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Whole Set-Up Good? (long)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by BennisHahn, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. BennisHahn

    BennisHahn Guest

    Hey all, I have been looking recently to move up in the world from my little old MR-8 to a semi-pro portable studio. I will be acquiring my gear one or two pieces at a time until I have them all as it takes a while for the money to come in. I look to be able to record mainly drums, guitar, bass, vocals, and other acoustic instruments. I have no interest in MIDI or synths and things of that nature. I also plan to totally exclude computers from this process as they are unstable and I don’t feel like dealing with drivers, updates, and software. I am mainly asking for advice because I can’t find a source that’s as good on portable DAW’s as there is on computer-based ones, like this site. I will divide my questions up at the end to simplify the answering posses.

    I plan on getting these items. Now, you must remember that I will not be able to afford much more then I have already budgeted for each item. I plan on getting enough use out of them, and keep them long enough before upgrading, that they will be worth their cost.

    - Korg D16XD (16 tracks, 40g HD, can record up to 16 tracks at once)
    - 2* Behringer T1952 Tube Compressor
    - 3* ART TPS Preamp System
    - R0DE NT-1A
    - 2* AKG C1000
    - 2/3* Shure SM57
    - 1/2 Shure SM58
    - Shure Beta 52A
    - Event TR-5 Powered Monitors

    That’s my future setup as I have it planned now. I figure I can use the SM57/58’s for just about anything and they are cheep. The AKG’s are mainly for overhead mics but will find their way into other things I am sure. The NT-1A is there for an all-around good condenser for my price range. The only iffy things are the preamps.

    1) I have heard that because of low plate voltage, the ART pre’s aren’t that great. Unfortunately nothing in my price range is that good. I would like to know if it would be better to go with these/PreSonus BlueTube pre’s or…

    2) Go with a Behringer Mixer. The one I would get would be the UB1204-Pro. I have heard for the quality the mic pre’s aren’t that bad. Of course, I would only be able to run four of the mics through the pre’s so; do the Shure’s really need the preamp? If it isn’t crucial then I would run the kick, snare, and overheads through the pre’s and just run the tom mics through with nothing.

    3) Compressor? I like my current one, a Behringer MDX2200 Pro, but I have nothing to compare it too. Anyone have any feed back on this one?

    I know that this stuff is somewhat primitive but I can’t go out and spend $500+ on one mic. Will these things allow me to get semi-pro recordings? I know of course, that it takes practice and patience but it also takes equipment too. Last note; are there any mic’s that I haven’t considered that really stand out? Any and all help greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. basho

    basho Active Member

    A few cheap items for you to consider:

    Preamps: Mackie 1202VLZ-Pro Mixer, or one of the smaller Spirit boards with the Ultramic preamps. Also try Ebay for the Symetrix SX202.

    Mics: Marshall MXLV67G. Those go for less than a hundred nowadays, and won't sound any worse than a Rode NT1. Similarly, check out the Oktava stuff. Be sure to go through a stack of them to pick out a few good ones. The MK319 is the large diaphram condenser, and the MC012 are the small diaphrams.

    Compressor: For $175, there is no compressor better than the FMR RNC. Used Symetrix stuff is pretty cheap nowadays, and sounds quite good. Check ebay.

    Best of luck!
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think basho is pulling your leg. I would not use, much less purchase, any of the stuff he mentioned (with the exception of the RNC) unless I wanted to make a bad recording on purpose. As he mentioned, these are "cheap items" and sound it. I think the Rode NT1 is a far better mic than the MXL ...

    While the Korg D16XD is a decent recording package, ( a friend of mine has one of these and it’s kinda cool), these items should pretty much be nixed from the list (IMNSHO)

    - 2* Behringer T1952 Tube Compressor , pure rack junk, this stuff spontaneously combusts in racks, no kidding.)
    - 3* ART TPS Preamp System More rack crap
    - R0DE NT-1A , mmm, not so bad, I’ve heard better, better than the above 2 items. You could still do better with some Audio Technica mics like the 4033.
    - 2* AKG C1000 fugedabudit! This is a horrible mic, like biting a piece of tinfoil. Again, in your price range ATMs are the best sounding mics.
    - Event TR-5 Powered Monitors Do you smear mud all over the windshield before you go to the store? These thing only lie to you, get some Yamaha MSP5s, a much better speaker.

