budget questions - pres - condensers - reverb units - help!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by diogo, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. diogo

    diogo Guest

    hello all,

    im a recent member of this forum but a reader for long now. my name's diogo and im writing from Portugal. im a singer songwriter just getting started in home recording, wanting to upgrade from a fostex MR8 and akg 880 dynamic to some better stuff. thing is i opted to tell my independent label that i'll save the studio time money to invest in some gear and do, at least the masters at home, but hopefully the whole record. my budget is, however, limited, very....

    but to place my sound, its something between red house painters and nick drake...where acoustic guitars and vocals are always the main thing in the mix, upfront, and ocasional layers of guitars (4AD/shoegazing type of thing) behind, along with bass, drums wich are recorded outside (external studio) and some synth, very little, wich is also recorded outside. so basically, im talking about a setup that has to have a 2 channel pre, some decent mics, an interface and a reverb unit. this setup will be used mainly for the all vocal layers, all acoustic guitar layers, all electric guitar layers and bass.

    my questions are as follow, and i apologize for such a "demanding" topic as a first topic, but i could really use some help here :/

    this is what i narrowed my search to so far:

    - M-audio Delta 1010 LT (this seems a well loved unit, i was considering EMU1212 but i dont really trust that company and there's no need for 192khz, maudio seems much more in tune with musician's needs)

    - Shure SM57 (everyone has to have one right? or a few..)

    - pre (looking into a budget one as i can colour the sound with the reverb unit and cant really afford a high end unit yet) - this is one of my main issues and i would apreciate any inpute here...considering my recording needs (as decribed above) i would be looking (but cant make up my mind) into M-audio DMP 3; FMR's RNP; and some other units under 300 bucks that hopefully dont have equalizing or compression on them for i understand its best to have one thing there, not many...the RNP is really the only unit im willin to throw more money into...the rest 300 bucks tops. hopefully 200/250. the DMP 3 seems to get the best out of everyone in this kind of range, but if there's one that goes a little extra mile and considering my needs, please feel free to sugest...
    this is one big issue for me, i really cant make up my mind.

    - this issue has another one in it though...i dont mind mixing in the box, ive been doing that with the tracks i get from the fostex into cool edit pro 2.1 , but im also thinking i could get a Soundcraft Spirit M4 and use the pres in there, and while im at it learn the ways of "real" mixing. i guess my question here is, are the pres in a soundcraft more usable than the budget outboard pres? wich road should i take here..i would love to learn how to mingle in a board, but i can also use the spare time and money...its really a matter of is it that different, or whats more worth it, considering my needs...

    - reverb unit...this is another tricky issue...ive narrowed my search to 4 units...as i rely a lot on that early 4AD bands sound, and i apreciate that tacky 80/90's reverb (sorry) but i also want something that can sound natural (as in abandoned cereal silo reverb), i was looking into "old" alesis and lexicon units:

    - alesis microverb IV
    - alesis midiverb 4
    - TCM 300
    - lexicon MPX 110
    - also, besides your opinions, how can i interface this with the pre? im really sorry if this is the dumbest question ever...

    - decent budget condensers.....ive been looking into oktava's 012's but i dont even understand why the different capsules....anyway, the rest is just a blur...again, considering my needs are basically acoustic guitar and vocals, electric too but i mic my fender hotrod, jazzmaster and pedal setup into the SM57, i think that goes by since the electric guitars aint the main thing in the mix...i dont even know if i need a large condenser or a small one...omni or uni directional....damn....any help would be a miracle...

    - also, i kind of like cool edit pro 2.1., and ive been using that for a while...can i anticipate any problems in terms of compatibility considering the kind of setup im putting together, and considering that the interface will very likely be the delta 1010 LT? also, i can probably get nuendo or pro tools, but ive grown attached to cool edit, i find the effects there very usable and fancy not having to add plug ins and stuff...are the fx on the other softwares at least as good as in cool edit? is it worth an upgrade?

    - also, with cool edit fx, will i really need an outboard reverb unit, especially considering the range i can afford?

    - decent reliable monitors up to 300 bucks tops :/

    i think this is it for now...i would immensily apreciate any help you guys can throw my way, as i have to take quick decisions in the next few days...my budget is limited but i want to make good decisions and spend the little money the label gave me correctly, and at the same time on stuff that wont leave me hanging and that wont make me feel i have to upgrade in like 2 weeks after gettin it :/

    many many tanx in advance to all of you...

    desperate man here.

  2. diogo

    diogo Guest

  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Hi Diogo,
    mighty difficult questions. I´ll try some ideas for you to taste on.

    Prio 1) mics.
    It will not be better than the mics how hard you try. I think the SM57 is a good choice for micing electrical guitar amplifier.

    You need something else for you acoustic guitar and for your voice. Maybe you should check the studio you have been using before and what worked there. The Octava 012 is a good choice for guitar, you will probably only use the Cardoid capsule so skip the others. For singing you really need to try the mic. Any one mic may sound like heaven on one person and really bad on the next person.

    Prio 2) working environment
    My guess is that you are best served by getting a small mixer. You can use the micpres in that and send the signal into you recording system. At the same time you can send the signal to your headphones without latency for monitoring. Some people take very badly to latency in monitoring so using a mixer is probably a good way there.

    Prio 3) sound card and software
    I haven´t used any of the things you mention, but it seems people on the net likes them. Cannot really say anything there.

    Prio 4) monitoring
    I often see Sony MDR 7506 headphones in studios. Own a pair myself and can recommend them. For monitors, there are quite a few to select from. My choice in the small /cheap category is Yamaha MSP5.

    Prio 5) reverb
    My suggestion is to not use any hardware reverb for the recording. You may want to have some kind of reverb for improving monitoring. Maybe the mixer has one built in, otherwise buy something used and cheap if you really need it. Instead look at software reverbs, there is a program called Sir that is free, and quite a few others are available in software form, from free to expensive.

    Good luck

  4. diogo

    diogo Guest

    hey Gunnar,

    many tanx for the reply..

    mics - thing is i cant try the mics..i duuno how's sweden, but here in portugal its a living hell man, u order u have to buy it :/ not to mention the brutal prices..

    oktavas are raved as budget mics, so ive heard....should i get a matched pair? i dont really understand how im gonna mic the guitar..stereo? that has to be a pair right?

    we did all the previous recordings with the sm57 on guitar and some very cheap condenser on vocals..i think it was a tbone..came with something i bought from thomann.de , but i gave it to the guy thats been producing my stuff..

    im also looking into rodes...and i can go some extra miles for mics..its worth it right...

    - the small mixer i was going to is the soundcraft spirit M4 ....nevertheless its 450 euros/bucks...and i will get it eventually....but right now its almost impossible...cause its either get that and get nothin else, or get everything else, mix in the box for a while, and then later work my way up. i would only go for the mixer now if the pres were much better than the budget pres im aiming for...the mixer is complicated at this point :/

    - those sony's really look the nicest..but again, waaay out of reach :/ the monitors are more "reachable", but still, at 250 1 item...very hard as well....do u know of anything reliable (and active) along the lines of 300/350 a pair?

    - tanx for the advice on the SIR..i have it, but i cant make it work as an add on on cool edit pro 2.1 ...dunno why...

    keep it coming, and many tanx!


Share This Page