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$7,500 budget. What should I spend it on? *Long time creeper, first time poster* Condenser Microphones
Old 6th September 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

$7,500 budget. What should I spend it on? *Long time creeper, first time poster*

Hey Gang,

I've been a creeper around the forums for a long time, and have come to value the opinions that float around this network. Now that I've got a $7,500 budget and a bit of start up materials, I thought I'd ask the group how you think I should spend my money.

**[Stuff I've got]**
-I've got a 3.1Ghz Dual Core PC with 4 Gigs of DDR4 Ram.

-Cubase 5.1 Essentials and a bunch of plugins for my DAW

-I'm running 2 Aardvark Q10's that are Wordclocked together for my "A/D & D/A I/O" and a couple of "backup pres" [These units are via PCI Connection for up to 16 channels of 96khz sample rate. It also has a s/pdif I/O for 2 more digital channels].

-I've got a bunch of mike's already. More than enough and quite a few stereo pairs, so I'm covered there.

-I've got a lame and simple compression rack with an Alesis 3630 & an ART TCS in it. A total of 4 channels of dynamics that I connect via the inserts on the aardvark Q10.

-I started getting interested in the concept of collecting a bunch of different preamps, so I bought a "Robbie" by BLUE and 2 channel GOLD MP by ART which I changed the tubes on. I definitely appreciate the tones when I bypass my Aardvark Q10 pres by going directly in and switching to "Line".

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

I've been using this setup to record bands on the road and in mobile situations. We usually just mix in the box and have some amazing results during mixdown/master. That being said... I'm always looking for the next level, the next "wow factor" as Darell Sheets would say. haha.

That's why I'm here at GearSlutz. I'm here to see how everyone would spend this money given this situation to step my end product up a notch or two.

I've been seriously considering the purchase of 2 API Lunchboxes and decking them out with a bunch of pre/comp/eq modules. But what do you guys recommend? Do you think I should so something else entirely? Fire Away and tell me what you think!! Rip apart my idea and tell me what's a much better plan if you've got one. I want to hear everything and anything!!

**What I've got planned**
---------------------------
2 - API 6 slot lunchboxes
1 - Buzz Essence
1 - Elysia Xpressor 500
1 - LaChapell 583e
2 - API 512c
2 - Daking 500 Mic Pre

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts
[Remember, the budget is $7,500]
NewBlood
Old 7th September 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 

which mics do you have already? Its my humble opinion that people are often mic-pre obsessed. As much as I love my nice pre's, and as much as they do impart their own magic, none of them are as much of an influence on the end sound as mic choice.

Also, no mention of your monitoring set-up?

1) Peluso 22 251 - (about $1300 USD)
2) Focusrite Octopre dynamic ($700 USD)
3) Manley VariableMu (about $4000 USD)
4) Chandler Limited Germanium Pre/DI (about $1100 USD)
is about $7100.

The point is to think like a business person too. get a piece of gear like the Manley VariableMU that helps drive business. You need at least one cool vocal mic and some options on mic pre. In this example you've got 8 solid mic pres with a Chandler option that is very colored.

I have no doubt other posters will have arguably better advice for getting more studio sound upgrade for your money, but this is a good compromise for also considering booking clients to buy even more.
Old 7th September 2011
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
which mics do you have already? Its my humble opinion that people are often mic-pre obsessed. As much as I love my nice pre's, and as much as they do impart their own magic, none of them are as much of an influence on the end sound as mic choice.

Also, no mention of your monitoring set-up?

1) Peluso 22 251 - (about $1300 USD)
2) Focusrite Octopre dynamic ($700 USD)
3) Manley VariableMu (about $4000 USD)
4) Chandler Limited Germanium Pre/DI (about $1100 USD)
is about $7100.

The point is to think like a business person too. get a piece of gear like the Manley VariableMU that helps drive business. You need at least one cool vocal mic and some options on mic pre. In this example you've got 8 solid mic pres with a Chandler option that is very colored.

I have no doubt other posters will have arguably better advice for getting more studio sound upgrade for your money, but this is a good compromise for also considering booking clients to buy even more.
Are you familiar with the Aardrvark Q10? It is my monitoring section, I use it in tandem with my fave headphones and some alesis monitors. It really does the trick and is incredibly versatile. I just carry around a dummy headphone drop box for headphone splits during sessions.

I've seriously been considering taking the Buzz Essence out of my list and buying 1 Radial Workhorse 5000 instead of 2 lunchboxes. This way I would get an 8 channel analog summing mixer to boot. That would leave the Xpressor 500 as my main stereo channel buss comp though. How do you think this would work out? Is it a good stereo buss comp? Does it have a sidechain for my mono comps?

