#1
Background Info: I am about to buy a bunch of music equipment to build credit so I can buy a house (got through university with no loans but virtually no credit). Really this is a multi question thread I am going to have, as I am going to spend eventually upwards around $2K on this upgrade cycle (mind you some of this will go to some software I've had my eye on) so lets tackle the questions one at a time.

First question:

Important stuff: One of the things I was looking at buying was a PreSonus TUBEPre. The main reason for this was driving vocals a little bit and bass guitar. The music projects I have been doing lately have required me to post production on vocals through VST wave shapping or distortions. I was wondering if maybe I could benefit running it through a tube. I would prob split the XLR channel from the mic to a clean recording and then have the driven recording (mainly so I have to options of vocals per take. I have also found I like a little clipping in vocals. I imagine it would sound a lot better clipping a tube then clipping a UX2.

On the other hand I am planning on upgrading my temporary UX2 interface. Is there an 6-8 channel interface (that I can record to separate channels in DAW, FireWire or USB doesn't matter to be I have open PCI/PCI-E slots) that can have a nice driven warmth if I purposely clip the amps a tiny bit? I own/have owned a variety of cheap dual channel interfaces (Line 6 UX2, Lexicon Lambda, M-Audio MobilePre) and have a lot of experience with 2 or 3 other, but I don't know much about the higher end stuff. If not I wouldn't mind something similar to the TubePre (maybe higher end?) just for vocal and bass recording.


EDIT: One thing I am not sure of is Monitors and Sound Isolation. Should they be part of a different upgrade cycle when I have money? I won't have a house for like a year so I would rather invest in less room centric things. The room I will be doing all my work until moving gives a pretty good (perceived) sound on my little KRK 5s.
Last edited by FireHawk at Feb 18, 2012,
#2
For the interface you could check out either a focusrite pro 40 or a M-audio Profire2626. Both great interface with 8 Mic pre-amps 8 Instrument Input, 2 Spdif and and 16x16 ADAT.

Very decent Semi-pro interface goes for around 5000-600$.

As for the Tube Pre, it sure does add a warmth when you drive it and could be a nice addition to a rig. I haven't used the one you mentioned tho.
#3
Quote by ShevanelFlip
For the interface you could check out either a focusrite pro 40 or a M-audio Profire2626. Both great interface with 8 Mic pre-amps 8 Instrument Input, 2 Spdif and and 16x16 ADAT.

Very decent Semi-pro interface goes for around 5000-600$.

As for the Tube Pre, it sure does add a warmth when you drive it and could be a nice addition to a rig. I haven't used the one you mentioned tho.


Yeah I am aware of the high cost of the nicer stuff, but to be honest with my recent recording on UX2 I am not really too worried about getting anything great as I am satisfied with sound I have now, but really want to record drums. I was actually looking at the Pro Fire2626 prior to your post, and it caught my eye. Do you have any idea how the drivers are for Windows7 64bit? That is one of the reason why I want to avoid Focusrite.

I may try to run by Sweetwater HQ and see if they will let me try out a TubePre (they are pretty good about letting you try stuff), and possibly run it in front of something similar to the 2626.
Last edited by FireHawk at Feb 18, 2012,
#4
You said $2K?

The Steinberg interfaces are amazing. I have the MR816X, which is probably the best interface out there for less than a grand. For another couple hundred dollars, there is the MR816CSX, which has a channel strip which really sounds like the business.

The only reason I didn't spring for it is that I was already reaching for the basic X version.

Now, there is a new line of Steinberg intefaces (can't remember what they're called) that effectively represent an evolution to the MR series. I'm not sure what the differences are, aside from the new ones being USB2.0.

The only caution is that the setup required a fair bit of finicking with stuff to get it right with the FW. Once it was up, though, it's been fantastic.

The preamps in them get stellar reviews, and they are the same ones Yamaha uses in their $40K mixers.

(using Win7, btw...)

TBH, I'd be wary of any so-called tube preamp less than about $500. Sure, it might have a tube, but does it actually *do* anything aside from lighting up?

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#5
Quote by axemanchris
You said $2K?

The Steinberg interfaces are amazing. I have the MR816X, which is probably the best interface out there for less than a grand. For another couple hundred dollars, there is the MR816CSX, which has a channel strip which really sounds like the business.

