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12-15K to spend on outboard, help me choose wisely?
Old 21st August 2015
  #1
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🎧 5 years
12-15K to spend on outboard, help me choose wisely?

Hello slutz. I have a moog-filled studio that lacks any supportive processing. Over the course of this next year, I have this amount of money to take me in a much more serious direction with my music. SO, I'm asking fellow friends to help guide me with suggestions. I have 2 general routes I'd like to take, and maybe a good general opening for the discussion:

1: should I simply beef up my master chain starting with analog summing?

2: would it be more beneficial to have solid pres/DIs before converters, and later do what I can for the master, at the sacrifice that potentially I might only afford a solid master bus compressor?

I have UA Apollo converters with enough ins and outs ready to go. I'm just trying to see what would truly inflate my sound and give it a rich professionalism. I know the budget is tight, especially with how many possibilities are out there, but considering my limitations for the next 12 months, I'm curious to see what you guys would do with this amount of cash.

Thanks in advance!
Old 21st August 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
What kind of music are you making? Do you use a DAW and plugins?
Old 21st August 2015
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
There are plenty of great master bus options between 12k-15k. If you're generally happy using UAD plugins for tracking/mixing, then work on the bus compressor. You can totally use any of these to track as well.

I think you can get 2 equalizers, 2 compressors, the analog summing unit, and a colouring device for 12K-13K. Keep in mind these are all high quality boutique items.
Compressors: Shadows Hill, API 2500, Crane Song, SSL, A-Designs etc

Equalizers: A-Designs Hammer, API, UBK Clariphonic, etc

Analog Summing-I wouldn't even go crazy on the analog summing unit. Just get an active unit that you can set and forget.

If you just want to totally beef up your audio with distortion/colour, then look into something like the FATSO or Mammoth Cave Audio's Whooly Passive Agressive.


It really comes down to how you like to work. Are you someone who gets all of their sounds when tracking or do you like to build up the music during mixing?
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer ➑️
What kind of music are you making? Do you use a DAW and plugins?
Thanks for the replies so far fellas. So, I write Electronic music of various types, but I'm not a general fan of a lot of the run-of-the-mill tracks and sounds going around. I'm using all of the UAD stuff, I also have a full suite of waves horizon as well, but honestly man, I'm just not getting that forward sounding aggressiveness I'm looking for. To get close, I have to max my CPU and stack and stack plugins. And at the end of the day, It's just not quite there yet.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timshel0 ➑️
There are plenty of great master bus options between 12k-15k. If you're generally happy using UAD plugins for tracking/mixing, then work on the bus compressor. You can totally use any of these to track as well.

I think you can get 2 equalizers, 2 compressors, the analog summing unit, and a colouring device for 12K-13K. Keep in mind these are all high quality boutique items.
Compressors: Shadows Hill, API 2500, Crane Song, SSL, A-Designs etc

Equalizers: A-Designs Hammer, API, UBK Clairphonic, etc

Analog Summing-I wouldn't even go crazy on the analog summing unit. Just get an active unit that you can set and forget.

If you just want to totally beef up your audio with distortion/colour, then look into something like the FATSO or Mammoth Cave Audio's Whooly Passive Agressive.


It really comes down to how you like to work. Are you someone who gets all of their sounds when tracking or do you like to build up the music during mixing?
I've had thoughts of some similar gear, what about the analog summing are you not too crazy about? When I'm thinking about my master, I've been interested in the neve MBP, and the shadow hills compressor tickles my fancy as well, but I've had a hard time finding one used.

My workflow is a "print everything at the end" way. I work a lot with my hardware synths and programming so I like to be able to tweak and retweak until it's mostly there. It keeps everything quite live and exploration friendly until I can't do any more. I like a-less-is-more philosophy, fewer tracks, more room for really big sound, tight focus.

I'm mostly wondering if a solid master chain will pull me through, or if a more balanced approach of "on the way in and out" is key.
Old 21st August 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
If you have all those plugins you should be able to narrow down to what kind of thing you want a bit more. In my experience the main part of a really good mix is from getting the sounds and arrangement right in the first place. A lot of professionals are getting great results with nothing more than you have already.
Old 21st August 2015
  #7
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PdotDdot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Well to me it sounds like you are doing what slutz do and that is spending a lot of money on gear. If your recordings and mixes are of a pro quality already then a few pieces might help raise the bar. Otherwise, you, like me and many others are tossing money into the abyss. Only you can know for certain.
Old 21st August 2015
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
What are you hoping to the gear will offer you plugins wont?

