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Set my mind straight! 30K! Dynamic Microphones
Old 22nd August 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Aurora T.'s Avatar
 

Set my mind straight! 30K!

Hello!

Finally i started a thread.
Only reading for 2 years, I decided to ask for advice/ recommendations.
I'm a songwriter and guitarist getting more and more involved in producing other people's music. In the process of recording/mixing myself, my band and other people/bands in my area over the past years, I acquired some experience/skills I think, learned alot and now it's time to upgrade my equipment. Getting serious (gearwise) in the end.

Budget 22K$ (16K€) for gear only.

First of all:

18 ReadyBags 6" are on the way to basstrap my room.
I will also get a new noise protective window.
I have Extra 10k$ for additional instruments.

The room will be used for writing, preproduction/overdubs and demowork. I will track vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass some keys, rhodes etc. No drumtracking! In the near future I want to mix some projects in here!

For now i think 2 high quality input channels are enough.

I have a fast, stable selfbuilt PC.

I have something like this in mind:

Focal Twins 2300€
Aurora Audio GTQ2 2300€
Gefell M930 (Stereo Pair) 2000€
AEA R84 800€
Shure SM7b 300€

Should I go:

RME Fireface + Benchmark ADC/DAC-1
or Lynx Aurora
or Toft ATB/SSL Alphalink
or Protools HD
or any other combination?

What to look for? Future expandability?, Attracting new clients? Quality? More Mics? Mac? Should i get a compressor now? Purple MC77 or Drawmer 1968?
... etc.? etc.?


There are quite a few routes I could go, I think!?!

Please set my mind straight and help me figuring out a route to go!

Thank you, Max
Old 23rd August 2007
  #2
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Hi Max, I received your PM asking me to post advice here. A couple of things come to mind, although my suggestions aren't high end at all for your situation (based on what you're posting here).

Max: The room will be used for writing, preproduction/overdubs and demowork. I will track vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass some keys, rhodes etc. No drumtracking! In the near future I want to mix some projects in here!

For now i think 2 high quality input channels are enough.


You can do this with a Presonus Firepod and anywhere up from there. Seriously, converters on the high end are the last place I would look for this situation but maybe that's just me (and you did post this in the "high end" forum).

You're talking about buying monitors that are high end, very expensive channel strips etc, again I know this is high end but for cutting demos and idea tracks man...again maybe it's just me but I'd buy good stuff but not expensive. For monitoring it's always best to get quality and as much of it as is sensible, since if you can't hear what you're doing correctly not much else will matter. I cannot attest to Focal, do not use them.

On the mics, I would grab a pair of Avenson STO-2 which work on...well...pretty much everything and deliver a nice natural sound. Their lack of proximity effect and ability to be placed easily and quickly to dial in a sound, to me they are a no-brainer to keep a session moving. Don't let their OMNI pattern scare you, you can easily balance room reflections with original source by putting them right on top of whatever you are tracking!

You could also grab a pair of multi pattern LDC for more versatility. Grab a good dynamic mic like a Heil PR30 / PR40 and rock out. Snag a decent instrument DI...done.

If the room sounds good and your recordings are pretty clear, your demo recordings are going to work out well if you have the skill.

Spend the money on the room and instruments since this is a songwriting pursuit for the most part. Having lots of popular instruments around to be able to grab and incorporate into song ideas will be important. I would focus on MORE instruments and LESS gear. When somebody has an idea, you're whipping the mic around and placing it by the source and moving moving moving in a song writing situation. The Avenson are great for this.

I hope this helps, maybe not the answer you were looking for if you're itching to impress somebody with expensive stuff...!

War
Old 23rd August 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Aurora T.'s Avatar
 

Thanks for replying!

I'm working on a crapping out Tascam 1884 now. Some fine recordings were made with it. Could do nice mixes with first Alesis M1 and now Tascam VL-X5 (really nice sounding for the price), Sm57, Sm58; SP C1, Thomann ribbon etc..
There are good guitars and amps in my room.
I spent quite some years just learning, hearing, reading , experimenting, recording , mixing, writing, playing, producing, collaborating, just working on my ability to create good music.

Now it's time to take the plunge! ...or turn around and do something else.

For me, I think, it's time to take the plunge.

I want all this to become my dayjob!
I know it's hard work and one also needs some luck , but I work hard and maybe i am lucky someday.

There's a lot of work coming up. So I better be prepared.

My Gearlist is for now. Slowly expanding when there is stable income.

I think everyone agrees (roughly) about this:

Song
Player
Instrument
Room
Mics
Preamps
AD/DA
>>>>>>> Monitors!!! To hear what the heck is going on!

