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Old 10-12-2012, 12:13 PM   #1
DisarmGoliath
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The OFFICIAL New Gear Day (NGD) Thread

The Official NGD Thread


So, in light of my latest opportunity to brag about something (and for once, it's something Matrix doesn't have ) I decided to abuse my power as mod and create an official thread for people to celebrate their NGD's!

Feel free to contribute, whether you're a regular or not, as long as you aren't just trying to advertise your own company (possible *cough*adbots*cough*) in a blatant fashion, and try to add as much detail as possible - whether it's soundclips, pictures of the unboxing, or a detailed specification etc. - go nuts!


Do try not to post several times with just one picture per post though for each NGD
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Well, in light of this striking coincedence I have something to make up the first NGD post of the thread

Early this afternoon I was lazing around in my dressing gown on my day off (I don't work Fridays ) when a doorbell rang and disturbed my deep state of tranquility. 'What could it be?' I pondered as I strode towards my front door in all my barely-concealed glory. Well, after signing for a package it turned out to be this...






Interesting... upon closer inspection of the delivery/customs notice, it would appear the seller has declared the item a gift and the value to be considerably less (is this to make the import VAT cheaper for me, I wonder). But enough of that, let's open the box!





That's a lot smaller than I was expecting Still, I wonder what's in that box...





Why, that's just the elastic suspension - how could I be so forgetful? In that case, there must be somethi... aha, there it is...





Intriguing, go on...





Yes! It has arrived! It's here at last! Priority service my as... it's here!!! *ahem* Allow me to indtroduce my brand new ADK Thor - here in all its glory (and a fancy decorative box)!
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:59 PM   #3
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And I decided I would record something very quick, just to keep people happy - unfortunately, I was lazy and couldn't be bothered to set up a mic stand or pop filter, and the backing track I downloaded for some reason is missing the left guitar for parts of the song (including part of this short clip) but nevertheless. This is the mic, with no pop filter and held in hand, in cardioid position with no HPF or presence boost/cut, and the pad turned off. It's all one take, as I was lazy (already mentioned) so ignore the vocal imperfections (I'm a guitarist, not a vocalist) and hopefully notice the impressive detail this fantastic value LDC has to offer.

Only post-production is Logic's presets for compression, de-essing and reverb

Test Sample


Thor (ADK website)


Specification
Polar pattern: Omni/Cardioid /Figure of 8
Sensitivity: 14mv/Pa
Impedance: 150O
S/N Ratio: 80dB (A-weighted IEC 268-4)
Equivalent Noise Level: 14dB (A-Weighted IEC 268-4)
Max SPL @ 0.5%THD: 130dB/ 138dB/ 148dB (2-way PAD)
Low Cut Filter (HPF): FLAT/ 100Hz / 150Hz
High Cut Filter (LPF): FLAT/ 12KHz / 15KHz
Power Requirements: Phantom Power 48Vą4V



And lastly, I guess I'll give my basic impression of the mic. Aesthetics shouldn't really matter in the choice of microphone, but if you're someone who is bothered by these trivial things - I would say it's far from one of the uglier mics you can find on the market and is classy (to my eyes) with nothing that tries to draw you in and hide anything nasty audio-wise... not to mention it is called 'Thor' (viking badass of lore)!!

It doesn't come with the shockmount, which is a shame, but for the price of the microphone it isn't too hard to justify paying the extra for as you are already getting a great deal - most mics with a similar spec will set you back far more! The case it comes with is (as you can see above) rather nice, with the interior finished in blue velvet covering protective foam and the clasp is nice and secure so you can be confident it won't open without your knowledge and let the mic crash to the floor/get damaged by anything nearby.

The features on offer are outstanding and I can't think of any other mic in the price range that offers so much for so little - large diaphragm condenser with three selectable pickup patterns (omni, cardioid and figure-of-eight); a two-stage pad (8dB and 18dB); a two-stage HPF (100Hz or 150Hz); and a 'character' switch that flicks between neutral, mellow (presence cut) or bright (presence boost). I'm yet to try the various combinations so far, but with everything flat/neutral it sounded very detailed and open to me in cardioid mode (most likely pattern for vocal use) and I can see it being my go-to vocal mic for the foreseeable future.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:08 PM   #4
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Bitchin. Should be sellin my Jackson SL2H this week, so I'll be buyin a bunch of stuff


*Edit* Think I'll post a NGD for the Shure SM7b I got last week. Really digging it this time around. In fact, I've been using it on acoustic guitar all week and I'm surprised how much better I like it over the expensive condensers I've tracked acoustic with. Weird.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
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I may have to look into one of those mics. It fits my budget for my next mic and it has a lot of features other mics I'm looking at don't have.

