#1
Hey all,

I was just wondering what type of gear I should focus on getting to have a "better" setup for recording a band. I've looked at tons of preamps and mics and am still unsure which direction I should head in. I'd have about $2500 to spend.

Right now I have:

Tascam US-1800 interface (8 XLR inputs, multitracking, USB)
A Shure SM57 and an Audio Technica AT2050
Shure SRH440 headphones for monitoring (but I borrow the other guitar player's monitors which are KRK Rokit 6's)
Nuendo 4 DAW

Would it be more beneficial to me to get a great preamp(s), or a mic (or two)?

I've been eyeing the Universal Audio LA-610 and the Great River MP-2NV for pres and the Audio Technica AT4040/4050 mics.

Any tips/advice/opinions?
Guitars:
Fender Highway One Stratocaster
Gretsch G5120
1973 Japanese Les Paul

Amp:
Vox AC30C2

Effects:
MJM Brit Bender MKII tonebender clone
Boss Blues-Driver
Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah
EHX Holy Grail Reverb
Catalinbread Echorec
#2
When you say band I automatically think off recording drums. Maybe some extra mics for that?

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
#3
Also I'll be using the mic/preamp for vocals, possibly drum overheads, and electric/acoustic guitars.
#4
@darren yeah I was even thinking of getting an AKG D-112 kick mic as well, but it depends if people say I should focus more on the preamp than the mics.
Guitars:
Fender Highway One Stratocaster
Gretsch G5120
1973 Japanese Les Paul

Amp:
Vox AC30C2

Effects:
MJM Brit Bender MKII tonebender clone
Boss Blues-Driver
Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah
EHX Holy Grail Reverb
Catalinbread Echorec
#5
I don't want to stray off, but how about a simple drumkit? I don't know if you want to make it your job, but it would help save time to have drumkit ready, d as such you can also experiment with micing it.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??
#6
I'd say better mics are more important than better preamps.

That said, I'd also think about getting acoustic treatment for your room and a proper set of monitors.

What is your budget? From the gear you listed, you must have a few bucks you're willing to spend.

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.
#7
@Darren it would be pretty useful to have a kit to experiment with mic placement and such, but right now I've got a drummer who I record with and his kit is great.

@axemanchris yeah I'm looking at a bunch of other forums and everyone's saying the mic is more important.

Acoustic treatment is certainly something to consider but I don't exactly have a proper room for it. I recorded my band's EP in the bass player's low ceiling/brick floor basement with a behringer xenyx x1204 mixer, 2 sm57's, my AT2050, and Nuendo 4 and it doesn't really sound like a basement recording:http://soundcloud.com/servoband

I'd say about $2500 would be my max budget (if I were to totally go all in). Considering that the preamp wouldn't make as dramatic a difference as some good mics I probably wouldn't need to spend so much.
Guitars:
Fender Highway One Stratocaster
Gretsch G5120
1973 Japanese Les Paul

Amp:
Vox AC30C2

Effects:
MJM Brit Bender MKII tonebender clone
Boss Blues-Driver
Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah
EHX Holy Grail Reverb
Catalinbread Echorec
#8
Quote by axemanchris
I'd say better mics are more important than better preamps.

That said, I'd also think about getting acoustic treatment for your room and a proper set of monitors.

What is your budget? From the gear you listed, you must have a few bucks you're willing to spend.

CT

Those KRK's have a great sound, man. Plus, let's remember that a lot of engineers use crappier speakers in an effort to get a good sound. Most people that listen to a final mix are not going to be listening to it through a $2000 set of speakers. That being said, it's nice to have great monitors but, I would go with better mics and preamps before attacking the monitor issue. That's the way I'd go about it at least...
#9
My personal opinion regarding kick mic is an audix D6 over the D112. It has a nicer more natural sound i find (depends on how you mic).
Check out akg 414s. There hella expensive but if you have a pair thats literally all you will need to record a drum kit with, i did it the other day and it was surprisingly awesome!
that uad la610 is a beef machine you should get that. And brag to us all.
#10
Quote by Dimarzio45
Those KRK's have a great sound, man. Plus, let's remember that a lot of engineers use crappier speakers in an effort to get a good sound. Most people that listen to a final mix are not going to be listening to it through a $2000 set of speakers. That being said, it's nice to have great monitors but, I would go with better mics and preamps before attacking the monitor issue. That's the way I'd go about it at least...

