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New studio - what to buy?
Old 22nd May 2003
  #1
Here for the gear
 
HaB's Avatar
 

Question New studio - what to buy?

Hello all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I have been recording my own material for years, and learned on old 1/2" r2r tape machines. Even done some razorblade splicing back in the day.

About 2 year ago, I bought a Roland vs-880, in order to move into the digital realm somewhat. Now, I am starting my own record label, and would like to outfit a small studio for my bands to record in. I myself have outgrown the 880 already, and I am forced to use a drum machine most of the time anyway.

Problem is...I have been so far removed from the technology for so long, that I really have no idea where to even begin. I have a decent handle on mics and things, but as far as consoles, decks, computers and whatever else. I have no clue. I am a computer software developer by trade, so I know my way around computers, but I have never taken the time to marry music and computers together.

The only thing I hear over and over from friends who get to regularly record in "pro" studios is ProTools.

So the question I have for you is:

You are starting a brand new studio from scratch. Targetting is going to be indie/garage rock type bands, but you want some flexability built in. One thing I'm not very concerned with is Electronica related stuff. So I am looking at 99.999999% analog instruments. Very rarely will someone even have a synth/keyboard. Your budget for equipment (ie, NOT the room) is around $20-25k. What do you buy?

I'd like to allow room for expansion, in case this turns out to be a resounding success. But what's am adequate basic setup I can get for that kind of money. I need basically everything. All I have now is a VERY basic assortment of mics. (mostly 58s and 57s)

Also...I don't need to budget anything for instruments. I already have a lot of gear for that, and a drum kit, bass rig, guitar rig. I am just looking for advice on recording gear.

Thanks in advance!

Old 22nd May 2003
  #2
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

therapy. lots of it.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I'll go with AJ. To run a label and a studio you need lots of therapy. Both of those are a full time gig and if things start taking off you'll need a lot of help on both ends. One of my friends tried that a few years ago and he got crushed under the weight.

If your serious about the label what I would suggest doing is finding your favorite local studio or engineer and cutting a deal with them. Tell that person/people that you'll send every project for your label to them if they bill you at a reduced rate. There are a few small (beyond indie really tiny) labels that I do work like that for and I'm more then happy to get it and keep them happy.

Setting up a studio to record live bands from scratch is an expensive undertaking with just the gear, let alone the rooms if you want to do a half-way decent job. Plus, chances are pretty damn good that you don't want to be the producer, engineer, moneyman, A&R, label pres, studio gopher, and promoter all at the same time. You will piss off the bands. You do need someone there to be objective about different parts of it.

With that said, $25K just for recording gear is NOT a huge budget, especially if you want a PTHD setup as the centerpiece. At $35-40K for gear your options open up to stuff that won't suck a lot and will let you record a 5 piece rock band in one shot.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #4
Here for the gear
 
HaB's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
If your serious about the label what I would suggest doing is finding your favorite local studio or engineer and cutting a deal with them. Tell that person/people that you'll send every project for your label to them if they bill you at a reduced rate. There are a few small (beyond indie really tiny) labels that I do work like that for and I'm more then happy to get it and keep them happy.

With that said, $25K just for recording gear is NOT a huge budget, especially if you want a PTHD setup as the centerpiece. At $35-40K for gear your options open up to stuff that won't suck a lot and will let you record a 5 piece rock band in one shot.
Appreciated, and respected, but still. Humor me. I understand that $25k is a starter budget. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the label business is being handled.

Let's also assume that the room is taken care of. Given that budget, what would you start with?
Old 23rd May 2003
  #5
Gear Addict
 

You might check this thread out for potential answers to the gear question: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...&threadid=3964

I think therapy is still likely the best answer.

Bear
Old 23rd May 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
One question begs an answer....Are you going to be recording everything at your facility for release?

The reason i ask is, you may be better off building a mastering room or perhaps a room just for tracking and as has been suggested, go to other facilities in your area, strike a rate with them and either complete your project there or perhaps track there. Either way,having equipment that 'travels' to other venues is a must. This would more than likely involve a PT rig of some sort.

I guess the other edge to the question is are you recording simply as demo work to get your clientele signed?

In this case you dont need a lot...

