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Building A Dream Recording Studio
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Clinically Insane
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Mar 29, 2013, 08:09 PM
 
Well, if your dream involves it all fitting into giant flight cases.

I asked awhile back about what it would cost for the gear to record an album if I wasn't ****ing around. It was a tidy sum, and at the time that kind of budget wasn't realistic. Now it is.

So, I've got a list of stuff lined up for my dream recording studio, some of it already trickling in. I want to know what you'd put in your versatile, mostly analog, "portable" dream studio.

I have people to who can provide actual musical talent, all I need to do geek the **** out.

Which is nice.
     
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Mar 29, 2013, 08:55 PM
 
Biggest, most important investment if you're gonna be recording real instruments is the room.

Everything else is completely secondary.

Beyond that: if you're not reading TapeOp magazine yet, you really, really need to start. They have an iPad app that is shit (basically a PDF viewer), but which offers back issues. They cover a huge variety of dream setups and alternative and high-end studios, interview all sorts of people from Steve Albini and Phil Ramone to Sufjan Stevens. Lots of full analog retro console-based studios.
     
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Mar 29, 2013, 08:57 PM
 
But for portability: Metric Halo ULN-8 and a handful of great mics. Not "mostly analog", though.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 29, 2013, 10:44 PM
 
I'm with you on the room, but that's the beauty. Rather than make the room come to me, I come to the room.

You're thinking "ultra-portable". This is "van-portable". Start filling up 4-8U cases God dammit!

Even if you're set on ultra-portable, pretend your dream mic closet gets to go with. Who knows where and what the **** you'll be recording. Cover your bases.

As for Tape-Op, I'm on it. Thank you!
     
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Mar 30, 2013, 09:59 AM
 
The point of the ULN-8 isn't that it's "ultra-portable". It's that it's one of the best, most flexible audio interfaces money can buy, and that, regardless of how "analog" you want to work, you're probably going to want to get those signals into a Mac at some point.

Beyond that, I'm not necessarily the authority on recording "live" bands - I pretty much *have* my dream studio, and it's staying put. But it's geared primarily towards recording electronics, which are line-level.

I might like to add a pair of 441s, an RE-20, and an MD421, along with a stereo Neumann, for more flexibility in piano and Hammond recordings, but I have them available when I need them.

I do love the vintage delays and 'verbs, though: Dynacord DRS and VRS here, along with a couple of space echoes. I'd love to add a vintage Quantec, and maybe a Bricasti for when I really want transparency (most of the stuff I have here is selected for character), but frankly, I rather like Logic's Space Designer, fed with the appropriate impulse responses, which are freely downloadable from the interwebs.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 30, 2013, 11:40 AM
 
Sorry. I wasn't bagging on your suggestion. It was, as you said, not very analog.

You can tell me what's in your dream studio that you already have. I'm not going to come and steal it.

I have a pair of 441s coming. I may up that to more. I've got a Heil PR40 which I like more than the RE-20s. I'm waffling on the 421s. I also just got in my pair of u87s. Told you I wasn't ****ing around

The delays and reverb is exactly what I'm talking about. Bring it on!
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 30, 2013, 01:44 PM
 
Re: Portability

I've just finished "Stage One", which is the most ****hueg AC isolation transformer I could find. Bastard weighs more than a 100 lbs. in its case, and we don't even have anything music related yet.
     
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Mar 30, 2013, 01:56 PM
 


You can see the top shock mounts getting stretched and the bottom ones getting squashed:



I may have to put it in a non-shock case. It's one of the few pieces of gear I don't see getting much benefit from the shock mounting, but I was thinking in terms of having it stack properly with the other cases.

Unfortunately, SKB's website is unclear on the actual max. load, and they took the day off on Friday, so I couldn't ask anyone there.
     
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Mar 30, 2013, 02:34 PM
 
I really like that it has a single USB charger on the front. It's like this giant troll wearing a dainty flower or ribbon in its hair.
     
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Mar 30, 2013, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
interview all sorts of people from Steve Albini and Phil Ramone to Sufjan Stevens.
Aaaaand just speaking of him: Phil Ramone just died, age 72.

