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Is expensive gear still worth it?
Old 3 days ago
  #901
Quote:
Originally Posted by BitDepth View Post
after watching bernie grundman on MWTM..he says almost all Plugins and even some of the most amazing outboard hardware gear degrades the signal. So if you start with a **** signal you are only making it worse by loading plugins on plugins on that turd.

What we love is a amazing signal to start (aka. vocals recorded in a great room with a great expensive mic and great vox) & then you can get creative and have lot more room to degrade the signal.

find some pro stems online. see how many plugins you can throw on them before they start to go to ****.

the better gear you use the more room you have to degrade the signal before destroying it.

Not to mention it looks cooler. Effects done to a photo captured by a amazing hollywood camera looks alot better than effects done to a photo captured by a iphone 5...... or any prosumer camera..

but a beautiful model is gonna shine regardless. but if she doesn't look the best well ...you may need to get a high def camera and really leverage your technology to make sure the project still grabs the attention of others.
Technically every process "degrades" the signal. The transformer/tube in the mic, mic pre, EQ etc "degrades" the signal. The tape machine certainly "degrades" the signal.

Thing is - as humans we tend to like that degradation.

Your beautiful model (aren't we above this sort of metaphor in 2019? let's call him a ruggedly handsome male model) might be represented most truthfully in natural lighting with zero retouching and a clean print - but it might not be the most flattering picture.

Audio is the same. The most perfect transparent capture might work for an orchestra, but it's not the sound of rock music through the ages, and there's no theoretical reason why that can't be achieved with plugins

(I just mixed a song, accessible on my playlist below, 100% ITB but it's a pretty retro rock sound...I don't think it sounds "digital" at all...)
Old 3 days ago
  #902
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
If I was booking a studio, I’d judge the gear.
I can bring my own gear. For me the room is the important aspect, acoustics and layout as it affects workflow, and what their piano sounds like or other pieces that are just too unwieldy to move around, maybe a giant old API console. And they've gotta have mic panel patching. Yeah ok, judgy on the gear too.
Old 3 days ago
  #903
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
Always on the look out for used mics -- almost anything of quality -- mint 'round $200-100 .. lots of great mics out there ...
I got a Joly modded MK219 for $110 + shipping. Killer mic. Looks virtually unused. I didn't even know it was a Joly mic until it came with his sticker on the box, and his obvious mod - which I couldn't see that well in the ad photo. Can't do better than that. Keep your eyes open. They pop up....
Old 3 days ago
  #904
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
and there's no theoretical reason why that can't be achieved with plugins

Wait......you use plugins???

Just kidding bro. Keep on keeping on!!
Old 3 days ago
  #905
Lives for gear
 

Stayed out of this one till now as I knew how it would go as these type of questions seem to have the same outcome. The discussion focuses on the extreme ends of the bell curve. Most of us however function near the middle of the bell curve. To complicate this question, experience plays a role in what you hear and coax out of gear. To further complicate the question, part of the discussion is about sonics not obtainable via plugin. First off you need experience at all levels of gear to be able to tell differences and whether those differences warrant the cost differences. Many will have the financial restraints of getting / using best bang for the buck gear which varies with each user but few will have the resources to purchase or have the experience around the most expensive gear unless spending time in studios already equipted with it. Additionally there is the problem with our hearing that if you have not heard better than you really dont know it exists.

So best practical advice is do as much tire kicking of any gear you come across while your experience builds (from the lowest to the highest). Be aware that with smart used gear buying you can still get some mid-high end gear for a fraction of it's original street price. Sometimes you have to think creatively and employ different strategies from the pack to really get some high end on the cheap. Experience and experimentation will help you determine what compromises and corners you can cut to get the best within your budget. This is one trade where you really have to live within your budget.

