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Help me pick a recording setup: Cranborne 500R8 vs interface + outboard vs console
Old 7th December 2018
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Help me pick a recording setup: Cranborne 500R8 vs interface + outboard vs console

Hi everyone,

I started a thread a week or so ago about starting from scratch with a project studio: Ready to spend more money - gear recommendations for mic/preamp/interface

I used to have a small home studio but disassembled it nearly a decade ago and never really tried to put a proper studio together again. Since then I've gone from being on a shoestring budget to having much more money to spend. So this time, I want to do things right.

From the thread linked above, I've come away with a few different approaches I might take:

1) Get something like the Cranborne 500R8, a few nice preamps (Cranborne's Camden 500, Avedis MA5, API 512c), maybe some other outboard (Sebatron tube preamp, 1176, Pultec EQ, etc), and a nice condenser (TLM67 with Kirchner mod, Warm Audio WA47, or something else)

2) Get a good interface (Metric Halo, RME, Apogee Symphony, the new UA Apollos and Sound Devices were all suggested), maybe one nice preamp to supplement and for variety, maybe some other outboard (1176, Pultec EQ, etc), and a nice condenser (TLM67 with Kirchner mod, Warm Audio WA47, or something else)

3) Left field suggestion: get a console of some kind (open to suggestions here) and a nice AD/DA converter

4) Some other combination of the above

So at this point I'd like to get some opinions on the relative advantages and disadvantages of the above approaches specifically for what I'm looking to do, which is create music in the style of Olafur Arnalds/Nils Frahm/Sigur Ros/Radiohead amongst others (piano, synths, sample libraries, vocals).

My thoughts are:

-I see people whose recordings I really enjoy (Arnalds, Frahm, Sigur Ros, Radiohead) using variations of Neve or (nice) tube preamp + 1176 + Pultec EQ and getting a level of quality that I'd like to be able to match. But could I potentially skip the 1176 and Pultec and do those ITB (with nice plugins) instead? I've never owned any nice outboard gear like this, only interfaces (cheap ones at that) and plugins. But as someone who loves playing synths but can't really get excited about softsynths (nothing tactile or intuitive), I imagine there are tactile advantages to having these units in addition to audible ones.

-Seems like the Cranborne 500R8 summing mixer could be very nice to have, especially when working ITB. But I'm not sure if it's really advantageous to be committed to the 500 series -- for example, what about Sebatron? What about an 1176? What about a BAE 1073? etc.

-If you think a nice interface is the way to go, could you suggest one and give some reasons? I've seen people just list interfaces but not really go into any detail. I originally started my other thread by asking about opinions on the Focusrite Clarett vs. a really nice AD/DA converter like Burl, but really my only experience with interfaces firsthand has been with very low budget ones.

I suppose overall my inclination at this point is to stay away from a heavily digital system where I've just got a little interface and am doing everything ITB. But I'd like some other input here -- again, given my particular wants and needs.

I understand that I need to treat my room and get nice monitors, btw, so I'm taking care of those things.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 7th December 2018
  #2
The Cranborne looks really nice and useful! And you don't need to be committed to the 500 series: you have other I/O options especially if you get ADAT I/O expansion. The only thing I find tricky is that it's a new company and you don't know how reliable their drivers are. One of the reasons I chose for my RME interface was the great reputation the company has with their drivers.
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Old 7th December 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
You have introduced me to Cranborn Audio. I’ve never heard of them and have never seen their products before, in life, print or in my dreams. I tend to have reservations about new companies who seem very coy about saying where the company is located, but that says nothing about the equipment.
Oh well, good luck to you in your selection of equipment!
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Old 8th December 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 

The guys from Cranbourne audio are ex engineers from Soundcraft so you should be in good hands.

Cheers
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Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I tend to have reservations about new companies who seem very coy about saying where the company is located, but that says nothing about the equipment.
Hi Bushman,

Do you mean we're coy in saying we were from Soundcraft and other companies? Or that we're from the UK and we manufacture our products in the UK?

