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Need opinions on some gear

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(@elvisyo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

Hi there,

I've finally made up my mind of making my own small home studio.
I've designed it in a [Mike> Pre-Amp> Sound card> Computer> Monitors] format, and now I'm consider between different brands of gear, and I would like to hear any opinions or reviews on it, or suggestions for a replacement gear within the same categories. Also, I'm not planning any over-expansive purchases, so the overall price shouldn't get over 2000-2500$.

Here's the list of gear I'm considering buying:

Mike: Sound Project's C-3 (or any type of large diaphragm-multi pattern mike within the same price range).

Pre Amp: considering between 499$ - FMR's Really Nice Pre-Amp (RNP) to (unknown price but cheaper) ART's Tube MP studio.

Sound card: too many options. Need any suggestions for cards within 200$ to 400$, especially for cards with good A/D converters. can be internal or external.

Computer: got one… :)

Monitors: any active monitor up to 500$. Such as Behringer's truth B2031-A, M-Audio's BX-8 and Tapco's S-8 or better, but nothing under 6".

Any opinion/suggestion matters!

Thanks!
Elvis.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


   
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(@apefeet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 38
 

The gear you are talking about sounds good. Here is what I use in my home studio. Mine cost about same price range as what you are looking at, but was bought at closeout or sale prices.

Mics: Sure SM57 & SM58. Good work horse mics. Everyone should have
one of each.

Preamps: DBX 386, dual channel tube pre with digital out. Good clean
sound, tube provide a nice warmth to sound.
Rolls RP103, single channel tube pre with compressor. Good
sound, compressor makes it good for vocal.

Compressor: Berhinger MDX2200 really helps in recording acoustic guitar.
Mixer: Berhinger MX1604 and a Rolls RM203 (rack), both are good.

Monitors: Event TR8N, these are really good for money. I was considering the TR6's when I was purchasing them. But after listening to them I though
the TR6's were too bright and rattly.

Interface: Ardvark LX6. Very clean PCI interface 4in 6 out.

Only recommendation I would add to your list is a compressor, software compressors don't work for getting best signal for recording.

Rich


   
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(@elvisyo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

Thanks for your reply Rich!

I think it'll be only fair to say that I'm a sound engineering college graduate, and the reason I'm asking here is because that's my first gear purchasing, and the only chance I've got to check some of the equipment was at the store's vocal booth, but my computer's Madonna would sound astonishing there as well. for the rest of the stuff I've only read "professional" review (more like sellers ads).

Just few things, I want a condenser mike and not a dynamic. though I love the SM series for some purposes, I prefer to use a condenser for recordings.
I know also that I should use a compressor and mixer, but at that point I just want to get it working, I'll loose some headroom but I'm trusting the pre-amp's limiter to keep me out of peaking. wise man advised me once not to settle for cheaper stuff or I'll regret it later, so I'm taking it a step at a time.

What about an audio card? Is E-MU 1212 any good?

Thanks!
Elvis.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


   
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(@apefeet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 38
 

Elivs,

I agree that condenser is good, one of these days I intend to get
myself one or two. I only recommended the SM's since they are
in-expensive, work well. Also means you can spend more on a
mic-pre or compressor and not go over budget. One thing about the
SM's is that you can always use them.

I have not tried the E-MU1212, EMU is a good company from what
I have heard. Check out stuff on harmony-centeral for reviews of
stuff.

I also have a bunch of MIDI gear I did not list, drop me a email if
you are interested in that (Roland/Boss/M-Audio).

Rich


   
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(@elvisyo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

Thanks Rich, but I think I would go for a condenser now and leave the compressor for later. I have a relly good experience recording without it.

I'm only asking because I've never tested those products in "real life", but I know what type of equipment I'm looking for. when you buy gear for such a low price (relatively of course), you can make some foolish mistakes.

Thanks again,
Elvis.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


   
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(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2337
 

Here's a few piece's of equipment to look in to.

