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Does any of this pro kit really help?

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Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby My Own Silence » Sat May 03, 2008 12:49 pm

Recently I mixed a track really badly and even though I got te right kit etc, I realised I buggered it all up possibly due to my mood etc.

Now I've done some much better mixes on standard HI FI kit.

What Im starting to appreciate that is that at pair of £4000 monitors might help you hear a mix better but ultimatly for a good rock or dance track its your own ears that actually matter more than the speakers?

Tryig to acheive consistancy within my mixes is proving a nightmare. Recently I bought the Duende, which is a great tool but when you suddenly realise youve left all the bass out your track trying to acheive clarity you start to wonder why you bought any of it.

A peaceful mind, a healthy attitude and open mind is probably worth more that a top end studio.
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby Conny » Sat May 03, 2008 1:05 pm

My Own Silence wrote:
A peaceful mind, a healthy attitude and open mind is probably worth more that a top end studio.

Nice sentiment there.

I also think this is key, but i've noticed only recently that practice makes perfect so ultimately mood should not adversly affect mixes. After spending a lot of time mixing tracks I find that I am able to 'see' the properties of the sound with as much clarity as my vision...sort of! :tongue:

But needless to say, if (after all that experience) your gear is sub-par, so too will be your mixes.
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby desmond » Sat May 03, 2008 1:14 pm

Good tools are important, but so is the ability to use them.

You can buy the former, but not the latter (unless you're gonna employ someone else to do it, of course!)

In this day an age, many people think that they can buy their way to greatness - "Which plugin can I put on my mix to sound like a record?" etc.

It's a long-term art form - do, learn, read, collaborate, listen, analyse - and you will get better.
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby Peter Conz Connelly » Sat May 03, 2008 1:32 pm

You can buy the nicest paints and canvas, but if you can't paint the results will reflect. You can buy the fastest car, but if you can't drive... etc, etc.
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby robmull » Sat May 03, 2008 1:55 pm

Think of your equipment as musical instruments. For example
if Jimi Hendrix played a 12dollar strat knock off through a 2dollar amp. He'll sound really bad. His guitar playing might still be excellent but the bad equipment really hinders the great sound. At the same time an experienced guitar player playing the best possible guitar through a vintage amp is going to sound bad too. But it won't be the equipments fault.
Experience and good equipment have to go hand in hand for the best possible result.
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby tomafd » Sat May 03, 2008 2:39 pm

My Own Silence wrote:
What Im starting to appreciate that is that at pair of £4000 monitors might help you hear a mix better but ultimatly for a good rock or dance track its your own ears that actually matter more than the speakers?


Only if you know 'how they sound' - especially in the room they're in- in the first place. I have a reasonably nice pair of B&W CDM1s, but it's the 20+ yr old pair of B&W D110s - (available on ebay for less than £100 usually) that often tell me more... simply because I've been listening to music on them for a very long time, in the same room. I 'know' how music should sound on them, even though the top end lacks detail and the bass isn't up to much. I switch over to the CDM1s to get an 'option' and check on certain things, but even though they're 'better' speakers, I still want to keep the old ones.

Every time I book out another studio, I need half an hour at the start, playing records I know very well indeed through their system, just to get some idea of how the monitoring sounds and get my ears and brain 'calibrated' to it. Perception is a very odd thing...
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby forumuser695516 » Sat May 03, 2008 4:26 pm

^ Quite right... Strange as it may seem, I believe its better to mix on 'not so good' speakers that you know very well. Instead of great speakers that you are unfamiliar with.
And yes, a better mood and a good nights sleep does wonders too.

Paul
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby thescientist » Sat May 03, 2008 4:29 pm

~Paul wrote:^ Quite right... Strange as it may seem, I believe its better to mix on 'not so good' speakers that you know very well. Instead of great speakers that you are unfamiliar with.
And yes, a better mood and a good nights sleep does wonders too.

Paul

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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby narcoman » Sat May 03, 2008 4:50 pm

great room average speakers wil WAAAY outperform great speakers in bad room.

