Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studio

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swonderme
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Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studio

Post by swonderme » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:43 pm

I'm taking the leap from my Roland VS-1680 to a full computer-based DAW solution.

Since this is new territory for me, I've spent the last few weeks researching via this forum and other audio forums on the best setup for my requirements. Thanks already to all you other smart fools for providing plenty of starting points for my research. Honeslty, a month ago I had no freaking clue what the difference was between Cubase and Reason, Audio Cards confused the crap out of me and reading all the things you guys have discussed has really helped.

I guess I should clarify. I'm very familiar with the recording process. About 20 years worth of work. Tracking and mixing, routing, mic'ing, using outboard gear...compressors, eq's, etc..blah, blah, blah. Via tape and digital. But I have not kept up with their counterparts on a PC. Started on 4 track cassette and have moved up through the ranks over there years...and well, here I am.

Anyway, I'm pretty close to having this stuff all worked out and for my core pieces of gear I had pretty much decided on the following:

RME Fireface 800 audio interface - $1,449.00
Cubase SX3 - $599.99

After pondering that for a couple days, I realized that at that price I'm now in the price range of a Digi 002 protools setup. I think the MX002 Digi 002 with the control surface and all that for is around $2195, and the Digi 002 Factory Bundle is around $2700 and it seems to have all that plus a ton of cool plugins.

RME fireface
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7...ase_pid/709320/

MX002 Digi 002
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7...ase_pid/240474/

Digi 002 Factory Bundle
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7...ase_pid/240476/

I've already checked my hardware requirements, and I can run any of these options on my machine.

So at this point it's just a crap shoot. I don't have any way of truly auditioning these systems to see what my preferences would be.

The RME card seems like a freaking cream dream. But it would also be nice to have that control surface of the Digi, and plus it comes bundled with so many nice plugins that it seems like I wouldn't need to go out and buy much more than that for the time being.

I guess I'm looking for a little advice, pros and cons, experience of other users and whatnot.

My desires:

-Something that I can get up and running with relativly quickly.

-Although I will be adding to the system over time....it would be nice to not feel like I'm in need of another grand worth of pres or software and stuff for a while.

-Again, I would really like to spend my time making music, not farting around with drivers, patches, ridiculous learning curves, etc.. (I know I'll be doing some of this....but are either the less of too evils?)

My background and what I want to do with the system if that helps any:

-I'm a guitar player. I play a lot of acoustic, a Hawaiian lap steel (a Weissenborn style copy), as well as electric. My music will primarliy be stringed instruments (recorded both direct and miked) and some vocals.....with synth, drums and effects coming primarily from the computer.

-I've been recording since the early 80's (yeah, I'm an old dude) starting on 4 tracks, and have spent the last 6 or 7 years on the VS1680.

-I've got some decent mics, but I will be adding to that over time. No great pres, a couple old outboard compressors, but they aren't that great and I'd like to have something reasonable in the software for now.

-I've purchased a M-Audio Radium49 MIDI Controller, Reason, and I'm looking into something like FXpansion's BFD software drum module or Drums From Hell.

Anyway, I understand that no one can make my decision for me, but I'm ready to pull the trigger on one of these babies and I would love to have any input I can get.

So, what do you guys think, RME Fireface/Cubase or ProTools 002 with a console and a bunch of plugins?? What would you do?

Thanks you all in advance! I'll be sleeping on it for a few days, and I'd love to see what some of your feelings and opinions would be.

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apropos of nothing
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by apropos of nothing » Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:39 pm

I think the thing to do is: Look at the potential sound-cards and research how compatible they are with the specific hardware platform (Mac model or PC mobo/NIC/HD controller, etc.) that you will be using them with.

Any of the soundcards you mentioned should sound great.

I wish I'd known ahead of time that the sc I got was not compatible with a Promise RAID/IDE controller. I coulda spared myself a lot of headache.

generally the thing to do would be enter (for example) "rme fireface ASUS MV-7 problem" into Google and see if other folks are using this setup successfully.

http://www.audioforums.com is a good resource for this stuff too.

Good luck! Have fun.

swonderme
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by swonderme » Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:59 pm

apropos of nothing wrote:
(some really good advice...)

Good luck! Have fun.
Thanks, I spent the weekend doing just that on your advice to make sure my machine would be happy with whatever choice I make.

I guess no one has any advice or help to give on my decision. I'm kind of suprised, being that so many people show up here obviously having done no research on their own and blatantly ask "Tell me what soundcard to get?" And they seem to get plenty of replies.

I tried to do my due diligence up front before asking stupid questions....but maybe I went on too long or something? Oh well.

