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for resident outboard slutz: what pre/eq/comp you track synths/beatboxes with?
Old 27th November 2013
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
I bet that looks better than it sounds.

...but yeah, with that you'd be at the forefront of 60's experimental electronic music heh
Some of what makes big studio 70s records (like Fleetwood Mac or Stevie Wonder) or 80s artists (like Kate Bush) records sound HUGE is running through large consoles. The recording boards had their sound and that was part of it. By then the noise floors were considerably lower as new technology developed, but the basic pieces involved were still heavy metals on transistors and tube driven amplification.

There's really just a girth and glow that can occur by not pushing these things, but tracking/mixing etc, on them.

The model in the 90s for those w $$$ was hybrid and now with better consumer computers and things like 500 series technology, home studios can take the same approach.

A Neve-style preamp like a Great River can sound very clean and has a decent amount of clean gain on the output but can also impart quite a bit of transistor color if boosted on the input.

I will often run software synths and and digital synths through those, for instance and often through the high-z input for extra flavor. There can be a LOT of coloring there, even imparting obvious overdrive type sounds, or it can be far more subtle.

That said, clean digital can offer great effects as well, and in a total mix I'll often create sonic depth of field by playing with aspects of both in my mixes.

There's a lot to this stuff and for any project studio to get "professional" sounding results there will probably be great A/D/A, a few flavors of great pres, compressors and EQs...probably a solid line mixer a nice mic locker, high quality monitoring and decent room treatment.

It really depends on the scope of the music you're working on and how versatile you want your studio to be. And really more and more actual pros are working fairly exclusively in the box and getting some peoples' ideas of great results.

I will say however that for RECORDING external sources, A/D/A and pres are the most audible and important and if you're recording vocals mics are just as high on the priority list.

While for MIXING, monitor section, monitors and the room are essential too.
Old 27th November 2013
  #32
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodfellow View Post

It really depends on the scope of the music you're working on and how versatile you want your studio to be. And really more and more actual pros are working fairly exclusively in the box and getting some peoples' ideas of great results.
To me this is the interesting part, because yes - if i wanted to record actual accoustic instruments and make music that depended on the quality of those i'd probably need quite expensive gear to get a great sound - but since i am dabbling in electronic music mostly i am not sure i see the need for colouring pres to mimick the (admittedly glorious*) sound of the 70's masterpieces.

I can see that of course that preamps can add variety (as can any piece of gear), my question is still how much variety do you get for the often quite hefty outlay of some of these pres and their imitations?

Does one really get 70's high end sounding mixes by running every synth through the same one expensive pre - especially if you don't have the rest of the equipment they used back then?

Questions like that are what plague my budget minded imagination, because of course i'd like the nicest sound possible, just not at a cost of more or less half the synths i own





* Yes, i grew up with mid 70's Pink Floyd (and others) on vinyl on the stereo, and like that sound for what it is.
Old 27th November 2013
  #33
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
I use a mixer - currently a 1984 Soundcraft Series 1600 24 channel. The preamps are nice and full, and the EQ is quite good - it improves the sound considerably when recording synths, drum machines, and any other instrument.
Old 5th December 2013
  #34
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
This just got announced the other day, though it wont be available for a few months.



It's an 1176 replica from Warm Audio, who have a great reputation around here.
This should be magic for tracking synths, and best of all will sell for around $600.
I can see a pair of these in my future.
Old 6th December 2013
  #35
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
I bet that looks better than it sounds.

...but yeah, with that you'd be at the forefront of 60's experimental electronic music heh
That looks like some sort of original Putnam type ship from here, which would make you dead wrong on looks better than it sounds. But yes, likely will make you stick out a little amongst the laptop musician works....
Old 6th December 2013
  #36
2 AMS NEVE 8801 ; 1 VINTECH X73I ; 1 DISTRESSOR ; 1 160 X ; 1 160 A ...
Needless to say i need to make all those stereo by buying seconds modules ...


PEACE


MORDICUS
Old 7th December 2013
  #37
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NWSooner's Avatar
 

I know I'm late to the party, but wanted to add my two cents. I do have outboard (3 hardware compressors, 1 hardware EQ, 1 hardware saturator, various preamps including a REDDI, outboard effects, etc.) but I never use it to *track*. Regardless of whether I'm recording a MIDI line from a synth or playing guitar live or recording vocals, the only thing I'll track through is a preamp. I want the original sound recorded as accurately as possible and can then try running through other outboard after the fact. As long as you have great converters I really don't see an advantage to tracking through anything that colors the signal too much. That can always be added later as long as you have transparent enough converters.
Old 7th December 2013
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWSooner View Post
I know I'm late to the party, but wanted to add my two cents. I do have outboard (3 hardware compressors, 1 hardware EQ, 1 hardware saturator, various preamps including a REDDI, outboard effects, etc.) but I never use it to *track*. Regardless of whether I'm recording a MIDI line from a synth or playing guitar live or recording vocals, the only thing I'll track through is a preamp. I want the original sound recorded as accurately as possible and can then try running through other outboard after the fact. As long as you have great converters I really don't see an advantage to tracking through anything that colors the signal too much. That can always be added later as long as you have transparent enough converters.
I will say, there is some fundamental difference in performance when you track vocals through a compressor. But yeah, for versatility's sake, one should generally cut sans effect or treatment.
Old 7th December 2013
  #39
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
That looks like some sort of original Putnam type ship from here...
You be right -- and you can be sure it sounds even better than it looks!
Old 8th December 2013
  #40
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NWSooner View Post
I want the original sound recorded as accurately as possible... as long as you have great converters... colour... can always be added later
More or less my philosophy too.

