Too much equipment. Trim down?

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

standup
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Too much equipment. Trim down?

Post by standup » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:28 am

Over the last 20 years I've gone from 4 track cassette to narrow gauge reel to reel to digital recording. Big console, small console, no console (right now I'm "in the box, though I may not stay there).

Really, I've never made money doing this. It's a spare time thing recording bands I play in and people I know really well. I should rationalize my setup for my needs and not worry about being totally versatile.

I'll be recording bands I'm in, so I need enough channels for drum kit + 2-3 other instruments + vocals. Acoustic or electric instruments.

Help me figure out what's a good, flexible setup that will take up less space, any thoughts appreciated.

Too many mic pres: 4 channels of API reproductions. 2 channels of Neotek console strips racked, Langevin Dual Vocal combo, Symetrix 202 and Electro Harmonix tube. Plus a SoundWorkshop 1280b small board that could be good if recapped. It's smaller than the Rack of Pre's. I might get rid of the Langevin and Neotek and get maybe a Sytek (4 channels, smaller footprint) and rack it in a smaller, lighter enclosure.

50' snake from upstairs "control room" to the LR and kitchen where I do most recording.

I've got too many mics, but they don't take up all that much space. Plenty of dynamics (from 421s to Shure omnis to PL20, etc), a few ribbons (Beyer and Chinese), lots of small condensors (KM 184 pair, MXL 603s, Oktava cardiod/omni), several large condensors (u195, BLUE Baby Bottle and Dragonfly Deluxe, TLM 103, Oktave M3 head for 012 body).

Mic stands! Cables! Patch bays! It's basically more than I need. Look out, Tape Opper's, this is where you'll end up.

Misc small boxes -- +4/-10 step up/down, DI's, a BBE I never use, a Hum Eliminator, a IFTAD/ADAT convertor. More stuff like this.

A few compressors -- Symetrix, Aphex CX, RNC

A few outboard reverbs -- cheap digital stuff from Alesis and Roland. And an Orban spring that's fun.

One "Ecoplate III" that takes up a lot of room.

Macbook, 2 Ghz / 2 MB RAM. Seems sufficient, it's doing the job on what I do right now when mixing and tracking.

JBL LSR 28 monitors in a semi-treated small control room. Again, seem to be doing the job.

User avatar
Randy
tinnitus
Posts: 1078
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 6:54 am
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Post by Randy » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:49 pm

This isn't the advice you are asking for, but...

Every time I have sold something to "make space" or even to upgrade I have regretted it. You do have a lot of stuff, but if you consolidate and streamline the way you have it all set up you might be able to keep it all. It's easy and cheap to make a rack and a wardrobe out of 2x2s and plywood.

It's funny. I feel like I'm trying to talk someone out of jumping from a roof.
not to worry, just keep tracking....

User avatar
Scodiddly
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3419
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 6:38 am
Location: Mundelein, IL, USA
Contact:

Post by Scodiddly » Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:12 pm

Recap the little board. Sell the BBE. Maybe sell the old digital reverbs. Hang onto the rest. 8)

dsw
tinnitus
Posts: 1247
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:23 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

Post by dsw » Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:56 pm

Scodidly is right. Good advice.

standup
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Post by standup » Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:27 pm

If I spend the money to recap the Sound Workshop board, it'll be 12 channels of hopefully pretty decent pre. That's why getting rid of some misc pre's sounds like an idea. 12 direct outs, each channel has the "super EQ" with frequency sweep on 3 bands.

I was hoping to use it for summing, but in its current state audio sounds worse for wear passing through the board. Post-recap it might be different.

RefD
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5993
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:10 pm

Post by RefD » Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:22 pm

for certain, recap the Sound Workshop board and ditch the BBE.

i'd hesitate to lose those pres, tho.
?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

User avatar
allbaldo
pushin' record
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK.
Contact:

Post by allbaldo » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:11 pm

standup wrote:If I spend the money to recap the Sound Workshop board, it'll be 12 channels of hopefully pretty decent pre. That's why getting rid of some misc pre's sounds like an idea. 12 direct outs, each channel has the "super EQ" with frequency sweep on 3 bands.

I was hoping to use it for summing, but in its current state audio sounds worse for wear passing through the board. Post-recap it might be different.
If you haven't checked out the yahoo Sound Workshop group, you should.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/soundworkshop/

There are upgrades to the 1280b that might make it useable for summing. One of the regulars there used to build the SW boards, and has a lot of good advice for improving them, and he'll do the work if you want him to. I've got a 1280b too, and am about to get into some improvements. I wish mine had the Super EQ on all 12 channels like yours. There's a ton of info there.

Oh yeah, and I agree with Scodiddly on selling your stuff. I'm bettin' you'll wish you'll had it later.

standup
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Post by standup » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:37 pm

I get embarassed when I read the equpment list of somebody who's doing this for a living and I have a better selection of mics and pres than they do. That's what gives me the urge to cut back.

nestle
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:11 pm
Location: around somewhere

Post by nestle » Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:02 am

how do you like the symetrix 202?

sell some of your SDCs, do you really need more than the km184's?

ckeene
suffering 'studio suck'
Posts: 418
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 2:15 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

Post by ckeene » Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:35 am

standup wrote:I get embarassed when I read the equpment list of somebody who's doing this for a living and I have a better selection of mics and pres than they do. That's what gives me the urge to cut back.
Morally, and aesthetically, just because you're recording your own music (and not making a living out of it), doesn't mean you don't have a right to have a good selection of high quality gear.