Anyway, just to close the loop......after continuing my research and speaking with some other folks on other boards I've decided to go with the RME Fireface, Cubase SX3, and a TC PowerCore Element as the base elements of my PC based DAW. I think the Fireface is a really sweet piece of gear and from following the RME newsgroups and speaking to other owners I have yet to find a complaint. The president of the company even answers questions on their newsgroup. They seem to have rock solid drivers, and the thing has awesome upgrade paths. In addition, I was able to get a great deal on all 3 of those items for 2100 bucks which is cheaper than the Digi 002 Factory bundle (although I would have happily paid the same price.)

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Scodiddly
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by Scodiddly » Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:36 am

Don't worry about not getting much advice - it really didn't sound like you needed any.

dynomike
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by dynomike » Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:07 am

Now that its quite fruitless to chip in, I'll add that I really love RME stuff. Great sounding and reliable hardware, and great software to control it.
Making Efforts and Forging Ahead Courageously! Keeping Honest and Making Innovations Perpetually!

swonderme
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by swonderme » Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:11 am

dynomike wrote:Now that its quite fruitless to chip in, I'll add that I really love RME stuff. Great sounding and reliable hardware, and great software to control it.
hehe, thanks.....it actually does help to hear that people like their stuff.

thanks guys.....i dig this board and hopefully i'll be able to contribute from the side of "knowledge" down the road!

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Huntlabs
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by Huntlabs » Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:59 am

If you go the Digi route I suggest the 002R not the control surface. I know the faders are cool and everything but what I've heard is you will still be reaching for the mouse all the time. With the money you save buy a Waves bundle. The 002R is about $1400 right? WHen I mix I write the automation to the track. Listen to it, tweak it. You can use the control surface for this but sometimes it's easy to just grab a mouse and drop some pointsand be done. Don't know if that makes sense.

I lusted over the 002 for a long time but over at Digi's DUC most of the 002 users, if not all are using the 002R. Go to the DUC and check the compatability pages / documents etc. Digi stuff can be a very high maitainence bitch.

I'm looking at the 002 with a laptop for portability.

The downsides to the 002 is the lightpipe in only supports 44.1 and 48 sample rates. (I just use 44.1 / 24 anyway all my shit goes to CD or MP3 anyway.) No wordclock out or in. I have an Octopre, love it, and a Lucid AD 9624. I'll have to but a separate clock to feed those two units and then set the clock in protools to ADAT or SPDIF.

Email me if you have anymore questions... Have fun!

John
"Add water, makes its own sauce"

www.CRACKERTONES.com

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syrupcore
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by syrupcore » Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:33 pm

pro-tools. I really hate to say it but pro-tools. I've not used cubase in a few versions but if you're used to tape and mixers and inserts 'n shit, pro-tools was made for you and cubase might be a freak show. cubase is proly shitload more powerful and all that but if you're basically looking for a beefier 1680, Pro tools is it. Plus compatability with other studios and all the regular benefits of being just like everyone else.

thing is, PT can just be a bastard some times. error after inexplicable error. double double check your machine (particularly your chipset and fireware card) on the Digi site. On the other hand, cubase seems to just work for most people (as do tracktion and sonar). PT will try to rob you in the future for updates but I guess steinberg doesn't exactly give stuff away either.

If you go digi, I'd agree with the above: skip the surface and buy the rack. there's a hundred better things to spend your money on. if it was a 24 channel control surface with all the goodies, that'd be one thing but it aint and since you'll still need to use the mouse and keyboard to do so much you'll find yourself shunning a 3rd input device (the control surface).

so there. hardly any advice but lot's of opinion. either way, I think you'll be pretty jazzed. you're getting some nice stuff.

will

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Slider
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by Slider » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:20 pm

I'd take Cubase SX3 and a fireface 800 over a PT 002 LE system anyday.
PT LE is limited and the RME converters are way better than the 002's. not to mention all the digital and analog options the fireface 800 has.

Good luck, I think you made a good choice.

junior
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by junior » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:45 pm

Slider wrote:I'd take Cubase SX3 and a fireface 800 over a PT 002 LE system anyday.
PT LE is limited and the RME converters are way better than the 002's. not to mention all the digital and analog options the fireface 800 has.

Good luck, I think you made a good choice.
yeah, what he said... ;)
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep"...
--Scott Adams

swonderme
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Re: Last minute advice before I drop a few grand on my studi

Post by swonderme » Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:47 am

Slider wrote:I'd take Cubase SX3 and a fireface 800 over a PT 002 LE system anyday.
PT LE is limited and the RME converters are way better than the 002's. not to mention all the digital and analog options the fireface 800 has.

Good luck, I think you made a good choice.
Thanks, sort of what I thought but it helps to hear other people agree!!

Thanks everyone for the help.

Ordered and on it's way!

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