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what kinda of deal is this?

Member for

21 years
(Dead Link Removed)

What can you guys tell me about the quality of sound from these mic preamps and mics for a low budget starting home studio? I need a condenser mic or two, and a add to my pod X3 for guitar and bass going into adobe audition....


Member for

13 years 10 months

bent Sun, 12/23/2007 - 22:23
I think that about sums it up - thanks Jeremy!

So, I gotta say, I just spent a couple hours up at my old studio recording mics on my snare (an A/B comparison) and I gotta add to what Jeremy just said - maybe it's the Guinness talking, I dunno.

A dang on SM57 sounds the most natural out of the 12 mics I just recorded. If I was to buy anything outside of what I already own, it would be a bunch of SM57's! Here's the list of mics I just slapped down, for those of you who are interested:

1) SM57
2) Beta57
3) Beta57A (just to see if there really is a difference)
4) EV 468
5) CAD NDM11 (el cheapo package deal mic, anyone?)
6) Audio Technica 31A (For Jeremy - from a recent post)
7) Beyer M88TG
8 ) Oktava MK219 (From another recent post)
9) AT 4033
10) AKG 414
11) Sennheiser 421
12) Senn. 441

I'm working on refreshing my memory when it comes to FTP'ing stuff to my site - I haven't done it in a few years.
I'm putting them there instead of f***ing soundclick because on my site I can control the bandwidth!!!
When I get that going, I will post these samples.
I apologize in advance for the opening bit of Zep's Rock & Roll on the SM57 track (yes, it's horrid - what do you want from a guitar playing fader pusher?).

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Fri, 12/28/2007 - 14:50
Portability and compatibility are legitimate reasons, but don't think for one second that if you don't have PT, you can't bring your sessions into other studios.

First of all, if you're ever asked to bring a PT session file to a mastering session, fire your mastering engineer and RUN to a qualified engineer.

First, very few, if any true mastering engineers use any variety of ProTools and when they do own/use it, it's only because some schmuck didn't follow the guidelines and bring a 24 bit 2-track WAV file in for mastering.

Also, don't get hung up on the plug ins. Seriously.

You need a good compressor or two, a decent reverb, a decent EQ or two and maybe some effects such as a flanger, chorus, etc.

Most of these come with all DAWs and if they don't, many are available as free downloads.

As for the mics and preamps - please don't lump a mxl3000 in the "decent" category with Rode. Some of the Rode mics are top notch. Some (very few) of the MXL stuff is decent, but if we're talking decent mics, we should be talking a little nicer than that. That's more along the lines of a basic, starter mic at best. (Sorry...tangent...)

Yes, getting an outboard preamp is always beneficial as long as you come in via the SPDIF inputs.

Don't go dropping $$$ on an outboard pre yet though. There are some very good ones out there, but I'm afraid for
If you'd like a good preamp, be prepared to spend at least $500 per channel and up. (Only one or two exceptions apply to this rule.)

The funny thing is, a few of the interfaces I mentioned (Mackie Onyx, TC Konnect) have pres that would easily compete with some costing $500-$1000 per channel.

I guess my point you want quality, or do you want ProTools?

Member for

15 years 5 months

BobRogers Fri, 12/28/2007 - 16:23
pfactionbrett wrote: ....Also a good friend of mine uses a huge ProTools HD system(does commercials and such with actors like kevin spacey) and wants me to learn it ...
This is an excellent reason for getting PT (or any other good DAW). Free education from an expert trumps most any of the other considerations. No matter what DAW you get, the big challenge is to lean to use it well. Read the boards here for a couple of months and it's clear that there are lots of people out there with expensive software that they can't use to its full capacity.

Once you learn PT well it will be relatively easy to learn another system and you will be better able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of various systems.

Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 12/24/2007 - 08:01
Thanks for all the time and info you've given me really. I'm really not just trying to be one of those stubborn people that walks in here knowing nothing and automatically decides on one thing. Understand that originally, I was just getting a pod x3 for it's effects live, and I decided hey i've had a big interest in recording why not get a porgram and record with all of it's modeling/recording (usb2.0) capabilities. Then i'd have a recording rig, and my live stompboxes in one.

I then realized if I did record with it too, i'd want something more, i'd end up wanting to buy a nice mic or two, and a mic preamp to avoid the crappy models for vocals on the x3. Then down the road i'd want cheap monitors maybe?

So here I am adding up I woulda spent $800 or so on something that was just meant to be live effects for shows, that turned into a record for fun on the side costing me a lot more.......

That's when I decided i've wanted to record longer and the pod didnt matter to me as much. I don't wanna spend more than about the $600 area. So I immediately found thouse bundles which looked decent to me. All I am wanting to do for recording is recording song ideas, pre-production on my bands songs so we can hear them layed out and tracked, and thats absolutely it. No recording projects or demos or anything coming out of there. That's the only reason I was being kinda stubborn about the bundles.

