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What is affordable gear? Dynamic Microphones
Old 26th July 2002
  #1
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
What is affordable gear?

Seeing the ASC thread elsewhere on here got me to thinking. What is affordable? Is a $500 single channel EQ affordable? How about $800 for a single channel of mic preamp? In my book that is, but that's still a lot of money when compared to the latest marketing buzzword box that's on sale at Banjo Depot.

When does the line from affordable to extravagent get crossed? Some items like the ASC, Blue Baby Bottle, KM184's, OSA preamps (more on those later ) while not being the cheapest of their kind offer such bang for the buck that they are affordable in the long run. Or something like that. Thoughts?
Old 26th July 2002
  #2
Gear Addict
 
cymatics's Avatar
 

Re: What is affordable gear?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
When does the line from affordable to extravagent get crossed? Some items like the ASC, Blue Baby Bottle, KM184's, OSA preamps (more on those later ) while not being the cheapest of their kind offer such bang for the buck that they are affordable in the long run. Or something like that. Thoughts?
I think of it in terms of function in relation to cost. For example, I think the going rate for a vintage 160 VU is inordinate ($1200 to $1500) considering that it is a one trick pony. On the other hand, a piece like the Distressor ($1325) is pretty darn reasonable considering the high level of functionality and its ability to create a wide variety of sonic textures.

- jon
Old 26th July 2002
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
vsl666's Avatar
 

Angry gear slut

now hang on guys

you cant put a price on gear:eek:

gear is more important than money.. money is just
silly bits of paper .. money is like just a concept man
money is violencefuuck

but gear is real


sorry but i hate all those what is the best so and so for X amount
questions

surley shirlley the question should be what do i NEED
and how the fook am i gonna get 1 ?

to cure my ills
and fix this jones

Old 26th July 2002
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Affordable to me is the cheapest gear ill want to keep for a long time. All the cheap **** ive bought the last couple years that ive sold was not affordable. But my vintech neve 1272 was affordable since I'll probably keep it around for a long time and wasnt too terribly pricey.

But yeah affordable is gear you'd want around even when you have more expensive stuff. But then again I've had waaaay too many vodka tonics tonight. You got to love when the band treats for drinks......I hope im even making sense.
Old 26th July 2002
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
To give a Jay Kahrs type answer...

Who's buyin'?grggt

Seriously though it is all subjective. I think I'm getting a great deal on a console. I'm paying more for it than all the cars I've owned combined. Is it affordable? I think so. I'm sure it could be sold for more. Would "Homebrew Studios" buy a piece that expensive, I doubt it.
Old 26th July 2002
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

There is an easy answer: affordable gear is that which does not cause the "Holy Friggin'#%(!" reflex when first hearing the price...madd
and what it will do for you during its lifespan...continued response to the "Gee-Whiz" factor also brings the cost-benefit factor closer together...


IF a singer sounds their best with a 57, then what good does it do having the C12? When the pricier gear stays in the locker, the 'affordable' factor goes right out the window.

but that's just my opinion...an opinion that changes based on the current money flow...
Old 26th July 2002
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Tony, what type of console are you buying?
Old 26th July 2002
  #8
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
.....affordable......hmmm...now theres a term that is more than likely the bain of every self-respecting true gear-head...les see..uhh car payment? newest radical toob thingy? car payment? thingy?? uhh car pay......screw it!!!THINGY!!!!
Old 27th July 2002
  #9
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by planet red
Affordable to me is the cheapest gear ill want to keep for a long time. All the cheap **** ive bought the last couple years that ive sold was not affordable.
That probably makes the most sense of anything so far. Who cares how cheap it is if it totally sucks and you sell it after 6 months for half or less of what you paid? I also tend to think of affordable as anything I don't have to take out a loan to buy. Then again, I did borrow money to buy my console but it was much more affordable then an 8058 or API.
Old 28th July 2002
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by planet red
Tony, what type of console are you buying?
I found a Neotek Elan with factory installed Optifile automation. I'm pretty excited. Send me an email, I'll give you the whole saga of why I need a new console...
Old 28th July 2002
  #11
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Or the short version. Movers suck!!! Actually I rented a truck and my big gear is coming out of the old room and going into storage tomorrow. ****.
Old 29th July 2002
  #12
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Wink

"Affordable gear" is equal to or less than the wife spends on
shoes, cosmetics, clothes, DVD's, etc. each month!
Could be $100, could be $1,000-just depends.

