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Hardware or ITB for strictly recording Hip Hop Vocals?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Hardware or ITB for strictly recording Hip Hop Vocals?

Hey guys!

Im having a real hard time coming to a decision on whether or not I should go hardware or in the box when it comes to my music. I do hip hop vocals. Nothing more!

The hardware I have at the moment are the Avalon 737 and UA 6176. Now my problem is since Ive gotten into the UAD Apollo Twin workflow, im getting used to the plugins and the benefits that come with it.

The person I bought the avalon from first asked me why I am going for the avalon when I have the apollo twin. At the time I didnt understand exactly how relevant the plugins were. 5 years ago we're talking here!

If it helps im working with the u87ai.

Please help guide me to a conclusion. Considering all I am working on is recording my vocals. I dont want to regret selling these when they could be better than the plugins etc.

What dyou guys think?

Kind regards,

Pars
Old 6 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
syntheticrhyme's Avatar
I think you can't go wrong with having a good preamp like you do. If your focus is on vocals, I would not sell the Avalon. Mind you, the preamps in the interface are good, but the Avalon should give you a little something more.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

You already have the hardware and the software. Keep the Avalon for a while and see if it's working for you. U87/Avalon is a popular rap combination. I don't think you need the 6176. It's not a one-or-the-other case with hardware/software. You can use the Avalon to get your signal into the computer, and then use plugins during mixing.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
You already have the hardware and the software. Keep the Avalon for a while and see if it's working for you. U87/Avalon is a popular rap combination. I don't think you need the 6176. It's not a one-or-the-other case with hardware/software. You can use the Avalon to get your signal into the computer, and then use plugins during mixing.
I grabbed the 6176 for the 1776ln compressor. Im just wondering if I even need hardware at all when nowadays im hearing so much of ITB and the success.
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

You keep thinking software vs hardware but in reality you compare Apollo Twin internal preamp vs external preamps, no?
Old 6 days ago
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keefaz View Post
You keep thinking software vs hardware but in reality you compare Apollo Twin internal preamp vs external preamps, no?
Not really Keefaz! in the sense of the bigger picture i was wondering can one with just plugins go just as far with someone who has hardware? can they both acheive the same purpose?

In this sense my purpose to record high quality vocals over hip hop beats.

Sorry for the confusion
Old 6 days ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post
Not really Keefaz! in the sense of the bigger picture i was wondering can one with just plugins go just as far with someone who has hardware? can they both acheive the same purpose?

In this sense my purpose to record high quality vocals over hip hop beats.

Sorry for the confusion
It depends what you mean by "go as far." A skilled engineer can make great recordings with hardware and/or software. Some swear by hardware compressors and EQ's, some are successful without them. Some like the sound qualities and efficiency of tracking with hardware, others prefer the instant recall and multiple instantiations of plugins. Unfortunately, no one can decide for you. The best you can do is experiment with both methods, and judge the differences for yourself.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
you're missing the fact that you must use hardware to record

either you are using the 737 or 6176 or the Apollo Twin. All microphones must have a preamp. so yes you are debating twin pres vs 737/6176

and yes the external pres/compressors will give you something you are not getting in the box
Old 5 days ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by musaee View Post
you're missing the fact that you must use hardware to record

either you are using the 737 or 6176 or the Apollo Twin. All microphones must have a preamp. so yes you are debating twin pres vs 737/6176

and yes the external pres/compressors will give you something you are not getting in the box
I'm pretty sure the OP knows that he needs a preamp. From everything he said so far, I got the impression that he's trying to decide whether to keep the Avalon and/or the UA for outboard EQ/Compression. I believe that's what he's referring to when he says "hardware vs ITB." He knows that regardless of what he decides, he'll still have his Apollo for mic pres.

I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm mistaken!
Old 5 days ago
  #10
IMO as you have the 'industry standard chain' (u87ai + avalon) you could get ride of the 6176 (although is a good channelstrip). Plugins nowadays can totally replace hardware unless you need it for a specific task (not the case with vocals). I only advise you to keep 'the chain' in case you record other artists who maybe have recorded in pro studios and now can't afford them and 'the chain' for sure have been there. If not the case you can sell everything (and if you like the Avalon get the UAD Avalon plugin).
Old 5 days ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
I'm pretty sure the OP knows that he needs a preamp.
the title of the post says hardware or ITB for strictly RECORDING hip hop vocals

say what you mean
mean what you say
Old 5 days ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
I'm pretty sure the OP knows that he needs a preamp. From everything he said so far, I got the impression that he's trying to decide whether to keep the Avalon and/or the UA for outboard EQ/Compression. I believe that's what he's referring to when he says "hardware vs ITB." He knows that regardless of what he decides, he'll still have his Apollo for mic pres.

