What Am I Missing?

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macktastic
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What Am I Missing?

Post by macktastic » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:56 am

I dont know if I can post pictures but ill explain this as much as possible. I do have a picture of my studio in my Taxi Profile so maybe that will help. In my studio I have for recording

-MacBook Pro
-2 pairs of Yamaha HS speakers (5s and 8s) as well as the HS8 SUB
-Scarlett 18i20 interface
-Presonus Eureka Preamp
- MXL 990 Mic

I still feel like im missing something and I feel like my mix shows it. I'm not a professional engineer but I know the basics. Is there anything anybody would recommend to make what I have better in post production? (mixing, mastering) I want that punchy analog sound. I know I need gear to achieve that though. I am willing to send pictures of my studio if this thread isn't enough.

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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by billhewett » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:32 pm

What kind of music are you making? And what are you recording with the microphone? You will get more useful information if you can tell us a little more about what you are trying to do, and maybe even give us some examples of tracks you have recorded and some references that you want them to sound like.

That said, here is my best stab in the dark:

If you are recording multiple voices and instruments with a single large diaphragm compressor then the best bang for your buck might be as simple as getting something like an SM57 for ~$100. If you record all of your tracks with the same mic then they all have the same tonal colorations, so adding something different can be a big help. If you are mostly using virtual instruments and using the mic for just one or two tracks then this probably isn't what you need.

You should be able to get modern, punchy production with the right plugins in your DAW... compression and transient shapers in particular. I think it would be a mistake to add a bunch of outboard gear until you get to the point where your production is as good as it can possibly get "in the box".

Hope this helps!

-Bill

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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by Len911 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:55 pm

Like Bill, if I take a stab in the dark, hmm, punchy analog sound, if you want to go analog, API, if you want to go digital, probably the Sonnox Oxford Enhance Bundle?? https://www.sonnox.com/bundles/sonnox-enhance
Sonnox usually has a bi-annual sale.

That's all assuming you don't have problems and just want an edge in fine tuning your mixes and masters. You still can't go wrong with the Sonnox plugins.
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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by lesmac » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:04 am

I'd do it with plugins. Search the web for free plugs or ones on special, try some demos.

You want to emulate the analog environment with tape and tubes.

Get a gain plug with rms metering. Put it on every track. Set it so its not pinning the meters. I use the Klanghelm VU Meter standard version for about $15 its great value. Set this at -18 or -20 RMS.

Next is a tape emulation plug followed by a channel plug that models tubes and transformers. Massey has a free tape head saturator. J37 Tape is on sale for $30.

Not sure if there are any free console emulation plugs. Kramer channel is on sale at waves for 40 bucks. EDIT: This looks very worthwhile;

http://www.sonimus.com/products/satson/

These go on every track except for the busses, a bus plugin is used there. I don't think you put them on your FX channels either.

It is an incremental approach that doesnt ask too much of one plugin but it adds up to shave off some of the highs that digital is so good at reproducing.

Use compression for the punch. The CLA Mixdown plugin is on sale for 50 bucks. I bought it for $30 when it first came out. I like what it does on groups and the master bus. I don't know if you have any waves plugins but once you install their Waves Central you will probably be able to try the demos. .

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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by macktastic » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:19 pm

Ok, to specify, I am only recording vocals. My control room consists of foam and carpet.

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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by Len911 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:24 pm

Specifically what you seem to be missing in your vocal chain is a compressor.

That said, and as a vocalist myself, I can only give you my personal experience and personal opinion about recording vocals. First of all, there never seems to be much credence given to what the vocalist is actually hearing through their vocal chain while they are singing, as if it doesn't make much difference, but it actually makes a world of difference, and for me that's where I hear the difference. The biggest difference I would say is the mic, then the preamp, then the compressor, though really it depends for the compressor, and as far as eq not really necessary and does more harm than good at this stage. The flatter a mic is, the more natural and flattering it will sound to you, any artificial presence boosters can be irritating. Omni are more natural but not recommended unless you have a really good room. Steer clear of tubes, they are over-rated and an unnecessary expense. I can recommend API, not only because that's what I have, but also because I can't envision anything more I could want or need for what they do, and thirdly because I have never read a disparaging word about them, it all seems to be flattering,lol! You can google "API audio punch", you have said you sought that "punchy analog sound", apparently API has it in spades,lol, to me it just sounds natural. As far as microphones go, there's the venerable Neumann, probably my first choice, but there is much to choose from and I'm sure much to stay away from, a lot of hit and miss, I think research and budget should prevail here.

I've wasted a lot of time and money from when I first began until I figured some of this stuff out. A lot of "sounds as good as units costing thousands more", or that somehow it was all in the tweaking, arghh! :evil: I'm still figuring out many things,lol! I hope it's been helpful. There are certainly more options and better equipment overall from when I started.
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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by macktastic » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:14 pm

The Presonus has a compressor and Eq built in. Are you saying I would need another seperate compressor? If so what would you recommend personally? And I was looking for a Neumann Mic that wasnt so costly. I havent had much luck unfortunately.



Len911 wrote:Specifically what you seem to be missing in your vocal chain is a compressor.