Godspeed, man.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 1, 2013, 03:47 PM
 
See, when you come out of those up-tempo goddamn numbers, man, it’s impossible to make those transitions, and then you gotta go into somebody dying. You know, they do this to me all the time. I don’t know what the hell they do it for, but God damn it if we can’t come out of a slow record. I don’t understand it.

Is Don on the phone?

Okay. I want a goddamn concerted effort to come out of a record that isn’t a ****ing up-tempo record every time I do a goddamn death dedication!



So, yeah, ummm... my PSU won't overload the shock mounts.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 5, 2013, 02:07 PM
 
ProTip: use the gentle cycle on your smelly mic case foam.

     
subego  (op)
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Apr 5, 2013, 02:50 PM
 
Anyone suggestions for a non-smelly case for a bunch of Shures?
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 04:51 PM
 
Just curious as to Monitors and power amps. I used 4312's and a Crown D150a back in the day.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 5, 2013, 06:20 PM
 
No amps. Though the band I've been working with has a Crown with POS caps.

Monitoring is difficult considering the mobile situation, I'm working on that.

At home I have a pair of Mackie HR824s.
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 07:00 PM
 
I came into this thread hoping you had invented a machine that could capture dreams...

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 5, 2013, 07:06 PM
 
I have.
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 07:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
No amps. Though the band I've been working with has a Crown with POS caps.

Monitoring is difficult considering the mobile situation, I'm working on that.

At home I have a pair of Mackie HR824s.
JBL control Ones for on the road? Or some nice little K+H M52?

I'm quite partial to my Meyer HM-1s (despite their extremely small sweet spot), but portable, they are not really.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 5, 2013, 10:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Anyone suggestions for a non-smelly case for a bunch of Shures?
Happened to have a Pelican Storm Case which fit 6 perfectly.


Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
JBL control Ones for on the road? Or some nice little K+H M52?

I'm quite partial to my Meyer HM-1s (despite their extremely small sweet spot), but portable, they are not really.
Ugh... Dealing with monitoring is not something I'm looking forward too.
     
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Apr 7, 2013, 08:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
No amps. Though the band I've been working with has a Crown with POS caps.

Monitoring is difficult considering the mobile situation, I'm working on that.

At home I have a pair of Mackie HR824s.
I just re-capped my Crown PSA2 and D150a and now I'm going to do the same with my JBL 4311 and 4312 crossovers. Hard to believe the 4311's are 40+ years old.
     
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Apr 7, 2013, 06:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Ugh... Dealing with monitoring is not something I'm looking forward too.
Well, you're going to have to set up a mixing/editing room someplace anyway, so it might almost suffice to get a good pair of Ultrasones and learn how to trust them…
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 7, 2013, 07:13 PM
 
That's the angle I'm leaning towards. Far from ideal though.

I'm thinking a portable listening booth might be required unless I want to make the experience of micing a drum kit an order of magnitude worse than it already is.
     
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Apr 7, 2013, 09:33 PM
 
You just need a big enough room.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 7, 2013, 10:02 PM
 
That's a different angle. It'd be fun to rent out a church.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 8, 2013, 03:06 PM
 
Okay, this is so ****ing bizzare it almost deserves it's own thread.

I've been looking for a sound "kit bag", and not finding anything specifically designed for that, I settled on a range bag, as in pistol range bag. The slots for magazines look like exactly the sort of long pocket I need for adaptors and pads.

I open it up, and it apparently comes with a bonus 10 rounds of live ammo in some sort of 50 shot magazine loader.



Uhhh, okay... thanks.

MURIKA!
( Last edited by subego; Apr 8, 2013 at 04:17 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 12, 2013, 07:11 PM
 
Getting the "back end" together, so I call this "Phase Ass".



Apogee with 16x16 analog in/out, and a UPS.

Was going to put it in a 4U case, but decided 6U at the last second. It's (obviously) bigger, but I'm thinking of putting in a shelf in the middle on the rear rails and lacing the Apogee T-bolt interface and a T-bolt SSD to it. Then it's just one thin cable coming out of the case rather than the two thick ones the interface wants (plus power back to the UPS). I also get to keep whatever radiated EMI the UPS generates away from the Apogee. That was my main concern.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 15, 2013, 07:13 AM
 
Two channels of a 60's-era, Abbey Road Studios desk in a box.



