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The Byre



Joined: 27/03/05
Posts: 1674
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #203825 - 31/10/05 01:14 AM
I understand and sympathise deeply with the perception that the 'pros' get all sniffy and snobbish when a Newbie asks what monitor he should buy for £200 a pair, or if a Behringer channel strip or mic for £60 is better or worse than some other similarly priced items. The reason is not (just?) that we are a bunch of arseholes who just want to indulge in some kind of testosterone-driven pissing contest, but because most of us have made the mistake of buying that kind of gear at one time or another. Even an amateur with no higher aspirations to musical greatness ends up having to replace that kind of stuff fairly soon - usually because it fails completely.

There would appear to be a fundamental misunderstanding about how all electronic equipment is made. Unless you are talking about small items with just a handful of components being built in very small numbers, all production is automated.

That's right, even big mixing desks from SSL and AMS-Neve.

If you place an order with SSL for a K-Series 60-frame, that does not mean that droves of men with tweed jackets with leather elbows bought at Dunn & Co, all don white smocks, strap on bi-focals and fire up the old soldering irons. All production today is performed by pick-and-place machines. The same type of machine that puts the parts into your high-end mixing desk can also be seen placing the parts into (or rather on) a Behringer Eurodesk in Shanghai.

The difference in manufacturing costs is largely the cost of the components. In modern manufacturing, labour is not a significant cost. Typically, a 19" rack unit takes between 10 mins and one hour of labour to build, depending on a whole host of variables like complexity, design and how difficult and thorough the QC has to be. QC for modern digital equipment is also mostly automated. That means that a labour intensive item built in high-wage Germany could have as much as £20 labour costs per piece, whereas an item built in Indonesia could have labour costs as low as 10 Cents.

So why does an item built in Indonesia cost far less in Germany than a similar item built in Germany? Common sense tells us that a microphone that takes an hour to assemble in Indonesia (wage cost per piece $1) should be far more expensive than the same type of microphone assembled in Germany (wage bill per microphone £20). After all, the Indonesian microphone has to spend three months at sea in a 40-foot container, it involves more paperwork, it incurs import duty and because it takes months to reach market, ties up more capital. So despite the slight advantage in lower wage costs, the cost of moving it halfway around the World, having to have some kind of office or representation in Indonesia, financing it for that journey and paying import duty should far outweigh the £19.50p extra that the manufacturer has to pay for labour.

The truth is of course that the two items are not the same, they are not even close to being the same. To find out what the difference is, you have to take them apart and look at the components that go into them. If you try to repair something like an amp or desk from Behringer the chances are that the jack sockets will not survive removal. They are so flimsy, that you can rip them apart with your fingers. The same is true for every component inside the box. It is built to the very lowest quality standard possible.

What you have in your hands is a minimal product. A product that is built to just work and no more. Just as some channel strips are there to exploit the upper reaches of the so-called 'snob effect' (only the very best will do) there are products that seek to do the opposite. It could be a Casio home organ to give to a child because you have to give it something, but seek only to spend £100. Its' function is to work at Christmas and make some sort of noise. The child will have broken it by Boxing Day, so any expenditure on a better model would be foolish.

In a similar fashion, the complete recording studio at home is of course not a complete recording studio. It is no more a complete recording studio then a one-chip hand-held video camera and some editing software will allow you to record a game show in 'broadcast quality.'

These products are the price they are, not because they are built in a particularly economical or rational manner, but because many Far Eastern manufacturers have made cheap production their speciality. This does not mean that it cannot perform its function. I hear that the Behringer Composer thingy is good on vocals and I do use their EQs and headphone amps. But then I bough their Eurodesk for quick and easy monitoring in the room and the second time I switched it on, it went up in smoke.

And there we have the problem with the minimal product. Even if they do what it says on the can, they fail very often.

You see, the law of diminishing returns (when relating to quality) works at both ends of the quality spectrum. At the high quality end, there is only so far that you can go before the product gains little or no genuine increase in quality. Indeed, ultra high quality in, say frequency response, may result in other new problems as op-amps start to work in radio frequency ranges. In other words, if you go too far, the utility of the product actually falls.

At the bottom end of the quality scale, the same applies. A desk or amp that breaks or distorts the signal also has no utility. There is a level of quality below which you cannot go. If you do, the utility suddenly becomes zero.

Obviously, as the quality of the product is reduced by introducing ever cheaper components, the utility is reduced, but not by as much as the fall in cost. The product still works, it therefore still has utility. In order for a manufacturer to offer the cheapest product in his market, he must learn how to reduce the cost of manufacture to a point as close to, but above, the point of total loss of utility.

Put simply, the manufacturer has to make the product as cheaply as possible, using the cheapest components, without a significant number of products failing completely.

