Author Topic: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?  (Read 13946 times)

Numina

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 454
    • View Profile
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2010, 04:32:55 PM »
I almost bought that Manley dual mono tube rack awhile back. 

Where's your studio at Julio?

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • Paul's Myspace
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2010, 04:35:31 PM »
I would disagree Mike, only in the fact that again most of the best sounding ambient albums in my opinion are older works which where actually recorded through decent mixing boards with actually studio gear. Not prosumer stuff, not saying that you cant make great music with said gear, but especially in reverbs, better converters and pre's make a huge difference.

Its all cumulative.

Paul

"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2010, 04:41:07 PM »
I guess what I keep saying over and over again in different ways is that most home-brew ambient recordings have more significant issues than pre-amp or A/D converter quality. It's like telling a homeowner with a foot of water in the basement that what they REALLY need is a slightly different shade of paint in the kitchen. Sure, the new paint color may be slightly more feng shui than the old one, but there are more important issues to consider first.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Julio Di Benedetto

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Life is a privilege, not a right!
    • View Profile
    • Digtalvoices
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2010, 09:01:33 PM »
Jesse my studio is in S.E. Florida,  Port Saint Lucie, and like yours, it is a room in my house. Im put together some pictures taken over a period of time, different rooms, different houses, I will post them on the studio thread soon!

Its true as you say, Mike, That recording something like a cello is very critical and to capture the  performance the best gear will truly express the  unique timbre of the instrument, but to say that a heavily process layered synth part does not benefit from the same attention, Im not so sure. Certainly deep space verb will give the impression of spreading a signal to the other side of the galaxy but I do believe that what you put in is paramount to what you get out....if it goes in muddy, chance is it will come out that way, although much more interesting.

Your point about the Homeowner and their flooded basement is well made.....and as I have repeated throughout this thread its not just the pre & AD, there are more important issues.  First and for most is putting up in the home brew studio, acoustical treatment. It is the number one cause of the annoying frequencies that you mentioned earlier.  Standing waves are going nuts in a room without it.  I know this from experience.  My own CD which contains music written over a 6 year period was done so in an environment completely devoid of any acoustical treatment.....tiny Yamaha MSP5 monitors in a concrete room & tile floor, yes a through rug but nothing else.  I did not know and I just wrote and wrote without a care until in 2008 I decide to make something of all this music.  What a mixing nightmare it was.  Sort of like when some one sets off a round in close quarters in a movie with everyone screaming don't do it and then diving for cover as the bullet ricochets round and a round. I can recall using up to at least two eq plug ins to cut the bass on certain tracks, one simply was not enough.

This is a really great discussion, important things are being addressed!

Regards.....Julio

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • Paul's Myspace
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2010, 09:45:02 PM »
I do see your point Mike.
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Julio Di Benedetto

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Life is a privilege, not a right!
    • View Profile
    • Digtalvoices
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2010, 05:46:13 AM »
Here some information on acoustics for those interested.....costs a lot less than a high end Pre amp and without it you would not be able to really maximize the benefits of having such gear.

GIK Acoustics presents Acoustics Primer- Some Basics on Acoustics.
 
Acoustic Treatment and Design for Recording Studios and Listening Rooms

YouTube - How to make a Bass Trap Acoustic Panel (Tutorial)



Julio Di Benedetto

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Life is a privilege, not a right!
    • View Profile
    • Digtalvoices
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2010, 05:31:10 AM »
I was over at the Gearslutz forum this morning and came across this thread discussing how Pro Audio guys justify high end gear purchases.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/556578-how-do-you-justify-buying-expensive-gear-business-artistic-point-view.html

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2010, 07:06:54 AM »
That gearslutz.com forum discussion nails it. Engineers are buying mega-expensive gear not because it necessarily makes the recorded material sound better, but because it increases the engineers' own enjoyment in their work. They're buying the stuff they lust after because of the lust, for the most part.

