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Gear Choice Advice
Old 2nd March 2003
  #1
Lives for gear
 
tunesmith's Avatar
 

Gear Choice Advice

I am a Logic soon to be 6 user who needs to upgrade his signal path.

My Rode NT2 and Focusrite Penta and MOTU 2408 aren't cutting it for me anymore. I do mostly production and sound design but I need to be able to get a great sounding vocal or the infrequent acoustic guitar. Budget is flexible at this point.

Soooo... hedd 192 vs. Apogee Trak 2 or PSX-100? Or is there a better converter out there that I am missing? Are the pres on the Trak 2 gonna get me there, or are they not cutting the mustard? The Rosettas SOOO much cheaper. Different converters?

A buddy (whom I trust implicitly, if you're reading Mr. Calabasas HD3) was telling me that he wishes he had a GT Vipre instead of his 737. Any thoughts? I need something that's flexible and I am not opposed to getting a compressor seperately. Any thoughts? Amek Purepath? Manley Single or Dual Monoblock? I will be buying a new mic as well and will obviously mix and match until I find a killer combination.

Basically gimme your best suggestions for "the killer" signal chain. Once again, mostly vocals and the infrequent guitar.

Talk to me slutz, I know you won't let me down.

Thanks!
Old 2nd March 2003
  #2
Gear Addict
 

When your talking the range of the gear you are, it is all great...just different flavors you'll have to "taste-test."

That said, the vipre is one of the most versatile great sounding preamps out there. The 737 preamp is not in the same class. And the HEDD is cream of the crop conversion.
Old 2nd March 2003
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Re: Gear Choice Advice

Quote:
Originally posted by tunesmith

Basically gimme your best suggestions for "the killer" signal chain. Once again, mostly vocals and the infrequent guitar.
In that price range very little gear sucks. I'd look into something that's on the cleaner side of things rather then overly colored. Time to rent and listen to stuff.
Old 2nd March 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Messiah's Avatar
 

I was only recently exposed to a Vipre and, yes, I think you'd struggle to find a better pre for what you have described. I loved it instantly.

Also, from what you've said, instead of putting out a lot of $ on one mic, I'd look at getting an RE20, an SM7, a 441, etc., or a combo of each to go with the Vipre (which made mic's I take for granted sound fantastic, btw!). A Vipre may even breath some life into your NT2 and, as such, I'd go for your pre first and borrow/rent different mic's to see what floats your boat.

You could also just get a Wackie VLZ and a 58, after all, it's the performance that counts........
Old 2nd March 2003
  #5
007
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007's Avatar
 

perhaps the following is worthy of it's own thread, but while on the subject of mic pres, what do you make of Benchmark stuff? There certainly has been a lot of talk about them lately, but most of it evolves around the DAC-1 and the contest buzz.

After getting quite familiar - so quickly - with the company (speaking for most of whom entered the contest?), i had no idea they made so many different products. There are numerous mentions of the ubiquitous Neves, Avalon, Great River, Manley, UA, etc., but not much talk about Benchmark pres, which seem rather impressive while viewing their site.

I also own a Penta and will be looking at upgrading the entire signal path very soon. While I love to read the great advice from all you seasoned engineers about different pres, perhaps you can throw in some thoughts on the Benchmarks as well (if you can, that is)?

Thanks!
Old 2nd March 2003
  #6
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Ruphus's Avatar
 

There is more nice gear not being mentioned too often. Sometimes there are manufacturers small in PR, but great in price / performance relation.
Sometimes the most expensive isn´t also the best gear.

If you´re interested in clean conversion maybe you would be positively surprised about what a Mindprint NA/Dipro ( pre & A/D with inserts ) can do for nice little money.

And somewhere in California sits an engaged guy who solders some of the worlds best gear since a while now for a fraction of usual costs.
His tube DIs are known as quite outstanding. The good thing is that they are also been build into the pres. There ought to be only very few stuff that can top it if at all for guitar and bass, acoustic as well as electric ones.
You could give at try to the HXM-1 ( which BTW is currently manufactured for me. Should come in next week. Wooooh!
) from Mr. Demeter. It could mean a fair deal for 1/2 to 1/3 of competitons price for comparable apparatus.

It is supposed to also work great on male and female voices through its Jensen transformers.