Here is an example of something Im exploring right now that is outside the pack mentality. I picked up a not long ago, very top of the line digital desk that includes a large frame desk as a control surface. Most of the workings of the desk however takes place in modules which can be located anywhere and the desk control surface itself is not needed as all functions can be controlled from a laptop. In addition you can use smaller digital desks as a control surface. Basically the real high end magic happens in the modules like the Euphonics digital controlled analog studio desks but you are not tied to having the desk. So there is a Brain module, Input modules with mic pre / line inputs and A to D converters, Output modules with D to A converters and line level outputs, and Digital modules which allow the transfer of signal via Madi/ADAT/AES/Tascam format depending on the cards in it.

So here is a top of the line, live / fixed install high end system that was used for the biggest world tours and for Broadway / London theater where a basic configuration started at $110k that I was able to now purchase used for less than 1% of that amount. So what would that give someone in the studio? Let say you omit the control surface, you could still have 96 remote controlled mic pres with 96 mic or line inputs into 96 converters. You would transfer that into your computer interface(s) of choice (used RME PCI of PCIe card(s)) for high channel counts in and out of the DAW via the Digital modules. Output modules would be used to tie into analog outboard again with high channel counts. Via software you would also have at least a 96x96 matrix for patching anything anywhere or if adding another Brain module you can get channel I/O up to 192 channels (we have a new digital patch bay in the AES show section here that is 32x32 and will sell for more than the used system I'm talking about but I didn't want to crap on their new product as its important for new guys to get started).

See where I'm going with this . . . for a few thousand dollars you can have high end, high channel count, pres / converters / routing. PM me if you want to discuss this option more as there are enough tangents to this thread already. The point however is that there are high end options out there without the high end price tag if you are willing to explore their own set of pros and cons and YES high end gear has sonics not available with low end gear but that should not stop anyone from using the sonics of whatever is in front of them from making their own masterpiece.
Old 3 days ago
  #906
Lives for gear
 
ponzi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
...See where I'm going with this . . . for a few thousand dollars you can have high end, high channel count, pres / converters / routing. PM me if you want to discuss this option more as there are enough tangents to this thread already...
Just to be clear, are you offering this device for sale, or simply talking about something you are using?
Old 3 days ago
  #907
Lives for gear
 

Just exploring it for now as I've already got a digitally controlled analog desk that will likely be better suited for my needs. Ill probably split the system down the line into two for sale (have 2 brain modules), so one with and one without the desk control surface as I've got quite a lot of modules but PM me if interested in more info as it's something others could do for themselves keeping an eye open for what is available near them.
Old 3 days ago
  #908
Quote:
Originally Posted by tymish View Post
Bust
Out
Another
Thousand
This one was funny. Sounds like a studio, too.
Old 3 days ago
  #909
Lives for gear
 
cjogo's Avatar
THis DAW cost about $4k -- was it worth it ? Still running strong after 20 years
Old 3 days ago
  #910
Lives for gear
 
GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
THis DAW cost about $4k -- was it worth it ? Still running strong after 20 years
Looks like my Panasonic DA7!
Old 3 days ago
  #911
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Technically every process "degrades" the signal. The transformer/tube in the mic, mic pre, EQ etc "degrades" the signal. The tape machine certainly "degrades" the signal.

Thing is - as humans we tend to like that degradation.

Your beautiful model (aren't we above this sort of metaphor in 2019? let's call him a ruggedly handsome male model) might be represented most truthfully in natural lighting with zero retouching and a clean print - but it might not be the most flattering picture.

Audio is the same. The most perfect transparent capture might work for an orchestra, but it's not the sound of rock music through the ages, and there's no theoretical reason why that can't be achieved with plugins

(I just mixed a song, accessible on my playlist below, 100% ITB but it's a pretty retro rock sound...I don't think it sounds "digital" at all...)
You should be a politician because we basically just said the same thing but you just worded it different with different viewpoints. lol
Old 3 days ago
  #912
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
My workstation and recorder . . a little blury though

Old 3 days ago
  #913
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Wait......you use plugins???

Just kidding bro. Keep on keeping on!!
I was pretty careful not to make any value judgements! I was really just pointing out that if you consider what “degradation” in audio speak is, EVERY process is degrading, and what you consider pleasing or not is subjective and often case-dependent.

