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Thread: Please help build a versatile recording rack!

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Please help build a versatile recording rack!

    Hi to Lynn and all!

    First let me say what an incredibly useful forum this is- It has been an indispensable resource to have the benefit of all of this expertise and experience in one place as I have been researching new gear purchases.

    Second, sorry for the long post

    That having been said, I now ask for any and all to weigh in on my choices for the new outboard racks in our new studio that is almost complete. We record a wide variety of instruments and vocals for film & TV music, ethnic to classical, folk to rock.

    We track into Pro Tools and CubaseSX [no disparaging remarks, please- the needs determine the means... ] The studio is already outfitted gear-wise, with the exception of a strong "front end."

    Below is what I'm planning on adding, and what I'd love all of your collective thoughts on. We are looking for a fairly comprehensive "boutique" outboard rack and some additional mics to create a balanced and versatile set of options with regard to tracking and mixing. We have a reasonable [I hope] budget, but I'm trying to spend wisely and not too gratuitously All the usual 'no right answer' questions here- the best price/performance balance? The most "bang for the buck"? And all of the "it's all subjective" caveats are duly accepted.

    First, this is what we already have [not to bore you with a complete gear list, just covering the basics]:
    Standard basic compliment of mics- 57s,414s,451,RodeNT2s,421s,ATM25,etc, and one favorite-Neuman M149
    Some serviceable pre's- avalon M5, (2)av737, TL audio C1, TL EQ2, Summit dual channel, etc.

    So, after my own listening, research, and a lot of reading your collective reviews/posts, here's the purchase list:

    1 Manley SLAM
    4 API512c
    2 API550b
    2 GR MP2NV
    1 GR EQ2NV
    1 Cranesong Flamingo
    4 FMR RNC [are these as useful as they seem?]
    2 Distressor EL8X
    1 SPL Transient Designer 4ch

    2 AT4040's
    2 AT4033/CL's
    1 AT4047
    2 Royer 122's
    1 AEA R88
    1 EV20
    4 KEL HM1's [a complete impulse buy]
    1 AKG D112
    1 Earthworks Drumkit Bundle [2 TC25s, 1 SR25, "kickpad"]

    That basically taps out my budget, but clearly substitutions, revisions or replacements are possible. SO... what do you all think? What would you change/add/remove if it were you? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Kevin Perry is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    When you finally go shopping, remember to snap a picture and post it for us to admire.

    I could live without the RNC's pretty easily. Especially with the distressor's and SLAM sitting there. I could likely live without the SPL piece as well....but that might be a tool you really enjoy.

    All in all I would try to reshuffle some things to get another nice LDC in the lineup. Admittedly, I'm not crazy about an M149. But still, with all those preamp flavors there I would want a some more LDC mic flavors besides the lone M149.
    Kevin Perry
    Chameleon Music
    Nashville, TN

  3. #3
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    I would probably change those 4040s to 4050s.

  4. #4
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    I personally would sell off the avalons and summit pres and get an api 3124 and maybe one other pre, Hardy or some such, 2 or 4 channel. Also I'd pass on the AT mics and get one great LDC, soundeluxe, korby, or the like, and a pair of great small condensors, neumann 140, schoeps CMC - something in that vein. You can happily record for the next 20 years with that stuff. I like the beyer m160 for alot of things.

    The trick is not which mic/pre/processor to buy, but when to STOP buying stuff.
    BigShotRecording
    Pittsburgh, PA

  5. #5
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    Thanks so much for the responses. A couple of questions...

    Middleman: I would probably change those 4040s to 4050s.
    Why?

    beauarts: Also I'd pass on the AT mics and get one great LDC
    I've read Lynn and others here talking about how many times the AT mics have proved useful [even surprisingly so]. Specifically the 4033s and 4040s [although maybe that's just what they've had at the time]. And that had lead me to consider them as useful additions-my thinking was this: It'd be nice to have pairs of mics for stereo or 'similar' simultaneous uses, like getting a really open [not rock]sound on toms, multi perc ethnic setups, etc.
    Also I believe classical instruments [flute, etc.] and vocal groups were reported to have been captured nicely.

    Perhaps the earthworks omnis in the drumkit pack and the R88 will completely cover these needs- in that case the argument for another hi-end LDC is a good one.

    Also, I'd be happy to share photos when the studio is finished- I'm excited about some of the ideas we are exploring with acoustics and the use of space. And of course, this outboard rack!

    Keep the comments coming! and thanks!

  6. #6
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    Also, one more:
    beauarts I personally would sell off the avalons and summit pres and get an api 3124
    Even with the four 512c's on the list? Is this a "you can never have enough API's" thing or am I missing something that the 3124 has that the 512s don't? I figured we could add more modules into the 10-space API rack later if we needed them, but again, I'm all ears...

  7. #7
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Originally posted by beauarts:
    <STRONG>The trick is not which mic/pre/processor to buy, but when to STOP buying stuff.</STRONG>
    Tell that to these guys... www.gearslutz.com
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

  8. #8
    Kevin Perry is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Originally posted by wtreeCT:
    <STRONG>Also, one more:


    Even with the four 512c's on the list? Is this a "you can never have enough API's" thing or am I missing something that the 3124 has that the 512s don't? I figured we could add more modules into the 10-space API rack later if we needed them, but again, I'm all ears...</STRONG>

    I found this from Fletcher who sells both...
    I have both, new and old API stuff, the difference isn't all that earth
    shattering. *I find the new 512c's to be a bit 'faster'/'snappier'
    sounding. *In many ways I find they complement my Neve stuff better than
    my older API stuff.


    I find the older stuff, like the 312's a hair [I mean like a really fine
    blonde hair] fatter sounding. *They don't quite have the same clarity in
    my opinion as the 512's, but they are a tad richer sounding in the lower
    mids and bottom...of course if you're using Neve stuff as well...then
    what would you need additional 'richness' in the lower mid/bottom...it's
    why you have the Neve's in the first place.


    At any rate, I'm a real fan of the new API stuff...the other cool part
    is that replacement spares aren't an issue...they're under warantee,
    they have fresh caps, fresh transistors, etc. *Just a thought, your
    milage may vary.
    Kevin Perry
    Chameleon Music
    Nashville, TN

  9. #9
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Personally, I like the AT 40 series stuff. Huge bang for the buck mics.

    I'd also put another pair of SDC in there. Lots of choices.

    For pre-amps, I would also look at something that is considered very transparent like Millenia, GML, etc, as the other pres on your list all have 'character'.

    You never mentioned which converters you are using. Those make a difference as well.
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

  10. #10
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    Well i just have an api 3124 and never tried the 512. However 3124 sounds great, has DI input and is only one rack space. I would get that and forgo the 512 and get another 4 channels of something nice.

    As far as the AT mics, I'm sure they're very useful but for all the money your sinking into your setup, why not get one extraordinary pair of SD condensers? I have neumann km 54s, schoeps cmc, neumann 140s. Any one of those 3 does a fine job. Rarely would I have a session that needs so many many mics where I need more at one time. I went on a buying spree a couple years ago. Now I'm pairing down the mid-grade mics and keeping 'the good stuff'. How many mics/channels do you need at one time?

    PS, I'd also budget for a couple great channels of A/D/A.

    Henry
    BigShotRecording
    Pittsburgh, PA

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