(The remarks written earlier about the falling standards of some 'quality' cars such as Mercedes are a typical example of a result of the law of diminishing returns when seeking even greater quality. These cars have become more and more complex, to the point where their complexity starts to create new problems that they did not have before. If you buy a car with ABS, EPS, AC, Sat-Nav, hands-free telephone with voice recognition, computer controlled gear-changes, ant-theft alarms, remote central locking, distance warning cruise control and frequency seeking digital radios, you can expect these features to fail one day too.)
____________________________________________________________________________


I posted originally to make some people think - and not just about audio gear, but everything they buy. For some reason, the 'Shanghai syndrome' seems to have made some people believe that basic economic principles have somehow disappeared or have been altered in some way. There is a genuine belief that certain types of equipment are for ever going to get cheaper and cheaper, in much the same way that some people believed in 1999 that shares in Cisco and Sun would for ever rise.

Every few years a new technology or a new production method comes along and there is a retail feeding frenzy. In the 50's it was plastics. In the 60's we had the 'tranny' generation. In the 80's it was digital and now it is production in China and the Far East in general. Each time this happens, the unscrupulous jump onto the band waggon to sell snake oil.

PVC and nylon are not better than Bakelite or Formica and they in turn were not better than wood. Transistors are not better than valves. Digital is not better than analogue. Virtual synths or recorders are not better than hardware. Products made in China, Malaysia and Indonesia are not better than products made in Europe or the US. They are different, that's all.

This time, rather than a new technology, it is access to a new area of production with a depth of knowledge and component suppliers that have specialised in ultra cheap production. This means that low and medium technology products can be produced in very large numbers at lower cost, but also at a lower quality.

At one end of the quality scale there is a Fiat Uno which is built to survive its guarantee period and no more and at the other a Mercedes SL that now has every feature known to mankind, most of which nobody needs and many of which will fail. Between these two extremes you will find many good cars.

At one end of the monitor market you can buy a pair of Behringer Truths for £80. At the other end, you can commission a made to order set of Genelec wall-mounted speakers with complete room treatment and installation for £50,000 and more. Both are (in my opinion) fairly useless for recording and mixing music, but between these two mad extremes there are many good monitors you can buy.

--------------------
www.the-byre.com No longer Forum Member


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Digital Emoti



Joined: 30/10/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Brooklyn NY USA
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #203837 - 31/10/05 02:44 AM
Quote The Byre:


... but between these two mad extremes there are many good monitors you can buy.





So, which ones out of many good monitors are the best?
Can I buy something for £200 a pair that are good enough?

Let’s discuss it in circles.

--------------------
Digital Emotions


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The real musiclover



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 4357
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Digital Emoti]
      #203839 - 31/10/05 03:10 AM
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah...... It's ok to like Behringer, it's ok not to like Behringer. That may or may not be the issue?

I gave up about 763 words back. And another, just to make sure.


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coool



Joined: 16/09/04
Posts: 556
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #203848 - 31/10/05 06:42 AM
good morning ... steve, have you ever used the mics youre on about ? even if you had, why would you compare them to mics costing 200 quid ? if you think this is a serious discussion you must be mad. i dont see why i got jumped on for saying rode mics are exceptional, but if you like that kind of playground game carry on.

mr byre, thanks for yr considerable post. agreed there is some crap out there, i didnt realise you were only on another behringer bash, the sarcastic thread title seems to be having a general go at newbies expectations. i just tried to open it up to include all this other cheap gear. rode mics, alesis monitors, joe meek pre's all do the job exceptionally well (for the price !) even certain bits of behringer kit. its really childish to compare any of it to gear costing 30 times as much, but its also pretty boring to keep telling newbies they have to save up or sell their children to get this gear cos they will never make anything worth doing otherwise.

joe meek make the 3q for 130 quid and it uses mostly the same components as their high end stuff costing 4 times as much because they are already tooled up and with the inclusion of a wall wart and a smaller case they can afford to do it ... alesis do the monitor 1 for 100 quid because theyve sold tons of them in the last 10 years or more. i only recommend gear ive used to newbies, and i will carry on doing so ...

as for the beatles, they didnt even know how to tune their own guitars or roll their own spliffs ...

cheers
grainger


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Arpangel
active member


Joined: 12/07/03
Posts: 5527
Loc: London
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #203875 - 31/10/05 09:08 AM
Hi all, I beleive we are shooting ourselves in the foot asking for cheaper and cheaper gear in the end the competition to cut corners and drive down prices just floods the market with second rate gear. I would rather spend a bit more than buy something thats ultra-cheap and that will probably break down or not do it's job properly.

Take care !

Tony.