I realize protools LE isn't compatible with anyhitng but mbox, and their hardware, or the best user-friendly software, but it does come with a lot of plugins I would have to end up purchasing for cubase, cakewalk etc. (celemony melodyne, beat detective, amplitube etc.), I've been wanting to learn protools for a while as I could get a job as an intern or something around here too for a company doing commercials.

but...that'why i've posted here is to see all my possibilities, and thank you for showing me them.

What about that M-Audio Firewire if I wanted to stay with the limited protools route? ...compared to the mbox how is the interface etc.?

Thanks again

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Mon, 12/24/2007 - 13:52
I completely understand where you're coming from and that's why I was giving you the advice I was. If you settle for crap early in the game, you're going to be disappointed very quickly and rush out and spend more. The problem is, it's a never ending cycle and you'll wind up wasting money (on the initial and subsequent cheap crap that you can't even give away on EBay) and getting frustrated.

The M-Audio stuff is nice and works pretty well with the ProTools M-Powered stuff, but understand, you have to shell out $250 more bucks just to get ProTools M-Powered. Just knowing ProTools won't get you any internship spots or part time jobs at local studios. Knowing good basics and fundamentals of audio (including signal flow, gain staging, mic positioning, basic uses of effects, etc.) will help you to get a good job. Plus, once you learn the basics of any DAW, you'll be able to translate it to just about any other without much of a learning curve.

As for the effects, I would STRONGLY encourage you to stay away from them. Besides, Cubase, Sonar and all other similar DAWs come with MANY, MANY, MANY built-in, free and high-quality effects. (Caps for emphasis only...)

Trust me - don't even think about touching a compressor, a vocal processor or EQ until you have:

1 - Learned the heck out of how to use them (any one of these effects in 99% of people's hands are a piss-poor weapon used to destroy and flatten mixes across the world)

2 - You've exhausted every other possible option. Very rarely do I ever touch an EQ for anything other than getting rid of sub 50 or 100Hz for rumble. Very rarely do I touch a compressor to even out a singer's voice or a bass lick. When I do touch these things it's because it's the effect that I want for a particular sound and not ever to fix something. If I have to "fix it in the mix," I've already failed and the mix is doomed to suckdome for all of eternity. It's about mic placement and choice and getting the sound right going in.

The trickiest thing to do when starting out in the field of recording is:

1 - Getting rid of any marketing polution already in your head. (This brand is better than that, this software is better than that....etc.) Everyone's gear is better than everyone else's. It's that simple (to the marketing guys at least.) The reality is, good, solid, quality gear will last a lifetime (or darn near it) and will do what you need it to when you need it to. Poor/shoddy gear will give you headache's and frustrations and the worst part is, you'll often times spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to fix it or make up for it. Good is good, bad is bad and no magazine advertisement regardless of how colorful or how hot the chick is singing into the microphone will change this.

2 - Getting rid of the poison in your brain provided by your friends, colleagues, band-mates, co-workers and other well-intentioned short-bus candidates. Sure, they have a Behringer mixer and the most awesome MXL microphone and they heard that Rod Stewart's live-in maid's retarded gay cousin uses that same gear to make his what.

Your first leap is the hardest and where MOST of all newbie studio cats make their biggest mistake and are doomed forever to walk the aisles of Guitar Center looking for the latest $39 microphone that their friend Bubba just landed a country-record deal with.

That is, they buy crap because they have limited finances and want to get a great deal. What they wind up with is a pile of useless gear which will collect dust in 6 months. Then, every purchase ever made for the studio from there on out is made in attempts to make the shitty sounds better by buying more crap.

The absolute best approach to getting started -

Get the fundamental basics and get the best you can afford at that moment. Prioritize like crazy. Right now, for example, a $200 mic cable would be insane. But, a good pair of Shure SM57s or Audix i5s would be a wonderful use of $200! A pair of $300 monitors would be a waste of money whereas a $100 pair of cans and a decent sound card/interface would be a great investment.

Don't worry about the software. Use what you can get or get for free. The medium on which you record is almost immaterial so long as you can get the most out of it. Learn how to place your microphones with the utmost attention to detail. Learn WHY a mic placed at the outer edge of your 12" celestion sounds more flabby than when placed at the dustcap. Learn how to record an entire drum set WELL with 2 to 3 mics.

Then, here's the absolute coolest part -

Your next upgrades to your studio will be made with knowledge. You'll know what you want or need to buy and why you want or need to buy it. And because of this, your decisions to purchase and which brands, etc. won't be driven by marketing hype but by your actual needs and requirements.

