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This is the one place I can go for help. So Please HELP!!!! Condenser Microphones
Old 27th June 2002
  #1
no ssl yet 
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This is the one place I can go for help. So Please HELP!!!!

This is the only forum I can remember participating where everyone is opinionated and willing to go against the norm by buckin the general consensus. So this is why I'm choosing to voice my problem here

I mix mainly RnB and Hip Hop Stuff. First off let me say that while I don't profess to be the most knowledgeable engineer, I am in NewOrleans, and all of my mixes kill everything that comes out of any studio here. However, my protools mixes don't satisfy me compared to most major projects. I am using the converters on a finalizer plus and recording to a mix system. I have most of the good plugins, I record at decent levels (conservative). As far as outboardgear goes, My only pieces are a Manley Stereo PUltec and an NTI Eq3 I'm a decent engineer (at least one of the best around here). I read and soak up every piece of info I can. I've received advice from some pretty good engineers. Yet I cant seem to measure up.


What I'm here to find out is what may be the missing pieces to my equation. I know that I need a better set of converters, (I'm gonna get a HEDD 192). And though I've never tracked with a quality front end. I've heard records tracked through API, and Neve Line inputs, and this is the direction I plan on going in (Also some Manley DI for warmth on keys) (The reason I stress line inputs is because most of my signals will be from drum machines and keyboard sources. (I will mainly be tracking vocals With a Lawson 47 to 1073 I know the importance of mixing mics with vocalist, but I'm one of the main artists and the Lawson complements me well)

What I'm lacking is depth and punch in my ptools mixes also I'm trying to get beyond what seems to be an overall boxiness. I know most basic engineering (freq places a signal hi/low, volume and ffx place it front/ back, and pan places left/ right) and I've come to learn that while some plug in EQ's are ok, It's really hard to get attack and punch (SSL/DBX) from a plugin compressor, (though I do have a compressorbank setting that I've made to come close)
Also I'm coming to the conclusion that when a mix has fewer plugins applied it seems to sound better (Because of this I'm investing in analog pieces to get it right before it hits the box)

I apologize if I'm rambling. I'm just trying to voice what I've gone through so that it will help give you guys some direction on what I may be lacking or what I already have.

I want to know what tips. techniques, or gear suggestions you guys recommend

This is the direction I'm looking in as far as gear
Used Mix farm cards (Not many since I plan to limit plugin use)
quality converters (CRanesong HEDD with AD16 apogee for outputs)
Neve and API front end (1073 with 512 pre and 550 eq)
dbx 160xt
Drawmer 201 gates
SSL comp or SMart C2
Distressors
FAtso
Avalon AD2055 EQ
Manley Vari MU
external summing box

I've learned that some pieces have no substitute. for instance when I want a rhodes sound, I track a rhodes and it sounds better than any rhodes sample from a keyboard module. I need to know If the pieces I'm moving toward are capable of getting the job done (with good engineering of course)
Is it possibel Or is it like the rhodes example where I should scrap the whole Idea and go to a mix room (the real rhodes) I run an indi Label and I'm thinking that investing in a studio fully will eventually curb costs in the long run.

Again I have been cutting my chops for several years and I know the importance of the engineer's talent is vital. So if we can avoid the posts about it all being about talent and not tools, I'd appreciate it. I'm simply trying to remove the tools part of the equation to a point where If I can't get it to sound the way I desire, then I will know It's my engineering (the least common denominator). I'm pretty good and I will work at getting better. This quest is what brings me here for suggestions


I try to make up for what I don't have in gear/engineering by making records that have an overall vibe. Thusfar this is how I compete with majors. I know that no engineeer can make a bull**** record a hit, yet Great music/ and vibe without the greatest sonics will still make a classic (Ask Bob Marley or AL GREEN)
Yet I still wish to improve, So any tips will be greatly appreciated
heh heh
Old 27th June 2002
  #2
Personally I think you have built up your gear list with great care.

All I see missing in the buget is:

1 x DBX 902 de-esser
Sony Oxford EQ & Compressor plugins

Have you got good monitors in a good sounding room?

Time to buy

Time to work

Once you get a rig together like that you will be faced with the "no excuse, all there is left to do is work" vibe.

Time to jump in!

Eque who hangs here worked extensively on the Tweet record that just went gold.. He may have some R&B insights for you...

Buy as much second hand as you can.

