Skip to main content

I need to talk to somebody efficently, Any MSN users?

I am to buy studio equipment. I have been reading for so long b ut still I have some questions. Anyone experienced can chat with me?

If no MSN user e-mail would be Ok too.



anonymous Fri, 11/24/2006 - 10:07
Well thanks but I live in Turkey and it would cost like a pre-amp to ask all my questions :D So in a second thought , I will write them. Sorry for the rambling...I will write passivly starting from my interests...

I am into like all kinds of music and I really want to do everything in my DAW. I am into Drone/Atmos/Ambiant/New Age , Prog/Pych ( Moslty ) , Metal , Jazz/Blues with my musician neighboor. So we can't say I will record X. I might record Static Vinyl Voices , metal riffs etc.

And I have all the guitar equipments , MIDI keyboard ( Axiom 61 ) and Software ( Cubase , NI ). And it's a certain thing that I will do is to buy a MacBook Pro to run logic. So my studio pc will be a laptop but a good one :D

So I will Logic and I need more equipment..Lets continue.

I have realized that I don't need a mixer right know on this stage. The definite thing that I should buy is that a mic :D But the rest ( Pre-amp , soundcard is un-certain for me now ) And my strategy is to buy things that would be enough for me years ( I have been collecting money ) I can't give 400 for a pre-amp now and in a year or two 1000 more to buy better. I will buy not the best but a good one ( Best pa's are like 4000 :D ) And I will need a soundcard to connect pre-amp right? I am really not sure about this. And I will connect the mics to the pre-amp?

And the thing that I will record is my voice / guitars and the synths/ keyboard voices that comes out from my pc. So I need a pre-amp to record these . I have red about stereo and the mono types but I really couldn't get it.

And I have like 2000-2500...I want monitors too quality hearing is really important for me. So please make suggestions what to buy?

I have found mackie 800 pre-amp for 1000 but the question is that it is really for me? Some say that 8 channels is too much but I like music rich...2 guitars a bass , drums , 2 voice and 2 synths is what I use now. But I don't get the channel thing is it for recording 8 things at the same time or what?!!

So please make me a logical buy list :D I couldn't! And the guys in my local shop are retarded.

Please help me out , and don't give me links like tweakheadz or etc. I have red them all but these questions sustain :D

RemyRAD Fri, 11/24/2006 - 21:53
Well Tonefloater, you are in Turkey and we just had Turkey! Perfect timing!

OK, you merely need a FireWire enabled mixer such as the Mackie, Alesis, Phonic and any others. Those mixers operate as standalone mixers to be used with a project studio and/or PA system and include built-in analog to digital and Digital to analog converters to allow for simultaneous multitrack recording. That's right, you can record as many tracks as the FireWire mixer allows for. Which could be anything from 2 to 16! And of course along with that the price increases as per the amount of inputs you want. I'm sure there are even other units coming on the market by other manufacturers like Beringer? So it gives you both an integrated mixer, with control room speaker control and a digital sound card that connects via a single FireWire cable which makes life really easy. All of those mixers usually includes some kind of bundled software as well. So it may give you a greater variety than just having Logic?

Conversely, something like the Presonus Fire Pod, has 8 really good quality microphone/line inputs and is strictly a digital audio interface without any hardware mixer. That coupled with your laptop built-in sound card for output monitoring might be just the ticket? In the United States they are approximately $500 US. I've heard nothing but good things about those units and I'm thinking about purchasing one myself, for my laptop and simple remotes? They are cross-platform compatible i.e., Windows or Macintosh.

For headphones, Sennheiser has the model HD 208, sealed ear, low-cost headphones that you can find 5 for $98 US at places like Guitar Center/Musicians Friend and I think sound not too bad? You don't want expensive headphones for musicians to break. I love Sennheiser headphones and have numerous pairs. I've been using them since 1970.

Monitor speakers are something very personal, like underwear. An American manufacturer called KRK are one of my favorite and they make some low-cost self powered monitors that start at $159 US. A sub low-frequency speaker, is optional, if you should so choose? From England, Tannoy's are equally popular and some of the small self powered monitors that they make sound really fine also. I can't quite possibly keep up with all the model numbers available, sorry.

As far as really good microphones, I'd recommend a bag full of Shure SM58/57's. They are inexpensive and are great on everything. I have recorded many vocals with those without the need for any kind of "expensive studio condenser microphones". Having a couple of inexpensive small diaphragm condenser microphones such as those Russian or Chinese units available, a lot of people like for drum overheads but I've even used SM57's for that purpose and everything sounds great!