For a hobbyist like myself "affordable" simply means scouting
around to find "RNC" like value per dollar for each gear type.

VSL is right that the emphasis on "best for X $" is inappropriate
at any recording level. Another facet is sometimes you can at least
break even or make money with some equipment, effectively
a free rental or getting paid to use it!

Chris

P.S. There's a pair of Telefunken 251's for sale at e-bay for
only $42,000. Not quite affordable for me though.
Old 30th July 2002
  #13
agner
Guest
Re: What is affordable gear?

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
When does the line from affordable to extravagent get crossed?
[snip]
OSA preamps (more on those later ) while not being the cheapest of their kind offer such bang
---------------------------
Later? How bout I start...

I bought a pair of OSA 312 clone modules last year, and after using them to collect dust for a while sent them to Dale Epperson at OSA. They racked the modules with an outboard power supply.

When I got them a month ago I compared them to Brent Averill APIs. The OSAs sounded harsher, scratchier, not as full or smooth. But my APIs need to go back to Brent, and the power supply in my Aphex rack is suspect. I think.

I used the OSAs for tracking last week, and found them useable. Started with rhythm guitars using a Beyer ribbon since the OSA pre's have plenty of gain, and the ribbon won't send much harshness into the pre. Sounded OK.

Then crunchy electric leads using a 421 for one and m201 for another. Sounded good, the scratchy thing is fine in this situation. Better with the pad engaged and the pre more cranked.

Finally acoustic guitar with km 184. Sounded OK, not unpleasant. Listening back tonight it's a little thin, and I wanted to cut 1k when I did a rough mix for this guy. But the room is small, I do audio part-time, and the guitar was a Taylor--so where does the fault lie?

The tracks I used the OSAs for will fit OK. Other pre's in this project are a Langevin DVC, Symetrix 202 that someone did the "Monte McGuire Mod" to, and the board pre's in a now-departed Studiomaster. I don't think I'd want the OSAs as my only outboard pre's though --Eric Agner
Old 19th August 2002
  #14
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

I usually look at it like this: If I can rent it to my sessions and make my money back in 3 months, then it's affordable. I got no quams droppin' 2 G's on a mic pre than I'll recoop at $100 a day.
Old 20th August 2002
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
vsl666's Avatar
 

Red face quams

i like a nice simple sauce with my quams..
maybe a dash of lemon ..
Old 20th August 2002
  #16
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

I prefer "beer battered" quams with ranch dressing - ketchup for the new millennium. Hell, who am I kidding? I'd eat a beer battered dish rag.
Old 20th August 2002
  #17
Lives for gear
 
alanhyatt's Avatar
 

Affordable gear is gear that you can afford to buy. It does not matter how much you spend on it, but what does matter is that you like it and use it.

If you have gear like this, then you have affordable gear...
Old 20th August 2002
  #18
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Sort of... I've bought gear I couldn't afford when times were tough that I knew I'd make my money back on rentals.
Old 21st August 2002
  #19
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by alanhyatt
Affordable gear is gear that you can afford to buy. It does not matter how much you spend on it, but what does matter is that you like it and use it.

If you have gear like this, then you have affordable gear
That's the simple answer. But what's so affordable about getting something and using it for 6 months or a year and then selling it for 1/3 or 1/4 of what you paid for it you realize it sucks? Granted not everything that's inexpensive sucks but the vast majority of it does. Also, some expensive pieces are so versatile and kick ass that they are a bargin. I remember when I got my 1272's. Yeah, so two preamps cost about the same as the console I owned at the time but all of a sudden everything I recorded sounded better. That's real value.
Old 21st August 2002
  #20
Lives for gear
 
alanhyatt's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs


That's the simple answer. But what's so affordable about getting something and using it for 6 months or a year and then selling it for 1/3 or 1/4 of what you paid for it you realize it sucks? Granted not everything that's inexpensive sucks but the vast majority of it does. Also, some expensive pieces are so versatile and kick ass that they are a bargin. I remember when I got my 1272's. Yeah, so two preamps cost about the same as the console I owned at the time but all of a sudden everything I recorded sounded better. That's real value.
Well the point was you have to like and use it. I think if that is the case, you get your monies worth. If in six months to a year you decide to sell it, well hopefully you got enough use out of it, otherwise you do stand to loose that much on a unit, as nothing holds its price that well, and used gear is only worth the money to the person that wants to buy it.