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
Posts: 5716
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Arpangel]
      #203886 - 31/10/05 09:36 AM
Tony, That's a very nice summing up of what The Byre was trying to say. He just said it with a few more words...;)

What's more, it is a sentiment that quite a few people ( myself included ) have felt for a while now and Andy was the first to have the guts to start the ball rolling. Kudos to Andy for that. Wish I'd had the balls to, but I knew ( ok .. suspected ) what the response would be and have been pleasantly unsurprised to see that I was right in my expectations.

Sadly, the SOS forums actually _are_ fairly tolerant of the budget end of the gear spectrum. Even someone like the Byre is a pussycat compared to some of the other boards out there. Don't take my word for it though, go round a few of them with the comments that have been posted here and see what the response is. It's a harsh old world and I do think that sometimes people don't appreciate what they have.

So let's at least keep it civil round here, eh?? Leave the mud slinging to professional ladies in bikinis ...


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steveman



Joined: 17/03/02
Posts: 1142
Loc: London - UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: coool]
      #203925 - 31/10/05 10:30 AM
Still missing the point I see


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Steve Hill
member


Joined: 07/01/03
Posts: 13141
Loc: Oxfordshire
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: coool]
      #203966 - 31/10/05 11:47 AM
Quote grAInger:

as for the beatles, they didnt even know how to tune their own guitars or roll their own spliffs ...




I don't know the authority for that statement, but it is fair to say that after you have earned the first few million, you can pay people to do these things for you. You may not like them but that doesn't make a few hundred million other record buyers wrong.

The same applies to your view that all Neumann mics "stink". Any commercial studio or broadcaster would respectfully (or perhaps not respectfully) disagree.

--------------------
Dynamite with a laser beam...


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Doublehelix



Joined: 04/12/02
Posts: 4162
Loc: USA
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #203979 - 31/10/05 12:07 PM
Some great responses here...Andy, Grainger, Tony, Dave B...

Lower-priced gear has its place for those just starting out, I agree, but as Andy (The Byre) and Tony (arpangel) mention, you can take this idea just too far, and end up producing crap with the promise of the "something for nothing" miracle.

I agree with grainger that there are some "useable" pieces that don't cost an arm and a leg, and I'd have to agree that Rode is one of those companies making products that fit into that category... *however*, I would not call them "exceptional" either, but that is my opinion. I have had an NTK and an NT2 (I sold both), and still own a pair of NT5s that get occasional work, so I am familiar with the company. I do hear that some of the newer models sound better than their earlier stuff, but at this point, I am pretty much convinced that my personal needs don't include Rode at this point. 'Nuff said...

Quote:

So let's at least keep it civil round here, eh?? Leave the mud slinging to professional ladies in bikinis ...




Best advice I've heard all day!!!

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12550
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: coool]
      #204062 - 31/10/05 01:47 PM
Quote grAInger:

... i know im out of my depth here but whats an AF condenser ?




Basically, AF condenser microphones use the capsule as a capacitor to store charge. With one fixed plate and the other free to vibrate in sympathy with the sound, the capacitance varies, and the charge moves in or out of the capsule accordingly. This is measured by the head preamplifier and an audio signal results. All well and good, but the capsule is inherently in a high impedance circuit (over 1Giga-Ohms) – it has to sit there with stored charge until the diaphragm moves and any changes in the charge are perceived as audio. In a humid atmosphere the stored charge finds it easier to escape on water molecules in the air rather than through the input of the preamplifier, hence noisy and reduced output, and misery all round. The high biasing voltage also attracts dust particles to the diaphragm, reducing its efficiency and linearity. Most condenser microphones use this technology and some manufacturers are better than others at minimising the effects - I have heard huge differences between manufacturers, some so noisy in humid conditions that they are unuseable, while others just give off a few crackles now and again. In dry conditions most are quiet, but I have heard some that give the odd crackle, even under these conditions.

The RF system (as used in Sennheiser MKH microphones) uses the capsule (a low impedance capsule) in a completely different way: as a tuning capacitor for an RF oscillator – which inherently employs it in a low impedance circuit where a high frequency signal is being passed through the capacitor all the time. Changes in capacitance (caused by sound moving the diaphragm) alter the resonant frequency of the circuit (circa 8MHz) and so its frequency becomes proportional to the audio signal. A simple RF demodulator restores the output to a conventional audio signal. More complex and sophisticated (but still very rugged), this system is highly immune to the effects of humidity and is thus the preferred design to be used out of doors (or when moving from outside to inside on a cold day!).

