Studio equipment - advice needed

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by bowman, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. bowman

    bowman Guest

    Hi to all,

    I'm in final stages of building and equiping my studio so I would appriciate any input you care to share with me. I want to work in analog domain all the way up to my PC which will be setup as multitrack-recorder. I use Adobe Audition 1.5 currently. What do you think or what expirience do you have about following equipment (and feel free to give me some other options in every category):

    Studio size is (LxWxH): 7,60x3,20x2,90 meters

    Sound cards:
    -M-AUDIO Delta 1010
    -M-AUDIO Delta 66
    -ESI Waveterminal 192M
    -CREAMWARE Luna 24/96 box

    -SE ELECTRONICS M1C, SE1a, SE2200a, SE2a
    -BEHRINGER B-1, B-5

    -MACKIE 1604VLZ Pro
    -YAMAHA MG24/14FX

    Active monitors:

    I'm also interested in Microphone Preamplifier/Voice Processor (1 or 2 ch.) around 500$ and Expander/Gate/Compressor/ Peak Limiter (2 or more ch.) in that price range... Is "Behringer" any good in that respect since their prices are very low.

    I'm new here so I hope you'll have some patience for me. Thx to you all in advance!
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    It looks like your equipment selection is good for a startup studio. I love Adobe Audition 1.5. I've been using the program what was known as Cool Edit 96, since 1996.

    Your microphone selection looks reasonable but I would also suggest a few favorites of mine the the rocksolid Shure SM57/58. Can't be beat for guitar and even vocals, snare drum, tom toms. A great replacement for a Neumann U87! No kidding!

    Extra microphone preamplifiers? It looks like you already have plenty and there are obvious differences in sound between your different mixers. For another flavor, get one of those two channel low-cost tube preamplifiers, like from ART or others. They are inexpensive and will give you a totally different character of sound because I believed those particular types utilize what is known as " depleted plate supply". In techno babble jargon, but simply means that they're not supplying the full 250 volt DC power to the tube. It makes the tube distort easier to give you more of that quality and character of sound.

    you don't have any compressor/limiters listed in your arsenal currently. The Behringer's are reasonable sounding, totally inexpensive, totally disposable, don't get them repaired, units. They make a nice quad unit and an even nicer 2 track unit. Another reasonable cheap limiter is the Alesis. You definitely need one for vocals. Gates? I personally prefer downward expanders as opposed to Gates. You can set them up as Gates if you like but for vocals, we are nicer after the compressor with only about 10 DB of " ducking". Gating sounds unnatural, except on drums. There, they shine.

    You appear to have a plethora of reasonably good audio cards. Why so many? You don't have them all plugged into a single computer do you? Maybe you do? If you don't, and you want to multitrack, most of the multitrack sound cards only have 8 inputs. You might want to look into the MOTU 24i if it is still available? It's 24 analog inputs into their PCI 324 card, into your computer. Given it's a fairly new and fast computer, it should be able to handle 24 inputs simultaneously, otherwise, your Creamware maybe the ticket?

    Good luck and happy recordings!

    Remy Ann David
  3. bowman

    bowman Guest

    Thx a lot for your advice.

    I don't have all that equipment - I'm thinking of buying some of it so I wanted to hear what to buy from someone with more experience than me.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well there you go! Confusion here is a wonderful thing.

    Personally, as far as audio boards go, I would prefer to have the Mackie over any of the Behringer's. None of these consoles however can be repaired very successfully if they should ever need it. They are all built with circuit boards with surfacemount components in groups of 4 or more inputs each. So, if inputs three should go bad you may end up having to replace inputs 1 -4 or even, 1 -8! So be gentle, be careful, maybe get a case and cover it when not in use. The Beringer probably has more character to its sound, although they advertise their quiet, I have found them noisier than the Mackie. The Mackie I find more neutral. I have also used some Allen and Heaths, they don't do anything to excite me either. Absolutely stay away from the Teac/TASCAM boards, they sound awful.