Hmmm....maybe theres something to this 'therapy' stuff......
Old 23rd May 2003
  #7
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
therapy. lots of it.
alpha, rocking with his bad self.. I am laughing my ass off!
Old 23rd May 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
vodka gimli's Avatar
 

Buy used if you can find clean gear. We outfitted our room within your budget with the following:

Computer and Software:

Custom Built PC
Athlon 800mHz
Emagic Logic Audio
Samplitude
Steinberg Cubase XT
Steinberg Nuendo 2.0
Steinberg Reason and Recycle
Native Instruments B4 and Assorted Soft Synths


Hard Disk Recorder:

Tascam MX-2424 w/9gig internal
(2) 18 gig external drives
Travan tape drive

Console:

Yamaha 02R V.2

Monitors:

Mackie HDR824


Pre Amps:

Focusrite Green Series
PreSonus MP20
ART Tube Channel
(3) Aphex 107

EQ:

Symetrix
ART Tube EQ


Compressors:

dbx 160xl
QuadComp
Symetrix
Valley People DynaMite
FMR RNC-17703

FX:

(2) Lexicon LXP-1
Lexicon LXP-100
Alesis MidiVerb
ART FXR


Microphones:

AKG C414 b/uls
Rode NT2
Rode NT1
(2) Audio Technica AT4033
AKG C1000
(2)EV 408
(5) Shure SM57
Shure Beta 52
AKG D12
(2)CAD E100
Marshall V67
Old 23rd May 2003
  #9
Here for the gear
 
HaB's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by sonic dogg
One question begs an answer....Are you going to be recording everything at your facility for release?

The reason i ask is, you may be better off building a mastering room or perhaps a room just for tracking and as has been suggested, go to other facilities in your area, strike a rate with them and either complete your project there or perhaps track there. Either way,having equipment that 'travels' to other venues is a must. This would more than likely involve a PT rig of some sort.
Actually, this is a good question. Tracking will be my primary focus. Mastering will definitely be done off-site. Mixing may be in house, or not.
Old 23rd May 2003
  #10
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

i found out my new health insurance covers mental issues upon request... im seriously thinking of requesting it.

i cant come up with a studio for $25k... that just barely gets you going. but here it goes:

DP or Nuendo or Samplitude or ANY native system + computer $5k
MOTU HD192 $1.5k
CraneSong Spider $7k
API 3124 $2.5k
Soundelux U195 $1k
Soundelux E47 $3.5k
Royer R121 $1k
Josephson C42MP $1k
2x EL8X distressor $2.7k
Altiverb $500

bout the best i can do, no compromise. shit, no monitors. uh... make it $30k and get ADAM S3-A's.

and thats no cabling which can be 20% added. no headphones. no cue system. no mic stands. no racks.
Old 23rd May 2003
  #11
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sonic dogg's Avatar
Well, you could definately make 'records' with Alpha's list.....really good sounding records....the thing is..theres lots of really clean high-quality used pieces out there that will save you enough to actually cable it all together....including some of the parts previously mentioned by our esteemed yet psychotic friend...

Assuming its a tracking facility, then you might want to consider a desk of some sort...a good one will cost a lot of your cash but will at the same time get you a lot of quality pres and lots of flexibility and provide a basis for expansion into the beyond...

However...25K dont buy a lot of real high end goodies these days unless you are willing to shop shop shop....find someone who like yourself has already gone mental and is getting out of this business and wants to off a whole system....

My old partner from several years back and I did just that and got a whole bunch of stuff that to this day has been worth every penny....lots and lots of great mics.....everything else from that purchase has been moved out.sold off but for the price we paid for a complete studio, you couldnt replace the mics for 4 times that today....ya just gotta look around.....

And if theres ever a cure for Alpha, you should get that Dr's number...
Old 24th May 2003
  #12
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by HaB
Appreciated, and respected, but still. Humor me. I understand that $25k is a starter budget. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the label business is being handled.

Let's also assume that the room is taken care of. Given that budget, what would you start with?
I'd start with a quartet of used Tascam DA-XX decks, DA-78's if you can find them. You'll want at least 3 to have 24 tracks and the fourth as a spare so you won't have to cancel sessions when one of them goes down. Should cost less then $3K with the locater and all the cabling. Mix to a Masterlink or maybe DAT.

After that I'd skip expensive preamps and look for a really solid console. MCI JH-400's, Neoteks, Trident 70, Soundcraft TS-24, D&R or maybe an AMR/DDA. You'll want at least 28 input channels. This should eat up a big piece of the budget, maybe $7-10K.

