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Need studio upgrade advice
Old 28th February 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Need studio upgrade advice

I've been cleaning a lot of old live gear out and I'm looking to upgrade my studio. Here is a list of gear that I have:

Front End:
36 Channel Crest Century GTX
Radial WR8 500 Series Rack
Daking MicPre500 (2)
Steinberg MR816x (2)
Mackie HR824
PC: Win7/PT11/ 6 Core i7 4930k/ 16 gb ram/ SSD/ 5 tb storage
Waves/Slate Digital Plugins
Euphonix MC Transport
DBX 166

Mics:
Shure SM7B
Shure SM81 (x2)
Shure SM91
Shure Beta 52a
Shure Beta 98 (x2)
Shure SM57 (x8)
Shure SM58 (x6)
Sennheiser MD421 Mk II
Sennheiser e609
Audix i5
Rode K2
Modded Oktava MK219
Oktava MK219

I just finished building acoustic panels and they go up next week. So treatment is taken care of. I have worked with most of the lower end preamps and the preamps in my Crest board are much better IMO. The MR816 converters sound great in comparison to the Motu, but I haven't compared with anything higher end.

Mics? Converters? Outboard Compressors? Preamps? Mac Pro? What would you guys do? I have about $2500 to spend.
Old 28th February 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
Without a doubt I would work on improving your mic collection. Specifically a LDC. You may also want to consider one "money channel" preamp like a warm audio or BLA pre. I would not worry about converters until you have a nice pre and LDC.

In your situation I would spend $2000 on a nice LDC. There are lots of great used mic's in that price range like the Neumann u87. I would also check out the warm audio tonebeast. Its a great versatile preamp.
Old 28th February 2014
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by godofmetalguita ➑️
I've been cleaning a lot of old live gear out and I'm looking to upgrade my studio. Here is a list of gear that I have:

Front End:
32 Channel Crest Century GT
Steinberg MR816x
Motu 8Pre
Mackie HR824
PC: Win7/PT9/ 6 Core AMD/ 8 gb ram/ SSD/ 5 tb storage
Waves/Slate Digital Plugins
DBX 166

Mics:
Shure SM7
Shure SM81 (x2)
Shure SM91
Shure Beta 52a
Shure Beta 98 (x2)
Shure SM57 (x8)
Shure SM58 (x6)
Sennheiser e609
Audix i5
Studio Projects B1 (x2)
Oktava MK219

I just finished building acoustic panels and they go up next week. So treatment is taken care of. I have worked with most of the lower end preamps and the preamps in my Crest board are much better IMO. The MR816 converters sound great in comparison to the Motu, but I haven't compared with anything higher end.