    Yeah, I know I’m opinionated. :D
  4. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    I have to agree with Kurt on this -

    By the way - on the D-1600 although i own one of these...... ummmm... I'm also Kurt's friend.......... could he....... ummmmm....... nah - he's talking bout someone else......

    Anyway - i digress...... although i own one of these - and i really do love it to pieces - it is not what I would want to be the centerpiece of a semi pro studio. Maybe you should reconsider this.

  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Good ole Kurt, saved me a lot typing. I will defend the 1202-VLZ or VLZ-PRO version. While certaintly not the greatest kit of gear, it is the most quick, easy to use, flexable and best bank for the buck utility tool I've ever owned or used. That sucker comes in so very handy when you need a few extra mic pres, keys/sampler/MIDI module/drum machine sub mixer as well as other sub mixing, headphone feeds, extra effects sends/returns, general I/O and inserts interfacing, DI box, signal splitter and even more I'm forgetting about. I even take it with me for jam sessions, small PA or DJ control and as part of my personal support gear kit when I mix FOH. It has paid for it's self many times over.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think Wackies are great for small PA work, very flexible in use, a lot of bells and whistles and built like a tank. I have a SR24 in use in my system for no latency monitoring and headphone mix's. I like the SR 24 best out of all the Wackies for this as the inputs sound better to me for some reason and the SR 24 has 6 dedicated aux sends instead of the 3/4, 5/6 flip that is implemented in all other Wackies.

    However nothing I record ever passes through the Wackie on it's way to the DAW or out of the DAW to the CD burner. When I switch between the Wackie and the spdif monitors from my Dakota card, I can really hear the damage the Wackie does to the audio. It is filthy compared to the output of the CDr.. I might use the SR24 to sum my outboard reverbs to a pair of returns in the DAW at some point if I was forced to but that is the only thing I even consider using it for..
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Heres my buck and a half(inflation being what it is)....The Mack-i-Whacks being what they are,theres simply no point in arguing about their attributes as opposed to their drawbacks.At their price point they have a funtionality that is somewhat better than their low-bred clones the B-b--b--b----beh-rin-gers...And let me simply say that I tried both a B..b..b.bear-thin-jeer and when I picked it up I could hear loose impediments rattling around inside....a NEW one...and the Mack-I-Whack sounded a lot more strident and pinched than the old Yamaha...Most people think that technology for small mixers began and end with this Mack-a-Whack crap....SORRY...theres been very good sounding small venue and project mixers for quite a while and chances are you can find a Yamaha/Tascam/etc...or maybe even a Ramsa in good condition for less than you'll pay for a new one of the others...Okay, maybe it doesnt have 6 aux's...maybe theres only 4 subs...but the sound......find me a Mack-i-Whack or Berry-jar that has pres as good as an old 2404 Yamaha or a WRT Ramsa...God forbid in yer search that you might find a real Bi-amp studio mixer...a good patchbay makes everything flexible...

    Outboard: Realize there are several ART pres.One is called the Pro MPA....this one actually sounds good as does the VLA compressor.At least it doesnt have that brittle metallic kinda sound s does the dbx386....I own a bit of dbx gear so I actually like it...anyone whos tired of their 160A compressor can send it here where it'll get a proper burial....

    Symetrix is the most undervalued gear on the used market right now.The 525's are very decent comps and can do a lot of things..the 201 is a nice unit...old Furman stuff works...Old Orban stuff....its all how you use it.

    The Soundcraft Spirit series mixers are heads above the Mack---Behr....crappola.

    Mics:NT1....nice...brittle high-end...works for some voices.
    ADK A51 model V....warm and smooth..soon to be discontinued for the model VI.Very cheap for what you get.
    Marshall mics ....If you like it, buy it...be sure you can test it against others..and can take it back ...

    Octava MK319...try a bunch...get a good one and other than the output being a bit lower than some $3000 mics the tone will really REALLY surprise you.

    The Events are cheap....really cheap...spend a bit more on the monitors...they are your best investment ....

