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help me spend $15k wisely Multi-Channel Preamps
Old 13th June 2006
  #1
help me spend $15k wisely

hi guys, i'm trying to complete my setup. while i don't want anything crappy that will just "get me by", i do need to get by for a while before i buy anything else on top of this stuff. here's what i have so far:

a good room - in the process of getting decent treatment
vocal booth
digi002r running on a dual 2.0 G5, 3.5 gigs of RAM
ATC SCM50 ASL monitors, philips consumer speakers (mix tool)
revolution REDD.47 mono tube mic pre - this thing is totally dope
DPA 4006 x2
SM57 x1

so obviously i need some great conversion, more mics, more pres, some compression and maybe some eq. in the future i'll want to add a mixer, tape machine etc. but for this discussion let's leave that out of the picture.

here's my thoughts for what to get:

conversion - mytek 8X192 - ADDA with the ADAT card

mics - MD421 x 3, SM57 x 3, beyer M88 x 1 (or audix D6 x1), U87 x 1.

pres - here's where i'm torn up inside. at first i thought shadow hills GAMA 8, then i got worried i might be getting a jack of all trades. the 3 output transformer options are great, but if one sound is meant to be like API, one is aparently similar sounding to that, and the other is clean, then is that clean sound going to be the ultimate clean sound, like an earthworks pre for example? if not, then i may as well get 4 channels of earthworks and an API 3124+. does anyone care to comment on this? maybe i'm wrong about the GAMA being a jack of all trades? i kinda hope so...cos damn it's a sexy looking box!

compression - i want 2 channels of pristine clean, and 2 of phat flava! i can only comment on what i've used, so at the moment i'm considering a crane song STC8, and a chandler TG1 - man i love that box! i'm interested in GML stuff as well though, and always have loved the 1176, but hey, i can't have everything....i'm on a budget after all.

eq - well...i never used to use much eq while tracking when i worked in a real studio, but now i'm temporarily ITB i may need it more. 2 channels should do the trick. i've only ever used console eqs, so i got no idea in this area.

i'm probably already over $15k by now!

any help/suggestions/insults on how to do this and keep the cost down will be much appreciated!

thanks!

simon
Old 13th June 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Buy real estate - oops, too late.
Buy gold - oops too late.

Hmmm... just don't buy audio gear - not a wise investment.
Old 13th June 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Greg Wells's Avatar
wrong - buy audio gear! especially stuff that will retain value, either vintage gear or the best new stuff.

i like your first two compressor choices, and overall you seem to know what you need to buy. make sure your clocking is rocking. buying an apogee big ben several months ago made my studio sing.... really.
Old 13th June 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 
I-Quality's Avatar
bleah it depends on what you are going to record...
the biggest flaw I see is your mic selection, you're never going to record oveheads or stereo? then get a decent pair of sdc...
I'd also put in a ribbon
and a u87 is nice for the hype but you may consider some other ldc like a soundelux or whatever for more flavors...
Old 13th June 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
nathanvacha's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Wells
..........make sure your clocking is rocking. buying an apogee big ben several months ago made my studio sing.... really.
You don't think the 002 clocked to the mytek's internal would do the trick? It's only two devices...
Old 13th June 2006
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Quality
bleah it depends on what you are going to record...
the biggest flaw I see is your mic selection, you're never going to record oveheads or stereo? then get a decent pair of sdc...
You mean like the pair of DPA 4006's he mentioned he already has?
Old 14th June 2006
  #7
thanks for the replies so far! I-Quality, i like you're ribbon suggestion...i'm dying for a pair of coles 4038s, or even some beyer m160s, but can you suggest what items i could skip or swap to make room for them in the budget? i'm not super confident on the U87 either, as i'm sure there's better value out there, but the reason i still put it on the considerations list is that it's so expected. even in studios with an amazing vintage mic collection, the U87 still seems like a must have, probably more so than a soundelux...although maybe not by much. i'll check out soundelux anyhow.

and Greg Wells, do you think in my situation a big ben would be better than the mytek internal clock? if dan lavry read your post, his face would probably resemble this amusing emoticon:

thanks again guys, keep those suggestions coming! especially in regards to the pres and eq, and any ideas for cutting costs!

simon
Old 14th June 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Greg Wells's Avatar
i said when i bought a big ben, it made a massive difference. it's all quite over my head in terms of what works with what. i recommended that whatever the deal is with your mytek interfaces that the clocking is as solid as possible. the big ben with my three digi 192's made it sound like a new studio.

people get red-faced around here without much effort.
Old 14th June 2006
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Glad to see you did what most people DO NOT do. Get your room acoustics together first.

Glenn
Old 14th June 2006
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Buy what you need,not what you want.

Seriously.

Make a list of what you have that you are happy with and another list of what gives unsatisfactory results.

Discover the problem areas in your studio/sound and allocate realistic amounts of money to improve each are.

