OK, what's next?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Markd102, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Hi folks
    I'm after suggestions for my next purchase.
    Here's my setup so far..... (main equipment only)

    MXL V67M
    2x B&K 4007
    2x AKG C535-EB
    2x Beyer Opus 83
    EV RE-38 N/D
    AKG D112
    Buzz Audio SSA1.1
    Mindprint EnVoice
    Mindprint DI-Port

    Plus numerous pieces of equipment not worth their own mention.

    Now, the TLM-103 / Buzz Audio combination sounds magic on our vocalist, and 90% of the work done in our studio is our own group. So catering for outside jobs is not a huge priority for us.

    With that in mind, I'm leaning towards better 2 channel AD and/or DA, but I'm totally open to any suggestions/advice.

  2. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    .... Oh, and the other thing..... I'm not interested in getting rid of the 001 yet. I'll probably upgrade to the 003 or what ever the next model is.
  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Why buy anything ?
    Do you have a problem that needs a solution now ?
    If not , sit back and enjoy, save your money and ....
    Look to the future and set yourself to buy ,
    1 x Mic-pre
    1 x comp
    1 x EQ
    at a world class or Grammy standard. It diesn't have to be the best BUT a bread and butter real studio piece of gear.

    Don't go old and esoteric or a collectors item , just a work horse piece of equipment that would be at home in any top dollar facility.

    Second choice is to look at your monitoring and again buy good workhorse real studio stuff.
    Secondary Monitors. (you can't afford Main Monitors)
    Monitor amps and/or Switches.
    Patch panel ... or two.
    Quality cables

    This second group is the less glamorous but if you choose well it is likely you will be using them for the rest of your recording life.
  4. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Why buy anything? Just because I can really.
    My studio is a self-supporting hobby. I not trying to make any money out of it, so 100% of anything it earns goes back out on extra or upgraded equipment.
    I'm not looking for world class equipment..... The Lord knows that my engineering skills don't deserve that level. But I know that the shitty converters in the 001 are holding me back, and that's why I'm leaning that way.

    I have Tannoy monitors which i know very well. Beyer and Sennheiser headphones, a headphone amp, a Neutrik patchbay and Canare cables.
  5. MistaG

    MistaG Guest

    Get a UAD-1 card and you are done. Unless you want to upgrade those converters which would be next on my list followed by better monitors, then better preamps, then maybe outboard compressors.

    Forgot room treatment, do that first before you go any further.
  6. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    That's fine, buying stuff is fun.

    yes you are
    you just don't know it yet

    It doesn't have to be Stratavarious (how do you spell that ?) but it does need to work sufficiently well for you to learn correctly.
    When you have the experience then you can make lesser gear work .... better
    Even the lowly SM57 is at home in any top flight studio.

    Again .... crap
    good room acoustics
    good Mic
    good pre
    GREAT musician
    even the 001's converters will do just fine.

    You keep telling yourself that .....
    again, I say crap !!

    I do much of my recording on a Mobile 001 and Ai3 system and then add tracks later on a TDM system. Some of my best stuff starts with an Ai3 or 001 converter. I stopped making excuses like that years ago.

    Room acoustics, choice and positioning of Mic and the Musician have far more control than you give credit to.

    I have DT770 and Fostex T40 headphones ... and many more.
    Kyoritsu and Sifam metering
    DIY DI boxes and
    yes I have Canare cabling too.

    None of this stuff has to cost much leaving you to save your money and look to something like a Great River 1NV and a Purple Audio M77.
    There are many more choices that would be fine.

    Spend you time searching and get a REAL mic that suits you ... It is just like buying a REAL Fender or Gibson Guitar

    I've never been impressed with Sennheiser headphones.

    A Headphone amp like that from Grace are very special and backed up by a small speaker amp like the old faithful Crown75 and a splitter box you will have enough for any top flight studio gig.

    Converters will come and go over the years to come but most of the above gear will serve you for years.

