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studio gear investment

Member for

21 years 2 months
Hi Guys,

Thought I would put up and open ended question on what to buy next with the money I was going to use for HD upgrade. I run a small/med studio in OZ, I have 5 recording areas, I normally try to keep everything tracked live if I can(I keep a lot of vox). So I only switch pres for Overdubs. I do rock/pop guitar based bands mainly.
I canceled my HD upgrade as no plugs ready and will wait until the dust settles.

I have at the moment: (sorry about the length thought I would put it all down)
ISA430 (well getting it next week), RØDE Classic II for Vox
RØDE getting replaced with either a Soundelux U95s/U99/Brauner Valvet if they come in next week hopefully.
UA 2-610 for Guitar room's with M160 ribbons
AMEK 9098 OH, with 2 RØDE NTK's
Buzz Audio Kick/Snare, AT25 kick, AT23e Snare
Neve moded line module pre for Floor(md441)/room(at3527 Omni). Sm57 second mic in both guitar rooms
Bass Pod for bass
Control24 pres for hats(km85), tom1(beyer tgx10),tom2(sen 604), bottom snare(KM85).
No other outboard apart from preamps. That was why I got the ISA430 for vocals.
KRK V6 and Alesis Sub, Tannoy home speakers, Some roger type clones.

PT system Mix cube. Only 882/20 and 1622 converters.(that was why I jumped at HD upgraded)
Plugins: Sony EQ, McDsp MC2000,BF LA2/1176,Fairchild,pultec, Channelstrip, DUY max,tape,valve,shape, Reverb One, D2,D3,ampfarm, autotune, Wavemechanics ultra pack..

Pearl BLX 8 piece Birch kit, Brass 5" by 14", 3" by 14" Maple 3" by 13, DW maple 6.5" by 14. Zildjian cymbals, Paiste Hats
Soldano Rerverb o Sonic. Marshall JCM800, Line6 Flextone XL.
Ibanez Bass, G&L ASAT, G&L Z3 thinline, Maton acoustic, plus other guitars.

There a few things I am looking at so I thought would leave it open and see what you guys think.

Yes I know the converters are not great, I just think that the money might be better spent on outboard that does not need updating every 2 years.
The HD upgrade to HD3, 192k 16in 8out, 96k 8 in/out and plugins upgrade would cost around US$11-$12,000. The ISA cost $3,000. the mic is around $2,000 so another $6,000 to play with.
Sorry again for the extra long post.


Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Fri, 02/15/2002 - 02:21
Sugested items:

1) Cranesong Spider


2) Cranesong Hedd + Masterlink + save some $$ for the Sony Oxford compressor plug in.. Royer SF12 stereo ribbon, leave the Rhodes on room duty...

News flash - Focusrite - there is a cheaper NEW 'cut down' model of that same unit that may be more economic for you - CALL YOUR SUPLIER ASAP!

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 02/15/2002 - 03:33
Thanks Jules,

Thought of getting the spider, trade the 1622 for ADAT bridge. Although I am happy with the pre's I have.

Yes the stereo royer is one of the things I have looked at.
How much difference did you notice going from Large condensers to the stereo ribbon.
I had used the M160's for Overheads for a while, nice and smooth although I thought missing the snap off the snare. The NTK's have the snap although I run them through the 9098(Shinny topend) and cut a little top end with the Sony EQ.
I think the royer is buy to try in OZ, will check this week.

Yes Sony Comp will be the last software plug for a while. I have way to many software comps, want some real ones.

Thinking about either Hedd/STC-8/Fatso/Alan Smart SSL. Wonder what the comps are like on the New Amek.

I knew about ISA220, its missing one of the transformers from mic pre, no gate, 2 bands less eq, can not use EQ and comp separate paths. Thought rather pay the extra now.

Do you think the masterlink is that much better then just creating a 24bit data file for mastering? I see they are selling for US$999 on special.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Fri, 02/15/2002 - 05:47
Hedd (old or new)
Sony Comp
Wordclock DA to send the Hedd clock around your studio....

Would even am RME 8ch converter via an (new 24 bit) ADAT bridge be better than your present Digi interfaces???

How do you get a kit into PT at the moment?


Member for

20 years 1 month

regisfunk Fri, 02/15/2002 - 08:35
Not sure what style of music you work with most, but I have recently re-discovered the advent of a good compressor before running into the DAW. Yes, it is somewhat dangerous and limiting (no pun intended) to track with compression, but that process seems to make all the difference in the world for my mixes when I have a big fat waveform going into PT...especially with this wall of sound guitar rock alternative crap that we are all working on these days. I have some great TDM compression but none of it seems to do what a good hardware compressor going in does. Distressors are all I have right now (plus a joe meek and a fatso), and I think my next purchase is going to be some sort of monstrosity tube comp or something like that. I love the distressors but I need more than one go-to box. Hardware compressors have now become my latest fetish.



Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 02/15/2002 - 13:47
I only go into PT with a 882/20 and a 1622, I was going to go ADAT and AD16 last year(a AD8000 and 888 would kill my pocket), then the new HD stuff was getting big rumors. I will probably still upgrade to HD maybe in maybe 6 months though just for the converters.

I would just like to upgrade my front end as I think a fatso/comp or royers would make more of a difference, and now a ADAT bridge is old anyway.

I would love to get the manley stuff it is just not priced well in OZ.
Probably be able to get two big things only.
The other thing I have my eye on is the Buzz Comp, I love the preamp, it is only around $1,200 for a stereo LDR comp
I could go for 2 for the price of the Hedd, or one and a distressor.

Thanks all keep the ideas coming.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 02/16/2002 - 00:54
Hi all,

Had to switch the setup around today as the Drummer was very Cymbally. When he hits them they would do a full 360 if there was no stand there.
Now that would be cool, a cymbal stand like a amusement ride.
So M160 back on OH thru Buzz. Snare sounded fine today with this player.
Kick/Snare thru 9098
Rode as second kick mic, always liked a second kick mic. Most of my other mics do not like this duty.
KM85's thru UA for guitar
as well as Sm57's thru the neve.
Did not like the Guitar sound as much as with the beyers.

Jules you have both the Fatso and the Hedd.
I know you rave about the Hedd for mixing, I could get a fatso and comp for they same money.
What about recording dist guitar down to PT, which would be better?
Wonder should I get another two M160s(instead of stereo royer) at around $750 and buy the Fatso and the Buzz Comp, get my visas out a bit nicer.
Also I have just been wrangled into going on a holiday so one piece of gear has to be on hold. Have not had a holiday for over 10 years, so probably overdue.

I could then use Fatso Guitars and Buzz OH.
Then go back out through Fasto for Kick/sn, and re-record.
Then use Fasto and Buzz again on Master mix.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Sat, 02/16/2002 - 05:21
"What about recording dist guitar down to PT, which would be better?"

I would say the Fatso, but then I haven't tried the "tape" function on my new Hedd 192 (arrives next week)

The Fatso has cheered us up enormousley on distorted elec gtr..

for me - Kick n snare Fatso
OVERDUB gtrs - all via Fatso...

In facts ALL overdubs go via the Fatso now

But I never use it on mixes.....

Member for

20 years 7 months

osmuir Sat, 02/16/2002 - 06:28
converters make a WORLD of difference. i didn't believe it till i tried good ones.

the lucid 8 channel thing is reasonably priced, and is both a/d and d/a.


get a f*cking spider.

10 channels of hedd conversion, tape knob from hedd, bit dithering, 96k operation if you need it, 8 flamingo-style preamps [w/FAT switch, which i understand, adds harmonic distortion to the mic pre sound, like a distressor on bypass mode] mixer, limiters on every channel. SHEEEEEEIIIT.

it's just way too much bang for the buck.

but get yr a/d up to speed. lucid+compressor[s] would do. benchmark's are probably too expensive.

and where are yr RNC's anyway???

oh, the fatso has this button that makes the low end SO dope, it's worth it for that button alone.

and get the distressor w/brit mod. it is way cool.


Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Sat, 02/16/2002 - 17:19
Confusing aint it!

I had a session in recently (from NYC) that brought their PT files in on CDR - they were created with Spider number 001 - THE FIRST ONE! Yep! As sold by Fletcher

Anyhow, the shit sounded AMAZING!....

The engineer dug the simple life of it, just use the usual suspect mic's and record flat to PT. AWSOME! made my mic pre collection seem dumb!

report ends...

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 02/17/2002 - 03:01
thanks everyone,
Yep looked at the Spider before it came out on the net, looked at it again when it came out over the net.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks there will be one to play with. Will be around US$7,000 I think.
Although that’s a Fatso, Distressor and Royer..
Yeah want to get them all, do not have an endless Visa. I normally keep myself in debt so I can get up and go to my computer job 2-3 days a week.
I am getting myself really in debt so I will keep at it for the gear I say, for the gear.