I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm mistaken!
You are correct sir! my newbie trait to this industry is showing its true colours!

Ive heard the unison technology on the apollo preamps emulate well the preamps and channel strips it offers which is why I made this post in the sense can the plugins do as good as the hardware preamps I have as a general rule or not. Thank you for your kindness!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heraldo_jones View Post
IMO as you have the 'industry standard chain' (u87ai + avalon) you could get ride of the 6176 (although is a good channelstrip). Plugins nowadays can totally replace hardware unless you need it for a specific task (not the case with vocals). I only advise you to keep 'the chain' in case you record other artists who maybe have recorded in pro studios and now can't afford them and 'the chain' for sure have been there. If not the case you can sell everything (and if you like the Avalon get the UAD Avalon plugin).

Can you please explain why it is not the case with vocals? Is it not the case pre amp wise? or is there more to it? do you also account your statement to comps, limiters and reverbs etc? In other words what would best be in hardware and the rest in plugins?

Could you please explain what specifically is not the case with vocals plugins wise? That would help me out loads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by musaee View Post
the title of the post says hardware or ITB for strictly RECORDING hip hop vocals

say what you mean
mean what you say
You missed a button on your shirt Mr. Thank you for your help.
Old 5 days ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post
You missed a button on your shirt Mr. Thank you for your help.
you're a troll

you bout $6000 worth of pres and dont know the difference between that and the apollo?

you bought a 2600 channel strip to use its "1776" compressor that you couldve bought by itself for cheaper

and you did all of this without basically knowing anything?

ok buddy
Old 5 days ago
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post

Can you please explain why it is not the case with vocals? Is it not the case pre amp wise? or is there more to it? do you also account your statement to comps, limiters and reverbs etc? In other words what would best be in hardware and the rest in plugins?
When recording a lot of instruments at same time is good to have external hardware (e.g. recording a band) to clean the recording. When coming to vocals, preamp wise you already have the Apollo preamps which are very decent and also can use the special UAD Unison tech (Neve, Helios, Avalon ...), and when recording IMO is better to do just a soft processing (a bit of GR, a little bit of substractive eq ...) and that can be done after recording. So having a 3k$ channelstrip just for that task is not necesary IMO. Also you can build your recording channel through the UAD Console.
Old 5 days ago
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musaee View Post
the title of the post says hardware or ITB for strictly RECORDING hip hop vocals

say what you mean
mean what you say
you should probably base your comments on more than just the title. there's an actual thread that goes with it
Old 5 days ago
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heraldo_jones View Post
and when recording IMO is better to do just a soft processing (a bit of GR, a little bit of substractive eq ...) and that can be done after recording. So having a 3k$ channelstrip just for that task is not necesary IMO. Also you can build your recording channel through the UAD Console.
Could you please go into more detail about this? I didnt fully understand the first part!
Old 5 days ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post
Could you please go into more detail about this? I didnt fully understand the first part!
He's basically addressing the general consensus that it's not the best idea to do processing while tracking, until and unless you fully understand and are comfortable with that workflow. When you apply compression, EQ or any other processing on "the way in," you are baking that processing into the recording, and for the most part, you can't undo it later.

That's probably why the guy you bought the Avalon from was asking why you wanted it. You already had the Apollo, which gives you "good" preamps. He was probably wondering why you needed an outboard "channel strip" when you could use the UAD plugins in the mix instead. That's my assumption.

Now let's set the compression and EQ part of it aside for a minute. Are you also asking whether you should use the Avalon or UA for their preamps, instead of the Apollo preamps?
Old 5 days ago
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
He's basically addressing the general consensus that it's not the best idea to do processing while tracking, until and unless you fully understand and are comfortable with that workflow. When you apply compression, EQ or any other processing on "the way in," you are baking that processing into the recording, and for the most part, you can't undo it later.

That's probably why the guy you bought the Avalon from was asking why you wanted it. You already had the Apollo, which gives you "good" preamps. He was probably wondering why you needed an outboard "channel strip" when you could use the UAD plugins in the mix instead. That's my assumption.

Now let's set the compression and EQ part of it aside for a minute. Are you also asking whether you should use the Avalon or UA for their preamps, instead of the Apollo preamps?
Oh yes i never process whilst tracking!

I remember him saying because of the plugins UA have to offer are already good enough that I really didnt need the avalon.

In reference to your last question, yes! I ask this because the community at UAD say with the unison technology and plugins they have to offer over there, you can produce great quality vocals. This is coming from a community that not only talks highly of the company, theyre genuine with the cons of them too so..

I was thinking if the avalon preamp is better for my purpose than using preamp plugins with the unison technology that, Id use the avalon pre and bypass the apollo pre and then do the processing after recording. Honestly I will just learn both sides and see which is better fitted for me.
Old 5 days ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post
Oh yes i never process whilst tracking!