Good point made!
It's a question of accuracy Vs Translation isn't it? You want to hear the frequencies but you also want to know it'll sound good on "crap" speakers. Krks are a pretty good middle ground. On top of that having the best monitors (some would argue Barefoots) in a not so good room would be counter intuitive.
#11
No offense, but why in the hell would you want to spend $1600-$2300 on a preamp, when you're plugging into an interface with sub-par converters (of which I also doubt can actually bypass its own preamps), a cheap pair of headphones, and equally as poor monitors?

First off, I'd be very surprised if you could even hear a difference between the nice mic preamp and the ones in your interface at this point. Second, it'd be hard to believe even an experienced engineer could through the monitoring section you're running.

With $2300, you could get a pretty awesome setup. First and foremost, you should spend your money on treating your room and buying a quality pair of monitors that don't color everything you send through them.

Others might disagree with me, but I think second you should focus on getting rid of that Tascam and buying something with cleaner preamps built into it and better conversion. The mics you have now are fine, and I'm not really sure you'd see a huge difference between them and an expensive mic through the noisy preamps in the Tascam

Quote by Dimarzio45
Those KRK's have a great sound, man. Plus, let's remember that a lot of engineers use crappier speakers in an effort to get a good sound. Most people that listen to a final mix are not going to be listening to it through a $2000 set of speakers. That being said, it's nice to have great monitors but, I would go with better mics and preamps before attacking the monitor issue. That's the way I'd go about it at least...

Yuck. Rokits are gross.

I used to own a pair and I thought they were great, until I started listening to my mixes on other systems and kept wondering why everything just fell apart in the translation. Upgrade to a proper set of monitors and you'll quickly find out that the midrange is a hell of a lot clearer and your lowend is actually accurate to what it'll sound like through a decent listening system.

The point of mixing on an expensive monitoring system is so that you can hear every frequency so that it translates accurately to multiple listening sources. If you mix entirely only one crappy set of desktop speakers, it might sound good on those speakers, but sound like utter crap in your car stereo or through headphones, because your cheap speakers mask certain frequencies (mids), while overhyping others (lows and sometimes highs).
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
#12
What interface(s) would you recommend to replace the Tascam?

I've only got a Lenovo laptop so it would probably have to be a USB type of some sort...
Guitars:
Fender Highway One Stratocaster
Gretsch G5120
1973 Japanese Les Paul

Amp:
Vox AC30C2

Effects:
MJM Brit Bender MKII tonebender clone
Boss Blues-Driver
Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah
EHX Holy Grail Reverb
Catalinbread Echorec
#13
Quote by Dimarzio45
Those KRK's have a great sound, man. Plus, let's remember that a lot of engineers use crappier speakers in an effort to get a good sound. Most people that listen to a final mix are not going to be listening to it through a $2000 set of speakers. That being said, it's nice to have great monitors but, I would go with better mics and preamps before attacking the monitor issue. That's the way I'd go about it at least...


Two things, though:

1. They're not his.

2. If something sounds great through a great set of speakers, it will sound great on anything. Like a magnifying glass, they will show you everything that is there - "warts and all" as they say - rather than smear over what you wish you heard.


Quote by MatrixClaw

No offense, but why in the hell would you want to spend $1600-$2300 on a preamp, when you're plugging into an interface with sub-par converters (of which I also doubt can actually bypass its own preamps)


That was the first thing I thought of too, but with the direct inputs, you do bypass the preamps. The converters, no, not apparently.

To the OP:

With a budget of $2500, and a desire to upgrade your preamps, I think the best interface under $1000 is the Steinberg MR816 units. They're firewire, but the newer series the UR816 seems to be the exact same thing only on USB. The pres and converters are both very excellent. It will also integrate beautifully with Nuendo. It's literally designed with Cubase and Nuendo in mind.

That'll leave you over $1500 for some quality monitors, some room treatment, and maybe another mic or two, depending on what you buy.

