An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

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joel hamilton
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An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:00 am

An open letter to manufacturers....

This is a mission statement from a person who uses recording equipment every single day to make a living. I will speak for myself, and myself only because this is a public forum, and that has already garnered me a quote in an international magazine where I am supposedly speaking for "the tapeop forum" which is untrue.If you take offense to any of this, please email me directly, or call me on my cell phone number posted on my website below. This is a state of the union address to let these manufacturers know what we really want, and use. This will be worth more than the money these companies spend on market research, as it comes directly from the users! This is a chance to have all these companies hear what features/price point/ expectations, and so forth we have for the gear we use!

Dear manufacturers of stuff I use,

I dont need yet another re-branded chinese condenser. I need a single condenser that sounds really good on a variety of sources, and doesnt cost more than 1000 dollars new.

A special section for Digidesign...:,
Please make the filters built into your converter hardware tuneable by the end user! With My Studer A827, I can set each channel to do things my way, with PTHD3, I have factory defaults, or soft clip, or 2 buttons for output trims.... I would love to have the option to set my high and lowpass filters myself. Yes this enables people to make horrible noises with your equipment, just like any other piece of gear in the studio, but it also enables engineers to get a character they like from your proprietary hardware!!!! While we are at it.. Why not offer support for ASIO and other brands of conversion!>?!? Pro Tools is truly a professional platform, so why wont it talk to other hardware!? Pro tools should be willing and able to do anything a professional engineer asks it to do, without insanely shaky workarounds. Stability should be paramount!

Mic pre manufacturers:

Why do the larger manufacturers (the ones you see in the sweetwater catalog.. ya know?) almost always miss the boat!??? They add knobs, they add features... The sound quality stays about the same as an ART Tube MP, but there are 346 more buttons, lights, uselessly small VU's, and de-essers.... Why is the Sytek stuff so popular?? One knob (per channel) with phase, Phantom, and mute. AND THEY SOUND GOOD! Oh... right... it has to sound good! I thought the kids wanted a mic pre that would make them breakfast and shoot sparks at their pals! Why do certain companies feel the need to build on an already shaky mic pre? Start with a fairly suspect signal path and add 3 million features (miles of PCB) and charge way too much for it?

I would love to see a two channel mic pre that sounds GREAT, not GOOD, but GREAT, using good components and great pots and knobs, with nothing else. Just GREAT, clean, mic amplification. The challenge should be to make this happen for under 300 dollars a channel, not to see how many useless switches and bells and whistles can be crammed into a 4U behemoth.... Make the damn thing one rack space high as well!!! Unless it has tubes in it, chill out on the "retro giant knobs" shit... We dont all have 300 space racks, or space in the 300 space racks anyway...

Consoles under 5k???

Why not, in this world of Digi002's and home DAW systems, and even in project studios, and basements of the world, where people are collecting mic pre's for each instrument OUTBOARD mic pre's for everything... Why oh why is there not a simple, reliable, well built console for mixing. I dont even care about the pre's. Where is a kick ass EQ and fader? Period. With a kick ass mix buss. Maybe even a discrete mix bus, with hybrid channels, modular... Can this be done? I dare someone to make a 24 channel, 8 buss console made for great summing, and great EQ, with patch points other than "insert" and without a million little bells and whistles... I dont need 8 aux sends. I need 4, maybe. If the 4 aux KNOBS were really good and I could count on them for years to come I would choose that over a shittlly made, 128 by 64 by 4 by 2 console... whatever. I feel like this challenge could be met by a few of the current "project console" manufacturers. Are there enough of us that know what to listen for? is that the problem???

Please add to this list. People are listening. We have seen the results, as I mentioned at the top....

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by Devlars » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:26 am

Yes please and thank you. Enough "HOLY COW TELL YOUR FRIENDS, TELL YOUR MUM, TELL YOUR DENTIST!" type bells and whistles on products to sell them. A mixer that has great faders, pots and EQ would be wonderful and then leave it to the effects manufacturers to give me great sounding effects instead of cramming your boards full of them thereby cutting corners on the aformentioned requirements. That goes for pretty much everything really, don't sell us on flash and zing! Sell us on straightforward well made product which relys on quality not glitz to sell itself.
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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by Luke » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:56 am

Sounds good to me, pun intended. Keep it simple, make it sound Great.
Use what you have, after all, it's all you've got.LV

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by chetatkinsdiet » Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:47 am

I couldn't agree more with all of this. We don't want bells and whistles and fake tubes in our gear. Just give us great sounding gear with simple signal paths. If I have good mics, pres and a couple of compressors, I can do so much with that.
Just to give some props to guys that are doing a pretty good job already....
Audio-Technica does have some mics that fit this bill. Their AT4047 and 4050 are great sounding mics that fit a wide variety of situations. Their 4051 SDC mics are great as well. There are others, but overall, I really think AT has their stuff together.
As far as basic, great sounding mic pres, I gotta give props to OSA. They have some really nice sounding gear that's not too expensive. I'd imagine that if a major company were producing them with the same components that they could even shave off more dollars. Imagine if you could get OSA pres in the $300-350 range. The Sytek's are another great example of a very nice sounding pre for not too much money. Again, imagine if ART or other large manufacturer were to produce these. I'd venture to say they could be sold for closer to $500-600, instead of the $800-900 currently.
As for the mixing desk....wow...another great point. On this one, unfortunately, I don't have any examples of current companies doing anything affordable that fits the bill. I'm in this spot myself. I've got a project studio and can't afford to get a large format desk, but really want something more than the current Mackie, Behringer, etc.
So, I'm forced to go used. I have simple requirements as well. I do use my outboard pres for just about everything.....until it comes to tracking drums as I don't have enough. In this case, I want/need some pres on the board. I don't even necessarily need the board to be loaded with pres, just 8 or so extras would be nice. Again, if the boards were modular, I could order it with whatever strips I need. Currently, to get this and have it affordable, I'm shopping for old Soundcraft 200 or 600 boards. It's crazy.
The only thing I'd want to add to Joel's initial list is an audio interface card that has great AD/DA converters. I don't need, or want mic pres in my audio interface card. I don't need anything else with it. Why does this have to be so expensive as well? Talk about a basic design....
The MOTU boxes are pretty close....the HD192 or 1224....that's the one that's the winner out of their products. Great box and sounds pretty good. I just wish it sounded even better. I know it's all incremental, but what would better converter chips add to the price of the box....$2ea? Times 8, that's $16 dollars. Unfortunately, when these better chips are added to an interface, the prices seem to jump from the $1500 range to about $3000 or so.
With a few decent mics, good basic mic pres, a mixing desk that doesn't suck the tone out of my recordings and an interface that truely captures the sounds.....I'm good. It's up to me to screw it up from there.
Great thread Joel....
later,
m
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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:05 am