We don't massively broadcast that we're from Soundcraft but the industry likes it. With what's happening at Harman and other similar silos that broke off them - it's a nice juicy story for the trade press. But the reason we embrace it is it's where we all met and started working on products together. And we're proud of a some of the products we did.

We mention we manufacture in the UK as a deliberate thing where appropriate only to show we're proud that we put quality and control first and still attain a decent price for the products we make considering their quality.

But I really don't want to alienate people with our public messaging so please tell me where we can improve!

Thanks!

Sean
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Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karpmentalise View Post
Hi Bushman,

Do you mean we're coy in saying we were from Soundcraft and other companies? Or that we're from the UK and we manufacture our products in the UK?

We don't massively broadcast that we're from Soundcraft but the industry likes it. With what's happening at Harman and other similar silos that broke off them - it's a nice juicy story for the trade press. But the reason we embrace it is it's where we all met and started working on products together. And we're proud of a some of the products we did.

We mention we manufacture in the UK as a deliberate thing where appropriate only to show we're proud that we put quality and control first and still attain a decent price for the products we make considering their quality.

But I really don't want to alienate people with our public messaging so please tell me where we can improve!

Thanks!

Sean
Thanks for your response. It is entirely unexpected!
When I read the company’s name, I went to your website. I couldn’t find an address or locale for the company, which seems coy. I would have been very happy to see a UK physical address.
I am not at all put off to learn you are a UK company. I haven’t had any issues with products made in the UK, or even with products designed in the UK and manufactured elsewhere. I have not had the same good experience with companies featuring names and literature implying that they are UK or German companies when in fact they are from a different continent.
As for the employment history of your founders, that doesn’t mean a great deal to me. I’ve used Soundcraft boards, but never owned any their gear. It’s good background to know you came from Soundcraft, but I didn’t place it as UK company.
So, I like knowing where a new company is. Not showing that made me a little leery of your brand.
I’ve written the name of the company you came from and neglected to write your new company name (plus I spelled it incorrectly in my other post). My imaginary priest tells me I must write five Cranborne as penance.
Cranborne, Cranborne, Cranborne, Cranborne, Cranborne. Good luck to you!
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Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
When I read the company’s name, I went to your website. I couldn’t find an address or locale for the company, which seems coy. I would have been very happy to see a UK physical address.
Sorry! This is what you meant! Gotcha. We had our address on our website - I just checked and sure enough, you're right. We just did some web updates so maybe something happened... Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 10th December 2018
  #8
In short I’d start with the basics, and this is my personal philosophy on buying gear, get stuff of the quality that you won’t feel the need to replace in the long term and go with a system that can grow with you. Add as you see fit. I mean a good interface (which can be had very inexpensively now), a good mic(like you already mentioned) and a good pair of headphones can get you VERY far. A good place to start.

With that, I don’t see too dramatic a difference between 1 and 2. Not to say anything bad about the Cranborne, I just can’t vouch for it. It seems really cool though. I love the idea and I’m into 500 series. Heritage has a 500rack/mixer combo unit that looks great. I’m a fan of both some analog mixing(at least simple/small solutions like such) and the 500 series. I think you can do recordings as good as pretty much anything with this gear.

It’s more a question of what your needs are. It sounds like you’re working mostly on personal music projects... then go with what best serves that end. If it’s a console, go for it...but I’m guessing that is more so an assumption in your imagination of what “doing it properly” looks like...”it” presumably being a “pro recording studio” which even if that is the end I’m not convinced is a reality or necessity. Again there is a question of WHAT exactly that studio’s function is. Even if you are recording a trap kit often, a few channels is still more than capable.

If it is more of a personal recording space UAD might be a good option. I know a ton of guys really into it. I also know just as many who have tried it and don’t like the system for a host of different reasons. I personally don’t dig the idea of it so I haven’t tried it, but you may love it.