Okay, so here goes my list of microphones:
2 - AKG C460B w CK-61 ULS Cardiod Capsules [Pencil Cond] (I use these for OHs)
2 - AT4033/CL Cardiod Wide Diaphragm Condensors (I use these for Stereo Rooms)
2 - AE3000 Cardiod Wide Diaphragm Condensors (I use these for stereo "floor" mikes)
2 - Sennheiser MD 409 U (Original Make Dynamics)
1 - Shure B56 (For brighter tom/snr/cab tones)
1 - Shure PG52 (Backup Bass Mike/Lo Toms)
1 - Shure SM57
1 - Shure SM58
1 - Shure B58
2 - Shure B57's
1 - Shure B52 Kik Mike
1 - Shure B91 Condensor [for Bass Freqs]
1 - Shure 16A Pencil Condensor
1 - Shure BG 4.1 Pencil Condensor
1 - AKG D100E Dynamic Mike
1 - Electrovoice 660 Dynamic
1 - Electrovoice RE27/NE Dynamic
1 - Homemade bi-directional ribbon mike
1 - Rebuilt Piezo Mike for "Floor/Wall Omni"

So there it is, my trusty suitcase of mikes.
There's 24 of them, so I make it through just about every tracking session (And even have enough for 6-7 Room/OH mikes when doing drums).

I haven't added any Neumann or C414s to the list since it's mobile and I never end up in any studio grade tracking rooms with the rig anyways. It just a tad risky to carry around the super expensive mikes in a mobile rig. I reckon I can invest in some C414's/Neumann's and a analogue summing board/stereo buss [Like the SSL X-Desk] when I've got another $7,000-$10,000 down the road and we find a cr room/live room to house all the gear in.

Now, The one thing my suitcase has always been lacking has been a good DUAL pair of bi-directionals and a real good Stereo OMNI pair. Any suggestions for a good performer on a mobile budget? Also, any other mikes I'm missing in my list that you guys think I should pay attention to?

Thanks for replying!
Old 7th September 2011
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
which mics do you have already? Its my humble opinion that people are often mic-pre obsessed. As much as I love my nice pre's, and as much as they do impart their own magic, none of them are as much of an influence on the end sound as mic choice.

Also, no mention of your monitoring set-up?

1) Peluso 22 251 - (about $1300 USD)
2) Focusrite Octopre dynamic ($700 USD)
3) Manley VariableMu (about $4000 USD)
4) Chandler Limited Germanium Pre/DI (about $1100 USD)
is about $7100.

The point is to think like a business person too. get a piece of gear like the Manley VariableMU that helps drive business. You need at least one cool vocal mic and some options on mic pre. In this example you've got 8 solid mic pres with a Chandler option that is very colored.

I have no doubt other posters will have arguably better advice for getting more studio sound upgrade for your money, but this is a good compromise for also considering booking clients to buy even more.
It's true.
Manley has always been a heavy hitter from back in the day,
but it seems like I can buy a lot more quality gear and a cheaper price in our day and age.

The 8 channel analog summing mixer is really getting attractive.
Old 7th September 2011
  #5
Gear Addict
 

ok, revised suggestion based upon better understanding your needs:

1) API 2500 ($2550)
2) EL-8 Distressor stereo pair ($2900)
3) Universal Audio 4-710d ($2000)

I don't think the lunch box is as good a value. For example you can get more API stuff with their racked versions than if you lunch-boxed them.

This suggested upgrade would transfer well if you ever moved to recording/producing out of a studio. Also, it helps both during mixdown and tracking. Also, the 2500 should help with the rates you charge, same with the distressor and the UA.

I still feel like mic pres are not where you're going to get the biggest bang for your buck. Since you already have a functional rig and are liking your results, I suggest finding 2-4 really great pieces rather than buying lots of new stuff.
Old 7th September 2011
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
ok, revised suggestion based upon better understanding your needs:

1) API 2500 ($2550)
2) EL-8 Distressor stereo pair ($2900)
3) Universal Audio 4-710d ($2000)

I don't think the lunch box is as good a value. For example you can get more API stuff with their racked versions than if you lunch-boxed them.

This suggested upgrade would transfer well if you ever moved to recording/producing out of a studio. Also, it helps both during mixdown and tracking. Also, the 2500 should help with the rates you charge, same with the distressor and the UA.

I still feel like mic pres are not where you're going to get the biggest bang for your buck. Since you already have a functional rig and are liking your results, I suggest finding 2-4 really great pieces rather than buying lots of new stuff.
I dunno, I still seem to get better value for my buck going the lunchbox method.
No Offense...