From an economic standpoint, it makes horrible sense, and unlike having other horrible investments such as sailboats or muscle cars, no one ever got laid from having a pultec EQ.

User avatar
zetabass
studio intern
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:05 am
Contact:

Post by zetabass » Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:11 am

standup wrote:and unlike having other horrible investments such as sailboats or muscle cars, no one ever got laid from having a pultec EQ.
Are you sure about that? Dammit..

( Cancels pultec order... )
Viva La Resolution!

standup
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Post by standup » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:58 am

The Symetrix 202 sounds good, I bought this one with the Burr Brown mod already done.

The above quote isn't me, I never mistook my spending on audio gear for an investment.

Oh, and small condensors -- if the 184s are doing overheads and I still have a mandolin or acoustic guitar, more small condensors are handy. And I'll take MXL's out for live sound gigs that would make me nervous if I had to use the Neumanns.

User avatar
radiationroom
steve albini likes it
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 9:14 pm
Location: The Glow-In-The-Dark Abyss South of TMI
Contact:

Post by radiationroom » Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:13 pm

standup wrote:I get embarassed when I read the equpment list of somebody who's doing this for a living and I have a better selection of mics and pres than they do. That's what gives me the urge to cut back.
It is not at all unusual for a well-funded hobbiest to be better equipped than commercial for-hire enterprizes in the same vocation.

Examples:
  • My pop has a print-shop which the typical T-shirt vendor or sign maker would kill for, but he doesn't do printing commercially, except for his own fine artwork.
  • There is the surgeon up the street from us who built a multitrack studio in his house that rivals Sheffield's B-room (Yamaha digital console, Distressors, Manley, Neumann mics, ProTools HD, Steinway piano, professionally designed soundproof construction, etc) and he maybe records two or three songs tops in a year, mostly for his own entertainment.
In Sharp Contrast With:
  • I know guys who do radio spots using not much more than Audioware or Cool Edit Pro on a cheap Dell with a PCI audio card, a cheap two-input Behringer mixer, an SM57, and a boom-box as monitors, because that is all they need to do their job. The weekly editing of my own "Mix Attack Radio Network" uses nothing more than an old G4 Power Mac running an old version of ProTools and a pre-historic version of Toast. To invest in something bigger, newer, and better just for the radio show would be a waste of monitary resources.
  • Some of my best paying recording gigs were done with nothing more than a Crown SASS-P-MK2 microphone, a two channel preamp, and a stereo recording device.

The question is for "fool-timers" working in any profession is "will that new doo-dat either increase the volume of business, increase my hourly rate, help me do my job quicker and better, or enable me to offer my clients something new that I can't do already?" If one answers "no" to all of them (or in some cases any of them), then one does not purchase the new whatever it is that one wanted to purchase. In sharp contrast, when one funds equipment as a hobby from post-tax income, the only question is "can I make the payment?." I know it sounds counter-intutiave, but that is the way the real world works.

When you have a bottom line to watch and have to pay for everything out of your pre-tax business cashflow (instead of funding it from money earned from another profession), every piece of whatever one buys has to earn back it's purchase cost in one way or another, or the business can get "upside down" on equipment debt real quick. Just take a look at how many big-buck consoles were repro'd by the leasing companies during the studio bust of the late 1990s and you can see what I'm talking about.

So don't freek out if you have better gear than someone who earns his full-time take from recording. It's not what you have that counts or even what you do with it. It's whether or not you can make the payments. End of story.

Knowing this, do you still consider yourself to be "over equipped"? Enjoy your gear!

YMMV

73's - Peter Carli

kayagum
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 11:11 pm
Location: Saint Paul, MN

Post by kayagum » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:08 am

On the HGTV side of things:

Maybe it isn't the quantity of equipment, but the organization of the equipment. Do you have everything in containers? If not, get to your local superstore and buy a dozen Rubbermaid totes and get busy organizing. At the very least, you can get your cables and snakes organized. Get some coat hooks and/or trees and hang your frequently used cords. Go to IKEA and get proper work furniture. Rack everything you can.

Speaking of frequently, if you haven't used the gear in the past 12 months, it may be a candidate for the Buy/Sell/Trade forum. That's usually the best test of whether you would miss it or not. And you can always buy another one of practically anything if you really miss it or need it.

It is the new year after all. Organizing isn't a bad thing to do.
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." ~ Erica Jong

"No one wants advice ? only corroboration." ~ John Steinbeck

User avatar
radiationroom
steve albini likes it
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 9:14 pm
Location: The Glow-In-The-Dark Abyss South of TMI
Contact:

Post by radiationroom » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:41 am

kayagum wrote:Rack everything you can.
A rack can be easily constructed out of 1x4 dimensional lumber and angle hardware. Rack rails are available from places such as Marketek and Parts Express. IMO typical commercial studio racks which are made from laminated chipboard or sawdust board are a complete ripoff. If you purchase a pre-manufactured rack, get one made from sheet-metal, such as a Hammond or a Bud.

73's - Peter Carli

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests