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Apogee Symphony & Bricasti M7 Condenser Microphones
Old 20th March 2016
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Apogee Symphony & Bricasti M7

Hey Guys,

I currently have a small home recording studio with some moderate equipment.
Neumann TLM 103, Avalon M5 preamp, Great River MP500NV preamp, ToneLux Eq & Compressor and a Slate Dragon Compressor, M-Audio Profire 2626 audio interface and an iMac.

I mainly record male vocals, acoustic guitar and sampled Keys, occasionally electric guitar and bass.

I am looking to upgrade my setup to try any make the signal chain as professional and polished as possible.

I am considering purchasing either:
Apogee Symphony MKII (8 channels)
OR
Bricasti M7 reverb unit.

I heard a shootout online between the M-Audio 2626 and the Apogee Ensemble (I know the ensemble and Symphony have different converters but I guess they are somewhat in the same ballpark). There were definitely quality improvements with the Apogee but I'm not sure if its was $4k worth of improvement.

What would you chose to upgrade? Better converters or top of the line reverb?
bear in mind right now I use the Sonnox reverb plugin.
What will have the greatest impact in my recording/ mixing?
I'm open minded to other suggestions also.

Thanks,
Josh
Old 20th March 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Two very different things.. it really depends from your needs..are you tracking more than mixing?

Anyway I'd go with the Apogee Symphony.
The Bricasti is an incredible unit, but with what you have I'd improve the front end and the AD/DA first (between these two choises).

That said I'd strongly suggest to improve your room first (in case it's not already great sounding) and get a better mic or a pair of really good ones for tracking everything.
THIS will give the biggest improvement (although the difference between the apogee and the 2626 is substantial).

Like a great LDC paired with a great sdc..
I.E.: a Shoeps cmc5 or cmc6 with an mk4 (or 41) capsule will cover a lot of ground paired with:
Neumann U87 vintage or Violet Design Flamingo (tube mic now made by JZ), or a Flea 47, or maybe a Josephson (possibly a C715)...to your budget add a 300$ mic like the SM7 and you'll cover basically everything.

After that try to get great monitors, really great, like the ATC or at that level..this will also help a lot in taking your decisions, but the room need to be GOOD.

For having a finished/polished sound you could try cascading your compressors, although you have a pretty "clean-ish" chain, that might help a little bit.
I'd have gone with different pieces, but those are certainly fine at the moment and not the "problem". (a Sta level,176, LA2A,10DC,IC VacRac or some other coloured pieces might help to get that "finished tone").

Sell the stuff you don't need, and unless you're in love with the 103 (or fits YOUR vocals/sources really well) sell it and go to the next level with the ones suggested above.

After all this I'd get the Bricasti..

I hope this helps to put your priorities,



Cheu
Old 20th March 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
 
JayTee4303's Avatar
From where I stand, your Avalon and possibly Dragon (we went w an 1176) are, as far as their particular sound goes, the end of the line. Nowhere else to go from there.

The Bricasti is too. Against say, Mytek, the Apogee...well maybe not.

If you get the Bricasti, the box is checked for good. Then you can start leaning into top converters, but first, I'd want to widen your mic horizons, unless the 103 is perfect for you, with no hope of improvement.
Old 20th March 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 
KevWind's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjoneill View Post
Hey Guys,

I currently have a small home recording studio with some moderate equipment.
Neumann TLM 103, Avalon M5 preamp, Great River MP500NV preamp, ToneLux Eq & Compressor and a Slate Dragon Compressor, M-Audio Profire 2626 audio interface and an iMac.

I mainly record male vocals, acoustic guitar and sampled Keys, occasionally electric guitar and bass.

I am looking to upgrade my setup to try any make the signal chain as professional and polished as possible.

I am considering purchasing either:
Apogee Symphony MKII (8 channels)
OR
Bricasti M7 reverb unit.

I heard a shootout online between the M-Audio 2626 and the Apogee Ensemble (I know the ensemble and Symphony have different converters but I guess they are somewhat in the same ballpark). There were definitely quality improvements with the Apogee but I'm not sure if its was $4k worth of improvement.

What would you chose to upgrade? Better converters or top of the line reverb?
bear in mind right now I use the Sonnox reverb plugin.
What will have the greatest impact in my recording/ mixing?
I'm open minded to other suggestions also.

Thanks,
Josh
I am in a very similar situation in terms of what I record, vocals , acoustic guitar and midi

In my opinion while either one will be a nice improvement, and in general while arguably better converters equal better sound. It still comes down to percentage of improvement per dollars spent, best use of money spent, and the aspect of % of being future proof.

Also it looks to me from your list of what you actually record that you seldom if ever actually record more than 2 channels at a time , yes ? So the question becomes is paying for 8 channels of A/D conversion really the best use of money ?

If that's the case then, and if it were me, I would probably go with the Bricasti.

Because I agree with "Jay Tee" with few exceptions people who buy a Bricasti will keep it for life (I know I will ) Particularly in light of your recording vocal and acoustic guitar and especially if you are looking for reverb to bring clean believable space and presence to be felt, but not necessarily heard as an effect. For this there is arguably no better unit on the market.

The other thing that the M7 brings to the table when you set it up in parallel (which I always do ) and are running multiple tracks through it ( which I sometimes do) I think it remains cleaner than a regular plug in reverb.
Also chances are the Bricasti will only get more expensive as it has since it came on the market.