If I go with the Radial Workhorse 5000 I'll get:
4 New Solid State Preamps
1 New Tube Pre (And I already own 3 tube pres)
1 Analog EQ
1 Stereo Bus Comp (which also functions as a mono with sidechains) [I also already have 4 channels of backup comp with an alesis 3630/ART TCS]
8 Channel Analog Summing Mixer with patching system

All of which would be class A studio gear....

If I go the other route (which is admittedly and awesome setup),
I would end up with:
-2 Stereo Buss Comps
-4 digital pres (That my current A/D D/A I/O won't accept. I can only receive S/PDIF as a digital source and the 4-710d only supplies ADAT/AES. I would have to come up with some sort of method to get it into my comp. The lunchbox method could plug directly into my aardvark q10 line ins. I would still have 8 backup channels of Aardvark q10 pres on my second card too.

Everything I've heard about the Xpressor 500 is that it competes with the API 2500/EL-8 Distressor. If so, I would only ever have to be using 2 channels of it at a time (As I'm doing DAW mixing).

I do like the flavor of the comps you suggested, but I'm not a huge fan of the preamp plan. I want to get a badass EQ out of the deal too (which I get on the LaChappell 583e).

What do you think? Have you ever heard the Xpressor 500? Does it compete?
Old 7th September 2011
  #7
Gear Addict
 

yes, i've heard the Xpressor 500, and it is nice. But this whole line of thinking is flawed, in my opinion. How much more money will you make with all these little upgrades? Will you increase your hourly rate? Will you book more gigs?

The honest truth is you are using cheap mics with cheap pres with subpar monitoring in unknown and (assumedly) bad or less than ideal recording spaces. This is not a great scenario to go chasing an idealized set-up. $7500 doesn't do it.

My sincere suggestion to you is to invest in gear that pays for itself. Buy 3 pieces of name gear that your clients recognize. The 3 I mentioned above are good, but I could have gone with Tubetech, Chandler, and SSL stuff. There are many possibilities.

If it were me, I would buy the SSL X-desk and the VariableMU and then raise my hourly rate by $15 an hour. I would play up that the bands got to track on a real SSL, and would get some of that Manley VariableMU magic on the way in, and at the very end.

None of the stuff you mention makes me think you will have success charging more, or getting more clients. This = bad decision.

[edit: so you don't get the wrong idea, I have no doubts you make this gear sound great. please don't misunderstand. I am talking strictly about making money, and that is what a potential client sees when looking over your gear list. I am simply performing a hypothetical before and after evaluation from the potential client's point of view and when I do, with your proposed additions, I do not think I would be willing to pay any more for you after the upgrade, nor am I more likely to hire you.

and point taken about the mic pre -- I didn't think through the i/o. you could get two of the JDK audio R24 EQ's? I wasn't thinking about the distressors as master buss, and I would use the 2500 for other duties tracking also.]

Last edited by SonicAlchemist; 7th September 2011 at 04:53 AM.. Reason: because otherwise I might sound like an A-hole
Old 7th September 2011
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
yes, i've heard the Xpressor 500, and it is nice. But this whole line of thinking is flawed, in my opinion. How much more money will you make with all these little upgrades? Will you increase your hourly rate? Will you book more gigs?

The honest truth is you are using cheap mics with cheap pres with subpar monitoring in unknown and (assumedly) bad or less than ideal recording spaces. This is not a great scenario to go chasing an idealized set-up. $7500 doesn't do it.

My sincere suggestion to you as somebody who makes their living with music is to invest in gear that pays for itself. But 3 pieces of name gear that your clients recognize. The 3 I mentioned above are good, but I could have gone with Tubetech, Chandler, and SSL stuff. There are many possibilities.

If it were me, I would buy the SSL X-desk and the VariableMU and then raise my hourly rate by $15 an hour. I would play up that the bands got to track on a real SSL, and would get some of that Manley VariableMU magic on the way in, and at the very end.

None of the stuff you mention makes me think you will have success charging more, or getting more clients. This = bad decision.
Well... I work on an AWS924+ at my job.. where I also make LOTS of money in the Control and Live room. This list I'm writing up is just a quaint little home DAW setup. I want to get some analog on my front end.

Coming from an engineer that already makes an hourly wage of $55, take it from me. You can accomplish a whole lot with everything I've listed. I believe you are thinking like a consumer... and suggesting that "brands" will increase my hourly wage.

I can tell you right now,
the only thing that increases your hourly wage is your skill and experience.

So, just so we're clear... I'm not looking to increase my hourly wage here. I already make more than enough with audio engineering.