I remember him saying because of the plugins UA have to offer are already good enough that I really didnt need the avalon.

In reference to your last question, yes! I ask this because the community at UAD say with the unison technology and plugins they have to offer over there, you can produce great quality vocals. This is coming from a community that not only talks highly of the company, theyre genuine with the cons of them too so..

I was thinking if the avalon preamp is better for my purpose than using preamp plugins with the unison technology that, Id use the avalon pre and bypass the apollo pre and then do the processing after recording. Honestly I will just learn both sides and see which is better fitted for me.
Just keep in mind that "great quality vocals" can be achieved using any of the preamps you have (Avalon/UA/Apollo/Apollo w UAD Unison). Like I mentioned earlier, it comes down to engineering skill.

I would just do some experimenting with each, and make your own assessment!
Old 5 days ago
  #20
Gear Addict
 
Progger's Avatar
@ KRebz you already have some really great gear, for sure! And I'm curious what the really experienced audio engineers might have to say about this topic. I'm a musician and composer, primarily, so I'm coming from that angle, but I'll echo the suggestion to keep your Avalon... maybe both of your outboard units, for the various really good options you could get from both of them, unless finances dictate that you need to sell something (which is really understandable in these tough times).

However, I never use compression when I record. ITB compression works so well for me when I need it that I feel no compulsion to use it on the way in. The mic and pre are a different story. A good microphone (which you have) through a good preamp (which you have) are tremendously helpful for making a compelling, inspiring sound happen. You absolutely can make that happen with Apollo's unison pres and plugins, I'm sure, but I'm sure the biggest factor is just spending time with what you have to get the very most out of it. My hunch is that if you spend most of your time dialing in your sound on the Avalon, you'll get great results. Unless, for example, you really, REALLY prefer the flavor of one of the virtual preamps an Apollo plugin offers.

If there's anything I know about the great hip hop artists and producers, it's that there aren't any rules except whether or not it sounds and feels awesome. They took whatever they had and developed it like crazy. You probably know that, but I always need to remind myself of it, if nothing else.
Old 4 days ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
He's basically addressing the general consensus that it's not the best idea to do processing while tracking, until and unless you fully understand and are comfortable with that workflow. When you apply compression, EQ or any other processing on "the way in," you are baking that processing into the recording, and for the most part, you can't undo it later.

That's probably why the guy you bought the Avalon from was asking why you wanted it. You already had the Apollo, which gives you "good" preamps. He was probably wondering why you needed an outboard "channel strip" when you could use the UAD plugins in the mix instead. That's my assumption.

Now let's set the compression and EQ part of it aside for a minute. Are you also asking whether you should use the Avalon or UA for their preamps, instead of the Apollo preamps?
That's exactly what I wanted to say
Old 4 days ago
  #22
The majority of bigger commercial studios I frequent use outboard pres and track with light compression, usually an opto (usually an la2a type) and less so an 1176.

I’d keep the Avalon if you like the sound. The 87 and Avalon combo is very popular down south.
Old 4 days ago
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
Just keep in mind that "great quality vocals" can be achieved using any of the preamps you have (Avalon/UA/Apollo/Apollo w UAD Unison). Like I mentioned earlier, it comes down to engineering skill.

I would just do some experimenting with each, and make your own assessment!
Thank you for the help and advice! soon as I can ill get to it. I thought studying law was difficult..this is a different ball game lol..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Progger View Post
@ KRebz you already have some really great gear, for sure! And I'm curious what the really experienced audio engineers might have to say about this topic. I'm a musician and composer, primarily, so I'm coming from that angle, but I'll echo the suggestion to keep your Avalon... maybe both of your outboard units, for the various really good options you could get from both of them, unless finances dictate that you need to sell something (which is really understandable in these tough times).

However, I never use compression when I record. ITB compression works so well for me when I need it that I feel no compulsion to use it on the way in. The mic and pre are a different story. A good microphone (which you have) through a good preamp (which you have) are tremendously helpful for making a compelling, inspiring sound happen. You absolutely can make that happen with Apollo's unison pres and plugins, I'm sure, but I'm sure the biggest factor is just spending time with what you have to get the very most out of it. My hunch is that if you spend most of your time dialing in your sound on the Avalon, you'll get great results. Unless, for example, you really, REALLY prefer the flavor of one of the virtual preamps an Apollo plugin offers.

If there's anything I know about the great hip hop artists and producers, it's that there aren't any rules except whether or not it sounds and feels awesome. They took whatever they had and developed it like crazy. You probably know that, but I always need to remind myself of it, if nothing else.
Man I honestly woke up to your message and it helped start the day off well..If you dont mind can I ask one last thing from you before I trial and error myself away with the music..Is there anything else that would be best to be had as hardware and not plugin? Im fortunate to have the preamp in hardware, anything else that is a must?