The Bricasti brings a very high % if not 100 % of being future proof (particularly with Bricasti's track record of free or nominal upgrade to your original unit)
Finally it looks like Bricasti will be within the next year or two bringing a new upgrade V3, that will invariably raise the price of purchasing the unit.

But chances are quality conversion will continue to get less expensive as it has so far or at the top tier stay more or less level price wise while getting slightly better. And arguably offers a bit less % of being future proof .

Last edited by KevWind; 20th March 2016 at 03:45 PM..
Old 21st March 2016
  #5
Do the room first. The best gear in the world wont sound like it should if the room acoustics are not up to par. The funny thing is, the more high end gear you buy the more you will realize how much room acoustics matter. Especially if you are mixing.

I bet if you buy a symphony youll be kicking yourself when your recording sounds super clear, only for it to expose the flaws in the room sound, still making it sound amateur. Do everything in steps. If you want high quality only buy what you really need, because high quality costs $$$$$

At this point there is zero benefit of a bricasti m7 for you. A bricasti would only be really useful in a professional environment, where all the other gear is as good as it gets. Only then, going all in with a nice reverb would make sense. Your only as good as your weakest link. An m audio profire is not a professional interface, and ill bet your room isnt up to par.

So yeah do the room first, bass trap it out. Get some professional advice on how to do that. It might cost a couple grand but it will be worth it. Treat your control room and recording room professionally. Then do the interface / converter. Symphony is a great converter just make sure your not overpaying for extra channels you might not need. You can do a lynx hilo 2in 2out has similar quality, and is probably much cheaper than an 8 ch converter. You only have 2 preamps so i dont see a need for an 8ch interface. After the room and the interface would be some nice monitors. A main pair and a reference set. Then you might want to upgrade the mic. Then after all thats done you might start thinking about reverbs and stuff but do everything else first. Honestly i wouldnt buy a bricasti for a project studio
Old 22nd March 2016
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Hey Guys,

Thanks for your feedback, its much appreciated!!!
Currently I'm between apartments, I should be moving in about 2 months, once I find a new place I will 100% be treating the room, making sure it sounds perfect (or as good as I can get it).

I wanted the 8 channels as I wanted the outputs so that I can use my outboard gear. I currently have 1 ToneLux EQ and 1 Tonelux Compressor, I was going to use that as a channel output for the left Acoustic guitar, then buy a second Tonelux Eq and Compressor to do the right acoustic guitar so I can record/ mix a stereo pair. Then use the Dragon and possibly a 3rd EQ for the vocals.
So in total I would need 3 returns so that I can mix all three tracks simultaneously... At least that's the plan anyway.

Also I wanted to make my converter more future proof as my 500 series rack slowly expands

I currently have a pair of Neumann KH120 monitors which I really like so I'm covered on the monitor front.
I will likely go with the Apogee to begin with, then start saving hard for the Bricasti.

Then the never ending list begins of more mics, preamps, outboard gear and Plugins.


Thanks,
Josh
Old 27th March 2016
  #7
Gear Nut
 

hey man ,
i was in the same train of thoughts and i ended up buying the last apogee ensemble ... what a good choice my friend !! top converters , 8 clean preamps (+2 DI), many outputs, great workflow, she follows me everywhere and never let me down.
with the extra cash ,make yourself a little present
Old 13th May 2016
  #8
Here for the gear
 

JJoneill :

Hey man, people are going to jump all over me for this and run me off of the forum like a modern day witch hunt but hey... we are all entitled to our opinions.

I am in the fortunate position of being the owner of two 1960s era solid state, stereo EMT 140 plate reverbs. One from Chess records and one from Universal in Chicago. They are gorgeous reverbs. I have used EMTs in studios all over the world, as well as AKG springs, BX20, etc. and chambers, weird random reverbs, plug ins, etc.

I have been lucky enough to sit in front of a vintage API console with great monitoring and A/B the vintage EMT 140 against some of the bricasti patches.

My advice: Skip the Bricasti. I've used it in 4 different studios now and while you can't deny that there are cool room emulations in it I found the actual Plate and etc. emulations to be super fake sounding. Same goes for the rest of it IMHO but that's just me.

The thing is, it's versatile, yes, but SO EXPENSIVE. If I were you I'd strongly suggest investing in a UAD card or satellite and some UAD plugs (pretty tits sounding compared to the Bricasti) and some WAVs plugs and Altiverb. Start collecting Impulse responses for Altiverb or make your own!!

You can roll the $$ saved into other gear and I don't think you'll be unhappy in the end.

Just a consideration!
Old 13th May 2016
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjoneill View Post
Hey Guys,

Thanks for your feedback, its much appreciated!!!
Currently I'm between apartments, I should be moving in about 2 months, once I find a new place I will 100% be treating the room, making sure it sounds perfect (or as good as I can get it).

Thanks,
Josh
I'm with the others to do the room first. When you say "as good as I can get" you better make sure you're very good at mix room acoustics. If not, hire somebody. You will not hear the Bricasti well if your room is not tuned well, particularly if it is too reverberant. You do not want to spend that much money on a Bricasti and not be able to hear it properly.

Good luck.
Old 15th May 2016
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
catfishmusic's Avatar
Apogee before Bricasti
Topic:
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