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204064 - 31/10/05 01:49 PM
Quote Doublehelix:


Lower-priced gear has its place for those just starting out, I agree, but as Andy (The Byre) and Tony (arpangel) mention, you can take this idea just too far, and end up producing crap with the promise of the "something for nothing" miracle.





i aggree, but as i see it (only been browsing the page for a couple of months) most people dont ask for the cheapest gear.. and if u only want the cheapest you dont need advice.. you just need to know how to look at a price tag, right?

plus the people who do ask for advice (for cheap gear) is mostly looking for gear to get them started.. they didnt have shite to do with behringer getting all crazy and mass producing dung... theyre just confused cos the cheap gear market is so biig and full of dung...
noone expects to find £100 supergear.. no big studio is asking for advice on £300 monitors...
but if we do need a £100 mic and theres 30 to choose from and we do know that in this world today a lot of products are just mass produced garbage made only to make a profit, some advice can be very nice..

we're amateurs doing amateur stuff on amateur gear, ok?


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12550
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: KidCracken]
      #204068 - 31/10/05 01:54 PM
Quote KidCracken:

we're amateurs doing amateur stuff on amateur gear, ok?




But I know loads of amateurs who have better gear than the professionals - because they buy it themselves and want to get the best long-term value for money.

Amateur doesn't necessarily mean cheap - often the reverse

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
Posts: 5716
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204075 - 31/10/05 02:15 PM
WRT John's point - I know a couple of 'professional' studios that are jealous of about half of my kit and the rest is on par. And this is after a few years of lean times.

Sometimes, being an amateur means that you have more ready cash to 'invest' in gear.


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Wonks
active member


Joined: 29/05/03
Posts: 6374
Loc: Reading, UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: John Willett]
      #204081 - 31/10/05 02:18 PM
John

So the "AF" bit stands for "Audio Frequency" as opposed to "RF" for Radio Frequency? Whilst giving a very nice and full explanation (thank you), you missed expounding on that abbreviation.


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: John Willett]
      #204082 - 31/10/05 02:18 PM
Quote John Willett:


But I know loads of amateurs who have better gear than the professionals - because they buy it themselves and want to get the best long-term value for money.




yea but theyre not newbies looking for gear to get them started...

i want nice gear too! and i do know what kind of money i have to spend to get it.. but it could take me years to save up for it.. and ofcourse i want to do stuff right now! so in the mean time im very happy with my £120 set of mic, pre-amp and mic stand.. this way i can even buy some great mic and use it straight away!

using my impression of your opinion i would have to save up for years to buy a set of nice gear just to get started..

why not use this time practicing my skills (bot technically and vocal) on cheap gear?


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204090 - 31/10/05 02:24 PM
plus.. if some of you guys got better equipment than studios then why the heck are you amateurs???

make money, money doesnt make you...


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drumon



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 243
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: KidCracken]
      #204100 - 31/10/05 02:43 PM
Quote KidCracken:

plus.. if some of you guys got better equipment than studios then why the heck are you amateurs???

make money, money doesnt make you...




Because they arent professinal musicians likely, and do earn money in other professions hence the ability to buy great gear for their hobby!

This applies to all sorts of things, not just amateur music, sport for example, you must know musicians who as well as spending every last penny on instruments and music gear, ALSO try to buy the best they can on mountain bikes, road bikes, skis, whatever... I know many people who do! in fact I do - GREAT, where's the snow?!


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12550
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Wonks]
      #204104 - 31/10/05 02:48 PM
Quote Wonkey Wabbit:

John

So the "AF" bit stands for "Audio Frequency" as opposed to "RF" for Radio Frequency? Whilst giving a very nice and full explanation (thank you), you missed expounding on that abbreviation.




Oops! That'll teach me to copy/paste

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Doublehelix



Joined: 04/12/02
Posts: 4162
Loc: USA
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204108 - 31/10/05 02:55 PM
As you mention KidCracken, there are lots of pieces of gear around that fit into the lowest price category, but sometimes, the "what $100 mic should I buy?" questions come from folks that really expect there to be differences between them. At that price, who really cares? Just pick one, they all sound pretty much the same, and were probably made in the same factory, but just have a different brand name on the front.

To over-analyze a buying decision at that price point is really next-to-meaningless since they all sound about the same, and are all going to be in the waste basket in a year or three anyway.

As some folks say around here, stop stressing, and go make some music! I see posts like this where someone replies to the "$100 mic question" with a list of 2-3 mics to try, and then the original poster comes back with "OK, thanks, now who else? Or which one is going to give me the most low-end detail and sounds most like a U47?" These are the posts that crack me up the most, not the guy or gal that just wants to get some of their ideas down on tape, and need something to get started.

Now it is fair enough to ask the question, but once some suggestions are given, these over-analyzers then continue to press for details that don't really exist, or ask things like "I am looking for a vocal sound like 'Green Day' with a $100 mic, which one is going to give me that sound?" Don't laugh, 'cause you know its true!!!