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Apr 9, 2013,
#14
Guys. remember, if your not bouning out at 256kbs 44.1khz 16 bit.. they will be put into that format eventually and listened to on 3 dollar ear buds.
#15
Quote by roaraudio
Guys. remember, if your not bouning out at 256kbs 44.1khz 16 bit.. they will be put into that format eventually and listened to on 3 dollar ear buds.

That was pretty much my point. Obviously it's good to have great monitors. I wasn't really debating that. I was saying in the whole spectrum of equipment listed, I would have gone with new monitors later on down the road.
#16
Quote by axemanchris


2. If something sounds great through a great set of speakers, it will sound great on anything. Like a magnifying glass, they will show you everything that is there - "warts and all" as they say - rather than smear over what you wish you heard.

That can work both ways. But, I see what you're saying.
#17
Quote by Dimarzio45
That was pretty much my point. Obviously it's good to have great monitors. I wasn't really debating that. I was saying in the whole spectrum of equipment listed, I would have gone with new monitors later on down the road.


By saying that you are of course assuming that the entire world is using $3 earbuds.


Which is nothing but lies and smelly horsepoop. I refuse to use any earbuds that'll cost me anything less than £20. That seems to be the cut off point for decent to crap earbuds.

Don't mix for the lowest common denominator. Mainly because they don't care that music sounds bad because they're the ones that have put it in that format in the first place.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
Last edited by ChemicalFire at Apr 9, 2013,
#18
Quote by ChemicalFire
By saying that you are of course assuming that the entire world is using $3 earbuds.


Which is nothing but lies and smelly horsepoop. I refuse to use any earbuds that'll cost me anything less than £20. That seems to be the cut off point for decent to crap earbuds.

Don't mix for the lowest common denominator. Mainly because they don't care that music sounds bad because they're the ones that have put it in that format in the first place.

Hey, don't argue with me over the fact many people choose to listen to music with crappy devices.

PS- I've never used earbuds that have EVER sounded good.
#19
I'm not saying your wrong, it's just that I don't think you should specifically cater for that xD It's their fault if the music sounds bad on bad equipment, not yours.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#20
Thank you very much CT. While I can't seem to find the UR816 model on musiciansfriend or the long & mcquade website, there is the UR824 which I'm guessing is just a bigger version.

Knowing that it's as compatible as can be with Nuendo is very nice to hear.
Guitars:
Fender Highway One Stratocaster
Gretsch G5120
1973 Japanese Les Paul

Amp:
Vox AC30C2

Effects:
MJM Brit Bender MKII tonebender clone
Boss Blues-Driver
Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah
EHX Holy Grail Reverb
Catalinbread Echorec
#21
just wanna add i have nice heaphones but i also have 6 dollar ear buds, while not great, perform very similarly to Dr Dre's beats which are 200.
#22
Quote by Dimarzio45
That can work both ways. But, I see what you're saying.


No, it can't really work both ways.

The suggestion that, if it sounds good on one specific pair of crappy speakers, then it will sound good on anything is entirely untrue.

Consider: A slightly convex mirror might be a really cool visual effect. But if you can make something look great in that slightly convex mirror, will it look great in real life? Doubtful.

This is why we keep getting threads like "my mixes sound awesome in my studio, but sound like shite in the car." It's because your studio speakers distort the audio (you know... those searing highs and smackin' bass is, by definition, a distortion of the actual audio) one way, so you compensate for that in the mix. Then, when playing back on another system, it gets distorted differently, and because you've made mix judgments based on one distortion and compensated for it, now your source audio is not what you intended, which is rarely a positive.

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.
#23
Quote by RGallagherFan
Thank you very much CT. While I can't seem to find the UR816 model on musiciansfriend or the long & mcquade website, there is the UR824 which I'm guessing is just a bigger version.

Knowing that it's as compatible as can be with Nuendo is very nice to hear.


Sorry. My mistake. The UR824 *IS* the updated MR816. There is no UR816.

