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Slightly off-topic but pulling everything together simultaneously....newest issue of TapeOp, that article with Scott Hull on current state of vinyl mastering and manufacturing was pretty rad and I wish every little goon on this board would read it so they'd have a better understanding of why I hate certain pressing plants so much...and why there's a big difference between a bad pressing and a bad mastering job  

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@birdwell I think the proper tools would definitely help. Which DAW are you using? I was assuming you meant you used an exclusively analog setup meaning you don't mix on a computer. From the sounds of it you might want to look at something that would give you a little more control. If you aren't looking to break the bank, check out Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm) it's like $60. It isn't as pretty as logic or ProTools, but it is every bit as functional, especially for basic mixing. Having something more than a low, mid, and high knob is pretty important to get the mix you're looking for. 

Also, for what it's worth, some of the best "home studio" drum mixes I've ever heard were recorded with 3-4 mics. Basic (meaning limited number of mics) drum mixing boils down to this:

1) Making the microphone pick up the specific part of the kit you are looking for boils down to, you guessed it, mic placement. 

2) Once you have recorded the drums and are mixing, pay attention to what the microphone actually heard and EQ accordingly. If the mic heard a crash/ride/tom you're going to want to EQ as such. Pay attention to the high end, pay attention to the low/low mid. Around the 600 area cut that boxy shit out. 

3) At this point if the microphone didn't pick up what you were going for, go back, move the mic, record it again. Don't ever try to force the recording to sound like something the mic didn't actually hear. 

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24 minutes ago, birdwell said:

Slightly off-topic but pulling everything together simultaneously....newest issue of TapeOp, that article with Scott Hull on current state of vinyl mastering and manufacturing was pretty rad and I wish every little goon on this board would read it so they'd have a better understanding of why I hate certain pressing plants so much...and why there's a big difference between a bad pressing and a bad mastering job  

Scott Hull is a genius and everyone should listen to everything he says about everything lol. Not a lot of people pay enough attention to what goes into making a quality record. Of course it's easy not to care about all that stuff when it doesn't matter what your records sound like when they're hanging on your wall. /snarky post  

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Going to check out that Hull article for sure. The amount of LPs I have that I can't stand to listen to is mind boggling. Mastering is tough enough now add bad/rushed pressing practices and fuck it can get ugly.

 

I aslo 100% back Reaper as well for your DAW. I switched from Logic to Reaper about a year ago and will never go back. I'll drop the flashiness of Logic any day for the functionality of Reaper. 

 

I also use the Focusrite 18i20 and it's a great piece of gear. After taking recording more serious I splurged and bought a Great River MP-2NV mic preamp and it's the best purchase i've ever made. It was expensive but it instantly transformed my recordings. I still run it through the Focusrite I just bypass the Focusrite pre's when using it but now I have two channels of the Great River and 6 off the Focusrite. I'm the opposite of a lot of people here, I enjoy maxing out the drum mics. top and bottom of snare, kick and sub kick mic, 4 room mics but it's mainly because I don't sample anything after so I need a bit more to work with. The more options I have the happier I am. But if you're going minimal, the room mic can often be the most important for me at least in getting I sound I like. 

On that note though I could use a recommendation for more experienced people here. I'm looking to assemble my next piece and I'm wondering if I should go microphone or a rack compressor? I'd be looking to spend between $1000-$1500, right now I have 57s, 58s, an SM7B, Rode NT5s, Rode K2 large diaphragm tube condenser, Beta 52, and some MD421s. I'm thinking maybe a ribbon microphone? Any suggestions? 

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23 hours ago, atticus said:

@birdwell I think the proper tools would definitely help. Which DAW are you using? I was assuming you meant you used an exclusively analog setup meaning you don't mix on a computer. From the sounds of it you might want to look at something that would give you a little more control. If you aren't looking to break the bank, check out Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm) it's like $60. It isn't as pretty as logic or ProTools, but it is every bit as functional, especially for basic mixing. Having something more than a low, mid, and high knob is pretty important to get the mix you're looking for. 