Then when someone responds that you need to spend a whole lot more money to get where you want to go, all the calls of "snobbery" come flooding out!

Agreed that this is not *everyone*, but I am amazed at some of the questions and expectations that exist at the lower end.

One of the posts above said something like "with low-end products, we all know what we are getting, but need a place to start...". I'd have to say that from my experience on several forums, these folks are in the minority, and that there are many more folks that seem to think that $100 will get them a mic that will give them the 'Green Day" sound, and they just need the secret "inside scoop" from the pros to tell them which magic product to buy. "Ah yes, the magic U47 clone for $100 that *noone else knows about!!!" Once again, the "something for nothing Wal-Mart mentality" that is so prevelent here in The States has permeated this industry as well.

I honestly have nothing against low-priced gear, and nothing against those wanting to make their own music on a budget. I think that is great! But as KidCraken states, just look at the price tag, and pick out the lowest-priced option, realize what you are getting for your money, and go make music!

Someone else said something like "If you are such a snob, then don't bother reading/answering the 'I need a $100 mic' threads." This is pretty much what I do, not because I don't want to encourage those folks just starting out, only because I have nothing constructive to add. If I say "pick one", I get nasty replies from those who are positive that Model A sounds *much* better than Model B (but who have probably not really compared them directly, and if they have, it was probably on cheap monitors where you can't really make critical decisions), or I get flamed for being a gear snob, which is not my intent at all!!!

I have always abided by the rule that "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is..."

This is a great discussion, and there are lots of great opinions here. It is all good...

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: drumon]
      #204112 - 31/10/05 03:02 PM
Quote drumon:


This applies to all sorts of things, not just amateur music, sport for example, you must know musicians who as well as spending every last penny on instruments and music gear, ALSO try to buy the best they can on mountain bikes, road bikes, skis, whatever... I know many people who do! in fact I do - GREAT, where's the snow?!




wich brings me back to;
Quote KidCracken:


yea but theyre not newbies looking for gear to get them started...





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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12550
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: KidCracken]
      #204114 - 31/10/05 03:04 PM
Quote KidCracken:

yea but theyre not newbies looking for gear to get them started ... using my impression of your opinion i would have to save up for years to buy a set of nice gear just to get started..




No, I was not saying that.

But making people aware of certain things mean that they can make more intelligent decisions and spend what they have more wisely.

When I started I did not have much money - I invested this in a good tape machine (Tandberg) and some not too expensive mics (Unisound) and monitored on good headphones (AKG K60). The mics were too cheap and quickly got changed for something better (Beyer M67).

My earliest recordings still sound good played back on the latest equipment.

Gradually, over the years, things got added to - but the Beyer mics are still in my kit and are not a disgrace 35 years on. The headphones lasted me about 15 years before I upgraded, the tape deck lasted a similar time before I got a better machine and became a reserve as it was still good.

Getting started now on a low budget I would probably look at a good second-hand mic. rather than a Chinese cheapo. Monitor on headphones until you can afford good monitors and get an inexpensive recorder (as these are technolony which changes every 5-minutes). You can still have quality at a low price if you spend wisely.

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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drumon



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 243
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: KidCracken]
      #204117 - 31/10/05 03:13 PM

wich brings me back to;
Quote KidCracken:


yea but theyre not newbies looking for gear to get them started...








True, I went off on a tangent. Apologies

However, I'm aware of many "amateurs" in all sorts of things who can afford to buy "better" gear for their first whatever-it-may-be, because they have the time to research what will help them to improve at their hobby and end up buying impressive equipment to steepen their learning curve, which if you want to do something well, whether it be your profession OR hobby is a challenge we all want to rise to!

But yes, its not really what this discussion was all about to begin with, but it is relevant.


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204118 - 31/10/05 03:16 PM
Quote Doublehelix:

As you mention KidCracken, there are lots of pieces of gear around that fit into the lowest price category, but sometimes, the "what $100 mic should I buy?" questions come from folks that really expect there to be differences between them. At that price, who really cares? Just pick one, they all sound pretty much the same, and were probably made in the same factory, but just have a different brand name on the front.




well even though you dont reccomend any model i find that very good advice...

as i see the market today (for any product) there can be a huge difference in quality no matter where in the price range you look.. and therefore i assume this is the same with audio gear... so if i were a total newb how should i know that all cheap mic's are the same?? probably by asking.. and where can i get answers from a lot of people?

and yea i know a lot of people on the net are arrogant and/or plain stupid.. but i still think this place is a lot more "mature" than many other sites i know...

so my advice is.. if people asking are just naive, please be nice and guide them... and if they flame you for not giving the "right" answer, please put on your mental /ignore


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


Joined: 24/01/02
Posts: 2687
Loc: The King's Height
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: KidCracken]
      #204122 - 31/10/05 03:32 PM
There can be a place for many pieces of gear in a recording environment, regardless of price.
Recording is about capturing performances and being creative in the best way you can, but using your ears (not your eyes).
If you end up using a 100 quid mic on some source and it sounds good and fits in well - most importantly - it is played well) then that's all fine.
To suggest that we can only record with 2 grand mics etc... IS pure snobbery and completely wrong.
I'd love a cupboard full of 'top' mics - instead I have few 'project studio' ones which can do a very good job.