    Do NOT buy c1000 mics...there are 25 mics at the same price that are MUCH better.
  8. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The 1202 being one of, if not the first Mackie product, doesn't suffer from the same kind of signal degrading that their higher channel boards do. That SR series (SR as in Sound Reinforcement) has lots of good features for PA work but is the worst sounding of the bunch. All their mixers were derived from the the origianl 1202 design but along the way the design got compromised. The other thing is that I think is that the power supply in the 1202 is better matched than what is used for all the others. Compare them as I have and you should notice a difference.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I never heard a 1202 but I had a 1604 vlz and still have a SR24. For some reason, the SR 24 pres sound better to me than the 1604 pres. Why? Idunno... just less splatter sputter gag grunt!
    The SR 24 vlz still leaves a lot to be desired however.
  10. BennisHahn

    BennisHahn Guest

    OK, now that you have effectivly chewed my plan to pieces (thats ok, you guys know what you're doing atleast), Can I get your opinions on what I can get for $5,000 that will be the recording medium, mics, any pre/mixers/compressors, and monitors? It has to be able to record Drums, guitar, bass, vocals (although not all at the same time).

    In the meantime I will be looking up the stuff you recomended.

  11. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    Ok Gents,

    he's giving you his budget - now is the time to gently guide......... :D :D :D

  12. I would make a Roland VS-2480 or Akai DPS24 the centre of your studio set up. Then the only outboard gear you need to start recording stuff is some mics and some monitors.

    Personally I use HHB Circle 5 monitors and an assortment of mostly AKG mics with my VS-2480.

    If you want to hear what it sounds like have a listen to Better Half by Idiot Kings which is a VS-2480 recording with no outboard gear except guitar and bass POD's and some AKG mics (D112, C3000 (two), D409, C4000B).

    Like you I don't do any midi, sequencing, synths.

  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    So....for 5 grand and you dont have ANYTHING as-of-yet?????I think we're lookin used but particular.....probably DAW with outboard, though not a lot of anything really...
  14. basho

    basho Active Member

    $5000 huh? Why dincha effin say so? And why, if you had a budget of 5 grand, were you even considering all that crap in the first place? :confused:

    Well, Kurt may have his "opinionated" opinions on stuff like the V67, but people whose opinions I trust, like Mr Harvey Gerst for instance, have made a case for that particular mic. And for less than a hundred bucks, there's little gamble trying one in MY opinion. As for the NT1, I have heard it, and it's nothing to be impressed about. I would still lean towards a good-sounding Oktava if push came to shove. Also look out for some really good dynamic mics, like the Sennheiser 441U (250ish on ebay), and cheaper ribbons like the Beyers as well.
  15. basho

    basho Active Member

    Jeez. Was browsing through the rest of the site and read this:
    By Mr Kurt Foster.
    Makes this...
    ...sound a tad inconsistent, wouldn't ya say Kurt? Make up your mind, will you? :p
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Uhhhh...basho.....I'm thinking that Kurt is speaking of a particular MK319 and I'm sure he would want to hear a bunch of em(as you suggested) before he ever would agree that they're not junk....which a lot of em are.However, he has been convinced now that a 'good' one has merit.If you are so worried about peoples inconsistent commentaries, then I suspect you'll have to spend quite a bit of time fleshing out all of them by EVERYBODY...and please feel free to post them ALL.However if you are simply just interested in ONE person's inconsistency, then complain about it elsewhere...ya Dig?

    Now see, I agreed with you about a lot of your suggestions....but only because in this case he has a small budget and probably not a lot of hours in this business.I would prefer for him to look into a good used Yamaha or a Ramsa as these boards completely blow the Mackie/Behringer stuff away sonically.And I would hope that he stays away from Behringer rack crap....And really, I love Harvey and he is right about a lot of things, but he is not the only person in the world with a educated opinion.Its too bad you cant see past that.
  17. basho

    basho Active Member

    Sigh. Nevermind. :roll:
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    It seems we have the return of one of the banned trolls in the persona of basho. His post is a return to the same old character assassination tactic that Bobby Loux, littledog and J Slaytor tried to use, carried out by these troll types, who hide behind screen names because they are to chickensh*t to register with their real names. These cretins have been sent to RO by other Forum owners, equipment dealers and manufactures, in an attempt to discredit RO and myself because they don’t like competition (RO whips their asses regularly) and because they don’t like the message I carry to people, not to waste their cash on crap gear purchases that only benefit dealers and manufacturers.

