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Help me spend £15,000 quick.........
Old 24th June 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Help me spend £15,000 quick.........

..............that is before I lose my bottle and put it under my my matress instead.

Ok here's the deal, I have been mixing in my bed/sitting room with plug ins, well ok, learning with plug ins for the past 8 years. Mainly writing and producing for local acts, in the urban field. For anything we thought had "legs" we would go to a room and mix it with an engineer. 5 years later and thousands of pounds poorer, I kind of came to the conclusion that a room of our own might be in order. So we have just moved into a small, 200 sq ft, cube in a bigger studio complex. Rent is reasonable and location fantastic. We spent the last couple of months building traps and treating the room.
I'm now about to upgrade my hardware, currently using a motu 828 mk 1, well not currently, cause as soon as I moved it into the room to have a listen last week, it packed up, been flaky for months. Anyway intention was to get a prism orpheus to handle ad/da. That was the easy bit, have been on this forum probablyevery day for the last year reading every thread going on "The hardware V software debate." "Which compressor is best" "Which clone sounds most like a U47." "Which comp for glue" etc . I've read them all!
Concluded the way to go might be a nice stereo comp on the 2 bus and something like The Hammmer to give a bit of weight and depth. I also decided that Something like the Bricasti would further help me achieve a little bit more of the depth and width I would like to work to-wards in my mixes. I'm not a mix engineer. I can't even solder! I've never had any training, much of what i have learned thus far has been from these forums and working in studios with guys who know what they are doing. I'm also going to be fortunate enough to have a couple of real engineers, come by my place in the coming months and educate me. So in essence, I want to learn to mix but I want to make it as easy on my already over stressed system{ years of crying and stamping my feet when computers crashed, midi which didn't work or things which perviously worked suddenly didn't} as I can.

So I have made a start with the room. I have been using Adam 7's for a year or so I am looking forward to mixing with these, although they are a little bass shy. However as soon as I put these in the new room, I discovered the bass driver had gone for a second time in a year! but I digress. So I think the mixing enviroment is as covered as I can get it at the moment. It's really just a hardware strategy that will most benefit my way of working and be capable of yiellding great sound. I'm still on the fence as regards "summing" and don't know whether summing in the daw but with hardware on the bus is what I'm looking for or to sum to a seperate analogue device. I'm really looking for depth of sound at the bottom and far into the mix. Currently everything is very two dimensional.
If I go the summing route, I will probably need 16 ins/outs and probably go with Lynx Aurora and some sort of summing device.

I'm interested in opinions. If you had the choice. Prism orpheus, Hammer and compressor of choice on the 2 bus with maybe a couple of nice comps on bass and vox, Retro 176, purple 77, etc.

Or.

Lynx Aurora and dangerous 2 bus or the like which would it be?
Old 24th June 2009
  #2
Engagement Manager
 
Sniperschool's Avatar
man that took some reading!

trying to get my head around what exactly your set up currently is (apart form a MOTU and busted A7's) and what kind of sounds you are hoping to achieve/get closer to

maybe don't go spending all of the money in one go
it will take you a while to really get into/make the most of each new bit of kit if you are not familiar with hardware already
so 1 or 2 new bits at a time means you can learn about them and then be in a better place to choose what you add after that
and hang on to as much of your money as possible and make sure you don't buy 'named' gear if you don't know what it sounds like or that it will help with what you are doing

i reckon an aurora 16 will do you fine
and as for summing you could go neve/dangerous/phoenix audio etc
but the difference might be a lot more subtle than you had hoped for though
(hate to say it but no 'magic box' is going to fix a dull 2D mix just by feeding through it)

perhaps just get one compressor for now that you can use for tracking/printing and 2 buss work
get something that will hopefully be a keeper and see if you need another after that

really i am rambling now
without knowing what you are already working with makes it impossible to gauge what might help you

good luck though
Old 24th June 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
Depth is something hard to give advices on as there are many things that combine to acheve it.

First thing, you must be happy with your monitoring. Its really great you guys did the hard work and build those traps but this doesn't mean throwing a few traps in the room will fill all your needs. Buying a sub and measuring the responce of the room (+fixing the A7) should be the first thing you should do. If I were to spend such money, I wouldn't risk not hiring a pro (a real pro, not some noname guy who uses a behringer mic.) to help setup the room as then you'd probably save more money with better results then buying stuff couse you just read about it here. If you have a problem with finding one, I'm sure you'll get help and advices here too.

