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Variety Or Unifomity?
Old 19th January 2015
Lives for gear
Gringo Starr's Avatar

Variety Or Unifomity?

I found a thread of a similar title. It's over 8 years old and had minimal responses. Figured I'd ask again.

I'm wondering about EQ's, Compressors, and Mic Pres mainly. Would you prefer to have for example 8 channels of the same or to have variety? And if variety is the answer then to what extent? As many different options as possible as opposed to doubles of a piece of gear?

I'm a bedroom studio guy and just record songs for me in the meantime. However I'm wanting to have the gear that would allow me the possibility to take things to a semi-professional level. Some work is potentially coming my way in the future and I'd like to have a solid chain(s) by that time. I use a lot of synths and modulars that will be synced which will have me recording several separate tracks simultaneously. This is my concern with the variety verse uniformity. And regardless of this particular recording process of mine what's your opinion? I assume most people here are about variety?

Any input would be awesome.
Old 19th January 2015
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
I really prefer to not have a tone a mic pres. I have a console and use the pres for most of the records I make. I do have one outboard mic pre that I use often for vocals and acoustic guitars. I can and do sometimes use the console pres for those.

Different mics and types of compression, however, are quite useful.
Old 19th January 2015
Lives for gear

Gringo Star, since you are trying to move from one experience level to another via gear, here are a few things to keep in mind mixed with my observations on the topic.

- No one pc. of new gear will magically get you instantly to the end goal despite the huge efforts and expense of marketing teams. There are too many variables even if someday someone invents that magic box. Just as two Guitarists can pick up the same guitar and sound light years apart, two Engineers using the same bit of gear can have wildly different results.

- It's better to indroduce new gear a pc. or two at a time so you can fully experiment with it to know what you can get out of it. This building up of experience, experimentation, and filing the resultant sounds in your brain's audio reference is what will serve you best in the long run. There isn't one great Engineer out there that hasn't done their share of experimentation.

- Mics, I doubt you will have many proponents for limiting choices with this item but regardless of the number of mics you own, knowing what each mic you do possess will give you in your spaces with particular sources is the most important thing to know. Picking the right mic, positioning it correctly (even if off axis), and creatively eliminating/controlling/using it's bleed for a particular source will do more than any EQ farther along in the recording chain. Experienced Engineers use the selection and positioning of the mic as an EQ unit.

- Mic Pres, at your level getting to know mics is more important and if you add the additional variables of using many different mic pres also it can get confusing fast. If you use an anlog console many will simply be using it's pres (it worked great for all those classic albums). If using non-console pres which is the common setup for ITB guys then limiting those pres to Neve type - API type - Clean type would work in your favor as good examples of each can be found for not much money (limiting yourself to those three variables). Bottom line on Mic Pres is that it will probably work against you with lots of variety here until you are farther down the road as an Engineer. Even then many will limit their choices to control the variables (KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid).

- Compressors, we tend to fall into two camps here at Gearslutz regarding hardware comps. One camp will have a rack(s) full of compressors, the other camp will have one/few versitile compressor(s). The goal of each camp is the same however, having a large variety of sound options. ITB plugin compressors on the whole sound different than hardware compressors, so besides workflow differences there are sonics to consider.

- EQ, for this item it's probably helpful to break it down further into 2 sub catagories, Surgical EQ and Color EQ. Looking at ITB plugin EQ, even the standard EQ plug that comes with each DAW app itself handles surgical duties well. In addition, with time and experimentation, that same standard EQ plug can likely match any other color EQ plug with adjustment of it's curves and distorsion, thus buying any additional color EQ plugin becomes a workflow convenience (there are threads here on that subject if you want to know more). So for ITB EQ I don't see a large need to have huge variety here. As for surgical hardware EQ there are specific units that handle this duty well. A couple suggestions are for under $400 a used Klark Teknik DN-410 or used Meyer CP-10 will get the job done with great sonics. For big bucks many turn to the GML for this duty. As for color hardware EQ, many Gearslutz like variety here and the tube units are treasures.

- On the whole, variety is more useful as your experience level goes up. Until then controlling variables will be more useful in building your brain's audio reference library.

Last edited by Bassmankr; 20th January 2015 at 02:54 AM..
Old 20th January 2015
Lives for gear
Not really with pres, I like to use the same (API) and maybe few channels
for clean and a couple of smoother/diff color, same for eqs
But compressors, man am bad.. i could get two of everything and
still wanting some more variety
Old 20th January 2015
I've always liked variety. It takes more thought ahead of time about aesthetic prefererences. But I always found it helped me ultimately work faster during mix. If someone threw me into a room with all unfamilar gear then uniformity would be a benefit.
Old 20th January 2015
I have a fair variety of pres. Most days I just stick with the console pres of my API or my AML/Neve 1073 sidecar.
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