I'm just bouncing ideas off of the community to see what you guys might think is the most cost effective method to getting me more analog goody options at home. Honestly dude.... I don't know where you get off calling API/Daking/LaChappell Pres "cheap"... I don't know where you get away with calling vintage Sennheiser, AKG and Electrovoice models "cheap".... I sure as hell don't know where you get off calling LaChappell EQ "cheap".

Honestly, I'm completely floored and baffled.
Do you think anything without "Manley" or "Empirical Labs" stamped on the side of it is complete crap? haha
Old 7th September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
yes, i've heard the Xpressor 500, and it is nice. But this whole line of thinking is flawed, in my opinion. How much more money will you make with all these little upgrades? Will you increase your hourly rate? Will you book more gigs?

The honest truth is you are using cheap mics with cheap pres with subpar monitoring in unknown and (assumedly) bad or less than ideal recording spaces. This is not a great scenario to go chasing an idealized set-up. $7500 doesn't do it.

My sincere suggestion to you as somebody who makes their living with music is to invest in gear that pays for itself. But 3 pieces of name gear that your clients recognize. The 3 I mentioned above are good, but I could have gone with Tubetech, Chandler, and SSL stuff. There are many possibilities.

If it were me, I would buy the SSL X-desk and the VariableMU and then raise my hourly rate by $15 an hour. I would play up that the bands got to track on a real SSL, and would get some of that Manley VariableMU magic on the way in, and at the very end.

Comment on your edit: Again, I don't have any problems hiring clients. I already make a great wage. I'm not looking to raise my income. I'm looking for more toys.
None of the stuff you mention makes me think you will have success charging more, or getting more clients. This = bad decision.

[edit: so you don't get the wrong idea, I have no doubts you make this gear sound great. please don't misunderstand. I am talking strictly about making money, and that is what a potential client sees when looking over your gear list. I am simply performing a hypothetical before and after evaluation from the potential client's point of view and when I do, with your proposed additions, I do not think I would be willing to pay any more for you after the upgrade, nor am I more likely to hire you.]
Who says the Xpressor 500 + Radial Workhorse 5000 summing can't compete with an SSL Super Analogue Summer with a Manley Vu? Maybe... you're just choked that you paid so much for your rig, while engineer's who are investing now a-days get a whole lot more for a whole lot less? :P haha
Old 7th September 2011
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Ok, so let's say I am done trying to change your mind about approach. Here is an idea:

1. (x2) Solid State Logic Alpha VHD, which are $1630 each, so $3260 for 8 whole channels of SSL with no eq or compression, but with variable harmonic control.
2. API 8MX2 which gives you 8 channels, each with threshold limiters, of API mic pres with a summing mixer. for $2550

subtotal thus far, $5810, which gives us $1690 left to play with.

3. JDK Audio R24 EQ for $1000 new on ebay, buy it now.

roughly $700 left.

4. dbx 1046 for $530 gives you 4 more channels of compression.

So to tally it al up, you get

-8 channels of SSL pres with variable harmonic controls for dialing in mojo
-8 channels of API pres with threshold limiters
- an 8 channel API summing mixer
- 2 channels of excellent EQ
- 4 channels of road tested, perfectly good dbx compression.

You don't get the 2-bus compressor, but you get (16) enough inputs to run EVERYTHING through an API or SSL, and you get an API summing mixer instead of the Radial.

I admit this is better, in my opinion, than any of my previous suggestions. this set-up should allow you to charge more.
Old 7th September 2011
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Who says the Xpressor 500 + Radial Workhorse 5000 summing can't compete with an SSL Super Analogue Summer with a Manley Vu? Maybe... you're just choked that you paid so much for your rig, while engineer's who are investing now a-days get a whole lot more for a whole lot less? :P haha
this is not about sound quality. Poll your clients and ask them if they have heard of SSL. Ask them if they have heard of the Xpressor or the radial workhorse.

Ask them if they would be willing to pay you an extra $300 for the gig if you had a 16 channel SSL mixer. Good chance they would get excited and say "hell yes."

Same question with the Radial workhorse. <crickets>

just dollars and sense
Old 7th September 2011
  #12
Gear Addict
 

ok, final version, new and improved:

1. (x1) Solid State Logic Alpha VHD, which is $1630 for 4 channels of SSL with no eq or compression, but with variable harmonic control.
2. API 8MX2 which gives you 8 channels, each with threshold limiters, of API mic pres with a summing mixer. for $2550

subtotal thus far, $4180

3. (x2) JDK Audio R24 EQ for $1000 each, new on ebay, buy it now = $2000
4. TK Audio BC-1 stereo bus compressor for $1250
= $7430

- You get 12 new mic pres
8 are API, 4 are SSL
- you get an 8 channel API summing mixer
- you get 4 channels of excellent EQ
- you get an excellent master buss compressor that can also be good for tracking.
Old 7th September 2011
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Well... I work on an AWS924+ at my job.. where I also make LOTS of money in the Control and Live room. This list I'm writing up is just a quaint little home DAW setup. I want to get some analog on my front end.