Lynx or similar quality would be great. Currently we're also looking for something like that for a friend of mine. The thing is to find exactly what we want (compatibility, built in preamps, number of i/o...). Just be sure to buy something exactly what you need-npt more or less.

As for hardware, if I didn't miss anything you didn't mention if you need preamps or have enough mic. options. I find them to be most important.

Buss compression helped me alot while trying to understand why I couldn't get the depth I want. But you don't need hardware for that as if you want to improve depth, a plug-in comp. should also do the trick (the glue from cytomic is nice for this and not expensive). If you haven't yet, just learn how to mix into a compressor then later on either you'll keep using it or not.

Imho, best advise to you would be to cover-up the basic needs first (like preamp,room,coverter,mic.s...having all these in a good standard should solve all the issues and later you can buy other stuff to make things sound warmer, cleaner or whatever...) and speaking to a pro engineer to have a better idea.
Old 24th June 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
....trying to get my head around what exactly your set up currently is (apart form a MOTU and busted A7's) and what kind of sounds you are hoping to achieve/get closer to
...........................All in the box. Plugins. Obviously I want to improve my ad/da, significantly. The origonal idea was to work with the motu while we tuned the room for a couple of months and then add the prism into the equation and possibly the bricasti. I have been using plug ins on my master bus as everywhere else and the plan was to likewise see how putting some analogue mojo on the 2bus helped or didn't................various issues! However probably doing all the actual mixing with plug ins, I'm used to them and can't really afford to go out board, except for maybe one mono unit for a lead vocal . Or alternatively go the summing option and give every output it's own d/a into the summing mixer. Ie summing inside computer or outside. Soundwise I will be doing a number of different things. Programmed stuff which I would see maybe as less critical in terms of outboard and stuff with real drums, real piano, real strings. woodwind etc. In short, a wide variety of music. What I find most difficult to capture at the recording stage and represent at the mixing stage is " vibe". Now that might be either capturing a vocal sound that i hear in my head or putting a bunch of instruments in a convincing space with "atmosphere" which I associate with real rooms. It might be some sort of saturation or air, on a "vocal". It might be lending a convincing soundstage to a piece of music, drenching strings in an atmosphere redolent of old hollywood, or creating an extra ordinary but dry -ish ambience on something else. A lot of this is technique based and I'm sure there's a few guys who could turn out a respectable mix on a flaky motu and one adam a7 spaeaker in an untreated bedroom, whether they would enjoy the process is another matter. Basically anything at the moment would be an improvement right!

However times a change and I'm now in a different enviroment and I need to step up my game. Hearing the sound accurately is the first hurdle and I'm on the way to being over that. But I want superlative soundquality.
Old 25th June 2009
  #5
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

The only thing I would like to contribute is 1. Don't be in a rush to spend your money. & 2. Don't spend your hard earned money based on unqualified answers you will get from anonymous people on the internet.
Old 25th June 2009
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
The only thing I would like to contribute is 1. Don't be in a rush to spend your money. & 2. Don't spend your hard earned money based on unqualified answers you will get from anonymous people on the internet.
3. Read 1 & 2 again. thumbsup
Old 25th June 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Casey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Depth is something hard to give advices on as there are many things that combine to acheve it.
If you have the ability to ever mix with depth, it will only take you 2 weeks to train your ears.

Concentrate on attack, release, frequency spectrum, echo, and reverb beyond what you would consider normal release. Learn mono vs stereo vs decorellated noise.

Day 1: Lie in bed all day. Listen to the immediacy of the blood rushing in your ears. Listen to sounds inside and outside the glass that surrounds you. Open windows, close windows. Clean yourself up before your wife get's home or this will be a short exercise. Turn the water on in the sink. Listen. Put your head down in the sink. Turn the shower on. Get in the shower. Head in the water. Head by the drain.

Day 2: Get to an open field. Listen. What is far, what is close, how does the wind affect the sound. What is random (hint leaves rustling) what is fixed (hint: the sound of your brown bag lunch, you did bring lunch right?)

Day 3: Get to a wooded setting, repeat.

Day 4 and 5: Wait for heavy rain. Don't be a pussy, get wet that's what reverb is all about. Repeat day 2 and day 3. Pay attenton to how the rain sounds, how amazingly decorrelated it is over a wide area. How does the rain affect the sounds you heard on days 2 and 3.

Day 6: Write down your observations in exacting detail. Determine how they relate to the control you have in a mix.

Day 7: Try (yet fail) to mix using your observations.

Day 8-14: Repeat this the next week, but really pay attention this time.

