Studio Worthy Mic Pre's, EQ's, compressor/s, etc...

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by jfavela, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    Hi fellow studio junkies. To get to the point. I own a small scale home studio. I am researching what kind of hardware/ software additions to make to achieve the best, budget friendly, BOTTOM LINE.
    I know most of you, "big boys," out there will say the more $$$ the better the results. I know this.
    But I've got to believe there are SOME alternatives out there. If any of you know of good, affordable examples of the following, im all ears:
    Mic Pre's
    Studio Effects Modules
    Vst Plug Ins

    I know its a broad topic but any feedback is greatly appreciated.
  2. housefukr

    housefukr Guest

    The most amazing set of plug in bundles I've found are the UAD powered plugins and TC Powercore. The UAD has all the Universal Audio stuff like the LA2A and 1176 and the TC Powercore has an amazing voice strip and an awesome reverb. You can also buy optional plug ins like the Virus and Novation soft synths. They PCI cards so they also dont use your computer's memory
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:

    EQ - Go to ebay and buy a few Orban 622B's. 642's if you can find them... Those are crazy cool. The EQ section in the new Toft ATC2 is pretty amazing also for under $1K.

    Compressors - The FMR RNC, and the ART Pro VLA. An Avalon 747 always works fairly well and the EQ pretty nice if it's not out of the price range.

    Mic Preamps - Get as many Rane MS1b's as you can afford. Probably THE best kept non-secret in audio. They're like $150 each and they're amazingly good. Throw in a couple "all in one" units for flavor. Too many there to list...

    Effect modules - Again, so many... TC makes a few nice affordable units, Kurzweil, Lexicon... All are nice, all are worthy.

    VST Plugs - No substitute for the UAD collection. Worth 5 times the price.
  4. housefukr

    housefukr Guest

    Oh yeah, I recently got an Avalon 737 and apparently it only puts out the sound of Angels ........ and it was fairly cheap
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The good news is that due to the spread of DAWs and the plug ins associated with them, many great effects are now available used! I see PCM 60's, 70's and 80's all for sale on EBay for less than $600. Eventide HD3000/SE's going for under a grand .... All great 'verbs / effects units, for a fraction of what they originally cost. If you have the sends and returns, useing these in place of DAW based reverbs and effects can dramatically increase the quality of your recordings. It can also help reduce the strain of running extra plugs at mixtime.

    The bad news is this phenominin dosen't extended to mic pres, eq's and compressors. Good ones still cost and cheaper ones still sort of suck ...

    The best one can do in the case of budget constraints is to use DAW based compression and equalization, (cheap outboard hardware eq's & comps are more expensive and no better IMO) and get a small mixer like a Tascam, Mackie or Allen Heath and press those pres into service... While they are not the best pres available (in terms of sonic signature) these small mixer pres all spec / perform respectably. With some judicious use of equalization and compression (from DAW based plugs) acceptable recording quality can be achieved. Will it sound like a record recorded with a Neve console? Well, no ... but the results will be acceptable ... and who knows, 10 years from now , someone may be asking "How did they get that sound?"

    I am becoming convinced that a lot of what I like about how old vintage gear sounds, lies in that I grew up listening to those tones associating them with what I came to think sounded good ...
  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    That's certainly something to ponder.... maybe the 'sounding good' concept is/was/will evolve beyond our scope...however no one is goint to tell these old dogs that something we think sucks sounds good! :D
  7. by

    by Guest

    That's true, I did an album a while ago solely with an RNP and Behringer Omnis, and shure 57 mics for most other stuff. It turned out pretty good I guess. Now I'm recording with API and mics ten times the price and I think it's sounds worlds better but this one guy in the band keeps saying "Make it as good sounding as that other album you did!" and I'm just like 'wha?' To his ear the garbage-ier sound is better I can't imagine why but he thinks it's amazing. I suppose it may be cause he's probably blown his ear drums at loud concerts (he has complained) and that he's recently been listening to alot of punk rock (he used to be into jazz) :?
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It's a phenomenon we all have experienced ... you provide a rough mix of a song to the client ... Weeks later, after many overdubs and much work, you bang out the final, only to have the band tell you, "We like the rough better "...

    It's because they have become accustomed to that sound ...
  9. BladeSG

    BladeSG Guest

    I agree, but not entirely. I think that on some occasions the 'rough' or fast mixes are actually better than the ones that have been laboured over. I think in this day and age alot of inexperienced home/project studio owners over complicate the process. I know most want to be inovators and I myself have been guilty of this on many occasions, by using too much of the latest greatest plug or outboard processor. Keeping it simple sometimes produces the best results. I think as you mentioned 'becoming accustomed to that sound' works in reverse also, whereby if you're recording/mixing garbage you sometimes start to get accustomed to this and don't actually recognize that it is garbage. Don't record/mix all at the same time unless you've got serious deadlines, go away from it or work on another track. Let your ears and perceptions recover and hopefully when you come back to it you're going to be far more objectionable with fresh ears. Always listen to other stuff you know well and like, use this as a reference.
  10. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    I 2nd the powercore! I got one about a month ago, mate, i cant use standard plugs anymore, they are definately a worthy investment for any studio, getting the sony oxford eq's for it next week!! yeah baby yeah!!! :D

    JOSHUA: check out soft synths too, Rop Papen's Albino is crazy for the bucks, it kicks ass! doesnt have much of your bread and butter sounds but it will surely have stuff you like!

    Check out the L1 ultramaximizer plug in, works well for loudness maximizing.

    Also, i luv this next unit, check out the sansamp bass di, again, for the bucks its great.

    Good luck mate,


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