Coming from an engineer that already makes an hourly wage of $55, take it from me. You can accomplish a whole lot with everything I've listed. I believe you are thinking like a consumer... and suggesting that "brands" will increase my hourly wage.

I can tell you right now,
the only thing that increases your hourly wage is your skill and experience.

So, just so we're clear... I'm not looking to increase my hourly wage here. I already make more than enough with audio engineering.

I'm just bouncing ideas off of the community to see what you guys might think is the most cost effective method to getting me more analog goody options at home. Honestly dude.... I don't know where you get off calling API/Daking/LaChappell Pres "cheap"... I don't know where you get away with calling vintage Sennheiser, AKG and Electrovoice models "cheap".... I sure as hell don't know where you get off calling LaChappell EQ "cheap".

Honestly, I'm completely floored and baffled.
Do you think anything without "Manley" or "Empirical Labs" stamped on the side of it is complete crap? haha
i think cheap was obviously a poor choice of words. LaChapell is amazing. I've tracked on them many times and love them. But they are not widely recognized brands. As you say, this is irrelevant to you because you have now told me that you don't care about making more money with this upgrade.

I cannot understand this, but I accept it. In that case, your gear list sounds great. You will get amazing recordings out of your suggested upgrade path.

Surely you can understand how someone would assume that this was a business purchase, right?
Old 7th September 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Well... I work on an AWS924+ at my job.. where I also make LOTS of money in the Control and Live room. This list I'm writing up is just a quaint little home DAW setup. I want to get some analog on my front end.
now you've completely shifted the goal posts and wasted my time. A home DAW set-up is completely different than a mobile recording rig.

ugh.

good luck. you obviously know what you are doing, you know the gear, you have the skills. Go get what you need and I wish you the best
Old 7th September 2011
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
Ok, so let's say I am done trying to change your mind about approach. Here is an idea:

1. (x2) Solid State Logic Alpha VHD, which are $1630 each, so $3260 for 8 whole channels of SSL with no eq or compression, but with variable harmonic control.
2. API 8MX2 which gives you 8 channels, each with threshold limiters, of API mic pres with a summing mixer. for $2550

subtotal thus far, $5810, which gives us $1690 left to play with.

3. JDK Audio R24 EQ for $1000 new on ebay, buy it now.

roughly $700 left.

4. dbx 1046 for $530 gives you 4 more channels of compression.

So to tally it al up, you get

-8 channels of SSL pres with variable harmonic controls for dialing in mojo
-8 channels of API pres with threshold limiters
- an 8 channel API summing mixer
- 2 channels of excellent EQ
- 4 channels of road tested, perfectly good dbx compression.

You don't get the 2-bus compressor, but you get (16) enough inputs to run EVERYTHING through an API or SSL, and you get an API summing mixer instead of the Radial.

I admit this is better, in my opinion, than any of my previous suggestions. this set-up should allow you to charge more.
Now we're talking.
I'm glad you hit me back when it got nitty gritty. haha

Yea, that's actually a great suggestion.
One I'll actually think about.

I've got a few issues with it though.
A) Any time I look up the 8MX2 I always read reviews about how the limiters absolutely suck on them. The pres get rave reviews though.
B) SSL is great but I'm looking for the 512 sound for API, not their ATI live sound (it's a lot airier). I want them aggressive and punchy.
C) DBX is a great company too, but for my personal tastes... I'm not a huge fan of their compression.

Did you know that the guys at Radial designed the Workhorse 5000 mixing board with the rupert neve team? The outputs are Jensen transformers and are built with the old neve team. I was blown away to find this out. Essentially, it puts it in the same class as the API/SSL Summing boxes/consoles.

Here's what I've been thinking for my current purchase after lots of consideration, I'll include what's already in my lineup so you can see the rig from input to speakers. haha.