If this fails, stick to reading opinions on gearslutz.

Good luck.



-Casey
Old 25th June 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 

I think at this point you should give yourself the chance to find out if it is any easier for you to create depth in your mixes in your new room. So buy what you need for this ie get your A7's working and use what you've got.

Maybe the next step after this is to buy a sub and a good quality DA converter.

I really enjoy using multiple busses the way Michael Brauer does. I much prefere this than simply mixing through a mastering chain and if you are chaising the feeling of depth in your mixes then this method makes it easier for me to do it.

Peace,
cortisol

Last edited by cortisol; 25th June 2009 at 06:34 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 25th June 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 
goldenlotus's Avatar
 

Personally I would buy a couple 1176s, a pair of distressors, and a Tubetech CL1b. Send out for mastering for songs you really believe in. Mastering can be so cheap these days it's really worth it, especially if you are only doing it a song or two at a time.
Old 25th June 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
andrewj's Avatar
hehe @ TonyBelmont

To me:

1. converters (also look at the new metric halos!)
2. monitoring (klein und hummel o300 IMO)
3. busscompression (fatso is worthier than summing on my tracks!)
4. summing (if you want) (dangerous2buss or thermionic culture unit would be my choice)

i could spend it o million other things, but this is what I would try to buy step by step! Go as far as your money takes you!
Old 25th June 2009
  #11
1. Converters/Monitoring/roomacoustics


ups.. money spent

2. 2 bus (summing, compressors, analog EQs)

3. tracking EQs/comps

4... tbc.


we usually put new speakers in a studio, better AD/DA converter, and then people start to hear things.. this is a bad experience from time to time to the studioowner because he has to invest in new equipment
Old 25th June 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Thanks everyone.

Quote:
Buying a sub and measuring the responce of the room (+fixing the A7) should be the first thing you should do. If I were to spend such money, I wouldn't risk not hiring a pro (a real pro, not some noname guy who uses a behringer mic.) to help setup the room as then you'd probably save more money with better results

.............yes we are going to buy a sub. We are going to be continuing to take measurements and finetuning the room over the next few weeks.
Quote:
As for hardware, if I didn't miss anything you didn't mention if you need preamps or have enough mic. options. I find them to be most important
...........no i don't have enough mic options or preamps. I have a u87 but am planning to get a tube mic at some point for contrast. Bass will be recorded probably DI, keyboards also. We won't be recording drums. So will be looking at something like Pacifica if we go rackmount or maybe MA 5 if we go 500 series.

Quote:
Buss compression helped me alot while trying to understand why I couldn't get the depth I want. But you don't need hardware for that as if you want to improve depth, a plug-in comp. should also do the trick
..............Yes have been mixing with a bus comp, Rcomp or waves ssl for a couple of years, with better results, just wondered if hardware would give me better results.

Quote:
The only thing I would like to contribute is 1. Don't be in a rush to spend your money. & 2. Don't spend your hard earned money based on unqualified answers you will get from anonymous people on the internet.
,,,,,,,,,,well hopefully there are plenty of qualified people here.

Casey, thanks for the fanatastically soulful suggestions. I think I have decent musical ears and I notice what's going on around me, that's why I love poetry by the great latin writers. I will try your suggestions and buy a Bricasti!

However still undecided about whethet to go the analogue summing riute or just go with in the box summing and some analogue goodness on the 2 bus
Old 25th June 2009
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
However still undecided about whethet to go the analogue summing riute or just go with in the box summing and some analogue goodness on the 2 bus
this is a matter of taste and money.

I would recommend

1. dangerousmusic d-box or phoenix nicericer (attention: totally different beasts!)
2. Analogue EQ (Massive passive)
3. Analogue Compressor (for flavour, CharterOak SCL-1, Buzzaudio SOC 1.1)
4. Analogue/digital limiter (Manley Slam)
5. good AD-stage (Weiss ADC)
Old 25th June 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
toulcit's Avatar
 

I'll help you to get rid off your money, quick donate it to me :P
Sorry couldn't resist. haha
Old 25th June 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey View Post
...2 weeks to train your ears...
Day 1: Lie in bed all day...
Day 2: Get to an open field. Listen...
Day 3: Get to a wooded setting, repeat...
Day 4 and 5: Wait for heavy rain. Don't be a pussy, get wet...
Day 6: Write down your observations in exacting detail...
Day 7: Try (yet fail) to mix using your observations...
Day 8-14: Repeat this the next week, but really pay attention this time...
Sheer poetry, Casey!
Old 25th June 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
this is a matter of taste and money.