That said, and as a vocalist myself, I can only give you my personal experience and personal opinion about recording vocals. First of all, there never seems to be much credence given to what the vocalist is actually hearing through their vocal chain while they are singing, as if it doesn't make much difference, but it actually makes a world of difference, and for me that's where I hear the difference. The biggest difference I would say is the mic, then the preamp, then the compressor, though really it depends for the compressor, and as far as eq not really necessary and does more harm than good at this stage. The flatter a mic is, the more natural and flattering it will sound to you, any artificial presence boosters can be irritating. Omni are more natural but not recommended unless you have a really good room. Steer clear of tubes, they are over-rated and an unnecessary expense. I can recommend API, not only because that's what I have, but also because I can't envision anything more I could want or need for what they do, and thirdly because I have never read a disparaging word about them, it all seems to be flattering,lol! You can google "API audio punch", you have said you sought that "punchy analog sound", apparently API has it in spades,lol, to me it just sounds natural. As far as microphones go, there's the venerable Neumann, probably my first choice, but there is much to choose from and I'm sure much to stay away from, a lot of hit and miss, I think research and budget should prevail here.

I've wasted a lot of time and money from when I first began until I figured some of this stuff out. A lot of "sounds as good as units costing thousands more", or that somehow it was all in the tweaking, arghh! :evil: I'm still figuring out many things,lol! I hope it's been helpful. There are certainly more options and better equipment overall from when I started.

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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by Len911 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:52 pm

My bad, I didn't google the Presonus like I did the Focusrite, or I would have seen it had a compressor! :oops:

What I was saying was my personal opinion as to what I thought you meant by what you might be missing, not necessarily what you needed. I am beginning to see the conundrum that many budget recording magazines must be facing. There's basically three levels of equipment, budget, semi-pro and pro. Sometimes it's the smallest difference that makes the biggest difference. There lies the conundrum, could I tell by listening what mic and preamp and guitar you used, no, because as the audience I wouldn't be listening as intimately and critically as you would. It sounds like a voice and guitar. But to the vocalist and guitarist their tone is everything, and it might be the difference between a really great performance and merely a ho hum performance. I really don't know if that's what you are missing, I really can't recommend anything outside your budget, but I am fairly confident that you wouldn't be disappointed in the upgrade. It's a heck of a lot more satisfying and do you better than buying a new car,lol! :lol: At least the new doesn't wear off.

You may hear it's the ear not the gear, but there's also an old saying that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The problem is with the silk purse. If nobody knew there was such a thing as a silk purse, the sow's ear, which may or not be the same thing as the mixer's ear,lol, wouldn't make as much difference!
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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by Len911 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:37 pm

As far as a microphone goes, it could be hit and miss. I started with a Shure SM58. I hated it, it sounded pinched and nasal. I went to a LDC Neumann TLM 193. I should have never sold it! Huge difference. It was a flat mic, some say dark sounding, it didn't have a presence bump, so sometimes it was hard to hear yourself if the music was heavy at those frequencies. I also acquired an AKG 414TLII around that time, it had a presence boost, but sounded artificial compared to the Neumann. Once I also had a Neumann M149 Tube mic, I bought it used at a large discount, because many thought it didn't sound like a "tube" mic or what they thought a tube mic should sound like, it was a great mic, but I gave it to a friend after I got a Telefunken. The Telefunken also has a tube, though really I have no preference for tubes, I'd just as soon not have them! I bought an old 60's era Beyerdynamic off ebay for scratch recordings so I didn't have to set up the tube mic, and really it is a great mic, I'd use it for recording vocals. I about forgot about the Cascade ribbon mic. It peaks about 7k, there's nothing special about it, the ribbon is fragile, it's very natural, probably better for horns or old timey sounding vocals, takes a lot of power to drive, no sparkle.

I steered clear of dynamic mics for a long time after owning the SM58,lol! The Beyer has sort of changed my perspective. Telefunken has a few dynamics out that may be worth trying out, there's even a large diaphragm M82, that might be a little adventurous.

That's been the extent of my experience with mics. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably just get a Neumann U87. It has the presence boost that is lacking in the TLM 193. I'm not sure what the cardioid only version is. The history of vocal mics are probably all centered around AKG/Neumann with Telefunken versions at different times of the AKG or Neumann, and then today there is the eastern European division of Neumann, who makes the better versions of what mic is really crazy, or even what mic was derived from what mic,lol! I suppose my ideal mic would probably be a pristine Telefunken Elam 251? Derived from the AKG C12. :lol: Okay, so now the $3000 something U87 sounds pretty cheap compared to a new $10,000 Telefunken Elam 251 remake :shock: It's easy to get carried away.

I don't know if that's helpful or confusing. Often times it seems like it is splitting hairs, and it is. The best thing is perhaps a try before you buy, or a 30 day demo where you can return in like new condition and not be charged if you don't like it. There's also used, but you have to be careful, and often times it's not much cheaper than new.
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Re: What Am I Missing?

Post by Kolstad » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:57 am

You should be able to get a punchy analog sound, in the box. Its not so much what hardware you’ve got, but more what you do with it, and the software plugins. What may help you is to get real specific with what you want to hear (what analog sound?), and then look for knowledge on how to achieve it. “Punch” is something you can get from setting your compressors right, but listening to some of your mixes, you dont seem to arrange your music with beefy kicks, subs and all that. So just a thought, maybe its not the gear at all?

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