But you have to start somewhere. In the High End.
So I ask for advice from people with way more experience than I have to head me in the right direction. I'm pretty sure I have to go this way.
It's only a question how to. So therefor I'm posting here.

Cheers
Old 24th August 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
1. Monitors - more important than you think. Right now, if I were doing it on a budget, I would go with a set of B&W 600-S3 (c.a. 300€) or the new 686-S4 (c.a. 440€) put the bung in the bass port and add an active sub from them, such as the ASW600 (600€).

The S4 (i.e. series four) have a better tweeter than the S3.

The small 13.5cm driver makes an ideal mid range driver for budget studio work and is definately (when you put that bung they provide with it into the reflex port) better than any of the Mickey Mouse nearfields being sold (sometimes at silly prices) to the home recording fraternity. Any good, 2 x 100 Watt rms amp will do to drive these. A good quality name brand from eBay or the local pawn shop should cost no more than 150€.

The subs are active and have bass amanagement built in.

2. DAW - keep the old powder dry right now. Prices are high as we head towards Christmas and the new models will be all coming out in March in time for the Frankfurt Musikmesse. SSL is bringing out a whole new generation of Soundscape, DigiDesign is rumoured to be filling the gap between ProTools LT and HD and Apple will continue to invest in Logic.

My money would be on Soundscape becoming the favour of the month (and then all the geeks and nerds can argue about Soundscape v. ProTools.) but time will tell. At the moment SS does not do MIDI tracking, but that will definately change.

The SSL Alpha Link is Soundscape's ADDA BTW - except that as Soundscape, it does 32 IOs at 48kHz and 16 at 96kHz. That's 24 on D-subs and 8 on XLR.

3. Spending - I agree with Warhead. Just about anything you buy that is digital is pretty much worthless the very moment you make the order. There are one or two exceptions that only drift South slowly, but in the main, anything digital will loose about half its value every year. Good instruments do not do this.

The Hammond, the Wurly, the concert grand, the Telecaster etc. that we have here will give me (or someone) pleasure for years to come and will increase in value. The various digital boxes we have here are just a means to an end and give no one any pleasure whatsoever.
Old 24th August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 

For two channels of quality, the API A2D is my favorite. And don't underestimate the importance of D/A. The Benchmark DAC-1 changed how I hear music. Both of these can be used via s/pdif, so a cheap souncard like M-Audio Audiophile 192 would get you started - with Protools M-Powered if you like.

Starting again - the first thing I would buy would be a DAC-1 and headphones (I like my Sennheiser HD280's). Even just listening to CD's, you hear so much more.

Next thing would be some good monitors to last a lifetime - no point buying crap.
Old 24th August 2007
  #6
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

it sounds to me like you're focused and clear, and have a good sense of where to start. you are definitely starting off with a bit of a bang, and AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT GOING INTO DEBT to acquire all these toys i think you'll be fine.

if you're going to be in a songwriting/creative/generative space, i'd advise you to set aside $500 or so for ambiance. paint the walls with rich colors, not necessarily bright or vivid (although that's my preference) but rich, deep, meaningful. no pales, no pastels... you want to activate energy, inspire the senses. hang tapestries, curtains, random pieces of cool fabric, whatever. get lots of sources of low intensity, soft, cool looking sources of light; nothing kills vibe for me quicker than one glaring overhead light firing up stark white walls. candles are always a winner in my book, lava lights, funky little lamps.

get interesting objects and conversation pieces and place them around the space. buddhas and mandalas if you're feeling centered, mushrooms and caterpillars if you're feeling trippy, blobs and squares if you're feeling abstract... whatever, just have a semi-coherent theme, and create a space that makes a statement unto itself without even taking into consideration the gear and instruments. create a good balance of masculine and feminine energy, make sure it's laid out cleanly, no clutter, no piles of stuff, no tangles of cable. make it a place that makes people *feel* good just by stepping into it, and they'll want to come back before you even get to work.

mood and vibe... mood and vibe. everyone has gear, lots of gear owners actually have talent too. anything you can do to set yourself and your space apart, make for a memorable and remarkable experience, do it.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 24th August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
paint the walls with rich colors, not necessarily bright or vivid (although that's my preference) but rich, deep, meaningful. no pales, no pastels... you want to activate energy, inspire the senses. hang tapestries, curtains, random pieces of cool fabric, whatever. get lots of sources of low intensity, soft, cool looking sources of light; nothing kills vibe for me quicker than one glaring overhead light firing up stark white walls. candles are always a winner in my book, lava lights, funky little lamps.

get interesting objects and conversation pieces and place them around the space. buddhas and mandalas if you're feeling centered, mushrooms and caterpillars if you're feeling trippy, blobs and squares if you're feeling abstract... whatever, just have a semi-coherent theme, and create a space that makes a statement unto itself without even taking into consideration the gear and instruments. create a good balance of masculine and feminine energy, make sure it's laid out cleanly, no clutter, no piles of stuff, no tangles of cable. make it a place that makes people *feel* good just by stepping into it, and they'll want to come back before you even get to work.

mood and vibe... mood and vibe.
ubk
.

