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Wow! Budget got bigger.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by dax, Jan 17, 2003.

  1. dax

    dax Guest

    Well as for most of you that dont know, I have been about to purchase some equipment for recording my self, and possibly some bands that come along my way. I first started off just wanting to get some sound card to record myself with and thats it. But then I caught the recording bug! I heard the benifits of good digital, and want to set up a small studio in my house at first, and maybe expand. But thats on down the road, my first door I have yet to open, and thats buying all my gear. I was first looking at a budget of about 1000 dollars, but now thanks to my income tax check, I am looking at about $3000 dollars. Which as you know Puts me in a differant range (I think) than just prosumer level, (well depending on my tracks, I suppose) I have been getting great feedback from this site so I will continue to ask what my next move should be. so here goes

    All I am worried about is Converters, Pre amps, and mics. My monitors are going to be pretty cheap, cause im going for The NS 10's at the pawn shop, I like the theory that monitors arent meant to sound (good) but to sound honest, I feel that some people cant take the truth. (IMO) but im just a newbie.

    Converters are tricky to me. Since I dont know what anything really sounds like, I am thinking of the (Lynx Two 6in/2 out model) or the (Motu AD8 or 896)??? does the lynx really stand up to companies like Apogee and Lucid? Or would my inexperienced ears even know the differance?

    Pre amps god im just so confused about colored and noncolored, tube, jfet, IC ? the only thing that has helped is the listening sessions. Which told me the VTB 1 sound a little like the John Hardy M1, and the Speck 5.0 sounds better than everything. Some of the Tube pres sound good, like the TL Audio Ivory 5001 and HHB Radius, But they color the sound a whole lot! I think I am looking for somthing in the middle of that. I have been thinking hard about the Octopre from focusrite, (Fats told me about it) but dont know what it sounds like in comparison to anything. One thing the listening sessions has taught me, is not to get anything, unless you know what it sounds like. I feel this is important to me, because im not just some pop/rock singer, I love to sing it is my strong point, I sing as back up for the NC school of the arts opera. I dont want to cut corners when it comes to vocals. Could someone please tell me the run down on pres, or maybe what pres you guys use? and why?

    I would really appreciate some pro advice, I am sorry I keep bugging you guys with my stupid questions. :d:
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Deadboyy
    Well good for you about securing a larger budget. I advise you to look at the Aardvark Q10 for your converter / soundcard and then look at some quality mics. The extra cash could go for a nice compressor and perhaps a sub woofer to accompany the NS 10's so you can get some major lows to check your mix and to impress clients. $3000 still won't go very far. I don't recall if you have a computer yet. If you don't be sure to allow for a good one. The computer will be the heart of your studio and a good fast one with lots of memory and a swappable drive will be really nice. If you decide to go this way let me know and we can work together to help you put together a "hit list" for your upcoming purchases. BTW you’re not bugging me at all. That's what I'm here for. Right on dude!. Fats
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D ,Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  3. dax

    dax Guest

    Hey kool! Thanks fats. I do have a computer. It is a Pentium 4 with 512 ddr ram, and 2 80 gig hard drives. I have been saving up all year and buying piece by piece. I will take your advice on the Aardvark Q10, if it is as good as you say it is. I trust you. The only experience I have had with converters, is when I bought the soundblaster live 5.1 about a year ago and figured out it sounded like dogshit. Then I started obsessing about converters. I guess thats why I want to over compensate with the super high end converters. Should I just go with the stock preamps on the Aardvark for general use?? And maybe get somthing like a Joemeek VC1q pre to spice things up a bit for a differant flavor when needed?? or should I just focus on the mics to do that?
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I would go with the Aardvark and mics. I can't say anything about the Joe Meek stuff other than I have no experience with it. I know of engineers I respect who like the compressor (the first one ..C1, I think, the stereo one with one meter) a lot. My taste in comps goes to UREI, United Audio Avalon, Manley, high end stuff like that. The same with mics, high end stuff.

    I don't like to spend a lot of money on converters. It has been my observation that converters are obsolete and useless within a few years. So I go with something that is decent but not top of the line. The Aardvark will go obsolete also but hey, you gotta go with something! The pres in the Aardvark have been reported to be of fairly decent quality and you won't get better converters or clocking without spending at least 4 times as much. I always advise people to go with good transducers first. Speakers and mics. These can last almost forever and are the most important thing in the audio chain. Don’t forget an amp for the NS 10’s. A Haffler P3000 would do nice. You can look around for one used. Man we're gonna run out of money fast! He he he :D

    Now regarding your computer. Is this a dedicated for audio machine or do you use it for Internet and gaming also? If it’s not dedicated to audio, you might consider picking up a cheepo computer and use it for the gaming and internet and take the Pentium 4 and get rid of everything on it except your OS and audio applications. Pull the modem card out of it and get a video card that won’t take too much system resources. 32 bit is plenty. I’m not a computer expert by any means but there is something about the video card being on the correct bus so be sure to check into that. I think I remember it has to be off the PCI bus. I will look around and see if I can find that info. Audio doesn’t need great video ability. Get a copy of XP Pro and perhaps another stick or two of RAM to bring it up to 1 gig. OPUS at the “Computing” Forum will be able to help you get your machine in top order to do audio. He has a list of tweaks for Windows machines that will deliver solid, glitch free operation with no crashes. OPUS is a freakin genius with computers. You can’t find better help anywhere on the planet I mean it and I’m sure all the others here will agree. That should be a pretty screaming machine once all that is done.