I think you’re on the right track in what I’ll echo,get a good mic/s. A good interface. So many that should not get in your way, Audient, Apogee, UAD, even the new Presonus and Focusrite offerings are quite good.✅ of coarse monitors and HPs✅ You mentioned a couple LDCs, also check out Telefunken USA, Mojave, Soundluxe, Miktec, so many choices for cheap now a day you can’t go wrong. Try as many as possible but at the end of the day don’t stress about it. Work and keep trying. Of coarse, dynamics! Can’t go wrong with a couple 57s. A pair of those and a pair of LDCs and you can make great recordings of drums...if your room is up for the task. So yeah, good mics✅ and you should be more than capable. A pair of decent pres✅ now you’re ahead of the game. Just add talent. Some summing, bonus! Not necessary, but I sum all the time tracking both guitars and drums I sum on the way in. I feel like it add sonically, streamlines the process, trims down the session. Then I sum stems when mixing too. It’s an unnecessary but really useful tool to have.
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Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karpmentalise View Post
Sorry! This is what you meant! Gotcha. We had our address on our website - I just checked and sure enough, you're right. We just did some web updates so maybe something happened... Thanks for the heads up!
De nada!

(Today I’m pretending to be from Mexico.)
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Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesewhiteman View Post
In short I’d start with the basics, and this is my personal philosophy on buying gear, get stuff of the quality that you won’t feel the need to replace in the long term and go with a system that can grow with you. Add as you see fit. I mean a good interface (which can be had very inexpensively now), a good mic(like you already mentioned) and a good pair of headphones can get you VERY far. A good place to start.

With that, I don’t see too dramatic a difference between 1 and 2. Not to say anything bad about the Cranborne, I just can’t vouch for it. It seems really cool though. I love the idea and I’m into 500 series. Heritage has a 500rack/mixer combo unit that looks great. I’m a fan of both some analog mixing(at least simple/small solutions like such) and the 500 series. I think you can do recordings as good as pretty much anything with this gear.

It’s more a question of what your needs are. It sounds like you’re working mostly on personal music projects... then go with what best serves that end. If it’s a console, go for it...but I’m guessing that is more so an assumption in your imagination of what “doing it properly” looks like...”it” presumably being a “pro recording studio” which even if that is the end I’m not convinced is a reality or necessity. Again there is a question of WHAT exactly that studio’s function is. Even if you are recording a trap kit often, a few channels is still more than capable.

If it is more of a personal recording space UAD might be a good option. I know a ton of guys really into it. I also know just as many who have tried it and don’t like the system for a host of different reasons. I personally don’t dig the idea of it so I haven’t tried it, but you may love it.

I think you’re on the right track in what I’ll echo,get a good mic/s. A good interface. So many that should not get in your way, Audient, Apogee, UAD, even the new Presonus and Focusrite offerings are quite good.✅ of coarse monitors and HPs✅ You mentioned a couple LDCs, also check out Telefunken USA, Mojave, Soundluxe, Miktec, so many choices for cheap now a day you can’t go wrong. Try as many as possible but at the end of the day don’t stress about it. Work and keep trying. Of coarse, dynamics! Can’t go wrong with a couple 57s. A pair of those and a pair of LDCs and you can make great recordings of drums...if your room is up for the task. So yeah, good mics✅ and you should be more than capable. A pair of decent pres✅ now you’re ahead of the game. Just add talent. Some summing, bonus! Not necessary, but I sum all the time tracking both guitars and drums I sum on the way in. I feel like it add sonically, streamlines the process, trims down the session. Then I sum stems when mixing too. It’s an unnecessary but really useful tool to have.
What would you make of something like the following:

-Warm Audio WA47 (plus another couple of mics down the road)
-Warm Audio WA273-EQ (2 mic pre's)
-Sebatron VMP-2000e (2 mic pre's)
-Warm Audio WA76 x2 (2 channels of compression)
-Warm Audio EQP-WA (for tracking mostly)

...and then into a high quality interface?

95% of the time I'll only be recording 1 or 2 channels at a time. If I ever go beyond 2, it'd be 4 tracks for drums. And when it's 2 channels, it'll likely just be stereo of the same source.

My thinking here is that the quality of the 273-EQ and the VMP-2000e gives me two different preamp flavors and a total of 4 channels. I can do 1073 -> 1176 -> Pultec, which I know is a sound that I've heard in a lot of music that I really enjoy, but I'll also have the Sebatron for tube sounds.

