a background and degree in acoustics, not some high school drop out that only frequents numerous online forums to tout his products. Some manufacturers seem to have the ability to reply to questions without constantly bringing up their own products. Jeff Z from Auralex is a prime example and this is one reason RO is pleased to have him host a manufacturers forum. Others seem unable to resist mentioning their own products and turn each post / answer into an advertising opportunity for their products ... Once you are aware of these tactics, it is embarrassingly obvious.

    With careful consideration the administrators here at RO have installed a well rounded group of people to offer acoustics advice in the Acoustics Forum. Knightfly, Rod and Wes are all independent and have nothing to gain by advising members on any particular course of action. It makes no difference to any of these people if you use fiberglass, foam, carpet or whatever ... because they don't have anything to sell to you. My advice is to avoid those who cannot say this about themselves ...
  8. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    I don't see anything wrong with suggesting acoustic treatment in response to a request like the original thread. In a sense I think it is important to at least raise the issue with posters who may not be aware of, or understand the importance of acoustic treatments. I agree that having done that, the thread should not then turn into a thread on acoustic treatments, and especially suggesting one brand over another. A gentle referral to the appropriate forum would be a good idea.

    But I think a disservice would be being done if someone replying who had knowledge, experience and/or understanding chose to completely ignore such an important aspect. Heck, we could have suggested, go out and spend all your spare cash on the best monitors you can find, and the poor chap does so only to find that they sound like crap because his room is crap, but nobody mentioned acoustics because 'it wasn't proper'. :eek:
  9. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    He asked about gear in general...and acoustic treatment certainly qualifies as "gear" I think...it's certainly one of the more overlooked components of home studio design.

    I seem to recall reading recommendations for the traps you're referring to by a few relatively high-profile musicians and engineers, such as Charles Dye and Nile Rodgers...not that a recommendation by an "industry pro" necessarily means that a given product is right for you, or that the lack thereof means the opposite...

    It may, but it sure doesn't look as good...

    While I'd agree that a background is important, if a product works, does it really matter? Also, the manufacturer in question often suggest people build bass traps themselves to save money, as as someone else on this forum. And the manufacturer in question has certainly been a respected member of the industry for longer than he's been manufacturing bass traps.

    Having said all of that, something like an Auralex Max Wall system will likely make a noticeable improvement while just taking a small portion of your budget. I'd also recommend improving the monitors and perhaps adding some combination of microphones and/or preamps...what style of music are you doing?

  10. nuclearmoon

    nuclearmoon Guest

    Whew it gets hot whenever acoustic treatment comes up!

    But back on topic:
    I suggest some really nice monitors to start. Acoustics or not you are going to have to get better monitors than the Fostex. Even if your room was made of glass and circular, you'd hear a lot more in your mix with better speakers.

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