Think about quality over quantity.

Do not consider specific purchases until you have decided how they fit into the overall upgrade plan.

Break up your budget into sections eg. 3k mics 5k pres etc.


Do not buy "stop gap" or "it,ll do till i upgrade" items.


Overestimate the cost of each item by 10 % (so you have enough money to buy all the cables,power supplies,displays,shipping costs etc. that you forgot to budget for)


Decide exactly how many of a given unit you need then try to see if you could work with a little less.


Do not buy on impulse.


Once you decide what to buy wait a few days then reconsider your list of purchases.




Disregard all the above and buy a matched pair of vintage u47,s
Old 14th June 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
dubrichie's Avatar
maybe slightly less expensive converters.

i just think that buying the most expensive, top of the range, brand new digital gear is never a good investment. in 5 years or less it will be worth bugger all. apogee or lynx may well be great enough for your purposes.

mics; perhaps that pair of coles would be a great addition to your pallet, or bung the innertube audio mod into the u87 (presumably gotten second hand to save another €500 or more) or both if you can afford it.

preamps and compression? jayzus, they could be anything!

regards,

richie.
Old 15th June 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
If you're looking for a number of different types of high end mic pres, check out Seventh Circle Audio. You can buy an 8 channel frame and stuff it with whatever combination of mic pres you like: N72(Neve1272 clone), A12 (API512 clone), or J99(Jensen/Hardy Twin Servo). I have a frame with four N72's and two A12's. Need to fill the other two slots.
www.seventhcircleaudio.com
Old 15th June 2006
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Calrec?

Hi,

for pre-amps you could try Calrec 1061 or 1161 channel strips. These can also double as EQ. They come up quite frequently on ebay and are fully discrete. Best of all they sound amazing, almost up there with 1081s and much, much cheaper (for the time being - but gaining in cachet and price).

Ronan.
www.lachunky.com
Old 15th June 2006
  #14
more replies! yay!

Greg Wells - i wasn't getting red faced, just pointing out that some other people might, with the whole internal vs. external clocking debate, but you're right! lets not go there!

myfipie - thanks! you were in fact one of the guys helping me in my thread at the acousitcs forum at recording.org!

funkynuts - scary how close my thought process was compared to your checklist. except that'd be a few years rather than a few days i'd be waiting so as not to buy on impulse. not by choice, mind you! and don't temp me with U47s! must...resist...the urge!

dubrichie - funnily enough, the mytek was the thing i was most sure of. a mastering engineer i highly respect told me he auditioned a mytek D/A and it was as good his prism converters. and there's a stepped volume knob! pot free monitoring! wait....that didn't come out right the inner tube thing for the U87 would rock! how much is it?

mbrebes - i checked out the seventh circle stuff a while ago, but thanks for reminding me about it, i'll give it another look.

LaChunkyStudio - there's an 1161 on ebay at the moment, not cheap though! i could get a chandler geranium for less. how do you rate the calrecs compared to chandler, vintech etc?

bleen - your avatar is scaring me.

thanks again everyone!
Old 15th June 2006
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo_baby84
bleen - your avatar is scaring me.
Excellent...my job here is done.
Old 15th June 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
dubrichie's Avatar
the mod for the u87 by innertube audio is $1500 and is completely non-destructive to the mic; it can be undone just as easily as doing it in the first place, which is very easy indeed. they send you the kit, you unscrew the top of the mic, slide out the crappy insides and slide in the new tube circuit, screw back together, plug in, switch on, sing / play / whatever.

if you're set on the mytek then by all means go for it, but like i said, i just can't countenance spending so much on digital gear that will be worth peanuts in 5 years time, let alone 10, whereas good mics, preamps, etc. will hold their value if well looked after. ****, some will even increase! the equipment / technology necessary to get the highest quality audio to the AD converters as electrical signals won't be changing any time soon whereas what comes after the converters and therefore what they are required to do and therefore what the hell they are exactly could all be head over heels in 10 years.

i really just wish i had the few quid to drop on gear right now... boo hoo.

regards,

richie.
Old 15th June 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Whatever you do, don't waste your money on a Big Ben. With Mytek convertors its totally unecessary.

Come to think of it, the guy that recommended not buying audio kit had the right idea, remember the old adage "If you want to make a small fortune, start off with a bigger one and open a studio".

Regards to all


Roland
Old 16th June 2006
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubrichie
i just can't countenance spending so much on digital gear that will be worth peanuts in 5 years time, let alone 10
nice use of the word "countenance" thumbsup
with the inner tube mod, does it replace all the guts of the U87? as in everything but the capsule? does this place have a website?
Old 16th June 2006
  #19
wait, i'm being a lazy ****** aren't i? i'll google it
Old 16th June 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Seamus TM's Avatar
 

Here's my $0.02:

I got most of what we have now all at once, like you are doing now.
I REALLY regret not getting a used Crane Song Spider.
For about $6250 you get 8 great pres and 8 great channels of A/D.
Not to mention a few bells and whistles that you may or may not use.
Although, you could get a couple of used API 3124+'s and a used Mytek 8X96a/d for about the same price, too...