What are your monitors and mixing environment like? Could be you just need better monitoring to make better decisions.

Is analog gear used that much in electronic music? I have not idea but I imagine most is all ITB.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 5 years
All advice is much appreciated, But mixing aside gents, where in the "external processing world" do y'all like to achieve your sounds? Where did you find your appropriate start or direction?
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwagner ➑️
What are you hoping to the gear will offer you plugins wont?

What are your monitors and mixing environment like? Could be you just need better monitoring to make better decisions.

Is analog gear used that much in electronic music? I have not idea but I imagine most is all ITB.
I'm more looking for advice on where I can begin towards grabbing some outboard gear. I'm rocking some genelcs that I love, and my studio is completely treated.
Old 21st August 2015
  #11
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
put 11k in the bank and take 1k and hire an engineer for private mixing lessons and consulting as to what gear you REALLY NEED
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovetubes ➑️
put 11k in the bank and take 1k and hire an engineer for private mixing lessons and consulting as to what gear you REALLY NEED
Yeah, that's kinda what I was hinting at. Or spend some money on education perhaps.

Last edited by explorer; 21st August 2015 at 05:47 PM..
Old 21st August 2015
  #13
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
This thread is intended to be a "help me blow cash in an educated direction" kind of discussion :D
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #14
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunWinston ➑️
This thread is intended to be a "help me blow cash in an educated direction" kind of discussion :D
blowing cash and educated direction dont fuse together
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunWinston ➑️
This thread is intended to be a "help me blow cash in an educated direction" kind of discussion :D
Find a good savings account or pay off your mortgage. Spend more time working on your skills.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #16
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer ➑️
Find a good savings account or pay off your mortgage. Spend more time working on your skills.
That's not what this discussion is about. Just looking to see what perspectives people have on the subject of their processing gear, and where they like to direct their sound from.
Old 21st August 2015
  #17
Gear Guru
Open a Roth IRA. You will need that money some day and will thank yourself for saving it.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunWinston ➑️
I'm more looking for advice on where I can begin towards grabbing some outboard gear. I'm rocking some genelcs that I love, and my studio is completely treated.
Cool, I would say a nice buss comp would be the place to start and go from there once you find the one you like, follow that with a nice EQ if the comp is taking out too much of your highs. The 500 series Dramastic Audio Obsidian has a really cool low frequency side chain, with one setting being 30hz. That could be potentially really nice for electronic music. It's also fully stepped which is so nice.
Old 21st August 2015
  #19
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Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Based on the type of music you do, go here deadmau5. He lays out a complete foundation of the gear it takes to be competitive in this type of music.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #20
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone ➑️
Based on the type of music you do, go here deadmau5. He lays out a complete foundation of the gear it takes to be competitive in this type of music.
Cool thanks y'all. Deadmau5 certainly has a great sounding rig.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #21
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwagner ➑️
Cool, I would say a nice buss comp would be the place to start and go from there once you find the one you like, follow that with a nice EQ if the comp is taking out too much of your highs. The 500 series Dramastic Audio Obsidian has a really cool low frequency side chain, with one setting being 30hz. That could be potentially really nice for electronic music. It's also fully stepped which is so nice.
Cool I'm checking that out now. Do you have any others that you like?
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunWinston ➑️
Cool I'm checking that out now. Do you have any others that you like?
My Shadow Hills Dual Optograph but it's not in production any longer. The transformer desaturate makes for some really transparent compression when wanted. Those are the only two I have ended up using on the mix buss. I tried Slate Dragons which were nice but not being stepped made it less than ideal for matching stereo. The Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph sounds nice but I found it to be a bit limited on the mix buss with no attack or release controls but it sounded nice and has the side chaining too, the attack and release do change based on the ratio setting though. It might be worth checking out as it has a lot "weight" to the sound and is super easy to use if it gets you to the sound you like.

I assume you have a dealer who will let you try all these out? That's by far the only way to roll. Since you have a good budget I would get a few from a dealer to have them all on hand for testing.
Old 21st August 2015
  #23
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Avening's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Master bus for electronic music ...

1 x RND 5059 Satellite

1 x Elysia Mpressor
1 x Elysia Museq

$14K

If you could swing an upgrade to an Apollo 16 for more summing channels, it'd be worth it.

Whether or not you need it? Not my call.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunWinston ➑️
Cool thanks y'all. Deadmau5 certainly has a great sounding rig.
Deadmau5 just has all that stuff because he can (see also his Purrari and Nyanborghini Deadmau5 Is Replacing The 'Purrari' With A 'Nyanborghini Purracan'). He could make a great sounding track using nothing more than Ableton Live. In fact, his earlier tracks were made pretty much ITB and even his newer stuff still uses a lot of plugins. His track "Strobe" is named after the FXpansion plugin of the same name.

