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What Do I Need?
Old 21st January 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
brianellefson's Avatar
What Do I Need?

I know, I know, you can blast me for asking what is probably asked every day around here.

Here's my situation: I'm a musician recording from home and I'm using ...
Logic Pro 9, Focusrite Saffire Pro 24, new iMac computer, UA M610 pre, GAP Pre 73, Neumann TLM 103 mic (yeah, I know, most criticized mic on GS), AA CM12 mic, some other lower end mics, M-Audio BX5a monitors.

So say I had $2,000 to possibly spend on trying to get a better sound from my stuff. I rough-track at home and use a studio for mix down. The sound of my room is fine as-is, so no troubles there. What should I spend it on to get the most NOTICEABLE improvement in sound quality?

Thanks for any feedback.
Old 21st January 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
brianellefson's Avatar
I know, you should do your own research and not rely on GS posters to answer things for you.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianellefson View Post
I know, you should do your own research and not rely on GS posters to answer things for you.
Questions that doesn't get asked enough around here:

What kind of music do you make?

What kind of records do you like?

What do you like / dislike about the gear that you have?
Old 22nd January 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by baskervils View Post
Questions that doesn't get asked enough around here:

What kind of music do you make?

What kind of records do you like?

What do you like / dislike about the gear that you have?
Agree... what do you see as the shortcomings of your gear. You also mentioned you are rough tracking at your studio and doing mixdown at pro studio. What exactly are you rough tracking? Just you and an acoustic guitar? A full band? My initial thought would be treatment of your room.. but you say that sounds fine. What doesn't sound fine about your set-up?
Old 23rd January 2012
  #5
My favourite response to this question was posted by 'Enlightened Hand' last week....it applies here...

"What kinds of things do I need to buy to be a grown up?" I mean I already have clothes, a tooth brush, my bike, my own cellphone and my bedroom. What more do I need? One day I want to have a big house in Beverly Hills and drive nice cars. But I figure right now I can sleep in my bedroom and ride my bike to the park when I want. So I'm just looking for a second opinion on what would be the very best thing for me to buy to be as much of a grown up as possible."

Original thread
Old 23rd January 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
brianellefson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic Alex View Post
My favourite response to this question was posted by 'Enlightened Hand' last week....it applies here...

"What kinds of things do I need to buy to be a grown up?" I mean I already have clothes, a tooth brush, my bike, my own cellphone and my bedroom. What more do I need? One day I want to have a big house in Beverly Hills and drive nice cars. But I figure right now I can sleep in my bedroom and ride my bike to the park when I want. So I'm just looking for a second opinion on what would be the very best thing for me to buy to be as much of a grown up as possible."

Original thread
Okay, I liked that. I did. Thanks for reposting that.

Well ... so I DO rough track at home and my music is mostly acoustic guitar based, with bass, sampled drums, other guitars in the mix. Most of my songs end up being between 12 and 18 tracks, multiple acoustics, some percussions, bass, drums, VOX, several background vox. 24-26 track at the most.

I feel like I'm getting decent results for rough tracking, but I want BETTER. What's the saying, "Good is the enemy of great."

So currently, 80% of the time, I'm using a Neumann TLM 103 through a UA M610 for vocals and acoustic guitar. I only own one audio interface, which is the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24. So everything is going through that either through it's pres or through the ins in the back if I use my GAP Pre 73 or M610.

I'm just wondering what the wisest choice would be in order to go from good to great with my overall recorded rough tracks. Would it be a better pre? A better set of converters? Different monitors? I'm really happy with the TLM 103 on my vocals. Using that with the UA M610 is a really great combo for me. So I'm not ready to say I need to change my mic. I'm leaning towards changing my interface. I feel like better converters might have the greatest effect on things. But not sure.

Just looking for an opinion on the best choice for making a GREAT impact.

Thanks so much for the comments and the questions. I really appreciate that.

EDIT: I'll add in what my problems were in the past ...
So on my first album I recorded onto a BOSS BR1200 with those pres and mics I mentioned. It wasn't horrible. It got me to the next level. But mixing down in the studio with Dean showed me that my 16-bit recordings on horrible BOSS BR1200 converters took a LOT of work to massage the tracks out. So since then, I've upgraded to an iMac, running Logic Pro 9, 24-bit at 44k and I can hear a great difference in things. I'm happy with my M-Audio monitors (BX5a). I know what they do and what to expect when I take my mixes out to the car. I mean, in general, I'm happy with the sounds I'm getting. They're good. But they're not GREAT. I hear a lot of talk about converters and pres and, well, I'm just not sure if I should be investing in better ones and if that will make a great impact on what I'm doing.