With this in mind, I think what I really need is an (at least) 8 in/8 out interface that takes line level inputs and increases conversion quality rather than using resources for nice mic preamps. I say "at least 8 in/8 out" because I imagine wanting to do OTB mixing with some of this stuff on occasion, so I need multiple outputs and the ability to route stuff back into the computer, etc. In this case, could you make some interface recommendations?

I'm interested in summing, too, and wonder how it could fit into this picture. I read an interview with Nils Frahm in TapeOp recently (big fan of his) where he mentions that since he switched to this custom built console for mixing, the summing that's happening as a result has eliminated his need to record to (or dump to) tape to get the sounds he likes.

I do wonder about getting a UAD interface and skipping all of this outboard stuff. Open to people who might have something to say about that.

Thanks!
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Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgstarcaster View Post
-Warm Audio WA76 x2 (2 channels of compression)
I’m not arguing against these as individual compressors, but there is no way to make them function as a stereo compressor. They are not going to be very useful on stereo busses, master buss, or stereo instruments.
If you aren’t intending them for stereo use, then it isn’t an issue.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #12
Gear Addict
im going the cranborn route myself extremely excited about it arriving in january (hopefully). I'm also looking forward to what they come up with for with the cat 5 ports. I can imagine a lot of cable spaghetti being sorted with some smart solutions.
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgstarcaster View Post
What would you make of something like the following:

-Warm Audio WA47 (plus another couple of mics down the road)
-Warm Audio WA273-EQ (2 mic pre's)
-Sebatron VMP-2000e (2 mic pre's)
-Warm Audio WA76 x2 (2 channels of compression)
-Warm Audio EQP-WA (for tracking mostly)

...and then into a high quality interface?

95% of the time I'll only be recording 1 or 2 channels at a time. If I ever go beyond 2, it'd be 4 tracks for drums. And when it's 2 channels, it'll likely just be stereo of the same source.

My thinking here is that the quality of the 273-EQ and the VMP-2000e gives me two different preamp flavors and a total of 4 channels. I can do 1073 -> 1176 -> Pultec, which I know is a sound that I've heard in a lot of music that I really enjoy, but I'll also have the Sebatron for tube sounds.

With this in mind, I think what I really need is an (at least) 8 in/8 out interface that takes line level inputs and increases conversion quality rather than using resources for nice mic preamps. I say "at least 8 in/8 out" because I imagine wanting to do OTB mixing with some of this stuff on occasion, so I need multiple outputs and the ability to route stuff back into the computer, etc. In this case, could you make some interface recommendations?

I'm interested in summing, too, and wonder how it could fit into this picture. I read an interview with Nils Frahm in TapeOp recently (big fan of his) where he mentions that since he switched to this custom built console for mixing, the summing that's happening as a result has eliminated his need to record to (or dump to) tape to get the sounds he likes.

I do wonder about getting a UAD interface and skipping all of this outboard stuff. Open to people who might have something to say about that.

Thanks!
The Warm stuff looks great. If I were starting fresh, personally I’d get a Louder Than Liftoff “Silver Bullet.” That would cover the bases for preamps(2 flavors! “A” and “N” including blending the 2), ~pultec(ish) EQ and filters. I’d put the rest towards mics, monitors and interface. If you got the budget tho, by all means...
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesewhiteman View Post
The Warm stuff looks great. If I were starting fresh, personally I’d get a Louder Than Liftoff “Silver Bullet.” That would cover the bases for preamps(2 flavors! “A” and “N” including blending the 2), ~pultec(ish) EQ and filters. I’d put the rest towards mics, monitors and interface. If you got the budget tho, by all means...
Cool, but I'm really hoping someone here will offer thoughts on an interface per my suggested setup.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #15
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b0se's Avatar
The idea of a Silver Bullet is a good one. The mojo circuits (Neve / API) are exceptional, as is the BAX EQ. You can run stems through the SB and dial in the saturation to taste. That'll offer you a nice summing OTB effect, and you can of course run your mix through the SB for additional flavour. Very good at shaving transients / increasing RMS too.