You can’t say “plugins and some hardware degrades audio; other hardware doesn’t”. You can only say “these processes please me and these don’t”.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BitDepth View Post
You should be a politician because we basically just said the same thing but you just worded it different with different viewpoints. lol
I was just pointing out the fallacy in the argument. If we expressed a different viewpoint we can’t have said the same thing
Old 3 days ago
  #914
Lives for gear
 
cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenNeedle View Post
Looks like my Panasonic DA7!
With 24 auto faders /MIDI /VGA / and a full DAW on board ---
Old 3 days ago
  #915
It's possible to maintain a healthy skepticism of the pro audio marketing machine and still accept that in many cases you still get what you pay for and certain things simply cannot be done correctly on a budget.

In a few categories I have found the difference between middle-of-the-road and high end to be hard to justify (to this day, preamp shootouts have me straining my ears to catch the most needling hairsplitting differences), in other categories such as mics and monitoring there is still a shocking gulf between mid-level and high end. So to treat "high end" as some monolithic category just seems to be a copout from putting the time in with one's own ears to decide when that last 10% of diminishing returns is actually the lightning in a bottle that makes a piece of gear special.

Completely separate from this is the consideration of build quality and long-term worry-free reliability, which also comes at a price...
Old 3 days ago
  #916
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I was pretty careful not to make any value judgements! I was really just pointing out that if you consider what “degradation” in audio speak is, EVERY process is degrading, and what you consider pleasing or not is subjective and often case-dependent.

You can’t say “plugins and some hardware degrades audio; other hardware doesn’t”. You can only say “these processes please me and these don’t”.



I was just pointing out the fallacy in the argument. If we expressed a different viewpoint we can’t have said the same thing
Different point of view from the same view point is what I was trying to say.
Old 3 days ago
  #917
Lives for gear
 

Geez that's almost a palindrome!
Chris
Old 3 days ago
  #918
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
You can’t say “plugins and some hardware degrades audio; other hardware doesn’t”. You can only say “these processes please me and these don’t”.
Of course. Agreed.

I didn't say that, but I know you meant it rhetorically. Everything from our ears, to our mics, to our processors to our A/D - D/A distorts audio. As a matter of principle, none of us have ever heard audio that's NOT distorted.
Old 2 days ago
  #919
Quote:
Originally Posted by BitDepth View Post
Different point of view from the same view point is what I was trying to say.
Still not 100% sure that's got a meaning, but ok

The thing is, you don't GET a viewpoint with a technical fact. Grundman has his opinion, but he's ascribing a value to what is a technical process, and drawing an arbitrary line. I get what he means but the expression is (as paraphrased here) clumsy.

And yes, it goes without saying that the better the recording, the better the result under processing.

Although with your aforementioned model analogy - if the source isn't great, sometimes you just go with it and deliberately make it a bit crappy. In the photography example, a retro filter, crass processing or overexposure or something could turn something that isn't naturally amazing into something interesting. In that case, you actually want to do the opposite than pristine capture!
Old 2 days ago
  #920
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkbirge View Post
I can bring my own gear. For me the room is the important aspect, acoustics and layout as it affects workflow, and what their piano sounds like or other pieces that are just too unwieldy to move around, maybe a giant old API console. And they've gotta have mic panel patching. Yeah ok, judgy on the gear too.
I agree - I was kind of saying that if you're hiring a person, you shouldn't be judging their methods (within reason) or equipment, only the results - it's only if you're hiring a space you should be looking at the gear (and the room included in that).
Old 2 days ago
  #921
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BitDepth View Post
What we love is a amazing signal to start (aka. vocals recorded in a great room with a great expensive mic and great vox) & then you can get creative and have lot more room to degrade the signal..
Some are saying the only reason the famous mix engineers can "get away with" mixing ITB is because the front end of the tracks they get is impeccable.