This wasn't part of my original plan, but was just too ****ing hard to resist.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 15, 2013 at 07:33 AM. )
     
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Apr 15, 2013, 07:34 AM
 
I'd love to have your budget.
     
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Apr 15, 2013, 08:11 AM
 
Step one: sell the children.
     
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Apr 17, 2013, 05:48 AM
 
You'll need a nice monitor, and Monoprice is selling a doozie at only 475 bones. I ordered one just for the halibut (I want a better monitor for the garage).

For only $450.18 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 27" IPS-G Pro LED Monitor WQHD 2560x1440- 440cd/m2 - HDMI� / DVI / VGA / DisplayPort w/Built in Speakers
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
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Apr 17, 2013, 06:42 AM
 
While a little 'old school' have you considered the classic Rogers LS3/5 monitors? Having recently auditioned a pair over a weekend they took my breath away for their detail and presence. They are not a full range type speaker, they roll off below 80hZ, but you just hardly notice. you can run them on as little as 20 watts/channel. They are a BBC design.
     
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Apr 17, 2013, 07:18 AM
 
I was talking about a monitor (as in a display), not "monitors", but okay.
( Last edited by Shaddim; Apr 17, 2013 at 07:30 AM. )
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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Apr 17, 2013, 12:09 PM
 
subego:

So far, you've only been talking about a mobile recording setup. Neither a big computer display nor big monitor speakers are necessary (or even desirable) there, AFAICS.

Are you going to set up an actual "studio" somewhere — a mixing/editing room? Because for consistent quality, you're going to need a controlled environment to work in after the actual recording is done.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2013, 02:13 PM
 
Thankfully, I'm already set up in that department. When I rebuilt my (video) editing suite a few years ago, I had an eye/ear towards making it a decent mixing room too.

I was about to blow my brains out WRT acoustic treatment until someone clued me into the dead side/live side setup. That turned out pretty decent. Still a little "boomy". I think I could use bass traps on the dead side. Other than that, there's the typical problem you have with a decent monitor in that shit's just too detailed. You get that "I never heard that part before" phenomenon listening to it.

On one hand, that's good, you need to hear what's in your mix, but what people are actually going to listen to 99% of the time is going to be more mushy. Even with decent speakers.

The visual monitor is it's own issue. I have an Apple T-bolt monitor, and comfortable placement puts it close enough catch and reflect sound from the audio monitors.
     
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Apr 17, 2013, 02:49 PM
 
I assure you, it's important to get that extra information.

Much of what goes into mixing lives at the hearing threshold, working at the subconscious level (reverbs, delays, phase correlation or FX feedback resulting in emphasis of certain partials etc.), and it's extremely important to have as much control over that as you can.

Those of us with less-than-shit playback systems appreciate the difference, and those on MP3 players will still react differently, even I they couldn't pin it down.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2013, 04:06 PM
 
Typical kids. You get cool toys and they want to play with the box.

     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2013, 04:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I assure you, it's important to get that extra information.

Much of what goes into mixing lives at the hearing threshold, working at the subconscious level (reverbs, delays, phase correlation or FX feedback resulting in emphasis of certain partials etc.), and it's extremely important to have as much control over that as you can.

Those of us with less-than-shit playback systems appreciate the difference, and those on MP3 players will still react differently, even I they couldn't pin it down.
This feels right, it's merely a question of translating how I think things should sound compared to what the monitors are giving me.

It's a further act of translation, since I won't be doing the mixing. The people I'm working with are too control freak, and too into experimentation, for that to be practical.
     
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Apr 17, 2013, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This feels right, it's merely a question of translating how I think things should sound compared to what the monitors are giving me.

It's a further act of translation, since I won't be doing the mixing. The people I'm working with are too control freak, and too into experimentation, for that to be practical.
Shirley, that's not a permanent arrangement, though?

You're determined to be purely a recordist? And buying sets of full Chandler strips?

