Big Upgrade to Home Studio Mic/Pre/Compressor

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by frogga, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. frogga

    frogga Guest

    Hi everyone,

    I am in the process of acoustically treating my studio room and waiting for the replacement of my MOTU 896HD (long story) and my NT2000 microphone... so I see that I will have around 4000-5000 USD free soon I want to upgrade my studio (my current setup I will place at the end so you can see what components are good/bad ugly).

    So what I am thinking is improving three aspects of tracking (my mixing tools seem to be good enough for the moment at least):-

    a) Vocals - My NT2000 is ok, I guess - but my pre/comp is a bit broken and not really to my taste (dbx 1086).

    b) Electric Guitar - This is also a weak element - I have a nice guitar and use Guitar Rig 1/2 (I have NI Komplete 3 - excellent buy, btw) and the sounds are great but I dont think my input signal from guitar -> Trackmaster -> MOTU 896HD (pre switched off) is good enough... I cant mic my Fender Delux amp up unfortunately (neighbours would complain) so I need the best solution going direct.

    c) Bass Guitar - the element that sounds the worst - I have a Fender precision and the bass sound is completely naff. I tried Bass -> Presonus Digitube -> MOTU 896HD (pre switched off) and Bass -> DI Box -> MOTU. Same problem as guitar - cant use amp.

    So as you can see I have 3 needs (vocals, bass, guitar).

    So my question is what would be good things to improve?
    I would like a nicer mic in the long run, but I would try just to rent a better mic for my current sessions, so the pre and comp are the 2 key things. On bass/guitar - can I use the same pre/comp? I wont be using them at the same time so a single channel element would be doable (even if I have to add DI to the chain - I have a DI 4 channel).

    For this kind of budget, would would people recommend to give me the best vocal/guitar/bass combo for 5000 USD max? I dont expect a "this is the best" more of a range of choices which are good for the money.

    The only thing I've checked out myself so far is the Focurite Liquid Channel, but its getting such mixed press on this forum I don't know if this would be the one box wonder I am looking for for direct bass/guitar and vocals?

    Any serious advice would be appreciated as I want to do a final tracking run on my future album (then take it off for mix/mastering as needed) before I release it in Q3 this year.

    Thanks and speak later
    Gary (english guy living in Switzerland).

    My current Setup
    *Outboard Gear

    dbx1086, Presonus DigiTUBE, Focusrite TrakMaster, Beringher DI4000
    Mackie Big Knob
    Reveal Active Monitors + some less expensive nearfields for low-fi check
    Rodes NT2000 mic plus SM58 Beta and SM57.
    Electric Guitar: Yamaha RGX820Z (2 x Seymour Duncans and Piezo - dual output).
    Bass Guitar: Fender Precision Bass (Mexico).

    *DAW gear (and yes, all plugins are bought!)

    MOTU 896HD, UAD-1, Poco Compact, Frontier Design Tranzport, Beringher BCF2000, M-Audio keystation e49.

    Cubase SX and 2.2.39, WaveLab 4, NI Komplete 3, The Grand, XPhraze, HyperSonic 2, BDF drums, Garritan Personal Orchestra, IK Multimedia Studio Bundle, Izotope Ozone, Waves Musicians Bundle 2 plus a few other plugs I probably dont use so much.

    P4 Prescott 3.4GB, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 1 Raptor disk, 2 x 160GB Samsung SPoint etc.
  2. MJim

    MJim Guest

    Check out the Great River MP-2NV preamp it is absolutely stunning and will give the needed boost to all your other gear. It is a pricey piece of equipment but delivers beyond your dreams. Along with mic inputs it also has hi-z for guitar/bass DI. The rich bass and detailed sound will make your jaw drop. The feature set includes impedance and loading switches that should not be under rated as they are very effective. It has an insert loop for outside processing. The Great River is also available as a single channel pre if you want to save $$. Sound & features are same as the 2 channel version.

    In my opinion, I have never seen a computer plug-in reverb that performs up to an external unit. I use a Lexicon MPX500 that I'm very pleased with. Lexicon's new MX200 unit is interesting as it uses USB so you can use it as a hardware plug-in to your software. I haven't tried it but the concept is right on the mark. Yamaha's SPX2000 is another great unit, would like to see it with USB like the MX200.

