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Rental Gear Condenser Microphones
Old 1st March 2004
  #1
Gear Head
Rental Gear

We are starting a rental gear department as part of the studio. We have a big selection of outboard gear with a heavy emphasis on tube and transformer gear - any suggestions from engineers as to what is most desirable as rental gear that studios do not normally stock? Any suggestions on mics also? We have techs in-house and are able to keep all the gear in beautiful shape - hopefully this endeavor will make sense financially. We are always looking for used vintage gear - let me know if you are selling! John
Old 1st March 2004
  #2
Re: Rental Gear

Quote:
Originally posted by Blackbird
We are starting a rental gear department as part of the studio. We have a big selection of outboard gear with a heavy emphasis on tube and transformer gear - any suggestions from engineers as to what is most desirable as rental gear that studios do not normally stock? Any suggestions on mics also? We have techs in-house and are able to keep all the gear in beautiful shape - hopefully this endeavor will make sense financially. We are always looking for used vintage gear - let me know if you are selling! John
Hey - when I've rented from David Denny (great guy) here in San Francisco, the most common things I've picked up (for what it's worth):

1) DPA or B&K mics - matched pairs with the mounting rods. 4006s, 4007s, etc. Don't need them every day, but sometimes there is no substitute!

2) various expensive high-end large-diaphragm condensors we don't need to own (or can't afford to own): U47s, 251s, Manley Gold Reference, Brauner - y'know, anything that's hard to be had for less than $5000.

3) various tape machine formats. Customer comes in with DA-88s - we need to do a transfer. Rent 3, return the next day. 78s and 98s are also useful. I'd add 24-bit dats, 1/4", Scully, 1/2", 1" tape machines to the list as well, but it depends on the kinds of clients you have there, I suppose.

Hope this helps.
Old 1st March 2004
  #3
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
any suggestions from engineers as to what is most desirable as rental gear that studios do not normally stock?
Better variety of converters would be nice. Damn near every rental house has the same three, and they are not wanted, they are mostly out of date. The subsequent rental fee for these obsolete converters preceed to be stupidly high. Any change from that would be welcome.


KT
Old 1st March 2004
  #4
Lives for gear
 
dave-G's Avatar
Converters are an item that's very hard to keep up with, in any way that would give the rental co time to amortize the cost of them before they are obsoleted.

I do a good bit of gear rental (in and out), and for the stuff I rent-out, I try like hell to focus on esoteric analog gear. Microphones, including some classics, and great, but unusual mics that most studios do not have in the locker, plus equalizers, compressors, preamps, etc, etc.

I'm considering putting a PTHD rig in rental rotation (there's decent demand), but I'm nervous about the investment, because I know folks will be renting the same Neumanns, B&Ks, UREIs, (and such) long after the HD rig has become passé. I'm also considering putting an MM1200 2" 16-track out there, but I can't imagine anyone would want to pay the cartage.

It's a tough, high-maintenance business.

On one hand, I can understand why Toy Specialists closed-down, but if I think about it more, the rise of the personal studio seems like it oughtta create more demand for the high-end stuff that many such places don't own. Then again, I know how cheap the producer's-personal-studio, spec-project life is... grudge

Does anyone know the actual reason why Toy Specialists closed-down? Sign of the times, or ???

-dave
Old 1st March 2004
  #5
Gear Nut
 
jt916's Avatar
 

here are the stuff that I usually rent and most of the time they are out.

-good bass and guitar amp, vintages are better, but keep a good stack of Mesa around.
-consecutive serial number Neve 1073 pair(from the same board)
-Telefunken Pre's
-LA-2
-good D/a a/D convertor
-Protool rig...extra I/O's
-U87's pair
-414 pair
-c12
-and again...Neve Pre's...pre's and pre's
-Good mic cable and stands.
-blank media.

