Help my friend spend $5,000.00

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Catoogie
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Help my friend spend $5,000.00

Post by Catoogie » Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:38 am

My buddy has about 5k to redo his home recording set-up. He needs a new computer and I thought he should go with one of those little white MacBooks. I see lots of people using them who use lots of plug-ins and figured it would be a good way to save some cash and not get more computer than he needs. I thought maybe he could get a used big monitor, I know Dell has a big cinema screen that's nearly identical to the Apple.

He currently has an Mbox but he wants something with more inputs so he can record more channels at once. What do you suggest? Should he go with an 003 or a used 002R? Are there any cool surfaces or racks with preamps?

Microphones. He has a bunch of 57's, an AKG C1000 and some MXL. He wants to get an AKG 414 and some CAD mic that's about $500. I thought for $1500 for a mic budget he could probably get much, MUCH more for his money.

What do you guys think?

mvollrath
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Post by mvollrath » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:45 am

How nice does his room sound? If I had that kind of budget I'd drop a lot on treatment, personally.
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antilog
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Post by antilog » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:23 pm

Approaching a request for advice with a topic subject like that is begging for snarky responses, especially in the current economy, as folks are selling off gear to pay bills.

That being said, the request for info is valid, and it is smart to do some research before spending money.

While I am definitely not anti-Mac, if he only has $5k to invest, if it were me, I would go with a Win-based system, and use the cash savings on software and other recording gear. I work with Mac OS, Win, various Linux distros. I don't think linux would be worth the time it would take to research compatibility for what he wants to do. That leaves Mac and Win. In my experience, Mac hardware is relatively expensive at the start, and expensive when it breaks. For example, I've heard too many folks taking their macbook into the apple store and being told it will be $700-800 to replace the LCD, compared to under $250 on a win-based laptop.

Also, choosing a DAW software will somewhat determine the OS and thus hardware. It sounds like he is already using something, what would that be? What is the thought process with going Digidesign route?

Also, is he averse to doing research on this forum?
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Ryan Silva
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Post by Ryan Silva » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:25 pm

mvollrath wrote:How nice does his room sound? If I had that kind of budget I'd drop a lot on treatment, personally.
:^:

+1

The most unglamorous way to spend money, but in a home environment it makes a bigger difference than a $1000 mic, seriously. I picked up a pair of AKG 414's thinking it would change everything, but until I dropped $500 on bass trapping I could barley hear the quality of my new microphones.

Not to say that 414's wouldn't be a good buy. They are always on sale used, look there first.
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Post by Bro Shark » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:32 pm

Used 002R. Decent monitors if he doesn't already have some. Everything else should be picked up on an "as-needed" basis. Like: "I was trying to accomplish x, but I couldn't because I needed y." Room treatment is huge. Don't spend the 5K all at once.

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Ryan Silva
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Post by Ryan Silva » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:58 pm

tarblackvomit wrote:Used 002R. Decent monitors if he doesn't already have some. Everything else should be picked up on an "as-needed" basis. Like: "I was trying to accomplish x, but I couldn't because I needed y." Room treatment is huge. Don't spend the 5K all at once.
I agree with not spending 5k at once, until you find out how item 'A' effects your sound/setup, you may not have a good source of reference to know what item 'B' should be.

For instance: I bought a Toft ATB16 v.2 console about a year back and bought the Meter bridge at the same time not thinking that it may be covering up the bottom of my wall mounted LCD screens. So until I redo my setup, it sits in a box unused. A couple of weeks ago I saw a (demo) meter bridge on Sweetwater for something like $400. I could have bought a used KM184, or a used Comp for that price, and bought the meter bridge when I knew I could use it.

Lesson learned: Don't be to impulsive, take time imagining all scenarios.

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Post by losthighway » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:45 pm

Yes definitely don't want to be too hasty. A studio, and the gear inside of it is a complex system with an almost fractal amount of variables. Committing to a dozen devices that serve different purposes would seem a little hasty.

If I wanted to start out right I would look at the core of what makes a digital studio what it is. The room. The computer. The interface.

I wouldn't just assume that digi stuff is the place to go. Honestly if I was starting off with a big budget and I already had workhorse mics I would get Apogee conversion, or Lynx conversion and know from then on that the foundation of your sound recording devices is solid. You can get any number of great microphones that cost less than five hundred bucks. Those can come later.

