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Mastering Gear Setup for Home Studio Digital Converters
Old 7th February 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Mastering Gear Setup for Home Studio

Hi

I'm considering to buy some hardware for my home studio and would like to know what you guys think about it. I produce mainly electronic/dance music. My budget is around 20k USD.

This is my list so far:

Manley Massive Passive Mastering Version - 6000 USD
Tube Tech SMC 2BM - 5300 USD
Ferrofish A32 Dante AD/DA Converter - 3000 USD
Burl Audio B32 Vancouver - 2400 USD
Burl Audio B2 Bomber ADC - 2400 USD

= 19100 USD

What do you think about this list? Any gear I could replace with a "better" one?

The only gear in that list that I would 100% stick to is the Tube Tech SMC 2BM just because I really like the sound character of it.

Also, I am unsure if the B2 ADC really adds that much extra to be worth 2400 USD when I'm already going to have the Ferrofish A32. I've read only good things about the B2 ADC but do you guys think, it's worth it or should I better go for another compressor like a SSL XLogic G Series Bus Compressor, Maselec MLA-2 or even another one? Of course both will cost around 1k more but it's still within my budget.

I hope you guys can help me out a little bit.

Thanks.
Old 7th February 2017
  #2
As great as the Burl B2 ADC is, and how much i love it for mixing/tracking, I personally would hesitate to use it for mastering, simply because it adds to the tone a bit. That being said I do know some engineers swear by it. If you dont need the extra 2 channel ADC, you will get more use out of a compressor, in my experience. Burl B32 is a fantastic choice, as is the Manley. Cant comment on the SMC though as i haven't personally used it.

What are you doing for your monitors? As thats fairly important for mastering to be able to hear everything clearly.
Old 7th February 2017
  #3
For electronic/dance I don't like the Massive Passive; it's a bit "mushy" which can be a problem depending on the program material and how it was recorded. I'd go for something with a smoother "air band," I'm partial to the A Designs Hammer EQ but there's a lot of options available these days, especially in the world of Pultec clones. For EDM 2-buss duties (including mastering) I've always been partial to SSL-style compressors because of the "bite" they give, even when they're not actually doing a lot of compression; one of my favorites there is the Alan Smart C2, but again there's loads of options available now from the Dramastic Obsidian to the Serpent Audio 4001. Do you really need recallability (i.e. stepped pots) in the gear you're purchasing?

Don't know the Ferrofish so can't comment on that, but the Burls would certainly give you world-class AD.

hope this helps...
Old 7th February 2017
  #4
Before going further I would suggest to NOT master your own mixes!! it's not a question of skills but rather to trust somebody elses's ears. Last but not least a Mastering Engineer will discover your songs with "fresh ears" and will be able to notice immediately what is right & what's wrong. Just my opinion !!
About the gear I would suggest for electronic music:
-Cranesong STC-8 for transparent fast compression & huge gain
-Thermionic Culture Vulture for harmonics
-Another option would be Weiss for surgical EQ
Old 8th February 2017
  #5
Lives for gear
 
jlaws's Avatar
I would suggest buying used if you can. You'll get more bang for the buck. What monitors are you using?
Old 8th February 2017
  #6
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by sushimeister View Post
Hi

I'm considering to buy some hardware for my home studio and would like to know what you guys think about it. I produce mainly electronic/dance music. My budget is around 20k USD.

This is my list so far:

Manley Massive Passive Mastering Version - 6000 USD
Tube Tech SMC 2BM - 5300 USD
Ferrofish A32 Dante AD/DA Converter - 3000 USD
Burl Audio B32 Vancouver - 2400 USD
Burl Audio B2 Bomber ADC - 2400 USD

= 19100 USD

What do you think about this list? Any gear I could replace with a "better" one?

The only gear in that list that I would 100% stick to is the Tube Tech SMC 2BM just because I really like the sound character of it.

Also, I am unsure if the B2 ADC really adds that much extra to be worth 2400 USD when I'm already going to have the Ferrofish A32. I've read only good things about the B2 ADC but do you guys think, it's worth it or should I better go for another compressor like a SSL XLogic G Series Bus Compressor, Maselec MLA-2 or even another one? Of course both will cost around 1k more but it's still within my budget.

I hope you guys can help me out a little bit.

Thanks.
I assume that yo are aware of the EDM "specials" like over-jammed low ends and over-processed sample libraries, i.e. you have control over these...

Your equipment sounds fine (a little bit on the colored side) , it's always important that there is a LPF/HPF/bypass to get rid of unwanted coloration.

For quality EDM mastering in a home studio the most decent monitor in my opinion is a Neumann KH310 (or similar) and a second pair of more pleasing (cheaper) "club" monitors (e.g. Cenelec with subwoofer), for double checking the low end.

