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Ideal mastering chain under $6000
Old 12th July 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Ideal mastering chain under $6000

Looking for ideas or insight in to what has worked for others. Tell me what kind of mastering chain you would put together for a budget of $6000. Used gear is welcome.

(Edit) It ismeant to be an exercise in creativity.

Let's put it this way. Hypothetically. You have your monitors, room and converters all sorted. Say you only have $6000 to spend on a hardware chain. Compressors, limiters, Fx and Eq. What do you go for?

Last edited by SFolk; 13th July 2017 at 08:27 PM.. Reason: Clarifying.
Old 12th July 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
Hardware only? Including or not including conversion?
Old 13th July 2017
  #3
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
What is your goal with this?
Old 13th July 2017
  #4
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Yeah, it's hard to take the request seriously. Are you a mastering engineer, a home studio person looking to step up, or do you just need to launder some money?
Old 13th July 2017
  #5
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
A solid AES/EBU interface, a (Crane Song) HEDD 192 and the Neve MBP. Depending on the interface, you might come in under $6k.

ALL THAT ASIDE -- If you don't have at least that much into your monitoring chain and at least half that into your room treatments, spend that money there.
Old 13th July 2017
  #6
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Spend it all on monitors and then use freebie plugs until you can save some more for hardware.
Old 13th July 2017
  #7
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Miles Flint's Avatar
 

room & speakers 1st.
any other order is not leading to satisfying results.

and I doubt 6k will be enough for the *ideal setup.
Old 13th July 2017
  #8
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
What is "ideal" meaning in a world leaded by taste?
Be creative and curious, try out and experiment and your chain should be follow naturally while you sharpens your vision of taste. You cant buy taste, neither for 6000,- nor for 600.000,-.
Old 13th July 2017
  #9
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

The guys are right. But it might sound like gearslutz mastering dogma without explanation or examples.

Investing in your room and monitoring chain, while not as glamorous and exciting as EQs and compressors, is ultimately more satisfying because it helps you to work better and chase your tail less. In my first room (which was terrible) I got more enjoyment out of installing a new cloud in there than I did from my first analogue EQ. And the glow lasted much longer because the acoustic treatment made EVERYTHING better: the sound of my speakers, my judgement, my speed, satisfaction (clients' and mine) and I could hear the subtleties of my gear more clearly as well.

As far as building an "ideal" mastering setup, it's a very personal thing and it evolves over time. Sort of like building up a wardrobe; it develops. You get something that you need or like then find something to compliment it. Then you realise there's something missing and you go out and find the right thing to fill that gap. We choose our gear based on how we think and work and our sense of taste. The ideal setup is the one that becomes an extension of ourselves, that lets us work the way we want to work without getting in the way or slowing us down. That's what I'm finding anyway.

In terms of choosing gear, it helps to know what you want to do. Then you go looking for stuff that does that thing in the way you want it to, and sounds the way you want it to sound. Researching gear in this way is the fun part. Acquiring a new tool and really getting to know it until you don't need to think about it anymore is a satisfying process.

I'm trying not to sound preachy and I'm trying to answer your question about what has worked. For me, knowing what I want from something in terms of sound, functionality and ergonomics has really helped me pinpoint the right gear for me, it's then just a matter of finding something that meets those criteria as closely as possible, so that I can feel happy to sit in front of it every day.

Perhaps if you could let us know some specific things you are wanting from a mastering setup we can be more specific with our thoughts.

Hope that helps in some way.
Old 13th July 2017
  #10
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 

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Old 13th July 2017
  #11
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[QUOTE=SmoothTone;12734858]

the acoustic treatment made EVERYTHING better: the sound of my speakers, my judgement, my speed, satisfaction (clients' and mine) and I could hear the subtleties of my gear more clearly as well.