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.
#24
Playing the devil's advocate, the UR824 supposedly sounds fantastic, but has horrid drivers. Supposedly they're pretty good now, but Steinberg drivers still scare the crap out of me. If you get one, buy it new, at a place you can return it to if the drivers don't end up working out for you. Otherwise, the new Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 is a great choice. The preamps and conversion aren't as good as the Steinberg... but they are perfectly acceptable and come backed with an excellent support team. If you want to go higher-end, there's also the RME UFX, but I didn't hear much noticeable difference between it and my Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, so I returned it. At $2600, I was expect that thing to blow my Saffire away
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
#26
Quote by MatrixClaw
Playing the devil's advocate, the UR824 supposedly sounds fantastic, but has horrid drivers. Supposedly they're pretty good now, but Steinberg drivers still scare the crap out of me.


It was a bit of a b!tch to set up. I don't think it was as much a driver issue, though, as it was unclear documentation.

First, I found out that it is picky as hell in terms of wanting Texas Instruments chipsets on the firewire card. Shouldn't be an issue with a USB device.

Second, I had to do some searching, but I came to find that there is a folder buried on the installation CD called "extras" or something, and in that folder is another firewire utility that adjusts another firewire buffer that somehow seems to be separate from the audio buffer. The default is set to small, and on that setting, I couldn't even listen to an mp3 from my computer without it being all crackly. I adjusted the buffer setting to large and everything has worked beautifully ever since.

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.
#27
Don't waste your time replacing the interface. The preamps on the US1800 are clean and neutral and do the job just fine. Getting rid of it and replacing it with a similar-level Focusrite or whatever is throwing money down the drain.

Since your US1800 has straight line inputs as well as the 8 mic preamps, it makes much more sense to buy one or two 'character' mic preamps. The Golden Age Pre 73 or something similar would work nicely.


This thing about 'focusing on the preamp instead of mics' is utter nonsense.


Personally my money would go on monitoring, mics and outboard.
Last edited by kyle62 at Apr 10, 2013,
#28
^ Have you tried the US-1800? I very much disagree that a Focusrite would be of similar level. The drivers on the US-1800 and 800 I had were terrible. The routing via the mixer was nearly nonexistent and the thing couldn't record more than 4 tracks at once before it had audio dropouts or created a ton of latency. I used mine for recording live shows, but in a studio environment where monitoring at low latency is a concern, it would've been next to worthless. The pres were decent sounding, but were far from clean. Don't even think about recording low level sources with it, because the pres got so noisy, the signal was unusable. For any entry level interface, its pretty decent, but I even just for stability's sake, I'd say the extra cost is worth 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
#29
Quote by MatrixClaw
^ Have you tried the US-1800? I very much disagree that a Focusrite would be of similar level. The drivers on the US-1800 and 800 I had were terrible. The routing via the mixer was nearly nonexistent and the thing couldn't record more than 4 tracks at once before it had audio dropouts or created a ton of latency. I used mine for recording live shows, but in a studio environment where monitoring at low latency is a concern, it would've been next to worthless. The pres were decent sounding, but were far from clean. Don't even think about recording low level sources with it, because the pres got so noisy, the signal was unusable. For any entry level interface, its pretty decent, but I even just for stability's sake, I'd say the extra cost is worth it

I did 12 hours of live recording with a borrowed US1800 at a festival last weekend and came away really impressed, bought one for myself.

Preamps were clean and neutral, drivers seemed absolutely rock solid on W7 64bit, even though we were tracking 14 channels on an old dual-core PC with 2GB RAM.
I heard the earlier drivers were junk though, that might have been your problem.

Here's some (basically unmixed) samples:
http://rightontime.vilayer.me/CWRECORDS/Crossroads%20Fernstock%20(rough).mp3 (skip to 1:00ish)
http://rightontime.vilayer.me/CWRECORDS/The%20Vinos%20-%20Me%20And%20The%20Barman.mp3


Don't get me wrong, at best it's an average/mediocre piece of kit and it's very much built to a price. But as long as your mics and engineering skills are up to scratch I'm sure you could get extremely professional sounding results. I've yet to try a ribbon or an SM7, though it had enough gain to get a good clean signal out of my old transformerless Unidyne III.
#30
I've got the Tascam US-1641 (the 1800 is the updated version). I've never had any issues recording multiple tracks at once (10 or more). It's nice but has latency issues. However, I've learned how to work around the latency issues for it to not be bothersome. It's a middle-of-the-road unit. I would definitely be more concerned about buying better mics if I were TS. That, and soundproofing.
#31
Fair enough on the live recording, but I assume you weren't trying to monitor that signal at the same time, either. In a studio environment, low latency is very important to me, especially if I'm going to track drums, and the Tascam was just not capable of it.