Nu-uh, man.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2013, 05:12 PM
 
Why not?
     
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Apr 17, 2013, 05:39 PM
 
Because all they can do from that point is **** it up. (with apologies to John Fischbach)
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2013, 06:01 PM
 
I'm verrrrry lucky.

The control freak part isn't a personality quirk. It's been earned. There's little I have to offer in the mixing department beyond technical knowledge. He's mixed a ton of shit, and does it well.
     
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Apr 18, 2013, 10:17 AM
 
Your slightly boomy monitors and live side/dead side issue was of concern to the BBC who needed a detailed but not colored monitor for their new TV vans. The Rogers LS3/5a's are small near field monitor that work best off of 20-45 watt/channel amps. they were designed to work best at arms length. At least listen to a pair if you can find them for an audition. Unlike JBL's and similar monitors, you can listen to them all day without ear fatigue. The secret of their superb sound is a very well designed crossover. They use KEF T27 tweeters and B110 mid drivers, and the crossover is a time aligned style. If space is important they don't use much. If you were in the DC area I'd let you hear a pair I'm selling for a friend.
     
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Apr 19, 2013, 04:19 AM
 
This thread has got to be proof that uncle Doof isn't lurking.
     
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Apr 19, 2013, 02:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Your slightly boomy monitors and live side/dead side issue was of concern to the BBC who needed a detailed but not colored monitor for their new TV vans. The Rogers LS3/5a's are small near field monitor that work best off of 20-45 watt/channel amps. they were designed to work best at arms length. At least listen to a pair if you can find them for an audition. Unlike JBL's and similar monitors, you can listen to them all day without ear fatigue. The secret of their superb sound is a very well designed crossover. They use KEF T27 tweeters and B110 mid drivers, and the crossover is a time aligned style. If space is important they don't use much. If you were in the DC area I'd let you hear a pair I'm selling for a friend.
Thank you for the kind offer. If I was closer I'd take you up on it.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 19, 2013, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMOTOR View Post
This thread has got to be proof that uncle Doof isn't lurking.
I'm hoping I'll mess something up so bad he won't be able to resist correcting me.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 19, 2013, 05:22 PM
 
I like the SKB Shock-Mount Racks I'm designing this around. My only complaint is I'd like to use more 4U racks for manageability, but they need a minimum loading of 40 lbs., and most of my gear isn't quite heavy enough. I'm averaging about 8 lbs. per rack unit.

On the other hand, the set of casters they sell was engineered by a ****ing moron.



There's no weight being placed on the casters, and about 75% of the weight being placed a couple inches behind them. This would likely be fine if the casters were solid cubes, but being round, they have no problem rolling as the platform flexes out of shape.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 22, 2013, 03:53 PM
 
Let's talk backup while tracking.

I've got a bulletproof* system for photos, but tracking has a different data collection profile.

I want to hear ideas before I enact my own ultra-paranoid, baroque ideas on how to swing it.



*As bulletproof as it can be.
     
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Apr 23, 2013, 07:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I like the SKB Shock-Mount Racks I'm designing this around. My only complaint is I'd like to use more 4U racks for manageability, but they need a minimum loading of 40 lbs., and most of my gear isn't quite heavy enough. I'm averaging about 8 lbs. per rack unit.

On the other hand, the set of casters they sell was engineered by a ****ing moron.



There's no weight being placed on the casters, and about 75% of the weight being placed a couple inches behind them. This would likely be fine if the casters were solid cubes, but being round, they have no problem rolling as the platform flexes out of shape.
Excellent customer service from one department, they're sending me a replacement rack without reviving the original.

Still waiting for a response on my caster platform questions, so that department gets low marks.
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 8, 2013, 04:46 AM
 
Strap on your drool bibs, kiddos...



Two channels each of:

Great River 1073 "clones"
Trident A-Range
API Channel Strips
Neve 8801s

Not shown: the TG2, two Focusrite ISA Ones, two Martech MSS-10s, and hot diggity damn a pair of TAB Funkenwerk V78Ms.
     
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Jun 8, 2013, 11:27 AM
 
I'm not even going to
     
 
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