I think the biggest joke in the bid-ness is when some rich baby boomer drops fifteen grand on gear so he can record his bar band and has no freaking clue of what to do with the shit storm of nice gear that he bought. Not that this comes close to describing your friend, it just feels weird when someones like "I got a ton of money, what do I do?" It would be like someone saying "I just spent thousands of dollars on lights, top quality oil paints, an easel and a studio space. I'm going to start leaning to paint!"[/img]

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Post by Bro Shark » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:49 pm

Yeah, to elaborate a bit: I recommended the 002R because he is an Mbox guy, and if you already know/own PTLE, then it is a good next logical step. For me it made perfect sense and I was able to get a BLA modded 002R used on craigslist for $600. Pretty good deal to keep the same software while expanding my I/Os tenfold.

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:49 pm

Do the room first, monitors second. You can't even evaluate the other shit until that's done. I've gotten to the point where I think of room treatment as a sexy investment. I love walking into my space and hearing the change in sound of my footsteps, breathing, etc.
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Post by trodden » Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:54 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:Do the room first, monitors second. You can't even evaluate the other shit until that's done. I've gotten to the point where I think of room treatment as a sexy investment. I love walking into my space and hearing the change in sound of my footsteps, breathing, etc.
totally. I only spent about $400 in treatment and heard a great difference, more of a difference than any preamp or mic... Wish I could treat/alter more, but needing to move out by the end of the year.

I'd say the second biggest difference was the Black Lion mod of my 001 and the addition of a black lion sparrow.

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Post by nordberg » Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:41 pm

give me $4500 and just buy the big-ass monitor.



sorry, someone called for snarky... i'll have a real response in the morning.


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Post by joel hamilton » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:11 pm

The new elysia EQ is 5k. I would get that.

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acjetnut
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Post by acjetnut » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:22 am

Let's see:

Echo Audiofire12 $600
*I have one and it's GREAT! Very musical A/D, you get 12 inputs/outputs, a midi input, and you don't have to waste money buying crap built-in preamps.

AT4047 $550
*This mic really does live up to it's hype. So does the tube AT4060, but that is abit more expensive.

Sytek Mic Pres $900
*I am not super-crazy about these pre's, but they are good for the cost (of what I have used at least). They are quiet, detailed, and have lots of gain. I would recommend getting one with the Brown Burr modified channels 3 & 4 for varieties sake.


Spend the rest on quality instruments and room treatment. Those two things are HUGE HUGE factors in getting a good "sound" for recording. A nice guitar sounds nice through the worst recording chain, and a crap guitar sounds like crap through the best.

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Post by Catoogie » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:34 am

It seems as if most of you are suggesting room treatment but lots of the records I like and I'm talking classic records made by legendary producers and engineers have been made in less than 'ideal' acoustic enviroments. Houses, Barns, Cabanas etc...... I don't put a lot of stock in fancy high end acoustic treament. I think some is needed but it can be achieved 'ghetto' style and as long as you are capturing great performances you will be making great records.

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dubold
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Post by dubold » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:06 pm

joel hamilton wrote:The new elysia EQ is 5k. I would get that.
lol!

Catoogie wrote:It seems as if most of you are suggesting room treatment but lots of the records I like and I'm talking classic records made by legendary producers and engineers have been made in less than 'ideal' acoustic enviroments. Houses, Barns, Cabanas etc...... I don't put a lot of stock in fancy high end acoustic treament. I think some is needed but it can be achieved 'ghetto' style and as long as you are capturing great performances you will be making great records.
1: "recorded in an untreated space" does not mean "mixed in an untreated space".

2: what's fancy and high end about buying insulation from the hardware store?

3: I'm assuming that possibly the legendary producers and engineers had lots of experience and some decent gear already at their disposal, which may have made a difference.

My advice is "don't spend the 5k all at once!"

sit down and figure out what he wants to do with his setup. mix other people's stuff? track and mix other people's stuff? record his own songs?

if he wants to work on tracking other people's stuff, ie, band-at-once or something close to it, he needs more mics, more inputs, and non-sexy purchases like patchbays, cables, mic stands, pop filters...

mixing? a good sounding room, some good monitors, minimal outboard.

recording his own stuff? a versatile "channel" - good pre, good compressor, good mic.

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