Wow, Chetatkinsdiet, great post! I like the idea of giving props to those who are doing things right in your opinion. Awesome. AT does make some great "no frills" just great sounding microphones! That is a great example. A big company that makes great tools, for reasonable prices.

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by cgarges » Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:14 am

Joel Hamilton wrote:Why oh why is there not a simple, reliable, well built console for mixing. I dont even care about the pre's.
Man, I have been thinking this for a LONG time. Thanks, Joel! Excellent letter. I would love to see some responses from some of the manufacturers or their representatives who check out this site.

Chris Garges
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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by Devlars » Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:15 am

Since we're also being congratulatory then might I add that FMR has hit the mark as well. The RNC and RNP are great peices of equipment that are ridiculously inexpensive. And to have the guts to admit faults/things they don't like with their product or design, 3 cheers folks. Mark...take a bow!
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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by auralman » Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:18 am

Can the console portion be addressed to Presonus specifically? The M80 and ACP88 are GREAT values - I'd buy a presonus console made of those components in a minute, and so would a lot of folks. Class A, transformer balanced...good quality all around, great sound. Seriously overlooked.

Also must tip the hat to a few other mfg's that "get it":
Shure
Audio Technica (previously mentioned)
FMR Audio
Hamptone
Seventh Circle Audio
Roland/Boss (seriously, they have a box for everything that anyone can afford)
Danelectro
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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by WelcomeHome » Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:13 am

Could be wrong about this, but I think Speck made a pretty badass line level mixer (16x8x2? w/ rockin' EQs on every channel) awhile ago. A friend of mine has two of them linked together and they seem to work really well. Unfortunately I can't remember the model number and a quick google search just turns up the current product line. Oh, I'm not talking about the XTRAMIX either. What's odd is this mixer looks relatively new, like as in made in the past five or six years. Why stop producing it? I'd imagine a lot of people now would be snatching them up to mix out of the box, myself included!

I guess the keyword of this thread is products CURRENTLY being made. In that regard I second all of the above posts and regret that Speck no longer produces this mixer...

M

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by Red Rockets Glare » Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:21 am

Joel Hamilton wrote:An open letter to manufacturers....

and that has already garnered me a quote in an international magazine where I am supposedly speaking for "the tapeop forum" which is untrue.
Personally I don't really have a problem with you speaking for us Joel. Better you than say, Jeff.

I nominate you.

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by puffpastry » Wed Oct 06, 2004 11:58 am

I've wanted to tell manufacturers to stop lying about their products--I've seen many instances where a manufacturer will claim that their product has x or y type of circuitry, and it's totally untrue!

I'm looking at you, Focusrite, Joe Meek, and Behringer.

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by trashy » Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:20 pm

Ha ha, you said "shoots sparks".

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:30 pm

In an amazing synchronicity......

I talked to someone who basically is trying to keep tape based recording alive!!!
This is amazing: they are going to make an all discrete console for mixing! A simple, perfect, straight shot at a great discrete summing amp... Amazing. They should have a release date within the next six months! SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR TAPE OR IT WILL BE GONE FOREVER!. If someone was making a kick ass two track, or multitrack tape machine, I would get one over some headache vintage unit with no tech support...

This call changed the way I think about tape machines. I cant keep taking it for granted as a part of the process, This is something to be cherished and saved from extinction!!!!

The console thing is a direct reaction to people who do not want an "entry level" console, but cant afford an API or Neve or custom install...

Amazing. The prayers will be answered!!!!! I love everyones thoughts on this!

I cant believe that I started this thread at 9 30 am EST, and I was on the phone with someone making a HUGE move in this direction at noon EST!!!!

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by bigtoe » Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:49 pm

'SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR TAPE OR IT WILL BE GONE FOREVER!'

'This is something to be cherished and saved from extinction!!!!'

:worthy:

yes! it ain't better or worse but i'm glad it is...John French says he's been slammed. a good indicator!

'If someone was making a kick ass two track, or multitrack tape machine, I would get one over some headache vintage unit with no tech support...'

yes, please. i read that atr was going to but the used atr decks he rebuilds are plentiful.

Mike

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Re: An open letter to gear manufacturers from an end user.

Post by Derrick » Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:46 pm

Geez, I've been thinking many of the same thoughts about equipment being too full of crap that is not needed, being too expensive, and too much crap claiming to be like or have the characteristics of equipment gems when they're not/they don't! I would add that I HATE the cosmetic trands around. UGLY!! Just make things a bit more classic/basic looking and it will be cheaper to do and please more people. You know what people think when they see equipment that looks ugly or like a toy. Like Joel said, SIMPLE... NOT like it belongs in a Star Trek movie!! OK, I'm done ranting too :D
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