So there you go! It all comes down to, "it's not what you have but what you do with it". You can make really excellent recordings with really inexpensive equipment if you observe proper gain staging adjustments so as to prevent overload, which is always the giveaway of a beginner. Keep your microphone preamplifier gain low and pushed the outputs more. This will ensure that you do not overload the microphone preamplifier as that sounds really awful and I hear it all the time from people that do not understand how to set their gains properly.

Is Turkey legal in Turkey??
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Sat, 11/25/2006 - 00:35
So lets check if I have understood it correctly...

The best thing for me is a digital mixer to connect direct to my laptop. Instead of a analog to connect my soundcard?

And at this stage I must say. I will not probably multi-track record. Cause this studio will be built in my living room and I can play only one instrument at one time , lol. And I have heard that analog mixers are a lot better than digital mixers. I think maybe I should wait a little more to save money and buy the better ( analog ) to connect directly to my soundcard.

And the FirePod. I have just checked it out. . And you say that I don't need a hardware soundcard but to use laptops built-in soundcard only with this pre-amp?

And here I have found some reviews that freaked me out really. Maybe I should consider buying mackie even if I had to give 500? Waiting is more reasonable that regret after a 3 or 4 months later. Espceallially read the MacBook Pro part. Cause I will use the pre-amp with one of them too.

Thanks again , and yeah turkey is legal in Turkey :D

Sound quality? Let's go into the good, bad, and ugly of this contraption they call a "Firepod":

The Good? Well, it is quiet. That is pretty much agreed upon. It was always used to record rock so you probably wouldn't have heard much noise even if this unit was noisy. So, it deserves a thumbs-up for acceptable noise levels.

The Bad? The preamps, while quiet, have nothing special to offer. They are very dull and definitely get muddy in certain ranges. I have TWO Firepods to go by here (more on this later in the review) and both lacked the definition of better preamps. Someone said earlier that you should just "go buy it" and "as long as you are using $350+ microphones" it records like a champ! This is flat-out bull. Both Firepod units I have do not produce high-quality recordings, certainly nothing professional or defined. Sure, it sounds fine with one instrument, but when you start adding tracks, each one suffers from the lack of clarity of these preamps. It's a culmative effect. And, by the time you have added in all eight tracks, the dullness and lifelessness is definitely palpable. As far as mics used with this unit? Let me focus on the drum mics used for example only: Beta 52, SM57, MD 421, AKG 451, AKG C414, SM81 among others. Last I checked these are "good" mics. I actually borrowed several to test through the Firepod just to make sure I didn't have some bad mics or other issues. In the end, NONE of these mics had the brillance I have heard them have with other preamps. They all sounded generic and flat and needed a ton of EQ and other processing to get them to breathe as they should. Even then, it wasn't the same. Get them for demo work or non-critical live work - don't expect much more.

The Ugly? Used with a Mac Powerbook, the unit consistently POPPED and CRACKLED, introducing all sorts of digital noise, when used for any length of time. Changed every setting I could, fiddled, called Apple, nothing. This would happen after the Firepod was recording after 20-30 minutes. It would be fine functionally up to that mark and then just degraded in sound. We would literally have to power down, let the Firepod cool down (it tends to get hot when in use for awhile) and then try again. Think you want this situation during a live show recording? Want to try and explain it to the band you are recording?? I have and did - there are many other things I want to do with my life.

Final Verdict? When you are paying about $75 a channel for a pre, don't expect to sound like anything you hear commercially. You can't with this unit. That quality is simply not possible with this unit.

Now, maybe I happened to get the two stinkers that Presonus released between the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2006....but I'll let your common sense tell you otherwise.

Reliability : 2
Can you depend on it?
Would you use it on a gig without a backup?

Now, it where it gets interesting! I have had both Firepod units I bought GO COMPLETELY DEAD on me within a few months of use! Not one, but two that gave me the RED LIGHT of DOOM (if you own it you know what I mean and, if you don't, you soon will). Unbelieavable betrayal of my trust in Presonus and its product.

Bought Firepod #1 in August of 2005. It died in January of 2006. I was in the middle of a session - had no time to lose - bought Firepod Unit #2 to complete the live recording commitments I had. Firepod Unit #1 went into its box, ready to go back to Presonus.

I got totally swept up in work that it wasn't until Firepod Unit # 2 broke down in FEBRUARY 2006 (yes, only six weeks later) that I felt completely violated by these rank-mountable turds.

I can understand one unit going down. But, two? Within the span of one year? How many ways can someone say "unreliable"?!

For units that go for $599, the very least they should do is work, even if that is only at an acceptable level. Getting so-so performance and THEN getting kicked in the nuts with shoddy quality control is a right-left combo I wish on no one who reads this review.