Old 27th June 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

I would look closely at the control room you are working in as well as gear. Is it tuned properly? Bass traps in the right places? Absorbtion and diffusion in the right places? Many times people don't want to spend much money on the room as they do to buy gear, but great gear in a horrible room is a problem.
Old 27th June 2002
  #4
Re: This is the one place I can go for help. So Please HELP!!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
... First off let me say that while I don't profess to be the most knowledgeable engineer, I am in NewOrleans, and all of my mixes kill everything that comes out of any studio here. ... I'm a decent engineer (at least one of the best around here). I read and soak up every piece of info I can. I've received advice from some pretty good engineers ... I know most basic engineering ...
Again I have been cutting my chops for several years and I know the importance of the engineer's talent is vital. So if we can avoid the posts about it all being about talent and not tools, I'd appreciate it. I'm simply trying to remove the tools part of the equation to a point where If I can't get it to sound the way I desire, then I will know It's my engineering (the least common denominator). I'm pretty good and I will work at getting better.
... I try to make up for what I don't have in gear/engineering by making records that have an overall vibe. Thusfar this is how I compete with majors.
Are you really an engineer with several years of expirence?
Old 27th June 2002
  #5
Gear Addict
 
cymatics's Avatar
 

Jules and Knox are right on. The best suggestion I have is to do everything in your power to learn your mix space like the back of your hand. Know your monitors and how they interact with the room. Whenever time allows, I remix old projects as an exercise to better my knowledge of my space. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you are hearing through your monitors will translate exactly how you want, you can overcome most gear limitations.

Definitely lose the dfegad Finalizer, it is a great box for making things sound boxy and lifeless.

- Jon
Old 27th June 2002
  #6
And of course with world class mic's & pre's, your recording room will be more 'revealed' so some work on making it sound as good as possible would be wise. If you are recording in the control room, a strategy to silence hard drive noise is needed...

Old 27th June 2002
  #7
no ssl yet 
Guest
Jeronimo, I usually don't call myself an engineer, because I am my worst critic. However I have been doing this for years (I began by doing production over 10 years ago and working at commearcial places assisting engineers)

When I started I learned to mike a kit and record instruments, despite the fact that most of the music I produce won't use a kit or a brass section. (When I learn to do something I try to master every aspect of it. You should shoot me in pool, play me in hoops, or even scrabble for that matter ). While most recordings I worked on didn't have an APi or NEve front end, I do know how to get good sounds out of a snare and a 57 through most budget boards (I believe the theory is the same through a "world class channel" aint it ????) I can color pretty well, what I lack is the knowledge of what color to reach for to do the job (I lack experience with good colors, and plugins don't give this) "Hmm this one vocal needs a fairchild instead of a DBX" Let's see, I also know the difference between a cheapo reverb and a PCM 91. However the tools at some point do matter otherwise we'd all be using behringer boards, compressors, eq's wired by Hosa snakes with molded tips. I'm trying to assemble a set of professional tools

Does this make me an engineer??? I'm not gonna answer that. Instead, I'll go record the best tones I can and make the best mixes I can


dfegad

Now on to the others who seemed to have constructive comments

Jules, right now my room is not great, But It's alot better than when I began. I'm using a homemade version of the ASC Attack wall. Made from a design a friend turned me on to some years ago. Is my room correctly tuned??? Doubt it.. Did my mixes improve since building these walls??? Yes, they translate much better then before. Right now I have a pair of Mackies, and a pair of NS10s for speakers. I seem to mix on the 10s exclusively. (I know the importance of a good room/monitor. I plan to up for a pair of Adam s3As when I buy my gear. But, I also know I've seen it done on NS10s (sat in on Dave Pensado once before). I'm not one to wimp out though. The fact that it's been done well on ns10s before proves it is possible. So the speakers are no excuse. (I will move up though when I buy my new gear, but I ain't trading my 10s or my boom box )

What I need besides techniques is gear advice. What I mean is, what pieces do you guys think are must haves that I need to buy at one time. And which ones are add-ons that can probably be found used (the nature of this game) as time goes on????

How much of an improvement will I hear buy adding a quality converter/ front end to my mix system??? So far i've chosen my gear list based on records I've liked. For instance most of the records I personally like have vocals done on either TubeTech MP1a or 1073, while the drums were done through API pres. I'm simply making up for what I don't know by deduction (Kinda like Plato, Socrates, and Thales But I prefer women and don't care for young boys)


I know that my personal gripes with the protools mix bus are not just a lack of talent, unless several engineers have the very same lack of talent. (However a Mix system and plugins has been a great educational tool)
But, I can't afford an vintage Neve and Studer combo. So I need to learn to make lemonade
Old 27th June 2002
  #8
no ssl yet 
Guest
Jules, Is the sony comp out???? I remember hearing that you had a beta, How is it????
Old 27th June 2002
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