    If you can rent mics then that is the best way to choose your next purchase for sure. One mic I own that gets the most use is an AKG C414B-ULS although your Rode probably does similar duty. The Audio Technica 40 series mics are where I'd be looking for my next purchase.
  3. frogga

    frogga Guest

    Well after doing some further reading, I am convinced what you are saying makes great sense (for the 2NV)

    I have also (I think) decided on a microphone (which will mainly be used for male vocals) - The Neumann TLM 103 - The poor mans U87 ;-)
    I think that this, teamed up with the Great River should sound pretty damn good right?

    Now the only thing left to improve in my hardware chain is finding a good compressor (light compression going in is always good, right?) ;-)
  4. frogga

    frogga Guest

    Hmmm after some research I am thinking of maybe getting a Avalon VT-737SP - this seems to be a potentially useful unit but I dont know if this would make the Great River obsolete or whether it would be good to pair this up with it? Any suggestions on this?
  5. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    There's a thread here where some folks seem to dislike the compressor on the Avalon, and I've read a few negative things about that unit. I have never heard anything bad about Great River, Sebatron, or Universal Audio pre's.
    food for thought.
  6. frogga

    frogga Guest

    I hear you.

    I am still thinking, and I am wondering whether a Great River channel strip would be better than getting pre and comp seperately?

    I am still trying to find a good 1/2 channel compressor which would marry well with the Great River MP-2NV pre.
    C'mon guys, anyone get a great suggestion?
    max for compressor? 2000 USD

  7. frogga

    frogga Guest

    New update - I think all I have done in the last 20 hours (apart from sleep) is search this forum and on the web for this mic/pre/comp combo for my studio.

    I have now changed my microphone choice after seeing mixed views on the Neumann TLM 103 - It seems for similar money a Gefell M930 would be a better choice - as I will used it 99% for male pop/rock vocals, will this be the ideal choice for this price range?

    I am sticking with the Great Water MP-2NV as is seems to be appreciated alot - and it also gives me the option to use one channel for vox and the 2nd I can interchange between bass and guitar.

    For the compressor unit - I am still quite stuck. If I have a 2 channel pre (2 mono) - should I get a 2 channel compressor to avoid cable yanking too often? I was checking out the Focusrite Red 3 2 channel comp and that seems ok, but I haven't got much idea if this is a good choice or not.
    If we are talking in th 2000-3000 USD bracket, what would a good compressor (1-2 channel) be for what I have just mentioned?

    Also I realise that by boosting the other gear upwards, my AD DA in my MOTU 896HD might be the weakest link afterwards - question is what could I connect up to the MOTU 896HD to improve the AD DA conversion and how does that connect up to the pre's comps ( I guess I will feed the pre's into the comps anyway, so it would be comps to ?)?

    Would appreciate your feedback - hopefully one day I'll be in a position to help in return on this forum as I do over on the Cubase forum :D
  8. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    have you considered an EL Distressor? or 2 that is.
    Those seem to be lock, stock, and smoking barrel compressor. I have yet to read an article with a well known mix engineer who didnt love them. I'm saving up for a pair myself :D
    good luck in your search, and make sure to get some sleep :wink:
  9. frogga

    frogga Guest

    The distressor looks an interesting unit, but hard to get here in Switzerland for a good price... And the US shop I can buy things from doesnt stock that brand. Plus would this be a good choice for a 1st good level compressor? I dont have any other compressors worth mentioning.
    I can get a good deal on the Focusrite Red 3 dual channel comp - but is that worth it?
  10. XYZ

    XYZ Guest

    mic t3

    i m using a t3 by studio projects and its a great copy of the u87 as i said in other posts i had the chance to use some of the best vox mic ever made regardless of price and for the money the t3 is much better then groove tubes 67 and many more
    listen to my sound
    that s my favorite mic from now on < for a home studio of course> if i had 3k to spend i would buy something else but i don t have that money
    so i m happy with the t3
  11. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    Great River
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