Also, for what it's worth, some of the best "home studio" drum mixes I've ever heard were recorded with 3-4 mics. Basic (meaning limited number of mics) drum mixing boils down to this:

1) Making the microphone pick up the specific part of the kit you are looking for boils down to, you guessed it, mic placement. 

2) Once you have recorded the drums and are mixing, pay attention to what the microphone actually heard and EQ accordingly. If the mic heard a crash/ride/tom you're going to want to EQ as such. Pay attention to the high end, pay attention to the low/low mid. Around the 600 area cut that boxy shit out. 

3) At this point if the microphone didn't pick up what you were going for, go back, move the mic, record it again. Don't ever try to force the recording to sound like something the mic didn't actually hear. 

I use a fostek stand alone DAW.  I don't own a computer

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All this Reaper talk has me rethinking my potential choice for next DAW. I was ready to jump to Logic, but I'm now reading very good things about Reaper, and it looks pretty simple. Honestly, for $60 it seems like the kind of thing that if I don't find it's for me, I won't even feel so sad about losing. Might have to pull the trigger and purchase it...

 

Edit: And there's a 60 day full feature trial for Reaper. Will definitely get this going this summer.

Edited by Sidney Crosley
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10 hours ago, kylekrische said:

Going to check out that Hull article for sure. The amount of LPs I have that I can't stand to listen to is mind boggling. Mastering is tough enough now add bad/rushed pressing practices and fuck it can get ugly.

 

I aslo 100% back Reaper as well for your DAW. I switched from Logic to Reaper about a year ago and will never go back. I'll drop the flashiness of Logic any day for the functionality of Reaper. 

 

I also use the Focusrite 18i20 and it's a great piece of gear. After taking recording more serious I splurged and bought a Great River MP-2NV mic preamp and it's the best purchase i've ever made. It was expensive but it instantly transformed my recordings. I still run it through the Focusrite I just bypass the Focusrite pre's when using it but now I have two channels of the Great River and 6 off the Focusrite. I'm the opposite of a lot of people here, I enjoy maxing out the drum mics. top and bottom of snare, kick and sub kick mic, 4 room mics but it's mainly because I don't sample anything after so I need a bit more to work with. The more options I have the happier I am. But if you're going minimal, the room mic can often be the most important for me at least in getting I sound I like. 

On that note though I could use a recommendation for more experienced people here. I'm looking to assemble my next piece and I'm wondering if I should go microphone or a rack compressor? I'd be looking to spend between $1000-$1500, right now I have 57s, 58s, an SM7B, Rode NT5s, Rode K2 large diaphragm tube condenser, Beta 52, and some MD421s. I'm thinking maybe a ribbon microphone? Any suggestions? 

I absolutely agree, especially for drums, more mics is my preference. I was simply stating for people just getting into it that you can get a badass drum recording with 4 mics if you practice enough. 

 

If you're looking for outboard gear and are the kind of guy who likes reaper because of the functionality and doesn't care about the flashy bells and whistles of logic, you should check out warm audio (http://www.warmaudio.com/#!products/scx5u). For $1500 you could get their 1176 clone and their pultec tube EQ clone. Highly highly highly recommend those guys. You wanna talk badass drums? Run your shit through those suckers. The pultec and 1176 are sexy as helllllll on drums. 

 

I gotta say the same thing I said before about mics. One ribbon mic is not going to do you near as much good as spending the same money on quality outboard stuff. You've got some nice mics. Enhance what you've got before you go crazy building a huge mic inventory. You will like the warm audio gear better than a ribbon. Trust me. 

 

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22 hours ago, birdwell said:

I use a fostek stand alone DAW.  I don't own a computer

Those are pretty cool, which model do you have? Is it one that still records to tape? You are definitely going to be limited in what you can do EQ and otherwise if you're only using that piece of hardware, but that doesn't mean you can't get a good recording! I love the lofi vibe you can get from an old school 4 track type interface. That does however mean that, like you said, your friends with their computers will probably be able to make your tracks sound a bit cleaner than you will. 