But meanwhile others here will tell you that those expensive mics and preamps and rooms are "overkill" and all you need is "a Great Song" . And of course they have plenty of time to write those great songs, because learning how to self-engineer takes no time at all.
Old 2 days ago
  #922
its getting too generalized to say rooms depending on music type as i get this.?

a 3pcs electric guitar and amp, with bass player and a drummer would require less of a tracking room, than a classical orchestra room with mics and long distance placing. Rap might only need a vocal booth on a electronic loops, beat with keys going DI.

I think of electric guitars and amps, doesnt a shure 57 up close work, even if its in a storage room? and Bass is often just a DI so maybe the room doesnt matter at all.
Then I think Vocal booths can be anywhere, no cathederal ceilings needed.

So expensive mics...U47 pops in my mind but then a SM7 soon does too or a 414...sm57's used all over and those arent expensive.
Expensive Mixing rooms comes to mind and expensive speakers might be more important, but then I think someone will mention NS10 which arent expensive.

As years fly by, decades, watching Les Pauls go from $400 to $4000 Im not even sure what expensive gear is anymore?
Old 1 day ago
  #923
I have a lot of expensive gear and a lot of on the cheap gear. The only gear that stays in the studio is the stuff used. The expensive gear does not have cheap gear that can replace it and the cheap gear does not have expensive gear that can replace it. Enhancing or distorting and even destroying sound can be art, just depends on the needs.
Old 1 day ago
  #924
Village Idiot
 
Labs's Avatar
 

I build gear, so I am biased, since I have to sell it.

I am also a trained bass player, and have done a lot of studio work and recording, and I try to see things from that side as well.

I can make a cheap bass with a horrible set-up sound pretty good. I am good at zooming in on an instrument's strenghts and weaknesses, because I have experience and skills on my instrument. If I record with a horrible bass, and you hear the result, you may come to the conclusion that the quality of the instrument doesnt matter. You may not realize, I limited my playing, my picking, my technique, my style to where the isntrument could follow me. I will still enjoy playing a well set up good quality instrument to my taste a lot better, and it will sound better.

I can use a horrible pair of cutters when I build the gear I sell, I can make it work. The process will be different, my enjoyment while working will be diminished, because I am fighting the tool, and not using a tool as an extension of myself, but the end result will be the same to the person using the unit built with ****ty cutters.

There are so many variables to these work-flow questions, but in the end, I think of it like this.

If people ask wether you can get make a great sounding recording and get results out of a DAW and a cheap 8 channel interface, it usually boils down to insecurities, or doubts, or inexperience. Anyone with experience knows you can.

When people are working and thinking as craftsmen, they will seek the tools that suit them, their workflow, their taste, their tactile preference, and their sound aestethics, wether it comes in plugin or hardware form, and wether convience is a factor or not.

Gustav
Old 17 hours ago
  #925
Lives for gear
 
carllock's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Some are saying the only reason the famous mix engineers can "get away with" mixing ITB is because the front end of the tracks they get is impeccable.

But meanwhile others here will tell you that those expensive mics and preamps and rooms are "overkill" and all you need is "a Great Song" . And of course they have plenty of time to write those great songs, because learning how to self-engineer takes no time at all.
I get kind of pissed many pro’s don’t tell the next generation what they are REALLY doing to mix ITB.

I tell the kids the truth, that I process my tracks before it hits the box with chains that sometimes approach $20,000 (Mic/pre/eq/comp/fx).

So use that chain a few times in a song and technically you could have a cool quarter million worth of Analog processing on your supposed ITB Mix.
Old 15 hours ago
  #926
Quote:
Originally Posted by carllock View Post
I get kind of pissed many pro’s don’t tell the next generation what they are REALLY doing to mix ITB.

I tell the kids the truth, that I process my tracks before it hits the box with chains that sometimes approach $20,000 (Mic/pre/eq/comp/fx).

So use that chain a few times in a song and technically you could have a cool quarter million worth of Analog processing on your supposed ITB Mix.
Me too.

But I often mix songs recorded on modest gear...and I stay ITB for that too. Most of it is in the mic and recording space though, that's the hardest things to work against. A great compressor/tube pre is nice, but I'd rather have clean and bland than characterful and overdone.

PS what "FX" do you print into the mic chain on tracking?
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