GREAT
Old 24th August 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Since you say demo work as well as overdubs, I'm still of the school that it sure does make it easy to have a little PTLE system to make it easy. Sure, you can line up tracks in anything and make it work. That's what I do on my Cubase/Nuendo system, but I've had troubles going from my Cubase/PC world to PT/Mac at some studios. It was always their computers that weren't getting my tracks properly. Up to you though as it can be done without PT.

So, once you decide on the DAW platform, then I'd look into the hardware...interface, converters, etc. As has already been mentioned, a good two channels of AD and DA is nice to have. I think you're in Europe, so getting something like a PT002/003 or MOTU box and having Black Lion mod it is probably too much trouble. Also, consider a nice clock...Big Ben, etc.

After that I'd look at whatever great two channels of pre you want. There are so many good choices, I'm sure you don't need our help there. Great River, Chandler, API, etc, etc, etc.....Once you get that, a nice stereo compressor would be great too. Again, many in the high end to choose from. I'd try to squeeze in an extra compressor or two if I could. If you get a really high end stereo model, at least grab something like a dbx160x to give some variety. Maybe another like a Purple or Distressor as well.

As far as the mics go, I don't remember if you mention what you have currently, but you mentioned a pair of Gefell LDC's as well as an SM7. I think if it were me, I'd spend the bulk on a great pair of SDC's. Something at least in the Beyer 930, KM184 range if not better if you can swing the price. Schoeps perhaps?

The pair of ribbons are nice to have around, but I'd think you still might get more use out of the pair of SDC's. Who knows, maybe the room will sound great and that sure makes a good pair of ribbons come alive for a variety of sessions.

For LDC, I'd think a good all-rounder would be fine for vocals. U87, possibly a single Gefell 930, or get a few that are just under these, pricewise. What about an AT4060? They're cheap enough you could add in a pair of AT4050's in case you want a fairly nice pair of LDC's and you're not breaking the bank. I'd rather have a variety of LDC's than a pair of the same thing. Maybe it's just me, but I don't use a pair of LDC's for much at all. Partly b/c my room is less than ideal and I'm just out of the habit of using them much.

Dynamically speaking, the SM7 is great. But, you could also grab an M88, RE20, MD421 or even MD441 and get the job done as well. If you're looking for versatility, I'd think one of the others might be better. Heck, with your budget just get a few or all of these. They pop up used all the time for around USD$200-300. The Sennheisers and Beyer would be cheaper for you possibly over there.

You've got the right idea about getting a great set of monitors. You'll never regret spending the money there.

This is what I'd do if I was trying to accomplish what you're looking for.

later,

m
Old 24th August 2007
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Aurora T.'s Avatar
 

Interesting points were made! Thank you!

Mood and Vibe...

I agree. It's so important to feel secure and relaxed to create some intense music! I will take care setting up my room. After all it's my living room. So mood and personal style are already there. But I will intensify and adapt.

I'm working with Rock, Alternative, Experimental, Singer/Songwriter type of Bands/Projects.

I'm using Reaper.

I really like it. Fast workflow, endless routing, stable, fast response and updates, can also get 30-40% more Plugins than in Nuendo. Couldn't get warm with Logic and Nuendo. Only Protools has also a nice workflow IMHO.


Focal Twins

I will get them. No doubts. Maybe a little thinking about a sub? But I believe they'll deliver enough lowend.


>>>I'm not clear about ADDA!

I think I should get at least 8 AD, so I can track whole bands in there rehearsal-spaces. Recording vocals, overdubs and additional tracks at my room. Also preproduction, writing and stuff at my place.
Should i just get fireface for now and wait till spring for the new Soundscape, new Protools etc.
Should I, in any case, wait till October AES?


Great River MP-2NV or Aurora Audio GTQ2

It was head to head between them. Fletcher told me the Great river will be much more versatile. So I'm leaning towards the Great River now.

+ I can solder. Maybe a rack with 8 SCA Preamps. 4 Api, 2 Neve, 2 Hardy 3K for pres, Michael Wagener likes them. thumbsup


Purple MC77

What about to get a Aurora GTC2 Stereo compressor. La2a and 1176 behavior (also in series ). Also linkable. Could use it on the Mixbus. ?


Mics:
Maybe more versatility?
Or just add MD 421 (utility mic) and a U47 clone for bassdrum/Vox?