    This same bunch, judging from their arguments with me, say we here at RO should embrace “rack crap” gear but then make critiques at other places saying that RO seems to be more “newbie”, home studio oriented. They can’t have it both ways. Which should it be fellas??? Hmmmmm? I prefer a pro slant on things. Pros can contribute and exchange ideas and techniques, and "newbies" can learn. It's a win, win for everyone.

    The inconsistent comment is old hat. Like I don't have the right to change my mind. If we all set our opinions in stone, as basho (or J Slaytor, littledog, who ever this is) seems to think we should, none of us would progress or learn. I changed my mind regarding the MK319 after hearing it compared to my U87 just last week. I still have issues with a company that has obviously bad quality control and that is unethical enough to sell only good ones to dealers that cater to people who know what they are hearing and then blows out the junkers to places like "GuitarGit" where people who don't have a clue shop.

    As far as Gerst goes, I hate much of the cheap gear he seems to like. He's entitled to his position as am I. I hate CAD mics and for the most part Acoustic guitar amps both which I understand he had something to do with. I am not impressed. I would venture to say that Harvey’s sensibilities and mine are vastly different. He seems to be more interested in price point and I am more interested in quality. Harvey is one of the only experienced people in the business I know of that takes these positions, besides some equipment dealers and brokers who seem to only tout gear they sell regardless if it is bad or good. I think it has something to do with Harvey’s friendships and associations with other manufacturers and dealers. I admit this is mostly subjective opinion on my part but it is a fact Harvey has been in the business a long time and is well entrenched. Harvey used to mod here but went over to the “dark side” where no one challenges his comments and he is treated like he is some kind of god by a bunch of “rump swabs” who seem to only be impressed by celebrity.

    Instead of criticizing any one persons statement, just reply with the facts, observations and any pertinent information or comments you have. If you can't control yourself, I will and I think you know that's not a threat but a promise. This nonsense will not be tolerated at RO. Subject closed. Any replies on this matter will be deleted. Lets get back to the thread topic.

    [ October 11, 2003, 03:59 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
  19. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The whole thing about any of this, or any gear in general is that what works or even works well for one person, may not work well for anybody else. It is more than just the gear. It's how the gear is used, what other gear it is used with, and the working style of the person working it.

    You'll find that most pro guys with high end gear don't know squat about the cheaper or budget stuff. They have no direct experience with it. I'm constantly asked by friends, clients and email for advice about the budget stuff or home stereo stuff and I tell them I really have no idea or clue? They seem bewildered that a music and studio pro would not know? I tell them well the stereo store sales guy knows nothing about pro audio gear and music production. The guy that works in the video dept usually knows nothing about the stereo dept and they both work in the same store. Many studio pros don't know or can't even align a deck, bias a tube, program an effects unit, wire a patchbay or use a side chain on a compressor.

    I for the most part, avoid making specific suggestions but try to educate them on what to look for when buying. I end with don't believe everything a sales person says or what you read in a newsgroup, sales ad/tech sheet, and for the most part these days, you get what you pay for.

    Before you spednd your $5K I think you need to decide if your need is imediate, or for the long term as it can make a big difference. In the case of the long run, you can buy some things now that can be upgraded latter. In the short term, what you likely buy for an all in one unit will either become obsolete or you will likely soon be displeased with and outgrow.
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Great comments and a direct hit. I know how to align a tape machine but I have to admit I have never biased a tube. Most of my experience with inexpensive gear was many moons ago, stuff like Tascam, Bi Amp, Tapco etc. and I don't think the state of the industry has improved. Rather, I believe things have gotten worse. When I was learning recording on this stuff, the gear was still, for the most part, all discreet components. I still have Tascam and Teac gear put away in storage, that still works and sounds good. "Advances" like integrated chips and robotic surface mounting are in IMO, not a step forward in quality.

    Some think this is snobbish or elitist of me to say these things but the truth of the matter is I am enamored with great audio. Cheap gear just doesn’t sound good to me and working with it is about as enjoyable as working with a musician who doesn’t know how to tune their instrument or count to four twice in time. I don’t understand the mindset of “settling” for less because of a perception that “It’s all I can afford.” Anyone can afford anything, if it really means something to them. I would bet that a lot of people who cry poor all the time have lots of money for cigarettes, booze and weed. Many of them probably buy lots of new clothes all the time and drive new cars. We, in the Western World, live where anything is possible. Don’t put limits on yourself. Dare to dream of the “good stuff”. Visualize having it. It can be done.

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