    Think about what might be causing you a problem or think about what might make you life easier and more efficient.
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Spending money on buying new gear just cause you can or buying even the greatest converters won't do much if your enginerring skill are not up to the task. The money would more than likely be better spent on educating yourself and developing your skills further than any new piece of gear is ever gonna make at this time. But if your hell bent on spending money of gear, then go and do it. You'll just be another of the thousands who are trying to chase the audio wholly grail - A ghost that you all will never catch...
  8. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    If your (or any of our) engineering skills were capable of capturing everything the 001converters can capture, then we would all be bowing at your mighty engineering temple of knowledge.

  9. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    So are you saying that the TLM-103 is not a real mic? The TLM and the Buzz Audio suit our vocalist really well. The vocal recordings sound like she's sitting in the room with me.

    Have you heard the Buzz Audio preamps before? They are very clean and super fast. In the same league as Grace, Earthworks etc.

    But vocals aren't my problem area.... I would say that is bottom end. And low end clarity is an area where I think good converters will help.
  10. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    In my experience the biggest issue with low end clarity is experience, both practical and with the monitors and their environment. It just takes a bunch of time and practice and a practical room.

    Its also been my experience that the biggest contribution I hear from great converters is in stereo imaging which is due to a more define upper mid to high end.

    In my opinion low end improvement comes more from fixing your room than the converters. It ain't easy.

  11. OlympicPhil

    OlympicPhil Guest

    If you already have "all you need" to produce good quality music (ie you can be happy with your finished product through equipment you already have) then I'd probably buy in more dynamics processors and preamps. You can't have too many compressors. One particular unit might sound great on one particulartrack, but just can't quite cut it on others.

    Try shopping about for vintage kit like the Urei 1176 for example.

    Phil Plumpton
    Technical Engineer
    Olympic Studios, EMI Studios Group
  12. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    All great advice, thanks.

    I should probably tell you a little about my situation here.
    This is a hobby, nothing more. My friend and I set up the "studio" (which is basically a iron shed) because our band was getting sick of (and too old for) playing other people's songs in smokey bars to people who really couldn't give a damn. So we decided to just get together one or two nights a week, enjoy each-other's company and write/record music. I am 35 and the youngest of the group, and the oldest turns 50 this year. And our vocalist has a 40th coming up, is a mother of 4, and has just become a grandmother.

    I sold most of my live PA gear that didn't suit recording and purchased the 001 and a Mann MT31 tube condenser (man what a piece of crap that was, but I thought it was great when i first got it.)
    That was about 3 years ago. And since then I've learned heaps and built my equipment list to what I have listed above.

    So, basically the "studio" owes us nothing. It was built for the purpose of my group hanging out together and being creative. Yes I do get paying customers, but they come looking for me because they've heard that there's a recording studio around somewhere, they are friends. I only record these outsiders because I enjoy the challenge, and love to meet other musos. Then every cent they spend at the studio goes towards the next piece of equipment.

    We ARE happy with our results..... we'd probably be happy sitting around a 4-track cassette..... but the fact is that money comes in and needs to go somewhere, and I like playing with new toys.

    I'm not going to spend money on education because I think that in my situation it is not warranted. Not that I don't think I have anything to learn. I know very little in the grand scheme of things. If I was trying to make this a commercial venture then that would be different. But I just want to play with new toys, listen to good advice like I get here, and feel good when something works and I get it right.

    We are who we are. Our abilities are what they are, and while we are deffinately challenging ourselves, at our age we're not going to improve too much.

    So we are not out to produce a Grammy winning album. We just enjoy each other's fellowship and if we make some good music in the process, then that's fantastic.

    A lot of this sounds a little contradictory, but the few paying customers I get (and they are only charged a nominal fee) do enjoy the fact that something new and better is in the rack or on the stand when they come back. They can hear the improvement in not only their sound but in my mixing skills as well. They get a kick out of knowing that they have contributed. And almost everyone has been more than once.
    Plus... did I mention..... I love to play with new toys ;)
  13. OlympicPhil

    OlympicPhil Guest

    :) sounds like you're after a new toy more than a bit of "improvement kit".

    What about a new funky effects unit or something?

    A TC Fireworks or finalizer express maybe?

  14. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    You could be right Phil, but it's nice if it's an improvement too.
  15. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Now, if I decide on acoustic treatment, what should I do first...... the control room, or the live/tracking room?
  16. OlympicPhil

    OlympicPhil Guest

    If you're talking about improving your sound then your control room should be relatively painless. Soft furnishings at the back of the room (behing the engineer's listening spot) such as a sofa and/or drapes can help reduce reflections.