Maybe I've got the wrong idea, but based on the way you asked the question ("I have this amount of money to take me in a much more serious direction with my music", "what would truly inflate my sound and give it a rich professionalism") suggests that you think new equipment is magically going to make your mixes sound amazing. That simply isn't the way it works. You can make professional mixes using the equipment you already have if you know how.

Just my 2 cents. Of course you can spend/waste your money however you like. Very few of my professional electronic music friends are using any outboard at all.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #25
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwagner ➑️
My Shadow Hills Dual Optograph but it's not in production any longer. The transformer desaturate makes for some really transparent compression when wanted. Those are the only two I have ended up using on the mix buss. I tried Slate Dragons which were nice but not being stepped made it less than ideal for matching stereo. The Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph sounds nice but I found it to be a bit limited on the mix buss with no attack or release controls but it sounded nice and has the side chaining too, the attack and release do change based on the ratio setting though. It might be worth checking out as it has a lot "weight" to the sound and is super easy to use if it gets you to the sound you like.

I assume you have a dealer who will let you try all these out? That's by far the only way to roll. Since you have a good budget I would get a few from a dealer to have them all on hand for testing.
I've been searching for a dealer here in Pittsburgh, I might make a drive out to somewhere within a few hours if i can find somewhere. I was watching a bunch of tests on on the shadow hills master comp, and I love the ability to switch between nickel iron and steel transformer.
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #26
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BradM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
Open a Roth IRA. You will need that money some day and will thank yourself for saving it.
I recommend VTSAX at Vanguard. Seriously.

As for the OP's questions...

I would normally recommend tracking room acoustics and microphones first and foremost over converters, mic pres, and buss compressors. Since Shaun is working primarily on electronic music those tools probably won't be as important to him. However, spending money on the monitoring environment will definitely yield a tangible improvement in results...if it's something that hasn't already been done. So this means the "control room" (wherever you monitor your sounds and mix) acoustics, and the speakers to which you are listening. Personally that's where I would throw 100% of this money before I even considered anything else. I know upgrading your room and monitors is not always as fun as buying a piece of rack gear with big knobs and flashing LEDs, but it definitely will pay dividends in the quality of work. If you can't trust what you are hearing, then you'll never be able to accurately assess whether that Neve style coloration is benefitting your track, or if the 2 dB of buss compression is helping or hurting your mix, let alone whether or not converter A sounds better than converter B.

If I had to start all over from scratch I'd put the majority of my investment into my room and monitors before anything else.

Brad

Last edited by BradM; 21st August 2015 at 07:50 PM..
Old 21st August 2015 | Show parent
  #27
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan ➑️
I recommend VTSAX at Vanguard. Seriously.

Brad
love that avatar holy ****
Old 21st August 2015
  #28
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🎧 5 years
better off without pres. Your Moogs don't need em. Try for a few great DIs instead and save guap... or just drop the idea totally and buy something more useful.

Since you have the Waves and UAD stuff and aren't getting the results you want...it's time for better monitors or room correction?

Or maybe you just vibe better with hardware. In that case, I'd probably be looking into compressors/effects before pres. A pair of tweakers will run you about 3500. Amazing for what they do.

That leaves roughly 10k for other purchases. All the cool kids reamp. How about a pair of transient designers? Maybe you want that tube tone and buy a culture vulture...

do you even eventide bro?

Strymon effects are dope too. That new JHS colourbox pedal will do the neve thing for 400. Maybe buy some eurorack effect modules and some CV sequencers...the 4ms stuff is like fifty shades of cray.
Old 21st August 2015
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah the Tweaker would be something to check out for sure. I haven't used one yet but the videos are insane. It looks like it would cover so many bases and give you lots of options.

You might check with some of the dealers about shipping you products to try out. You have to ship them back of course but that way you can run mixes in your room through them, which is by far the most ideal way to try out gear.
Old 21st August 2015
  #30
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🎧 10 years
Haha when did we turn into 'fiscal responsibility slutz'? (I don't mean to trivialize the concern or value of the advice - it's spot on of course)

To counter the wisdom I will speak recklessly and totally out of my place since my setup and genres are completely different from yours and say that the API 2500 continues to surprise me whenever I try it on something new. I've been messing with it for a couple years now and feel like I still have a lot (of good things) to learn about it
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