    A friend of mine has one of the older creamware cards and loves it. I own an old Digidesign Audiomedia I. I. I. that's semi retired. My main computer audio card for the past few years has been the MOTU 2408 mark 2. That card offers 8 balanced 1/4 inch inputs along with 3 TASCAM TDIF digital ports that made with my TASCAM DA88s. That would be a reasonable card for you as it is affordable and you could easily upgrade to a full 24 track system by supplementing your studio with a couple of used TASCAM DA38 or 88s, which these days are going for as little as $250 US on eBay. Of course they are 16-bit. A lot of people want higher resolution recording these days like 24-bit 96kHz but honestly, although that does sound smoother/better, part we still all listening to the venerable and over quarter-century old CDs? Besides, I personally feel that PCM sounds like PCM sounds like PCM. I would much rather on a DSD system but can't afford it at this point. NOW that sounds different! Much nicer than PCM.

    If you're starting out, an 8 input card may be adequate for your purposes but even tracking a small rock-and-roll band, you can certainly exceed that capacity quickly, especially if you are a drum monster. Although, 8 inputs is a good start and adequate to learn and improve with. Your Adobe Audition is capable of over 64 tracks. The M audio stuff is good and is all now a part of Digidesign. So if you decided to go with something like Pro Tools instead of the Audition for in addition to, you would be compatible for the Digidesign software which can only run on designated hardware. I don't do Pro Tools just because it is an industry-standard or because it has the word " Pro" in its title.

    I am an old-fashioned snob when it comes to microphones and although I've used some of the audio technocrat microphones, they're not my favorite (but I do have their long shotgun for location sound, newsgathering, I couldn't afford the long Sennheiser). In that respect even though I haven't used any of the Behringer microphones, I would go with them simply because of their German heritage (even if they are made in Taiwan, not sure about that?) but probably only if I auditioned them first.

    For monitors, a lot of guys go with the Yamaha's but I'm not a big Yamaha fan, I am an old fan of JBL and probably always will be, when it comes to speakers. The important thing about speakers is to take your favorite CD and go audition (not with that software but at the store) them yourself and the other speakers you have listed, they are all popular, you have to be the judge.

    The advice I gave you on compressor/limiters still stands. Even though your Adobe software has some nice features, you will definitely want to track through your compressor/limiter when you are doing vocals and such, before you go into the computer. For further processing, you can use the stuff in the software as well for the mix.

    Outboard microphone preamplifiers? I would recommend you learn how to make good recordings with your mixer first but my other information I gave you is still good. When it comes to microphone preamplifiers, most of the inexpensive ones are transformer less. Although there are good ones, it is primarily done for economic reasons. Most good and classic microphone preamplifiers, utilize a high-quality transformer. Cheap transformer's are not worth the iron in them. Now although transformers create their own kind of distortion, we want the kinds from the good ones.

    Have a great and safe holiday (if you're not from the United States that might mean vacation to you, either way be safe, stay at home and record stuff)

    Remy Ann David
  5. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    you may not want to track vocals thru a compressor.

    dont buy loads of gear all at once, buy a bit at a time.

    get a good computer, dont skimp.

    get an SM57

    what kind of tracks do you do? Why do you want to work in the analog domain? what exactly do you mean by this?
    I would of thought unless your analog signal path is something special you'd be a fool not to think more in terms of the flexiblity and power of computer recording and editing. unless you hate computers.
    You'll need a butt load of outboard gear to mix out side the box, a butt load! if you mix mostly in the box you can spend that money on a smaller amount of good gear which will add style to your recordings. but i'd start off small and work up, learning.

    its great
  6. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I'va had my 66 for years, and recently added a 1010 for more inputs. Both cards have been rock solid with Cubase VST, Tracktion and Soundforge, though I need to use the last-but-one driver version or my ASIO buffer size can't be changed from within Tracktion.. I think M-Audio may have buggered that up when adding pro-tools support! I always thought the 66 sounded pretty good, but I heard a distinct improvement when I switched to the 1010 as my main card..

    I have a Z5600a 9 pattern valve LDC which sounds great: a big detailed transparent sound with no obvious valve colouration.. a friend of mine has the SE2200a (IIRC) which did a convincing job as a drum overhead the other day. SE mics get a :cool: from me so far..

    You won't go far wrong there: My 1402 has been faultless so far, and the pre-amps really are pretty decent! I've used a few behringer desks (mainly for live sound) and never liked any of them much..

    maybe add Mackie to your list? I'm very happy with my HR626s (I think they sound better than the 824s)
  7. bowman

    bowman Guest

    I just wanted to thank you all for giving me a lot of very usefull information. I hope I will be able to help you with something in the future.

    Thx again and happy holidays!!!
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