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Building my mix bus... thoughts on purchase hierarchy
Old 27th July 2017
  #1
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

Building my mix bus... thoughts on purchase hierarchy

Hey all,

Building my mix bus chain in parts as I don't have all the necessary cash on hand. For many reasons I've decided to go with the Apollo 8 MkII interface. My plan is to add a Burl Bomber setup (AD/DA) and the RND Master Buss Processor. Since I can only afford the interface and ONE additional hardware unit to start, I'm wondering what you guys think would be good to get as I begin working. You know, hit the ground running with sonic payoff... is it the Apollo+Burl Bomber DA, Apollo+Burl Bomber AD or the RND MBP? Thinking the Burl AD can wait till later since I won't be doing too much tracking or mix printing for a couple of months. For now it will mostly be mixing/arranging/editing, and some light recording.

I've worked with all types of converters with much success: 002 w/ BLA Mod, Apogee Rosetta, Apogee AD/DA 16x series, Apogee Symphony MkI, Lynx Aurora, Mytek, Digidesign 192... blah blah. Recently working at a studio with a Burl mothership which is quite nice.

(I have a feeling some of you will take issue at the fact that I'll be monitoring using the headphone amp of the Apollo -- or maybe not. I will add a monitor control hub down the line, but not now due to budgetary and space restrictions.)

Ok, thanks! Welcome to any and all input.

Uri
Old 27th July 2017
  #2
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Not sure why you are sure you need any of the things you think you need.
Old 27th July 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
Not sure why you are sure you need any of the things you think you need.
That's ok, how could you know?
Old 27th July 2017
  #4
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Squawk's Avatar
I'm using a Mothership and a MBP (both pure awesomeness), along with other things. Never used the Apollo, so can't speak to that. The MBP is the last thing on my 2 bus that I would part with.

If Apollo is to be your main interface, then I would go for Apollo and MBP for starters.
Old 27th July 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk View Post
I'm using a Mothership and a MBP (both pure awesomeness), along with other things. Never used the Apollo, so can't speak to that. The MBP is the last thing on my 2 bus that I would part with.

If Apollo is to be your main interface, then I would go for Apollo and MBP for starters.
Old 27th July 2017
  #6
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I agree with Squawk...converters and comp would be a good starting point.
Old 27th July 2017
  #7
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beckmule's Avatar
+1 on mbp.
Old 27th July 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otobianki74 View Post
Hey all,

Building my mix bus chain in parts as I don't have all the necessary cash on hand. For many reasons I've decided to go with the Apollo 8 MkII interface. My plan is to add a Burl Bomber setup (AD/DA) and the RND Master Buss Processor.
After much testing of the RND Master Buss Processor, I'd say that should be the least of your considerations. I'm not sure that I ever preferred it to the uncompressed signal after peak-matching in my stereo buss compressor shootout. Having said that, it is a very high quality piece of gear and I'm not saying YOU couldn't get great results, but the benefits of it are extremely subtle, if any, especially if you aren't using a world-class converter like a mastering engineer. (Also, it is not a "colored" compressor.) If you insist on working digitally, I'd upgrade your converters first, without a question. (I'm using a Prism AD-2, but you might prefer something else.) Otherwise, check out an ATR-102 mixdown deck. Now THAT will give you a change worth writing home about.
Old 28th July 2017
  #9
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Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
After much testing of the RND Master Buss Processor, I'd say that should be the least of your considerations. I'm not sure that I ever preferred it to the uncompressed signal after peak-matching in my stereo buss compressor shootout. Having said that, it is a very high quality piece of gear and I'm not saying YOU couldn't get great results, but the benefits of it are extremely subtle, if any, especially if you aren't using a world-class converter like a mastering engineer. (Also, it is not a "colored" compressor.) If you insist on working digitally, I'd upgrade your converters first, without a question. (I'm using a Prism AD-2, but you might prefer something else.) Otherwise, check out an ATR-102 mixdown deck. Now THAT will give you a change worth writing home about.
To each his own, the MBP is indeed a "magic box" in my world... it's got a multitude of features, extremely high quality unit, and makes a big difference to my ears!
Old 28th July 2017
  #10
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For your ITB 2-bus?

You want to come out of your DAW with your stereo mixbus to "master" through the Burls with the RND between them?
Old 28th July 2017
  #11
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orchetect's Avatar
I trust your reasons for settling on the Apollo mkII and Neve MBP (I have both, and very happy with both).