I talked yesterday to Mr.Demeter about changing my order to an 6 tube pre that is ~ 600$ more expensive ( although it would had bankrupted me, besides ). You know what he said? Something like "It is a more versatile, yes, but I explicitely need it in my studio for very special cases like certain voices and overheads. You don´t need it. Stay with the HXM and you will be fine."

If you like a handbuild unit with selected parts from an even decent person try that one out if you see it somewhere.

It has no compressor.
But that section mustn´t mean loss of too much quality at small expense either, according to what FMR compressor users say. Admittedly: The FMR is ugly, but if you put a nice flowerpot on top noone would notice heh

Hope this is interesting.


Ruphus
Old 2nd March 2003
  #7
Re: Gear Choice Advice

Quote:
Originally posted by tunesmith
I am a Logic soon to be 6 user who needs to upgrade his signal path.

My Rode NT2 and Focusrite Penta and MOTU 2408 aren't cutting it for me anymore. I do mostly production and sound design but I need to be able to get a great sounding vocal or the infrequent acoustic guitar. Budget is flexible at this point.

Soooo... hedd 192 vs. Apogee Trak 2 or PSX-100? Or is there a better converter out there that I am missing? Are the pres on the Trak 2 gonna get me there, or are they not cutting the mustard? The Rosettas SOOO much cheaper. Different converters?

A buddy (whom I trust implicitly, if you're reading Mr. Calabasas HD3) was telling me that he wishes he had a GT Vipre instead of his 737. Any thoughts? I need something that's flexible and I am not opposed to getting a compressor seperately. Any thoughts? Amek Purepath? Manley Single or Dual Monoblock? I will be buying a new mic as well and will obviously mix and match until I find a killer combination.

Basically gimme your best suggestions for "the killer" signal chain. Once again, mostly vocals and the infrequent guitar.

Talk to me slutz, I know you won't let me down.

Thanks!
The keys to a killer vocal chain are:

1) The right microphone

2) A nice converter

3)A good room

4)Mic pre

A great singer(Never hurts either!!!)heh

I think if you attack things in this order you'll hopefully get some vocals that you will like.
Old 2nd March 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 

FWIW I use a HEDD192 (as well as a Spider & some Trakkers) and a pair of Vipres. I don't think it gets much better than this. I'm sure there are other combinations that are slightly "different flavors" and just as good, but the HEDD/Vipre combo makes it so easy to get a variety of really stellar sounds, and work so well with so many mics. If you go that way I know you won't be disappointed.

Scott
Old 2nd March 2003
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Re: Gear Choice Advice

Quote:
Originally posted by tunesmith
The Rosettas SOOO much cheaper. Different converters?
According to Apogee they are the same, however there's a lot more to their higher end products, better power supplies and more features.

I run Apogee converters, including a Rosetta, side by side with my Benchmark converters, the Rosetta has a nice flavor all it's own but it's not their best piece.


Quote:

A buddy (whom I trust implicitly, if you're reading Mr. Calabasas HD3) was telling me that he wishes he had a GT Vipre instead of his 737. Any thoughts?
I have Avalon gear and love it, but my VIPRE kicks the 737's butt big time.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #10
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tunesmith's Avatar
 

Thanks!

I am excited about the vipre... I think I shall have to possess one.

Does the tone shaping in the hedd 192 negate or add to the tone shaping of the vipre?



And all your comments about performance quality are dead on. I simply want to be able to catch the magic the best and cleanest way possible.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 

Re: Gear Choice Advice

Quote:
Originally posted by tunesmith
I am a Logic soon to be 6 user who needs to upgrade his signal path.

My Rode NT2 and Focusrite Penta and MOTU 2408 aren't cutting it for me anymore. I do mostly production and sound design but I need to be able to get a great sounding vocal or the infrequent acoustic guitar. Budget is flexible at this point.

Soooo... hedd 192 vs. Apogee Trak 2 or PSX-100? Or is there a better converter out there that I am missing? Are the pres on the Trak 2 gonna get me there, or are they not cutting the mustard? The Rosettas SOOO much cheaper. Different converters?

A buddy (whom I trust implicitly, if you're reading Mr. Calabasas HD3) was telling me that he wishes he had a GT Vipre instead of his 737. Any thoughts? I need something that's flexible and I am not opposed to getting a compressor seperately. Any thoughts? Amek Purepath? Manley Single or Dual Monoblock? I will be buying a new mic as well and will obviously mix and match until I find a killer combination.