    Have you had any thoughts about what DAW software you want to use? For Windows machines there are several available. I use Cubase but Nuendo is looking better to me all the time. Cubase SX is how ever about half the cost. Nuendo is around $1000. There are others and I’m sure we will hear from readers to share with you their thoughts and reasons on this.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D ,
    Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  5. dax

    dax Guest

    Yes, you have a good point fats. The converters are just like processors, they do fade out pretty quickly. Now that I think about it, I would feel really bad if I was one of those people that bought one of the first 20 bit Echo cards a long time ago. And yes, the computer will be just for audio, Thanks for the info, I will be checking Opus out shortly. So I guess for now its mic time? Where do we start? my uses? I play a Fender Jazzmaster, through a Fender Super Reverb modified to 1 12 instead of 4 10 inche speakers, need mics for that? I have a 12 string acoustic, and my roomate plays an acoustic bass, (Which sounds like heaven) but it also has a Fishman pick-up in it. So I guess I need A good mic or two for Vocals, and some for Instruments. My voice is Naturally a Baratone, but I have been able to break into the Tinner range, (With much practice) So maybe that can give you some insight to what I really need.

    Thanks Fats, You Rock!
     
  6. dax

    dax Guest

    As far as Drum mics, I think im going to have to wait about a month or two before I can purchase them. But the vocals, and guitars are the more important things to me right now.
     
  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Take a look at the Superlux drum mics, they are pretty cheap, and sound pretty good for the price.

    They are made by Avlex:

    http://www.avlex.com/

    This guy sells them online for pretty good prices:

    http://www.avantonline.com/index.htm

    The condenser overhead mics (PRA-268A and 268AH) didn't get great reviews (they were ok...), but the rest of the drum mic line was reviewed pretty favorably. If you have extra cash, there are better drum mics, but at these prices, you really can't go wrong.
     
  8. dax

    dax Guest

    Kool thanks Helix , I needed a good starting point with drum mics. The price is great and I dont really want to get too geeky with it since my music is not at all focused around the drums, but maybe a band down the road will be. Seems like the inbetween point which is good for me. :)
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I don't know anything about those drum mics. DH is good buddy and I wouldn't want to contradict him in any way but he and I do have a different philosophy on some things. One of these is mics.

    I think of recording gear in two different categories. “disposable” and “keeper”. Converters, recorders, computers all fall into the “disposable” column and when I purchase these items I do so knowing in the back of my mind that in a short while they will be something to throw over the fence at the neighbors. ( I’m an anti-social fu*k) Then there’s the keeper stuff like mics, speakers, outboard, instruments (btw, Jazzmaster, I’m jealous!).

    That being said, I personally go for the old favorites and stick with the major brands when making purchases in the “keeper” category. Mics (“keepers”) are one of the most important things you will purchase for your set up. I have a bias towards the German mics, AKG, Neumann, Beyer, Sennheiser and the “old standard”, Shures. I also really like the Audio Technica mics (Japan). Right now as you start you may only need one of each type of mic I am going to suggest. Later on down the line you will find it is handy to have pairs or even trios of mics. Especially when you begin to record drums. Don’t discount the need to get great drum tones. A great drum recording goes a long way to making a great record! Have you ever been attracted to a record that had crappy sounding drums?

    As for what you said your going to record at the moment here are some ideas about what mics you should consider.

    Acoustic guitar; Pencil (aka; small diaphragm) condenser mics like the AKG C451, AKG 460 ( I don’t know if they make the 460 anymore), one of the Audio Technica pencils or a large diaphragm condenser like the Neumann U87. Also very useable is the old favorite the Audio Technica medium diaphragm 4033. (you may have to look for the 4033 as a used piece). The 4033 and its newer counterparts also make a great vocal mic.

    For the guitar amp I would recommend the Sennheiser 421 and Shure SM57. Also of use in some situations is the U87 , the ATM 4033. There are others but these are what I use.

    For vocals a large diaphragm condenser like the U87 is usually in order but I have heard vocal recordings that were wonderful on the SM57. Also as I previously mentioned Audio Technica makes some great large diaphragm condensers for vocals. In some situations the Sennheiser 421 and 441 are very useable on vocals too.

    For the acoustic bass, once again a large or medium diaphragm mics like the U87 and the 4033 or if you’re going to simply go direct a decent direct box like the Countryman is in order. DI quality can range into quite expensive box’s and they can be very nice but the Countryman is ok and is very robust in construction. There are better available but it works fine.