Anyways, in light of this new thread conveniently popping up today. I present my new interface, a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40:



I didn't waste time with some 30 fancy unboxing photos and we all know what one looks like or know how to get to Focusrite's website to see one.

Anyways, got it setup & tested to see if it works. I love the clarity of the pres so far (mainly been testing it with guitar & amp sims) over my old Mbox. Also, it worked right away with Pro Tools after setting up the I/O's. I just wish I had enough mics to mic a drumkit since I'm going to maybe using 2 ins total at this time.

Still, for $300 on eBay, I'm not complaining at all about the unit. If you need 8 inputs and have $300-$400 to spend, its the best you'll get until you hit the $700+ range. As for UPS leaving it on my doorstep on a rainy Seattle day, I'm a little pissed.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:46 PM   #6
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I may have to look into getting one of those ^

Nice stuff guys
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:22 PM   #7
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Wow, in five minutes you've managed to give me GAS for one of those, Goliath :O
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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Alright...

Well - As some of you know, I recently bought a Focusrite ISA 428 MKI mic pre, so I decided to give the SM7b another chance, since the pres in my Saffire Pro 40 and Audient ASP008 aren't really high gain enough to drive it properly...



WOW! What a difference it makes when you have a preamp that can really pump a good level into it. This is the 4th, yes - fourth, SM7b I've owned, and the previous 3 didn't sound much different than an SM58 to me. The 7b is a TOTALLY different beast through the ISA, so much so, that I've been using it on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, because it sounds ****ing fantastic

I'm still not sure how I feel about it on my harsh vocals, but on my singing, it sounds better than any condenser mic I've owned or tried (and I've owned/tried some pretty expensive ones). It definitely makes my screams sound bigger, but I can't seem to dial a presence into it that makes it cut through a mix as well as condensers have for me, without making it sound funny. It works really well on my highs, though, just not so much on lows, since the mic has a lot of low mids, it seems.

Anyway - I've actually been digging it on acoustic. It might not be a sound I'd use all the time, but for the song I recorded with it, I think it fit quite nicely

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4018922/Illaria/Acoustic.mp3

Everything was recorded with the SM7b, there's a high shelf on the main rhythm track and a HPF at ~110 on all of the tracks. Separate reverb busses for rhythm and lead. No compression, aside from a limiter on the master track. This is pretty much exactly how it sounded after I hit record. All the switches on the back are set flat.

Will add vocals tonight or tomorrow hopefully, just trying to figure out WTF I'm going to say


Please excuse the sloppy playing. I literally haven't picked up an acoustic in years. My fingers hurt like a mofo!
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:29 PM   #9
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:21 AM   #10
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Today (well, this morning or late at night), I got the approval to purchase some new software from my GF. So, I give to you my writeup on the:

Steven Slate Drums Chris Lord-Alge Expansion!

I know some of you are wondering, who the **** is Chris Lord-Alge and why have I been hearing his name so much the past week? Well, he is this guy:



Okay, so he's that guy, who has he worked with? A full list can be found here on his website, but some of his highlights include major albums like:

Green Day - American Idiot
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
AFI - DecemberUnderground
Sum 41 - Screaming Bloody Murder
Daughtry - All 3 of his albums
Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day

and lots of other big name artists. Chances are, if you've turned on the radio in the past 10 years, you've probably heard something mixed by him or his brother Tom Lord-Alge (Whose mixed albums by Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 & various others).

One thing in common with the first 4 I listed is that they all have a massive drum sound. To this day, I still use tracks from American Idiot for referencing my drum mixes since I love the sound so damn much.

Okay, so now we know who he is & what he's done, lets talk about this expansion

As I've stated and its stated on the website, it is an EXPANSION for Steven Slate Drums 4.0. By EXPANSION, that means NOT STANDALONE! Which means you need to already own at least one version of SSD to use it. I've got the EX version and it works fine & I bet you could get away with the essential/custom version.