The preamp in the SB is better than the Warm stuff. In fact, I'd rather get top ITB plugins over that. AA El Ray, Softube CL1B MK2 (and Weiss DS-1) are great vocal compressors. AA Gold2 is also exceptional on vocals. As is Ruby2.

I'm a fan of Prism IO, and would go for a Titan.
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
The idea of a Silver Bullet is a good one. The mojo circuits (Neve / API) are exceptional, as is the BAX EQ. You can run stems through the SB and dial in the saturation to taste. That'll offer you a nice summing OTB effect, and you can of course run your mix through the SB for additional flavour. Very good at shaving transients / increasing RMS too.

The preamp in the SB is better than the Warm stuff. In fact, I'd rather get top ITB plugins over that. AA El Ray, Softube CL1B MK2 (and Weiss DS-1) are great vocal compressors. AA Gold2 is also exceptional on vocals. As is Ruby2.

I'm a fan of Prism IO, and would go for a Titan.
Why do you think the SB preamp is better than Warm? I've seen so many amazingly glowing reviews of the Warm that it's hard to believe something else is ___ x better than it. The price isn't bad though for the SB, of course.

I'm not familiar with these plugins. You really think these are preferable to the WA76 or something similar? Also, why not go with the UA Apollo or something like that if opting for ITB?
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #17
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgstarcaster View Post
Why do you think the SB preamp is better than Warm? I've seen so many amazingly glowing reviews of the Warm that it's hard to believe something else is ___ x better than it. The price isn't bad though for the SB, of course.

I'm not familiar with these plugins. You really think these are preferable to the WA76 or something similar? Also, why not go with the UA Apollo or something like that if opting for ITB?
Tried the Warm gear, not a fan - had some QC issues. Sound didn't blow me away either. The SB lets you dial in the exact amount of each circuit (invaluable for mixing). Also has serious headroom.

I would avoid Apollo/UA, other plugins have caught up (overtaken) them, and their DSP boxes don't make much sense nowadays. You can build a much more powerful machine for less.

Yes, I even prefer the plugins over some hardware. If you really want the absolute best audio ITB, you need to look into Nebula. TimP's comps are exceptional (SSL, LA-3A etc), as are AlexB's consoles and EQ (Sontec 432 is may be the best ITB EQ there is). Cupwise also has fantastic comps - 660 and Manley being standout.

Then you have devs like Fuse and Black Rooster (both coded by Ray), which are sonically great and yet very light on CPU. All depends on your needs.

TL;DR; Silver Bullet for tracking/stems and mixbus plus top ITB plugins will do wonders for you. Perhaps go hybrid and invest in a top mixbus compressor (you can run that via Silver Bullet inserts).

Mandatory: 2c / imo / etc :¬)
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Tried the Warm gear, not a fan - had some QC issues. Sound didn't blow me away either. The SB lets you dial in the exact amount of each circuit (invaluable for mixing). Also has serious headroom.

I would avoid Apollo/UA, other plugins have caught up (overtaken) them, and their DSP boxes don't make much sense nowadays. You can build a much more powerful machine for less.

Yes, I even prefer the plugins over some hardware. If you really want the absolute best audio ITB, you need to look into Nebula. TimP's comps are exceptional (SSL, LA-3A etc), as are AlexB's consoles and EQ (Sontec 432 is may be the best ITB EQ there is). Cupwise also has fantastic comps - 660 and Manley being standout.

Then you have devs like Fuse and Black Rooster (both coded by Ray), which are sonically great and yet very light on CPU. All depends on your needs.

TL;DR; Silver Bullet for tracking/stems and mixbus plus top ITB plugins will do wonders for you. Perhaps go hybrid and invest in a top mixbus compressor (you can run that via Silver Bullet inserts).

Mandatory: 2c / imo / etc :¬)
Recommendations for a good stereo compressor? Something with an 1176/1178 sound? (I realize the two sound a bit different but I've heard and like the sound of both.)

The only plugin line I'm familiar with of all the ones you named is Black Rooster. You really think these others sound better than UAD?

I just looked through the Nebula website and it's pretty unclear what plugins they actually offer. Nothing really comes up under Nebula. Who/what are you referring to with "TimP" and "AlexB"?