I realize there are exceptions, where a big new expenditure really results in greater clarity of sound, or a truer sense of hearing what's really going on in the recording. But most often it's about getting a really luscious, desirable new toy.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

petekelly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
    • View Profile
    • LuminaSounds
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2010, 07:48:43 AM »
I'm in two minds on this one. On one hand, I'm always endeavouring to technically
improve my work and getting good gear is a pre-requisite for this. However, there
comes a point where sonic differences become so subtle and the cost differences so
large that things start to enter some kind of rarified audiophile realm.

I very much take exception to being told that 'A' sounds better than B, if I can't
hear any difference, then for me there isn't a difference. I read on one forum
that you should use product 'X' even if you can't hear a difference, because your
customers/audience may be able to !

Experience is critical as well as having quality gear. I remember reading copies
of 'Home and Studio Recording' in the Eighties when big studios were the order of
the day and thinking how unattainable this recording lark was and how expensive it
was. Now listening back to a lot of Eighties material recorded on those 48 track
SSL desks, it sounds pretty awful.

Back onto the subject of preamps. I bought this library recently for Nebula:
http://www.alessandroboschi.eu/html/en/preamp_color_suite.htm
I was a little sceptical initially, but found that some of them were pretty coloured (especially the valve emulations).

cheers
Pete

APK

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2187
    • View Profile
    • DataObscura
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2010, 08:27:51 AM »
Pete said : "Now listening back to a lot of Eighties material recorded on those 48 track
SSL desks, it sounds pretty awful."

Indeed, it is a telling criticism that a lot of the big studio mixes of the 70s and 80s
(especially the 70s, I find) by revered studio engineers in big-money studios using
lusted-after gear can sound pretty bad (and cheap) and have obvious mixing errors.
www.dataobscura.com
www.dataobscura.com/apk
The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2010, 09:24:17 AM »
Reading my contributions to this thread, you'd think I believe good gear is a waste, which isn't true. I just believe most of the time, people pursue high-end gear not because they actually need what it will do for them in terms of sound or even workflow, but because of gear lust. I've been guilty of it myself, in years past, but I'm all better now.

I'll definitely still ready and willing to spend money in gear in the future when there's a reason for it (though I haven't bought anything big in the past year) but I hope I never again spend thousands of dollars on a box that won't appreciably improve the sound of my own recording or mastering work.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

LNerell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
    • View Profile
    • Personal website
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2010, 10:06:59 AM »
Indeed, it is a telling criticism that a lot of the big studio mixes of the 70s and 80s  (especially the 70s, I find) by revered studio engineers in big-money studios using lusted-after gear can sound pretty bad (and cheap) and have obvious mixing errors.

I have to ask telling of what? Of the equipment used in those big studios, or the people who were using them at the time. I've heard one theory as to why recordings from that era tended to be very bright sounding. It was because of the amount of cocaine being consumed in the studios. Having worked in/around a lot of studios in LA at the time I can say their might be some validity to that claim. ;D  Of course not everything used in those studios back then would be considered desirable today, especially in the early years of digital audio. I don't think you will find too many studios still using 16 bit convertors from 1985. And mixers at the time, they may have sounded good, even for this day and age, but automation for mixing was pretty much a joke at best, making mixing one of the most complicated things you did.

And the remark petekelly made about the "rarified audiophile realm" made me laugh. In the beginning audiophiles where people trying to reproduce what you heard in the studio, not a bad thing if you think about it, and not that difficult to do these days. But you are probably referring to what audiophile has become since then, its become some sort of weird techno fetish, where $500 wooden knobs, magnetically charged speaker cables, and boxes that align air particles all will supposedly improve your sound.