Basically gimme your best suggestions for "the killer" signal chain. Once again, mostly vocals and the infrequent guitar.

Talk to me slutz, I know you won't let me down.

Thanks!


We can give you all sorts of advice. How about you buy a Brauner Klaus Heinz mic with a DW Fearn preamp, Fairchild compressor, and a Prism converter? That's what I'd do if I were you.

What's your budget? You're asking about gear that's many times the cost of your current setup. A 2408, Focusrite Penta, and Rode NT2 cost less together than most of the pieces you named.

As I said, we can give all sorts of advice that's is potentailly useless if you can't afford the gearz.

I'm not being a gear snob, but unless you give more info, you'll waste your time and our time.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Fae,

Well... he alluded to his budget when talking about using a Crane Song HEDD 192 as A/D, Manley pres, something comparable for a compressor, and new mics. It sounds like he's willing to spend between roughly 1.8k (mentioning the Avalon) through 2.8k on any specific unit. And he seems to want to have the "cleanest and most musical" signal path possible, and also has a desire for versatility. So while I don't think a 660 or a VM-1KH is really in the running, a DW Fearn or Prism A/D very well may be. HTH.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 

So I'll guess buy (pun haha) inferring. Your budget is about $7000 tops?
Old 3rd March 2003
  #14
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tunesmith's Avatar
 

I have about 10k, but some of it needs to go into monitoring. Hooking Ns-10s up to a Sony home theater amp isn't cutting it for me anymore.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Allow me to add my .02 for a sec and suggest you get a Crane Song Spider. Maybe you don't need more than two channels of mic pre, etc. but if you're thinking about building a really great non-console/computer based studio, the Spider is THE rig to have.

I can't presently afford, nor could I ever really see myself needing a huge board to track with (unless I *really* wanted to open my place to the public). I primarily track my own music and the music of bands that I really have faith in and want to work with for essentially nothing. Or I lend the space to a trusted friend to work with other bands.

We're in a beautiful area, and there is a great vibe, but it's not a huge place and not sterile enough to mix in. So this is a place to track only. But as the goal is to produce tracks that are capable of being album quality after an equally pro mix and master, it is important for me to have a versitile and great sounding system with more than two inpts.

The Crane Song Spider gives me 8 unbelievably great sounding preamps, simple but effective and musical limiting, 8 channels of absolutely world class 96kHz AD, as well as many of the other HEDD features. And it's stupid easy to use. For around 6.x-7.x grand, you'll have an absolutely great front end for your studio that will make any mic input sound great. I've worked (as a client) in studios with tape and while I love that sound, I have detected none of the sonic short comings of digital with my rig. That said, for my own album, I will be doing some tracking elsewhere, but that's just for a change of location and a better room.

It may be a little more than you were planning to spend, but when you consider what you get for the money, it's hard to do better. Right now, I'm buying other things, possibly a vipre, maybe a SLAM!, and I'm also really curious about chandler, but this is all for different colors- with the Spider, mics that you're comfortable using (in my case mostly Earthworks would be my go-to mic), you can do just about anything. If you could find one used (they do exist), don't pass it up- get that, 2 channels of geat compression (try some out), and 2 phenomenal mics (some people don't necessarily love them, but I can use my Earthworks for anything from drums, to guitars, to lead vocals and still have distinguishable sounds). Get a pair of Mackie 824's and be done with it. There are some monitors that may as much as slay those Mackie's but I can't afford them, and for what I do, the Mackie's totally kick ass.

Then again, that's only if our position is similar. If it is, I can't imagine a better rig than a Crane Song Spider, and down the road, 2-4 channels of different pres/compressors.

