Originally Posted by Gatsby
Great informative answer to my question Superwack about eq/compression during tracking versus later on and the resulting multiple conversions, sampling of samples. As a newbie, I've always worried about the problem and what happens when you keep converting a signal. Early on and initially I ignorantly assumed that people only used hardware compression and eq on the way in, not later. My converters right now are this, happily a Burl B2 Bomber ADC for A/D, but sadly a mbox2 for a DAC to my monitoring situation. And also that means I only have 2 channels of A/D D/A conversion so any use of outboard after tracking is going to require me to pick up another converter with more channels. (I'm eventually looking to add the Apogee Symphony I/O). But based on having high-end converters like a Burl B2 Bomber ADC and 8 channels of I/O in a Apogee Symphony in the future, is multiple conversions not then a big issue?
Another factor to mention, bring up, and ask about is hardware eqs and compressors and added coloration, added character, "analog warmth", etc. Like if there are benefits to using hardware compressors and eqs a bit during tracking, but also later while mixing, if I look at say some tube units that give a lot of coloration or some kind of effect, where do I want that, before or after? I mean eq's and comps during tracking, should they just be clean, transparent, tools that just transparently and accurately boost and cut your sound and compress your sound as needed with you maybe sending your signal later, after the DAW, to those more coloring units as an effect, one obviously more easily controlled and less permanent when applied later?
Lastly, if I'm recording acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitar, synths, drum machines, and vocals and I'm buying my first hardware eq and first hardware compressor, the only ones I can afford for a couple years, each in the $2000-$3600 pricerange, what do people suggest I get first that I can get the most out of and why? Examples of specific units or types of EQ's and Comps (pultec vs. parametric, opto vs. tube veri-mu, etc) are welcome!
Continued thanks guys!
There's definitely sonic benefits to having outboard gear during mixing and tracking. I can scrape, scoop, and boost with EQ plug-ins for hours and still not get as phat a bass sound as I can with 5 minutes on an API 560.
As far as EQs, there's a ton out there that get really high marks around here. The API 560 and 550 (a and b) are solid, people seem to really dig the API 5500. I also really dig the Daking Mic Pre-EQ. Do a search, there's a ton of things available. Get at least 2-channels of the same EQ so you can use it for bus work.
There's so many compressors out there it's ridiculous. It's hard to go wrong with a classic compressor like an 1176. If you want something with more control over parameters there's plenty of options. I don't have a ton of first hand experience with most of them, but I've been really happy with our Safe Sound Dynamics Toolbox, it's stereo/dual mono, goes from transparent to colored and has a ton of features. If you could only get one compressor it wouldn't be a bad choice. It's pretty inexpensive relative to some other similar units (a little less than $2K used), so you might have enough money left over to pick up a 500 series Opto compressor within your budget.
I wouldn't worry too long about multiple conversions if you have good quality converters. I also wouldn't worry about committing to sounds with hardware during tracking if you're just starting out and recording yourself. You'll learn more by making some mistakes and figuring out what works and what doesn't than you will by being non-committal and just driving yourself crazy with endless options during mixing.