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Priorities in outboard gear: Pres vs EQs vs Comps Audio Interfaces
Old 8th March 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

Priorities in outboard gear: Pres vs EQs vs Comps

Simple home studio, currently mixing in the box, interface is an Audient ID22

Hypothetical scenario, you want expand to add some outboard gear, let's say you are limited to a four slot 500 series lunchbox, how would you fill it?

A - two preamps, two EQs
B - two preamps, two compressors
C - two EQs, two compressors (continue using Audient preamps)
D - some other combination
Old 8th March 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 
ProgFree's Avatar
 

Two preamps, one eq, one compressor would be my choice.
Old 8th March 2018
  #3
Village Idiot
 
Labs's Avatar
 

Depends so much on what you are doing and your own preferences.

Get someting that excites you and inspires you - if anything.

Gustav
Old 8th March 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Yeah depends what you want. Tools for individual mix elements? Added character while tracking? Stereo mix processing?

Are you pretty happy with Audient pres?
Old 8th March 2018
  #5
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TurboJets's Avatar
What kind of music/instruments are you tracking?
Old 8th March 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
What kind of music/instruments are you tracking?
Mostly tracking mono stuff (vocals, electric guitar, bass). Occasionally stereo tracking on acoustic guitar or upright piano.

The Audient preamps are nice and clean, don't have any complaints about them. Just thinking about taking steps to get some analog character and get some experience working with more outboard gear before jumping too far in.

My initial thought was get a couple character preamps, one eq and one compressor so I can track mono or stereo and then at least have an eq/comp for mono sources.

Then part of we wonders if it makes more sense to stick with the preamps in the Audient for now and go with a pair of EQs and a pair of compressors for tracking stereo or using later in the stereo mix.
Old 9th March 2018
  #7
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James7800 View Post
Mostly tracking mono stuff (vocals, electric guitar, bass). Occasionally stereo tracking on acoustic guitar or upright piano.

The Audient preamps are nice and clean, don't have any complaints about them. Just thinking about taking steps to get some analog character and get some experience working with more outboard gear before jumping too far in.

My initial thought was get a couple character preamps, one eq and one compressor so I can track mono or stereo and then at least have an eq/comp for mono sources.

Then part of we wonders if it makes more sense to stick with the preamps in the Audient for now and go with a pair of EQs and a pair of compressors for tracking stereo or using later in the stereo mix.
I have the iD14 so I understand digging the Audient pre's. They are nice. I have to admit though I usually track with a tube pre that gives me a beautiful signal so I don't use a lot of EQ in mixing as it is. That's the thing about a great preamp though; with proper mic technique you don't need EQ as much. Not to mention you get a lot more of your microphones with a great preamp IMO.

Personally, I've never enjoyed tracking with EQ and compression, that's always been a mix thing for me; but a lot of people do it that way. Having a nice outboard EQ and compression would be nice for mixing though, adding that to individual tracks and groups of tracks. Maybe even for the final mix.

If that's what you really feel you want, I would go for it. Skip the pre's for now, fill a 4 channel box with EQ and comp - that would be a lot of fun. I used to do it and enjoyed it until I found a workflow I liked better.

One thing I do get disappointed with though with EQ ITB is I can hear it "muffling" the material sometimes whereas a nice 500 series EQ probably would not do that.

No matter what decision you make, you are going to have fun with it and benefit from it.
Old 9th March 2018
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
3 compressors and an EQ.
Old 9th March 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Cardinal_SINE's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James7800 View Post
Simple home studio, currently mixing in the box, interface is an Audient ID22

Hypothetical scenario, you want expand to add some outboard gear, let's say you are limited to a four slot 500 series lunchbox, how would you fill it?

A - two preamps, two EQs
B - two preamps, two compressors
C - two EQs, two compressors (continue using Audient preamps)
D - some other combination
If you mix ITB you only need one good vocal comp. You don't need any EQ
I would invest in a highend interface
Old 9th March 2018
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
3 compressors and an EQ.
Hmm.. can you expound on this, different compressor types?
Old 9th March 2018
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
If you mix ITB you only need one good vocal comp. You don't need any EQ
I would invest in a highend interface
What would benefit me most on a better interface, having better conversion?
Old 9th March 2018
  #12
Gear Addict
Option B, and get preamps with a filter switch/knob. Save EQing for ITB.
Old 9th March 2018
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James7800 View Post
Hmm.. can you expound on this, different compressor types?
You said you like your pres, and I'm not a ton of pres guy. Once in a blue moon, I reach for EQ in tracking, so one good sounding EQ would be useful. For comps, something fast and cool, like a Purple Action, something more gooey and slow (maybe a brute-I haven't heard one, but people like 'em it seems). I'm totally jonesing for a Rupert Neve 535 diode bridge unit, and it will probably be my next big purchase.
Old 9th March 2018
  #14
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Duke Murdock's Avatar
Personally for tracking I would prefer 6 slots with 2x each of pre comp and eq. Alternatively a couple of 19” channel strips could be an option also.
Old 9th March 2018
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke Murdock View Post
Personally for tracking I would prefer 6 slots with 2x each of pre comp and eq. Alternatively a couple of 19” channel strips could be an option also.
Yeah, 4 becomes 6, becomes 8.... thats probably where this eventually goes
Old 9th March 2018
  #16
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Cardinal_SINE's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James7800 View Post
What would benefit me most on a better interface, having better conversion?
It will have better clocking, line amps along with the better conversion.
Old 9th March 2018
  #17
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JulianFernandez's Avatar
 