I'd also get 8 channels of compression. A pair of RNC's, dbx 160X or XT's, then a pair of Dakings and the solid state Aphex Expressors. If you can swing something like an 1176 or Distressor it would be great but not really needed. You should also get at least one stereo outboard parametric EQ, Rane, Speck, Orban or Symetrix. You'll also need one big dollar 'verb like a TC M2000/3000 or a PCM90. Everything else like delays and flanges can be fudged with guitar pedals and old rack crap for $100 a box.

After that, get all the good mics you can. At least a half dozen SM57's, 3 or 4 421's, two pairs of pencil mics and a couple of LD condensors. This should also be a big part of your budget. The sound starts with the mics. If you use shitty mics you'll get shitty sounds.

You still need monitors (two sets) a cue system, cabling and patchbays (at least $3K right there) mic stands, in-line pads, racks and other stuff. It's tough to do on $25K.
Old 24th May 2003
  #13
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
i found out my new health insurance covers mental issues upon request... im seriously thinking of requesting it.

i cant come up with a studio for $25k... that just barely gets you going. but here it goes:
Alpha, how's things going down there? Are you still looking into that new insane asylum?

The problem with your list is that you don't really have enough stuff to do a full band. When I record a full band it's really a full band. Guitar, bass, drums, scratch vocals and whatever else including keys. I always do horns as an overdub unless there's a huge room I can dedicate to them. Still, the way I work I burn through 14 or 15 mics with a 4 piece band. It's very rare that I do drums, then bass, then guitars, then...
Old 24th May 2003
  #14
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

i can get a full band with 12 channels. very carefully selected micing techniques but i can keep the count down. i usually dont bother with a scratch vox unless the song mandates it.

kick
snare
tom
floor
over
over
room
room
bass di
bass cab
guitar 1
guitar 2

thats my base for a drum/bass/2 guitar setup.


im still talking with people about that thing... weighing all options before writing a plan. there is some plan now regarding a surround mix room but the tracking room is still on the table. i need to do something with all my mics and pres...

although next friday night im doing a remote gig of the crank county daredevils complete with 4 camera video to release a DVD of them. trying to talk them into getting some strippers to dance on the stage during the show. im micing with surround mix in mind.
Old 24th May 2003
  #15
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
My setup is almost the same. Add these;

Scratch vocal
Kick outside and maybe a 3rd tom mic if needed.

I also usually do some kind of distort-o thing on the drum kit. maybe a cheap mic into the console really overloaded or an SM57 into the Pro Jr. then a 57 on the amp. That stuff usually goes on track one because I have a fear of edge tracks in analog. The low end is first thing to go out there so I always put the kick on track 2.

Still your proposed list won't let you run 12 mics at once. Unless you assume that there's already a Wackie or Soundcraft board around for pres and a bunch of SM57's. If so, I could see that working but I'm still not sold on the Distressors as my only 2 compressors.
Old 25th May 2003
  #16
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Personally, (and I know that I'm in a miniscule minority here) I feel that 8 tracks is plenty for a live rock band recording; I usually only end up using 6 tracks, and I've been very happy with the results. So a high quality 8 track would be the core of my proposed system. And the biggest benefit of keeping to 8 tracks is that you only have 8ch of other stuff to buy, so you can spend much more per channel than if you "need" 24 tracks.

(and, as a general outlook, 8ch of Neumann, API and other pro gear is much more useful than 24 ch of pro-sumer gear)

But I realize that most of you think that 8ch is only for retro projects and that a system isn't serious if you can't turn the snare track up two weeks after the drummer choked to death on someone else's vomit. Fine, 24 tracks it is. Get the basic $5900 analog I/O Radar; the guy said he wanted a tape-like interface, and I'm sorry, but PT does not satisfy that requirement, and Radar does a GREAT job of fooling you into thinking that you are working with tape.

You can't afford to track through all sorts of cool outoard gear at this budget, so you need a console you can actually use ALL the time. Fortunately, good, full size used consoles are almost worthless these days (not Neve or API). So pick up a GOOD Neotek or Trident mid level board - if you haven't seriously shopped analog consoles lately, you will be amazed at the accelerating rate of price cuts. That $20K Trident 80b from 2 years ago is now a $12k board; you should be able to find a very nice, fully serviced board for $8k or so (Trimix, Series 70, Neotek Series 3, ?). That is your supply of mic preamps and EQ; remember that nobody needed outboard until a few years ago.