I'd suggest sorting your interface and monitoring situation first without question (interface, speakers/headphones, room - whatever you are comfortable with).

Then add the MBP. A solid box and a good all-rounder, all things considered if you have a limited hardware allowance. It's insanely versatile, leaning toward modern-souding but has the Neve quality you'd expect and lends itself to almost any music style.

Converters are sweetening you can add at any time later IMHO.
Old 28th July 2017
  #12
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Uri, what I was responding to was the language of your post and the overall way you are querying the masses to figure out how to spend your money. The only interest I had in mind with my reply was thinking that some fella is on the other end of a computer writing to gearslutz asking how to spend their money, which happens an awful lot. Having been extremely far into the rabbit hole of studio ownership, I am sensitive to others spending money to obtain an imaginary dream space, thinking that gear is the answer. This may not apply to you at all, but the wording of your initial post and what I could infer it, it felt that you were reaching to achieve an imaginary goal. And since money clearly is a real concern for you (like it is for 95% of the rest of us) a lengthier post from me might have tried to stimulate you to really think about why you think you need certain pieces of gear.

I'll add that I have watched folks go down the spending hole to attain their studio dreams to various ends. I also think a LOT of people are very quick to spend money needlessly on their studio aspirations. No offense meant to you Uri, but if we were closer friends I would try to be more persuasive about holding off on spending the money. And if you still felt that not having an analog mix bus scenario was holding you back from doing better work, I would definitely tell you to demo different things in your space, using your ears to tell you what works for you....looks like you live in NYC and that should be easy for you to do.

Best...
Old 28th July 2017
  #13
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What kind of other outboard do you have? Summing mixer? Console? 500 series, Tonelux, SSL racks etc?

I was look at the prices on this "mastering" set-up. Holy cow! Close to $7500.

One thing I would definitely do is "try before you buy". Order up these pieces from a retailer with solid return policy (Vintage King, zzounds, sweetwater, musiciansfriend, American Musical) or use their money with store credit or "pay as you play" (I think Vintage King is offering 12 months no interest if paid in full) to test this setup out.

Then you can report back to us if this chain did something your ITB setup can't.
Old 28th July 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
Uri, what I was responding to was the language of your post and the overall way you are querying the masses to figure out how to spend your money. The only interest I had in mind with my reply was thinking that some fella is on the other end of a computer writing to gearslutz asking how to spend their money, which happens an awful lot. Having been extremely far into the rabbit hole of studio ownership, I am sensitive to others spending money to obtain an imaginary dream space, thinking that gear is the answer. This may not apply to you at all, but the wording of your initial post and what I could infer it, it felt that you were reaching to achieve an imaginary goal. And since money clearly is a real concern for you (like it is for 95% of the rest of us) a lengthier post from me might have tried to stimulate you to really think about why you think you need certain pieces of gear.

I'll add that I have watched folks go down the spending hole to attain their studio dreams to various ends. I also think a LOT of people are very quick to spend money needlessly on their studio aspirations. No offense meant to you Uri, but if we were closer friends I would try to be more persuasive about holding off on spending the money. And if you still felt that not having an analog mix bus scenario was holding you back from doing better work, I would definitely tell you to demo different things in your space, using your ears to tell you what works for you....looks like you live in NYC and that should be easy for you to do.

Best...
I apologize for misunderstanding if your initial post was a genuine request for more information, though it did come across as patronizing. I do appreciate your goodwill now knowing where you're coming from. Thank you. I wasn't looking for advice on "how to spend my money" per se, but posed more as an "in what order to spend the money I've decided to spend" question. Also, not having cash on hand does not necessary infer I'm making an irresponsible and frivolous purchase, rather it's what my gear budget allows for.

I've been recording in studios for 27 years, the last 14 of which, until recently, were spent operating (and owning) a commercial facility in Manhattan. I find it boring talking about my accomplishments, but for some added perspective my experience ranges from working on Stephen Sondheim cast/orchestral recordings (remember the Hit Factory?!) to recent works which received both Academy and RIAA achievement nods. I realize many posters here chime in with assumptions, which I guess is fair enough, especially considering I didn't provide too much detail on my experience and situation.