I ask of this because I read up on artists and producers a lot who use plugins for compression, eq, reverbs and etc and im thinking is this all just a marketing strategy or are they actually users of the plugins. I read mainly on UA and artists who do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heraldo_jones View Post
That's exactly what I wanted to say
Thanks for helping clearing that up

Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
The majority of bigger commercial studios I frequent use outboard pres and track with light compression, usually an opto (usually an la2a type) and less so an 1176.

I’d keep the Avalon if you like the sound. The 87 and Avalon combo is very popular down south.
Yeha those two are a popular combo in the hip hop world.
Old 4 days ago
  #24
Gear Addict
 
Progger's Avatar
@ KRebz I think you got the hardware covered between the mic and the pre. ITB compression and ITB EQ are really great these days... honestly, I do most of that with the Brainworx channels these days, they sound so damn good and it's all right there in one window.

The source, the room, and the mic are the essential things, hardware-wise, followed by preamp. And for me, that's it. In my opinion you already have more than enough gear to make some crushing records, it's just a matter of developing your own ears and musicianship as far as they can go and then dialing in your gear as well as you possibly can. Nothing should be holding you back gear-wise at this point. An 87, an Avalon, and any UA toys you want, that's plenty!
Old 4 days ago
  #25
+1 ^^^

And don't forget the most important piece of gear.. acoustic room treatment!
Old 3 days ago
  #26
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
+1 ^^^

And don't forget the most important piece of gear.. acoustic room treatment!
About to grab some now ; https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...4CBG82C0&psc=1

thanks for the heads up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Progger View Post
@ KRebz I think you got the hardware covered between the mic and the pre. ITB compression and ITB EQ are really great these days... honestly, I do most of that with the Brainworx channels these days, they sound so damn good and it's all right there in one window.

The source, the room, and the mic are the essential things, hardware-wise, followed by preamp. And for me, that's it. In my opinion you already have more than enough gear to make some crushing records, it's just a matter of developing your own ears and musicianship as far as they can go and then dialing in your gear as well as you possibly can. Nothing should be holding you back gear-wise at this point. An 87, an Avalon, and any UA toys you want, that's plenty!
Cant thank you guys anymore, no more doubts in my mind!

Hope the good karma comes to repay you all
Old 3 days ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post
About to grab some now ; https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...4CBG82C0&psc=1

thanks for the heads up!...
I apologize in advance if this sends you down a new rabbit hole, but before buying cheap "acoustic foam," you might want to do a little research on acoustic panels made of condensed fiberglass (like Owens Corning 703) or rock wool. Using those types of panels at "first reflection points" will perform better than foam. It will make a huge difference on your recording quality.
Old 3 days ago
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender412 View Post
I apologize in advance if this sends you down a new rabbit hole, but before buying cheap "acoustic foam," you might want to do a little research on acoustic panels made of condensed fiberglass (like Owens Corning 703) or rock wool. Using those types of panels at "first reflection points" will perform better than foam. It will make a huge difference on your recording quality.
My lord the price difference on these! What’s crazy is the amount of people that went for the one I sent you too. I’ll do some research !
Old 2 days ago
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KRebz View Post
Hey guys!

Im having a real hard time coming to a decision on whether or not I should go hardware or in the box when it comes to my music. I do hip hop vocals. Nothing more!

The hardware I have at the moment are the Avalon 737 and UA 6176. Now my problem is since Ive gotten into the UAD Apollo Twin workflow, im getting used to the plugins and the benefits that come with it.

The person I bought the avalon from first asked me why I am going for the avalon when I have the apollo twin. At the time I didnt understand exactly how relevant the plugins were. 5 years ago we're talking here!

If it helps im working with the u87ai.

Please help guide me to a conclusion. Considering all I am working on is recording my vocals. I dont want to regret selling these when they could be better than the plugins etc.

What dyou guys think?

Kind regards,

Pars


Both actually are great options.

The UAD Apollo is almost becoming a standard in it's own as it a sort of Chameleon as it can emulate a wide variety of compression/preamp colors. That said I found its compressors the most useful for tracking. As there are some instances where a LA2A sounds better than an 1176 or vice versa. That said it probably wont sound 100% like the hardware but still useful nonetheless and in the right hands arguably more flexible.

The hardware can be useful too though and can often still put a certain color on a vocal that might be harder to do in the box.

Certain hardware preamps can offer higher clean gain than a stock audio interface preamp (which can be important for certain mics). That said some higher end interfaces can do high gain pretty well as well.


But these days professional vocals are being done both otb and itb depending on the engineer and even times on low end stuff but a great hardware preamp like the Avalon can make things easier when mixing (same with an Apollo too though).
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