Mics? Converters? Outboard Compressors? Preamps? Mac Pro? What would you guys do? I have about $2500 to spend.
The best thing you can do is get a real recording desk for short money.There are some really nice ones for sale.
Old 28th February 2014
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
What do you mean by real desk? Like the thing that gear sits on, or a console? What would you recommend?
Old 28th February 2014
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I was considering the u87 or a blue kiwi. Is the u87 worth the extra scratch?
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by godofmetalguita ➑️
What do you mean by real desk? Like the thing that gear sits on, or a console? What would you recommend?
A real recording console instead of a little toy console.Harrison,Neotek,Amek or Sound Workshop would probably fit the bill for short money and make a big difference.
Old 28th February 2014
  #7
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not sure if you can get a great console for around $2500, so I agree with the suggestion of a LDC. They're incredibly versatile and really do make recordings sound much more life-like (or even supernatural).
Old 28th February 2014
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Tirmu's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
My suggestion is going to be a bit different.... Create music. When you do, is there something you don't like? Something that needs to be upgraded? My philosophy has always been "if you need to ask someone else what to buy you don't need it".
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by csimprov ➑️
Not sure if you can get a great console for around $2500, so I agree with the suggestion of a LDC. They're incredibly versatile and really do make recordings sound much more life-like (or even supernatural).
They are all over the market for change these days.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdb3 ➑️
They are all over the market for change these days.
Maybe you've got some insider connections that I don't, but I haven't seen any used consoles that don't need hundreds/thousands in maintenance updates that fit that bill. (He did say twenty-five HUNDRED, not twenty-five THOUSAND.) Even the small format consoles that I don't consider "toys" (Toft ATB, API 1608, Wunder, Tree Audio, Speck, RND, etc.) are well above the $2500 threshold. Maybe hook him (and us) up with some links to your source.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by csimprov ➑️
Maybe you've got some insider connections that I don't, but I haven't seen any used consoles that don't need hundreds/thousands in maintenance updates that fit that bill. (He did say twenty-five HUNDRED, not twenty-five THOUSAND.) Even the small format consoles that I don't consider "toys" (Toft ATB, API 1608, Wunder, Tree Audio, Speck, RND, etc.) are well above the $2500 threshold. Maybe hook him (and us) up with some links to your source.
The consoles are out there but you just have to start looking.I just got a 24 channel Neve 5114 from a tv station for 4k in perfect working order and totally recapped with a full patchbay because they went to an all digital console so please don't say they aren't out there.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdb3 ➑️
The consoles are out there but you just have to start looking.I just got a 24 channel Neve 5114 from a tv station for 4k in perfect working order and totally recapped with a full patchbay because they went to an all digital console so please don't say they aren't out there.
That sounds like a great deal on the Neve! Nice find! But it's still 60% over this guy's budget. (Just saying...) I'm sure if your mission was to find an undervalued console in the world, you would eventually find something, but in my experience, they certainly aren't as common as you have made it seem.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by csimprov ➑️
That sounds like a great deal on the Neve! Nice find! But it's still 60% over this guy's budget. (Just saying...) I'm sure if your mission was to find an undervalued console in the world, you would eventually find something, but in my experience, they certainly aren't as common as you have made it seem.
Or maybe people are just to lazy to look for them because there's a 32 channel Amek Angela sitting on ebay right now for 3k which is a nice little desk and would be a major upgrade for the poster wanting advice.Consoles and monitors are the heart of a studio.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdb3 ➑️
Or maybe people are just to lazy to look for them because there's a 32 channel Amek Angela sitting on ebay right now for 3k which is a nice little desk and would be a major upgrade for the poster wanting advice.Consoles and monitors are the heart of a studio.
Well at least that's a little closer to his budget (if it stays at that price), but I've yet to see an example within his $ range. Maybe I'm not lazy; maybe you're just wrong.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by csimprov ➑️
Well at least that's a little closer to his budget (if it stays at that price), but I've yet to see an example within his $ range. Maybe I'm not lazy; maybe you're just wrong.
Maybe you seem a little to lazy to look for yourself and your cocky attitude makes you look a little goofy.You seem not to be able to offer any major upgrades to the posters question that would make a major difference.After 40 years of owning recording studios I know what will make a huge difference.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdb3 ➑️
Maybe you seem a little to lazy to look for yourself and your cocky attitude makes you look a little goofy.You seem not to be able to offer any major upgrades to the posters question that would make a major difference.After 40 years of owning recording studios I know what will make a huge difference.
Whatever, dude. Your first post starts by insulting the OP's current gear. Then you proceed to suggest that anyone can find a great console under $2500, yet can't provide any real-world examples. I don't look anywhere close to cocky compared to you - especially when you toot your own horn about all the experience you have. Myself, I've been in the studio business 20+ years -- but that doesn't make my opinions any better or worse than the next guy's. Regardless, I'll take any schoolyard insult you throw at me in the name of keeping bs claims at bay on forums for people who need practical solutions.

Considering the OP doesn't own any LDCs, I still stand by my original suggestion that they will offer a significant improvement on his recordings. If he's savvy, he could even find a decent outboard pre and ADC and still keep it within his stated budget. This combination would certainly be a sonic upgrade on his front end. Peace.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by csimprov ➑️
Whatever, dude. Your first post starts by insulting the OP's current gear. Then you proceed to suggest that anyone can find a great console under $2500, yet can't provide any real-world examples. I don't look anywhere close to cocky compared to you - especially when you toot your own horn about all the experience you have. (I've been in the studio business 20+ years -- who cares?) Regardless, I'll take any schoolyard insult you throw at me in the name of keeping bs claims at bay on forums for people who need practical solutions.

Considering the OP doesn't own any LDCs, I still stand by my original suggestion that they will offer a significant improvement on his recordings. If he's savvy, he could even find a decent outboard pre and ADC and still keep it within his stated budget. This combination would certainly be a sonic upgrade on his front end. Peace.
I just put one up motor mouth and you sound like a clueless naive punk from beantown that I use to fire daily in the studio business that no one liked having people like you around in a controlroom.Get lost airhead!You add nothing to the posters problems because you are clueless.Go play your game with the semi pros on tape op.Where do these airhead puppies like you come from?SPACE!
Old 1st March 2014
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Old 1st March 2014
  #19
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Things tdb is bad at:

1) Insults
2) Reading
3) Writing
4) Sticking to a budget (see #2)
5) Using an online forum properly

Things tdb is good at:

1) Having an oversized ego
2) Conjecture

Find a new hobby, buddy. We don't need any more trolls around this place.
Old 1st March 2014
  #20
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the replies!

