8 channel Pre's & Converters

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by jscott, Nov 17, 2001.

  1. jscott

    jscott Guest

    I shortened this Nov 19, 2001:

    For the sake of debate, I know it starts with tuning, player, etc. The focus of this thread is 100% drums in banks of 8. Budget is negotiable, but lets assume you have $10,000 total. Do you keep some money, or spend it?

    True Systems Precision 8 vs. Grace 801 vs. Presonus M80

    Is the Grace low on headroom? Has anyone heard a Precision 8? Other specific Suggestions? Is the money better spent on the mic, or preamp?

    Converters: Give me your thoughts on Lucid ADA 8824 vs. Apogee AD8000 vs. the MOTU 1296. Does cost matter enough?

    DAW Soft: Logic Plat 4.8
    Interface: 2408mkII ADAT or TDIF

    TLM193's, TLM103's OH
    SM-81's OH & Toms
    C-418's, Beta98's, Rack Toms
    421's F.Tom
    Beta52 & D112 Kik,
    57 & Beyer M101

    Anyone use the on resonant kick outside?

    Do you track with compression, EQ, etc?

  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I am not up on the 8 ch pre bargains out there, but an 8ch unit sounds a good idea..

    Re the converters.. strikes me the 1296 http://www.motu.com/english/motuaudio/1296/body.html represents a good start, and it's extra 4 channels allow for a classic multi mic set up with all the trimmings..

    2 x Kick mic's
    1 x top snare
    1 x under snare
    1 x Hi hat
    3 x toms
    2 x Overheads
    2 x room mic's

    OR the kit on less channels and enough for Bass / gtr / guide vocals etc..

    96K will be the new $*^t, I am unsure if a lightpipe connection from a Lucid will pass 96k across to a MOTU setup..

    Anyhow this is leading up to something ..

    If I were you I would get:

    Royer SF12 - stereo ribbon for overheads
    Royer 121 - for OUTSIDE bass drum

    Both supply AMAZING sound to digital..
    The 'air puf' sub from a kick & the 'classy sheen' from cymbals - IS absolute MURDER to get with a DAW. Both mic's help - with the Proviso, the SF-12 needs a shitload of HF EQ cranked in. So budget for something like a Daking or Speck stereo EQ unit..Which leads me to...what will you do for eq on the other drum mic's? (you will some IMHO)

    As for dynamic's if you are lucky and your room is OK, you MIGHT be able to get a way with compressing the cymbals a touch (careful!) and knock back the snare a tad just on big rolls..Maybe a lick on the Kick.

    For that I suggest you get 2 x Really Nice Compressors and mount them in pairs in one of the funny racks Fletcher has helped design for em.

    Finally clock your system with a cool ext word clock system like the GenX from Lucid..


    1) Budget but good 8ch mic pre - good idea
    2) 12 ch 96k compatible converter (mainly for the extra 4 channels)
    3) Royer overheads & Kick - 'no tears' kit on digital
    4) What about EQ? (important, Mackie desk eq = not that good)
    5) 2 or 4 x RNC compressors
    6) Ext Word clock will bring your DAW sound up no end...GenX is the new bang for the $$ kid in town.

    So that is:

    Budget pre's / sensible conversion / expensive mic's / budget eq & compression / good word clock.

  3. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Maybe a cranesong spider? 8 nice, not budget mic pres with really good converters, built in limiters and analog tape simulation all for 6 grand. That would meet your $4000 for mic pres and $2000 (the cost of the lucid) for converters. I almost have all the money i need for the spider, so hopefully by christmas...
  4. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Originally posted by planet red:
    Maybe a cranesong spider? 8 nice, not budget mic pres with really good converters, built in limiters and analog tape simulation all for 6 grand. That would meet your $4000 for mic pres and $2000 (the cost of the lucid) for converters. I almost have all the money i need for the spider, so hopefully by christmas...

    I didn't think the spider was out yet? Wrong?
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Not in the class of a Spider, obviously, but I've had an ATI 8mx2 8-channel pre (with optional mixdown to stereo) for years that I'm kind of fond of - it's one rack space and is great for remotes if you ever get into that. What i really like about it is it has tons of headroom. I've run a whole kit through it with some success. Only around $2000.

