Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

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mookmoof
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Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by mookmoof » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:28 pm

So I've been slaving away the last 4 years starting a new career and I'm about to be at a point where I can start making music again. And what better reward than a studio upgrade?

I've done all kinds of music in the past but in the foreseeable future will be sticking to electronic-based music with and without vocals (maybe a little guitar). I have a mono, a poly,and and a modular so I'm not doing synth stuff with this budget. Also, room and monitors are as good as they're getting for now so not interested in that.

First, what I have that's relevant:
-Comps - Daking FET III (stereo), Lindell 17xs (mono 1176ish)
-2x Daking mic pre/eq
-Effects - Lex PCM92, Foogers, and a Dim D

My tentative purchase list is 3 items:
-Eventide H8000 - Pretty much set on this, I've wanted one for over 5 years; cost used $2500-3000
-Overstayer Modular Channel (stereo) - Channel Strip with unique VCA comp and 3 distortion modes. I want this for sound shaping/mangling, and for stem and bus distortion; cost new $3000
-Apogee Ensemble thunderbolt - I have one of these already and I'm maxed on ins and outs so I want another to chain via thunderbolt. I'm using a patch bay currently but I want to be able to track and mix multiple tracks/stems with outboard simultaneously and I don't feel like I will have the capacity to do that when I add the new units; cost used $1500-1700

Thoughts and alternatives:
-My mic selection is not great but not horrible. Miktek C7 LDC and Sennhesiser e835 dynamic. I'm sure there are other mics I'd prefer. Maybe AEA r84 since I don't have a ribbon, but I heard they're super room sensitive and although mine's treated it's still a bedroom. Anything else that would be an upgrade worth having I feel like is $2000+. Also, maybe the C7 will pair better with the Overstayer preamp.
-Always kinda wanted a 1073; BAE used $900
-Same about an LA2A - Audioscape clone $1000
-Besides that, just considering alternatives to the Overstayer. For example, the Silver Bullet gives some distortion with the A/N type pre's, and a baxandall. Also, seems like a shame to shell out $8k and not get the Neve MBP which I'm sure is incredible.

So, what's the word? Is the Apogee solution proper? Would you ditch any currently owned gear? I realize all this is highly personal but I just wanted to get some advice and opinions. Thanks!

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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by jimfowler » Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:57 pm

What's your I/O requirement? I'm a huge fan of Lynx Aurora and since the n came out a lot of the originals are coming up used. If you needed, say, 24 simultaneous I/O you could get a 16 and an 8. What console are you working with? Monitoring setup?

Good call on the Eventide. If you wanna save a few bucks and don't need 8 channels I've got an Orville that I'm selling.

I personally think the EQP-1A is more useful than the 1073...but maybe that's just me. And maybe it's not a fair comparison since the Pultec isn't a pre. Can you solder? If so there are DIY options...maybe you can have both.

I know we're talking hardware here but for coloration I really think Soundtoys provide some seriously nice sounds. They're one of the very few plugs I still use.

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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by Michael O. » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:29 pm

The question I have to ask before I can offer an informed opinion is whether you are mixing itb or otb (judging by the gear you want to get I’m guessing the latter), and if you are mixing out the box what sort of console are you running?

Additionally: why the h8000? Is there some specific reason for that particular unit? It’s excellent sounding and sky’s the limit in terms of what is possible with it, but if I were in your position I’d personally opt for a Lexicon 300 and an h3000 (both of which I think are subjectively better sounding than the h8000 and nearly as versatile), and have a grand leftover for other, more essential outboard.

The overstayer wouldn’t be a top choice for me for any of the tasks you mentioned (especially at that price point), but compression, and the different tonal coloration/distortion it can offer, is always pretty subjective. And I wouldn’t bother with the 1073 for a few reasons: most importantly I’d upgrade mics before preamps, the Dakings are pretty excellent already, and the 1073, while popular due to name recognition (thanks Bruce Swedien and ‘80s recording mags), is objectively less versatile and sonically identical to say a 1084.

All this is pretty subjective though, and more info on the context would help me to give better and more specific advice.

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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by seeasound » Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:38 am

Ive just done some similar type upgrades to my studio,

I too was really deciding between the overstayer modular channel and silver bullet. Due to them both only being available in the USA I decided to avoid a hefty customs and shipping bill and purchased an SSL fusion locally. So far Im really digging it. Its defo no modular channel tho. Its subtle but the kinda subtle you want and its so fast to use. The interface is really gr8.

I too needed more IO for my interface so I got one of the new Cranborne 500 series units. Which gives me the added IO I needed and some great analogue processing options. So far Loaded with a zahl EQ1 and since I didnt get a silver bullet Ive got a pair of their mister focus modules and a bunch of colour cards incoming.

I feel Im very sorted with these and have a good amount to play with for mixing my tunes. If I was in USA I would have probably gone for the silver bullet but I am still very happy with the SSL. A hidden blessing as it may be just the right set of tools for what I needed.
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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by mookmoof » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:56 pm

jimfowler wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:57 pm
What's your I/O requirement? I'm a huge fan of Lynx Aurora and since the n came out a lot of the originals are coming up used. If you needed, say, 24 simultaneous I/O you could get a 16 and an 8. What console are you working with? Monitoring setup?