About 10K will be spent for instruments: Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub, a nice Orange 4x12 ( I will put in my '73 G12H30 Greenback and '77 Blackback) heh
a nice Strat, Peterson StrobeTuner, Reussenzehn EL34 with interchangable tubes, etc.

I will add some Pickups for my guitars: Wolfetone DR.V for my Les Paul and Lollars for my Jazzmaster.


It's about balancing it all out, I think.

Shine on
Old 24th August 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora T. View Post
Interesting points were made! Thank you!


>>>I'm not clear about ADDA!

I think I should get at least 8 AD, so I can track whole bands in there rehearsal-spaces. Recording vocals, overdubs and additional tracks at my room. Also preproduction, writing and stuff at my place.
Should i just get fireface for now and wait till spring for the new Soundscape, new Protools etc.
Should I, in any case, wait till October AES?
I'd just grab something like one of the MOTU Firewire boxes to do remote recording's with. The Traveller or one of the others. I'd look into the Black Lion mods as well. Actually, in your case...I'd try to work with someone here in the US to purchase it, or have it shipped right to them for the mods and then to you. That might be easier than dealing with VAT/Customs multiple times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora T. View Post
Great River MP-2NV or Aurora Audio GTQ2

It was head to head between them. Fletcher told me the Great river will be much more versatile. So I'm leaning towards the Great River now.

+ I can solder. Maybe a rack with 8 SCA Preamps. 4 Api, 2 Neve, 2 Hardy 3K for pres, Michael Wagener likes them. thumbsup
If you're going to try to record live bands in their space...I'd look for some pres that are decent and portable. Honestly, with your budget, I'd just bite the bullet and get two of the API 3124's. Eight killer channels that you'll never outgrow. Depending on the rest of your set up....mixerless or not back at the studio, you might want to get the MB version. I'd totally consider getting that and then you can forget about the Great River or other pres. Of course, it's nice to have variety, but give me 8 channels of API anyday. Seriously, if you want "flavor" for vocal tracks grab a single channel of something else down the road, or if you have left over money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora T. View Post
Purple MC77

What about to get a Aurora GTC2 Stereo compressor. La2a and 1176 behavior (also in series ). Also linkable. Could use it on the Mixbus. ?
On the compressor situation...I'd get a couple of utilitarian units like the dbx106x boxes...cheap and decent on things like drums that might need it. You can also run vocals through them for tracking screamers...works great. Nice on bass as well. Get a stereo or single channel of something a bit nicer like the Purple or 1176 and keep at the studio for vocal tracking. You can always use a nice stereo bus compressor too, but software is ok for that task as well if you're in a pinch. I'd cut that out if I needed the money for mic pres or better mics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora T. View Post
Mics:
Maybe more versatility?
Or just add MD 421 (utility mic) and a U47 clone for bassdrum/Vox?

About 10K will be spent for instruments: Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub, a nice Orange 4x12 ( I will put in my '73 G12H30 Greenback and '77 Blackback) heh
a nice Strat, Peterson StrobeTuner, Reussenzehn EL34 with interchangable tubes, etc.

I will add some Pickups for my guitars: Wolfetone DR.V for my Les Paul and Lollars for my Jazzmaster.

Shine on
Sounds great on the mics...you can't go wrong with nice dynamics...the 421 will work on kick, bass amp, toms, vocals, guitar amps, etc....many uses. For what you're talking about, I think a really expensive U47 clone isn't really needed. You want something in that vein? Spend $500 on an AT4047. Done. Spend that money elsewhere.

On the instruments, I'd have to say, just get a good pbass and be done. Don't forget a few other things like a nice DI....at least $1000 for cabling...another $500+ for mic stands...and it's always nice to have some kooky unique things like funky old rackmount delays, compressors, guitar pedals, tape delays, cheap electro-voice dynamic mics, etc. Oh...don't forget the cost of a few nice plugin packages. Also, racks for the gear at the studio as well as some sort of road case, or easy to carry cases for the mobile gear.

later,

m
Old 25th August 2007
  #11
Buy a used TDM system fully loaded and an MBox for converting back to pre 7.0.

Buy at least one mic in the $3k+ price range. A great condition U47 at whatever the cost would go a long way. Fill in the gaps with the Heil mics.

I don't know the Focal monitors well enough to comment on them, but more improtant than monitors is room tuning - not acoustical treatment, but someone moving your furniture around and finding the optimal place for the speakers. You could buy the best monitors around and end up with mixes that sounded worse than if they were mixed on a pair of Auratones if your monitoring environment is sabotaging your environment.

Whenever it's an option, fewer great pieces is the way to go. From there, invest in things that get used in mixing and tracking since they'll get more use per dollar spent.
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