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Thread: How low can you go? Setting up to make a record for cheap.

  1. #11
    Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios's Avatar
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    The people around here... musicians especially... don't seem to have a concept of quality. The cheapest Taylor acoustic is still a Taylor, the cheapest Sqiuer is still a Fender, an $80 condenser is still a condenser...
    Bill Park
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
    Now that might be a very interesting listening adventure from the 3db store. Lynn does prosumer. Track and mix with nothing but prosumer audio devices, low cost mics, and just don't use your expensive outboard hardware or plugs in the mix at all, use whatever plugs are in the DAW.
    All the other stuff I'm ok with. Low cost mics? You gotta be kidding me. That's like Liz Taylor going without makeup.

  3. #13
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    Seriously, a man can only stoop so low. I may be tracking drums with only five inputs but I'll still be using my Royer 122 and my 4047s. And I won't be doing vocals with an SM57. I can plug my 251 into an iPad just as easily as a 57. Honestly.
    Lynn Fuston
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    All the other stuff I'm ok with. Low cost mics? You gotta be kidding me. That's like Liz Taylor going without makeup.
    Nah... that's like the makeup going without Liz Taylor.

    My least expensive (my cost basis) location rig is a Mackie Onyx 1220 (4 "decent" mic amps, four mono/stereo line inputs, FireWire 400 out... $1,200 about 5 years ago, paid fer quickly by lots of corporate gigs) and my MBP, running Logic Pro 8... but could be a sub-$100 program like Reaper. First add-on (great mics - I own Sennheiser, Gefell, DPA and Neumann - are a given) would be a D.A.V. BG 8 mic amp. Back-up would be 2-mix to a Edirol R09HR, or a TASCAM CD recorder, or most likely, my Alesis HD24 ($900 used) tracking from the ADAT direct outs.

    Next step up would be, for multitrack, either an Apogee Ensemble ($1,600, 4 mic+4 line, racked with the TASCAM and BG 8) for most classical captures, or a PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 (24+main L/R) through Capture or Logic Pro 8, with the HD24 as backup, fed from the Ensemble's line outs, or the ADAT direct outs on the 24.4.2, again, with either the Edirol or the TASCAM for a rough 2-mix. For a split from the house console, I have a passive 24 ch split snake (salvaged head box and $200 worth of additional cable and connectors), with 8' and 30' tails.

    Everything, whichever system I choose, fits comfortable in the back of a BMW station wagon, including mics, stands, split, power and audio cables.

    Lot more than $2K invested... but most of the gear gets multiple use in the live sound/AV side of what I do... and it all works. Very nicely.

    HB
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    I think the context of my last comment about "Lynn Does Prosumer" got lost.

    The point was to use things that are clearly affordable, all across the board, with "really inexpensive" mics being part of that. To emulate to some degree what the financially challenged digital guy may face. Granted, not all good mics are actually all that expensive but not many home recordists will spend $800 for a single mic. More likely, that will be their total budget for mics.

    So it (the posed suggestion) was more of an experiment to see how much can talent actually equalize lack of gear... or lack of high quality tools in some cases. That would be the only point of intentionally not using your best (or at least most expensive) mics, or your $8k outboard EQ.

    Obviously, it's rather hard for a professional to intentionally put away what he considers to be his best tools, granted, even if the context is deliberate... and the result not all that critical... and it's just an experiment.
    Last edited by Lawrence; 10-23-2012 at 07:04 PM.

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    That is a cool experiment. Russ Long did just that, swapping his expensive mics on a tracking session for all SM57s. Very interesting. You can buy the tracks he cut, along with an instructional DVD, at the 3D Webstore. Http://www.3daudioinc.com/catalog

    Here's the description:

    "To make things even more interesting, Russ records the two songs with radically different signal chains. Russ uses his arsenal of gear to capture song #1. Over $37,000 in microphones, preamps, and outboard gear! Then, with the home recording studio in mind, Russ records song #2 with low cost dynamic microphones and a popular 16 channel mixer. This DVD comes with a second DATA DISC, with all the audio files! Import the files to your DAW and 1. Compare the two recordings-decide if the "expensive" gear sounds that much better to you. 2. Analyze Russ's creative choices-listen to the choices he makes. 3. Mix your own version. Can you do better than he did? There's only way to find out. This is a great opportunity to sit in with one of Nashville's great rock engineers, whose discography includes The Newsboys, Sixpence None the Richer, Willco and Allison Moorer."

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    Wireline's Avatar
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    I really wasn't trying to be the south end of a north bound horse,but I was surprised at all this. Sorry if I came across that way.

    I just find it odd that the pinnacle of standards is engaging in a 'what's the cheapest I can get a ...?' discussion.
    Ken Morgan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireline View Post
    I really wasn't trying to be the south end of a north bound horse,but I was surprised at all this. Sorry if I came across that way.

    I just find it odd that the pinnacle of standards is engaging in a 'what's the cheapest I can get a ...?' discussion.
    OK, then let's reframe it. What's the best audio quality I can get if I need to multitrack for under $2000?

    Ken, this is for a story in a magazine, not as a routine workflow. I'm still dedicated to making great sounding recordings, regardless of what the world deems acceptable, i.e. MP3s, earbuds, etc.

    Just trying to stay abreast of the technology and see what can and cannot be accomplished with it. As we all know, it's not the technology that determines whether a recording sounds good. It's the hands and ears of the operator. Plus, I started with some really crude tools by comparison and still managed to turn out some really nice work. Can this be any harder than that? We'll see.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    That is a cool experiment. Russ Long did just that, swapping his expensive mics on a tracking session for all SM57s. Very interesting. You can buy the tracks he cut, along with an instructional DVD, at the 3D Webstore. Http://www.3daudioinc.com/catalog
    Yes. I bought that product some years ago. No clue where the disc is but I still have the stems on my audio drive.

    And yeah, doing that (using lesser gear when you don't have to) is no reflection on a person's professional standards, it's all just educational in that context.

    As to the original premise, many recording enthusiasts face that decision, figuring out the least amount of money they have to spend to have something acceptable. That incudes people who may already own a ton of great gear they record themselves with, and know how to use it, and find themselves in a financial bind, having to sell it all and go with a budget rig.

    It's really not an uncommon question outside of the bubble. $2k is likely right on target for a good budget rig.
    Last edited by Lawrence; 10-23-2012 at 09:54 PM.

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    What did you learn from those files?

    Also, stayed tuned for the iPad Chronicles. Lots of twists and turns as I head down this journalistic audio discovery tour.

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