 

My my advice is to read your manual and find out what your EQ knobs are doing. Most of those 4 track or 8 track recorders have a fixed high pass knob at 100hz a fixed low pass knob at like 10k and then a sweepable mid knob that ranges from the 2-300 range up to the 4-5k range. For a good clean recording make sure you let the mic do most of the work and just sort of clean it up with the EQ. You'll get a little bit of natural tape compression if it's a tape model which can be lovely, but you'll want to really pay attention to the dynamics of what you're recording since there usually isn't much in the way of onboard compression in those units. 

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On May 30, 2016 at 9:06 AM, atticus said:

Those are pretty cool, which model do you have? Is it one that still records to tape? You are definitely going to be limited in what you can do EQ and otherwise if you're only using that piece of hardware, but that doesn't mean you can't get a good recording! I love the lofi vibe you can get from an old school 4 track type interface. That does however mean that, like you said, your friends with their computers will probably be able to make your tracks sound a bit cleaner than you will. 

 

My my advice is to read your manual and find out what your EQ knobs are doing. Most of those 4 track or 8 track recorders have a fixed high pass knob at 100hz a fixed low pass knob at like 10k and then a sweepable mid knob that ranges from the 2-300 range up to the 4-5k range. For a good clean recording make sure you let the mic do most of the work and just sort of clean it up with the EQ. You'll get a little bit of natural tape compression if it's a tape model which can be lovely, but you'll want to really pay attention to the dynamics of what you're recording since there usually isn't much in the way of onboard compression in those units. 

I've got the VF160EX, it's got some compression on it, but much like the EQ, you can do one channel at a time because it's buried in submenus....you can't adjust it on the fly...basically pick a setting and listen to it, go back and change it, listen to that...makes A/B-ing impossible and a hassle if you went just a little too far with it.

 

i also usually start with some part of the recording in my Tascam Portastudio414 (4-input 4-track cassette) each channel on that at least has a few simple EQ knobs.  I don't ever do full projects on that though, I'll either dump a final mix to it and bring it back into the VF160EX or do drums on the 414 and try to dump each track into its own track in the VF160EX.  First time I did this I just tried to mix the drums on the 414 and dump a stereo mix of the drums into the VF160EX and that's where I had huge issues getting anything else to sit well because of the crappy EQ I was getting.

 

 Bottom Line: I don't record enough anymore to even be worried about it, but trying to EQ to get a mix on the VF160EX really is a pain in the ass, it's totally doable, but you would basically have to spend about 10x as long working the mix to get something really even OK.  The unit tracks absolutely fine, like, if you had an older tower style computer for your studio and needed to record on-location somewhere else, the VF160EX would be perfectly fine to record with and bring the tracks to your studio and drop em into whatever software you are using to mix....but mixing on it (specifically EQing) is a really big pain to get anything decent sounding

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Picked up an Apogee Duet (newest version) off Ebay for $388US, though the breakout cable was somewhat frayed, so was refunded an additional $50US to get a new one (won't need to right away, but very possibly soon). This thing is really sweet.  I also downloaded the 60 day trial to Reaper. I like Reaper so far. However, I'm used to the stupidly easy GarageBand, so I think it will take getting a bit used to.  Recorded guitar with SM57 and SM94, experimenting a bit to see what kind of sound I could get. I could definitely see getting something to sound good with both mics, dependent on placement.  I'm less sure of what to use for a vocal mic. I played around with the SM58 last night, and it was okay, but not thrilling. Not sure if I should spend the summer experimenting, or look for a decent vocal mic to play with...Will be looking on ebay for the time being...

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10 hours ago, Sidney Crosley said:

Picked up an Apogee Duet (newest version) off Ebay for $388US, though the breakout cable was somewhat frayed, so was refunded an additional $50US to get a new one (won't need to right away, but very possibly soon). This thing is really sweet.  I also downloaded the 60 day trial to Reaper. I like Reaper so far. However, I'm used to the stupidly easy GarageBand, so I think it will take getting a bit used to.  Recorded guitar with SM57 and SM94, experimenting a bit to see what kind of sound I could get. I could definitely see getting something to sound good with both mics, dependent on placement.  I'm less sure of what to use for a vocal mic. I played around with the SM58 last night, and it was okay, but not thrilling. Not sure if I should spend the summer experimenting, or look for a decent vocal mic to play with...Will be looking on ebay for the time being...