Definitely has its purpose as a low cost solution for a lot of inputs, if you can look past its flaws. Though, for $300, you could buy a used Saffire Pro 40, and within a few months, the Scarlett 18i20, once they hit the used market, which is a much smarter use of your money IMO

I guess I might be a little more sensitive to the conversion and preamps than most on this board, mainly because I'm using a very high end monitoring system and can actually hear those differences. It probably IS a smarter idea to buy mics and monitors w/ acoustic treatment at this point. If the TS finds he has trouble with latency and whatnot, he can always upgrade later. I wouldn't suggest wasting money on preamps right now, though - As long as your preamps in your interface can power the mics you're using, it doesn't make any sense to spend the money for such a small upgrade, when you have so many other deficiencies in your recording setup that should be addressed first.
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
#32
Yeah I'll probably go for the mics. And possibly the Steinberg interface if my wallet is confident enough.
#33
I got the Tascam in the first place because I was using a Behringer Xenyx x1204 before and couldn't multitrack. I was considering the Tascam or the Presonus Audiobox 1818vsl and my shop had the Tascam so I went with it.

If I'd known about the Steinberg I probably would've gotten it to begin with.
#34
Quote by RGallagherFan
I got the Tascam in the first place because I was using a Behringer Xenyx x1204 before and couldn't multitrack. I was considering the Tascam or the Presonus Audiobox 1818vsl and my shop had the Tascam so I went with it.

If I'd known about the Steinberg I probably would've gotten it to begin with.

Yeah. Me too. But, hey....live and learn. What mics are you looking into?
#35
Most likely a kick drum mic: thinking AKG D-112 since John Bonham usually had an AKG mic for recording and I've had some okay luck with a rental I had. They've reissued the AKG D12, but it's like $500. I really like loose, natural, roomy and boomy kick sounds. No cardboard box sounds for my drums!

For vocals and guitars I was thinking an Audio Technica AT4040 or 4050. I'm 100% sure that anything Neumann would sound shitty in an untreated room (even though that's probably true with any other decent mic) so probably not going there.

The AKG C414 looks good to me too.
#36
AKG makes some nice stuff for the money. Never tried Neumann or really heard much about them...
#37
Quote by RGallagherFan
Most likely a kick drum mic: thinking AKG D-112 since John Bonham usually had an AKG mic for recording and I've had some okay luck with a rental I had. They've reissued the AKG D12, but it's like $500. I really like loose, natural, roomy and boomy kick sounds. No cardboard box sounds for my drums!

For vocals and guitars I was thinking an Audio Technica AT4040 or 4050. I'm 100% sure that anything Neumann would sound shitty in an untreated room (even though that's probably true with any other decent mic) so probably not going there.

The AKG C414 looks good to me too.

Not a fan of the D112. Just never did it for me. Shure Beta 52 kills it IMO.

The AT4000 series mics are good choices. All of the mics in that series are great.

The C414 is nice too, but it's not particularly stunning on a lot of vocal sources. Great for drum overheads, though <3
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
#38
Quote by RGallagherFan
Most likely a kick drum mic: thinking AKG D-112 since John Bonham usually had an AKG mic for recording and I've had some okay luck with a rental I had. They've reissued the AKG D12, but it's like $500. I really like loose, natural, roomy and boomy kick sounds. No cardboard box sounds for my drums!

For vocals and guitars I was thinking an Audio Technica AT4040 or 4050. I'm 100% sure that anything Neumann would sound shitty in an untreated room (even though that's probably true with any other decent mic) so probably not going there.

The AKG C414 looks good to me too.


Second hand Audix D6 for $100! It's up there with the D-112 and beta 52
#39
Quote by Drummerrrrr?
Second hand Audix D6 for $100! It's up there with the D-112 and beta 52

I really like the D6 for metal kicks and floor toms, but it's not nearly as versatile as the Beta 52, and the TS doesn't seem like he'll be recording metal?
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
#40
Sennheiser e602 also punchy for kick - not jut for metal.

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.