Converters I will go HD in 4-6 months time, wait till the plugs come out.
So I will leave it out short term, or should I just keep the $$'s saved and go HD when the Sony EQ is ready as no Sony Eq was enough for me to hold off. Although No channelstrip, BF plugs, autotune, not even ampfarm is ready.
DUY $350 upgrade, WM $250 it just keeps adding up.
96k probably mean SCSI instead of IDE, and a new G4 as I am out of PCI slots.

I never like the 888's, ADAT bridge was only 20bit when I got PT.
So I just held off, and yes I can hear the difference just been updating my front end .
2 and half years ago when I got PT (on NT to start with) I had only a Tascam M3500
I went for some TL audio quads and a mackie short term
Then the buzz, neve, Control24. UA 2-610 and 9098. now ISA430 followed.
So the pres I have are cool, but I agree the Spider is great bang for buck.
I have also spent a shitload on plugins and some I do not use that much anymore especially when it comes to chip sharing.

Jules were they Distorted Guitars thru the Spider. What they sound like, like everyone else Dist guitars and digital are time consuming. That is why I keep thinking Fatso.

Actually record the electric's today thru the Buzz, The UA went bye-bye. Blows fuses straight away.
Never used the Buzz for electric's, sounded really good nice and open distortion, hear all the strings.
Sounded real good with the M160's, the 9098's did not have the string sound.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Sir Bob Sun, 02/17/2002 - 06:48
A quick question please:

Are the Distressor and Fatso both compressors?

From the comments here it seems that they both are very helpful in the digital world.

Do most people track with compressors in digital recording? It would seem that the dynamics can be accounted for later on in editing. (I hope to upgrade to digital from my double-speed cassette port-a-studio.)

Therefore the use of hardware compressors in the recording chain seems to be more for a flavor than to control dynamics.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Sun, 02/17/2002 - 13:31
DAW plug in compression is kinda so-so at present. You wont find many experienced engineers oohing and ahhing over how wonderfull they are IMHO - So yes, many folks like to get that real compressor flavor AND ACTION down while recording.. Make no mistake compressors are compressors and have a strong impact on dynamics and are not to be confused with 'warming' or 'massaging' the audio in a gentle fashion..

Many folks like to have the playback sound 'close to mixed' and for them (I am one) the idea of each playback prior to mixing requiring VAST amounts of imagination 'oh this will need heavy compression, this too oh and this as well" is a drag. Some folks regard mixing as just a simple balance of the faders and a lick of EQ, some a TOTAL re working... It's a case of diferent strokes for different folks..

But if in doubt leave compression out! (and take care of it later)

If only DAW compression was better! At the moment it's kinda like painting wallpaper before sticking it up on the walls! A delicate and perhaps skilled operation... but at least you get the colour you like!


Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 02/17/2002 - 14:01
Even though I had dreams of spiders, the pres are nice, just I do not want 8 of them and have to sell off the 9098, and maybe UA or Buzz to get the extra $$$'s, as I would like a fatso or Hedd.

I still think I need another set of ribbons or the stereo Royer. Beyers $750, Royer $1,900
I will see if I can demo try the Royer, if it is much better then the Beyers I will go with it.
Maybe then pick up the stereo Buzz ELOP comp for $1,200 with the beyer. :D ), I hear they are not great on the mix. Around $2,400 here.
What do you think of going back out with Kick/Snare through A/D loose to much or pick up improvement on Fatso to compensate.
Although Hedd(love the names) seems cool, I could go back through that and loose no co
Is that right Digital in and then back through Digital, slip the track? :D

Still have to work out which one there.

Thanks again for all your replies.

Bye Dave

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 02/17/2002 - 16:27
Thank you for the nice words about my recordings. That was a fun trip.

I learned a lot while I was at your studio... very smart design & nice layout... I might be copying it someday?!? The vibes we recorded that day are working perfectly and, based on your suggeston, I'll be trying my royer on the kick drum(what the heck's got a lifetime warranty!)

One little thing about the spider preamps that makes them different from others preamps is that there is a certain "variety" in the sound you can get from each preamp... from the fat switch to the tape I don't feel so limited by having only 1 type of preamp in my studio. I don't miss my old preamps at all... but like you said, I'm a lazy producer not a true recording geek/artist.

Happy Chinese New Year.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 02/18/2002 - 02:51
Got my ISA430 today, I am impressed with it so far. :D
Getting a Fatso and Distressor over to look at.
Probably end up with one or the other. :w:
The distressor looks more versatile, although the Fasto is meant to be cool.
I cannot get the Royer to try before I buy, So I probably get another set of Beyer M160.
Any one compare them, Well I am happy with them, would like to know is it worth the extra bucks for the royer
Or put it towards a distressor.