That was while back, but today, it would not hurt to have some of the Cranesong, Manley Passive Massive, Vox box, SPL Transient design, Lavry, Mytek, and lots of Good DI around.

hope that help and also the above list is what I dream of every night.
Old 2nd March 2004
  #6
Gear Head
Rental Gear

1) DPA or B&K mics - matched pairs with the mounting rods. 4006s, 4007s, etc. Don't need them every day, but sometimes there is no substitute!

2) various expensive high-end large-diaphragm condensors we don't need to own (or can't afford to own): U47s, 251s, Manley Gold Reference, Brauner - y'know, anything that's hard to be had for less than $5000.

3) various tape machine formats. Customer comes in with DA-88s - we need to do a transfer. Rent 3, return the next day. 78s and 98s are also useful. I'd add 24-bit dats, 1/4", Scully, 1/2", 1" tape machines to the list as well, but it depends on the kinds of clients you have there, I suppose.

We have a great selection of microphones - 22 U47's, 18 Telefunken 251's, 12 AKG C12's, 8 M50's, 6 Tele 250's, 8 M49's, 8 U48's, lots of small diaphragm Neumanns, AKG's, and Telefunkens.
Lots of vintage comps and eq's, including 12 channels of Fairchild, 14 channels of EMI comps, 16 channels of EMI mastering eq - the next question is how much do you let out the door? The vintage stuff is immaculate and I would like to keep it that way and not make available all the gear that helps make the studio special. Gearslut for life! John
Old 2nd March 2004
  #7
Gear Head
14 Posts

Saw that I had 13 posts, had to get off that number so here's number 14!
Old 2nd March 2004
  #8
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Converters are an item that's very hard to keep up with, in any way that would give the rental co time to amortize the cost of them before they are obsoleted.
Nonetheless, he asked, I answered. My point was that lots of studios have MIx or HD I/O, but want a couple channels of mega-nice conversion, especially AD. Since John asked for things most studios dont normally have on hand, I was also thinking something like a DSD capable unit, such as the top end DCS or EMM boxes. At $3k+ per channel, most of us don't have that lying around, and can't find a place to rent them.



cheers,

Kurt T.
Old 2nd March 2004
  #9
Lives for gear
 
kevinc's Avatar
 

I second the converters.

I`ve looked all over for a set but it`s really hard to find anything better than I`m currently using.

I`d like to be able to rent some Prisms or Lavry for a reasonable price.

The DCS might be good if I was doing a classical gig or something.
Old 2nd March 2004
  #10
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

Re: 14 Posts

Quote:
Originally posted by Blackbird
Saw that I had 13 posts, had to get off that number so here's number 14!
LMAO
Sorry, OT
John, I've heard a story or two from Doug Lancio about you and the "numbers"...nothing bad, but you know...
Old 2nd March 2004
  #11
Lives for gear
 
dave-G's Avatar
Natpub, your point is right-on, I only meant to say it's a tough financial equation for the rental co; tough to stay current with the converters du jour. The idea that they're desirable as a rental item is something I completely agree with.

-dave
Old 2nd March 2004
  #12
Moderator emeritus
 

Re: Rental Gear

Quote:
Originally posted by Blackbird
...hopefully this endeavor will make sense financially.
NOW you're doing something that makes financial sense? You've already built the coolest studio on the planet; Isn't it al ittle late to come to your senses?

By the way, I met one of the Claire guys at Alison Krause's Valentines show rehearsal - a guy named Bobby. If all of your guys are like him, there's no wonder that Claire/MD has such a fine reputation. He told me about the "Either You Rock or You Suck" banner at the shop.
Old 2nd March 2004
  #13
Gear Nut
 
jt916's Avatar
 

Blackbird,

just out of curousity, how do you rent the gear out to your customer, deposit via credit card? full cash value deposit? How do avoid being rip off and people busting up your gears?
Old 2nd March 2004
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Re: Rental Gear

Quote:
Originally posted by Blackbird
1) DPA or B&K mics - matched pairs with the mounting rods. 4006s, 4007s, etc. Don't need them every day, but sometimes there is no substitute!

