need some ideas for a small set-up!

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by focusingmind, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. focusingmind

    focusingmind Guest to this forum ...well honestly new to forums please excuse any courtesys i fail to follow....i am a singer/song writer....been playing guitar for about ten years and am now looking for a way to record myself /others...should mention i am also an analog loyalist.....(digital is just to sterile...IMHO)....was thinking of a small set-up like this;

    1)mixer - soundcraft M8 (alot of good reviews)(100mm faders)

    2)mic pres - sebatron thorax (acoustic guitar...think it might be what i'm looking for)....(channel 2 on the M8 )
    - manley voxbox (vocals) (channel 1)
    - gml 8304 (channels 3-6) (extra guitar mics....maybe hand drums.....another voice? shania's or avril's)
    - channels 7- 8 leave alone...just to mix it up

    3)mics - aea r84, soundelux E49, bunch of shures

    4)compressors -dbx 162sl , drawmer dl 241

    5)recorder - tascam tsr-8 (each channel send from M8 to inputs)
    -alesis xt-20 (back-up) :shock: is digi i know

    always looking for additions/subs to this set-up...been saving awhile now...nearly at the point of purchasing.....not much of one to fool around with sound fixing or anything...but will consider a laptop for this purpose if need be...

    just wondering what everyone reading has to think about this set-up?......curious to know if i'm really being to overzealous with quality....(by the way....most recordings will be in an isolated room....designed by yours you say egg carton walls...)

    thanks inadvance to those who reply.....


  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    That gear list sounds very nice but you may want to put some of your money into proper acoustic treatment. You won't be able to get the most out of your gear until you have a room free of acoustic distortion to record in. The egg cartons may tame the high end flutter echoes but will do nothing for the low modes that cause coloration and uneven decay times. Pay the guys in the Acoustics and Design forum a visit. You'll be happy you did.

    Also, what do you plan to do about monitoring?
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    IMO the recorder is the weakest link in the chain. The 1/2" 8 track format suffers from a lack of good low end and dynamic range. Add to that, the use of DBX noise reduction (with which without, the recorder is essentially useless). DBX doubles all frequency response errors (which on a 1/2" 8 track is not that good to start with). A typical Tascam machine will claim a 65 dB signal to noise, 40 Hz to 20k Hz response, + or - 3 dB ... but this is measured without the DBX NR engaged. When you add DBX NR to the equation, you have a + or - 6 dB variance ... pretty ragged! DBX also destroys impact, attack and increases modulation noise that rises and decays behind the signal. In theory, signal masks noise and this is acceptable but in practice, modulation noise can destroy transparency, especially across multiple tracks. That is you don't really hear it because the signal masks it but it makes it harder to define individual elements in the mix, especially if it is a cluttered and dense mix with lots of elements. If you are serious about analog, a 1" 8 track is the way to go. A large format machine will typically exhibit a frequency response of 30 Hz to 24 kHz, at +1 and - 0 dB, with 10 dB better signal to noise, without noise reduction! Add a Dolby type A unit for another 10 dB of N/R and you are almost as quiet as the machine with the DBX, sans all the response errors and with much better wow and flutter specs. However, this is very expensive in terms of initial costs and maintenance, which is why so many of us have turned to DAW for our home studios.

    You don't say what you will be mixing on. Once again in analog world, small is not good. A large format console like a Neve, SSL, MCI, Sound Workshops, a bigger Soundcraft etc., is the only way to get truly great audio. Mackies and A&H's and other small format consoles (for the most part) just don't perform that well. Again, because of initial expense and maintenance, this is why so many of us have turned to DAW for our home studios.

    Last, consider some other compressors of the FET or El Op types .. the DBX 162sl and the Drawmer dl 241 are both vca types and are not suitable for pulling large amounts of gain (up to 10 dB) out of a signal without adding audible artifacts. El OPs (like the UA LA2a or the Manley El OP) are IMO, best for that. As long as you only pull a few dB of gain reduction with a vca comp, they are relatively unobtrusive, but in the long run once you hear an El Op, you will never go back to a vca comp. FET types, like the UA /Urei 1176 & 1178, have that aggressive almost grainy sound that so many like for vocals and bass and can really make a track stand out in a mix.
  4. focusingmind

    focusingmind Guest

    First i'd like to thank David and Kurt for their insight........thanks guys......Secondly

    David.....i realise the acoustic treatment aspect....and am curious to know your opinion on isolated sound rooms (by the respecting companies who make them)....would they be a good start on taming some of the inherent flutter as you have mentioned as well as maybe add some low end support to the studio (given they are alittle more confined then recording in an open space)....would you have any recommendations on how i could go about treating the place i plan on recording in (studio loft)......As for monitoring....have been looking at the mackie hr824's or yamaha's successors to the ns10m's.....thanks for the link and your opinions....greatly appreciated......

    Kurt......i am aware of some of the DAW's pros (like cost effectiveness)....but am willing to shell out the extra moola for tape based recording gear....i just feel they add that extra something to the mix that digital just can't......i was unaware though of the range the 1/2" format was lacking in.....especially lower mentioned 1" you have any recommendations for recorders in this format ? (through experience or good word of mouth) do you feel about Otari's tape based machines?.......or maybe studer's ?.......

    EL-ops you opposed to vca based compressors......have taken in your opinion (thanks again)....and will definitely consider hearing some of these....i guess i might just have to rent one of each type and let my hears be the judge...this is one area i'm not too familiar with....

    As for the mixing console itself.....(soundcraft M8 )......through channel strips and add-on mic pres ...i'd basically be using the mixer for hands on treatment....and basically for the well as the outs to the recording media.........if what you say is true....maybe i'll have to budget for a midas venice series (would give me extra channels to play around with during mixing).....

    Thanks again for all your insights David and've both given me lots to think about.....

  5. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002

    I am not an acoustics guru; i'm an acoustics enthusiast. There are some gurus in the acoustics forum. You really should make a post in there about treating your room.
  6. focusingmind

    focusingmind Guest

    Thanks again David........i will
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    With your preamp setup you will likely only use the mixer as a monitoring controller though you could use the pres in it for extras in tracking a large number of inputs at once.I like the M series...they are clean and quiet...they are not at the level of the other parts you have chosen as your recording media.Depending on your budget, you should look into a more pro console...You should also look into the maintainence of these 'pro consoles' as well as the recorder....The Otari is a great bang for the buck...get a 1" 8 track if this is the sound you want...but investigate the ability to have it serviced at least once every six months....Its great to hear someone going 'retro' for the sound...
  8. focusingmind

    focusingmind Guest

    Hi Davedog....thanks for the reply.....i do realize with this set-up the weak link would be the M8 ...but was hoping it is quiet enough to get a few demos done on it ...then maybe upgrade to a pro console...(just wondering what pro consoles did you have in mind ? ) far as servicing the 8-track as well as the pro console ...once i do purchase them...there are a few places around my area to bring them in to get i think i'm ok in that respect....(fingers-crossed)....just really hoping the M8 will hold its own for now......thanks again for your input...


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