So there it is. I hope this all makes sense. I'm REALLY not trying to be the dude asking dumb questions here. Sorry if I come across that way. -Brian
Old 23rd January 2012
  #7
Here for the gear
You have great equipment and could mix some great tracks with that set up.
Maybe spend those money in a bar, hoping to get a muse back home with you.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
brianellefson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.J.Band View Post
You have great equipment and could mix some great tracks with that set up.
Maybe spend those money in a bar, hoping to get a muse back home with you.
Ahhh, mojo. That's what I need.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #9
You're at the point with your input gear where it's a matter of taste and ultimately how you use the gear, and where you're tracking that will make the most difference. You can however improve your conversion and your monitoring.

If I was in your position I'd be looking at making certain that the signal path was as high fidelity as possible. Basically all you'd be doing is eliminating variables from your areas of "necessary improvement". You already have some decent mics and a couple great pres. You say you're fine with your room acoustics; no need to fix what isn't broken. A no compromise interface would make a difference I think. I'd look into companies like Prism Sound and Metric Halo. They make fine interfaces, with cutting edge conversion and analog circuitry.

You'd be surprised how much easier your life would be with better monitoring as well. A pair of serious monitors would allow you to hear further into the work you do, know more about your tracking decisions and how they are working or not working. That would also allow you to get some further insight on what your mics are really giving you. You'll know if you need something different when you can hear it more clearly. If I was in your position I'd look into something like the Unity Audio The Rock monitors, because they're a good buy. I auditioned them, didn't choose them because they weren't my style. But they are exceptionally good for serious critical listening. They would go a long way, a LOT further than the M-Audio's IMO.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #10
Gear Addict
 
bicasaur's Avatar
Here's the answer that gets posted way too much on GS: treat your room. By extension, try re-arranging your monitoring with your speakers at various distances. Personally, I would consider new monitors; I've got those same ones, and I find they do bad things to the bass freqs. But overall, the must important thing is to make sure you can really, really hear what you are doing.

Other than that, I'd say a new guitar. Not necessarily a better one, but maybe a contrasting one. That will make more difference than any other gear...
Old 23rd January 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
brianellefson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
You're at the point with your input gear where it's a matter of taste and ultimately how you use the gear, and where you're tracking that will make the most difference. You can however improve your conversion and your monitoring.

If I was in your position I'd be looking at making certain that the signal path was as high fidelity as possible. Basically all you'd be doing is eliminating variables from your areas of "necessary improvement". You already have some decent mics and a couple great pres. You say you're fine with your room acoustics; no need to fix what isn't broken. A no compromise interface would make a difference I think. I'd look into companies like Prism Sound and Metric Halo. They make fine interfaces, with cutting edge conversion and analog circuitry.

You'd be surprised how much easier your life would be with better monitoring as well. A pair of serious monitors would allow you to hear further into the work you do, know more about your tracking decisions and how they are working or not working. That would also allow you to get some further insight on what your mics are really giving you. You'll know if you need something different when you can hear it more clearly. If I was in your position I'd look into something like the Unity Audio The Rock monitors, because they're a good buy. I auditioned them, didn't choose them because they weren't my style. But they are exceptionally good for serious critical listening. They would go a long way, a LOT further than the M-Audio's IMO.
Thanks SO much for taking the time to chime in. I run into your posts on here all of the time and you're very consistent and smart about stuff. I really appreciate that!

I agree with you. My monitors kinda suck. And the guy below you posted something quite true about them, they play with the lower freqs in a not-so-good way. I know this already, so I know what to expect when I take mixes out to the car or onto other devices, but still ... it'd be nice to not have to correct things so much. Thanks again. Much appreciated.

I'll check out those companies you listed.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #12
The UA 610 is fine and dandy, although I got rid of mine when I grabbed an LA 610, which is only a few hundred dollars more and a LOT more interesting.

You should also try a solid state pre for vocals, which will be a lot more crisp and clear than the 610. The True Systems P Solo is wonderful, and every bit as good as my Neve Portico as far as I'm concerned. If you purchase from Musicansfriend, etc., you can try it out and return if you don't like it. I think that they run about $600.

Luckily with room treatment, if you're handy, you can put something together fairly inexpensively that will help a lot.
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