PS. On the Green Day bit - remember that the high sonic quality from a good condensor might not actually be used for a band such as this - and probably wouldn't sound good, unless it was dirtied up a bit.
The Chillies apparently use an SM57 for vocals. That's a $100 mic.

In some circumstances, the perfections of hi quality recording just don't work work, but it does depend on what you're doing and what you want to achieve.

The proof is in the pudding, and if someone with average mic's has better recordings than someone with mics valued at 10 times that, what does that tell you?

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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PrinceXizor
member


Joined: 30/01/04
Posts: 825
Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: John Willett]
      #204134 - 31/10/05 03:49 PM
Interesting points all.

I think part of the problem is obviously the I want it now attitude. But its also the I want it ALL now. The vocal mics, the sequencer, the preamp, the compressor, the effects, the monitors, the drum mics, the 16 channel A/D. They NEED it ALL now. You can afford to get into the "quality, budget, would still use it 10 years from now" area if you are only buying one mic and a preamp" and going on from there.

For example, I try and pick my starting out gear to be useful if/when I upgrade.

Just my two cents.

P-X

--------------------
My Home Studio Build Thread


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204139 - 31/10/05 03:56 PM
yea and many of the 80'ies hiphop classics were done on a sm58 and a 4-track tape recorder...


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Simon (aka UK03878)



Joined: 02/11/05
Posts: 1504
Loc: Munching a Carrot, The Fens
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204147 - 31/10/05 04:08 PM
I find this quite funny...
Normally it's the other way around...
A newbie comes over and people much more knowledgable jump over him for asking daft questions.

Now we have non experts in Finance and Economics trying to talk economics of scale, capital cost/depreciation, cost of working capital, business models, the law of ostentatious consumption etc.
For me this is the JP22 thread of the year.
A little knowledge is very dangerous


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Doublehelix



Joined: 04/12/02
Posts: 4162
Loc: USA
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: KidCracken]
      #204159 - 31/10/05 04:24 PM
Quote KidCracken:


so if i were a total newb how should i know that all cheap mic's are the same?? probably by asking.. and where can i get answers from a lot of people?





Great post KidCracken (not too bad for a "kid" ). I have no problem with that, as long as the expectations are set up front as to what you are getting for your hard-earned cash.

Think about it (I think Reg said something like this...), for $100, the missus and I can go out to a nice dinner, or maybe I can take all my kids along to a "medium" restaurant for that kind of cash. Doesn't our music gear deserve better than that?

Big Al, you make a good point also (as always). It does not always take a $2K mic to make a great recording, but as you mention, (in the hands of someone that knows that they are doing) something like an SM57 will always sound better than a cheap $100-200 chinese condenser, at least to my ears. It's not really apples-to-apples though, is it? The SM57 is a "decent-quality" dynamic mic from a reputable company, whereas a cheap Chinese knock-off is...well...er...a cheap Chinese knock-off from someone just copying ("aping" if you will...) someone else's design with no clue about what they are doing.

Now, there are exceptions, like SE electronics that are making their own mics in their own factories.

Also, a lot of US and EU manufacturers are starting to design their own mics, and then have them made in China rather than just buy re-branded knock-offs, and this trend will most likely lead to better quality stuff coming out of the far east. There are so many factors that go into the economics of this stuff however (as The Byre and Max have so "succinctly pointed out! ), that "something" still has to give in order for these manufacuters to make money. You have got to cut corners somewhere in order to stay competitive and still make a (small) profit. As The Byre mentioned, costs are high to manufacturer overseas: shipping, paperwork, customs, taxes, tying up your capital while in route, etc.

Face it, there a *lot* of people in China, and that includes a lot of *very* bright people, not just masses of cheap laborers, so it makes sense that things can and *will* change, as long as we are open to it, and not tainted by our prejudices (my own included).

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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Doublehelix



Joined: 04/12/02
Posts: 4162
Loc: USA
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: ]
      #204160 - 31/10/05 04:27 PM
Quote Simon (aka UK03878):

I find this quite funny...
Normally it's the other way around...
A newbie comes over and people much more knowledgable jump over him for asking daft questions.

