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Upgrading to Symphony and 500 series... Any alternatives you can think of?
Old 14th December 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Upgrading to Symphony and 500 series... Any alternatives you can think of?

Hi guys,
I'm about to invest in some new equipment and wondered if you might have any other alternative suggestions or units that I should think about..
I record vocals and guitars mostly, so something that can be a little versatile.

I currently own an Apogee ensemble and record through it without any other Mic pres/compressors etc.. Next week I'm ordering the following:

Apogee Symphony
Avedis MA5
Inward Connections The Brute
BAE 6 space Lunchbox

After researching and doing some listening tests I believe this will be a vast jump up in quality, (hope so!) I'm just wondering whether you may have any other suggestions that would allow me to stay in a similar price range? ($5,200)

Many thanks in advance..
T
Old 14th December 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
herecomesyourman's Avatar
Do you need more I/O? It's a jump in quality, but if you don't need more I/O there's other ways to go about this upgrade.
Old 14th December 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

No I/O isn't really something I need a ton of, I'm more interested in getting great A/D conversion for mixes etc and sound quality when recording guitars and vox..

What would you suggest instead? I thought the Symphony it seems to get rave reviews everywhere although I know Lynx Aurora is popular too..

Thanks again!
T
Old 14th December 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I own a pair of Ma-5s and just bought a symphony 16. Always loved the ma-5s (still do) if I were you however I might consider this. You can get a 8channel symphony with the symphony pres for $4500. I personally haven't used the symphony pres but have watched all the apogee videos on them. They seem pretty cool to me. Very cost effective. Doing it that way is just a little more expensive then everything on your list but gives you 8 pres instead on one albeit pretty bad ass channel. Could still possible do the brute with the apogee pres of you buy some things used and search around for done deals.
Old 15th December 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

phanlon,
Thanks for the reply! I had heard the Symphony pres where meant to be really good but hadn't thought about that angle.. My only concern would be not really utilizing the other pres in the symphony and so feeling like perhaps spending the little extra wouldn't be as justified... BUT if they sound better than what a 500 series pre would achieve then I'm definitely all for that.. I want to try and get the best sound and conversion for my buck!
Appreciate the feedback!
T
Old 15th December 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tansao View Post
No I/O isn't really something I need a ton of, I'm more interested in getting great A/D conversion for mixes etc and sound quality when recording guitars and vox..

What would you suggest instead? I thought the Symphony it seems to get rave reviews everywhere although I know Lynx Aurora is popular too..

Thanks again!
T


If you only need 8 in and out I think the new 8x8 MyTek is probably a step up from the Symphony (I'll know soon enough since one was mailed to me to review.) But...on paper, when I look over specs I think it's a better (mastering grade) converter system. (LINK HERE Mytek Digital 8X192ADDA)

If you're going to go with 16 I/O and stay MAC based no matter what Symphony is a tough act to beat for the money. Plus you can trick it out to do 32x32 with the optional card, so that's starting to get up to higher track counts, and they're compatible with PT HD (Though so is the new MyTek.)

A Burl Mothership is a distinct step up as well, though far more expensive, as are the IZ ADA units. (Closer to Burl's end of the Spectrum.) JCF is up there too, but by far the most expensive of the pack.

If you're upgrading to PT HD, the new 16x16 AVID unit is really good for the money (I prefer it to the Symphony honestly. Etc.)

But aside from playing who's the best converter, there is the reality we're facing now with new white box PC's by companies like ADK turning into more efficient machines than the next generation Mac's. So having a system which is cross compatible in case you change computer systems is key for longevity.

Apogee is a great company, but now is the time for them to make PC compatible drivers, and they've just failed to do so thus far. Since I can make a better machine than Mac will come out with in the next year running PT HD Native on a Windows 7 platform this is worrying.

RME's UFX/UCX line becomes advantageous by comparison too for this reason. I know some people are die hard Mac people but when I can get a rackmountable PC with air cooling systems and a lifetime warranty, twice as fast for half the price, etc...I mean, there is a certain point where being a purist just doesn't cut it anymore.
Old 15th December 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
dbjp's Avatar
 

If you're after 1-2 channels of pristine top quality AD, then maybe go for the best available, by keeping the ensemble and getting a Burl B2 Bomber and connecting via SPDIF so AD is done on the Burl, and getting a lunchbox (does it have to be BAE? You've got cheaper alternatives in API and Lindel. VK tend to give you a good discount if you buy module(s) plus lunchbox) and a couple of MA5s.
There'll certainly be a drastic difference, and this of course is a path if you're not looking to upgrade on the DA as well. But this would certainly allow you to go one step at a time to getting you the best of the best in the business.
Old 15th December 2013
  #8
Gear Addict
 
Ryan Gregory's Avatar
 

If you don't need much I/O the symphony 2x6, the Lynx Hilo, or the Prism Lyra would probably be the units to look at. Amazing quality without paying extra for things you don't need.

I would definitely get an external pre or two, catering to whatever color you like (thick, clean, punchy, whatever) and again not spend extra money on a bunch of extra pres you don't need.

If you're not sure what color you prefer, I'd get one clean and one colored, for example an MA5 and a Forssell SMP500. Then when you find out which one you like, sell the other one. Or use it for recording other things. Or other people.
Old 15th December 2013
  #9
Gear Addict
 
goldencd's Avatar
 

Personally I think you are starting in the wrong order. A great microphone (yes this is relative, but I am specifically talking about a great mic on your voice, whatever it may be) is the first place to start any upgrade for vox.

Pick up a lindell 506 for cheap. Not much to look at but ample power for your 500 series to sound their best.

After that I would look at 2 different pre amps that vary in tonality or one that can be driven to attain color or backed off for a clean signal.

Then comp (brute is great, but maybe also offset with a lindell 500 comp... Hey it is only $299 and sound great)

The last thing I would personally look at would be conversion.
Old 15th December 2013
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Some great advice here guys thanks so much... I think having used a symphony before and because I have a 8 core mac I may stick with the apogee side of things and get PT HD native to run along side it.. I'm going to look into the suggestions made as I want to make sure that I'm spending correctly and according to my needs and tastes etc..
Feel free to add any more ideas!
Thanks again
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