    In the interest of fairness, now that I have stated my preferences, there is another approach to consider. To tell the truth I think it may be the one you may want to consider (if you can live with it). That would be to take a look at the “Studio Projects” line of mics. These are made in China :D ,
    Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  10. ffynnon

    ffynnon Guest

    Fats, I'm interested in the suggestion you made earlier, about getting a sub to run with the NS10's. I've finally got mine set up to my satisfaction. I've been thinking along the lines of a sub to go with them. I don't no where to start. Can you recommend something with the right sort of crossover to go with the NS10's.

    Thanks, JD
     
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think Yamaha makes a sub. Tannoy does too. Hey “Mr. Roberts”! can you help with this? I’m not into subs my self so I’m not up on them… Bill might be able to shed some light on this question. I would however stay with the major manufactures. Maybe even the Mackie :D ,
    Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  12. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Fats makes good recommendations, and his comments on mics are good ones. However sometimes as home project studio "engineers", we make some tough choices. In this case, $3,000 to build a whole studio limits the available choices! Again, remember that this guy is just starting out, and is "catching the bug" as he puts it!

    In my opinion, when first starting out, it is important to have a couple of good sounding mics, but since beginner's techniques are... well... "beginners techniques", there is a lot yet to learn. I think that most things that are bought at the very early stage mostly fall in the "disposable" catagory. Even a cheap Chinese mic can give "respectable" results to a novice! And believe it or not, these same cheap Chinese mics have *some* resale value (not much, I agree, and they certainly won't *appreciate* or hold value).

    For the home recordist, "great mics" are better than "good mics", but "good" mics are better than "no mics"!!!

    Once you've been doing this for a while (1-2 years), you can start dedicating more of your budget and time to this thing after you decide that it is something you want to stick with, and decide if you have a "knack" for it! Then sell those cheaper mics and buy some "real" mics...

    Just my opinion...
     
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    DH,
    I agree wholeheartedly. That's why I posted the "In the intrest of fairness" paragraph. :D Hey DH, I'm gonna send you a PM so check your messages in a few minutes! Fats
     
  14. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Yeah Fats...ya know I read that (the famous "In interest of fairness..." paragraph), and somehow by the time I hit the "reply" button and started typing, it must have slipped right out!!! One of those senior moments! :) My post about the Superlux mics was more focussed on drum mics however since he was thinking about passing on buying the drum mics for a while...

    As far as quality goes, I am currently working to upgrade my studio as we speak, as I make the transition from "disposable" to "keeper"... It is painful on the wallet, but pleasing to the ear! :) Unfortuanately, I am having to do it in "baby steps"... buying a quality vocal mic and some quality mic pres...but the drum mics...lower on the priority list, so I have just bought some "disposable" Superlux drum mics...they have been getting pretty good reviews however, and are pretty cheap compared to the competition... Someday, I will dispose of them too, and upgrade to something better... (I actually have SM57s and have access to a MD421 that I am trying to buy...).
     
  15. dax

    dax Guest

    Well... I definity got some great things out of this post. Thanks guys :tu:
     
  16. dax

    dax Guest

    Oh one more thing? I have been wondering? When people talk about running there mic and preamp/compressor straight to (Tape). What kind of tape are they talking about? 1/2 inch reel? or somthing else?
     
  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    When I use the words "to tape", I am actually talking about recording to my computer's hard drive! It is an expression I use that is a habit that is hard to break since I have been saying that for 20+ years! I guess it a "virtual" tape!

    Others may indeed be talking about real tape, and there are lots of user here that record to 2" reels.

    It is kind of used a generic way of saying recording to a storage medium of some type.
     
  18. dax

    dax Guest

    Ohhhh , ok, thanks DH :)
     
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    To tape is a generic term. It really means to the recorder.
    DH, …. In terms of the drum mics, one inexpensive solution I have found is the ATM Pro 35 clip ons. These are very surprising! I have 6 of these and they sound remarkably good. I use them on snare, (top & bottom) and toms. I tried one on a kick once (just for ruks) and it sucked! But these are real cool for the other applications. They also work well on saxophones, clipped to the side of Leslie cabs and inside a piano! I worked with a guy that plays guitar and keyboards for "The Tubes" on a bunch of projects back in '98 and '99 and we tried everything I had on the K. Kawai 7' grand that I had. This was a beautiful piano but he was never satisfied with what went to “tape” and kept wanting to use his electric piano ( no taste). :D ... This went on for several weeks / months. Needles to say I was very disturbed by this. One day I clipped a couple of these Pro 35's on some pieces of cardboard and slipped them into the piano near the hammers. When this guy heard it he said "THAT'S the sound I want!!! Why didn't you do that sooner?" Some guys are never happy! .... Fats
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D ,
    Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  20. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    I've got some of those Marshall electronics mics (MXL series) Those are probably disposable according to Fats, but great for the money. My Groove Tubes GT55 mic really nice especially for $300. I do have some SM57s and plan to graduate to a Neumann at some point, but I'll keep my starter mics just the same.


    themidiroom
     

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