I would recommend

1. dangerousmusic d-box or phoenix nicericer (attention: totally different beasts!)
2. Analogue EQ (Massive passive)
3. Analogue Compressor (for flavour, CharterOak SCL-1, Buzzaudio SOC 1.1)
4. Analogue/digital limiter (Manley Slam)
5. good AD-stage (Weiss ADC)
.......Thanks George. Must admit hadn't really considered any of the pieces on your list, Apart from the Dangerous. Was going to go with the Hammer for 2bus eq purposes. Bus comp would be a tricky one. As there are a lot of flavours and feels from comps, which is I suppose why people have more than one. Considered the Api obviously as lots rave about it, also the thermonic comp, quite warm and valvey I understand. SSL I feel might be a little agressive for everything, unless I was just doing Rock and pop. I have heard very good things about the Elyssia Mpressor. expensive and a complex beast I understand. Difficult to know what would be a good allrounder for Pop, rock, dance, accoustic music. Need something which can be agressive, clean, colourful or transparent when required. does that exist in one comp?

If i was to go the summing route then I guess the summing unit would handle the D/A so wouldn't need that from my convertors. Still undecided really, quite keen on the Orpheus but if i decided to then add a summing box would need to fork out for another unit so I could have 16 ins and outs, definitely beyond my budget!
Old 25th June 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
summing (if you want) (dangerous2buss or thermionic culture unit would be my choice)
...........Andrew, do you have the Fat Bustard? I think it looks great but might it be too colourful for everything. Great for rock, soul, funk etc but If I wanted clean pop/rnb how would it handle that?
Old 25th June 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
I really enjoy using multiple busses the way Michael Brauer does. I much prefere this than simply mixing through a mastering chain and if you are chaising the feeling of depth in your mixes then this method makes it easier for me to do it.
.....Cortisol, yes I have read a little about that and it's at the back of my mind to try it. However i don't mix on a console do you? Can this be achieved in a daw?
Old 26th June 2009
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
.......Thanks George. Must admit hadn't really considered any of the pieces on your list, Apart from the Dangerous. Was going to go with the Hammer for 2bus eq purposes. Bus comp would be a tricky one. As there are a lot of flavours and feels from comps, which is I suppose why people have more than one. Considered the Api obviously as lots rave about it, also the thermonic comp, quite warm and valvey I understand. SSL I feel might be a little agressive for everything, unless I was just doing Rock and pop. I have heard very good things about the Elyssia Mpressor. expensive and a complex beast I understand. Difficult to know what would be a good allrounder for Pop, rock, dance, accoustic music. Need something which can be agressive, clean, colourful or transparent when required. does that exist in one comp?

If i was to go the summing route then I guess the summing unit would handle the D/A so wouldn't need that from my convertors. Still undecided really, quite keen on the Orpheus but if i decided to then add a summing box would need to fork out for another unit so I could have 16 ins and outs, definitely beyond my budget!
go with the orpheus.. if you have the money, buy it now.. run my friend! it's a very good piece of gear.

there are a lot of choices. I would like you to try to try out the TK Buscomp. it's made by the guy in sweden (Thomas) who does vintagedesign as well. it costs very little money (around 900 pounds) and it's killer on the 2 bus.

the hammer is very musical but has only 3 freq-bands to work with. I like it a lot, but the massive passive is more flexibel. I use the hammer more for tracking (favourite on hihat .. haha really ).

my last sick tracking chain was a valve-mic into Groovetubes VIPRE => massive passive => Retro STA-Level => Studer AD converter. the singer didn't deserve that chain..

as for gear you are the guy who decides. if you don't decide a sales-guy will decide for you. I wouldn't want this.

have you got the chance to visit a studio and test something?

what is your past experience with recording/mixing?

cheers
George
Old 26th June 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Hey George, thanks again.

Quote:
go with the orpheus.. if you have the money, buy it now.. run my friend! it's a very good piece of gear.
...............yip, opinion seems unanimous on that one.