I DI all my synths and record them dry.

And with conversion of the quality you find in Metric Halo interfaces I no longer worry about A/D/A - I loop tracks in and out through outboard gear all the time. The degradation caused by the I/O conversion is infinitesimal compared to the deliberate sonic changes I am imparting with outboard compression, phasing and EQ. I have done enough tests to satisfy myself of this.

That said, I just ordered a Warm Audio TB12 preamp - mainly for my Fender Rhodes but I'll try running some synths through it on the way in as well.
Old 8th December 2013
  #41
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post

That said, I just ordered a Warm Audio TB12 preamp - mainly for my Fender Rhodes but I'll try running some synths through it on the way in as well.
It would be good to hear some feedback on this.
I've heard lots of great reports on this pre, but not from synth/keyboard users.
Old 8th December 2013
  #42
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Synth80s's Avatar
Hey, cluster -- how've you been?

I think about this question a lot and I've logged a decent amount of time using various pre-amps with physical synths to capture them at their best an/or give them a different tonality. EQs and compressors options offer a huge variety of additional sonic options, of course, but here are some pre-amp units I've used with notable success:

UA LA-610 MK II -- It does exactly what you'd expect and does it well. Adds weight, size and a layer of tube gooeyness at the expense of some precision (i.e. transients become softer, overall sound is sightly dulled). A definite "analog effector" when used at higher gain levels. Encourages audio hooliganism.

Focusrite ISA 428 (and presumably other ISA circuit units) -- Adds a smooth, professional sheen in a somewhat non-obvious way, kind of like an old hi-fi receiver. It's hard to describe the effect because it's subtle, but I found that the ISA circuit makes sources sound like they were recorded using a proper analog board. Without trying to sound like Ron Burgundy, I'd most succinctly describe the ISA sound as "classy."

FMR RNP -- Clean, precise and definite. For absolute clarity and sharp transients, it's a highly cost-effective tool. The exact opposite of an analog effector box. I've never used a Millennia or Benchmark pre, but I would guess the RNP aspires toward that "clean and accurate above all else" aesthetic.

Atlas Juggernaut Twin -- This unit seems to be little known, but it's exceedingly flexible; I believe it was designed in conjunction with Tim Farrant of Buzz Audio. The Juggernaut pre-amp circuit is also available in the 500 Series format, but the dual-pre rackmount unit has some advantages, namely switchable input AND output transformer types and dual-outputs per channel (very handy for tracking, monitoring and involving other outboard gear). The Juggernaut sound can't be easily described because it's a high-quality chameleon that offers a variety of tonalities. On a scale of transparent/subtle to analog effector, the Juggernaut is a bit closer to the former, but it can also impart a sonic fingerprint depending on the settings. You have to check out the details to see how capable it is:

APA - Juggernaut Twin Stereo Mic Preamp - Switchable Transformer and More - Toll Free @ 1.866.235.0953, Ph. 813.746.4058

http://tapeop.com/reviews/gear/98/ju...win-mic-preamp

Audient Black -- I don't know the background of how the product line developed, but Audient's Black series appears to be Audient's competitive response to the 500 Series format as it was really taking off. Audient's rack is propriety -- only Audient's 4 modules work in it (pre, EQ, compressor and ADC) -- so it's an extremely rare bird. I also think it's kind of a secret weapon, specifically their HMX harmonic distortion circuit which really, really works on some sources. For a Prophet 08, for example, it's the *perfect* option for roughing up the sound a bit without turning it into sludge. The variable HMX circuit can make the normally clean and modern P08 sound more like a vintage synth that gently and pleasingly overloads its VCAs. I use the P08 with the Black Pre almost exclusively these days to make it sound more like my old OB-Xa (I'm not saying it works miracles, but it definitely bridges the gap). I found a Black Rack at a very fair price a few years back from a dealer who was blowing out their stock. Audient also included the HMX circuit in one channel of their two-channel Mico pre-amp, but I believe it's otherwise a different pre-amp circuit (never played with one). More info:

Audient, HMX - The Benefits of Harmonic Distortion!

Audient Black Series

I've used other units as well, but none worth mentioning compared with the options above. Hope this helps!

-Synth80s
Old 8th December 2013
  #43
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NWSooner's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
And with conversion of the quality you find in Metric Halo interfaces I no longer worry about A/D/A - I loop tracks in and out through outboard gear all the time. The degradation caused by the I/O conversion is infinitesimal compared to the deliberate sonic changes I am imparting with outboard compression, phasing and EQ.
Exactamundo. I have a ULN-8 and LIO-8 and I have no qualms running a signal from the computer and back even for very subtle stuff. I'm at the point where I really don't think about roundtrip conversion issues at all. (With my Digidesign 003 interface a while back things were a very different story.)

Plus you can track into a compressor, reverb, whatever with very little latency but still capture the DI signal.
Old 8th December 2013
  #44
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NWSooner View Post
(With my Digidesign 003 interface a while back things were a very different story.)
Yep... which is why I mostly track with the sound I want from the start including FX. If I have doubts about the production I will sometimes mult the input signals and record DI takes simultaneously, but usually not.

The A/D converters on my UA 4-710d are quite good. But the converters on the 002/003 are only mediocre. So I avoid going in and out of the box as much as possible.

One of these days I'll get better converters. In the meantime, while tracking, I monitor most everything analog and then mix as best I can on the 002/003.
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