Eventually I plan on upgrading the Crest. I've been using this board for 10 years now and it's starting to get noisier and channels are dying. I've got 32 replacement channels coming Monday so I'm gonna give it another shot after it's been gone through. The sound is great, on par with Soundcraft and Allen and Heaths' offerings in the same price bracket. New this thing was almost $30,000, now I'd have a tough time getting $3000 for it. But the board was geared towards live applications (it was a monitor board for half of it's life). When I finish restoring it and sell it I'll have some more room for it to make sense to get a new board. Unfortunately right now a second board would make my control room uncomfortable.

I really like the idea of getting a nice LDC and "Money Channel".

Would it make sense to get something like a Blue Kiwi and a UA LA610? Or would I be better off getting a couple different mics/pres? Or maybe Oktavamod and a 500 series rack with a pre or 2? Pair of 414s?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #21
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What style(s) of music are you tracking? Mic choice and to a little lesser degree preamp choice are usually pretty source specific. Do you primarily track many instruments at once or do you build your productions one instrument at a time?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I record a lot of genres. Sometimes country, sometimes metal, but mostly in the vein of rock.

I would like something that works well in a few different applications. Namely vocals and drum room. I'm planning on having my oktava modded, and that is supposedly similar to a u67. So I guess I would want something that will cover other bases.

As far as preamp goes I definitely want a color pre. What do you guys think?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #23
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Very cool. Many home recording folks like the Blue stuff. I've not worked with their product line, so I can't comment about it. I'd be interested in hearing more about the Oktava mod.

It's worth considering getting a ribbon mic if you're into colored, full sounding results. The AEA R92 is pretty versatile and affordable. I've gotten good results with it on vox, drums, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and horns. I'm sure it'd be good on many other things as well. I did some sessions with Vance Powell a couple months back and he used a pair of R92s as tom mics while throwing an AEA R88 (kind of a stereo version of the R92) on OH and another in front of the kit. His go-to vocal mic is the classic RCA 77 ribbon, and he even pulled out an old BK-5 to put in front of the guitar cab. As you can see, ribbons are a pretty flexible investment.

As far as mic pres go, you can't really go wrong with any of the tried-and-true classic types: Neve, API, TAB, UA, et. al. There are so many excellent modern take-offs on these designs that you could probably make a list, throw a dart at it and get great results with whichever one the dart landed on.

One suggestion I have is to (if you haven't already) get friendly with a few studio guys around town. A lot of people in the business are friendly, creative-types who love learning and sharing what they've learned. Do some sessions with them and be up front about your intentions. After hearing some examples of the different circuit design styles, you'll likely gravitate towards a sound and go in that direction. I think the best bang for the buck is API 500 series preamps. I'm more of a Neve guy, myself, but that hasn't stopped me from using API (and API-type) gear to get awesome results.

Below is a mono rock guitar track I recorded in August with an AEA R92 through an API 512c to tape (Studer A820) then transferred into PT 24/44.1 - no plugins used. The guitar is a custom one-off thing through an Empress Multidrive pedal. The amp is a mod'd Plexi-type circuit inside a '68 Traynor YBA-1 head through a 70s Orange 4x12 cab.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #24
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I don't think the attachment worked. Trying again.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #25
Gear Nut
 
csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
gearslutz.com FAIL.
Attached Files

AEA R92 - Electric.wav (3.44 MB, 343 views)

Old 6th March 2014
  #26
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
i loved all the suggestions listed but to be honest the NUMBER 1 thing you need is a solid computer. I would spend the money on a top notch computer. Its unprofessional when people come in and pro tools crashes, or your computer is too slow.

Maybe its just me but I would recommend at least 16 gigs just to give yourself a little room. Granted I have no idea how many tracks youre normally using or anything like that.....but coming from a background in pop where its normal to see over 150 tracks I need a powerhouse of a computer.

Good luck!! Upgrading is always so much fun.
Old 7th March 2014
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I rarely have issues with my computer. I have been considering a Mac Pro for some time but it's hard for me to warrant when the one I have has no problems keeping up with 12 hour sessions.
Old 7th March 2014 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tirmu ➑️
My suggestion is going to be a bit different.... Create music. When you do, is there something you don't like? Something that needs to be upgraded? My philosophy has always been "if you need to ask someone else what to buy you don't need it".
Definitely not a bad philosophy...
Old 13th March 2014
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I picked up an A Designs Pacifica, Rode K2, and a modded Oktava MK219. I haven't had a chance to try the mics yet but the Pacifica is a major upgrade. I'll report back after I get a chance to try out the mics.
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