Sound card interface: Terratec DMX 6Fire PCI 6-Channel Audio Interface
Classic Tube Microphones:
AKG C12
AKG C24
Neumann KM54
Neumann M49
Neumann U47
Neumann U67
Telefunken U67
Telefunken ELAM25

Console: Neve
Monitors: Tannoy LGM15, Yamaha NS10

Outboard Gear:
DBX 160X
Teletronics LA2A
UA 1176 (Blueface)
Purple Audio MC76
Urei LA-4
Neve 32664 Comp/Limiter
DBX 902 De-essers
Lexicon 480L
Lexicon PCM70
Lexicon PCM42
Alesis Quadraverb
Eventide H910
Audio Arts Stereo Parametric EQ
EMT 251 Reverb

Joe


   
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(@hueseph)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1543
 

All I can say about reviews is that you can't trust what you read online when it comes to audio or any media gear. Most of the people reviewing gear are likely new to recording, so anything sounding better than their realtek ac97 soundchip will sound great to them. Recording is so affordable now that there are litterally millions of people out there doing it. A few of them are good at it.

Emu, although they do well with keyboards, are the source chip of Soundblaster cards if that tells you anything. The terratec cards are good. Hammerhead, Echo Mia and of course MOTU are great interfaces. PCI is not only more reliable but has better bandwidth than USB or Firewire. I personally use and M-audio delta 44. The Delta 1010's are great too. The cool thing is that with M-audio and most of the prosumer to pro cards support multiple cards. If you can afford to get a Neve console in your studio I'm sure the whole city will be knocking on your door. The last Neve I saw, sold used for $200,000.00. It was about 20 years old. Mind you it was mint and the techie who kept it was THE techie in this town. I've got a Studio Projects B1 and it sounds great tho a little nasal on some vocals. You could get an AKG C414 for around $500.00 if you look around.

https://soundcloud.com/hue-nery/hue-audio-sampler


   
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(@hueseph)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1543
 

So i guess what I'm saying is the best way to get what you need is go to the local music store and sit in their recording gear demo booth with one of the salespeople and test gear. If they want to sell you something, they will let you hear any combination of gear that they have available.

https://soundcloud.com/hue-nery/hue-audio-sampler


   
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(@elvisyo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

Except for Joe who wanna make me cry (BTW you've missed out the most essential parts - Nueman U87 and SSL console), your reviews so far are very enlighten.
I'm not building a pro studio just yet, and I'm not expecting anyone knocking on my door unless they have pizza on their hands… not to mention that I can't even buy the N of Neve. One e maybe…

Unlike most home-producers who are musicians who try to be sound engineers, I'm a sound-engineer who tries to be a musician. I know lots and lots of theories, rules and law, of recording, acoustics and whatever. I also have many hours in the studio and gigabytes on gigabytes of tracks, so lack of experience of studio work is not my problem, but I have not yet bought any piece of gear in my life.

Now for the serious stuff, I've been to the store but I didn't had much time then, and as I said I'm intending to go back there and be much more thorough. Testing the gears is a bit of a problem since most of them come from different stores and theirs no equal replacement there I can compare with. Beside that there's the "magic of the testing booth". I don't know whether it's the acoustics, the amps, the pressure or just voodoo, but it's always sound a lot better there than at home. I've read some comments of cards that have a weak signal suddenly, crushing systems and stop functioning at all after a short while, of monitors that burning out (happen to a friend of mine with a Behringer, but I have lots of an Ok experience with them), of faders and knobs that are falling of mixers, and so on. Cheap stuff, you know.
Many of my friends have a home studio, and you may wonder why I'm not consulting with them. The reason is that all of them are using basically the same MBox system and Behringer monitors. I want something else.

Many times I thought of buying M-Audio products, including the Delta card but read/heard some bad reviews of it, but now I'll reconsider it (or the audiophile).
In general I'm not looking for the edge of the art equipment, my ambitions are very realistic, I know my money's worth, that's why I'm not making any hasty moves.
In a mike and pre-amps I'm looking a 'color' I like, something not too bright, in sound card I'm looking for something reliable, nothing too fancy at that point, and monitors that don't lie and burn out.

Thanks (it wasn't meant to be that long…),
Elvis.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


   
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(@hueseph)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1543
 

Just for the record and if you want Mackie on the cheap, Tapco is Mackie's cheap line. Same engineering but assembled in China. As far as the magic of the listening room well y'know they've got their best acoustic treatment up and just the assortment of gear they have makes for great disipation. We've got a couple of decen4 sized stores here so they tend to have all the gear in one room. I've got some studio experience as well but getting the home stuff to work well is like a whole new world of confusion. The lack of knobs and faders just throws me.

https://soundcloud.com/hue-nery/hue-audio-sampler


   
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(@elvisyo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

I can get use to the lack of knobs and faders, and for the two-I/O interface, but I can get use the most for the fact that it's mine and nobody else is touching it and it MY normally connected. Ok I admit. there can't be too many routing with 2 I/O's, but anyways...