If you spend up to $6,000 on acoustic testing and treatment, you would make a large step, and possibly a final step, towards having a mastering ROOM. Whatever equipment you have, your musical ear, and whatever engineering skills you already have will be maximized. The time you waste correcting perceived problems that aren't real problems will be minimized. When you can hear the honest nuances and limitations of your gear and speakers, you will have a better sense of what you need.
Old 13th July 2017
  #12
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
It was meant to be an exercise in creativity. I'm sorry they moved it to a forum I had no access to, I was unable to respond to until now.

Let's put it this way. Hypothetically. You have your monitors, room and converters all sorted. Say you only have $6000 to spend on a hardware chain. Compressors, limiters, Fx and Eq. What do you go for?
Old 13th July 2017
  #13
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Everyone's different, try a few and see what floats your boat? Honestly, everyone's mastering chain is different, you're gonna get as many answers as there are posters. The idea is to try stuff over the years and arrive at a chain that works for you and your clients.

TBH, if I was starting again now I'd be very tempted to put all the cash into monitoring/DAC/room (say $12k at least) and use plugins until I'd got some actual work and saved a bit more for some hardware pieces, one at at time.
Old 14th July 2017
  #14
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
lol The whole idea is to hear everyone's ideas. Why can't people fathom that this is an open discussion differen opinions are welcome. I want to hear what people are using. Different things that people can come up with because I'm interested. Obviously there is no right answers. That's the fun of it. It's just a fun creative hypothetical everyone can't seem to comprehend that. .. anyway. Good chat guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
Everyone's different, try a few and see what floats your boat? Honestly, everyone's mastering chain is different, you're gonna get as many answers as there are posters. The idea is to try stuff over the years and arrive at a chain that works for you and your clients.

TBH, if I was starting again now I'd be very tempted to put all the cash into monitoring/DAC/room (say $12k at least) and use plugins until I'd got some actual work and saved a bit more for some hardware pieces, one at at time.
Old 14th July 2017
  #15
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Just a hypothetical. Wanted to see what people would do if they had to build a mastering chain with $6000 dollars. What would their bare essentials be. No right or wrong answers just a fun question to see what people think.. lol somehow this is all to hard to comprehend. Might have to shut this whole thread as it seems it cannot compute.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
The guys are right. But it might sound like gearslutz mastering dogma without explanation or examples.

Investing in your room and monitoring chain, while not as glamorous and exciting as EQs and compressors, is ultimately more satisfying because it helps you to work better and chase your tail less. In my first room (which was terrible) I got more enjoyment out of installing a new cloud in there than I did from my first analogue EQ. And the glow lasted much longer because the acoustic treatment made EVERYTHING better: the sound of my speakers, my judgement, my speed, satisfaction (clients' and mine) and I could hear the subtleties of my gear more clearly as well.

As far as building an "ideal" mastering setup, it's a very personal thing and it evolves over time. Sort of like building up a wardrobe; it develops. You get something that you need or like then find something to compliment it. Then you realise there's something missing and you go out and find the right thing to fill that gap. We choose our gear based on how we think and work and our sense of taste. The ideal setup is the one that becomes an extension of ourselves, that lets us work the way we want to work without getting in the way or slowing us down. That's what I'm finding anyway.

In terms of choosing gear, it helps to know what you want to do. Then you go looking for stuff that does that thing in the way you want it to, and sounds the way you want it to sound. Researching gear in this way is the fun part. Acquiring a new tool and really getting to know it until you don't need to think about it anymore is a satisfying process.

I'm trying not to sound preachy and I'm trying to answer your question about what has worked. For me, knowing what I want from something in terms of sound, functionality and ergonomics has really helped me pinpoint the right gear for me, it's then just a matter of finding something that meets those criteria as closely as possible, so that I can feel happy to sit in front of it every day.

Perhaps if you could let us know some specific things you are wanting from a mastering setup we can be more specific with our thoughts.

