500 EUR to invest - please, advise!

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by teleGramPete, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. teleGramPete

    teleGramPete TDPRI Member

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    Hi all,

    I am interested in upgrading my recording setup for vocals and guitars.

    I have a Rode NTK that goes into a Scarlett 2i4 that goes into an iMac with Logic DAW.

    So far it worked well but the sounds are pretty neutral.

    If I have 500 EUR to invest what would be your recommendations in improving this recording chain?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A better preamp is what you need (assuming that you already have decent monitors)

    The SPL Goldmike is a very good choice for your budget especially if you are looking for a more "colored" sound.

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun99/articles/splgold.htm

    http://www.thomann.de/gr/spl_goldmike_9844.htm

    you will also need to buy a DYNAMIC mic in order to record elecrtric guitars (a "humble" sm57 will be fine and you can get these used for around 60 euros) the NTK is a FINE mic (especially for vox and acoustic instruments) but I wouldn't used it as a primary amp-miking mic (it can do it but it will work better with a 57 in tow)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  3. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

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    Normally I would am of the don't waste your money keep practicing camp. I see you have a condenser and believe it or not I am not to big on recommending any condenser for the simple fact if you don't have great acoustics they really sound terrible. I also Don't really like rode mics.

    Here is the thing I wouldn't recommend it but they are actually for the price really cheap considering the quality. Pick up an Re-50nd/b. I have been through a ton of mics and this one just is ridiculously good. Don't mess with it or anything. The internal shock mounts and pop filter make this mic so just buy and use it. I know sometimes things across the pond are a lot more expensive than they are over here so I looked it up. On Amazon UK and It was £215 I'm not sure if that's euros or pounds either way it's a great deal.

    I honestly don't know how you record I am guessing your micing the room with one mic and recording your singing and playing at the same time? If not your probably running into latency issues. I would literally just buy two Re-50n/db mics put one on guitar, one on vocals and mix them.

    Other than that I don't think there is much you can do. If I was building mics and gear I know people won't understand why but for most people I would come up with an interface that was pretty much just a USB electret condenser. No knobs or anything. In most practical applications your probably not going to beat that for sound quality these days until you walk into a multi-million dollar studio.
     
  4. teleGramPete

    teleGramPete TDPRI Member

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    Nick and BartS,

    Thank you kindly for your advice.

    Nick, indeed I have read that the next best thing in the chain after a good microphone is a good preamp.
    The SPL Goldmike 9844 looks like a good contender and I will read further about it online. Thanks for the tip!
    I have also read good things about Focusrite ISA One
    What do you think about this? I am recording one instrument at a time so one channel is good enough for me.

    BartS, I already own a SHURE BETA 58 A that will serve for guitar recording although I plan to acquire a Sennheiser e906 for this as well.

    If anybody else has any further insight on how could I improve my recording chain please let me know. Thank you.
     
  5. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    This is also very nice for the price,more transparent sounding (closer to the character of your souncard's preamps) than the GM,if you are looking for a more "colored" ("warmer") sound go for the GM.

    I RELIGIOUSLY use the e906 for amp recording but if you already have a 58A you really don't need it.
     
  6. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Invest - thats a good word. I need to remember that....;)
     
  7. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a Focusrite 2i6 (I think it is). It has two mic preamps at the front and two line inputs at the back. I have an FMR Really Nice Preamp (that's its name) that I plug into the line inputs. Focusrite make a big deal about their preamps but to my ears the RNP sounds better. It's a clean sounding preamp rather than a coloured one, and it just sounds smoother and fuller. For this style of preamp it comes down to better components I suppose. The RNP should fit within your budget. But my main point isn't to push the RNP in particular, but just that preamps will make a difference compared with the Focusrite pres.

    If you do go down that road the next question is whether you want your preamp to add colour or to be as clean and transparent as possible. If you can only buy one very good preamp then I would go for the transparent option and use plugins for colour. That will give a good platform for just about anything. If the budget allows then by all means get a more coloured preamp as well for those times when it's just right for the music.

    I have tested a very coloured rented Neve preamp in the past and we decided not to use it as it didn't fit with what we were doing. That was before I delved into audio engineering myself and was working as the artist paying for studio time with a specialist engineer. I'm sure on certain things it'd be perfect, but a more transparent pre is more versatile. Adding colour with plugins gives you more options in the mix, but whatever a coloured pre gives, you're pretty much stuck with. Which is fine if you're experienced and know that's the sound you want for the particular job at hand.

    I suppose another good investment might be some top quality plugins. I can't afford them so I only use freeware. I've found the Variety of Sound plugins exceptionally good (much better then the ones bundled with Reaper for example, or most other freeware such as Voxengo), but they are Windows 32 bit only, so no use to you unfortunately.
     
  8. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    I sure hate to be the pragmatic, sensible and no fun guy but do you have all the little things that you'll need but aren't as glamorous? A D/I box, cables, shock mount, pop filter, stands, the long boring list of stuff that once you have you forget about but when you need them and don't have them you kick yourself.

    As for cool stuff, a preamp is always good but as mentioned you can add color and flavor with technique and effects or plugins. Pedals? Maybe a small tube amp? A small control surface? Software/vsti/vst? Lots of cool stuff out there.

    Reading all the other responses and knowing how I might spend that kind of money, I know that whatever you decide, there'll be a long list of wants and needs after that! Which is part of the fun!

    M
     
  9. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Your point is good, but a preamp is not just for added colour. A clean, transparent preamp is also about getting a better sounding input to start with before you start processing it. The garbage in, garbage out principle. :p
     
  10. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    Oh, I hear you. I was just trying to be the older, wiser, fuddy duttier guy! lol

    Not knowing the OP's experience level, there are a bunch of things I would put before a pre, but that's just me. I'm sort of in the same boat as I'm looking at a new interface in the near future. I know that when I got a DI box it opened my eyes a whole lot. I haven't bought a reamp box yet but have access to one when I want it.

    Either way, whatever you decide, you'll find that having the gear is always better than not! lol

    M
     
  11. Octave Doctor

    Octave Doctor Tele-Afflicted

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    Which version of Logic are you using? I have Logic 9 Express and got a big upgrade for $30.00 just getting Mainstage from Apple. This allows you to download all the GB Jam Pack instruments and all the loops that go with them. Also has a few other features that are handy.

    As was mentioned, it might be good to pick up a few of the small things if you don't already have them.
     
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