|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 08/24/2011 : 12:22:07 PM
Many of you have made studio upgrades and changes lately and it's been fun to see what you're doing, so I thought I'd share my own recent changes.
For a few months I experimented with using the USB connection on my A&H ZED14 as an interface. I did this out of necessity to be honest because the BLA modified M-Audio 1814FW I rocked for 5 years bricked on me. A shame really because I'd become so spoiled by BLA's top notch ADAC that I didn't think I'd be able to afford an equivalent interface.
The USB connection is a straight forward 16Bit signal. No software mixer to configure or manage, no drivers, no latency. But still, only 16Bits instead of 24. The built-in ADAC though is very high quality and was more pleasing to my ears than other devices I auditioned to substitute for my broken 1814FW. The only thing that came close (within $$ range) was Sound Devices new USBPre2. It's a great sounding box even in 16Bit mode but the USB2 drivers (24Bit) cause way too much latency for my taste/needs. And trust me, my needs are pretty simple.
The sound I was getting going 16Bit from the ZED directly to my DAW was a very analog-type sound reminiscent of mid 90's Alesis ADAT machines and conversion. I liked it...that digital tape sound, you know. so I decided to continue forward with this interface taking advantage of that sound.
Being on solid ground there I began to plan my next move. Nothing I could buy under $500 per channel could touch the ZED pre's, I knew that. So I started looking at how I was going to master my own recordings and began auditioning master bus limiters, maximizer's, and suite's. Ozone 4 (as a suite) seemed to be the best bang for my buck. But something bugged me about the low's and lower mids in v.4 that used to bug me in v.3. The lows are a little mushy and the lower mids have a little mud there that drives me nuts. After process of elimination I found the multi-channel compression to be the culprit, and at the same time found the EQ section to not be very useful or very transparent. So I tried the maximizer all on its own and found it to be almost useless without engaging the multi-channel compressor. In other words, I feel Ozone's maximizer uses the compressor as a crutch. Just my opinion, YMMV.
Along come Voxengo's Elephant. Simple, straight forward, transparent and extremely capable limiter/maximizer that will add up to 6dB of perceived volume to your final mix without pumping or distorting or changing any of the quality of your mix. At least that's my experience.
When I bought Elephant, Voxengo was having a deal and I was able to grab Voxformer along with it basically at no charge. Voxformer is basically a vocal/instrument channel that does basic compression/EQ/Gate/De-essing. Again, extremely transparent if you want it to be. Voxformer also has a feature that allows you to control Drive and Saturation if you want to splash some quality color and it does it in a very pleasing way.
I was also looking for a synth to sequence pads with, just for effects here and there. Sometimes featured effects for intro's/outro's/breaks/bridges, etc. I auditioned and was impressed with Roger Linn's Sync V2. I can use my guitar to create wonderful synth-like sequences. I love this because I'm a guitarist, not a keyboardist and don't know jack about keyboards or soft synth's...and to be honest...I don't want to know - right now anyway. So I bought that and have integrated it into Sonar and have started learning how to sequence...finally.
Also, I've added a new acoustic guitar to my collection and that's a Seagull Coastline S12. Wasn't sure how I'd like cherry for the sides and back but the sound is super pleasant. The back is actually a solid sheet of wood as opposed to being 2 bookmatched pieces. The top is solid cedar, the neck is maple and very substantial. I'm not blessed with slim fingertips and there's plenty of room on the fretboard with this guitar. Of course, it's a challenge getting used to the dynamics of a 12 string but the sound is incredible to me and will fit in nicely with the direction my music is taking me.
I have a second omni capsule coming for my other MK012 mic and I'm considering an FMR RNC for outboard compression. I have a Pro VLA but it's a color box that sounds quite a bit different from the RNC.
That's it feller's. Hope I didn't bore you.
|7 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 08/28/2011 : 10:56:12 AM
Plugins get better all the time and some of them are really fantastic. I had the UAD-1 for a while with a few extra plugs but found I really didn't need them so I sold it. The only thing I really miss is the guitar FX thingy...Nigel. I loved that module. Mostly I just try to capture really good tracks and work without fx from there with exception to some delay fx on vocals and lots of drum treatment.
I did also like the Pultec Pro module with UAD.
||Posted - 08/28/2011 : 09:04:48 AM
Cool... that's a nice setup.
Most of my stuff is done in-the-box these days, but I do like to use hardware sometimes either to get a certain sound or to offload some of CPU strain. I really like the UAD-2 card. That was a great investment. Don't have all the plugs for it yet though.
||Posted - 08/27/2011 : 10:34:49 PM
Tubester DS-1 stomp box
Electro Harmonix 12AY7 tube mic pre's (pair)
Digitech RP-1 (90's)
Line 6 Toneport UX2
Line 6 Guitar port
Various open reel tape decks and cassette decks for effect.
||Posted - 08/27/2011 : 09:17:30 AM
Other than what you've already mentioned... what other hardware do you have in your studio? Just curious...
||Posted - 08/25/2011 : 5:41:34 PM
I am planning that Scott. I've been wanting to do it for a long time now but just couldn't decide how to go about doing it. So no, I haven't done any sequencing up til now. I have a penchant for hardware devices but the Linn's Sync v2 lets me use my guitar to accomplish that in a pretty straight forward plug. At the same time my music has been developing toward more interesting arranging I think, simpler tracking techniques, better engineering on the front end, and more use of an electric guitar plugged straight into an amp. We'll see how these next 3 tunes come out in the end. Should be posting one soon.
I think listening to a lot of Radiohead and Stereophonics has influenced me lately.
||Posted - 08/25/2011 : 12:05:47 PM
Oh, man DS... that was really boring. See how sleepy I am?
That's a bummer about the M-Audio. I really hate it when gear just ups and dies like that.
Wow, I didn't know you hadn't done any sequencing till now. There are so many possibilities. I haven't tried AdrenaLinn Sync, but from the info on the product page, it looks nice.
So you're planning to start adding some electronic elements/sounds to your music?
||Posted - 08/24/2011 : 7:15:32 PM
Very cool! Thanks for the update.
I love the sound of 12 strings. I almost bought one at Gruhn's a few years ago, but the arthritis in my hands is so bad I was afraid I wouldn't be able to play it much.