Upcoming Purchase
-------------------
- Radial Workhorse 5000
- Buzz Essence or Potion (for transparent or colored oldschool mono comp algorithm)
- Xpressor 500 (For versatile stereo buss comp)
- 512c x2 (For stereo 512 API punch/aggresiveness)
- LaChappell 583e (For Kickass tube tone and badass EQ)
[So I basically swapped the 2 Daking 500 Pres for an oldschool comp option. Keeps my budget around $7500]

My Current Setup
-----------------
[See above message for list of 24 microphones]
- Cubase 5.1 with lots of plugins for my DAW
- 3.1 Ghz Dual Core PC with 4 gigs of DDR4 Ram
- 2 Aardvark Q10 units for 16 channels of A/D and D/A [16 Line Ins, 16 Line Outs. S/PDIF I/O for digital. Has 16 backup preamps on it and 8 inserts. (The pres on the Aardvark are great alone, but start to MEGA suck once you start stacking them up).
- 1 BLUE "Robbie" tube preamp
- Stereo ART GOLD MP tube preamp with refitted tubes
- 3 rebuilt MONO ART Black MP tube preamps with refitted tubes
- 4 consumer rate compressor channels (Alesis 3630 and ART TCS comp)

So as you can see I plan to run the following setup for Live Drum tracking:
- 1 Blue "Robbie" tube pre
- 1 LaChappell tube pre
- 2 API 512c's solid state
- 2 ART GOLD MP's
- 3 Aardvarks MP's
- 3 ART Black MP's

This Leaves me 4 more backup channels of Aardvark Pres for scratch track instruments during bed tracking. I also use a cheap Alesis firewire board for more scratch track inputs via the S/PDIF if we need more. As long as the Black MP's + Aardvark Pres are only stacked 3 high each and left on tom or room mikes, they can go a long way.

All the other instruments won't have to stack anymore black/aardvarks because they will be multitracked with Robbie/LaChappell/API 512c/ART GOLD.

I wouldn't be using much comp during tracking 'cept for maybe vox/bass/rooms (Which we would have the Xpressor/Buzz/4 chan of backup comps for. I wouldn't be touching EQ until mix either.

This way, I have 16 channels to track with (with up to 12 more for scratch tracks via S/PDIF) with many different color options on my pres. I've got a few comps for live tracking and I can use the Workhorse summing board in tandem with the LaChappell EQ and Buzz/Elysia Compressors when I mix using my 16 analog outs.

What do you think now?

I've got to admit.
An API summer is appealing, but it just doesn't have the pres I'm looking for on it. Maybe I should reconsider and think of going airy with API since I've got some pretty big tube contenders with the Robbie and LaChappell. I love the SSL alpha pres as well, so it's a great plan with lots of color too. I just really don't vibe well with the dbx comps/JDK EQ.
Old 7th September 2011
  #16
Gear Addict
 

sorry for losing my temper just now -- it seems this has been helpful for you, and that makes me happy. I'll spend another few minutes thinking and get you one more set of ideas before I get back to work. it's going to be a late night at the studio anyway.
Old 7th September 2011
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
sorry for losing my temper just now -- it seems this has been helpful for you, and that makes me happy. I'll spend another few minutes thinking and get you one more set of ideas before I get back to work. it's going to be a late night at the studio anyway.
Thanks.
Hold no punches.
When I said I wanted to get into it, I meant it .

You've seriously got me thinking about the 8Mx2 now. [Even though I wouldn't use the limiters]. I could just cut the 2 API 512c's and the workhorse from the list, this would open my budget back up to get a 6 slot lunchbox and the 8Mx2.

I would get 6 more pres out of the deal (though they would be airy instead of punchy)... and I would get an API summing box. Sigh. It really IS a good suggestion.
Old 7th September 2011
  #18
Gear Addict
 

I think your idea is solid. I'll only give you other non-lunchbox options as a devil's advocate position that may only serve to reinforce confidence that your current opinion is correct.

1) Black Lion PM8 summing mixer. I have heard good things, but never used one. I like the passive design. Only $900.
2) Black Lion AGB Compressor. Only $1200 for a Neve 33609 clone.
3) API 3124. $2550 for 4 channels of API pre's, but the ones you want with the 2520 op-amp

we're at $4650.

4) Solid State Logic Alpha VHD, which are $1630, and which you have said you liked.

we are now at $6000 even. We have 8 new mic pre's, we have a passive summing mixer, and a neve 33609 clone (2 channel.)

5) Here's something out of left-field: Radial JDI Duplex for $350! kapow!
I love these. I love passive designs. I feel confident you don't need me to explain why these might be a cool choice.

6) Chandler Limited Germanium Pre Amp/DI for $1130, which puts us right there at $7500

To recap:
- 9 mic pres, 1 Chandler + 4 SSL + 4 API (but the ones with the sound you want)
- 2 channels of passive DI for keyboards, Bass, etc. . .to further increase your sonic options
- 8 channel passive summing mixer
- 2 channel Neve 33609 clone.
Old 7th September 2011
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
I think your idea is solid. I'll only give you other non-lunchbox options as a devil's advocate position that may only serve to reinforce confidence that your current opinion is correct.