Good call on the Eventide. If you wanna save a few bucks and don't need 8 channels I've got an Orville that I'm selling.

I personally think the EQP-1A is more useful than the 1073...but maybe that's just me. And maybe it's not a fair comparison since the Pultec isn't a pre. Can you solder? If so there are DIY options...maybe you can have both.

I know we're talking hardware here but for coloration I really think Soundtoys provide some seriously nice sounds. They're one of the very few plugs I still use.
For I/O, 16 will probably do me for now. Lynx is a good suggestion; the prices have certainly come down. I've heard they get really hot so I'm not sure what the effect is if any of that on the units long-term. Also, I don't have a console and do a lot of routing in and out of the interface so I don't know if the thunderbolt is big plus in that situation. I also pretty much decided I wanted the H8000 over the Orville. They're very close in performance from what I understand but if I recall the H8000 is slightly more powerful which some may have said improved the reverb. For Soundtoys, I used to use more plugs and for the most part I just usually don't love them and don't use them too much nowadays. I heard they're great tho.
Michael O. wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:29 pm
The question I have to ask before I can offer an informed opinion is whether you are mixing itb or otb (judging by the gear you want to get I’m guessing the latter), and if you are mixing out the box what sort of console are you running?

Additionally: why the h8000? Is there some specific reason for that particular unit? It’s excellent sounding and sky’s the limit in terms of what is possible with it, but if I were in your position I’d personally opt for a Lexicon 300 and an h3000 (both of which I think are subjectively better sounding than the h8000 and nearly as versatile), and have a grand leftover for other, more essential outboard.

The overstayer wouldn’t be a top choice for me for any of the tasks you mentioned (especially at that price point), but compression, and the different tonal coloration/distortion it can offer, is always pretty subjective. And I wouldn’t bother with the 1073 for a few reasons: most importantly I’d upgrade mics before preamps, the Dakings are pretty excellent already, and the 1073, while popular due to name recognition (thanks Bruce Swedien and ‘80s recording mags), is objectively less versatile and sonically identical to say a 1084.

All this is pretty subjective though, and more info on the context would help me to give better and more specific advice.
I'm mixing in the box. I've never used a console or mixer. Kinda looked into it but I feel like routing is convenient with the DAW with sends on every channel and basically unlimited tracks to edit and mix individually. I'm interested in hearing why I should think more about it though. For the H8000, I've always wanted an Eventide for doing weird stuff to vocals and synths. I checked ebay and it looks like the 2 units you mentioned would run around the same price. I also have a Lex verb, which I'm sure the 300 is different but I'd kinda like an Eventide verb, which is supposedly not the H3000's strong suit. And yeah, I hate to not do a mic upgrade, but like I said above I feel like that's $2k+ to really get into the next level of mic which I'm willing to do but I'd have to sacrifice one of my current choices. Any recommendations on mic's anyway? What do you like instead of the Overstayer? The Neve MBP seems to me like a great choice too.
seeasound wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:38 am
Ive just done some similar type upgrades to my studio,

I too was really deciding between the overstayer modular channel and silver bullet. Due to them both only being available in the USA I decided to avoid a hefty customs and shipping bill and purchased an SSL fusion locally. So far Im really digging it. Its defo no modular channel tho. Its subtle but the kinda subtle you want and its so fast to use. The interface is really gr8.

I too needed more IO for my interface so I got one of the new Cranborne 500 series units. Which gives me the added IO I needed and some great analogue processing options. So far Loaded with a zahl EQ1 and since I didnt get a silver bullet Ive got a pair of their mister focus modules and a bunch of colour cards incoming.

I feel Im very sorted with these and have a good amount to play with for mixing my tunes. If I was in USA I would have probably gone for the silver bullet but I am still very happy with the SSL. A hidden blessing as it may be just the right set of tools for what I needed.
Yeah Fusion looks awesome too, but I think the Overstayer or Neve MBP is topping my list in that department. The Cranborne solution is interesting but I can get a used Ensemble thunderbolt for the same price and I don't really want to get into the other 500 series modules right now.

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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by Sinamsis » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:18 pm

You might consider an Antelope Goliath for interface, particularly if you're considering recording guitar. Massive IO options that can be expanded. Incredibly flexible routing. It also has reamping options. I switched from UAD Apollos. I love the Apollos but this seemed like the most economic (if you can even call it that) solution. My only complaint is stability is not perfect. My computer will occasionally drop the connection. But I have yet to update the firmware. You could get one used for much less than retail.

In terms of LA2A, I recently snagged two JLM LA500's. More LA3A clones I guess because they're not tube based. I'm far from an expert, but they sound nice to me. In general, I wanted to step up my outboard game, and I've gone with 500 series.

Otherwise, this may not be your cup of tea, but one of my big purchases for 2020 (I hope) will be a Shadow Hills Equinox. I'd like to try analog summing. Not sure if it will make a difference but I would like to try it.

