How to spend about $1800

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by tony25931, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. tony25931

    tony25931 Guest

    I've landed a windfall of £900 (currently about $1800) and am looking to upgrade.
    My current setup is:

    3GHz PC running Logic - 2GB SDRAM
    Aardvark Q10
    2x UAD-1 (inluding 1176LN, LA2, Fairchild, Plate but not Precision series or Cambridge as yet)
    Mackie 624 monitors
    Studio Projects TB1 mic (not a bad mike - gives quite a nice sheen to my vocals and seems to suit them quite well)
    DFHS drums

    Mainly recording rock. About to start recording vocals for next album. I have access to a my production partner's Powercore Firewire, Pod XT Pro and Korg Triton and also a Kurzweil K2500.
    My thoughts are to upgrade the front end with a new mic pre +/- LD mic as that seems to be the weakest link at the moment.
    Any thoughts on how to spend it?
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Mic pre definately.Your Studio Projects mic,which you already like, will respond quite favorably to a highend pre.For $1800 you can get a couple of channels or if you think hardware ,one great channel strip.There are many to choose from and auditioning them would be the definitive method of choosing.
  3. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Just a reminder that Aardvark is no longer in business... As long as your Q10, is working fine, OK, but if you had considered upgrading the interface, this might be a time to think more seriously. At least research and be ready to buy(Fast!) if a non-fixable problem occurs...

    What mic preamps do you use now? Are they in the Q10?(I'm not familiar with it...)

    How do you like the UAD-1?

  4. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    I totally agree with Teddy. I'd put the Q10 up on ebay and let some other sap buy it and worry about no tech support later on down the road. You can probably still get 450 to 500 bucks for it. Add that to your 1800 and you have 2300 left. Maybe replace it with something like a MOTU, Presonus Firepod, RME Fireface, or something of the sort. How many pre's are you going to need built in the the interface? How many total pre's do you need? The MOTU 896HD hsa 8 channels with pre's (granted not anything special but probably comparable to the Q10's) and it is a shade under 1000 bucks. So you still have 1300 left over to spend on a good preamp like a Langevin 2 channel or hell you can even get 3 groove tube "bricks" and have some diversity.
  5. tony25931

    tony25931 Guest

    Thanks, I'm sadly aware that Aardvark have gone out of business so the Q10 is no longer supported. At the moment I'm using the mic pres in the Q10 which whilst quite clean could I'm sure be improved upon. Reviewers have compared them with Mackie VLZs in terms of quality.

    The UAD-1 (I'm now running 2) is fantastic - particularly the 1176LN and LA-2 modelled compressors. Make HUGE differences to vocals and drums especially. The Plate 140 (modelled on the EMT plate) is very sweet too - the reverb blends very nicely with the signal so you don't get that seperateness that you normally have with software reverbs. I wouldn't be without these now. Absolutely no going back.

    I think I'm sold on the idea of a better mic pre. I guess the question is which one. I've seen very favourable things said about all kinds of pres - Sebatron, Apogee mini-me, vintech, the list goes on. Ideally I'd go for dual channel I think - gives more flexibility for miking up things like acoustic guitars etc.

    Thanks for your thoughts so far. More would be greatly appreciated.

  6. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    For $1800 or less I can think of a few preamps that might be nice:

    Focusrite ISA428
    API Lunchbox....oh yea!
    GT Brick
    John Hardy many channels are you looking to get?
  7. tony25931

    tony25931 Guest

    I think 2 channels will do fine.
    I got the Q10 anticipating that I would be recording live drums, but since using the DFHS I've changed my mind about that. Unlikely that I'll ever need more than two.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    All of the above and also check out Amek. There a couple pres and channel strips in that range. Also, check out Summit.
  9. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    $1800 for 2 channels is actually a pretty nice budget! There are so many options that I don't know what I'd pick. I'd probably get an API Lunchbox with 2 preamps in it, and leave the four remaining slots open for expansion. Then you could either add more pres, EQ, compression....whatever blows your dress up.

    The reason why I say this is that 1. You can expand as you wish 2. You can record drums if you wish with "the pre of choice" for rock drums 3. The pres are good on anything.

    I've finally heard API channels in action and could've $*^t myself because I was that impressed.


    I would probably get a Sebatron. Having some nice tube preamps sitting around is a great thing!
  10. PCM

    PCM Guest

    If the Q10's working, let it alone.

    I think this is a great opportunity to drop a couple large on a great pre (pres).

    Does the Q10 have ADAT or AES/EBU ins? If so, the ISA 428 with AD card would be a beautiful match up with your setup. If the Q10 goes up...big deal- you still have stellar conversion and can just slap something in to your computer that will accept a digital signal.

    THere are better pres out there to be had for 1800, but not 4 stellar channels w/ AD. THe ISA is a great value.