That leaves you $10k to spend on mics and a monitoring system. It can be done.

steve
[email protected]
Old 25th May 2003
  #17
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
My setup is almost the same. Add these;

Scratch vocal
Kick outside and maybe a 3rd tom mic if needed.

Still your proposed list won't let you run 12 mics at once. Unless you assume that there's already a Wackie or Soundcraft board around for pres and a bunch of SM57's. If so, I could see that working but I'm still not sold on the Distressors as my only 2 compressors.
mine is for outside kick mic, i guess i could go for 13 with an inside kick mic.

and i allow for 12 tracks. there are 8 spider and 4 api=12 channels, then 5 high end mics for initial track plus the mics he has. jospheson on the OH's, U195 on the kick, 57 on the snare/toms, E47 for room [-stereo, so you would pick up a track for scratch vox with a 58]. R121 on guitar, bass direct [maybe reamped later], 57 on guitar.... not to mention the MAIN thing i get on rough tracking is drums... EVERYTHING else can be redone. if i can get the bass, then all the better.
Old 26th May 2003
  #18
Gear Nut
 
gregrw's Avatar
 

I'm kinda with both Jay and Hollywood on this one: Stick with digital tape, and you also don't need 8 billion channels. I have also done 8-track projects, but I prefer 16. The most I've used is 22, and that was deliberately being silly (4 overheads, 4 vocals, etc.)

I bring 24 tracks for live shows, but have only ever used 16. The suggestion of having an extra machine is a good one!

Of course, analog tape machines can be had for a song (pun intended) on eBay, and tape 'n parts should be available for a while. For you, since you're just starting out, I'd stay stick with digital tape. Both analog and computer-based systems will give you all sorts of issues you don't want to deal with right now! Analog issues: cleaning, demaging, cleaning, aligning, cleaning, the much higher tape cost, cleaning, parts availability, oh, and did I mention that cleaning a lot is important? Computer issues: "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down." Nuff said.

The DA-78hr has served me very well. Musician's Friend often has refurbs for $1K. Otherwise, they're ~$2.5. Don't buy used unless they have darn close to zero hours.

I started out with Mackie boards. They worked fine for me at the time, and they would probably suit you, too. I have an Allen and Heath now, and I love the sound for rock and roll. It's not a Neve or Trident, but it's fine for what I do. Get it new; there are enough parts to break as it is, you don't need someone else's problems. (Kinda like a used car.)

As for mics (which I should have listed first, since they're first in the signal chain) you can't go wrong starting out with the old stand-bys, the 57, 58, 81 and 421. Get those new, they're cheap enough. Throw in a DI or three (i.e. Whirlwind IMP,) some kind of vocal condensor (i.e. 4033) and a kick (Beta 52, D112) and you're off! For anything else, look around and pick up some used "sleeper" mics. I have a few beyers and AKG 535s that I have either used working for someone else or that were suggested to me. They add a little something different. Audix and Earthworks make great mics that you just don't see too much.

For pres, stick with the used market. Joemeek makes some cool stuff, and the "toob" stuff, like ART and Aphex, work fine, too. I've heard nice things about the RNP. And don't write off the pres on whatever board you get! Most of the time, they work just fine.

For FX, once again, stick with used. Bottom-of-the-line Lexicon stuff (which is like saying bottom of the line BMW) is great. (If you can get their older stuff that was made in the USA, so much the better. Their new stuff is Chinese.) Top of the line Alesis is good. And there's always an SPX-90 or 900!

Regarding Dynamics: three words: RNC, RNC, RNC. Get them new, they're worth it. The Aphex 108 adds a little balls to bass, and the "toob" Bellari is sometimes interesting.

To mix down, you can't go wrong with the Masterlink. Get it new for...er, I *think* it was $1K. And you could do 1/4"...

For monitoring, the Yamaha MSP5 is OK. Maybe I need the subs...I've heard good things about the Events and Mackies. You might want to also have a reasonable audiophile home system in addition to your studio monitors. Cambridge SoundWorks stuff works for me. A crappy home system is useful, too. They all give different perspectives on your sound.

Stay away from Behringer and Peavey!!!

I don't know how much of your money I just spent for you, but hopefully I've given a slightly different perspective! Expensive gear is all well and good, but what good is it if you don't know what you're doing? I'm not sure that I myself could get better sound with the expensive toys at this stage of the game, so I bought "OK" to "Good" stuff in order to learn the craft. I'll buy a John Hardy, a Great River, and a Neuman when I feel I know what I'm doing! :-) I do have to say, however, that I'm very happy with ALL of my stuff.