The only reason I didn't spring for it is that I was already reaching for the basic X version.

Now, there is a new line of Steinberg intefaces (can't remember what they're called) that effectively represent an evolution to the MR series. I'm not sure what the differences are, aside from the new ones being USB2.0.

The only caution is that the setup required a fair bit of finicking with stuff to get it right with the FW. Once it was up, though, it's been fantastic.

The preamps in them get stellar reviews, and they are the same ones Yamaha uses in their $40K mixers.

(using Win7, btw...)

TBH, I'd be wary of any so-called tube preamp less than about $500. Sure, it might have a tube, but does it actually *do* anything aside from lighting up?

CT


I want to point out the 2k is going to be over the next year. But dropping $600-700 at a time for a product won't be an issue. Like I said I don't need anything real nice. The Steinberg MR816 X does look nice I am going to research it more. I don't know if I wanna drop the cash for the CSX version though. I do trust Steinberg more than M-Audio (haven't had the best M-Audio experiences with a few interfaces).

Can you recommend something to give me a nice tube drive hardware wise, or do you think I should just stick with a VST drive?

What would you guys say is the next upgrade after a new interface? I feel like upping the interface should be followed by new monitors? I currently have KRK Rokit 5's. At first I was thinking I should wait and see what type of room I will be recording in, but not sure if that really matters, if I am eventually planning on doing work to whatever room I end up using. If not not monitors I am thinking condensor mic should prob be next or do you guys have different suggestions?
Last edited by FireHawk at Feb 18, 2012,
#6
Honestly, I'd just stick with VST drive for now. There aren't really any tube preamps in your range (once you factor in the cost of the new interface) that I'd really recommend.

The Pro 40 and Steinberg are both great ideas. Buy on eBay with the "Or Best Offer" option, and you might end up getting a steal. I think I only paid $320 for my Pro 40, brand new.

If you intend to use an external pre in the future, I'd suggest the Steinberg over the Pro 40, because you can bypass its internal preamps, you can't on the Pro 40, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because they're pretty clean, but external pres will always be somewhat colored by it.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#7
Quote by MatrixClaw

If you intend to use an external pre in the future, I'd suggest the Steinberg over the Pro 40, because you can bypass its internal preamps, you can't on the Pro 40, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because they're pretty clean, but external pres will always be somewhat colored by it.

That is a good thing to take into account.

Another question is I want to pick up a mic just for picking sounds around the house. I am into using samples of stuff like squeaking door, washer and dry running, weird stuff like that. Anyone know about mic that would be good at that? I was gonna just use a SM 57, cause I imagine it doesn't matter that much.
#8
^I'd probably go with a condenser, because its going to be more true to the sound in the room, since it'll pick up everything around it and be less directional. But if you're not too worried about super high quality, I'm sure any decent mic will do.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#9
Funny you should mention mics....

What do you have now?

Your KRK's, if you're happy with them and are returning good mixes, might not be the weakest link in your chain. I've never used a pair, but people around here seem to like them. It comes down, though, to whether or not they're suiting your purposes.

You're more likely to make a great recording with great mics and a half-way decent interface than a great interface, great monitors, and mediocre mics.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#10
BTW.... Sweetwater prices are saying $999 for the Steinberg MR816CSX and $699 for the MR816X.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#11
Haha my main mic is pretty ****ing jank its a Behringer C-1, but before you judge listen to this. Maybe I am just use to it? But it doesn't really seem to bad to me. This has an EQ preset I made that I always start with, I know most great mics you are trying to avoid EQing a dry signal.

My most recent mix: Goodbye Please excuse some autotune artifacts and bad vocals...kinda got screwed when the girl decided she didn't want to redo the first part so it was semi-abandonded.

Prob my best mix, but its mostly electronic aside from chorus: Little Monsters

Another recent mix with real instruments (aside from drums):Love Was Never Enough (Vocal phasing at end is on purpose as majority of the band was very very set on it, so it got kept.)
Last edited by FireHawk at Feb 19, 2012,
#12
Can't listen on this computer, really, as the speakers are sub-par, but I'll give a listen later when I'm in the studio.

People are too quick to dump on Behringer. Their stuff is perfectly usable. I've had a variety of their products and they've all been great bang-for-the-buck. You really do have to pay about double or more before you'll find anything of better quality.