    An Aphex expressor works well as a nice fairly inexpensive kick compressor that nobody talks much about these days - maybe 'cause the RNCs have taken over. Also the Meek SC 2.2 (stereo compressor) is only around $500, with loads of character.

    As far as EQ, for budget reasons you can probably survive with some well-chosenplug-insfor now.
  6. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    The spider has come out its just not mass produced yet. If you get on a list i'd imagine you'd get one in a couple months. If you're in the market for a bunch of pres and converters (like I am) it really seems like a good bargain.
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    re reading the question, the Spider DOES seem cool, even the best possible option.. Just one thing who here records drums with no EQ?

    What would be a cute 8 ch line level EQ only rig to go with it?

    All I can think of would be an API rack of vintage 500 series eq's (spendy) or new ones or a second hand Neve Prism rack (cheaper) loaded with 8 EQ's .. Each might work out to be a nice combo..

    Or skip the EQ and do it in the DAW 'on monitor'

    (er... will latency mess you up with the MOTU? Can the Spider help you 'cheat that' - like a mix out pre conversion??? you could monitor?)

    R U the drummer that will be recorded with this setuP?

  8. Henchman

    Henchman Active Member

    Oct 22, 2001
    Originally posted by Julian Standen:
    Just one thing who here records drums with no EQ?


    I do. No eq or compression.
  9. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    A couple specks for kick and snare? I dont know of many people that EQ overheads going in.
  10. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Originally posted by Julian Standen:
    R U the drummer that will be recorded with this setuP?


    Yes. As for the EQ, while I'm not saying no to EQ, I prefer to try to get what I can out of drum, tuning and head choice first and then move to mic choice and placement second. Then I am goinf to assume if I invest in some good, but in some cases well colored dynamics, EQ will be the last resort and probably, come into play on mix-down.

    I also do alot with keyboards for composition, so depending upon how I work, I'll do the music portion, work out a click, lay a few tracks, then the real drums come somewhere towards the end. I don't have to luxury of monitoring another player.
  11. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    You seem keen to use compression on your recording. I think that is unwise. On analog the most many folks would do is gentle compression on the snare to tame occaisional rolls... PERHAPS a TINY bit on the kick.. - Distant Room mic's however DO get PLENTY of compression - IN ROCK music recording.. but this is probably not an issue for your genre.

    Spider seems to be the one for you,...

  12. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    You may also want to give the FMR 'Really Nice Mic Pre' a chance in the near future (made by Mr. Mark McQ, designer of the RNC). We haven't heard this unit yet, but I am betting (and I am a betting man ;) ) that the pre sounds pretty damn incredible. You said you wanted to keep 8 channels under $4000, this unit is rumored to retail for $399/channel, so that puts you siginificanly under.

    As far as overheads, I am in love with the MBHO 603 mic body with their KA-800 figure 8 capsule. Ribbons are very cool, but I like condensers very much also, and I find this to be the best of both worlds...not hyped at all (very musical and natural sounds), but it is definitely not flat or attenuated like a ribbon (to my ears). And of course you can move it through your room without a plastic bag over it from fear of tearing the ribbon element :mad: . Speck eq is the best buy for the cash, and I would say could even rival an API 550...perhaps less color, but the Jensen in the Speck is very helpful for that purpose.

    For conversion, don't throw the RME outboard converters out of the race. They are very good quality, and are a great bang for the buck. The Lucid's are good too, very clear...I just wish they had a 96k 8 ch. version, but of course it would be more $$$ than the 48K version.

    Good Luck with your search!
  13. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Originally posted by jscott:
    I'm looking for a tight but warm New Aged/Light Jazz sound.

    The way the kit is tuned and played, and the room in which it is played will have more of an influence on the overall drum tone than the hardware used to capture that tone.

    But, if we're going to talk hardware...I've not heard the Grace 801, but I have heard the "True Precision 8"...in trying to keep to the if you don't have anything nice to say about something, keep quiet vein...all I'll say about the Precision 8 is that I wouldn't buy one.

