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buying mic and pre collection from scratch - £20k to £30k.....
Old 12th May 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 

buying mic and pre collection from scratch - £20k to £30k.....

Not for a large studio, mainly tracking vocals, guitars, small groups of instruments (string 4tets etc.), no drum tracking. No big console (Pro Tools)...

It's a matter of getting great front end with no need for a huge number of inputs (probably 4 at most at a time).

£20k-£30k (US$38k-$56k) represents a portion (v. important one) of a bigger budget which will include upgrade of Mac/PT and backend...

one thing at a time...!

I reckon this is where the most significant part of my budget should go (leaving aside room improvement for the moment, that's on the agenda too)

so....

I'm thinking 5/6 mics and 5/6 pres... there's so much high end out there

Need slutz advice for auditioning stuff to buy.......

Paul
Old 12th May 2006
  #2
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GYang's Avatar
Most expensive part will be couple of great LDCs.
If you purchase for yourself forget the old stuff (maintenance, overall condition etc.) For clients real vintage Neumans and AKG can add to 'attraction factor'.

Well budget is OK for top contenders as:

Brauner VM1 KHE (must have mic in such top flight locker)
Korby 67 +251 (or Korby KAT 4)
Wagner U47 (Wunder, too)
also it's worth to try Horch and Blue mics, as well as, cheaper Brauners

couple of ribbons and SDCs for guitars and other acoustic instruments:

Gefell 29x range (pair)
AEA ribbons

25-30 k so far

Preamps:

DW Fearn (2 ch)
TAB 72s (2 ch)
Thermionics Earlybird (2 ch)
Wunder PEQ
Gordon
Chandler Germanium

also, Pendulum Audio Quartet II (sounds incredible), of course some other.

15 k +

Good cables.

It's easy to spend much more, but all above is already bad ass front end for what you plan to record.

Good search !
Old 12th May 2006
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Cheers...
Germanium was definitely on my list for tryouts...
how about Pacifica?
also the Shadow hills stuff looks interesting (probably a long waut though?)
how about GML?
Obviously with these choices, I'm looking for a certain degree of variety.....

I was thinking somewhere there should be API; not sure about Neve (AMS) though,
I agree with you that I don't want to go down the vintage route particularly (for the reasons you mention)

Do people generally rate the Germanium higher than the other Chandler options?

I know.... so many options; I guess I should say that, as far as pres go, I'm looking more at "pure" pre (rather than with eq an so on; that's all for another section of the process!)...

Mic-wise, you've given me a good deal to go on there, thanks....

I have sung through a Bruel & Kjaer SDC (is this the same as DPA?) which I thought was wonderful...... I think these are normally used in pairs on classical-type recordings (?)
Old 12th May 2006
  #4
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Bat Head Sound's Avatar
 

Pre's/ channel strips:

API 3124
API 7600 ( for times you are only tracking one source, you could do a similar lunchbox too).
Tube Tech MEC-1A
Aurora Audio GTQ-2
A couple Millenia STT-1's

Mic's:

Telefunken USA Elam 251 E
Crowley and Tripp Studio Vocalist
Gefell UM-75
Telefunken USA U-47 M long body (maybe)
A couple of Earthworks omni's
a Pair of AKG 451's (or Audio Technica AT 4051, those actually sound really good)

Without knowing what else you have, those would be my recommendations, plus great mic cables and converters.
Old 12th May 2006
  #5
Well I just bought a bunch of mics and pres. Nothing too fancy:

Mics:

Gefell 930 (X-Y pair) and 300 (ORTF pair)
Korby FET (pair)
Earthworks QTC-40 (pair) and SR-30 (pair)
Shure SM-57 (pair)
DPA 3521 (pair of 4021 compact cardiods)

These are added to my AKG 414 TL-II, Royer R-121, 3 Crown PCC-160s, Rode NTK, Rode NT-4, and a Shure SM-58 (wahoo!)

Pres (all four channel unless otherwise noted):

GML 8034
DAV BG-2
API 3124MB+
John Hardy M2
Lavry Blue (2 channel plus A/D)
Focusrite 428 (with A/D)

These are added to my 3 2-channel Midas XL-42s and four Focusrite ISA 430s, Avalon 2022, and Avalon M5.

I think I'm going to sell my Rode stuff, buy some more Royers, Korbys, AKG 414s, and likely a Brauner or three. I'm also interested in Schoeps (or the Peluso versions of Shoeps). I also plan to get some hand-held Neumanns (105s or 150s).

My application: high-end venue and remote recording.
Old 12th May 2006
  #6
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Bat Head Sound's Avatar
 

Oh yeah, and a Shure SM-7.
Old 12th May 2006
  #7
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by coosticks
I think these are normally used in pairs on classical-type recordings (?)
Pairs...we used 32 of them on our last session.
4011 and 4012 are very handy for many things. I would not want to be without one.
Old 12th May 2006
  #8
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

Pre-wise, gotta have API!

The other essential "flavor" is to have Neve or Neve-type (Great River MP-2NV, Chandler LTD, etc).