All of the stuff on my profile still was recorded with 95% of the tracks going through a Behringer mixer, using the UB series preamps. No, not Mutt Lange by any stretch, but pretty damned decent.

In fact, I'll suggest that if it wasn't for Behringer, the cost of getting into recording at all would have been way too prohibitive. Though I've "outgrown" most of it (finally, after about ten years), I still have some Behringer stuff.

That all said, you can do better, and if you're going to take recording seriously and take it to the next level, you need to do better. You just need to be prepared to pay for it - and you are.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
Yeah Behringer gets a lot of unneeded heat, I will say though I love the C-1 mics. I have used it for a number of hip hop artists who like it. The thing about Behringer is I have had quality issues with them, my and a roommate who got me into recording had a mixer and C1 die on him pretty quickly after getting it.

Like you said I realize I am going to have to spend money. I have an Excel spreadsheet of things I am looking to buy hardware and software. I figure since I have a good opportunity to drop a decent amount of money over the next year I should get some of the more expensive things, especially an interface out of the way for now. I guess this thread is really what do I need to go to the next level.

I've only been doing this since 2010 so I know my skills need to increase more in the equalization and compression areas. I also realize "gear doesn't make a mix", but I am hoping I can get better on nicer gear.
Last edited by FireHawk at Feb 19, 2012,
#14
Depends on what your 5 year game plan is. But if your in for the long haul. i.e permanent room.

Then I would consider the motu. You can stack them. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/8pre great price and rock solid.

Again this is pretty term but if you've got the cash and some spare time try the seven circle 500 series. http://www.seventhcircleaudio.com/index.htm Modular so you can combine how you want and stay with one and move up til it's packed out.

That would get you both for around 1300.

In terms of treatment. If you again modular your system so that it's non permanent now i.e bass trapping and maybe some HF damping. Then extend the system when you are not moving for a while. floor, cloud etc.
#15
If you're still considering the valve preamp idea too, when tracking vocals for our album the guy who's home studio we tracked them in was running the vocals through this TL Audio Ivory mono channel strip that turned out some pretty decent results, and from what he said he doesn't just use it on vocals but on bass too I believe. Personally, I have never bothered to try a valve-based pre on a guitar signal as you get the valve colouration from any decent valve amp and the mic just needs to capture it accurately enough, but if you only need a one-channel pre to use on vocals that one is pretty cheap and the only one I've noticed to actually do much good for a mic (as opposed to the cheap units that Chris mentioned that are basically a bog-standard mic pre with a valve used for mood lighting!).
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#16
Quote by Wild Hopkins
Depends on what your 5 year game plan is. But if your in for the long haul. i.e permanent room.

Then I would consider the motu. You can stack them. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/8pre great price and rock solid.

Again this is pretty term but if you've got the cash and some spare time try the seven circle 500 series. http://www.seventhcircleaudio.com/index.htm Modular so you can combine how you want and stay with one and move up til it's packed out.

That would get you both for around 1300.

In terms of treatment. If you again modular your system so that it's non permanent now i.e bass trapping and maybe some HF damping. Then extend the system when you are not moving for a while. floor, cloud etc.


Hey thanks for the reply. I will be moving in about a year so I was planning on doing a big sound treatment investment after I get settled. I will make sure I remember this post in the future.

Quote by DisarmGoliath
If you're still considering the valve preamp idea too, when tracking vocals for our album the guy who's home studio we tracked them in was running the vocals through this TL Audio Ivory mono channel strip that turned out some pretty decent results, and from what he said he doesn't just use it on vocals but on bass too I believe. Personally, I have never bothered to try a valve-based pre on a guitar signal as you get the valve colouration from any decent valve amp and the mic just needs to capture it accurately enough, but if you only need a one-channel pre to use on vocals that one is pretty cheap and the only one I've noticed to actually do much good for a mic (as opposed to the cheap units that Chris mentioned that are basically a bog-standard mic pre with a valve used for mood lighting!).


Hmm that is an interesting piece of gear. I was thinking the valve preamp might not be as serious of a concern as other things now that I am thinking about it more.

I'm debating on monitors and/or mic to go with new interface. Those are probably more important. I am going to put this one my future upgrade prospects for sure, until then I guess I will VST drive.
Last edited by FireHawk at Feb 20, 2012,