2) various expensive high-end large-diaphragm condensors we don't need to own (or can't afford to own): U47s, 251s, Manley Gold Reference, Brauner - y'know, anything that's hard to be had for less than $5000.

3) various tape machine formats. Customer comes in with DA-88s - we need to do a transfer. Rent 3, return the next day. 78s and 98s are also useful. I'd add 24-bit dats, 1/4", Scully, 1/2", 1" tape machines to the list as well, but it depends on the kinds of clients you have there, I suppose.

We have a great selection of microphones - 22 U47's, 18 Telefunken 251's, 12 AKG C12's, 8 M50's, 6 Tele 250's, 8 M49's, 8 U48's, lots of small diaphragm Neumanns, AKG's, and Telefunkens.
Lots of vintage comps and eq's, including 12 channels of Fairchild, 14 channels of EMI comps, 16 channels of EMI mastering eq - the next question is how much do you let out the door? The vintage stuff is immaculate and I would like to keep it that way and not make available all the gear that helps make the studio special. Gearslut for life! John
John, it seems you've got most places beat already! Everyone I've spoken to who has worked in your studio has ranked it among the finest in the world! Hopefully my work will bring me there this year. Looking forward to twanging each and every guitar and amp there!
Old 2nd March 2004
  #15
Lives for gear
 
kevinc's Avatar
 

Soooo.

Do we all as fellow Gearslutz get the special Slutz discount ?

heh
Old 3rd March 2004
  #16
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally posted by jt916
Blackbird,

just out of curousity, how do you rent the gear out to your customer, deposit via credit card? full cash value deposit? How do avoid being rip off and people busting up your gears?
We are just starting out, but so far the way it works is as follows:
We try to get added as additional insured if it is rental to a studio
We take credit cards or bill known clients
Our guys deliver and pick up the gear so that it gets transported properly
We haven't been ripped off yet but I would call Vinnie and Guido to help me out

In regard to the A/D and D/A availability, we have Prism, Lavry, Mytec, Apogee, and db Engineering converters available. We may add others if they are better - we need them in-house as well and I want to keep up with the technology, even though it's a bitch. We also have a Sony SACD system available (the Sonoma) although we have not advertised it yet. We stocked up on Pultecs and lots of different mic chains to hopefully satisfy the "home recorders" although I think half the reason records aren't selling as well is because people are making them at home, and not spending what it costs to make a great album - both sonically and material-wise. When the public finds music it loves, the public buys it. The pros in this business can make incredible albums - let's hope this continues to happen!
Old 3rd March 2004
  #17
Lives for gear
 
kevinc's Avatar
 

Is it just in Nashville or do you ship all over ?

I live near Boston and I was hoping to get some converters by the weekend.

I was thinking Dreamhire but if you guys could give me a good price I`d just assume use you instead.
Old 3rd March 2004
  #18
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
In regard to the A/D and D/A availability, we have Prism, Lavry, Mytec, Apogee, and db Engineering converters available. We may add others if they are better - we need them in-house as well and I want to keep up with the technology, even though it's a bitch. We also have a Sony SACD system available...
Jaysus!! John,

I really don't think you guys have enough gear!

LOL...

I swear I always literally drool looking at your studio list...


cheers,

Kurt T.
Aus,TX
Old 3rd March 2004
  #19
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
although I think half the reason records aren't selling as well is because people are making them at home, and not spending what it costs to make a great album - both sonically and material-wise. When the public finds music it loves, the public buys it. The pros in this business can make incredible albums - let's hope this continues to happen!
This has to be one of the greatest comments I have seen on all the boards in quite a long time. It gets right to the heart of the matter. This should be its own thread.


Somewhere along the line, the public started accepting demos as final product---or, wait--maybe it was the industry that started accepting demos, looking to make more money and be the usual soulless bastards they are...err...well...some of them, lol.