Hey friend . . . the reason i suggested the room treatment, was I noticed I hardly ever eq things when I am tracking in a great room. Somehow when the room is right, the instrument is right and the mic is right . . . eq seems as it does something perverted to the sound. You know what I mean? You just hear better in a great control room that is tuned out properly. It would be a good thing for you to bring in an analyzer and see where your room sits on the scope. Move some things around (absorbtion / diffusion) . . see what happens, even find your sweet spot. btw . . . Dave and I are old friends . . . he used to mix on Auratones, to my disgust. *smile*

As far as your list . . . someone said something about a Finalizer being on it. I'm not a big fan either.

Wish you the best.
Old 27th June 2002
  #10
Lives for gear
 

There's a lot more to when you see a big mixer guy using ns10's. Its always in a properly tuned room and using a very nice (expensive) amp. Its amazing with the 10's what a difference the amp makes.

Either way if you invest in your room first you'll know exactly what your mixes need.

I dont believe in the "every studio should have these peices of equipment" thing unless you're opening a commercial room and you'll have a lot of outsiders coming in to engineer.

If youre planning on buying a lot of stuff in the next couple years you'd probably be best off by developing a good relationship with a pro audio store that can let you bring stuff home to try it out. That way you'll know exactly what you like.

Another thing is comparing you're mixes to the big guys in the big rooms that have been doing this for the last 15+ years will only get you down. Figuring out your own sound and working towards that is going to make you a lot happier. So try to find gear you can use well and like a lot by using your own ears.
Old 27th June 2002
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Make sure your room is in good shape. This is where everyone has an insufficient outlay compared to their rack or mic closet. Also make sure you have a broad enough mic selection for your needs. Not everyone needs Elams and U-47's, but you should have some good dynamics and some good small diaphragm condensors in addition to your large diaphragm condensors. If you're effectively micing a good instrument in a good room with a good mic, beyond a certain level the hardware is icing on the cake.

But as to hardware, how about the Cranesong Spider? If you're on a PT Mix system, anything beyond 48 kHz is irrelevent, so the 96 kHz limit doesnt' hurt you on the converters, the enhancement does enough of what the HEDD does, and along with 8 channels of great conversion you have 8 channels of great pres, which while not as flexible as the Flamingo pres have a broad range of sound they can give you. You can use the inserts to use the converters for different pres. I don't know how the line inputs sound, whether they are flattering or a wire with gain sort of sound, but they probably don't suck.

Bear
Old 28th June 2002
  #12
Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
... Now on to the others who seemed to have constructive comments...
Sorry I didn´t mean to be "destructive" I just felt your post to have a little attitude... maybe my english reading just let me down... but nevermind.
Old 28th June 2002
  #13
no ssl yet 
Guest
Jeronimo, Sorry we got off on the wrong foot. Man I am probably the most humble of the bunch. When I said I had the best mixes in my area, notice I followed by saying I don't think they measure up. (but I am getting closer)

I've had alot of friends who reached gold/platinum status, and fell completely off because they couldn't remain humble. While I don't want to deter off topic. I have to say that the biggest pitfalls in the music business are in my opinion drugs and ego. (I steer away from both). Of the two ego is probably the biggestmadd tut tut

Man, the coolest cats that I've met in this business have been those who look at work as a learning experience. These are also the folk who seem to be willing to teach without keeping secrets.

I know this is totally off subject, But I once brought my Spatializer Retro into a Neve Room here. As I explained to the owner/enigneer how I wanted to use the piece. I asked for cables to go from the unit's TRS I/O to his TT patch bay. Because He didn't have cables for the conversion or knowlege of the piece, His response was "This is a pro studio with a Neve console, why do you insist on trying to use this $700 piece of gear. It can't possibly be much more than a toy!"

I made a vow that day to leave ego and vanity outside of my recording

No Ego at all, I'm only a student of the game ready to learn
Old 28th June 2002
  #14
Yeah man, that was a missunderstood!!
See, I told you my bad english put me in trouble!
Sorry!
Old 30th November 2008
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Mojo's Avatar
 

If your mixes are missing something, and it's consistently the same something, look to your room acoustics and/or monitor situation.
Old 30th November 2008
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Bounce's Avatar
Maybe posting some mix examples would help everyone narrow down some feedback?
Old 30th November 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 
synthoid's Avatar
 

Are you sure you want external summing? Seems like a lot of folks who try that for a while end up abandoning it, because it gums up the workflow, makes routing more complicated, and delivers minimal benefits.

-synthoid
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