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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by jimfowler » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:48 pm

I was curious so I looked into it: the official response from Eventide (who are in the business of selling you new things) was, at the time, that the H8 had very little appreciable benefit in terms of sound quality over the Orville. Better converters but it's really diminishing returns at this point in time. Not trying to convince you to buy an Orville but do you need 8 channels? Or are you going to pick an effect, print it, and then move on. I've personally never needed multi-channel simultaneous processing from a single box. The reverbs in the Orville are plenty good.

Aurora gets warm. Anything doing work will. Leave a space above it for passive ventilation as per the manufacturer's direction. A friend of mine who runs a studio here in NY hasn't turned his off in literally years. Latency is latency and if you're doing live tracking you'll appreciate the sub-6ms turnaround time that's achievable via their thunderbolt connection.

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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by dogoftears » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:26 pm

i like tubes. but i also like overstayer. so i wouldn't say that you should get something instead of the OS. but besides the silver bullet, you may want to also checkout the Blackbox HG-2 and Hendyamps Michelangelo. i own both and they are awesome. the Michel is especially fun to mix through, it's a tube EQ. the HG-2 is a tube saturator. both have very simple sets of controls that i find easy and intuitive to use.

the neve mbp is really awesome. if you feel you need super clean VCA compression with a lot of bells and whistles, then it's a good box to get. some alternatives would be the Foote P3 and P4... i have the P4S... love the thing. but nothing else will give you that combination of compression and the SFE-- it's a unique interaction.

conversion-wise i feel the absolute best deal for multi channel I/O of high quality is a used Mytek 8x192. i like it a lot more then the apogee sound. YMMV.
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Re: Advice on studio upgrade - Budget $8k

Post by mookmoof » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:20 pm

Sinamsis wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:18 pm
You might consider an Antelope Goliath for interface, particularly if you're considering recording guitar. Massive IO options that can be expanded. Incredibly flexible routing. It also has reamping options. I switched from UAD Apollos. I love the Apollos but this seemed like the most economic (if you can even call it that) solution. My only complaint is stability is not perfect. My computer will occasionally drop the connection. But I have yet to update the firmware. You could get one used for much less than retail.

In terms of LA2A, I recently snagged two JLM LA500's. More LA3A clones I guess because they're not tube based. I'm far from an expert, but they sound nice to me. In general, I wanted to step up my outboard game, and I've gone with 500 series.

Otherwise, this may not be your cup of tea, but one of my big purchases for 2020 (I hope) will be a Shadow Hills Equinox. I'd like to try analog summing. Not sure if it will make a difference but I would like to try it.
Any stability issues are a deal breaker for the interface. And I'm staying out of 500 series for now. I too would like to try analog summing but I think I'll have to postpone that for now.
jimfowler wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:48 pm
I was curious so I looked into it: the official response from Eventide (who are in the business of selling you new things) was, at the time, that the H8 had very little appreciable benefit in terms of sound quality over the Orville. Better converters but it's really diminishing returns at this point in time. Not trying to convince you to buy an Orville but do you need 8 channels? Or are you going to pick an effect, print it, and then move on. I've personally never needed multi-channel simultaneous processing from a single box. The reverbs in the Orville are plenty good.

Aurora gets warm. Anything doing work will. Leave a space above it for passive ventilation as per the manufacturer's direction. A friend of mine who runs a studio here in NY hasn't turned his off in literally years. Latency is latency and if you're doing live tracking you'll appreciate the sub-6ms turnaround time that's achievable via their thunderbolt connection.
Thanks, I will keep both of these in mind. Both good options to trim the budget to make room for something else.
dogoftears wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:26 pm
i like tubes. but i also like overstayer. so i wouldn't say that you should get something instead of the OS. but besides the silver bullet, you may want to also checkout the Blackbox HG-2 and Hendyamps Michelangelo. i own both and they are awesome. the Michel is especially fun to mix through, it's a tube EQ. the HG-2 is a tube saturator. both have very simple sets of controls that i find easy and intuitive to use.

the neve mbp is really awesome. if you feel you need super clean VCA compression with a lot of bells and whistles, then it's a good box to get. some alternatives would be the Foote P3 and P4... i have the P4S... love the thing. but nothing else will give you that combination of compression and the SFE-- it's a unique interaction.

conversion-wise i feel the absolute best deal for multi channel I/O of high quality is a used Mytek 8x192. i like it a lot more then the apogee sound. YMMV.
I should think hard about going for tubes which I also love but don't have in my chain currently. I use a Princeton guitar amp and had a ua610 I loved for bass di. I love the sound of my daking gear but I would say it's a hifi sound so adding tubes into the mix might be a nice complement for distortion compared to the overstayer. I just feel the overstayer is maybe more versatile for individual sound shaping which also seems cool. For the Myteks, it may cut into my budget to replace the Apogee with 16 channels of Mytek and though I would like to try them I'm more interested in I/O than upgrading converter quality. I'm interested in converter options but I just can't do it all at once. The only used Mytek I saw was still $2k for 8 channels so 16 would cut into the budget for the other gear a little.

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