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Next Step Audio Interfaces
Old 25th December 2010
  #1
Next Step

Hey everyone. I am looking to make some upgrades to my studio right now and am wondering if you guys could give me some suggestions.

Here the gear I am looking at changing:

Interface: PreSonus Firebox
Monitors: KRK R6s
Microphone: Blue Baby Bottle

So right now I think my firebox is my weakest link. I am looking to change it out for something used in the 500-600 dollar range. It doesnt give my mics enough gain, pops, hisses, and lags. It sucks balls and I think that I could find a Motu Traveler at my price range.

What is my next weakest link? I think its probably going to be my Blue Baby Bottle. What do you guys think I can get used for another 500-600 dollars? The Avant BV-1 definaely caught my eye.

In addition to all this I will be buying an Oberheim SEM reissue. Its honestly about time I get some analog gear.

Anyways, let me know what you guys think. If there anything in my price-range for sale then please let me know. I am open to anything. Thank you and much appreciation!

Peaaccee!
Old 25th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Hi there, welcome to the forums. The only thing I think you will see a big improvement from replacing is the Firebox. The KRKs are good enough and the Baby Blue Bottle - I don't think you can get "better", just "different" or "better for a specific situation". That's a great mic.

The obvious question that I think anyone would have is what's your acoustic treatment situation?
Old 25th December 2010
  #3
My acoustic treatment situation is pretty good. My studio is still in my bedroom because I am a student, but 85% of the room is wrapped in auralex acoustic insulation. A couple months ago, a nightclub sold all their foam to me for me for 1/4 of the price
Old 26th December 2010
  #4
I thought you guys were pros. Help me out my brothas.
Old 27th December 2010
  #5
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Okay - so you're "good enough" in that category. I think the monitors are also in the "good enough" category for right now. That leaves the pre.

I think that, if your budget is $500-$600, the answer to this one question matters most:

How many channels do you need?

Good pres cost money to build, not just to buy. So you said that you think the Motu Traveller is an upgrade... Well, maybe. But if we do the math, the Firebox and the Traveler are about the same:
  • Firebox ($250) = $125/pre for 2ch
  • Traveler ($750) = $93.75/pre for 8ch
I'm obviously ignoring the cost of AD/DA conversion just for the sake of comparing pre costs. I've used the Firebox but not the Traveler so I can't comment on the differences. I'm just thinking logically that, unless you can spend more money per pre, you won't notice a big difference; it's more like making a lateral move than an upgrade in terms of quality.

There are massive differences between crappy pres and good pres, and massive differences between good pres and great pres. If you think the Firebox has crappy pres, then find a way to get good pres.

So how many channels do you need?
Old 27th December 2010
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Okay - so you're "good enough" in that category. I think the monitors are also in the "good enough" category for right now. That leaves the pre.

I think that, if your budget is $500-$600, the answer to this one question matters most:

How many channels do you need?

Good pres cost money to build, not just to buy. So you said that you think the Motu Traveller is an upgrade... Well, maybe. But if we do the math, the Firebox and the Traveler are about the same:
  • Firebox ($250) = $125/pre for 2ch
  • Traveler ($750) = $93.75/pre for 8ch
I'm obviously ignoring the cost of AD/DA conversion just for the sake of comparing pre costs. I've used the Firebox but not the Traveler so I can't comment on the differences. I'm just thinking logically that, unless you can spend more money per pre, you won't notice a big difference; it's more like making a lateral move than an upgrade in terms of quality.

There are massive differences between crappy pres and good pres, and massive differences between good pres and great pres. If you think the Firebox has crappy pres, then find a way to get good pres.

So how many channels do you need?
right

Right now i only need 3 channels but i want to think of the future. Over 3 is ideal. The problem i have with the firebox is that it pops and hisses. Given that and the fact that it doesn't have eenough ins and outs means i need to make an upgrade.
Old 27th December 2010
  #7
Also a good preamp is probably next on the list. I don't think i must have one just yet.
Old 27th December 2010
  #8
Gear Nut
 
John Nonjohn's Avatar
 

Get a good power conditioner, if you don't have one already!
Old 27th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
right

Right now i only need 3 channels but i want to think of the future. Over 3 is ideal. The problem i have with the firebox is that it pops and hisses. Given that and the fact that it doesn't have eenough ins and outs means i need to make an upgrade.
Digi 003 Rack used then - four XLR ins/outs, good quality, and certainly an upgrade for you. Here's one now: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gears...d421-more.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
Also a good preamp is probably next on the list. I don't think i must have one just yet.
? This sort of doesn't go with the above...
Old 27th December 2010
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nonjohn View Post
Get a good power conditioner, if you don't have one already!
I just bought a monster pro-900. I heard they don't have the best build quality, but whatever.
Old 27th December 2010
  #11
what does everyone think about he Digidesign 003 Rack? Should I just spring for it?
Old 27th December 2010
  #12
I have a feeling I can do better than the 003 rack. Its high price point has to be affected by the fact that pro tools 8 and under requires digidesign hardware and the fact that it includes pro tools.
Old 28th December 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
I have a feeling I can do better than the 003 rack. Its high price point has to be affected by the fact that pro tools 8 and under requires digidesign hardware and the fact that it includes pro tools.
A used 003 doesn't necessarily come with Pro Tools. And I don't know that, for your budget, you can do "better", just "different". You have a very low budget for wanting more than a single channel. There are a lot of options in your price range but, quality wise, they are all in the same ballpark.

