Help Please!!! - Gearing up to Record someones album.

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by upstartmike, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. upstartmike

    upstartmike Guest

    Hey guys,
    I appreciate any adivce people can offer me. I RARELY bother people on forums, because I know how newbees like to ask basic redundant questions that they could easily read anywhere .. I've read/practiced and learned what i could .. but time is no longer a luxury for me.

    I somehow ended up agreeing to recording and mixing an album for a friend of mine. his album has some huge expectations from his label and others in the canadian music scene... so the pressure is on me to do it right.

    I am by no means a pro enginner. Im a director/editor for a living... even though I've got a couple of demos with him on the radio ... doing this stuff SERIOUSLY is new to me. The album will consist of just him and an acoustic guitar, with some additional tracking of a cello, bass and light percussion that we'll track elsewhere. Folky acoustic stuff.

    The ONLY reason he's doing this with me and not in a real studio is because he cares more about the good vibe he gets in my chilled out apartment, and that is more importent for him then sound quality.

    My job though, is to still make it sound good... *gulp*.

    Here is my dilema. I'm using pretty budget gear right now as far as pres and soundcard are concerned. I have a topnotch PC ... a porto-wall being built to take care of acoustic treatment, an AKG C-414 B-ULS, SM57, an ART TubeMP going into a Delta-44 ...
    Obviously the Tube MP will not do ... going by what Im reading on good sound quality. I will be renting most likely a U87 for vocals and either a Avalon vt737, or a greatriver pre ....

    What do you guys reccomend i do with $2500 ... which is more important? perhaps renting a better pre? i could shell out for renting a neve vintec 474? but that'd take more of the budget away .. would different mics be smarter? ... or a better soundcard? the delta44 was great to learn on, but i have a feeling it's going to hold me back... I really do not know too much about high quality A/D converters...

    Please any reccomendations of what you would do with the $2500 ($US) .. if you had to work from my setup. Perhaps reccomend better pres, or certainly a better soundcard? I've been looking at the MOTU MK3 .. I'm not sure how the A/D's hold up on that? or is RME the standard?
    Forgive my ignorance and go easy on me if I sound like a complete tool... but I only have about 2 weeks to get this together.

    Thanks so much for anyone's help. I appreciate it SO much!!!
  2. timtu

    timtu Guest

    Personally I think the equipment you have could pull it off. Some pros might tell you otherwise but from personal experiences I have dont a lot more with a lot less.

    Leave it to the pros though to tell you want you need but I'm just giving my opinion...not what you asked for perhaps. If youhave any skill and patients you'll be able to do it.

  3. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Don't get lost in any marketing Hype or false beliefs that the end product may benefit from utilizing any other gear.
    Something that is +2db up at 25khz really might not really make your day.

    That's excactly right.
    The performance is always the priority.
    Some so-called high end gear will only use up your resources and may not necessarily improve on the end product.

    A good pair of monitors ,, and an alternate set to A/B across to ,, are very important not only for mixing but tracking as well.
    The room has to be good and comfortable.Invest in good refreshments and lighting.
    You should be able to cut a really good record with the gear you already have... well ..... you should pick up an AT-4047 ,, that's a really nice Mic.....
  4. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I'm going to assume you don't have any decent monitors since you didn't list them, so put at least half of the dough there. You could use the rest of the dough to get something like an RME ADI-2 (or whatever it is called) and rent some decent preamps and maybe some additional mics.
  5. upstartmike

    upstartmike Guest

    Hey guys, thanks for the quick response. Yes those weren't exactly the answers I was looking for.... but much appreciated none the less.
    Sebatron, I more then understand what you're saying about the marketing.. I'm actualy normaly the one preaching about that stuff .. I'm rarely a sucker to marketing ... I'm actualy basing all of my assumptions from reading forums and constantly seeing the same things mentioned.

    I forgot to mention I have a pair of monitors; M-Audio BX5a's ..
    I suppose they're a little Mickey Mouse for trying to cut a REAL record on? Again I was just a hobbiest until now.

    To reitterate my drawn out questions. What I'm really looking for are some suggestions for rentable pres .. I know a rental place around here that has the choice of Greatriver, neve vintec 473, avalon vt737. I was going to go with the Avalon because it has comp/Eq .. but i also have the waves ren plugins .. would the comp/eq be better on the avalon then waves software? b/c that also means additional DA AD conversion .. which brings me back to one of my other q's .. .is all of this fuss over quality of pres ... just a waste if its going in through a delta44? .. would something like a MOTU make a big diff? also im using average 1/4" cabling ... nothing fancy. .. do i need uprgrade to super-duper-audiophile-put-a-second-mortgage-on-my-house-quality-cabling?

    thanks so much guys!
  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    If your friend is cool with your vibe at your studio, you could do real well by tracking at your place and doing some of the mixing at a commercial facility- that way you can make sure the end product is all it can be, you can get some valuable experience by mixing in a commercial facility and your friend will get a superior product. If mixing out is not an option, at least make sure you get it mastered in a pro facitity and bring some alternate mixes to the session. Your present studio and your bx5's might not give you a true picture of what's going on, which might hurt your final product.

    as far as equipment is concerned, you should do well with what you got. the c414 should do the trick and if you want to rent a pre the avalon should be fine. Another option would be to buy a one or two channel pre- that way you'll have it for the future as well- anything like great river, grace, or any of the other boutique brands will do. The at 4047 seb mentioned would be a great addition as well.
  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Excellent advice here.....the main thing is the vibe, and how your friend feels about working with you. The gear in this case, is secondary. Don't fall into that trap of thinking it's just about the gear. The gear is just a means to an end, and there are many ways to get there.

    Tracking there is a good idea, and mixing elsewhere might be just the ticket. (Even if you can't afford to mix the whole thing elsewhere, you could at least do one or two tunes somewhere else for a reality check.)

    And don't be so quick to turn your nose up at the MP Tube preamp. You'd be surprised what you can do with that on something special. Sure, it's not a Sebatron or an Avalon, but you just might find a use for it somewhere in the process - a grittier bass track, or a rhodes/wurlizter keyoard warmer-upper, etc. (I'm not saying you have to use it, but to dismiss out of hand in an effort to make the process "better" with gear alone, is IMHO, counterproductive.)

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