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  #1  
Old 11-18-2007, 01:06 PM
brownj24 brownj24 is offline
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Default How would you spend $15000?

Hey everyone,

I'm considering dropping $15000 on a studio upgrade. Right now I have the digi 002 modded by Black Lion Audio, 4 Shure SM57s, and 2 CAD M179s (which sound as cheap as they were).

I'm thinking about buying an API 3124 and a Phoenix Audio DRS-2 for preamps. For conversion, I'm considering a Apogee Rosetta 800 or AD-16X. I'm quite uncertain about mics, but from the listening sessions online I really liked the Neumann TLM 103 and the AKG 414 B-ULS. I am recording drums a lot, so for overheads I was considering the Neumann Km184 or AKG C451 E.

Please post what you would spend the money on given my current setup. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2007, 04:02 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: How would you spend $15000?

The mics you mention would certainly help and the API stuff is great. You might consider the 2 channel API unit (with SPDIF) and then add something else for more flavors. Maybe a Focusrite ISA428 with the digital ADAT option($2200) which has 4 class A mic pres(way better than the cheap Platinum series) but also includes 4 more line level inputs into the digital card so you could add maybe a pair of Vintech Neve clones and a pair of UA610 tube pres(and maybe a 2-1176 compressor for tracking) for lots of high-quality preamp flavors. I think the TLM103 and 414's are similar enough that I would go with the AKG's and maybe a Lawson U47 or Korby for a killer vocal mic. Also, get a Royer 121 or 122 for killer electric guitar recording. As you did not describe anything else, should you be looking at better monitors or maybe some really good room treatment so you end up with a really accurate listening environment? Maybe a nice ergonomic chair and some new studio furniture? Expanded headphone system? $15K wisely spent will get you a lot of NICE! I like the idea of adding high quality SPDIF D/A conversion for monitoring without going thru the 002 converters(unless the BLA mod changed those out already).
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Old 11-18-2007, 04:46 PM
brownj24 brownj24 is offline
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Default Re: How would you spend $15000?

Hey, thanks for the great suggestions. I'm monitoring on NS10s and I have put quite a bit of effort into making my room sound good through the use of bass traps, broadband diffusion, and mid-frequency absorption.

"Maybe a Focusrite ISA428 with the digital ADAT option($2200) which has 4 class A mic pres(way better than the cheap Platinum series) but also includes 4 more line level inputs into the digital card so you could add maybe a pair of Vintech Neve clones and a pair of UA610 tube pres(and maybe a 2-1176 compressor for tracking) for lots of high-quality preamp flavors."

This is a great idea. How does the focusrite converter compare with the Apogee stuff? Do you have any suggestions for an expanded headphone system or D/A converters for the digi 002. I'm not sure if the BLA mod affected the converters, I thought it was just the clock and the mic pres and analog input stages, but I'll double check.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:56 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: How would you spend $15000?

I doubt there would be much argument that Apogee makes the best converters with a few others very close. I can't offer a comparison of the ISA converters other than to say they sound quite good. NS10's are certainly not known for accuracy even though they are quite popular(replacing the Aurotones of the '70's). I would certainly keep them but would consider a good switching system like the Presonus Central Station and then add some really good monitors like the Dynaudio's or Genelec 8050's with room tuning option. Headphone systems can go from cheap and simple(Behringer HA4700) to the HearBack or Aviom systems. Only you can decide what would be a good investment for your customers. The Behringer is a handy unit that takes in a stereo feed and has 4 sections, each with an aux input to allow "more me" for 4 different players. If your computer is a single processor, I would definitely build a dual or quad core computer as you can never have too much horsepower there. Maybe a suite of great plugins too(Waves Diamond bundle, McDSP, etc.)
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:07 PM
3JDamon 3JDamon is offline
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Default Re: How would you spend $15000?

Before upgrading what you already have, you should stock your mic closet and I second the suggestion for a more neutral set of monitors.

You should start by making a list of every instrument you've recorded in the past few years, determine each one's priority, and then look at the list and decide whether which ones (a) call for a dedicated mic for the purpose, (b) only call for a versatile instrument mic (like your 57's), or (c) are recorded seldom enough that mics can be borrowed/rented as necessary.

$15k might not go as far as you think, so don't feel you have to spend it ASAP. I recommend you start with the more versatile mics and wait on purpose-specific mics until you've borrowed/rented some that you really like. Online sessions aren't enough, each mic has to suit your applications and methods. You'll definitely need small diaphram condensers, so I'll put Josephson C42's on that list (~$900/pair), very nice mics and very versatile.

For monitors I normally recommend getting some used Event 20/20's as a starting point since they're cheap, well-known, and easy to drive. It's much easier to recommend the right monitors for you once you're asking questions like "which ones have better midrange detail?" instead of "which ones are good?" NS10's aren't a very good starting point, everyone wants the same thing - more bottom end.

The ISA428 is a good unit, then between it and the 002 you'd have 8 line inputs open, so an 8-channel preamp like a Presonus M80 will offer a considerable upgrade from the 002's pre's, plus another comparison point for determining what high-end pre's suit you best.

All told you'd have 16 pre's, which would be pointless without mics to plug into them. You've got 4 SM57's. 12 more mics to go. High-end pre's should be chosen based on what mic(s) they're to be used with, so don't spend another penny on preamps until you're 100% happy with those 12 mics.
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Old 11-19-2007, 02:06 AM
Analog Kid Analog Kid is offline
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Default Re: How would you spend $15000?

Quote:

The ISA428 is a good unit, then between it and the 002 you'd have 8 line inputs open, so an 8-channel preamp like a Presonus M80 will offer a considerable upgrade from the 002's pre's, plus another comparison point for determining what high-end pre's suit you best.

Not to split hairs here, but if you have a Focusrite ISA-428 with the ADAT option, along with the 002, wouldn't you end up with 12 open line inputs?

The Kid
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2007, 10:37 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: How would you spend $15000?

The 002 has 4 mic/line inputs, 4 line only inputs and the ISA428 would add 4 more mic/line inputs PLUS the 4 extra line inputs via lightpipe. The ISA extra inputs go directly to the A/D card and show up in protools as 13-16 so your math is correct but not complete. 002 plus ISA428 equals a total of 16 inputs with 8 mic preamps. BTW, I have a UA LA610 patched into ISA428 input 5 and plan on adding more goodies into those last 3 inputs when money allows.
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