And there have been lots of great recordings made w/ the Digi002 and 003 rack units.
Old 28th December 2010
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
A used 003 doesn't necessarily come with Pro Tools. And I don't know that, for your budget, you can do "better", just "different". You have a very low budget for wanting more than a single channel. There are a lot of options in your price range but, quality wise, they are all in the same ballpark.

And there have been lots of great recordings made w/ the Digi002 and 003 rack units.
Hmm, ok. I am going to keep doing some research. If there is anything else I can look at then dont hesitate to let me know. Thanks for all the help
Old 28th December 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
Hmm, ok. I am going to keep doing some research. If there is anything else I can look at then dont hesitate to let me know. Thanks for all the help
Well, there are loads of options - the $500-$1400 range (for 8 XLR inputs) is the most popular but that doesn't mean there are massive differences; it means that's the "consumer-trying-to-be-a-pro" market (and I don't mean that in a bad way!!!!!).

I use a Tascam FW-1884, for example, which I bought for $400 on craigslist. it has motorized faders, 4-8 XLR inputs, and nice MIDI stuff. Butttttttttttttttttttttt the pres aren't great. They aren't as good as the Digi 003, for example, even though it retailed for $1400.

At some point you just have to say, "Okay - it's time to make music. The Digi 003 is hugely popular - at least 40% of the folks on Gearslutz have one probably - and so I'll just go with that."

My advice: (1) buy good gear (2) that resells quickly (3) for about the same or higher than you paid (4) and that will be future-proof (i.e. you won't have to replace in 1-4 years). IMO the Digi 003 hits all four points. The Tascam does as well though. As I said, there are many options that are "different" but not "better" in that price range.

And here's a hint about how GS works (or rather 'here's what I've noticed'): when you have an active thread where one person has taken the lead in offering advice yet others don't respond/post, it's usually because they either agree or have nothing further to add.
Old 28th December 2010
  #16
i should have mentioned this before, but I had problems with my MBOX a while ago. I am not sure exactly what was wrong because its been a couple years since then. The only thing stopping me from buying a 003 rack is because I'm afraid it wont work like I want it to. Thats why I am looking at alternatives.
Old 28th December 2010
  #17
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Good God, man - just be creative. Search GS for "digi003 alternative" or something - find a way to help yourself so you can just get started making music. I don't care about the Digi003 - don't even own one. It just fits your situation IMO.

This has been discussed for years prior to your arriving here. Use the search function.
Old 28th December 2010
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
pdlstl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
My acoustic treatment situation is pretty good. My studio is still in my bedroom because I am a student, but 85% of the room is wrapped in auralex acoustic insulation. A couple months ago, a nightclub sold all their foam to me for me for 1/4 of the price
If you think your treatment situation is "pretty good" because your room 85% is covered in foam, you have much to learn grasshopper.

Spend some time down below, in the the Studio Construction section of these forums.
Old 28th December 2010
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdlstl View Post
If you think your treatment situation is "pretty good" because your room 85% is covered in foam, you have much to learn grasshopper.

Spend some time down below, in the the Studio Construction section of these forums.
I don't claim im an expert, but the acoustic foam certainly helped get my recordings as dry as I wanted them to be. Anyways, I am renting apartments and can't do anything too dramatic to the walls. I can't afford to properly treat my room either so I cant be so picky.
Old 28th December 2010
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Good God, man - just be creative. Search GS for "digi003 alternative" or something - find a way to help yourself so you can just get started making music. I don't care about the Digi003 - don't even own one. It just fits your situation IMO.

This has been discussed for years prior to your arriving here. Use the search function.
Relax. I asked one question and you steered me away from the Motu and have only mentioned the 003R. If you know so much then you should have gave me some more examples or I guess thats too much to ask. Anyways, don't worry about it, I will keep checking the classifieds.
Old 28th December 2010
  #21
Here for the gear
 

I'd say the gear you have is definitely good enough to make releasable tracks on. Dont knock the firebox, you have a decent device there, granted the pres are pretty lame. In you shoes, I'd recommend the Summit 2BA-221 pre, its really killer and if you want to geek out on it you can even up the tube in there, that will definitely make a difference.
Old 28th December 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gruenburger View Post
Relax. I asked one question and you steered me away from the Motu and have only mentioned the 003R. If you know so much then you should have gave me some more examples or I guess thats too much to ask. Anyways, don't worry about it, I will keep checking the classifieds.
I'm done here. What an ass.
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