Congrats on the apogee man, that's a great buy! Do yourself a favor and learn how to use reaper. I'm always a fan of diving in and learning hands on, but do take some time to watch a few tutorials to learn the basics. YouTube is (mostly) your friend. 

 

The 94 is a very decent mic for acoustic instruments. Try it at about the 12th fret as close as you feel comfortable playing where you won't be bumping it. 

 

How are you with a soldiering iron? There is a really simple mod you can do for your 57 by soldiering a resistor across pins 2 and 3 of the male end of an XLR cable that lowers the impedance to around 500 ohms. Most non-crazy expensive modern preamps don't allow you to select impedance and deliver too high of a load creating some harshness in the upper frequencies with a 57. By lowering the impedance load you smooth out those upper frequencies and I swear the bass response is improved too. The only drawback is you lower the mic output by 1-2db but that's not a big deal at all for what you're gaining IMO. My favorite thing about this mod is you don't have to do anything to the mic itself. I think it helps the 57 in all applications, just makes an already versatile mic even more so. 

 

My favorite "go to" vocal mic for home recording is the sm7b. I feel like it's becoming a cliche, but for a reason. It's just a really good mic for a male voice. It also sounds amazing on a guitar amp and even a bass cab if you're going crazy and not just running your bass through a DI. 

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16 hours ago, birdwell said:

I've got the VF160EX, it's got some compression on it, but much like the EQ, you can do one channel at a time because it's buried in submenus....you can't adjust it on the fly...basically pick a setting and listen to it, go back and change it, listen to that...makes A/B-ing impossible and a hassle if you went just a little too far with it.

 

i also usually start with some part of the recording in my Tascam Portastudio414 (4-input 4-track cassette) each channel on that at least has a few simple EQ knobs.  I don't ever do full projects on that though, I'll either dump a final mix to it and bring it back into the VF160EX or do drums on the 414 and try to dump each track into its own track in the VF160EX.  First time I did this I just tried to mix the drums on the 414 and dump a stereo mix of the drums into the VF160EX and that's where I had huge issues getting anything else to sit well because of the crappy EQ I was getting.

 

 Bottom Line: I don't record enough anymore to even be worried about it, but trying to EQ to get a mix on the VF160EX really is a pain in the ass, it's totally doable, but you would basically have to spend about 10x as long working the mix to get something really even OK.  The unit tracks absolutely fine, like, if you had an older tower style computer for your studio and needed to record on-location somewhere else, the VF160EX would be perfectly fine to record with and bring the tracks to your studio and drop em into whatever software you are using to mix....but mixing on it (specifically EQing) is a really big pain to get anything decent sounding

Yea, sounds like maybe just tracking on your 4 track and letting someone else mix your stuff might be your best bet.. I personally like the character a recording has when done on a 4 track cassette. I dig lofi home recordings. In fact all of this back and forth has made me want to search the interwebz for a decent 4 track. 

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  • 6 months later...

Anyone looking to add a new preamp to their setup? I'm looking to sell my Universal Audio 4-710D preamp. Can blend tube and solid state, 4 inputs, the DI is great. I think I saw someone post in this thread that has one too? Mine has less than 50 hours of use, just bought a second Great River preamp so I'm selling this to try and make back some of the money. Looking for $2000 CAD so if you're in the US that's just under $1500 USD. Open to talking numbers more.

Youtube info:

Let me know if anyone has any interest and I can send more info! my email is [email protected] and I can send pictures and answer any other questions. 

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On December 27, 2016 at 10:59 AM, kylekrische said:

Anyone looking to add a new preamp to their setup? I'm looking to sell my Universal Audio 4-710D preamp. Can blend tube and solid state, 4 inputs, the DI is great. I think I saw someone post in this thread that has one too? Mine has less than 50 hours of use, just bought a second Great River preamp so I'm selling this to try and make back some of the money. Looking for $2000 CAD so if you're in the US that's just under $1500 USD. Open to talking numbers more.

Youtube info:

Let me know if anyone has any interest and I can send more info! my email is [email protected] and I can send pictures and answer any other questions. 

I might be interested. Give me the weekend to think on it. 

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