Now we have non experts in Finance and Economics trying to talk economics of scale, capital cost/depreciation, cost of working capital, business models, the law of ostentatious consumption etc.
For me this is the JP22 thread of the year.
A little knowledge is very dangerous




And do you have any knowledge you'd like to share with the group? It sounds like you do, so why not contribute rather than critisize? (or if they are so far off base, contribute *AND* critisize! )

Are discussions of economics limited to experts only, or are we free to discuss with our limited working knowledge?

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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The Byre



Joined: 27/03/05
Posts: 1674
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204165 - 31/10/05 04:49 PM
Quote:

Now we have non experts in Finance and Economics trying to talk economics of scale, capital cost/depreciation, cost of working capital, business models, the law of ostentatious consumption etc.




I for one, am not aware of a 'law of ostentatious consumption' and I would like to hear about this law.

There is of course the phenomemum of ostentatious consumption which is a part of the 'snob effect' in which luxury goods enjoy a high income elasticity of demand, the higher their prices. But I am not aware of a law. Are we talking about Alfred Marshall or Veblen? I know that many economists have tried to quantify this effect.

Perhaps I have missed something!

--------------------
www.the-byre.com No longer Forum Member


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


Joined: 24/01/02
Posts: 2687
Loc: The King's Height
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204168 - 31/10/05 04:52 PM
Be fair to the guy DH.
It must take years of studying in a finance and economic school to be able to apply the arithmetic you learned at primary & high school to the real world.

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12550
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204169 - 31/10/05 04:52 PM
Quote Doublehelix:

...a lot of US and EU manufacturers are starting to design their own mics, and then have them made in China rather than just buy re-branded knock-offs, and this trend will most likely lead to better quality stuff coming out of the far east.




Yes - in a way.

I know Sennheiser tried this with some products, but they did not pass quality control.

In the end they invested a fortune in automated production and all the evolution series are made in Germany. The costs come way down because only two people run the production line and the automation and high quality control keep the quality high and the price very low - well under half of what the price would be if made in the traditional method.

But it's not quite so easy with high quality condensers.....

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
Posts: 10927
Loc: The wilds of Hampshire
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204171 - 31/10/05 04:54 PM
I think that Simon is probably hinting that The Byre hasn't quite grasped the economics of manufacturing large quanitites. They're much more complex than he's described.

For example - If I was to build a run of 10 units and needed 10 chips of a particular type then I would expect to pay 60p. If I wanted 500 chips then the price would halve. If I wanted 10000 chips then the price would probably halve again. So Behringer would be paying a quarter of the price that a small manufacturer would pay for the same components. It also becomes financially viable for them to build their own custom chips whereas a small manufacturer would have to make do with off the shelf chips.

Companies like Behringer are nothing new (Phonic have been selling cheap audio gear for longer) but Behringer have possibly marketed themselves more aggressively. In the old days a respectable recording musician would probably have dismissed anything from companies like Phonic as rubbish for people who didn't know any better but nowadays they're being taken more seriously for some reason.

cheers

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


Joined: 24/01/02
Posts: 2687
Loc: The King's Height
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204172 - 31/10/05 04:55 PM
I think when we talk of Chinese this and Chinese that, we assume poor quality and sweat shops, but as you correctly said, China has some smart folk.
If you can put a man in space, surely you could build a mic, although I'm perfectly aware that singing and being an astronaut isn't the same thing.

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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Simon (aka UK03878)



Joined: 02/11/05
Posts: 1504
Loc: Munching a Carrot, The Fens
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204173 - 31/10/05 04:59 PM
Quote Doublehelix:

Quote Simon (aka UK03878):

I find this quite funny...
Normally it's the other way around...
A newbie comes over and people much more knowledgable jump over him for asking daft questions.

Now we have non experts in Finance and Economics trying to talk economics of scale, capital cost/depreciation, cost of working capital, business models, the law of ostentatious consumption etc.
For me this is the JP22 thread of the year.
A little knowledge is very dangerous




And do you have any knowledge you'd like to share with the group? It sounds like you do, so why not contribute rather than critisize? (or if they are so far off base, contribute *AND* critisize! )

Are discussions of economics limited to experts only, or are we free to discuss with our limited working knowledge?



The contribution was inside my answer..
These (and others would affect price point)..

Customer models are quite interesting - and I have done a few (it's not my speciality - Finance/Business Intelligence and BPR is..) - especially as you role in the QA returns..
That is if we build gear with slightly cheaper parts - we are going to loose market share because of unreliablity issues.
To be quite honest you are never going to be a millionaire selling 19inch studio bits of kit are you...
(If you don't believe me read that Rupert Neve interview in Tape Op - where he can't even afford to have around his old Neve modules - he ask to ask Fletcher to borrow them...)...

