Kickin' it up a notch

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Randallx, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Randallx

    Randallx Active Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Hi Everyone,
    I've been lurking around (awesome sight/forums) for a while. I was hoping I could get a little feedback. I've been a bedroom studio musician/producer (totally non-pro, not even close) for about 15 years now and much of my gear is from the 80's and early 90's. As the title says, I want to bring up the quality of my recordings to a 'noticeable' degree.
    The type of music I do is electronic (techno, house, jungle etc.). I do very little microphone recording (I use a Rode NT1/Presonus Bluetube). I mostly record sequenced synths, drum machines and samplers and I'm not using virtual instruments. I'm recording into a Mac with Digital Performer 3.11. I use the original Mackie CR 1604 for tracking and mixing. I'm getting sound into the computer using a MOTU 2408, a 2408 MKII and a 24I (audio signals are coming through the mixer, then through the MOTU hardware to get into the computer). I use an Alesis RA 100 to power my Yamaha NS-10's for monitoring. The only piece of outboard gear I own is an Alesis Quadraverb2 (and the Presonus mentioned above which I use exclusively when I record vocals which again is rare). I usually make final mixdowns to a Sony TCD-D7 (portable walkman style DAT machine).
    The problem as I see it is when I compare MY tracks with professionally recorded CD's. I'm just always disappointed in the overall sound quality. I'm sure I can attribute some of this to my own lack of skill and experience but I'm also thinking that with some gear upgrades and/or additions I can get closer to a more professional sound.
    So here I am asking for advice on ways to improve the sound of my recordings. If anyone has any opinions or advice, I would totally love to hear from you. By the way, I don't mind spending 'some' money on new gear ('some' = under $2000.00 for the next few months). Thanks in advance, Randy
  2. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    Randall, I could probably give you a multitude of suggestions on what you need to upgrade, but I'm doing no better than you. I too am one of these past gladiators that got his start in this studio stuff some 15 to 16 yrs ago. I started out with a Tascam 644, then to a 688 midistudio soon thereafter, then to my current setup which consists of a Adat XT20 & (2) Echo Layla 24/96 interfaces. I'm pretty pleased with what I'm working with now, because I HAVE TO BE. There's a lot of things I have on my wish list, but on the real, I can't afford it right now. You do however have some decent equipment and we share some of the same, but I would look into augmenting what you already have. One thing that I noticed that will never stop (with us gearheads), is "keeping up with trends". You ever wonder how some folks seem to have the ability to drop a few duckets on a piece as soon as it's put into circulation? (unlimited resources?) :? Yes I ponder the notion from time to time about being stuck with worthless equipment (but I know, there are folks that'll buy used gear...I do it). What I've learned to do is, uprade a piece at a time. And that started with my monitoring system. I too graduated from using an amp to monitor setup, to a bi-amped system. That helped my sound from the start. I can go on & on about what I did, but my advice would be to wisely spend that 2 grand and get yourself a decent monitoring setup. And maybe a nice mastering recorder like a Tascam CD-RW750, HHB 830 or whatever else you feel that'll fit your needs. I also noticed the absence of a compressor/limiter. I would defenitely add that to the list too. I'm pretty sure others have similar or better suggestions, but this is what I'd do in a case like this (budget). Well, all I can say is, "I'm sure you'll be glad to meet that long awaited expectation". Good luck & welcome to R.O!
  3. Randallx

    Randallx Active Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Hey Dabmeister,
    Thanks for the reply! I wasn't expecting a response about upgrading my monitoring system as I thought the mixer was probably the weakest link in the chain. I'd love to hear a suggestion or two about a monitoring setup. The NS-10s are the only monitors I've ever used so I can't compare them to anything else BUT, I definitely wish I had something with more bass.
    You also mentioned a compressor/limiter. Any suggestions there?
    Also, where and how would I use one? For final mixdown? Tracking?
    I'd love to hear other suggestions too! Thanks, Randy

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