4 preamps.
Old 9th March 2018
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Midwood.Studio's Avatar
Take some time and think about which of those choices might have the most significant impact on how YOU feel while tracking (assuming you're both engineer AND musician?).
I know I often feed off of how an instrument sounds while I'm tracking, and that can greatly improve the performance I get.
Focus on tools that can let you EASILY get to a sound that's more inline with what you're ultimately after, but that gets you there with minimal tweaking.
More pre's might be the classically best choice, but they won't likely shift the tone and response of your playing or singing in the same way a comp or EQ would.
Most importantly, I'd say take it 1 bite at a time. Don't dump all your money into 4 pieces at once. get 1 new piece, take a leap with it and learn how it impacts your performances. Then you're more informed for the next piece.
Old 11th March 2018
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Since you're primarily tracking one instrument at a time, my suggestion would actually be to grab either a Manley Core or UA 6176 used, both can be found secondhand for $1500-1600 (or less if you're patient - definitely for about what you'd be looking at for a 500 rack and a solid pre and comp).

Tracking with one of those as a front end, doing some light compression and shelving EQ on the way in, will result in such a sonic improvement over your current setup that you will find yourself needing less EQ and compression come mix. Better to capture it the tone you want in the first place than to process after the fact.

Then down the line add a 500 rack with more flavors as needed!
Old 11th March 2018
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

I’d up it to a 6 pack and get the aml 1073 with eq and the aml 2254. Use the audient pres for your stereo tracking and then you can still process them through the lunchbox chain.
Old 11th March 2018
  #21
Gear Head
 

I appreciate all the insight, lots of varying responses. I'll have to research more some of the gear mentioned. Thanks.
Old 12th March 2018
  #22
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vernier's Avatar
Back in ITB days when renting outboard I favored the Summit TPA-200B.
Old 12th March 2018
  #23
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dights's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James7800 View Post
I appreciate all the insight, lots of varying responses. I'll have to research more some of the gear mentioned. Thanks.
Haha, are you getting a certain vibe here?

Ask an open question about gear like that and you'll get different responses from everybody, and likely get the names of dozens of individual pieces of gear you have to own...

It's really simple, audio gear is a tool for a job. What do you do the most of, and what do you really need to make a difference?

Get that.

Beyond that it's personal preference, whatever blows your hair back.

If you find a decent local audio shop you'll no doubt be able to trial some stuff on loan, or alternatively find a local rental company. Then you can test out your decisions before committing. Make sure you use the gear before you buy!
Old 12th March 2018
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Jake_SJL's Avatar
 

The Audient pres are great, but not overly coloured. If you are open to DIY then you’d get a LOT more for your money.
I would first look into a colour pre, something with transformers eg the aml ez1073pre or capi vp28 (or one of each) then once you have an awesome pre, I’d look at hairball audio or another 1176 style 500 series compressor, and maybe an optical comp like the JLM LA500. That should be plenty to track great sounding tracks that’ll need minimal processing ITB.
Old 12th March 2018
  #25
This is how i see it..

First and foremost you should spend your m8ney on good mic's. Second, pre's and when you got a good main chain, mic + pre if you're not doing multi recs like drums i'd go with an 1176 type compressor which is super good on so many sources.

Eq, well it is nice and all but my hw eq would prob be the first pieces i would sell off. I Have a hammer eq2 , wa pultecs and urei 535 and i don't necessary feel i need to use them when i tracked with my good mic's such as u67,km84 etc. Maybe a ssl type eq would be nice on the way in so you can use filters and such. But itb eq is very nice and the difference is smaller then hw compressor vs itb
Old 13th March 2018
  #26
Gear Addict
I'd personally consider a couple of external pres with different flavours (one tube-ish and one 1073ish), then fill the 4-slot lunchbox with two eqs and two comps. Or go for a 6-slot and equally distribute. I love to compress and eq a bit, especially when I need to "give" something, during tracking. It makes a huge difference then in mixing.
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