A couple channels of tubes, ala TAB V78 or original V72, Manley, Fearn, Thermionic, etc. In fact, the Thermioninc Early Bird is phenominal.

And there are a couple newer players that are amazingly good: Obviously there's the Chandler Germanium, and the Portico 5012 is very very nice!heh
Old 12th May 2006
  #9
Gear Addict
 
aidyhall's Avatar
My shortlist :

-Wagner U47 - outstanding
-Telefunken USA 251 - different vocal flavour to the 47, equally amazing
-Pair of Schoeps CMC-5U with cardioid capsules - once you've used them it's hard to go back to any other SDC's
-Pair of Royer 122's or AEA R84's
-57's for guitar amps

And the pre's :

Pair of Neve-types (AMS/Vintech/Chandler/Great River) - it's an essential studio 'colour' and a great preamp design, some styles of music practically require it!

GML 4-channel, or 4 channels of Buzz Audio pre's. Clean and detailed.

Martech MSS-10. Mono unit (or 2 if you can afford it). Hands down the most 'natural' sounding pre I've ever used. Made the mic's seem like a whole new collection.

Happy shopping!
Old 12th May 2006
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

get a small Wunder or tonelux desk for your tracking
Old 13th May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Mics
2X Royer 121 (or 122) (2k)
2XSchoeps MK 4 cardioids (2.5k)
2X Telefunken USA Ela M251E's (15k)
1X Neumann U87 with innerTUBE mod (3.5k)
1X Neumann M49 (5k)


Pres
Tab Funkenwerk V72s (3.5k)
2X Neve 1084 (7k)
2X Germanium (2k)

There you go, 40k USD.

All brand new except the M49 - I have yet heard an M7 styled modern capsule that's as good - so you'll have to suffer the vintage stuff. With the 251's you've got your c12 style covered and with the modded U87 you have your k67 style covered (it's basically a U67 on steroids - waaay more versatile). (PS, I should add that I have never personally worked with the 251's, only listened to tracks recorded with them - based on that and recomendations, I put them on)

As far as pre's, they speak for themselves - but I added the Germaniums because it offers you some flexability in the "color" department. The feedback knob is a great idea - you can basically change the color of your pre with that dial, and you'd be surprised as to how clean you can get it as well. You might also want to consider a pair of Martechs (for real clean), but I haven't used them - so there you are.
Old 13th May 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosticks
tracking vocals, guitars, small groups of instruments (string 4tets etc.)
Gordon preamps.

Schoeps and Horch mics.

Ultimate realism and clarity, pure music.

You might not need anything else... Sounds like fun.

Steve
Old 13th May 2006
  #13
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

DAV BG-2 and Pendulum Preamps , ive used Gordon, Millennia, Grace, Apogee, GML., DACS...nothing has touched DAV and Pendulum to me..true and euphonic...as plush said, DAVs are the best in the world. heh the pendulum will give you that extra "umph" that you need sometimes..the DAV is hyper-real and present.


Schoeps CMC62S, CMC641, CMC621
AKG 426B
Gefell M930
Gefell UM75
Gefell M296(sizzles on guitar!)
Wagner u47
Coles 4038
Beyer M130/160
Mytek Converters.

Find a good cable maker.
Old 13th May 2006
  #14
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearHunter
Pre-wise, gotta have API!

The other essential "flavor" is to have Neve or Neve-type
This should be the answer to every "which pre..." thread!

I would say:

4 x Neve 1073's or 1084's, etc.. and a 10 space API rack with a collection of 512's, 550's, and 560's!

Alternatively for much less, you could get an API 3124+ and 2 x Aurora Audio GTQ2's...

Then get a couple great microphones like U67's, U47's, C12's, U87's, etc...

Don't forget the utility SM57's, RE20's, SM7's, 414's, MD421's, etc.
Old 13th May 2006
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.RayBullard
DAV BG-2 and Pendulum Preamps , ive used Gordon, Millennia, Grace, Apogee, GML., DACS...nothing has touched DAV and Pendulum to me..true and euphonic...as plush said, DAVs are the best in the world. heh the pendulum will give you that extra "umph" that you need sometimes..the DAV is hyper-real and present.

Wow, the DAV option seems amazing (since they seem to be so inexpensive compared with many of the other options....
I heard that some really big names swear by them (Gilmour etc)

Thanks for all these replies; I guess I somehow need to limit my search/auditioning or I'll go crazy trying to decide (either that or go way higher than the $50000 budget I was allocating; but then I'm going to be maybe short for convertion, monitoring....

realistically, I'm thinking that Tele Elam 251 (if I could get one!) would be out of my ballpark if I wanted other stuff too? how much do these fetch?

The Korby switchable head option seems pretty good...

how about Sony (C800)?

For pres...

Totally.... need Neve flavour and API; seems to me that I'd be better off trying the Portico rather than the AMS 1073; any thoughts? of course there are all those other "types"...

API is is easier... errr... API! actually from my (limited) experience, if I had to choose Neve v. API, I go with API any day..... just screams rock n roll to me!! but I think I can go for both.

Chandler, I guess has it's own flavour (EMI coloured)....

