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Best value for $2000? Trying to round out my setup...
Old 12th October 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

Best value for $2000? Trying to round out my setup...

Now that I've settled in to Nashville, I'm trying to build a nice setup that has some long-term value. This is what I currently have:

M-Audio FastTrack Pro USB Interace
Tascam DP008 PocketStudio
Blue Encore 300
Blue Baby Bottle
SM57
MIDI Keyboard
i5 3570k (16G of Ram) - Running Reaper
Studio Projects VTB1
AKG M70 Headphones

I work in a small bedroom space now, using a MIDI drumkit that samples Drumkit From Hell. I have a weighted MIDI keyboard that I use for piano/synth parts. For bass I'm doing DI. Guitar-wise, I've got a fantastic setup and I mic that.

I'll be remodeling in the summer for a dedicated space that will converted to a good size home studio. I'm a game programmer and I'm trying to get back into music production for games, as well as have the capability for recording country/blues/jazz/rock music (my weekend work). I'm trying to put together some value in the gear I purchase over the next year so that I can have something workable immediately, while improving the chain for when I have the real studio area built. I've been doing audio projects as a hobby for about a decade now, but I spent 4.5 years in the Army and am not really up on all my new options.

I've got $2k right now, and will add about a grand every three months. I know I need monitors, and having tried a bunch out, I was looking at the Adam A7Xs. I can get a used pair of F7s for $500, or I can hunt for a used pair of A7Xs for about $1000. While the A7Xs sound better, there isn't the same huge leap between the F5s and the F7s as there is in the F7 and A7X (to my ears).

With monitors out of the way, I think the next most important thing is the interface. USB has high latency and the converters are definitely on the cheap end. Looking at used Lynx or Apogee interfaces makes my brain hurt, because I'm not sure what exactly I need for interfaces. I used to run an RME Multiface with excellent results, so I have contemplated the Multiface II.

The other glaringly weak part of my chain is in Pre's. I was looking at a DIY Neve project long-term (I'm a huge DIY guy for the fun, having built a few amps and pedals), but I was thinking the VTB can get usable results in the meantime.

I could add microphones, but the Baby Bottle and SM57 are strong starters. Everything after that is going to be for different feels/colors. I've used these mics for so long that I'm good at getting great sounds out of them.

So to sum up my long-winded post...
With $2k, how would you improve my setup? Considering I can add $4k over the year for other improvements and I want gear that has long-term value for (eventually) professional results. I'd rather spend extra on the right gear than worry about "having" to replace the chain later.
Old 13th October 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
I just added an Elysia Expressor to my setup.

Best purchase yet. $1500
Old 13th October 2013
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by targa2 View Post
I just added an Elysia Expressor to my setup.

Best purchase yet. $1500
I don't think a compressor will help my chain quality at all, but thanks for the feedback.
Old 13th October 2013
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Monitors
Acustics
A mic for vocals
1 good pre
A good Ribbon for guitars

In that order, imo.
In that
Old 13th October 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
dans595's Avatar
I just got a Daking Mic Pre One, so I'm all about getting an outboard pre. Of course you need a good mic first.

I'm sure you've caught wind of the SM7B love around here. I love mine, as well. (After I got the Daking is when I realized just how amazing the SM7B is. For vocals on a budget, an SM7B and a first rate preamp seems unbeatable to me.)

If you do go with a condenser, then acoustic treatment of the room has to be a larger priority, indeed. You should put some effort into this in any case, and the DIY solutions are recommended.

As far as figuring out what interface you want, here are questions to ask yourself: how many inputs do you want, are you going to always be running outboard pres, and how much do you want to spend. Personally, I think the Babyface is a wonderful solution for a musician making his own music. (It's what I use.) It has two preamps, great AD/DA, it's very reliable, and can be expanded up to 10 inputs via ADAT.

If you get good headphones, you can temporarily mix in the cans. I think before monitors, you want a good interface and microphone. That's just me.
Old 13th October 2013
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dans595 View Post
I just got a Daking Mic Pre One, so I'm all about getting an outboard pre. Of course you need a good mic first.

I'm sure you've caught wind of the SM7B love around here. I love mine, as well. (After I got the Daking is when I realized just how amazing the SM7B is. For vocals on a budget, an SM7B and a first rate preamp seems unbeatable to me.)

If you do go with a condenser, then acoustic treatment of the room has to be a larger priority, indeed. You should put some effort into this in any case, and the DIY solutions are recommended.

As far as figuring out what interface you want, here are questions to ask yourself: how many inputs do you want, are you going to always be running outboard pres, and how much do you want to spend. Personally, I think the Babyface is a wonderful solution for a musician making his own music. (It's what I use.) It has two preamps, great AD/DA, it's very reliable, and can be expanded up to 10 inputs via ADAT.

If you get good headphones, you can temporarily mix in the cans. I think before monitors, you want a good interface and microphone. That's just me.
My post must be too long, so next time I guess I'll trim it down a bit.

I'm just gonna get the A7Xs and a Lucid 88192 and call it a day.
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