Thanks so much for all this! Definitely food for thought.
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #19
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgstarcaster View Post
Recommendations for a good stereo compressor? Something with an 1176/1178 sound? (I realize the two sound a bit different but I've heard and like the sound of both.)

The only plugin line I'm familiar with of all the ones you named is Black Rooster. You really think these others sound better than UAD?

I just looked through the Nebula website and it's pretty unclear what plugins they actually offer. Nothing really comes up under Nebula. Who/what are you referring to with "TimP" and "AlexB"?

Thanks so much for all this! Definitely food for thought.
Nebula is a framework (sound engine) by Acustica in which third parties release their own libraries (essentially plugins)...

TimP: Welcome to Tim P Nebula Libraries - Tim Petherick

Comps: L-BUS (SSL), Opto 3A V2, Vari-Level (Gates), U76 (1176)


AlexB: AlexB Audio Engineering by Alessandro Boschi - Nebula Programs - Audio Upgrade

Consoles: Loads. Get MFC though. EQ: Sontec 432 (buy this)


Cupwise: Cupwise FX | Creative Effects for Nebula

Comps: Creamy (EAR 660), Fluci Mew (Manlety Vari-Mu)

There are others of course, but these will get you started.

Acustica have wonderful plugins also:

- El Ray (buy this - amazing comp)
- Taupe (Tapes and EQ - buy this also)
- Viridian (PYE/FET comps, Helios EQ)
- Gold2 (Neve)
- SAND2 (SSL)
etc...

Yes, better than UAD imo.

Note: Acustica and Nebula are more demanding on CPU. I print Taupe (tape) effects as I would via HW for example. Fuse audio (same dev as Black Rooster) are much lighter on CPU.

Note 2: Softube CL1B MK2 and Weiss DS-1 are well worth checking out. Especially the latter. Exceptionally versatile comp with a pro/polished sound.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
 

When I read the two threads you have initiated the open end of dispirited digital gear should be of concern. Way back (50 years ago) in the old analog world, component stereo systems offered a big advantage over hi-fi that was built around furniture selection. Analog studio recording work also favored external capture chains however the digital revolution has radically altered todays "best practice" options. There is no question pursuant to the importance of todays synergistically optimized console (stage box) designs that deliver ultra low latency, amazing FP32/96K sonic quality and processing we could only dream of 15 years ago. Digital processing and the chips that do the work are a new paradigm that has radically changed the recording world as we knew it. Assembling a recording chain with favored devices may quell certain fantasies however it is highly unlikely to match the performance, dependability or functional value of an A & H SQ5 desk.
Hugh
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Old 11th December 2018
  #21
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BrentA's Avatar
 

Since you say that 95% of the time you will be recording 1 or 2 channels at a time, I would rule out buying a console or a pile of warm gear and focus on putting together a couple world class channel strips. For example, for recording 2 tracks i’d rather have a couple Neve Shelford channels than all of the warm gear in the world.

In your situation a console is mostly going to take up space and make recall a nightmare. There are much easier ways to get color and cohesiveness on your tracks, like the silver bullet that was mentioned.

If you want some variety then going the 500 series is a cost effective way to do it. The Cranborne stuff looks great.

Have you used UAD before? I love the UAD workflow but some people aren’t able to get along with it.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #22
I wanted to avoid recommending another LTL product but the COMP/Mr. Focus is an 1176 ish comp. The compression function is just one “drive” knob, and the attack/release controls are internal, so it’s a “set it, forget it” affair, but it’s really good. Scratches the 1176 itch for better than plugins I’ve tried. It also has an API flavored mojo circuit and “focus” which is a one knob tilt style EQ. It’s a killer mixing tool. I’m honestly leaning towards just having a few of these and doing everything else ITB.

I’m using an Audient iD22 and stemming out with an Aphex 141 DA. I highly recommend the iD22. ASP800 looks nice for extra AD, but 2 in’s is good for me. I even track drums and mix 3-5 mics down to stereo on the way in. If I had the budget I’d check out the Prism Lyra2, but too rich for my blood. Im happy with Audient. Shot it out against Antelope and Apogee. (and I’ve owned several other low end interfaces) Audient wins for me.

Also highly recommend DIYRE EQP5. KILLER pultec in 500 series format. I’d get those over the Warm EQs.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #23
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Quetz's Avatar
Another one here that's gone the Cranborne Audio R8 route, also hoping it ships asap! I've got 2 500 series modules in boxes here

I think chinesewhiteman has dismissed the R8 before knowing what's expected of it.

It's the smartest choice really, if it delivers on its promises, and if it doesn't you can just send it back, but I don't think you will.

Having the R8 doesn't limit you to the 500 series. You can have any normal analogue gear hooked into it where there are no 500 modules, and you've also got 2 adat ports so you can expand by up to 16 I/O.

What's so alluring about it is yes the summing mixer, and the monitor controller, and the conversion and clock which promises to be the best quality for price ratio for miles.

I was in the same boat as you, had a setup years ago with minimal budget where I made lots of buying mistakes too, so this really focused me this time round.

I wanted to tick the same boxes as you, having worked out what I liked best from using UAD emus, and looking at what was going to get me that sound for a reasonable price in hardware.
I wanted the 33609 comp sound so got two Golden Age Project Comp 554s with link cable to sit in the R8, but for the Pultec sound I went with the Klark Teknik EQP-KTs.
The Comp 554s are double width so that also had an impact on choosing to go 19" for the Pultec clones, and there simply isn't any argument to support buying the Warm versions over the KTs.

For the console sound I went with the Softube Console 1, as that gave me a superb SSL4000E sound, and I'm going to add the API one soon as well.
Having the hardware control over the console and all my UAD dynamics and EQ plugs in it as well is gold. For a hybrid setup it's a no-brainer, especially if you have UAD plugs.
Preamp-wise your choice of both 500 series and outboard is endless, I won't comment, but if you're looking at the Silver Bullet, make suure you check out the 500 series version - the Chroma.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #24
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
Yes, if going 500 format (and not having Kii Three monitors (internal DA)), CA R8 would be my choice also.

WES Titan with Dione and Hyperion also very tempting, analogue with full ITB plugin functionality.
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Old 11th December 2018
  #25
Not at all. I just haven’t used the Cranborne, so I wasn’t comfortable recommending it. Totally all over it. If I was starting from scratch right now that would be my first interface to try. There would definitely be a couple pairs of Mr. Focus going in it.
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Old 11th December 2018 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Another one here that's gone the Cranborne Audio R8 route, also hoping it ships asap! I've got 2 500 series modules in boxes here

I think chinesewhiteman has dismissed the R8 before knowing what's expected of it.

It's the smartest choice really, if it delivers on its promises, and if it doesn't you can just send it back, but I don't think you will.

Having the R8 doesn't limit you to the 500 series. You can have any normal analogue gear hooked into it where there are no 500 modules, and you've also got 2 adat ports so you can expand by up to 16 I/O.

What's so alluring about it is yes the summing mixer, and the monitor controller, and the conversion and clock which promises to be the best quality for price ratio for miles.

I was in the same boat as you, had a setup years ago with minimal budget where I made lots of buying mistakes too, so this really focused me this time round.

I wanted to tick the same boxes as you, having worked out what I liked best from using UAD emus, and looking at what was going to get me that sound for a reasonable price in hardware.
I wanted the 33609 comp sound so got two Golden Age Project Comp 554s with link cable to sit in the R8, but for the Pultec sound I went with the Klark Teknik EQP-KTs.
The Comp 554s are double width so that also had an impact on choosing to go 19" for the Pultec clones, and there simply isn't any argument to support buying the Warm versions over the KTs.

For the console sound I went with the Softube Console 1, as that gave me a superb SSL4000E sound, and I'm going to add the API one soon as well.
Having the hardware control over the console and all my UAD dynamics and EQ plugs in it as well is gold. For a hybrid setup it's a no-brainer, especially if you have UAD plugs.
Preamp-wise your choice of both 500 series and outboard is endless, I won't comment, but if you're looking at the Silver Bullet, make suure you check out the 500 series version - the Chroma.
Ahhhhhh I'm going to lose my mind lol

Sorry, but every time someone suggests something new I go down a different rabbit hole.