In any case, best of luck to you! And PLEASE let us know what you decide upon.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #16
For $10K I would break it down to this for a vocal path (assuming you are doing pop or rock):

Mics: Soundelux ELUX 251 or Soundelux E47

Preamps: Millennia Origin (or tube M2b), GT Vipre, Pendulum MDP-1, Crane Song Flamingo, OSA MP1-L, Great River MP-2

Compressors: Trakker, Daking, MC77

2 channel A/D/A: Crane Song HEDD
Old 3rd March 2003
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Nathan,

What are your thoughts on the VM-1 for vocals?
Old 3rd March 2003
  #18
Quote:
Originally posted by BattleAngel
Nathan,

What are your thoughts on the VM-1 for vocals?
It's a great microphone, leaning more on the clear and opulent side, than being a character piece. So it's subjective there. As an AE, I personally reach for mics with a little more character because that's just what I like to hear. But that by no means disqualifies the Brauner or any fine microphone as being a great choice...I would rather have big and clear, than character and grungy. You can always combine it with something that will add more color, that's part of the fun. If you want the opposite extreme of character you could even go for something like a DPA. It's all up to what you want to hear.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Cool, thanks. Ever try any of the upper end Blue mics?
Old 3rd March 2003
  #20
Old 3rd March 2003
  #21
Quote:
Originally posted by NathanEldred
For $10K I would break it down to this for a vocal path (assuming you are doing pop or rock):

Mics: Soundelux ELUX 251 or Soundelux E47

Preamps: Millennia Origin (or tube M2b), GT Vipre, Pendulum MDP-1, Crane Song Flamingo, OSA MP1-L, Great River MP-2

Compressors: Trakker, Daking, MC77

2 channel A/D/A: Crane Song HEDD
\


This list is pretty good.

I would only add a mic pre with an EQ(Amek CIB or Neve 1073/1081) for those times where the mic is not really working as much for that singer and a little EQ touch up helps.

On the compressor front, I would probably dump the Daking and replace it with a CL1B or LA2A(personal opinion).

The Crane Song is a great choice.
Old 4th March 2003
  #22
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 

What kind of music are you recording?

May as well get a chain that can track stereo as well as mono if you're recording something besides vocals.

When you hear how good some of this outboard stuff sounds, you'll want to use it all over your mixes.
Old 4th March 2003
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Good call, Fae!

You know, realistically, I could probably get by on just two channels of great signal path, so if the crane song preamp sound is just not your thing, the Spyder isn't the *only* way I'd go necessarily. But given the value of the unit and how much I like the sound, it worked out perfectly for me.
Old 4th March 2003
  #24
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

if going from a motu, what about more digital conversion channels?
-How about a Apogee AD-16
-Benchmark DAC1
-That new Universal Audio combo unit 6175
-A Soundelux U99
-ADAM P22s

However, I agree with having at least one good stereo chain.....so maybe that can be added on later?!
Old 4th March 2003
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
ghoost's Avatar
 

If you're going to spend that kinda cheese there's alot of good stuff out there. If you were able to demo a bunch of stuff you may well come up wih a diffferent chain than any mentioned here thus far.

That said, the Vipre is definitly on my list. Sorry I got the 737's but they are useful as outboard. The Hedd 192 is plenty fine as is the Trakker for seperate comp. Personally ... I use Benchmark on both sides of the coin. The combination is unbelievable ... nuff said. (my views are fairly well documented round here about Benchmark).

There's certainly plenty of good mics and they only get better with a great front end heh But just to make it intresting as I have a penchant taking a liking for equip that isn't commenly used ... yuktyy Let me suggest a DPA 3541 (co. was known as B&K). Looking at it you wouldn't believe it's a large diaphram. If you like crystal clear .. exactly what's there .. say no more. In fact the power supply acts as a pre if you wish for an unblemished representation of your subject matter.

Happy shopping ... it should be fun
Old 7th March 2003
  #26
Gear Nut
 
DigiGeek's Avatar
 

As has been documented on another thread on the DUC, I am in the market for a 2-channel AD/DA for my secondary rig. While this rig is more of a scratch pad for writing purposes, I want it to have at least the same quality as my main rig.

That being said, I have auditioned many 2-channel converters over the past few months and I must say that I believe the Trak2 is the best mic pre A/D D/A converter box I have ever heard. The 90db mic pres alone are worth the money (they compare favorably to the M5, DW Fearn and Millenia). The pres are very transparent, but you can warm them up a bit with Soft Saturate. You also get Soft Limit, UV22HR 8-channels of D/A and a complete digital routing matrix. The Trak2 also has the ability to remote via MIDI and you can save multiple presets on a Mac.
The fact that it can connect direct to PT Mix, optically to a 001 or natively with Firewire is also cool.

Ultimately the sound is the reason to get the Trak2. It is by far the best sounding box I have heard to date, and I have heard most of them. If you have not heard it, go rent it. You'll be happy you did.
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