Like anything else on my list, Tapco is an option to be taken under consideration. Quality is a very personal measure, good or bad experience is something completely different, and trouble(shooting)s is a part of it too.

BTW, I'm dieing for a second-hand MOTU. with or without the unicorn…

Thanks!

So long and thanks for all the fish.


   
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(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2337
 

Even with all the High end equipment in the world to play with not having a place with very low background noise to record in makes the equipment useless. I'm talking about that neighbor kid with the glass-packed cherry bomb mufflers on his 65 Pump-jack or the local MCC with their panheads. Not to forget that nasty sounding echo from your low-ceilinged, square room. Sound deadening materials can help.

here's a few more piece's of equipment when thinking through a great studio setup and purchasing strategy you can avoid buying unnecessary gear. With an up-to-date computer** and audio interface with a good music production software package or an 'all-in-one' digital mixer/hard disk recorder, add a pro-quality microphone, monitoring system,then you can keep adding to your setup as your projects get more involved, like MIDI gear and some other cool toys.

**Most major recording studios and record companies use Macs to control their digital audio installations.

Sound cards: Echo MiaMIDI, EgoSys Waveterminal 2496, M-Audio Audiophile 2496, Terratec EWX 24/96, Terratec EWS88 D

A mixing board: Mackie, Behringer, Spirit by Soundcraft, Yamaha, Tascam, and Allen & Heath.

Monitoring system: Alesis M-1, JBL LSR-25P, Genelec 2029A, Audix, KRK, PMC, Hafler, Tannoy, Dynaudio, Legacy Audio, Spendor, NHT Pro, Dunlavy, Meyer.

Headphones Sony MDR-7506's, Grado Labs SR-60, SR-225 and SR-325, the Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro, Sennheiser HD-580 and HD-600.

A digital audio workstation: Digidesign Pro Tools HD, Soundscape, Roland VS-890EX, VS-2480 or the Yamaha AW4416, AW2816 or AW16G.

Cables: The best quality cables and patch cords.

Joe


   
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(@apefeet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 38
 

Joe,
That was exactly my point, in a home studio it does not make alot of
sense to spend money on expenisve gear and not have a good quiet
room to record in. My feeling, spend money to get good semi-pro audio
interface (not sound card). I prefer PCI or ADAT to PCI (USB is just not
designed for high bandwidth data transfer). Make sure that you get
equipment that is low in noise, simple to use, and flexable. Remember
you have to operate the equipment and play the instruments at the
same time.

Also decide what you plan do use your studio for before you buy
equipment. I use mine for ideas and concepts, possibly demos. Knowing
what you are going to use it for will tell you the quality of equipment you
will need. And unless you have a room to dedicate and sound proof, I
would not want to even try to set up to do serious recording with it.

Rich
PS. Budget for a patch bay and a set of good patch cables, it will save
lots of time. Also good quality cables do not break as easy, and you
will be changing settings alot more in home then you would in studio.


   
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(@elvisyo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

Guys, I think you're missing my point.

My aim isn't to make a pro studio at home. I don't have the resources for that. No. it's purely for simple purposes - home recording and mixing for me and my maybe my friends. I too want to have only the best money can buy, and that's the point - money. Although it's not a six-figure number I'm going to spend, if I'm going to spend that money, it should be invested wisely. call me crazy, but I'm just not throwing money away.

There are many things I haven't mention here, it's not say though that I've forgot about them (such as acoustics and cables), I just know enough already. My plugs would be Nuetrik and the room RT would be fine (yeah, and no annoying kids too).

In short, I just want to know about specific products, such as I listed above, that people used/using - good or bad. I got my sound education by now, sorry if it sounds arrogant. I really appreciate every comment, it's very important to me.

Thanks!
Elvis.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


   
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(@hueseph)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1543
 

Regarding the m-audio Audiophile 2496. I've heard that there are issues with Mac OS. It's only hearsay mind you but. If you're using mac it's worth consideration.

https://soundcloud.com/hue-nery/hue-audio-sampler


   
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