The install is kinda a pain, though you already know this if you've ever purchased any form of SSD in the past. It comes in about 5 different zips you've gotta drag & drop into the base folder.

Anyways, installation aside, how does it sound? I think Sexy is the best way I can describe it. As one who has used Addictive Drums, EZDrummer, Superior Drummer & Steven Slate Drums, these are the best sounding most mix ready samples I've ever heard! Hell, even compared to the stock SSD kits which are already pretty much mix ready, the CLA drums are amazing!

Also, one thing I like about SSD CLA is the microphone selection. For each piece on the kit, there are 5-7 different mic choices you can go with. Obviously, this was already a feature with SSD 4.0 but there are only 3 mic choices per piece.

I only have one major negative with this setup, its very demanding on your computer. Most of the preset kits load in close to or slightly over 2gb into your ram on high settings. For me, its no problem since I've maxed out my ram at 16gb but for those with lower system specs, you're going to probably want to drop it down to low setting where its only around 500mb of ram. Yes, there is a little bit of a quality difference but it still sounds amazing.

EDIT: As I dove into one of my sessions, I found out how quickly Pro Tools doesn't like it when I use all the available ram on SSD with a CLA kit. I had 2 other Virtual Instruments & 2 amp sims loaded before I ran out of ram in PT. I'd say that at least for arranging, bump it down to low then you're ready to mix, record each piece into its own audio track so that you don't kill your session quickly. I'm not sure how this will differ with a 64-Bit DAW since it should be able to handle more than 4gb of RAM but just to be on the safe side.

Should you buy?

If you're already using SSD & are looking to add a few more kits that sound amazing, go for it! If you don't already have SSD, I wouldn't rush out to buy both SSD & the CLA Expansion together since most people could get by with SSD then moving into the CLA Expansion since after it goes off sale, it'll be $350 for SSD EX & the CLA Expansion.

Pros:
-Most Mix Ready Sounding Drums Period
-Lots of Mic Choices to go with for lots of different sounds
-A great expansion for an already amazing virtual drum machine

Cons:
-A little pricey, especially for an expansion
-Very CPU & RAM intensive
-Install kinda sucks

Soundclips

Nicely playlisted right here: http://soundcloud.com/therealcaywood/sets/ssdcla

I took 4 different grooves (A straight beat, punk beat, metalish beat & 7/8 beat) and ran them all together into a short clip. There are 4 kits (3 from CLA & 1 from SSD, numbered by what kit it is) to give you a few of the different sounds from it & to show the difference between the CLA & stock SSD kits. There were no tweaks made to anything & its the raw samples going straight out.

Also, I think the CLA clips may clip but thats my fault :p
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:16 PM   #11
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Just because Goliath's such a good guy I'm going to move my new gear day thread here.

I've been using an old, old macbook to do some pretty hefty recordings. I finally managed to get my hands on a macbook pro and I couldn't be happier. It's got a 2.9Ghz Quad core and a 256 GB SSD. I also have an external thunderbolt drive because the 256 goes pretty quickly.

I use it for both my recording with a Presonus firestudio and a variety of mics and for life performance with my acoustic instruments. Live I'll run into my presonus or another interface and create a logic project with tracks for my voice and guitar. With those tracks I'll apply EQ, Compression and reverb to get the sound I want before sending it out to the mixer. The people that reverb me live tend to use the onboard and it sounds so fake.

Here are some screen caps:


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Old 12-16-2012, 08:46 PM   #12
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Just because Goliath's such a good guy I'm going to move my new gear day thread here.



Also, is that iMovie you're using to make those videos? That's cool, as it means I should be able to do that sort of thing when I buy a new Mac soon and get the new iLife stuff - not that I've tried doing it in my '08 Mac's iMovie before, but nothing jumped out at me from my brief playarounds with it.



Anyway, not going to say too much about these but I thought I'd do kill a few birds with one stone and post about my Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases back in November...



DG's Black Friday/Cyber Monday Extravaganza*


Waves H-Delay

For a while I've loved H-EQ, after getting it in the 2011 sale of the same period, even though it would kill my '08 Mac to run it in every instance I need EQ (Logic's Channel EQ is the next best thing, in this case, having a similar layout and features), and naturally this led me to look at the other plug-ins in Waves' 'Hybrid' range - H-Delay and H-Comp.