    Keeping it under $4,000 for 8 channels will be at best a challenge, at worst, a couple of compromises will have to be made. Perhaps looking for 4 excellent channels of mic amp [two channels for the overheads, one for kick, one for snare], and build from there might be a slightly better approach.

    This opens up a whole lot of avenues, like a Pendulum MDP-1A and a Great River MP-2MH. They'll also do a hell of a lot more than drums, and will be in your "toolbox" for the rest of your time recording. Another possible combination might be an Avalon 2022, and a Manley Labs Dual 60db pre-amp. Again, another pair that will fit in your budget, and live with you for the rest of your career. There are a whole bunch of combinations that can be put together for 4 channels, trying to do 8 channels on $4,000 will lead to you replacing those units as your chops (and ears) develop.

    As far as A/D-D/A converters go, the only one I think is worth a $*^t in the slightly >$2k range is the Lucid AD8824. Working in Digital Performer most of the time these days, I can definitely tell you that there is a serious difference in tone between the MOTU converters and the Lucids. I have also been checking out some Panasonic A/D's, and frankly, they seem to sound pretty good. They'll be under $2k, but won't have the D/A capability (which you only really need if you're going to be mixing analog, or going out to an analog eq, compressor or effect while mixing).

    With all of that said...the Crane Song LTD "Spider" is indeed shipping now, but in very small quantities. If you got on the waiting list now, you would probably see one sometime in January or February...with a slight chance of late December (They built a hell of a box...now they have to figure out how to build them efficiently to meet the demand for them...small company growing pains...they all go through them).

    Mics I have are:

    TLM193's, TLM103's, SM-81's, 421's, beta52, D112, 57's, C-418's, Beta98's, Beyer M101 and I'm thinking of maybe adding something else like the (like the idea of added gain), but I have not heard them.

    I'm not entirely sure how I would approach mic'ing a drum kit with that collection, but something tells me you probably have it sorted out fairly well.

    As for "dynamics" processors for KiK and Overheads while tracking, that can be a sticky ball of wax. It isn't hard to do more harm then help, especially compressing a kick while tracking. If you know the guy is one of those 'happy footed' motherfuckers that slams harder on the "1" of each section, then something like a DBX-160 VU might be what you're looking for. You set it up so when the drummer is playing with the entire band (they always hit harder with the whole band playing than without!!) the needle doesn't move. When he makes a "Mr. Happyfoot" hit, you then move into the realm of necessary compression to even out his exuberance.

    For light compression on the overheads...your favorites will do. You have to be way careful that you don't weird out the envelop of the cymbals, or suck up some midrange crap that's floating around the room. Like Brylcreem, a little dab'll do ya.

    Really, the biggest thing is maintenance of the kit, fresh heads, good tuning, and a good drummer. Everything else just takes that high point of the experience and captures it, it never creates what isn't there. I know I've never done 'alchemy' with a microphone and preamp...but I have been able to capture a good drummer when they're playing for me.

    Best of luck with your endeavors.
  14. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Sorry folks - I've confused the issue:

    The $4000 budget was for the Pre section alone. Sure it would be nice to keep it all below that, but I'm flexible.

    As for compression while tracking, well, right now I really don't add anything going into Logic. I have assumed my life might be better if I do more of a slight limit on the kick and snare because I'm still getting use to the digital environment over the analog environment for years. Its still hard for me to stay out of the red - so I often don't cut hot enough.

    I do agree that the tuning and drummer make all the difference, but its hard to complain when its me, and I am not as consistent as I once use to be with my foot. I don't beat the hell out of it by any means, but there is an element of inconsistencey.

    Fletcher? I thought I read somewhere that you didn't like Manley Pre stuff? Wrong I guess?

    True Systems question - without slamming them, did you A/B it with something? And you didn't mention anything about the 1296, is the Lucid a significantly better piece?
  15. John Stalberg

    John Stalberg Active Member

    Mar 17, 2001
    Just one thing who here records drums with no EQ?
    I do. No eq as well. Want to have all of the dynamics of the drums. I´m one of these purists. Like it when a drumset gets physical and kickin your solar plexus
  16. John Stalberg

    John Stalberg Active Member

    Mar 17, 2001
    Sorry :( should be; no compression as well.
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