I'm looking to set up a rig to use for the foreseeable future both at home and on the road, one which I can rely on for fidelity while both promoting creativity and my ability to deliver competitive mixes. Believe me, I'm not interested in going down the gear-lust rabbit hole. I've been there and done that and I appreciate all the concern. The gear I've narrowed it down to has been considered for about a year now while I've been on hiatus.

In an attempt to address further concerns which have been brought up, I'll add:

@ burns46824 , interesting and thanks for your feedback. I've been doing a lot of research on the RND MBP. The user reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. From what I can gather, even from a few converted naysayers, is that the box is something you really have to dig into to understand in order to reap all the benefits. I want to be able to work with the box for months integrated in my workflow, so I don't mind purchasing one based on what I've read and knowing that the resale value of the unit will be decent if we part ways.

@ trashman , I want to have a primary setup of AD converters for tracking, DA for monitoring when I mix, and yes to ultimately print mixes through with the RND BMP on the bus. I'll be mixing into the RND at different stages as well as using it as a quasi-channel strip when recording mono/stereo sources (compression and color). I find bus processing works for me when I mix, plus I've heard the RND can add a "real record" sheen which is a huge plus since I'm usually last in chain for many of my licensing deliveries.

As a general caveat, I should say that in MY experience the biggest difference impressed upon my work occurred with my first converter upgrade alongside outboard summing years ago (BLA modded 002, Mytek, Dangerous 2-BusLT). I was an early adopter of ITB workflow, and this hybrid integration provided a very distinct audible sonic upgrade which had a dramatic effect. So knowing what works for me I've narrowed down the choices as per my list. I will be adding a monitor hub and RND satellite for summing down the line along with the Apollo interfaces as needed. The monitoring situation will work for now (I'm used to working in odd mix environments). And yes, while $7,500 is coin you should have seen what my monthly rent was at my studio space in NYC!

@ orchetect , yup and thanks!

I appreciate everybody else's feedback. Keep it coming if you like. All your responses have been thought-provoking. And I'll keep you posted in my efforts.



Uri

Last edited by otobianki74; 28th July 2017 at 07:48 PM..
Old 29th July 2017
  #15
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As someone who has a ****load of outboard / console and loads of great converters I would......

get the Appolo and use the rest of the money for plug ins - that is unless you are getting the everything bundle with all plugs included.
Also what monitors are you using - the burl/neve money would be better spent on top line monitors before you up the converters.
Old 29th July 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
As someone who has a ****load of outboard / console and loads of great converters I would......

get the Appolo and use the rest of the money for plug ins - that is unless you are getting the everything bundle with all plugs included.
Also what monitors are you using - the burl/neve money would be better spent on top line monitors before you up the converters.
As someone who has a ****load of plug-ins I'm steering towards an outboard setup which I know works for me. Besides, I have an arsenal of select go to plug-ins which I'm very happy with.

Thanks though!
Old 29th July 2017
  #17
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As someone who has a ****load of outboard and great converters, I would get a ****load of outboard and great converters.

Seriously though, I love hardware on 2 bus. Mine is MBP, Curve Bender, AD2055, Black Box HG-2, Clariphonic, SSL bus comp, Hammer. Not all used all the time of course, but the MBP is.

I buy plugins when they go on sale...
Old 29th July 2017
  #18
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Just pick up the RND piece first.

To me the Burls are pointless.

At your level, I would be looking at a Mothership when you make the converter leap.

It will work with your summing plans and 2-bus plans better than the 2-channel boxes.
Old 29th July 2017
  #19
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Classic's Avatar
 

I've been going through the same process this year. Started with the Neve 5059 for summing, then recently added the MBP. I'm still getting a feel for the MBP, but I think you'll dig it! My next 2-bus purchase will probably be a Chandler Curve Bender.
Old 29th July 2017
  #20
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk View Post
As someone who has a ****load of outboard and great converters, I would get a ****load of outboard and great converters.

Seriously though, I love hardware on 2 bus. Mine is MBP, Curve Bender, AD2055, Black Box HG-2, Clariphonic, SSL bus comp, Hammer. Not all used all the time of course, but the MBP is.

I buy plugins when they go on sale...
Ha! Sounds like you practice what you preach too. Super slutty signal chain!

@ trashman , this is a good general plan. RND MBP is what I'm leaning toward.

@ Classic , awesome! And how are you digging the 5059?
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