I already have plenty of good compressors though (Logic's bundled comp. is pretty capable, and I also have the McDSP 6030 compressor bundle, and Waves CLA-76 & CLA-2A etc.), and the H-Comp looks intriguing but I couldn't justify the money for it just yet; but the H-Delay has a wonderful layout (the GUI/control layout is part of why I love the Hybrid plugs) and is very flexible - definitely something I could do with!

So I waited, and sure enough Waves did some huge reductions again (let's face it - unless you're rich, this is what you need if you're to afford any of their plug-ins!) so I took the opportunity to finally snap up H-Delay.



Waves H-Delay link




Slate Digital VCC (Virtual Console Collection)

I may as well get this out the way and say it right now... Steven Slate is amazing. He's a great engineer, he is hilarious on facebook (just yesterday he uploaded a photo with the caption 'This is a reindeer that is on my patio. No big deal.' - and yes, there he was with a real-life reindeer... on his patio... why is there a living, breathing reindeer on his patio?! Because he's a badass - that's why!). Oh, and he heads a company that makes funking awesome products! (Sorry for the overload of exclamation marks in this paragraph... ! )

Anyway, around the same time last year... again... I purchased Slate Trigger Platinum, as (for those unaware) Logic Pro 8 has no drum replacement tool - instead you must use a long-winded workaround that is tiresome, to say the least - so I thought I'd speed up my workflow and keep my sanity a little longer. I loved it, to keep things brief(er), and have wondered since how good the rest of the products are.

Enter Slate Digital VCC. I heard many good things about this one, and as the only other products I have that could be described as simulating the saturation/compression and warmth of analogue gear in any way is the freeware plug-in iZotope Vinyl, I thought I'd give this a try at the knockdown price.

I won't lie, it's obviously a much more subtle effect than the other stuff I bought this time round, so time will tell if it was worth the money (i.e next time I work on a bigger project than my rough demos for future DG songs, so can get a decent cumulative effect of the channel strip being used on many channels, and then through the master buss sim) but my first impression is that the GUI is nice and clean, and it was nice to crank up the drive and listen to the different console models on the master buss.




Slate Digital VCC Link




Steven Slate Drums 4 - EX (Essential)

I don't need to go into my views on Steven Slate again, and as you can probably guess by the title, it's another product from his software empire (I believe, as evidenced by the different websites, SSD is kept separate from the other Slate Digital stuff, so the different teams can work on their own stuff - someone can correct me if they know the full scoop), so here's another thing I found funny from his facebook recently



Anyway, SSD 4 is the first drum sampler/programming plug-in/whatever-you-wanna-call-it that I've used an not hated... that's a start Until now, I've always found it far more expressive and flexible to load my own samples (from the collection I've amassed around the web) into Logic's Ultrabeat sampler, and then program it in the Piano Roll.

After deciding that SSD got so much praise, however, I thought it was worth a pop at $49 or whatever it was I paid - I forget - and I'm glad I did. The main problem with the way I programmed drums before was that multi-layered samples were not possible as far as I knew, without putting different samples on different MIDI notes and then putting triggering them while programming in the Piano Roll - using SSD means I can have the multi-layered samples and not worry about it at all. For that alone, it was worth it. It also helps that the samples that come with it all sound very nice, and I can see me getting a lot of mileage from it when doing demos etc. and needing to quickly get a rough drumtrack for the song done.

For those that need it, the Platinum edition of SSD 4 includes loads more samples and shiny things**, so work out what level you need and go for it if you want a fantastic, easy to use drum program.



SSD 4 - EX Link







*...that is totally NOT diminished by everything Matrix bought, and continues to buy, at a terrifying rate.
**Shiny things may not actually be included... or exist.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:35 PM   #13
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:44 PM   #14
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Oh hell fucking no, you aren't getting away with bumping my thread without posting nice new pictures of gear, just to push your shitty services, Mr. Adbot. Perma'd.
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Oh hell fucking no, you aren't getting away with bumping my thread without posting nice new pictures of gear, just to push your shitty services, Mr. Adbot. Perma'd.

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Old 12-29-2012, 01:57 AM   #16
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