As for doing your own label, I wish you luck! The label side and the studio side of your biz can help each other...but it's a helluva lot of work. Get out to the clubs, meet bands, work with the live guys, etc. Contacts are the name of the game, but I'm sure you knew that.

-GRW
Old 26th May 2003
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Beezoboy's Avatar
 

Mixer
--------
Soundcraft Ghost 32 - $6295

Converters
---------------
Radar Classic - $5975
PC - $2000
Lynx L22 - $675
Nuendo - $1299
Waves Gold Bundle - $1000

Monitors
------------
Mackie Hr824's - $1200

Headphones
-----------------
Behringer HA4600 - 100

Pre's
-------
Great River MP2NV - $2150
Groove Tubes Vipre - $2495
RNP - $475

Mics
------
Josephson C42's - $950
Studio Projects C3 - $350
2 Studio Project B1 - $160
Beyer m260 w/ Sank mod - $400
Beyer m88 - $200
4 Sm57 - $320
Audio Tecnica ATM 25 - $125

Total - 24,369

If you mix entirely in the box including effects, using the board for pre's and headphone mix only, you could possibly make a good DEMO/CD if you are really good. It would take a lot of time this way with setup, but MAYBE you could pull it off. I couldn't sleep so I just decided to see if I could put together a bare, bare, bare recording setup.

Beez
Old 27th May 2003
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by gregrw
I'm kinda with both Jay and Hollywood on this one: Stick with digital tape, and you also don't need 8 billion channels. I have also done 8-track projects, but I prefer 16. The most I've used is 22, and that was deliberately being silly (4 overheads, 4 vocals, etc.)

I bring 24 tracks for live shows, but have only ever used 16. The suggestion of having an extra machine is a good one!Of course, analog tape machines can be had for a song (pun intended) on eBay, and tape 'n parts should be available for a while. For you, since you're just starting out, I'd stay stick with digital tape. Both analog and computer-based systems will give you all sorts of issues you don't want to deal with right now! Analog issues: cleaning, demaging, cleaning, aligning, cleaning, the much higher tape cost, cleaning, parts availability, oh, and did I mention that cleaning a lot is important? Computer issues: "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down." Nuff said.

I started out with Mackie boards. They worked fine for me at the time, and they would probably suit you, too. I have an Allen and Heath now, and I love the sound for rock and roll. It's not a Neve or Trident, but it's fine for what I do.
Man, I gotta disagree with a lot of this.

The reason I suggested digital tape is because it's easy to use and the machines are dirt cheap now. The Tascam decks are the best sounding of the shit out there and you can find used 88's or 78's for like $500-700 each which means you can have 24 tracks ready to go for roughly $1500. No hard drives to buy, no computer to deal with (extra costs) no whacky interfaces, no analog deck "troubles" to deal with, just hit play and record. And yeah, 16 tracks is usually enough for most things but having the option for 24 is great for extra overdubs or just being able to have multiple takes to making comping easier.

Digital decks tend to have more cleaning issues then analog ones and analog decks are WAY easier to clean then an MDM. I can count on one hand the number of times my JH-24 has crashed and held up a session for more then 5 minutes. Using an analog deck is like anything else that's 15-20 years old, you gotta take care of it and know when it's telling you that it wants some TLC. Once in a while it will snap back and kick your ass but a computer or MDM will do the same thing. Yeah, alignment kinda sucks but once you get the hang of it it goes pretty damn quick. I can do 24 tracks in less then an hour, a little over an hour if I'm also doing the bias. A touch up takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. FWIW, I also wouldn't buy an analog deck off Ebay unless it were DIRT cheap. Just like a car or a women, you want to spend some time on it before you take it home.