    If you mean soundproofing then you're into the big cash area. Just remember, an extra boundary of even just 30-60cm with just air inside can be a fantastic insulator.


    PS Either of those TC units would be not only great toys to play with, but also would work wonders on your tracks
  17. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Want a new toy? Try a any new two rack space Eventide unit. It will keep you busy for months and if you get one with the sampler option, you'll find it a really inspiring creative tool.
  18. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I recommend a rode K2 tube mic- About $600 and it sounds greaaat!
  19. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Not what I am saying at all.
    It is a fine work horse Mic and I've seen it used in many situations from Voice Over to Music Production. My fist REAL Mic was an AKG 414 and the purchase may have been 2 decades ago. The purchased was based on the reputation of the Mic with many established producers here and in the USA. The availability here in Australia made it something that I could obtain so I did. I have never felt the need to defend it. You will find it in many magazine articles over many years.. Perhaps a little out of fashion these days but a fine Mic none the less.

    That TLM is a more recent Mic and a very sensible choice. Your opening remarks were somewhat open ended so I gave a general open ended answer. Directed at anyone that might read this thread. If you must buy a Mic then a Mic to complement this one OR contrast with this one will be the choice you need to make. We have no hint to what your needs are.

    I agree with the others that gaining some knowledge is a good objective.
    This doesn't have to be a training course.
    The PA business has given you lots of skills BUT mixing for CD or small speakers is a new skill to be learned.
    Also, recognising a good sound to record is not always as easy is it should be. 24 tracks of solo quality instruments and delivery doesn't always make for a good overall mix. Just keep practising the new skills you have learned. Talk to people.

    Purchasing another REAL mic might be anything from an SM57 to another Neumann.

    I have only spent a short time in front of some Buzz Audio gear and have probably spent more time typing some communications with Tim about his gear. Up and coming and a great bloke. I wish him and his company all the best for the future.

    When buying gear from a newer manufacturer you may have the benefit of a cheaper price but only time will tell if these things become a classic. If they do , then I'm sure the price will go up. I could be wrong.

    Pay more and buy a classic if you don't have the experience or confidence but do your research and don't over spend.

    However if you are keen to do the background checks and
    audition, audition, audition
    some of the newer manufacturers.
    Great River, JLM Audio, Buzz, Purple and many more do have some great items and from what I have seen so far, from those mentioned, the Build Quality is excellent and I'm sure the after sales will be just as good. Crane Song are building quite a reputation and if I had been thinking straight on the day I auditioned one of the comps I would have bought it. I didn't and now I am kicking myself as it was offered to me at a bargain price that is not likely to happen again.

    The gear trail can be a mine field BUT that's half the fun.

    Fixing a bottom end problem with both recording and monitoring is probably more about the space then the Mic or the monitors ... or as was said above ... the converters.
    The room size might make it impossible to fix completely so in the end you may have to learn to deal with it.

    Try a recording and mixing session in someone else's room and use the experience to help sort your rooms out. If you are keen then there is nothing wrong with getting an acoustics professional to have a look and advise you on your rooms.

    A classic 1176 is a good suggestion from above ... OlympicPhil
    Have it checked by a REAL tech :wink:
    take a little risk and go from a Purple M76 or M77.
    It will add a new flavour to your kit.
  20. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Thanks Kev for your words of wisdom. I do appreciate them and I'm sorry if I came across a bit rude.
    It's just that on these forums you see a lot of equipment put-down (and talked-up) on hear-say and reputation, or because they simply haven't heard of it. Many people do not have any hands on experience with the equipment they are talking about. So I just like to weed out the have-hads from the never-haves...... If you get my meaning.

    It's quite amusing to note also that I have posted this question on three different forums, and they are all steering in different directions. Basically I can see that there is no right or wrong answer. So I'll keep saving and assess the situation again when it comes closer to purchase time. My needs will probably change by then anyway. ;)

    So Kev, where in Melbourne are you? Do you have a commercial facility? I live in Leongatha, and my "studio" is in Fish Creek.

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