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Hi there guys,

I have finally been blessed with the opportunity to upgrade my studio.

With the $15k I would like to improve all elements of my equipment (mics, preamps, converters, monitors, and plugins). I feel like I am going in circles though. It is not so much a question of which preamps or which converters, so much as a question of my workflow and what is necessary. How much money should go towards what elements in the chain? These are some of the issues I am mulling over:

1. Ninety percent of the time I am either tracking no more than two channels (or using virtual instruments), so I am looking at getting at least two good quality channels of preamp and two channels of AD/DA. That being said, I occasionally track four channels. I would also like to avoid having to send my monitor signal through my Mackie board (***anyone want to buy one***) simply to have a mute button and volume control.

2. I am very interested in the idea of having two pairs of high-end preamps that will complement each other well, though I don't know if this is essential. The idea being that some mixes are very dense and require pristine tracks, though I would like to be able to also track warm/softer signals as well. I predominantly track acoustic instruments and voice.

3. I am also questioning whether a stereo channel of EQ and/or compression would be a good investment, or would I be better off putting that money into something else. Since I use virtual instruments, am I better off investing in plugins?

4. In terms of mics, should I invest in one outstanding mic, buy a couple of ribbon mics, replace my small diaphragm mics...? How much of my budget should go towards this issue?

Presently my equiment includes:

- Neumann U87 from 1968 (pair)
- AKG C414EB with the CK12 capsule
- Audio Technica AT4047
- Shure SM81 (pair) ***anyone want to buy a pair?***
- Shure SM57 (pair)
- Sennheiser MD421
- AKG D112

- Presonus MP20
- Presonus ACP-22
- RNC Compressor
- Lang Electronics PEQ-2 - mindblowingly hot
- Mackie 1642-VLZPro

- MOTU 1224 (2) ***anyone want to buy a pair***
- Mac G5 2.0GHz dual core

- Mackie HR824 ***anyone want to buy a pair?***

- Logic Pro 7.2
- Waves SSL4000
- Audio Ease Altiverb
- Sony Inflator
- Native Instruments Komplete
- Native Instruments Kore ***anyone want to buy one?***
- East/West Symphonic Orchestra Platinum Bundle
- Yellow Tools Majestic and Culture
- MOTU Symphonic

I am considering:

- Microtech Gefell UM92.1S (great price right now. really warm.)
- Royer R-121 or AEA ribbon mics
- Neumann KM184 (2)
- Electro Voice RE-20
- Shure SM7B

- API 512 (2) with A Design 500HR
- AMS Neve 1073 DPA

- Rosetta 200 with Fireface 400
- Rosetta 800
- Big Ben?
- Get the preamps with their own converters along with a Benchmark DAC or something similar.

- Dynaudio BM6A II
- Dynaudio BM5A

Any thoughts on any of these issues would be greatly appreciated.


Profile picture for user Davedog

Davedog Mon, 09/10/2007 - 17:56

If upgrading your preamps is definate (you could do MUCH better than what you currently have!!) then it sounds like, with your needs and workflow situation, that you are a perfect candidate for a 'lunchbox' setup. There are several configuations and types available. As many as 11 modules in some boxes. Having a power supply and the versatility of being able to use a number of different types of processing, pres, EQ's, deesssing, compression...and different manufacturers all within the same frame makes things easy as well as small and portable.

There are several makes of frames and power supplies based on the '500' API series modules that you can choose from. By you description of your needs, perhaps a look into the A Designs stuff, John Hardy, Purple Audio, API, and the like.

Investigate this type of setup and you'll likely find ALL of the devices you desire. While the initial setup is somewhat pricey, the actual investment in the modules is quite low and on average, depending what size of box you work with, the price per channel is a bit lower.

stickers Tue, 09/11/2007 - 09:50

you have a nice selection of mics there already. but if you are itching to get a couple of new mics, i'd say get a royer r-121 and the shure sm7b is too expensive considering the amount of money you have to spend. this will probably cost you around $1,400 for both mics leaving you with

As for mic pres and EQs, compression...I like Davedog's idea with the lunch box idea. you just have to look around and see whats out there...api, great river, A design come to mind. I looked around at 500 series modules for the lunch box configuration and it seems most units run about $750 for the pres. and EQ and compressors just over a $1k. So 4 mics pre at $750 and 2 EQ channels and 2 compressors at $1100 plus the API Model 500VPR 10 space rack to house the modules at $850 will total around $8500.

For the remainder of your funds, i'd upgrade AD/DA and clocking.

AD/DA i think the link Lynx Aurora 8 Channel AD/DA Converter with the fire option to connect to your g5 would be a nice consideration. At $2000 plus $500 for the firewaire Lslot for the Aurora. $2500

For clocking the apogee big been should really help the clocking for the aurora. big bed $1,300

estimated total cost= $13.7k

kittonian Sat, 09/15/2007 - 16:13

The Lynx Aurora16 with the AES16 card should be top on your list, followed by a Chandler LTD-1 (or maybe two of those). Also, take a look at the Focal Twin6 Be's. Under $3k/pair and they are some of the best monitors money can buy (great service too). I would also give some serious consideration to the SSL G Compressor. It's amazing and everything you put through just comes out sounding like a record.

Kuzan Wed, 10/10/2007 - 01:32

You have loads of useful stuff. My advice would be to get a good pair or monitors (Adam S3's), and pre amp (Avalon etc) and then spend what ever you have left on improving the quality of your room acoustics.

If your room is well treated, get a good compressor or two. (Distressor)