Hope that helps in some way.
Old 14th July 2017
  #16
Lives for gear
 
SmoothTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFolk View Post
Just a hypothetical. Wanted to see what people would do if they had to build a mastering chain with $6000 dollars. What would their bare essentials be. No right or wrong answers just a fun question to see what people think.. lol somehow this is all to hard to comprehend. Might have to shut this whole thread as it seems it cannot compute.
I wondered if that's what you might be getting at. There's a history in this forum that you may not be aware of that helps explain why people react the way they do to questions like this.

So for me, for that (quite restrictive) budget, assuming good conversion and monitoring, I'd be wanting a good clean main analogue EQ, ideally 5 bands with shelves and filters and ideally with switched controls which really stretches your hypothetical budget. Something along the lines of a Sontec 250 or Barry Porter style circuit. I'd be talking to Custom Audio Germany for sure.

Then I'd look for the most versatile compressor I could find within the budget like an FCS P3S or Neve MBP. I think that's probably already blown the budget.

Add to that Nova to cover both dynamic and static digital EQ as well as de-essing and Limitless and I'd be pretty happy.
Old 14th July 2017
  #17
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
Actually, we have such kind of threads once a week here. Just do a little search.
Personally, I dont see any sense in this question. If its really hypothetical why not $1 or $3765 or $1.000.000...? So, Im quite surprised you even get some on topic answers here....

Buying random gear because of random reason did not help in any way. Theres no "best" avaiable. You neither need anything marked as "mastering grade" for doing mastering work. Better be creative with what you have and develop yourself. Tools will follow then.
Old 14th July 2017
  #18
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
. p
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I wondered if that's what you might be getting at. There's a history in this forum that you may not be aware of that helps explain why people react the way they do to questions like this.

So for me, for that (quite restrictive) budget, assuming good conversion and monitoring, I'd be wanting a good clean main analogue EQ, ideally 5 bands with shelves and filters and ideally with switched controls which really stretches your hypothetical budget. Something along the lines of a Sontec 250 or Barry Porter style circuit. I'd be talking to Custom Audio Germany for sure.

Then I'd look for the most versatile compressor I could find within the budget like an FCS P3S or Neve MBP. I think that's probably already blown the budget.

Add to that Nova to cover both dynamic and static digital EQ as well as de-essing and Limitless and I'd be pretty happy.
My man. ������ You're a good worker. I think the Neve might put you too close to the roof to finish the job. But I've heard A/Bs of before and after on those, they are definitely master cake toppers. I have never heard of the FCS or looked into any of the Sontec stuff yet. Will do.
Old 14th July 2017
  #19
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
I'm out. Really dumbfounded by the inability to comprehend the concept of a hypothetical. If you don't want to answer the question... Nobody is forcing you. It's just a hypothetical on a "forum." Speechless. Just... wow good work guys. Got ourselves a real bunch of Karl Pilkingtons.
Old 14th July 2017
  #20
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
Im really sure you will understand our answers someday, sooner or later. Its not all that dumb whats looks dump at first. Really.
All the best with your chain.
Old 14th July 2017
  #21
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Im really sure you will understand our answers someday, sooner or later. Its not all that dumb whats looks dump at first. Really.
All the best with your chain.
I think the problem is that most people really just want to hear themselves talk about mastering instead of answering the simple hypothetical question that was stated the topic. I'd rather not post anything on this if everyone is so condescending and patronizing about it. It's really rediculous that only 3 people have mentioned a few pieces of gear on this forum.
The Foote PS3 - awesome! First time I heard of that. That's useful.
Someone else might read this and be curious as to what they could look at or afford. Maybe they have never heard of a Sontec Eq, and that would be useful information for them. Wow! Talking gear on a gear slutz forum. Who'd have thought.
Old 14th July 2017
  #22
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
You question is far from being simple, hence the fuss around it.

