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achakour 6th April 2009 05:57 AM

Studio Upgrade 2-4k
 
Hello,
I've been reading these boards for a some time now and just finally decided to join. Anyways, I'm looking to upgrade my studio but I'm on a bit of a budget. Here is rough idea of what I do have:

- Macbook Pro w/ DP5 and Logic
- 828 mkII
- Loads of Plug-ins (Waves, Sonalksis, D16, PSP Audio etc. etc.)
- Fairly Good mic selection (a few 414s and an RE-20 are the best I've got)
- Tascam M-312B console

So I'm guessing the best upgrade would be a real solid channel or two,(vintechx73i -> 1176/mc-77 maybe?) but I've also been wondering about my converter quality (will I be happy with the black lion mod? or should I go for an ensemble and get a cheaper pre?).
Oh, and I record a lot of acoustic music but also a lot of rock, so versatility is a must.

All that being said I'm open to any and all suggestions.
Thanks in advance!

Stevedresser83 6th April 2009 06:24 AM

When I first started to buy equip a short time ago ( 1 year ago ) i decided i was only gonna buy high end stuff that I would not want to sell a year later and upgrade. I had an 003 and thought about the BLA but decided to get the UA-2192 then I got a pacifica. Slowly but surely I continue to add on with only high end stuff that is worth holding onto. I would recommend the same. I also did some risky loans with music cards but it paid off and I made all my money back using the equipment with new clients.

libertine 6th April 2009 06:39 AM

I'd say go with this combination -

1. Apogee Ensemble - $2,000
2. Universal Audio 710 - $800
3. Black Lion Audio Auteur - $465

Total - $3265

Now, my reasonings. First of all, As much as I believe in the Digi 002/003 mods from BLA, I'm thinking putting any money into the MOTU unit, given their mod isn't nearly as extensive as the Digi mods, might be a waste when you could REALLY upgrade to something that will not only be a HUGE upgrade in the converter dept., but will also give you great integration with Logic, plus a nice set of four clean, airy, transparent pre's.

Next, the UA 710 is my newest toy. I just picked up a pair a few weeks ago and have been using them on all my drum sessions for the overhead SM81s. Love them. Not really too sure how much of that "tube/solid-state blending" I could have been hearing just on drums, but I'm definitely looking forward to experimenting with it more on guitars/vox. But back to my point, they sound great. I've had 610s for a while and always dug the "bigness" of them. The 710 is a bit more modern, but definitely big sounding. Would make a great "versatile" primary channel.

Finally, another one of my newest acquisitions, the Auteur two-channel pre. I haven't actually received it yet (UPS tracking says Wednesday! boing) but if they're at all as they've been described to me as, they'd make an awesome addition to the analog palette at your spot.

So there, for $3600 bucks with some cables and tax, you've just upgraded your converters SIGNIFICANTLY, & added seven, BANGIN, new pre's to the analog rack.

You're welcome. Go forth and rock.

floater138 6th April 2009 07:15 AM

i agree with only getting high end stuff you won't sell in a year or two. every cheap piece of gear i have bought was only later sold to buy something better later. i would also recomend the apogee enemble. good converters and interface are probably the most important thing.

next though, get a good mic pre, preferably one with some good eq like a x73i or even better, a chandler ltd 1. then a great compressor like an 1176 or distressor. buy everything used and save money. one really great chain (ie mic pre, eq, compressor, and microphone) will go a very very long way. this is especially true if you are only recording one or two track at time.

achakour 6th April 2009 08:11 PM

Thanks for the fast responses,
So I'm thinking I'll most likely go with the ensemble. I think it'll be best for my workflow and budget. Just wondering, would it be possible to supplement the ensemble with a rosetta/ua-2192/cranesong etc. for monitoring and dubs (once I have some high-end pres and more cash)? Would this even be worth the money?

RyanC 7th April 2009 01:04 AM

Hate to sound like a broken record, but I would put in into acoustics, if you haven't already.

Doesn't seem so sexy at the time, but it's the most worthwhile upgrade you can make.

woodfoot 7th April 2009 01:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RyanC (Post 4069831)
Hate to sound like a broken record, but I would put in into acoustics, if you haven't already.