Some of the hip-hop stuff sounds great to me done on project, but that is part of the style. Otherwise, I will stand by the real deal.

As always, you get what you pay for...

KT
Old 3rd March 2004
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
wolfhound's Avatar
 

Besides from the gear, I think the major area for rental companies to improve upon is service....

I couple of examples:

1) I recently rented a PT rig to dump onto from 2". The rig arrived, I set it up and started the transer. Everything seemd to be going to the wrong place. We investigated and found out that the snake from the rental company had the inputs and outputs labeled backwards...it took us an hour to determine the problem and fix it (meanwhile we're on the clock at the studio).

2) Rented several Neve modules mounted in a custom rack. Everything set up and appearing to work fine. But we were getting no signal. Finally figured out the rack wasn't providing phantom power to the modules. So we had to record the band with only crappy dynamic mics. They refunded the money, but we lost the opportunity to get the best recording possible when we had the musicians available.

When people are renting gear it's usually for a special important purpose, and the sh#t's just gotta work.
Old 4th March 2004
  #21
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally posted by wolfhound
Besides from the gear, I think the major area for rental companies to improve upon is service....

I couple of examples:


When people are renting gear it's usually for a special important purpose, and the sh#t's just gotta work.
Ignorance and stupidity run rampant as usual. Gear companies that do not know how to label snakes or do not check their gear thoroughly prior to delivery should not stay in business. I pride our company because we give a damn and that passion is what got us into this business in the first place. It needs to be perfect - every time! I tell my guys that they need to think as if they are delivering gear to Paul McCartney - and it is live on CNN! And your parents and your ex-girlfriend are watching and waiting to judge you! Now are you sure it all checked out perfectly? Anyway, thanks for the feedback. John
Old 5th March 2004
  #22
Gear Addict
 

As far as Nashville is concerned, there is a lack of portable multichannel cue systems on the rental market (something like the Formula or Mytek).
Old 5th March 2004
  #23
Gear Addict
 
smoothmoniker's Avatar
 

If you're going after the home studio market, a thought:

Put together great packages that make sense. Most guys aren't familiar with high end gear, they rent it, don't own it. If you can help they put together different signal chain packages for tracking male vocals, fem vocals, gut string guitar, etc., it makes the rental process less of a headache for them.

-sm
Old 6th March 2004
  #24
Gear Head
Rental Gear

Quote:
Originally posted by smoothmoniker
If you're going after the home studio market, a thought:

Put together great packages that make sense. Most guys aren't familiar with high end gear, they rent it, don't own it. If you can help they put together different signal chain packages for tracking male vocals, fem vocals, gut string guitar, etc., it makes the rental process less of a headache for them.

-sm
That is an excellent idea that we have been toying with in different ways the last two or three months. I think a lot of engineers, esp. newer engineers, would love to experiment with vintage mics and pre's. We are going to offer mic shoot-outs (at our place) with any engineers who would like to hear the difference between a Neumann KM56 and a Telefunken 221B(for example), using different sets of identical mic pre's, and not just vintage stuff but new stuff also. Why not compare Telefunken V76m's with Buzz pre's or Pultec's or GML's or API's or Neves or whatever. We recently discovered our new favorite mic pre for ribbon mics, which is an old RCA tube pre that is 60 years old. Why not hear the difference yourself between Decca tube comps and Distressors? Or what is it that makes the Fairchild's so special? Come listen and form your own audio opinions. Fortunately the technical questions can be answered by Arthur Sloatman (our head tech/design genius) and the applications for said microphones, pre's, comps, eq's, etc. can be discussed with our engineer/assistant staff. I think it would also be a great way to help educate all the digital heads on how great analogue distortion sounds to our ears. I believe a whole generation of engineers missed out on how truly great analogue sound is, and after a little education they WILL find a way to track to tape and THEN transfer to 96K or 88.2 for overdubs and editing, before going back to a 2 track tape machine for masters. Why not compare an Ampex 1" 2 track with a Masterlink? Or listen to the insane amount of difference moving a mic 3" or .3" can make! Make these guys think with their ears, instead of a computer. It's all about the audio, at least in our lives at Blackbird. And remind everybody about all the blood that's been spilled on tracking days when we didn't have digital machines. The player's actually had to PLAY THE SONG RIGHT! What a concept! Saved a lot of hassle when it came to the overdubs and mixing! I believe that we have the tools today to make records that sound better (sonically) than anything that has ever been recorded. Why don't even the cheap albums sound better than records made in the 60's, EVEN the 50's? I think a lack of education is the first reason - and realizing that no matter how long you have been doing this there is MORE TO LEARN. OPEN YOUR MIND. DO IT DIFFERENT. One of my favorite live tapes that I made directly off the console was at a show in a 2,000 seat venue recording directly to a CASSETTE DECK! In 1985! Through a TAC Scorpion, which basically sucked as a console. With no compression! Just a great performance, OK microphones, an enthusiastic crowd and one of those nights that make you realize why you are behind the console - because of the PASSION, THE MAGIC.
Well, I have definitely rambled on too long! Take care and thanks for the feedback. John
Old 8th January 2006
  #25
Gear Nut
 