    If you want to go all out and get the best box around, save up a couple hundred extra and get the great river mp2nv.
  11. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    don't go for the isa! specially with the ad card! the q10 is known for having a good conversion so why spend around 400 bucks for a cheap ad like that!
    and the isa 428 doesn't gives you much more options like the sebatron with 2 channels or whatever pre out there!
    the isa is 4 channels and it passes your budget! if you only need 2 at max go for great quality and not good quantity!
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    If you do go with the API. I recomend the API 3124+. It is a little more $ than the Sebatron. But if you get a lunch box your not really saving any money(once you buy everything). The 3124+ is rack mountable, and is smaller in size than the lunch box. And you get 4 of these bad boys.
  13. tony25931

    tony25931 Guest

    Thanks for all the input so far, plenty to chew over.
    Just a bit more style is rock ranging from ballads to pretty heavy - my voice has a bit of grit to it so something that will enhance that would be good!
    Unfortunately the UK is a crazy place to buy stuff - price in £ is same as price in $ in the US - i.e. costs about double. So I'm looking to buy in the US therefore less opportunity to try before I buy.
    The API 3124 looks great but unfortunately really is beyond my available budget unless someone's feeling charitable!
    Currently could get a Sebatron vmp2000e for $1000 including shipping to UK. Would still have to pay some handling charges this end plus duty (VAT at 17.5%). Or with the VUs for a bit more (handy as the Aardvark doesn't have front panel metering - only in the software).
    The Q10 is working very well - only had it for about 18 months. Am pleased with converters.

  14. sevenone

    sevenone Guest

    I'd say check out the new Neve stuff. $1440 for the new 2 channel Neve Portico Pre. Can't suck too bad, ok it could, who knows yet. But, it's got a chance to be good.
  15. PCM

    PCM Guest

    With all due respect, your comments are just not correct. THe ISA A/D conversion is very good. Have you heard the ISA before?

    Also, the ISA is a very versatile pre. So is the sebatron from what I've heard, but that does not make the isa's versatility null.

    Just needed to hop in and clarify.

    The ISA will come in under budget without the AD. A nice thing to look into, as is the sebatron. The ISA is a great pre, hands down.

    Liek I said though, if I had the money, I'd get the great river.
  16. J-MADD

    J-MADD Active Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Home Page:
    Oh NO!!! Rupert Neve is designing new preamps. Boy that won't sound very good! :wink:
  17. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Tony, I just wanted to explain something to you. I am a genius :shock:
    NOT :lol: :lol: :lol:
    But all joking aside, I do have some nice, real nice gear. And I play heavy music as well. I like harder rock and heavy metal, anything with lots of guitar and drums! And I play bass, so when I went to buy a pre amp for the drums and guitar.I went with the best...the API3124+
    Here's the way I looked at it....
    The Sebatron 4000e is now priced at $1700 (u.s. money)
    and if you get a 1000e VU they are now $850 (again u.s. money)
    So 4 pre's for $425 each on the 4000e (4 divided into $1700=$425)
    And on the 1000e you only get 1 pre amp, and you pay $850 for it.
    Now on the other hand. It doesn't mean that the Seb's won't be better, they might? I don't know about that.
    But the other products should be looked at the same for instance, the API 3124+
    It's $2350 @ soundpure dot com and there are 4 pre amp's on the 3124+....(4 divided into $2350=$585)
    A difference of $160
    (that's between the Seb 4000e and the API3124+ both have 4 pre amp's)
    Not really a big difference in price, if I may say.
    And I never heard anyone that owns a real nice pre amp complain that they had too many channels.
    So look at the cost per channel. And if you have $425 you can spend per, pre amp, surely you can save up one pre amp at a time, for the extra $160. Even if you don't do anything, but save the money while you think about it.
    $50 bucks here, $40 bucks there, throw it in a jar and write "Sweet ass MutherF*ck!n pre-amp" on it.
    Lastly I would like to add...
    I bought an API 3124+, the way I saw it was, that if I could afford the API then that was the most exspensive one of all the pre-amp's. So I knew I could afford any of the others, simply because they were all less $$$$.
    Now I have a Great River MP-2NV and some Avalon, and the Seb is real high up on the list.
    Sorry if the prices I listed don't really help you because you are over sea's. :oops:
    Good luck!
  18. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Bump. Any word on the new Neve Portico stuff? Made in good 'ol Texas, too! I just saw the Ad in EQ magazine. I bet these are too new to have much buzz going on. Anyway, any info is appreciated... Seems like a stripped down 9098EQ?

  19. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    Congratulations on your windfall.

    And are getting sleepy. Your mind is beginning to relax. You are beginning to feel the uncontrollable urge to rid yourself of this scourge. the money burns in your pocket. It sears your mind. It MUST GO!!!

    When I say the word: "chicken" you will be compelled to wire your $1800 to the following bank account in Switzerland...
  20. tony25931

    tony25931 Guest

    Thanks for the input guys.
    It seems from reading posts and reviews that the Great River would be the way to go (yet to hear anything even remotely negative about it and seems more suited to rocking out) - but I can only afford one channel of this (ME-1NV) once shipping and customs are taken into account - similarly with API. I can't wait for second hand as I've got this project to get on with.
    Other option would be to get two channels of Sebatron.
    Aah! Decisions, decisions.
    I'm leaning towards getting the Great River ME-1NV though.

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