Anyway, on a more general note:
Don't buy into the fashion industry aspect of the audio world we live in. If you can't get it used (because someone is on to the next flavor of the month) then you don't need it.


Seamus
Old 16th June 2006
  #21
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
high end hookers?

kidding---eerrrrrr.....lol

anyway

you are kinda in my boat, though my room will shortly be sweet, and almost is already (getting the local university physics dept to dope it out---wooot!)

we are set for mics, except for ribbons...

we are fine on comps, eq, outboard for now

our ergonomics (a major consideration for anyplace) are almost perfect.

the damn killer is pre and conversion....months of study and effort, and i am still in hell....getting help solving this is crappy, reading will only spin your head....trial and error is a months long adventure....enjoy:-)
Old 16th June 2006
  #22
Get a Lynx Aurora 16 and a couple of seventh circle kits. First unit with four A12's and four N72's
second unit with two j99's and six C84 and you will be kicking ass! Each unit will take you 2-3 hours to assemble and the instructions are well explained. A pacifica would be sweet too! You will get great preamps for less so you can upgrade your mic collection and maybe some bass traps and a little raid set up if any clients want to go hi rez 96k. I got my raid setup from kanotechnologies.com they rock.
Old 19th June 2006
  #23
thanks all, but how's this for a bugetary conundrum... GAMA 8 pre without any hardware eq, or one API 3124+ with a nice outboard stereo eq?
Old 19th June 2006
  #24
Lives for gear
 
midnightsun's Avatar
 

Gama8 is a big bang for the buck. It is a great sounding using any of the transformer options. I can't say that it is an API, Neve, with the flick of a transformer switch. It is its own animal I have a pair of Neve 1084s and it might sound similar but not the same-- not better, not worse just different. I consider the Gama8 to be the best bargin for 8 premium preamps. If you think it looks good wait till feel the knobs and switches. It is without a doubt the beefiest piece of equipment I own. The wait was well worth it.

Regarding converters, I use an old RADAR II at 48K. I have 24 ins and outs and I go into the DAW via TDIF and the old RADAR clocks by DAW nicely. I have seen used RADAR IIs for 3 to 4K. When my pocket book allows I am going to go with a new RADAR Nyquist-- they are pricey but worth it. My RADAR has not once in the 8 or so years that I have owned it. In terms of investment digital audio gear is always a loser. One should not suffer delusions of retaining value with digital gear. Good analog gear or mics seem to hold their value.
Old 19th June 2006
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo_baby84

any help/suggestions/insults on how to do this and keep the cost down will be much appreciated!

thanks!

simon
You could loan me $5K.
Old 19th June 2006
  #26
Open up a retirement account, a 401K.

You will thank me in 40 or so years.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 20th June 2006
  #27
except i don't have the money, i'm borrowing it
Old 20th June 2006
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo_baby84
except i don't have the money, i'm borrowing it

I hate to say it, but an audio business is not one of the best investments, however I wish you good luck!


Regards


Roland
Old 21st June 2006
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland
I hate to say it, but an audio business is not one of the best investments
i know, but i don't care if i make the same as a mcdonalds worker. if i can work doing what i love for the rest of my life, i'm rich in every other way
Old 21st June 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo_baby84
i know, but i don't care if i make the same as a mcdonalds worker. if i can work doing what i love for the rest of my life, i'm rich in every other way

That would be ok, except I know guys that will do it for less than that, try free! That's in a nutshell has been one of the biggest problems of this industry. Here in the UK every university/college run media/music technology courses, its easy to find students because they "want to be in the music bussiness/don't care if it only pays the same as flipping burgers at McDonalds as there is more to life than money".

Hey kid, I'm 42 years old, slogged my guts out in this industry for 27 years, have a wife and a mortgage, I need to make quite a lot more than McDonalds pays or my wife will make my life a living hell. You see she's got it into her head that not having the bank repossesing the house, food on the table, the occasional family holiday, kids and a decent family car are necessities. I love music just about as much as anyone I know, but I still like to get laid too, IM not so HO it beats hanging with a bunch of sweaty muso's of a night so I figure that I will charge sensible rates, do some of the boring stuff that I can get paid for.

My only point is that for $15k you aren't going to get much kit, not really enought to get paid to do stuff with, and taking that amount out on a loan, you better get a job at McDonalds because you will need it to make the repayments. To put some perspective on it, I've spent a lot more than $15k on a single piece of pro software. All joking aside I would (if you are truly serious) go work with someone else, helping out, making tea, humping the gear for a band/pa company, this way you have the chance to meet talented people whom you can learn off. Hey if you are any good you might actually make some money doing this.

Regards to all


Roland
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