For example, this Softube Console - amazing! I had no idea such a thing existed.

Could you lay out your full setup for me? I'm really curious now. I was just in London the other day too, oddly enough (says you're in London over to the side of your post) -- live in Norway.

Chinesewhiteman (and anyone else that wants to chime in) - I'm running everything into a MacBook Pro, i7, 3.1 ghz, 16 GB RAM. Don't know if this can really handle much in the way of plugins, especially since I plan to use some sample libraries with is.

To sum up, here's what I want:

-A couple of very very nice channels
-Some outboard mixing gear
-A control surface of some kind (faders and such would be nice I think)
-An interface with excellent AD/DA that also has enough inputs and outputs to use external gear

Someone help me sort this out! I'm a bit torn on the Cranborne 500R8 - did someone say that the AD/DA on this is amazing? Because otherwise couldn't you get a 500 chassis for a small fraction of the price?
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Old 11th December 2018
  #27
I don’t have a ton of plug ins. Im on a less robust mac, getting by great with Logic and a few plugs. Mainly Waves. My general take is no amount of plugins with just an interface (even as good as the Audient stuff) is satisfying and getting me the kind of recording I’m after. I find I get better results by processing (and “mixing”) what I’m recording on the way in. Great pres, some nice compression EQ and saturation. I’m not trying to suggest anything here, just that’s my approach...I can’t really give a definitive answer, but I’m guessing your machine will be adequate.

Spec wise, Cranborne ADDA looks very good. Value wise it’s incredible with a mixer, 500 rack, monitor controller and ADDA. Seems like a solid bet. If you don’t like the sound, send it back.
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Old 12th December 2018
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Also wondering how the 500R8 would work with external preamps - vis ADAT I guess? I've never used ADAT, and don't currently own any 500 gear.
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Old 12th December 2018
  #29
Gear Nut
 

To sum up here - I don't feel any closer after all these responses to choosing the Cranborne or an interface. Not much discussion of interfaces in posts here.

I'm in Norway, so you can assume everything costs roughly 25% more than in the US. So for example, the Metric Halo LIN-8 and Apogee Symphony Mk2 have been recommended to me, but both are more than $4,000 here. Is there something very high quality (assuming I'm using outboard pres and mostly just want nice converters and the ability to route more than just 2 channels in/out at a time for processing) that's more affordable than these?

Perhaps Cranborne does make the most sense, but I'm not clear on how to expand inputs via ADAT or some other means so that I'm not plugging non-500 preamps into just empty slots on the CA.

Also not sure if for example 2x Chroma is really the same as the Silver Bullet. How can one match these for example for stereo processing? I'm totally unfamiliar with 500 gear and don't own any. Can one expect 500 gear to sound as nice as the equivalent rack unit version? Is it really just a more affordable option for a lot of nice outboard stuff? Part of what I'm looking for here is the ability to have and physically handle outboard gear for the tactile experience of it, so more physical surface area is a plus for me. Seems like maybe the 500 stuff can be a bit cramped to use. But I've never owned any so I can't speak from experience.
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Old 12th December 2018
  #30
Lives for gear
 
BrentA's Avatar
 

The Cranborne has 8 analog inputs so you can plug outboard pres into it. Or you can use 500 series pres or mix and match. To take advantage of the ADAT expansion you will need another converter box. Something like an Apogee ad16x would give you another 16 inputs. Cranborne also has a 500 ADAT that could also be used for this which I think would give you another 8 i/o.

Last I saw Cranborne was on the fence about including spdif but if they do that would give you yet another 2 I/o, if you get a device to connect via spdif.

When deciding on an interface I would look at the features you want/need. The Cranborne looks like it’s going to be great but if you’re not planning on buying some 500 series gear it doesn’t make any sense. An Apollo Twin would be great but if you’re not planning on investing in UAD plugins it wouldn’t make any sense. An apogee quartet would be a less expensive alternative to the symphony and still sounds great but with a little less i/o. All of these are capable interfaces.
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