This is the makings of a great studio with no frills and no waste.

Cheers (and Merry Christmas)

Jeremy Claus

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 12/26/2007 - 15:07
Here I go again, but what about a mbox wihtout getting an actual bundle. I understand protools is limiting, maybe overrated to many and so on, but it's what I would like to learn if all possible.....

Is the sound quality of the mbox itself just not that great to do the recording I need to do? I'd get one of the mbox 2's and get a SM58, a decent cable, and a good pair of studio headphones. What can you say about the mbox's sound itself?

I'm also a little stubborn and stuck on protools because of the academic discounts I can recieve on the mbox's etc.

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Thu, 12/27/2007 - 19:49
No...that's a fair question.

If you're really stuck on ProTools, the MBox is a fine choice. I personally find it extremely limiting in that you're stuck with a very finite number in I/O and the quality of the conversion and pres is acceptable to good at best.

The real question would be - why are you stuck on ProTools?

Again, if you learn any modern DAW, about 80% of that knowledge can be passed on to just about any other DAW. The last 20% usually boils down to quirks of each program and layout.

If it's just the discounts, I'd urge you to do the solid math. Find out the cost of the MBox compared to something like the TC Konnect or Mackie Onyx or M-Audio, etc. Again, most of these come with software included.



Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 02/08/2008 - 04:14
Great info in this post. Thank you Cucco.

I don't want to hijack this thread but,

I was wondering if anyone would give their opinion on this. Which one of these do you think is better?

[=""]Presonus FP10[/]="…"]Presonus FP10[/] "Firepod",
[url= Delta 10/10,
TASCAM FW-1082, or the
Focusrite Saffire Pro

Upgrading my home studio for recording my band Looking for more inputs to track Drums. I have:
4 SM57's
3 generic vocal mic's
1 AKG D112
1 AKG D88s
1 Maudio Delta 24/96 (2 inputs)
1 Mackie CFX12 (I know its a live board but I use it for Live recording right now)
Ive been using Cool edit pro
BX5a's for Monitors
Fast Computer running XP64bit all above are compatible w/64bit (very important).

Also Looking for a couple of condenser mics for all around use especially for use overhead drums. I will be searching more on this site for info on this question

Thanks in advance for any help!

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Sun, 12/23/2007 - 13:15
If you want a deal and don't mind lacking sound, it's a steal.

If you want quality, you'll have to go a tad higher.

They'll get the job done.

I've actually heard the Audio Buddy and wasn't horrified by it - similar in quality to inexpensive mixer pre's a la Mackie VLZ and cheaper SoundCraft.

Don't expect gobs of headroom or a huge sound.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Sun, 12/23/2007 - 13:25
What more do you need to know? It's an entry-level system. Decent mediocre microphone preamps. Reasonable Chinese condenser microphones. Biggest drawback, no stereo pairs. How are you to do stereo anything when you don't have a pair of the same model microphones? Not that you need to have a stereo pair over a drum kit, anything will do. But there are those of us that want a certain consistency and so, stereo pairs are the only way I purchase microphones. I don't even care if they are sequentially serial numbered as long as they were manufactured within a similar time frame. So, if I were you, I'd want at least one pair of microphones to be used in stereo applications. Mediocre average preamps are pretty much all the same, transformer less, because it's cheaper and 1 of about 3 different companies preamps chips from Cirrus, Burr Brown, PMI, analog devices, etc..

Either way, you'll be able to record 2 inputs simultaneously. Frankly, I think you should have at least a minimum of 8 simultaneous microphone inputs. That can print to 8 separate tracks, simultaneously, in software. Believe me, you'll want more than 2 at some point. It's quite often I find 24 ain't enough.

Not a size queen
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 12/23/2007 - 13:30
(Dead Link Removed)

What If I were to get this instead? Would I need anything more, like a soundcard or anything? I'm really stuck as to what to get to start recording I have 2 options:

A recording software like cubase with a pod X3 to record bass, guitar, and vocals over my beatcraft drums: ($499.99)


A package deal like that link above recording my actual amps (my triple rectifier and peavey xxx) and i'd have a real preamp and mic for vocals and i'd already have mixing monitors AND protools. Does that protools version have enough to get me through say 30 tracks?

I have no idea where to start now that i've discovereed these bundles.

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Sun, 12/23/2007 - 13:46
Avoid bundles.

In my experience, bundles are a way for retailers to get rid of a bunch of sh*t that's collecting space on their shelves. One or two of the pieces may be decent, but the rest is utter shyte.

Your best bet would be a pair of SM57s and something like the Presonus Firepod (or FP10...or whatever the hell they're calling it nowadays.)