Maybe its better to ask "whats your favourite cheaper gear for mastering use"...? But as I said before, such questions pop out once a week. So, please do a search and if you have some concrete questions Im really sure a lot of ppl are willing to help you out then in a very kind way. Its not against you personally, but a lot of inexperienced ppl expecting easy and fast answers more and more here. This is just not a very polite behaviour. And Im really sure if those would take some time and do some searches by their own, a lot of questions would be already answered before opening another thread. Why asking others time, but not really willing to spend any of yours?

But not playing the bad guy, I happily help you out. All threads from the last week alone...:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...tering-eq.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...mep-250ex.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...-hardware.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...ernatives.html
Old 14th July 2017
  #23
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
You question is far from being simple, hence the fuss around it.

Maybe its better to ask "whats your favourite cheaper gear for mastering use"...? But as I said before, such questions pop out once a week. So, please do a search and if you have some concrete questions Im really sure a lot of ppl are willing to help you out then in a very kind way. Its not against you personally, but a lot of inexperienced ppl expecting easy and fast answers more and more here. This is just not a very polite behaviour. And Im really sure if those would take some time and do some searches by their own, a lot of questions would be already answered before opening another thread. Why asking others time, but not really willing to spend any of yours?

But not playing the bad guy, I happily help you out. All threads from the last week alone...:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...tering-eq.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...mep-250ex.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...-hardware.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mast...ernatives.html
I just think you miss the point man. If I feel like asking a question I'll ask it. If you don't feel like answering it, don't post in the thread. If you read my posts you'll realize they moved this topic to this forum to which I didn't have access to. So if someone wants to steer me towards some helpful info, that's appreciated. But, don't condescend my freedom to ask a simple question just because you feel I'm not educated enough to ask it. ✌ time is something I get very little of so I come here sometimes to have a creative discussion. So lay off.
Old 14th July 2017
  #24
ILL
Gear Maniac
 
ILL's Avatar
 

The fuss is because people want to show how what they do(mastering) is not about the gear(which you can buy), but about what you know(which is what you have earn/learn). The problem is that you can't do mastering without some tools, and the OP is asking for suggestions on them with a set budget. He only got a few concrete replies and a lot of bull****.

I'd buy whatever looks best for 6k since that may get you some work if you make some nice photos for your website.
Old 14th July 2017
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Bichop's Avatar
Foote control p3s ME
Sontec MEP-250 EX

-------------------------

TK audio BC-2 ME
Custom audio germany HDE-250A EQ
Bax EQ used

-------------------------

Pendulum OCL2 used
Custom audio germany HDE-250A EQ
TK-lizer EQ

-------------------------

Color Mode

Looptrotter Audio Monster Compressor
Gyraf Gyratec 14
DMG EQuilibrium

Last edited by Bichop; 14th July 2017 at 12:19 PM..
Old 14th July 2017
  #26
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Verified Member
If I was starting again now I wouldn't buy any analogue processing, just sayin
Old 14th July 2017
  #27
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Elysia xfilter
Avalon 747 used
Meyer cp10 used
Old 14th July 2017
  #28
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 

Lynx Hilo, Rupert Neve MBP and DMG Equilibrium would be a nice chain in that price range.
Old 14th July 2017
  #29
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFolk View Post
I'm out. Really dumbfounded by the inability to comprehend the concept of a hypothetical. If you don't want to answer the question... Nobody is forcing you. It's just a hypothetical on a "forum." Speechless. Just... wow good work guys. Got ourselves a real bunch of Karl Pilkingtons.
If just asking for fun, ask on Quora and "GTFOOH"(C)you. Why do you think people whose profession is mastering are willing to exercise your dumb "just for fun" fantasies?
Old 15th July 2017
  #30
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Slug1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhiltonlittle View Post
Lynx Hilo, Rupert Neve MBP and DMG Equilibrium would be a nice chain in that price range.
If you have a room that you've treated and a monitoring system that gets you down to 30Hz (-3db), then this would be a GREAT place to start. Then save up for a nice outboard EQ like a Maselec MEA2 or quivalent. Nice suggestion dhil!!!
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