Customer Support : 2
If you've dealt with the company, how helpful/friendly were they?
Ever get an upgrade, or try and get it repaired?
Because of the above, I had the chance to get to know Presonus quite well dealing with these two deceased units. It wasn't a romantic affair either. For brevity's sake, I will enumerate in list form:

1) Very hard to get in touch with. Don't even bother calling the customer support line - they SIMPLY WILL NOT ANSWER. Call the sales line and use it as a backdoor into support. I guess they will pick up the phone if you want to BUY something but not if you need the very thing you bought serviced!

2) Customer support was very terse and generally unapologetic concerning the two dead units. Although they did not explicitly say it, they came thisclose to saying that I must be doing something to the units to make them fail. I told them that Firepod Unit #2 was only six weeks old, had never been manhandled and only left the studio once - this barely got an "Umm, OK" out of the tech guy! They agreed to fill out PA's on the units and have them serviced.

3) Customer service follow-through is weak. To this date, I have received only one unit (yes, it now works but for how long I wonder). I am STILL WAITING on the other. I don't even want to get into that - the amount of frustration is overwhelming. I do see light at the end of the tunnel with the second unit but it has been an extremely bad experience for me.

Customer Support at Presonus? You might want to try getting the factory telephone number in China where they make them - they are probably more likely to pick up the call and I am almost certain they will have more sincerity and sympathy for you as a customer. Of course, you might have to brush up on your Mandarin or Cantonese to get your point across but, in the end, you'll be a more well-rounded person in the grand scheme of things!

Overall Rating : 1
What style of music do you play? Is this a good match?
How long have you been playing? What other gear do you own?
If it were stolen or lost, would you buy it again or get something else?
what do you love about it? What do you hate? What is your favorite feature?
Did you compare it to other products? Which ones? Why did you choose this one?
Anything you wish it had?
Does it help you make music, or does it get in the way?
Anything else you'd like to share?

If these units were stolen, it would be a relief. It would spare me the time and effort of listing them on ebay to unload.

I would not buy a third Firepod and, as a result of the customer care, I will not buy another Presonus product. Once bitten, twice shy, thrice an idiot! There won't be a Round Three with Presonus for me.

If you plan to buy one, good luck. My heart goes out to you. If fact, if you still want one even after reading this review, check out the Firepod listings on ebay soon, you might get the very units I have written about. They will have been serviced and fixed by the grand fellas down in Baton Rouge so they will appear like great buys and you will hopefully give me positive feedback before the cycle repeats. Caveat Emptor!

If the new business model is to export manufacturing to China only to have it soon-after serviced in the good ol' U. S. of A, then Presonus is clearly leading the way. It seems the MSRP is only referring to getting you a working unit out the door of GC, Sweetwater, or your vendor of choice - anything after that is inevtiable disappointment.

To conclude and put this to rest (or, if you feel alseep through this admittedly-long review), let me recap:

Buy a Firepod if you are looking for a sub-professional sounding, guaranteed to need servicing, backed by flashy but apathetic eight-channel Firewire unit. This is the unit you want!

RemyRAD Sat, 11/25/2006 - 15:12
Tonefloater, what you're saying is truly unfortunate. I've heard many good things about Presonus and you are the only person I have heard with such problems. Perhaps it could be a power problem in Turkey causing all these failures?? Although, I have gone through similar problems with TASCAM back in 1993 when they first came out with their DA88 modular digital multitrack but their customer service was superb.

The bad sound that you talk about I do believe his operator error? I've worked on some really horrible mixers and attained more than adequate results because I know how to properly utilize anything put before me. I think you're blaming equipment for bad technique, which I hear all too often.

So if you only need 2 inputs, why did you buy the Fire Pod's?? Why not just get an M-Audio 2 Channel USB device?? It seems like that's all you need? None of the low-cost equipment has stellar microphone preamps. The Mackie Onyx is not a digital mixer. It is an analog mixer with a digital input and output feature. All microphone preamps are analog. Pick your flavor and you're on your way.

Good luck
Ms. Remy Ann David

VonRocK Sat, 11/25/2006 - 16:26
Tonefloater wrote: I didn't bought any Firepod. This is just a review I found on net.

So with a analog pre-amp I will need a soundcard right?

And I won't record 8 seperate instruments etc. at the same time but will I still need 8 channel pre-amp to produce my music?

And I don't think there is a problem in Turkey.

You will NOT need a soundcard if you are using a Macbook Pro.

You will need a firewire interface. This device will take an analog signal from your microphone or instrument and amplify it with a preamp and convert it to a digital signal and send it to your computer through the firewire cable.

These devices can have any number of inputs, and usually also have at least one output for to hook your active (powered) monitors to.