So you have a very small monetary market which has a fast turnaround time with technology... do you build resiliance into the kit..
In a harsh business sense - why the hell would you...
It's not like a house that's going to be around in 30 years time...
Uli Behringer is not going to stick Elmas and Sowter/Lundahl transformers inside his bits of kit - why the hell shoudl he
If he can get away with using electronic balanced connections via opamps and Alps or Lorlin (or OEM versions) switches then he will

Top down budgetting/Strategic Enterprise Management is also very very important
What difference does this make...
A Lot..
This is where the strategic plan decides how much money we have to build things... rather than the traditional approach of profit and cost centres telling management how much they need to spend.
Thus the strategic aims of the company are in line with the day to day tactical aims.
Thus cash management and the availability of working capital is sorted...
I could go on for ver - but youse will all be bored


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Simon (aka UK03878)



Joined: 02/11/05
Posts: 1504
Loc: Munching a Carrot, The Fens
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: The Byre]
      #204174 - 31/10/05 05:03 PM
Quote The Byre:

Quote:

Now we have non experts in Finance and Economics trying to talk economics of scale, capital cost/depreciation, cost of working capital, business models, the law of ostentatious consumption etc.




I for one, am not aware of a 'law of ostentatious consumption' and I would like to hear about this law.

There is of course the phenomemum of ostentatious consumption which is a part of the 'snob effect' in which luxury goods enjoy a high income elasticity of demand, the higher their prices. But I am not aware of a law. Are we talking about Alfred Marshall or Veblen? I know that many economists have tried to quantify this effect.

Perhaps I have missed something!



You do make me laugh mate...

Edited by Simon (aka UK03878) (31/10/05 05:03 PM)


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Dave Gate
active member


Joined: 02/02/04
Posts: 1353
Loc: M6/M61/M60/M62/M65
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: James Lehmann]
      #204175 - 31/10/05 05:08 PM
Quote James Lehmann:

Ironically Mercedes quality control had a total breakdown recently and the company was obliged to recall 1.3 million cars due to faulty engineering - not just one fault either, several different ones!

But I'd still take a 2nd hand one over a new Fiat anyday!




Strangely enough I did; now had it for three years with no major problems at all.

--------------------
Gear List: reverse only.


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The Byre



Joined: 27/03/05
Posts: 1674
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: James Perrett]
      #204178 - 31/10/05 05:15 PM
Quote James Perrett:

I think that Simon is probably hinting that The Byre hasn't quite grasped the economics of manufacturing large quanitites. They're much more complex than he's described.




Sort of guilty as charged! I certainly did not go into detail about why certain companies and countries specialise in the production of certain types of goods. And as you state there is more to manufacturing in bulk than just automation and being able to transport in bulk.

One of the important factors is an infrastructure geared to your manufacturing needs. In order to use cheap components, one must have a supply of same. One must have formen and plant managers who understand how to keep down costs and all that it implies.

But Big Al raises an even more important point and that is it is not only the Chinese that can manufacture very cheaply. Both the US and Germany are able to do the same in some fields. In audio, the only example I can think of is PA amplifiers. You will not see any Chinese PA amps heading this way, as there are a couple of German companies that have made building ever-cheaper amps their life's work.

--------------------
www.the-byre.com No longer Forum Member


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KidCracken



Joined: 20/08/05
Posts: 65
Loc: Nykøbing F - DK
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #204189 - 31/10/05 05:28 PM
Quote Doublehelix:


Great post KidCracken (not too bad for a "kid" ). I have no problem with that, as long as the expectations are set up front as to what you are getting for your hard-earned cash.





well im only a "kid" in this biz...

Quote Doublehelix:


Think about it (I think Reg said something like this...), for $100, the missus and I can go out to a nice dinner, or maybe I can take all my kids along to a "medium" restaurant for that kind of cash. Doesn't our music gear deserve better than that?




yea it does, but you still gotta eat every day right?

but i promise i'll replace my lousy cheap chinese gear soon... and i promise my kid brother will be more than happy when i give it to him...


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Steve Hill
member


Joined: 07/01/03
Posts: 13141
Loc: Oxfordshire
Re: Monitors for a Fiver, a mic for a Tenner please! new [Re: ]
      #204195 - 31/10/05 05:39 PM
Quote Simon (aka UK03878):

Now we have non experts in Finance and Economics trying to talk economics of scale, capital cost/depreciation, cost of working capital, business models, the law of ostentatious consumption etc.
For me this is the JP22 thread of the year.
A little knowledge is very dangerous




Um... speak for yourself, but I was a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers for 22 years, specialising in business recovery and insolvency. And I don't disagree with what Andy and the other "ersatz economists" are saying around here

--------------------
Dynamite with a laser beam...


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