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How to improve input chain.. Suggestions?
Old 3rd July 2005
  #1
Gear Head
 

How to improve input chain.. Suggestions?

Hi guys!
I realise that some of you will think that I need a LOT more gear, but I've chosen to get FEW good items instead of a lot cheap ones..
Since recording is something I do on my spare time, I have a limited budget as well...

Things in my current input chain:
- Neumann U87
- Midas XL 42
- Midiman Flying cow AD/DA
- 2 x Creamware Luna with 2 Luna breakout boxes (20 analogue ins/out + 4 SPDIF ins/outs)

I DON'T want to be able to record drums, don't have enough space and acoustic treatment for that, but mostly record everything else. (pop and rock genre stuff mostly)

I mostly use a POD to record electric guitars, and bass is normally recorded straight into the xl42, though I am more than willing to think about recording especially electric guitars the good old way.. heh The U87 and the XL42 together sounds very nice for vocals and acoustic guitars on most projects, but sometimes I miss being able to record a "more modern" i.e. more 90-2000 sound.

Also, I am not sure which part in my input chain is the weakest, and would like suggestions as to what part of it could use being replaced altogether, or perhaps supplemented with a compressor, different pre or different mic.

So, if YOU were me, what would YOU do? My budget for next upgrade is upward limited to appx 2000$. If I could get MORE than one item for this price, which would make my setup even more versatile, sure, that would be great. So any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks! (oh, and yeah, I am sure that there is no "22" answer here, just want suggestions as to what you would have considered upgrading/supplementing with first. )
Old 3rd July 2005
  #2
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

i confess, i have no clue what a "22" answer is, but i have some ideas nonetheless.

looking at your front end, you seem to be missing a spankin' pre with converters to match. there are pre's i recommend heartily, but your desire for the 90-2000 sound is vague enough to leave me guessing. 1993 rock is very different from 2000 pop.

in any case, you have a decent mic, now get a $1000 single channel pre to do it justice and a $1000 pair of converters to capture it well and you'll be off to a good start, literally.

at that point, your primary limitations (gearwise) will be your monitoring environment, daw, and d/a's, roughly in that order.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 4th July 2005
  #3
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

mic pre and a/d upgrade is what i would do without question.

great river mp1nv and mytek stereo 96 adc are within your price range.
Old 4th July 2005
  #4
84K
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84K's Avatar
I'll "Sign the Petition" for a great pre and better converters. The only thing I differ with: I would put the micpre first. Spend the 2K you have on a great stereo/dual mono tube pre (Pendulum MDP-1 would be my choice), then worry about the converters later. When you buy converters, buy into newer technology. Converters eventually get old and out of date with ever-growing and advancing technology. A great analog tube micpre will never be out-of-date and will never become bad or unusable.
Old 4th July 2005
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thanks for your input guys!
The Midas is supposed to be pretty good, but it is sold as an eq with preamp... so it might just be better for that... Also, I guess it might be better suited for live performances than studio?

Anyway, I will try to borrow some better pres and see how that changes things, although I am not quite sure if I will be able to test the brands you guys mention, since I cannot find an importer for them here in Norway.

Any ideas how a tube tech pre would compare to the variuos brands you mentioned: Pendulum, great river, etc? I read the post discussing pendulum and other pres as well, with someone saying that they perceived the gordon and gml as even "cleaner" pres, but these brands aren't imported to Norway either, the closest I can find an importer that might let me test them, is in Sweden... So, anyone have experience with tube-tech pres to compare? (Since I can get a tube tech pre to test if I would like to...)
Old 4th July 2005
  #6
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

it would be very helpful if you told us what sound you're after. what kind of music it's for, what music/era you like, what instruments you'll be recording... anything at all.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 4th July 2005
  #7
Gear Head
 

It actually says in my first post, but nevermind.. tutt
Pop and rock genre stuff, recording anything but drums. What I am after is generally a better input signal (i.e. recording what I actually hear). Since most here seem to agree that my mic is good, we're down to the pre and the converters. And, it seemed that most thought I should do something about my pre first.. so, since most of the brands mentioned aren't available in Norway, I asked how they would compare to a tube tech pre, which IS available... thumbsup
Old 5th July 2005
  #8
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eirikur
It actually says in my first post, but nevermind.. tutt
Pop and rock genre stuff, recording anything but drums.

my bad entirely! i apologize.

phoenix audio is uk, you'd be doing yourself a terrible disservice if you didn't try out the drs. the single channel is about $1000... do you need more than one channel at once? if so, spend all your loot on two pre's. if not, spend $1000-1200 to get one serious badass pre and the rest on converters. apogee is very respectable in that price range.

these are my pre suggestions:

phoenix drs - cosmically huge and round, flatteringly dishonest.
api 512 - open, in your face, very fast, very rock.
great river nv - open, fat, silky.
hardy m1 - crystal clear, gorgeous, flatteringly honest.

the tube tech is a big step up from where you are but it's not, imo, the pre to have if you only have one. the above are much more impressive on a wider variety of sources, you will never sell them for sonic reasons, and they will make your 87 sing.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 5th July 2005
  #9
You have 20 analog ins & outs

Do you use an analog mixer?