Also, a Wackie might be good enough for what you do, but I'd suggest getting a bigger more solid desk. There's no way I'd track a record a Wackie, let alone mix on one unless I was forced to at gunpoint. If you get a decent console you can use all the internal pres and EQ bypassing the need for tons of outboard gear at $600-1200 a channel. Since $6-12K will buy you a really nice desk I'd go that route rather then getting a $2K console and $10K of outboard. $10K doesn't buy a lot of decent outboard at $1500+ a box. When your tracking roughly 90% of your sound comes from the performer, then mic choice and placement. The micpres really don't matter that much. YMMV.
Old 27th May 2003
  #21
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 

I think Jay brings up a good point which, to some extent, may undermine his original advice. The main problem with older MDM's is going to be constant maintenance issues. It is my opinion that the original ADATs and Tascams were never designed with a priority of being reliable after many years of intense use. While computer-based systems can and do crash, by the very nature of having few moving mechanical parts the issue of whether your DAW studio will work when you turn it on each morning is not usually paramount. And more often than not, simply rebooting gets you back up and running.

On the other hand, speaking as an ex-owner of (constantly maintained) MDM's, there was a great fear every time I used them that one or more would stop working, eat tapes, etc.

Personally, I would never want to go back to that kind of environment of emotional stress. If you do decide to base your studio on older used MDM's, I would strongly suggest having at least one extra machine that you can swap into your setup as particular units break down (and they will!)
Old 27th May 2003
  #22
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hollywood_steve's Avatar
 

not trying to be a wise-ass or anything, but didn't my post take these concerns into account? I agreed, no cheap ADATs or other MDM, buy the base level analog I/O Radar. And no wackie, I recommended something like a Trident Series 70 or other $8K to $10k board. Finally, at this budget, NO outboard preamps or EQ; you're gonna be buying a good board. And you can use its preamps and EQs just like every record made until fairly recenty.

I think that most of us are in agreement on this. A tight budget requires a few quality purchases, not lots of cheap stuff.


steve
[email protected]
Old 27th May 2003
  #23
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littledog's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by hollywood_steve
not trying to be a wise-ass or anything, but didn't my post take these concerns into account?
yes, they did. some posts from others didn't. those were the ones I was addressing.
Old 27th May 2003
  #24
Gear Nut
 
gregrw's Avatar
 

Hello y'all. Geez, I hope I didn't offend! I think there's a little confusion here...

Jay, I think we are in agreement about digital tape, because analog and computers can have many more issues. I also think we agree to have 24 tracks available...16 are enough most of the time, but those extra 8 come in handy as either extras or backups.

Littledog, I agree with your point about MDM reliability...but I don't think the original poster is going to be running 24/7. (Littledog, where are you anyway? I think we're practically neighbors!)

As for Yuckie: My equipment decisions are very much based on portability. I have to be able to pick up and carry each piece by myself. (What, you don't think I can afford help, do you? :-) It also had to fit in my Geo Metro. I've since upgraded (if you can call it that) to an Allen and Heath and a Subaru wagon. So Yuckies fit the bill for me at first. They got me off the ground, as it were. The whole portability issue colors my advice.

I'm not now a huge fan of Yuckie, though I love the little 1402. (I call it the "Save my ass mixer" because it has done just that many times.) However, I learned the craft on the old 32 X 4, and as I got better and could hear the difference, I upgraded. I'm still no pro, but what the hell, I got my money's worth. I paid maybe $2500 for it and sold it a few years later for $1000. I made the difference in billing and practice time.

I think the underlying theme here is "Get good stuff *now* so that you won't have to upgrade later." Great advice, no doubt. The only caveats I would throw in are: people cannot always afford the good stuff at first; someone new (like me!) may not be able to make a better product with the better stuff; and if someone buys the OK stuff and then decides to get out of the biz, they haven't spent quite so much.

Just a bit of a difference of opinion, YMMV.

-GRW
Old 27th May 2003
  #25
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littledog's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by gregrw

Littledog, I agree with your point about MDM reliability...but I don't think the original poster is going to be running 24/7. (Littledog, where are you anyway? I think we're practically neighbors!)
Just from my own experience i would argue otherwise about computers having "many more issues". When it comes to reliability and maintenance the issues of MDM's are far more scary than with DAW's, at least in my opinion, and that's not assuming anything close to 24/7 operation.

Then you can add in the much more inconvenient process involved in backing up your data. (One tape at a time in real time, as opposed to dragging a folder to another hard drive?)

Then you can factor in the far greater media costs. Lower bit and sampling rates... Let's not even talk about editing...

If one does have a phobia about computers, i would at least recommend getting one of those hardware hard-disk recorders from Mackie, Tascam, or Alesis. (They may not be as cheap, but you only need one to get your 24 tracks, as opposed to three digital tape machines.)

Meanwhile, we are indeed neighbors - I'm two towns due south of you.