So, you are right, there is no simple answer, so be sure you will at least get a good deal of use out what you buy, or just don't spend that much on what your buying.
Old 21st August 2002
  #21
Gear Addict
 

RE: Nothing holding it's price well, while generally true of new gear (which is why I hunt vigorously for good used gear), there are exceptions, for example John Hardy: the rare occaisions his preamps come up on the used market, they sell for barely less than the new units. These suckers seem nearly depreciation proof, and frankly I'd expect a price increase on new ones to keep up with inflation and such. The used market for Crane Song and Great River seems much the same.

While I have seen used RNC's, similarly they haven't been enough less than new ones to grab me as a bargain. They still sell, though.

Getting use out of the gear is an arguement more in tune with commercial studios than hobbyists, as capitalized costs will be paid for with the revenue the gear helps to make. It's not a great arguement for a hobbyist with limited funds, though, and of course this is the segment most "just like the professionals use" stuff is marketed to. If I want the real thing and I'm not making money off of what I record, I'm probably better off making due with what I have until I can afford it instead of settling for some "almost" box. And guess what, in most cases (blasphemous as it is to say on this board) someone learning recording will profit more from spending extra time with their dynamic mics and portastudio learning to record instruments in their bedroom then from getting some new shiny semi-pro gear.

And this isn't a slam at you or your company, Alan, I know you are trying to put some high value in your gear. It's more a rant aimed at the predatory marketing of some of the industry giants. I hate Harman . . .

Bear
Old 21st August 2002
  #22
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Bear, as Alan knows too, I'm beginning the quest to become a
good pro engineer from ground level up.
So your comment about learning on "portastudios", etc. is well
taken. This is a terrific time to start this process as excellent
sounding products seem more affordable now than years past,
in the sense of becoming familiar with them.
Using Alan's products for sake of example (heh, heh),
having experience with the C1 microphone sure made that AKG C1000S sound almost like a tin can on vocals, and the VTB-1
is head and shoulders over a Mackie VLZ Pro mixer pre's too IMHO.

Oh yeah, what was this thread about again?...

"Affordable" also mean that the equipment can not only could help generate income, but also that it's "training" my ears to help
give a learning experience that alleviates the time required from the studio owner/manager to properly train me to offer enough value to be PAID.
It's a heck of a lot easier for me to learn what a good pre sounds "like" from a VTB-1 than renting an Amek board!
Opinions like "best" for this or that should primarily come from those with genuine expertise as common sense would dictate
anyway, despite what we see on other internet bbs's.

Chris
Old 22nd August 2002
  #23
Re: Re: What is affordable gear?

Quote:
Originally posted by cymatics

On the other hand, a piece like the Distressor ($1325) is pretty darn reasonable considering the high level of functionality and its ability to create a wide variety of sonic textures.
Check that..."Minimum Advertised Price" on a regular mono Distressor with no mods is $1699 as of August 19.
Old 22nd August 2002
  #24
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Chris,

I don't know if I can agree with everything you wrote. I started by interning and then working at a pretty big studio with tons of good outboard gear an Amek/Neve console and a pair of 2" 24-tracks. After engineering demos for bands there and assisting on records for a while I left to do freelance work before I opened my own place and that was pretty eye opening. While I was in college I did a whole bunch of recordings for friends bands going to a four-track, bounce the stereo basics to DAT and then put vocals on two tracks and mix it again. Some of that stuff actually sounds decent considering how it was done. I digress...

I got my ass kicked when I started freelancing. Things that were pretty easy to do became much harder, like get a halfway decent guitar sound. I'm glad I started with the good stuff because it made me realize how much doing everything on a Mackie and Adats sucked. If you really wanted to hear what a good preamp sounds like you could've spent that $200 to rent one for a few days and gotten something like a U87 or C12 to go with it. Then you'd have a real basis for comparison and be more informed.
Old 22nd August 2002
  #25
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Jay, your points are well respected and understood.
In fact there's now a meeting scheduled between a local studio owner
and myself on Wednesday next week to discuss helping with his
studio. There is no substitute for hands on training, and it was not the
intent to imply that in any of my posts. Your clarification of their importance
is appreciated, and certainly experience with the "name brands" of gear
would make me better informed.

Having said that...
The personal evaluations still stand on the gear mentioned.
For example, a competent electric guitarist can make a decent evaluation
of a new amplifier as to how well it delivers their "sound".
On the other hand, how many guitarists could be trusted to work a
recording console like Jimmy Page? Therefore, for practical purposes
musical gear evaluation can be relatively mutually exclusive of said
musician's recording ability (or lack thereof!). As in the immortal Joe
Meek quote "If it sounds right it IS right"!

