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Dusting Off Studio - Is what I have "Pro" enough for Pro quality not Demo quality? Dynamic Microphones
Old 10th April 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 

Dusting Off Studio - Is what I have "Pro" enough for Pro quality not Demo quality?

Getting back into recording after years of layover, adding some new gear. 90% of what I will be recording will be distorted rock - punk, emo, alt/pop, hardcore, hard rock, thrash, etc. and will be tracking gtr, drums, bass and keys live and then vocals and overdubs separately.

I'm not going to be having any of that treated room crap :D yes, i'm just jealous.

basically, tracking bands at various venues and then having them come into a small control room - again, no real treatment - to cut overdubs.

trying to support the scene here - western PA - without going bankrupt.

This is what I got so far:
  • DAW: Sonar 5 on an Aspire Pentium M laptop 2.0 ghz
  • Mixer, AD/DA: Mackie Onyx 1620
  • Tube Tech Mec 1A Preamp, Compressor, EQ strip
  • DACS Clarity Micamp Preamp [fantastic preamp, but think it might be overkill for rock]
  • Peavey VMP-1 Preamp
  • Palmer PGA-04 Guitar Cab Sim
  • Plugins: Waves Gold. Others to be determined. [Recommendations?]

and for mics:
  • Vocals: AT4050, ADK 51 [think of adding Sure SM7b]
  • GTR: SM57 [think of adding Beyer m88]
  • Bass: plan on just recording direct into Onyx using an EBS compression pedal or through the Tube Tech Mec or Peavey VMP as a direct box
  • Kick Drum: Audix D6, ATM25
  • Snare: SM-57 [But wonder if they are better alternatives that are easier to get a killer snare sound]
  • Overheads: Matched pair of ADK51's through the DACs or Peavey [wonder if they will do]
  • Keyboards: Track through the Tube Tech or Peavey, whichever is not being used.

Is this enough to reasonably get "pro" results. I listen to AHellam's stuff - CastleUltimate - and it knocks me out how present the vocals are and warm and detailed everything else is using modest gear and mastering plugs. Sure, grammy winning recordings have more depth, sheen and space, but damn, it sure passed pro quality that I would not feel cheated pay 10-15 bucks for it. Maybe that's me.
Old 10th April 2006
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I don't know your skills or the skills of the bands you will be recording, but it seems to me you can make damn good recordings.

It's going to be hard to mix in an untreated room..phase problems all over the place. Why not look into making some broadband absorbers??

As far as overdubs for the vocals go, DO NOT use a large diaphragm condensor! It will reveal your room. Get an SM7 and call it a day thumbsup
Old 10th April 2006
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I <3 The Beatle
I don't know your skills or the skills of the bands you will be recording, but it seems to me you can make damn good recordings.

It's going to be hard to mix in an untreated room..phase problems all over the place. Why not look into making some broadband absorbers??

As far as overdubs for the vocals go, DO NOT use a large diaphragm condensor! It will reveal your room. Get an SM7 and call it a day thumbsup

Wow thanks for the tip on the sm7 over the LDC's. That makes sense but not something people usually think of - that in such an environment, you want to minimize "room ambience."

I would be willing to go for some kind of sound absorption, preferably portably but the whole process is "witch magic" to me, that I am always worried about spending a ton and not knowing how to effectively place it and thus, have to spend a ton again, for an expert to do it.

Any no brainer products to use.
Old 10th April 2006
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
corworld's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WARangelx2
I would be willing to go for some kind of sound absorption, preferably portably but the whole process is "witch magic" to me, that I am always worried about spending a ton and not knowing how to effectively place it and thus, have to spend a ton again, for an expert to do it.

Any no brainer products to use.
Packing blankets usually help. And if that is too hard, make sure you stick to cartoid pattern mics and get the singer to work the mic pretty close. Pop screen will be a big help also.
Old 10th April 2006
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by corworld
Packing blankets usually help. And if that is too hard, make sure you stick to cartoid pattern mics and get the singer to work the mic pretty close. Pop screen will be a big help also.

Got the pop screen. Always use it.
Old 10th April 2006
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Hey man

Owens Corning 703 is the preferred insulation for DIY acoustical treatment. Rap it in some cloth and hang it up..you don't necesarilly have to make a frame for it because it's stiff.

http://www.modularacoustics.com this guy sells these $30 bags that you can throw your insulation in..which should make it a lot easier/pleasing to the eye...but more expensive.

Good luck
Old 11th April 2006
  #7
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

It also depends on the type of music. If you're doing rock stuff, the room isn't going to be that important on the vocals. Avoid the really obvious stuff (Don't record in a bathroom, no matter how many times you've heard that one!), don't record in a hallway, or closet. Bigger rooms are better than smaller ones, the room can be dead (carpet on the floor, some furniture), or live (tile floor, windows, etc), and those will affect the outcome.

You really just have to use your ears. Learn how to hear a room when you walk into it, clap your hands, listen for flutters, etc.