Or do you do everything in the computer?
Old 5th July 2005
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thanks again guys, for your input..

ubik: no worries.. I do the same all the time

jules:
I used to have an old tascam studio mixer, but got rid of it since it was so old and worn out, and I also found it a hassle everytime I needed to remix something etc. (REALLY analog, so no automation or recall, to put it that way.. ) In the end, I was really only using it for summing, since I stopped using the desk's eq as well. Although they sounded better than plugins, the need to remix things now and then made me do eq internally as well. Also, since I don't have any good outboard fxs, I ended up feeding the signal back into the daw, which I found added too much latency.. (Signal out, into desk, through aux, into daw fx, back to desk)

But, if anyone has a good desk with great preamps, automation/recall and want to sell it for around 2000$, I'm open for ideas! thumbsup
Old 5th July 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 

For vocals I often like to have a compressor on the input. I agree excellent mic preamps are a great choice (I'm the one talking up the Gordon). But that XL42 is no slouch, a very clean and powerful pre (80 dB or so I believe), and the Klark-Teknik EQ on that box is outstanding IMO -- I own the same preamp/EQ in the KT DN422M and enjoy it for many things.

I really like the Drawmer 1968 compressor. Easy to set up, useful for tracking as well as mix bus. You can run it in the inserts on the XL42 if you want to compress before EQ, or on the outputs if you prefer EQ-->Comp.

I always think that good cables is a great place to gain a lot clarity, in many cases.

Steve
Old 6th July 2005
  #12
Gear Head
 

Thanks again for your replies.

borau: no, I'm not the eurovision guy.. hehe.. I will give Bo a call, Gothenburg is less than a 4 hour drive away, so it's not too far...

squeegybug: yup, I agree on the xl42, it's really nice for quite a few things. Thanks for the tip on the drawmer.
Out of curiosity: what cables do you use in your input chain? I'm currently using balanced klotz for everything from mic cable to monitor cables. (Have dynaudio BM6a monitors)
Old 6th July 2005
  #13
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Mastering101's Avatar
[QUOTE=eirikur]Thanks for your input guys!
The Midas is supposed to be pretty good, but it is sold as an eq with preamp...

QUOTE]

ive never heard of midas. except the muffler? have any links
Old 6th July 2005
  #14
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GYang's Avatar
Maybe you can find AMEK DMCL within 2000 $ range.
Excellent pre, very usable limiter, excellent ADC and unique routing, although not exact Neve sound, but very universal, clean sound. 2000 $ can't buy more.

GYang
Old 6th July 2005
  #15
Gear Head
 

[QUOTE=effectsnut]
Quote:
Originally Posted by eirikur
Thanks for your input guys!
The Midas is supposed to be pretty good, but it is sold as an eq with preamp...

QUOTE]

ive never heard of midas. except the muffler? have any links
You can check out midas here:
http://www.midasconsoles.com

Thanks for your tip on the AMEK unit, GYang. thumbsup
Old 7th July 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eirikur
squeegybug: yup, I agree on the xl42, it's really nice for quite a few things. Thanks for the tip on the drawmer.
Out of curiosity: what cables do you use in your input chain? I'm currently using balanced klotz for everything from mic cable to monitor cables. (Have dynaudio BM6a monitors)
eirikur -
I made my own from Belden 89207 and Neutrik connectors. I'm pretty sure you can only get this in bulk, I found a smaller spool (cutoffs) from www.anixter.com

It's very stiff, so not too good for coiling. But can easily be bent to hold its shape, can be useful like that. Twisted pair, Teflon sleeves and jacket, 95% copper braid shield, 14 pF. Very neutral, smooth sound, no honking nasal upper mids. I use it from the mic all the way to the amp.

But I've heard the Klotz is good stuff too, so you may be just fine with that. I think cables are just equalizers, whatever certain combination works with your system is what counts.

Steve
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