How would you guys compare the "colour" of Pacifica and Shadow Hills as against Neve/Api - they provide another colour, right?

then clean.....
Old 13th May 2006
  #16
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by coosticks
Totally.... need Neve flavour and API; seems to me that I'd be better off trying the Portico rather than the AMS 1073; any thoughts? of course there are all those other "types"...

API is is easier... errr... API! actually from my (limited) experience, if I had to choose Neve v. API, I go with API any day..... just screams rock n roll to me!! but I think I can go for both.

Chandler, I guess has it's own flavour (EMI coloured)....

How would you guys compare the "colour" of Pacifica and Shadow Hills as against Neve/Api - they provide another colour, right?

then clean.....
Again for commercial 'wow' - API, NEVE, Millenia, well Avalon right, are proven path.
Buy original U47, modified U87, find ELAM251
And you're there. Simplier, investment wise and sonically no risks.

Mentioned gears provide sounds and 'touch' of 15-20-30 and more years ago, but why to live in the past, if you can make your own approach from the scratch?
Don't pay too much attention to 'big names' producers, engineeres whoever, they did their homework for themself and they are there where they deserve. Trying to sound or work 'like them' will not make you happy in long run.

But if you do it for yourself, than different flavours and 'new wind' could provide you with your own signature sound. I got rid of all Neves, APIs, Avalons and Milenias and many other classics (all those I had initially as just standard studio set up suggested by those who know).

Shadow Hills, Aurora, Wunder and others offers equal or better (similar) sonic character, as mentioned brands, with differences one has to listen and choose.

I found Gordon, Martech, DAV El and DACS in some extent as doing better things than Millenia in clean, still many people swear by Millenia.
DAV Electronics is unbelievable offer in hyperclean department, still I dig Gordon more for it's bigness. Neither is better, such words are wrong here. It depends on microphone, too. With some mics Gordon revealed minor mic's harshness I was not happy to hear, with Brauner VM1 KHE it's instant nirvana.
Old 13th May 2006
  #17
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Plush's Avatar
Excellent comments and good advice here in this thread. . .

I really must recommend a real M49--they're not that hard to find and golden on voice,
$5500.00-7500.00.

A tube mic amp (2 ch.) is essential---seek EAR 624 or Pendulum.

DAV Electronics BG2 (4ch) or the new BG8 (8 ch) is an all-rounder suitable for
everyday use. Ask for the version that has the legending made to be read under a black light!

I wouldn't want to be without Neve 1073's . . .

(you asked for commentary comparing Neve Texan 5012 to 1073--the new Neve company's offerings are NOT sounding like, nor are they made to sound like, or claimed to sound like, the older Neve 1073 designs. They are excellent mic amps on their own.)

Real 1073 (new) is what is desired.

What a wonderful quest! Best of Luck.
Old 13th May 2006
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush
I wouldn't want to be without Neve 1073's . . .

(you asked for commentary comparing Neve Texan 5012 to 1073--the new Neve company's offerings are NOT sounding like, nor are they made to sound like, or claimed to sound like, the older Neve 1073 designs. They are excellent mic amps on their own.)

Real 1073 (new) is what is desired.
I was wondering about the new ams neve designs and how they compared with the originals......
I understand that the portico isn't meant to "be" a 1073/84 or whatever (it is the man himself though!); are the new 1073's equal to or better than the older ones?
and.... are they better than the miriad clones out there (GR, aurora, BA etc etc...)

so far, I'm thinking (pre-wise) of Pendulum 4-tet, API something(!), neve something(!), Martech, Pacifica, and maybe Thermionic earlybird to check out... then there's the germanium.... looks like I may have to re-allocate my budget!! (got a feeling I'd probably want to keep them all!)...

Mic-wise... well, I'd like to check the Brauner (BTW, is the KHE really that much better than the others?), question... does anyone know how the new ELA 251's from Telefunken compare to original? (that would be a cheaper option!)... just thinking about vocal LDC's for now; SDC will have to wait til I've made decisions on that.

I've also got a feeling that, with a mic such as the Brauner, a pre like the Martech will work best (guessing here!), cos it will simply allow the sound to "be".....
so many options........
Old 13th May 2006
  #19
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosticks
are the new 1073's equal to or better than the older ones?
and.... are they better than the miriad clones out there (GR, aurora, BA etc etc...)
Quick answer... No!

Are they better than the clones..? Depends on what you mean by better... I think there are some clones which do a wonderful job of re-creating the vintage Neve flavor (BAE, Aurora Audio, etc) and I think there are some that don't. It's best for you to try them all and decide for yourself.
Old 16th May 2006
  #20
Gear Nut
 

So I'm looking to start enquiring into trying out some of this stuff.....
where's best to go in the UK anyone (I'm in London)...
so far my searching has only come up with KMR Audio for this kind of stuff; haven't contacted them yet RE demos etc.....

Initially, I'm thinking of trying a Braumer, ELA M251 (Tele, or other) and DPA 4011
with API 3124 or 7600, neve 1073 DPA, Pendulum Quartet, DAV BG 2

Paul
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