1) Black Lion PM8 summing mixer. I have heard good things, but never used one. I like the passive design. Only $900.
2) Black Lion AGB Compressor. Only $1200 for a Neve 33609 clone.
3) API 3124. $2550 for 4 channels of API pre's, but the ones you want with the 2520 op-amp

we're at $4650.

4) Solid State Logic Alpha VHD, which are $1630, and which you have said you liked.

we are now at $6000 even. We have 8 new mic pre's, we have a passive summing mixer, and a neve 33609 clone (2 channel.)

5) Here's something out of left-field: Radial JDI Duplex for $350! kapow!
I love these. I love passive designs. I feel confident you don't need me to explain why these might be a cool choice.

6) Chandler Limited Germanium Pre Amp/DI for $1130, which puts us right there at $7500

To recap:
- 9 mic pres, 1 Chandler + 4 SSL + 4 API (but the ones with the sound you want)
- 2 channels of passive DI for keyboards, Bass, etc. . .to further increase your sonic options
- 8 channel passive summing mixer
- 2 channel Neve 33609 clone.
Now this setup kicks ass.

The best one you've laid out yet to compete with the lunchbox plan.
Now i've got a lot of thinking to do. haha.

Great plan though, I dig that alot.
Only thing that's missing from it is EQ though :(.
Old 7th September 2011
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Now this setup kicks ass.

The best one you've laid out yet to compete with the lunchbox plan.
Now i've got a lot of thinking to do. haha.

Great plan though, I dig that alot.
Only thing that's missing from it is EQ though :(.
hmm, no eq. . . swap out the Chandler pre/DI for another Black Lion Audio piece: AM/CHA1 for $1100.

Now you've got 2 channels of pultec style EQ, and still have 8 new pre's, plus the other goodies.

[i don't have any connection to Black Lion Audio, but they owe me a t-shirt or something if you go this route) :-)
Old 7th September 2011
  #21
Gear Nut
 

I like it quite a bit.
Only drawback I can find is that I'm in Canada and Black Lion doesn't have a Canadian dealer.

I wonder how much I would pay for duty costs on their items.
Short of that, it's a great plan!
Old 7th September 2011
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
I like it quite a bit.
Only drawback I can find is that I'm in Canada and Black Lion doesn't have a Canadian dealer.

I wonder how much I would pay for duty costs on their items.
Short of that, it's a great plan!
from their website:

"We are happy to accommodate customers outside of the US, but please be aware that you will be responsible for all duties and taxes that your country imposes on inbound goods. There is no exception to this, so please don't ask us to do something illegal. We'd love your business, but we aren't interested in breaking the law in order to obtain it."

from this i gather they can do it without a canadian dealer, but you need to pay taxes on it. if you really wanted to go this route i'm sure you could work it out with a few phone calls.
Old 7th September 2011
  #23
Gear Addict
 

just because I thought it would be fun to spin your head around a little more. . . have you thought about getting a used console and refurbing it?

,500 budget. What should I spend it on? *Long time creeper, first time poster*MCI 618B Recording Console | eBay

$4100 get you a nice, compact 16 channel MCI console. Assume you would spend another $2000 going to pick it up, and making whatever repairs or upgrades you want.

That gives you $1400 for something like the TK audio BC1 (which is a great mix buss compressor) or maybe a smart C1 or C2 on the used market? drawmer 1968?

I had an MCI JH 636 for years and it sounds gorgeous. As has been said many times here on GS, despite everyone loving API, SSL, and Neve -- the most popular and profitable albums were often done on MCI's and Harrisons.

Blevin's Audio has more options, as always. A 24 channel in-line console JH 416 for $6500.
Old 7th September 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
 
ritelec's Avatar
 

Thanks for the post .........I'm just "alittle" familiar with all this equipment you guys have been throwing in and out (I'm in the box)..... time for some research. But I enjoyed the read. Good luck NewBlood, well done SonicAlchemist.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
I like it quite a bit.
Only drawback I can find is that I'm in Canada and Black Lion doesn't have a Canadian dealer.

I wonder how much I would pay for duty costs on their items.
Short of that, it's a great plan!
Sounds like a road trip is in order.


Thanks guys,

-rich
Old 8th September 2011
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
just because I thought it would be fun to spin your head around a little more. . . have you thought about getting a used console and refurbing it?

,500 budget. What should I spend it on? *Long time creeper, first time poster*MCI 618B Recording Console | eBay

$4100 get you a nice, compact 16 channel MCI console. Assume you would spend another $2000 going to pick it up, and making whatever repairs or upgrades you want.