This would set you back a little more than those bundles, but the stuff is real and its good. Not "good for the money" but "GOOD."


Member for

13 years 10 months

bent Sun, 12/23/2007 - 18:45
Do I need to get an external soundcard or interface?

In Jeremy's reply he made mention of the FP10 - that's [[url=http://[/URL]="…"]a preamp / ADC combo[/]="…"]a preamp / ADC combo[/], the only other items you would need would be:

Mics: Also mentioned were a couple of SM57's - great choice.

Cables & Stands: No brainer there.

Monitors and /or headphones: That's up to you, check out & A/B different models in person.

Software: Try some shareware or freeware titles. I'm not familiar with any, but if you search on this site you'll find a few posts.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 12/23/2007 - 18:55
What is an ADC?

I don't wanna have to buy all of that stuff seperately it would cost a lot of money I think it'd be better to get a bundle and get all of that in one....this is just to produce my bands songs at home so we know what theyre like laid out on tracks...not to get store quality recordings....

I mean i'd get to learn pro-tools, and the basica to multi-tracking, mixing etc.... how bad can the preamps and mic and monitors be for a beginner really? If they were that bad, they wouldn't make them...again complete beginner setup here.

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Sun, 12/23/2007 - 19:55
Do you actually want advice, or do you simply want us to validate that the stuff you're shopping for is a good deal?

Yes, it will record everything you've ever wanted and more. If you buy these packages, you'll be satisfied for a long time to come and you'll never want for anything more.

Since you're eager to buy, I figure you'll "buy" that last statement.

If you buy that set up (the last one with the PT system), you'll get shitty cables (that will likely break 6 months from now and you'll wind up getting suckered into buying expensive ones when you go to Guitar Center for a last minute replacement.)

You'll get horribly shitty monitors which I wouldn't feel comfortable mixing pink noise on.

You'll get a cheap ass mic stand on which the clutch will break and the mics will come crashing into your guitar or your singer's face...

And after all that, you'll be back here on this site asking us how to get a better sound. (Which ain't really all that possible with a single crappy mic and the crappiest interface on the planet.)

Advice -

Buy a couple REAL and usable mics (Shure SM57 is a ubiquitous staple in EVERY recording studio in the world. There's a reason why - they sound great and work without question.)

Buy an interface that will allow you to grow. ProTools LE will not allow you to grow. You'll be stuck using their software for life (PT LE is shit. All of the benefits of using PT such as outboard processing and universal compatibility are out the window with PT LE!) Using something like a M-Audio, or Presonus or Mackie or Emu or Echo (one of my favorites) or RME (definitely one of my favorites) will be a good start and will allow you to get accustomed to true, universal software (such as Cubase, Sonar, Tracktion, etc.) that will allow you to grow as your needs change (and they will.)

For now, mix in a pair of headphones. Your mixes won't translate very well until you get used to mixing in them (listen to LOTS of music through them!) but they wouldn't translate for shit through the monitors in that fantastic package deal you listed.

BTW- "ADC" means "Analog to Digital Converter" which is an essential part of the signal chain.

Here's the signal chain that's necessary for computer recording.

Mic - Mic Cable - Mic Preamp - ADC - Computer Interface - Computer - Software.

With the Presonus that I mentioned, you get:
Mic Preamp - ADC - Computer Interface (and if I'm not mistaken, it comes with some free software.)

The preamps, ADC and Interface are all quite good. I wouldn't hesitate to use them on most rock/country/rap projects that came through my studio. I don't have to because I have a little over $100K in stuff in my studio, but if I had to, I would and wouldn't complain. (Other than...."Hey! Where the hell did the rest of my gear go?!?!")

So, here's the breakdown:

Shure SM57 pair (used on Ebay) $150
AKG K240S Headphones - $100 (you don't want used...I promise.)
Atlas/Onstage/K&M Stand - $60 for a pair
2 20' cables - Check prices on my site

Interfaces (which include mic pres, ADC, Interface and software) (choose only 1):

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I just stayed on the Musician's Friend site. Personally - I would go with Sweetwater as at least there, when you speak with someone on the phone, they care about what they're selling and know what they're talking about.



Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 12/28/2007 - 10:29
Cucco wrote:
The real question would be - why are you stuck on ProTools?

one reason being I can easily take the session files and tracks to studios around here to have mastered, or to record some parts I can't do at home as well. Also a good friend of mine uses a huge ProTools HD system(does commercials and such with actors like kevin spacey) and wants me to learn it and maybe I could upgrade to a better system (his older systems) for very cheap. He also has every plugin you can imagine for protools and he can help me out with acquiring extra ones he has.

Would I want to use a seperate mic preamp as well if I were to get a decent condenser mike like a mxl3000 or rode?