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Studio gear Pro Con

So Me and a friend are building a new studio, smaller in size, mostly low budget. I made a list of mostly all round mics, but high quality. The guy at the store gave us "better" options. What I would like, is a professional opinion on the gear we would like, and the gear he thinks is better...

Our choices.

Neumann TLM 103
Avalon M5
Avalon U5
Focusrite Octopre

His choices...

Brauner Phantom AE
Great River Me1NV
Countryman DT 85
PreSonus Digimax 96k


RemyRAD Wed, 07/12/2006 - 21:33
I think when all is said and done, in a studio situation, you'll eventually end up with the entire list of all the equipment you have listed. I mean I don't know any studio or studio owner, that ever thinks they ever have enough equipment for everything they hope to do?

I love Montréal
Ms. Remy Ann David

AudioGaff Wed, 07/12/2006 - 22:00
Remy speaks from experience. You'll need more gear and things than you can ever think of or plan for at this time, and you'll want more gear and things that you can imagine at this time.

There is no best. And what one person thinks is best can be much different that what somebody else thinks is best. We now live in a time where we have many choices and many of those choices are as good as the other. ALWAYS be leary of the sales weasle opinion. Many to most of them are uneducated, unexperienced, misinformed, biased, and more profit driven that they are in providing the proper guidence for what is best for each customer.

BobRogers Thu, 07/13/2006 - 05:08
Just to state the obvious, the items on the first list tend to be names that will be more familiar to musicians who aren't that experienced with recording. How knowledgeable is your customer base? How well established is your reputation? Will your customers be confident in your choice of a less familiar brand? It's nice to be idealistic and focus on sound, but in the real world of running a business familiar brand names and beautiful interfaces have real value.

mark_van_j Fri, 07/14/2006 - 05:35
Most of the stuff ive listed is gear that Ive actually heard or used before. What were looking is to have a good fundemental base of equipment, which can pretty much be multi purpouse. While the Great River preamp sounds great, it is described more as a Neve 1073 clone. Would this be a good all round preamp? More than the Avalon?

Maybe AB-ing the gear would be the best thing to do after all... :? But I would still rather learn from experience, even if it wasnt mine... :D

pr0gr4m Wed, 07/12/2006 - 15:36
TLM 103 vs Phantom AE:
It's hard to say that one mic is better than another. They all have their own character and some are good for certain things while they may stink for other things. Honestly, I've never used the Brauner so I can't comment on it specifically. The Neumann is a popular mic, but that doesn't necessarily make it better, or worse. This choice should be based completely on your preference/needs.

M5 vs Me1NV:
No contest. The Great River is better. Well that's just my opinion. The Avalon isn't bad at all, I just like the Great River better.

ACTUALLY...What you should do is have the salesman setup both mics and both preamps so you can hear the differences and make your choice. Make him actually show you why he recommends what he's recommending. If he doesn't or can't, tell him you'll go somewhere else.

U5 vs DT85:
The Avalon is nice, but expensive for a DI. The Countryman is nice as well but the two devices are quite different. The Countryman is a straight DI box while the U5 can be used to change the signal.
You may want to look into Radial. I love their DIs. You will probably need more than just one DI and if you blow your wad on the Avalon you won't have any money left over. If you go with Countryman or Radial you could get 3 of them for the price of 1 Avalon.

Octopre vs Digimax:
I've never used either of these. I use the MOTU 828 MKII with external pres. The Presonus allows for up to 96khz sample rates, whereas the Focusrite only goes up to 48khz. But if you don't plan on using 96khz, you don't need it. The Focusrite has handy dandy front inputs while the Presonus doesnt. The Focusrite is half the price of the Presonus.
I don't know how much of a difference in sound the two units have, but they seem to have different features. If they both sound the same, pick the one that has the features that you want/need. Or if money/channels is important, get two Focusrites for the price of just the one Presonus.

You may also want to look at MOTU or Mackie Onyx preamps.

BobRogers Wed, 07/12/2006 - 17:30
What are you aiming for with the Avalon U5? I am a bass player and have considered getting one, but I can't see it. I'd rather get a mic preamp that I can use for bass or less expensive, more durable DI like the countryman. Right now, I record my bass through either a groove tubes brick, a FMR RNP, or a line 6 bass pod. The mic preamps sound somewhat better after I add eq and compression. But I have the POD dialed in for live use through the PA, so the sound is pretty good straight into the board. I'm a little worried that the U5 would need to be coupled with an eq and a compressor, but still be as limited as a DI - to bass, electric keys or clean guitar. With so mahy mic preamps that do a good job for bass, why buy something in the same price range that can't be used for vocals.

Just a tip on a piece of equipment that I think of as mostly live sound, that can come in handy as a DI. The Baggs paraacoustic DI isdesigned for live acoustic guitar pickups (and works well for that IMHO) but it makes a very good bass DI.