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front end for daw

Member for

21 years 2 months
after years of creating music with an average pc, cheap soundcard and cracked software Ive decided to invest in a proper set up (including purchasing the programs and plug ins Ive 'trialed' extensivly).

Im collecting information on the best equipment for my needs and have spent a month gaining a lot of info off this site before making my first post.

My first question has to do with the choice between buying a good pre-amp or a channel strip.

I am purchasing a uad-1 studio pack so i will have a range of top quality compressors, eq and limiters to apply after Ive recorded. I am planning to only record vocals or one instrument at a time.

Are there any major advantages to running the signal thru a pre-amp and compressor/ limiter/eq before it hits the pc? Ive read a number of comments from people who believe its better to capture the raw signal at a low level and add compression and effects afterwards.


Member for

19 years 8 months

sdevino Sun, 01/02/2005 - 16:30
Either way is OK as long as you know what you are doing and depending on the quality of the gear/plugins you have.

- There is no "need" to EQ or compress while recording unless you know the sound you want and using external gear will get you there. If you have great comps or EQ then they can be usefull choices.

- If on the other hand you have really good plugins but not so great outboard, I would avoid outboard if possible.

- The very best outboard (SSL, Cranesong, Daking, Manley and others) are better sounding than any plugin compressor. IMO there are no plugin compressors that sound as good as these compressors.

The only plugin EQs (that I have tried) which compete with great outboard are Massenburg and Sony Oxford. Both of these are amazingly good EQ plugins.

IMO Channel strips (all in one) should be selected with care to make sur eyou know all the tradeoffs between the various sections. I think channel strips are best left for people who are pretty far up the learning curve and know what they are using and why.


Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Sun, 01/02/2005 - 21:27
Getting a good pre amp is a good investment for any studio, there's nothing wrong with combining good software eq, compression, limiting, etc with essential pieces of hardware gear. They both go hand in hand in my view. Some people like to "warm" their signals before going into the DAW with a tube compressor or some other sort of processing. This all depends, it's all up to your own logic and what type of sound you want. You can get great results with all kinds of different setups, there are no rules! Depending on your application there are advantages and disadvantages to different setups. For major effects and compression It is a good idea to do that after your tracks are done to make sure it's really needed and to get a better perspective on what the song needs. But I would experiment and try it out the UAD 1 is very nice I'm working on getting one soon too.