And better yet, about once a month I perform at Sushi Island right on Main St., Wakefield! Arguably the best Sushi restaurant in Eastern Mass!
Old 27th May 2003
  #26
Gear Nut
 
gregrw's Avatar
 

I am indeed computerphobic. The thought of a "Pee-Cee" crashing on a live gig frankly terrifies me. I don't really do any editing, so I guess I'm OK. Hey, I still love analog tape! It's great being a Luddite. As for backing up, that's why I have six '78s, so I can dub three tapes in one pass. You're right, though, it is far slower than clicking.

However...it would be nice to be able to refer a client to someone who does know their butt from their elbow re: computers. Why don't you shoot me an email? Maybe we can compare notes, tour each other's studios, all that.

Is the sushi place under the same roof as Duck Walk? Otherwise, I can't quite place it. I'm also not big on the idea of eating raw fish. I've caught enough of them to shudder at the thought... :-) Next time you play, let me know! I didn't even know there was live music anywhere near me. (Well, there's Linden Tree, but besides that.)

-GRW
Old 27th May 2003
  #27
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 

Having at least four would seem to be a must. But for someone starting from scratch, buying four is no longer any cheaper than getting one of those newer hard disk recorders.

I'll e-mail ya!
Old 28th May 2003
  #28
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gregrw's Avatar
 

The tape vs. non-linear debate will go on forever, it seems! Well, at least until they stop making tape...

A little more than a year ago, when I was getting back into the biz after a three-year pause, I considered getting a stand-alone hard disk recorder. Mackie and TASCAM were what I considered. I may yet get one, but I went with the '78s for a few reasons:

Much longer record time
Cheaper media (Mackie's boast was that their media cost less than 2" tape. Well, gee, *there's* a tough one! :-)
When a tape is at its end, pop it out, insert a new one, press record. When a hard drive is done, you have to back it up. Not good for a live show!
Reliability, and past use of the DA-38, which was rock-solid
As for cost, I bought all 6 78s for much less than the usual cost. Four were refurbs, one was "used" (with 0 hours) and one was a floor model. With the TASCAM hard disk recorder, it seemed every essential feature cost extra, and for that and Mackie's, backup seemed to be a PITA. And both were too close to a computer for comfort! :-) FWIW, I've heard stories about those hard drives crashing...

I know some of these issues have been addressed, but it just seemed to make sense to go with tape when doing on-site and live stuff.

Tape works for what I do. I think it's still a viable option in the studio, and it would be my personal preference for tracking. Filling up a hard drive, and having to pause a session in order to back up might be problematic. I have sorta run in to that a bit with the Masterlink. Mixing is another ballgame...I'd like the TASCAM for mixing. As always, YMMV.

-GRW
Old 28th May 2003
  #29
Lives for gear
 
hollywood_steve's Avatar
 

I know some of these issues have been addressed, but it just seemed to make sense to go with tape when doing on-site and live stuff.
*************************************************

This conclusion seemed to be reached mostly based on the need to backup hard drives. Take a look at the Genex GX9000/GX9048: they both allow you to record to both hard drives simultaneously. When the last encore is over, you have two copies, each in their own removable carrier, ready to load into a DAW or get put into a Fedex pouch.

I just purchased a GX9000 almost exclusively for live/remote use. The main competition was the DA78. The GX9000 8ch recorder lists for only a few hundred more than the DA78, but it offers 24b/192kHz and DSD recording through some of the best converters money can buy. (list price on the base model is around $3150, fully loaded with DSD converters and every possible type of I/O, it comes in around $5K, maybe a little more.

And the Kingston carriers allow you to swap hard drives as easily as changing tapes. And how many tape recorders allow you to record the backup simultaneously with the original? I waited a LONG time to buy my first digital multi-track, but between the Radar and the Genex, the equipment is now ready for prime time in just about any situation. And it looks even better when you do a direct comparison against other alternatives (analog tape, PC based DAWS, digital tape recorders, etc.) The Tascam DA-88 series of MDM recorders had a great run (nearly 20 years!) as the professional location recorder of choice for everything from music to TV to film. But nearly 10 years after the first HD recorders were offered for sale, the Radar and Genex models seem ready to take over as the next "standard."

Steve
[email protected]
Old 28th May 2003
  #30
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

i wouldnt mind having the 48 channel version to run 24/192 sessions or DSD and out to a sweet analog board [with no latency issues]
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