That gives you $1400 for something like the TK audio BC1 (which is a great mix buss compressor) or maybe a smart C1 or C2 on the used market? drawmer 1968?

I had an MCI JH 636 for years and it sounds gorgeous. As has been said many times here on GS, despite everyone loving API, SSL, and Neve -- the most popular and profitable albums were often done on MCI's and Harrisons.

Blevin's Audio has more options, as always. A 24 channel in-line console JH 416 for $6500.
What's your thoughts on the TOFT boards?

Toft Audio Designs
Old 8th September 2011
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
What's your thoughts on the TOFT boards?

Toft Audio Designs
I don't have personal experience with them but they look like a good value. All I'd be doing is regurgitating their marketing materials, I'm afraid.
Old 8th September 2011
  #27
Gear Nut
 

Meh, so now I'm being sold on the Slate Digital VCC package?
Are you familiar with it? I've been using it on a couple of friends consoles, and maaaan... it's pretty awesome. I can't believe the sum tones they get on the buss.

That being said, I'm starting to re-evaluate your mention of the Focusrite OctoPre and just upgrading my A/D D/A while I'm at it.

I'm thinking of going with 2 AD-596's by millenia with a lynx AES16 for 16 channels of conversion via PCI.

I of course would have to bring a bunch of Pres with me for it:
I've already got
-Blue Robbie
-Stereo Gold MPs
-3 Black MPs
-16 Aardvarks
-8 Alesis

So, I guess, my question is this:
If I've already got a bunch of Q10/ART/Alesis Preamps kicking around, are the Focusrite Octopres really worth the purchase? Are the preamps that much of an upgrade?

The ISA828 looks like a bit bulkier of a purchase. Do you think I'd be getting better pres out of the deal?

I don't know anything about focusrite stuff.
Finally,
What are your thoughts on the Audient ASP008 and the TL Audio Ivory 5001?
Old 8th September 2011
  #28
Gear Addict
 

i somehow thought the Aardvark had ADAT i/o, but i looked it up and I don't see it. So the Octopre might not even be an option. But I do like it as a good, solid, no frills mic pre that gets professional results. It would be better than the Aardvarks, I would imagine, but if you had a good clock I don't know by how much. I used a studio to track drums on the latest album I produced that used the octopre in addition to some Millennia Medias, UA 610's, API 512's. Very happy with the drum sounds. But like you say, the real issue is how stacking them up might lead to 'meh' after a while. In this case they might have helped the API's really 'punch' in comparison.

The Focusrite ISA series is a completely different animal -- whole different level.

About the VCC: I am trying out MellowMuse right now. I'm undecided at the moment, but optimistic about the technology. I wanted to go VCC, but am giving them more time to sort out their issues. I have heard they are sorted out now, but I might give them some more time and just watch. With your software/OS you have more options than me -- you could try Air Windows. There is MellowMuse, Statson, and soon there will be Juice from SoundToys.

I'd be interested in your opinion if you did a shootout. My plan is to dip my toes in with MellowMuse to see how I like the approach and revisit it in 1-2 years. By then there will be more selection, more stability, and better quality.

It sounds like you are happy with your sound in general. I'd say that if you are looking for another option that takes a completely different approach -- what about throwing the entire budget into monitors and a 2 channel DA converter?

$7200 gives you a pair of Focal SM9's.

Have you ever tracked with Coles 4038's?

There are so many ways to spend your money, but I am a bit confused now about your situation because at first it seemed this was a mobile rig, which is why I backed off the mics and the monitoring.
Old 8th September 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
 
ritelec's Avatar
 

<<<< ISA 828.

Finally, I can relate.
Old 8th September 2011
  #30
Gear Nut
 

From everything I've read, it seems that the A/D D/A on the Saffire 56 is phenomenal for it's price range. I've been thinking of picking one up and adding the octopre so I'd end up with 16 Focusrite Pres (2 of which would be liquid) I've got a bunch of colored pres to plug in to the line ins as well, so I think it might be a good upgrade. It's only $1800 and I would end up with upgraded pres/AtoD DtoA.

I just wasn't sure if it would actually be an upgrade, but anyone I talk to seems to say they do wonders when stacked beside a few other colors.

What do you guys think?
1 LaChappell + 1 robbie + 2 API 512c's + 2 ART GOLD refits
Beside 14 Focusrite Octopre's & 2 liquid pre's?

It seems like I would have quite a few options to add some class A colors to my rack of Octos, and really, every engineer I talk to says the octopres do well beside others.

Thanks so much for the endless feedback. haha
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