I have one of the Blackbird u47's in my place right now. Definitely worth more than every penny.
Old 24th August 2018
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackbird View Post
That is an excellent idea that we have been toying with in different ways the last two or three months. I think a lot of engineers, esp. newer engineers, would love to experiment with vintage mics and pre's. We are going to offer mic shoot-outs (at our place) with any engineers who would like to hear the difference between a Neumann KM56 and a Telefunken 221B(for example), using different sets of identical mic pre's, and not just vintage stuff but new stuff also. Why not compare Telefunken V76m's with Buzz pre's or Pultec's or GML's or API's or Neves or whatever. We recently discovered our new favorite mic pre for ribbon mics, which is an old RCA tube pre that is 60 years old. Why not hear the difference yourself between Decca tube comps and Distressors? Or what is it that makes the Fairchild's so special? Come listen and form your own audio opinions. Fortunately the technical questions can be answered by Arthur Sloatman (our head tech/design genius) and the applications for said microphones, pre's, comps, eq's, etc. can be discussed with our engineer/assistant staff. I think it would also be a great way to help educate all the digital heads on how great analogue distortion sounds to our ears. I believe a whole generation of engineers missed out on how truly great analogue sound is, and after a little education they WILL find a way to track to tape and THEN transfer to 96K or 88.2 for overdubs and editing, before going back to a 2 track tape machine for masters. Why not compare an Ampex 1" 2 track with a Masterlink? Or listen to the insane amount of difference moving a mic 3" or .3" can make! Make these guys think with their ears, instead of a computer. It's all about the audio, at least in our lives at Blackbird. And remind everybody about all the blood that's been spilled on tracking days when we didn't have digital machines. The player's actually had to PLAY THE SONG RIGHT! What a concept! Saved a lot of hassle when it came to the overdubs and mixing! I believe that we have the tools today to make records that sound better (sonically) than anything that has ever been recorded. Why don't even the cheap albums sound better than records made in the 60's, EVEN the 50's? I think a lack of education is the first reason - and realizing that no matter how long you have been doing this there is MORE TO LEARN. OPEN YOUR MIND. DO IT DIFFERENT. One of my favorite live tapes that I made directly off the console was at a show in a 2,000 seat venue recording directly to a CASSETTE DECK! In 1985! Through a TAC Scorpion, which basically sucked as a console. With no compression! Just a great performance, OK microphones, an enthusiastic crowd and one of those nights that make you realize why you are behind the console - because of the PASSION, THE MAGIC.
Well, I have definitely rambled on too long! Take care and thanks for the feedback. John
John McBride is awesome. Love this guy, maybe I’ll meet him one day. He gets it. Check out the recent YT video with him and Warren Huart.
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