To get a punchy low end your mentioned SSL comp or a (more versatile) API 2500 will prevent you from a lot of gray hairs..

Good luck!
Old 8th February 2017
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for all the answers so far.

@ Celinara & @ oudplayer :

I currently have a pair of Focal Twin6 Be's and Yamaha HS8's.

I would use the B2 ADC for mixing/tracking. I'm just not sure if it adds that much extra to the Ferrofish A32 AD/DA. I've heard the AD of the A32 is on a similar level like the Antelope Orion 32.

Is the B2 ADC really that awesome and was it for you really a "big" upgrade? The problem is, I've never read something negative about it but I've also no opportunity to demo this gear beforehand. I've just heard some demos with before/after examples and I have to say, it's very good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnoldorodeo View Post
Before going further I would suggest to NOT master your own mixes!! it's not a question of skills but rather to trust somebody elses's ears. Last but not least a Mastering Engineer will discover your songs with "fresh ears" and will be able to notice immediately what is right & what's wrong. Just my opinion !!
About the gear I would suggest for electronic music:
-Cranesong STC-8 for transparent fast compression & huge gain
-Thermionic Culture Vulture for harmonics
-Another option would be Weiss for surgical EQ
I always send my tracks to a mastering engineer anyway to get a second demo. It's just that I like to do the mixing/mastering myself and with that setup, I certainly have more options to play with. At the end of the day, if the tracks sound good overall, I'm happy.

I've thought about the STC-8 too but I think, it's one of those gears which I don't really need yet, also because the Mastering Version is at around 5500 USD which is a little bit too much for my budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlaws View Post
I would suggest buying used if you can. You'll get more bang for the buck. What monitors are you using?
I've thought about that too. But I'm a little bit aware of things like warranty, condition, etc. Especially with expensive gears like e.g. a Manley Massive Passive Mastering Version or a Tube Tech SMC 2BM, I would rather buy it new.

I currently have a pair of Focal Twin6 Be's and Yamaha HS8's.
Old 9th February 2017
  #8
For edm I'd prefer a crane song ibis, works great on dance edm tracks. I agree abt the mp for edm is a little wolly but the mids are killer on the mp
Btw I bought my massive used 8 yrs ago and never had a prob w it! It's built like a tank and I have the silver original version!
Old 10th February 2017
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Tadaki's Avatar
Hi, I really suggest save/spend ADC budget to EQ, that might become your "Signature Sound".

Also, do you really have to add summing?
Ferrofish seems 32ch, so if your purpose is mastering, I think that might be enough channels for now.

About SMC2BM, does it have to be "M" (stepped pots) model? If you don't need Recall that much, I think "B" model would be fine and less expensive.

I don't think you need exta compressor for now.

For mastering purpose, I would spend money on EQ as much as possible, but it is only me.

Ferrofish 3000 + SMC2B 4000 = 7000

You can spend 13,000 for one of the best EQ for your taste!

Tell me your thought.

Best! T
Old 10th February 2017
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Solid Mastering's Avatar
 

I'd strike a blow for the Curve Bender (maybe + Neve mbp + Maselec Mla4 + Bax eq). killer units
Old 10th February 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sushimeister View Post
Hi
The only gear in that list that I would 100% stick to is the Tube Tech SMC 2BM just because I really like the sound character of it.
Good call. Gets used here all the time and works nice for the heavy stuff.
Nice box tone. Probably wouldn't need the M version.
Might be best to run the MP unbalance for a tighter bottom.
The Ferrofish, could be your weakest link. Why so much i/o?
You'll need something that gives you the truth for the bottom octave for your monitoring chain/room. gl
Old 12th February 2017
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Jeb A's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushimeister View Post
I would use the B2 ADC for mixing/tracking. I'm just not sure if it adds that much extra to the Ferrofish A32 AD/DA. I've heard the AD of the A32 is on a similar level like the Antelope Orion 32.

Is the B2 ADC really that awesome and was it for you really a "big" upgrade? The problem is, I've never read something negative about it but I've also no opportunity to demo this gear beforehand. I've just heard some demos with before/after examples and I have to say, it's very good.
I'd suggest to check this mastering grade AD converter:
QES Labs PAD-2 vs Burl B2 Bomber Stereo ADC shootout vid
I deeply preferred the PAD-2, as it can retain all the depth, detail and nuances of the source.
Old 12th February 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Ben F's Avatar
I wouln't pair a tube compressor with the massive passive. The sound will become less snappy and overly processed.

You may find a sold state EQ and vari-mu or ssl style compressor more flexible. Multiband can be done in software if you need fixes for poor mixes. Otherwise single band is the way to go.
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