Doesn't seem so sexy at the time, but it's the most worthwhile upgrade you can make.

+1

I also didn't notice you mention monitors so that may be a good purchase if you haven't already.

achakour 7th April 2009 05:18 AM

I've got a pair of DynAudio Bm-5As which I'm quite happy with. Good call on the acoustics, my place could definitely use an upgrade in that dept.

Smithcok 7th April 2009 05:22 AM

+1 on acoustics first.

Can you snap some pics of the room?

TonyBelmont 7th April 2009 08:25 AM

How about an Apogee Ensemble and an Aurora Audio GTQ2... That would be a nice upgrade. http://highprofileaudio.com/thumbsup.gif

superiorsound 7th April 2009 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RyanC (Post 4069831)
Hate to sound like a broken record, but I would put in into acoustics, if you haven't already.

Doesn't seem so sexy at the time, but it's the most worthwhile upgrade you can make.

Best investment I did. I bought a bunch of GIK 244's and man it makes a big difference my mixes transfer to other sources so much easier no more going to the car saying "Shi* that bass is too low" when it sounds great in my control room. Lifes up!

Glenn Kuras 9th April 2009 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by superiorsound (Post 4071181)
Best investment I did. I bought a bunch of GIK 244's and man it makes a big difference my mixes transfer to other sources so much easier no more going to the car saying "Shi* that bass is too low" when it sounds great in my control room. Lifes up!

I guess I would have to AGREE WITH THAT!!!!!!heh

libertine 10th April 2009 02:40 AM

I'm in agreement with everyone who mentioned treatment, as well. In the same way that high-end converters/pres/mics/etc. speed up your workflow by delivering more consistant, higher quality audio, proper treatment would do the same in the sense that turnaround between mix passes would be shorter, as you can actually trust your ears at the console.

Nevertheless, should your room actually be in decent listening condition, I'm still sticking by my recommendations.

Quote:

Originally Posted by achakour (Post 4068908)
Thanks for the fast responses,
So I'm thinking I'll most likely go with the ensemble. I think it'll be best for my workflow and budget. Just wondering, would it be possible to supplement the ensemble with a rosetta/ua-2192/cranesong etc. for monitoring and dubs (once I have some high-end pres and more cash)? Would this even be worth the money?

Yes. The ensemble can bring in another 8 Chan. of 44.1/48.8 audio via lightpipe. Whether or not it would be worthwhile to add depends purely on how much I/O you need. If the Ensemble provides all necessary ins and outs for your setup, adding a Rosetta would really only marginally improve the sound coming in/out versus using the Ensemble's converters.

They're not the same exact converters, but they're so damn close in quality, you'd really be better suited spending money elsewhere in your rig. Again, that's all presuming you don't needed the expanded I/O an additional stand-alone A/D D/A unit would provide.

Definitely not a bad thing to have to ask one's self, "Will a Rosetta be worth paying for over my Ensemble?"

Answer: Probably not from a conversion standpoint.

BradM 10th April 2009 03:11 AM

My advice would be to spend all your money on acoustics / room tuning and perhaps ergonomics / workflow. Don't sweat the rest of it. The most important thing you can do is have a good sounding room to both record and listen to music in. It will affect everything you do.

Brad

shmoo2407 10th April 2009 05:29 AM

having just upgraded from a MBP to a Mac Pro, it has made a huge difference. I don't know if you're running into any problems...

Doc Mixwell 10th April 2009 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 529 Pro Audio (Post 4081542)
As mentioned, the Apogee Ensemble is probably your best bet.

I agree that there is nothing touching the flexibility and sound quality of the Apogee @ this price. Its really a fantastic interface in my experience.

nas 10th April 2009 07:15 PM

In this order:

1. Acoustic treatment
2. Monitors
3. Mics
4. Preamp
5. Converters

With the exception of your monitors which may arguably be the most important link in your studio, get your front-end happening (which includes the room/source). You will have a much better overall result in the long run and mixing will become much easier.