Chris

P.S. Jay, I look forward to your assessment of the B1 and VTB-1
Alan is sending you BTW as you will be better able to articulate
the salient aspects of each.
Old 23rd August 2002
  #26
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by chessparov
in the immortal Joe
Meek quote "If it sounds right it IS right"!

Nothing personal chess, but that quote is starting to annoy me, being a bastardization of what Miles Davis said: "If it sounds good, it is good." And guess what? Miles was cool enough that he didn't have to say it as an exclamation. But I'm biased.. I don't like Joe Meek gear in the first place. I love the music of Miles Davis, but as a disclaimer, as a person he was a bit of a ****er.

Ok back to the topic. I have been extremely lucky with the gear I decided to sell. I had a Tascam MX2424 for 8 months before it became clear that it wasn't worth waiting for Tascam to deliver on their promises, and that they were essentially beta testing some important features on their customers. When you need a piece of gear to just plain work, it's a good idea to use something tried and true. In any event, I sold the damn thing for only $50 less than what I paid for it. I was shocked and quite happy. Thank you ebay.

Just recently I recovered 1/2 of what I paid for an 888/24. In this case it was a piece I got lots of use out of, too. 888's aren't especially sought after nor are they known to hold their value, so again I was surprised at what it went for.

In the past I've bought a used 32 ch. Soundcraft Ghost w/Midi automation for $3200. I'd say a big part of getting your $'s worth depends on how much you are willing to search around for good deals, and how adept you are at selling stuff when the time comes.

I've learned over the years that it ain't worth buying a piece if it's not going to last you for a long time. If you buy wisely, many pieces will stay in your collection for as long as you are in the game.
Old 23rd August 2002
  #27
Gear Addict
 

One caution to the "if it sounds right approach" would be to point out the problems of multitrack recording. Individual channels on a cheap mixer can sound fine, but subtle problems of sound become more obvious the more channels are in use, and then you get to cheap ass summing stages which sound worse the more tracks they're handling. So while some of these boards sound fine in demo with cd playback or a mic or two, they just suck for a real mix. This is the sort of thing that's going to con a beginner every time. How often is summing the selling point of a compact mixer, though?

If you're a beginner shopping from a catalog or a big box store, or from ebay without insider knowledge, you're pretty much screwed. Gear bargains exist, but in general the equipment industry operates with a mind to the W.C. Fields maxim, "Never give a sucker an even break". I even harbor some skepticism about the RNP, just because I distrust most gear in that price class, even though the reviews of the pre-production units have been so overwhelmingly positive. yuktyy

Bear
Old 23rd August 2002
  #28
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by chessparov

Having said that...
The personal evaluations still stand on the gear mentioned.
For example, a competent electric guitarist can make a decent evaluation of a new amplifier as to how well it delivers their "sound". On the other hand, how many guitarists could be trusted to work a recording console like Jimmy Page? Therefore, for practical purposes musical gear evaluation can be relatively mutually exclusive of said musician's recording ability (or lack thereof!). As in the immortal Joe Meek quote "If it sounds right it IS right"!
What exactly are you trying to say there? Yes, a guitar player can evaluate an amp. So can my mom. Just ask her. When I started playing at the age of 10 and went amp shopping she would say things like "oh, that one sounds nice, much better then that other one". So, what was your point again?
Old 23rd August 2002
  #29
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Jax, your're right on the money about "quotes".
You may already know that the headstone on W.C.'s grave DOES NOT
read "I'd rather be in Pittsburgh" either.
At least Willie Dixon got some of the songwriting money from Led Zep.
As heretical as it sounds, I didn't like the SM57 at first for my vocals due to the
lack of recording skills, rather than any fault of the microphone itself.
So part of the equation is the judgment level of the user themselves
which sets a cap on how definitive that can be. Other than this enthusiastic
amateur's opinions of course.

Bear, great points also on summing, etc.
It would be fun to have a cart at Mercenary, and 15 minutes to fill it up on
a shopping spree, not to mention the look on Fletcher's face about such an idea!

Chris
Old 24th August 2002
  #30
Quote:
Originally posted by chessparov

It would be fun to have a cart at Mercenary, and 15 minutes to fill it up on
a shopping spree, not to mention the look on Fletcher's face about such an idea!
I'm sure if you are comfortable with dodging buckshot at the same time he could arrange something.
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