I record at people's houses all the time, and very rarely have to do any sort of acoustic treatment at all, and I use LDCs on vocals every time.

Keep in mind that the more compression you apply, the more the room becomes a factor, as do any incidental noises.

Good luck, use your ears! Don't stress too much about treatments and equipment. The most important piece of gear is right between your ears.

Oh, and if you're doing hardcore, don't be afraid to hand the singer an SM58 and have him sing into that. Just crush it with compression, and work the eq. Seems like the screamers like to hold a mic and lie on the floor or whatever...
Old 12th April 2006
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Man..to each his own, and I definetly respect your view.

However, I would never use an LDC without some treatment...a make shift booth or whatever.

But hey, that's why everyone is different!

Old 12th April 2006
  #9
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I <3 The Beatle
Man..to each his own, and I definetly respect your view.

However, I would never use an LDC without some treatment...a make shift booth or whatever.

But hey, that's why everyone is different!

Really? Even when doing hardcore/punk stuff? I can see if if you were doing something quiet, or voice-over work, but usually hardcore guys are screaming/singing so loud that environmental sounds aren't a factor.

Maybe I'm nuts!
Old 12th April 2006
  #10
Gear Addict
 
phelbin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I <3 The Beatle
Get an SM7 and call it a day thumbsup
I couldn't agree more. I just did a vocal session last night with an SM7 into my MEC 1A. We did tests against more expensive mics and other pres/comps, but it was the best combination for this guy's voice. And I end up with that combination on about half my vocal sessions these days. Part of it is the MEC 1A is amazing for vocals...but the SM7 adds a nice warm character and has a good amount of presence too.

Otherwise, yeah, you're in good shape. Use your gear well and you should be able to make some great records.
Old 13th April 2006
  #11
Gear Head
 

update: added a sennheiser e904 to try on snare instead of the sm57.
Old 13th April 2006
  #12
SLW
Gear Head
 
SLW's Avatar
 

go for roomtreatment! it will really improve youre view on things.
try reading about it on net. maybe make some use of the "mirror technique" to kill early reflections (that wont cost a lot!). bass treatment is of course a more complicated story...

id put Sennheiser HD600 headphones to your list, try them out somewhere. they make a nice reference, its open.
for plugins: URS

whats your monitoring system?

actually, how do you like the Onyx? You mix completly on it or ITB? Im thinking about getting one.
Old 13th April 2006
  #13
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Off Topic SM7 SM57

Quote:
Originally Posted by phelbin
I couldn't agree more. I just did a vocal session last night with an SM7 into my MEC 1A. We did tests against more expensive mics and other pres/comps, but it was the best combination for this guy's voice. And I end up with that combination on about half my vocal sessions these days. Part of it is the MEC 1A is amazing for vocals...but the SM7 adds a nice warm character and has a good amount of presence too.

Otherwise, yeah, you're in good shape. Use your gear well and you should be able to make some great records.
On a slightly related note, has anyone here tried the ProSoundWeb SM57 mod? From what they say, you take the transformer out and you get something that sounds very close to an SM7 (though not exactly the same).
Old 14th April 2006
  #14
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nathanvacha's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Suitcase
On a slightly related note, has anyone here tried the ProSoundWeb SM57 mod? From what they say, you take the transformer out and you get something that sounds very close to an SM7 (though not exactly the same).

Ha, you have to be careful asking about that mod... apparently the people who have been doing that since the 70's get ticked when you make a big deal about it like it's something new... anyhoo... Word is it sounds different, but still not sm7... some even will say it's a different sound, but not necescarily better... so you may want to thing twice before ruining a 57 ...unless it's broken anyway, or if you just have extras sitting around. Just different things i've heard, anyone's mmv.
Old 19th April 2006
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Suitcase
Really? Even when doing hardcore/punk stuff? I can see if if you were doing something quiet, or voice-over work, but usually hardcore guys are screaming/singing so loud that environmental sounds aren't a factor.

Maybe I'm nuts!

Remember.. if the source is twice as loud then the relections of the source will be twice as loud too
Old 19th April 2006
  #16
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Haha, that's true. I was thinking more in terms of the music. On a voice over or acoustic type thing, the background music is so quiet that the room tone comes through. In metal or punk (or even just rock), the music is usually dense enough that you can't really hear the room that the vocals were tracked in. The predominant room tone will be from the drums, and possibly the guitars.
Old 20th April 2006
  #17
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moon_unit's Avatar
 

Strictly from a recording gear standpoint, I don't see why you couldn't get very good results with what you have.

What it's going to come down to are 1) your skills as an engineer, 2) the room(s) you're tracking in and how you utilize it (them), and 3) the quality of the instruments (good drums=good drum sounds and good amps = good guitar sound, etc.)

And it usually does come down to those things anyway, regardless of the recording gear. And unfortunately, those three factors happen to be the most difficult, time consuming, and expensive things to get right.
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