Quote:
the hammer is very musical but has only 3 freq-bands to work with. I like it a lot, but the massive passive is more flexibel. I use the hammer more for tracking (favourite on hihat .. haha really ).
.................Yes, I know but I considered it as, it's apparently an easy box to use. Just stick it on the 2 bus and voila. I'm looking for air and vibe. I really hate boosting with software, it's ok sometimes for really processed stuff, shiny rnb etc but I want something for "real" music also. i've also heard it can add a bit of depth on the mix bus. The massive passive I feel might be overkill for me with my limited experience with hardware.
Quote:
my last sick tracking chain was a valve-mic into Groovetubes VIPRE => massive passive => Retro STA-Level => Studer AD converter. the singer didn't deserve that chain..
.........Yeah I am really into the idea of the Retro sta, the only issue I can see is that it's a bit of a one trick pony, might be good for some vox. The 176 is supposed to be a little more versatile? If i was buying several comps then yes but won't be buying more than two mono's at most.

Quote:
what is your past experience with recording/mixing?
.............Songwriter first, producer second, engineer a poor third. In the past have always mixed anything crucial in outside studios, mixed results really. I'm pretty musical, decent set of ears, willing and eager to improve my chops.
Old 28th June 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
.....Cortisol, yes I have read a little about that and it's at the back of my mind to try it. However i don't mix on a console do you? Can this be achieved in a daw?
Yup I'm working in the box at the moment.

Just start by having a few different stereo busses going to the master bus. Call one vocal bus, another guitar bus and another drums bus... Then create busses with the right character for those instruments. You might have a plug-in that replicates a stereo chanel from console X on one bus and on another bus you'll have maybe a linear phase EQ and an ambience patch; in other words busses with different characters to one another.

Eventually you'll start dialing in your bass track to the drum bus or if it doen't go there then to the guitar bus or clean master bus or to 2 or more.

So what ended up happening to me was that instruments where grouped by frequency and by complimentary instruments. Which led to greater clarity and mixes that where easier to master. So you ride the individual fader to interact with the bus and you can ride the bus to maintain the character and make a mix that moves the way you want them to.

I s'pose in my head I'm thinking - what are the sounds that give their clues from coming from a natural space like a room. What are the sounds that are contemporary close mic sounds that have to be that way. What are the sounds that are psycho acoustic (voice and electric guitar IMO).

So thinking like that gives me the clues I need on how to create depth in my mix.

I probably sound like a noob and I am compared to many of the people on GS. But hey, that is how I've improved my mixes in the box.

Peace,
cortisol
Old 28th June 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Yup I'm working in the box at the moment.

Just start by having a few different stereo busses going to the master bus. Call one vocal bus, another guitar bus and another drums bus... Then create busses with the right character for those instruments. You might have a plug-in that replicates a stereo chanel from console X on one bus and on another bus you'll have maybe a linear phase EQ and an ambience patch; in other words busses with different characters to one another.

Eventually you'll start dialing in your bass track to the drum bus or if it doen't go there then to the guitar bus or clean master bus or to 2 or more.

So what ended up happening to me was that instruments where grouped by frequency and by complimentary instruments. Which led to greater clarity and mixes that where easier to master. So you ride the individual fader to interact with the bus and you can ride the bus to maintain the character and make a mix that moves the way you want them to.

I s'pose in my head I'm thinking - what are the sounds that give their clues from coming from a natural space like a room. What are the sounds that are contemporary close mic sounds that have to be that way. What are the sounds that are psycho acoustic (voice and electric guitar IMO).

So thinking like that gives me the clues I need on how to create depth in my mix.

I probably sound like a noob and I am compared to many of the people on GS. But hey, that is how I've improved my mixes in the box.
......To be honest I kinnda do this anyway. Drum bus, back vox bus etc. In cubase I think of them as group tracks and they all get sent to the master bus. Where I may or may not compress them. The distinction as I understood with the Michael brauer multi bus method was that they were not getting compressed to-gether. However Michael notes that he does indeed do a little self mastering by compressing everything with the ADL or Shadow hills, so Im just wondering what in fact is the difference between his method and everybody elses.
Old 28th June 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
 

I generally compress at the bus (sub group) rather than at the master bus. Somtimes I compress gently on the master but I really want my fader moves to do the work rather than mix too heavily into a compressor on the main bus.

If I'm mixing a bunch of tracks for an EP or album then sometimes I find that the client wants me to do the mastering and I find that I do a better job when I create the mastering chain at the end.

But I prefere to audition my mixes through a mastering chain and then take it off and pass it on to a mastering guy. I like having an outside perspective and someone take it to the next level with better outboard than I've got at the moment.

I'm a bit too sensative to the artifacts that limiters and multiband compressor plug ins have on my mixes.... so I tend to go in and fader down the biggest transient peaks auditioning each one! I'm a loony! hehe

Much better to let someone at it with the hardware that produces relatively superior artifact free results.

Peace,
cortisol
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