If you do have £4000 speaker ( :D) then you'd better have the room to go with it or you're wasting your time and money.
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby EnlightenedHand » Sat May 03, 2008 5:33 pm

Honestly the skill of mixing is inside of the individual. You can't buy the skills. I know from personal experience that you can take typical market equipment and create professional sounding mixes. You need to have the skills. As has been already mentioned, the skills come with practice and experience.

An experienced and highly skilled mixing engineer can create a great mix with typical market equipment. It will be more difficult to do so but it can and has been done many times before. I have found that the differences between high quality gear and most of today's typical market gear are subtle and not nearly as dramatic as people make them out to be when the users of the gear are highly skilled and experienced. However, when one spends most of their time listening to high quality gear it can be quite a shock to suddenly be exposed to lower levels of quality and so the differences appear more drastic. It's kind of like spending time working at a high sample rate and bit depth like 192/24 and then suddenly listening to 44.1/16. In that instance the 44/16 sounds like garbage, especially the longer you were in the higher rates. But after a while of adjustment you realize that the 44/16 isn't all that bad at all. I think that a similar situation is the reason why so many people feel that there is such a drastic difference between some typical market gear and high quality gear. Just my opinion though.

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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby dickiefunk » Sat May 03, 2008 5:52 pm

I have a £99 DMP3 Preamp, MXL V67g (£60) Studio Projects B1 (£65) and Rode NT1-a mics.

All my VST FX are freeware :-


Compressors

Density, Compressive, BlockFish, TBT 2095, Jeroen Breebaart PC-2, Kjaerhus Classic

EQ's

Electri-Q Posihfopit, IIEQ, Pushtec

Limiters

TBT Pocket Limiter, W1 Limiter, BuzzMaxi 3

Reverbs

SIR, Freeverb Too, Jeroen Breebaart OmniVerb

Guitar Amps


FreeAmp 3.5, Guitar Suite, Voxengo Boogex, Juicy 77

Others

SpitFish, Rescue, Tessla SE, Up Stereo, Voxengo Tempo Delay, NorthPole, Floorfish, SupaPhaser, G-Snap, G-Tune

I also have a lot of freeware synths.

Would my recordings sound £1000's better if I bought better preamps, mics, VSTfx etc. ? No way!!

I know for a fact that I am no where near getting the best out of what I already have and don't see me being able to justify spending serious money on any of this stuff!

I've come to the conclusion that if I can't make a decent recording with this stuff then I can't make a decent recording full stop!
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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby Rousseau » Sat May 03, 2008 7:02 pm

My Own Silence,

In my line of work, yes it does matter - a lot.

For me the difference between having VSL now and using other orchestral sample libraries previously is rather large. And it's the same with guitar libraries, percussion libraries and pianos.

Also, I've recently got a Neumann Mic which replaced my trusty NT1a and the difference is absolutely mindblowing IMO; recording my partner's voice (pro opera singer) with the NT1a was 'interesting', but the Neumann is unbelievable - it makes her voice just soooo damn rich, warm, musical, dynamic without even adding compression or EQ.

I'd not be without my M3000 now (well, unless someone gave me an M4000 or System 6000)...

Then again, treating my room with traps and clouds etc was probably the best £300 I've spent.

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Re: Does any of this pro kit really help?

Postby Steve Hill » Sat May 03, 2008 8:31 pm

Very simply, the best kit in the world is no better than budget stuff if it's in the wrong room. Take Doublehelix from our own membership... he spent at least a year rebuilding his studio from the ground up (see this epic thread ).

Upon finishing and doing some measurements and tests, he finds he's got a couple of (very serious) dips in the bass end... see here.

Any mix done in that environment is going to have the bottom end all over the place, regardless of the quality of the equipment. DH knows this is and is working on it.

Marry good kit with a good room and you have nirvana. 90% of home recordists (or more...) prefer to buy stuff with flashing lights and meters rather than slabs of rockwool.

This means the Studio SOS column will run for some millennia, while Hugh and Paul lose what's left of their hair and grow ever more corpulent on hobnobs.
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