Back to on topic, sort of. My thoughts are, yes a better mic pre will help, but its more important to hear what you are working on first. So I would suggest invest in that area first, get the best speakers you can, the best amp you can, and the best listening environment you can. Invest in some room treatment. After that, you can think about pre-amps.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

APK

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2187
    • View Profile
    • DataObscura
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2010, 10:18:34 AM »
Indeed, it is a telling criticism that a lot of the big studio mixes of the 70s and 80s  (especially the 70s, I find) by revered studio engineers in big-money studios using lusted-after gear can sound pretty bad (and cheap) and have obvious mixing errors.

I have to ask telling of what?

I was thinking of the amount of acid consumed. But I had england in mind.
In the US it may well be, as you say, cocaine.   ;D
www.dataobscura.com
www.dataobscura.com/apk
The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • Paul's Myspace
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2010, 10:41:57 AM »
Reading my contributions to this thread, you'd think I believe good gear is a waste, which isn't true. I just believe most of the time, people pursue high-end gear not because they actually need what it will do for them in terms of sound or even workflow, but because of gear lust. I've been guilty of it myself, in years past, but I'm all better now.

I'll definitely still ready and willing to spend money in gear in the future when there's a reason for it (though I haven't bought anything big in the past year) but I hope I never again spend thousands of dollars on a box that won't appreciably improve the sound of my own recording or mastering work.

I agree wholeheartedly with you and have been guilty of buying gear based on lust vs need often myself.

Of course tipping the scale too far in the other direction has given rise to the ridiculous illusion that if I have DAW X and an m-box and a ton of plug-ins and softsynths then I am getting the same results as a well tuned room full of high end purpose built hardware and trained engineers...its highly doubtful and delusional.


And for the record, I love and aspire to a ton of recordings from the 70's and 80's. My bold statement is that I think much the recordings of the late 90's and 00's sound cold, lifeless and too perfect.

Paul
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • Paul's Myspace
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2010, 10:43:43 AM »

Back to on topic, sort of. My thoughts are, yes a better mic pre will help, but its more important to hear what you are working on first. So I would suggest invest in that area first, get the best speakers you can, the best amp you can, and the best listening environment you can. Invest in some room treatment. After that, you can think about pre-amps.


100% Loren!
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

APK

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2187
    • View Profile
    • DataObscura
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2010, 12:35:04 PM »
What generally surprises me in these 'expensive studio gear' discussions is that its often artists asking the initial question and often doubting the value of expensive studio gear ... when of course those same people attempt to buy the very best instruments they can afford. Their focus is on the instrument they play, and they will buy the best they can lay their hands on. But today those same artists have often become their own studio engineers (in their home studios), and yet they rarely apply the dictum "buy the best you can afford" to stuff other than their preferred instruments. So they end up with a weak set of studio gear (amps, preamps, speakers, converters, etc.).

Studio engineers are just like the artists with respect to the gear they use. When it comes to studio gear, they want to use the best. You don't use a Yamaha PSR beginner synth if you can get a Virus TI. The Virus simply sounds a lot better (and costs more). And the same applies to gear other than musical instruments ... though to artists the difference often appears less dramatic, more subtle, and less important than their instruments.
www.dataobscura.com
www.dataobscura.com/apk
The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

Numina

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 454
    • View Profile
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2010, 12:49:44 PM »
I don't even dare tell you guys about my studio environment or the monitors I use.

APK

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2187
    • View Profile
    • DataObscura
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2010, 12:52:32 PM »
I take it you fit my description ?    ;D
www.dataobscura.com
www.dataobscura.com/apk
The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

Numina

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 454
    • View Profile
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2010, 01:12:02 PM »
I have no sound treatment, 90% of everything I record and track is via headphones, I have no pre-amp, tube eqs, etc. my studio is located in an unfinished basement, and I use M-Audio BX-8 monitors.

Numina

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 454
    • View Profile
Re: Who's using a Preamp (outboard hardware) in their synth signal chain?
« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2010, 01:48:47 PM »
I take it you fit my description ?    ;D

I've always been more interested in creating a sound and an emotion out of musical instruments (and ultimately a final mix) rather than make a perfectly "mastered" album.