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Posted: 8/20/2023 11:21:51 PM EST
I have been looking into 500 series modules for quite some time.  In that search , there were a few places that offer
DIY 500 modules.  Some of the more interesting offerings come from this place.
 
DIY Recording Equipment
I am particularly intrigued by theCoulor Format series.


In the meantime, I thought I would go ahead and get one of the cheaper offerings, to see how their stuff looks up close.
I opted for the MB2 mic booster kit
Basically it is a two channel phantom powered booster like a cloudlifter for alot cheaper.

 It's a very nice package, quick to assemble and solder, bullet  proof directions, and it does indeed provide 26db gain.

 For all of you solder sniffers, there are some really great looking things to build offered by DIYre.

 

 
fnh
Link Posted: 8/21/2023 5:27:23 PM EST
[#1]
I mean, I'm all for DIY just to do it, but it seems like a waste of money in the days of inexpensive interfaces with high quality preamps built in.  You're better off spending the money on a handful of really nice microphones and a pallet of Owens Corning 703 if you want good results.
Link Posted: 8/22/2023 10:48:52 PM EST
[#2]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I mean, I'm all for DIY just to do it, but it seems like a waste of money in the days of inexpensive interfaces with high quality preamps built in.  You're better off spending the money on a handful of really nice microphones and a pallet of Owens Corning 703 if you want good results.
View Quote


@RickFinsta

Interesting ideas.  Would like you to expound more.  From hands on experience, not hypothetical or what someone else uses.

What do you reach for in your mic box? What interface(s) do you use?

Certainly sound treatments are useful too, not discounting that at all. That in itself is another subject all together.


Link Posted: 8/24/2023 9:59:13 AM EST
[#3]
Number one is you need to understand your room.  Get an inexpensive reference microphone (I use a Dayton EMM-6) and the free software Room EQ Wizard.  You'll see very quickly what is going on that will help you get a good sound through a DAW and into someone else's ears.

Second is treat the room to fix what you can.  If this is a home studio, you'll have to make compromises.  I was able to get my room pretty flat using the aforementioned OC703 to make 6" thick traps that span the corners to kill the low frequencies, some moveable 2" thick gobos, and one of these days I have to make a few 2" thick clouds to kill the 1.2k and 1.5k harmonics I get when recording from the end of the room (doesn't affect mixing, only recording).  This is the biggest compromise, usually: you are using a room you deadened to mix in to record, so you will not have natural reverb for recording.  TANSTAAFL

I used to run PCI multichannel but since there hasn't been a motherboard made with PCI in years I made the switch to a USB interface.  The latency is really a non-issue these days (and honestly isn't much of an issue when working "in the box" anyways since you can just phase signals afterwards very easily).  Currently I'm running the Behringer UMC stuff and the Midas preamps sound fine.

Speaking of that, I am a "record flat" guy.  I know there are a lot of engineers that disagree with me, but I started life in the box and have never used outboard gear except for mixing live, of course.  I want as accurate a representation of the sound as possible and then I can do whatever I want in the DAW.  To that end, my favorite microphone is the AT4050 and I want preamps that are quiet and don't add any color or tone.  But that is not an inexpensive microphone.  If I could only have one that would be it, though, followed closely by a Shure SM57 LOL.

If I were to do a basic studio I would want a four discrete I/O channel interface (that is all USB can do in/out at once anyways) and MIDI in/out, one or two Shure SM57s (maybe a Beta58 for vocal work), and then an AT2050, 4040, 4050, or CAD M179 and maybe a Samson CO2 matched pair of small diaphragm condensers.  With that you can cover acoustic and electric instruments, vocals, and if you add a Beta52 you can do drums.

For monitors, IMHO, you simply can't do better than the JBL LSR-305s and the sub if you want to add it later.  There is nothing in that price range that approaches how good these things are.  If you mix at high volume or in a large room you can step up to the 308s.  These things are wave guided and it helps to be able to have a wide zone where you can hear an accurate stereo image.  It helps with the reference mic work, too.

Hope that helps.  I'm far from a professional these days (I haven't been paid to mix live sound for over 20 years) but I've kept a home studio for a long time and do a lot of writing, performance, and recording and I have always been utilitarian about my musical instruments and PA or recording gear.  I am just not a guy that will ever have a pedalboard or endless racks of outboard gear.
Link Posted: 8/24/2023 10:49:28 PM EST
[#4]
TL;DR

just kidding....

I appreciate the time you took to make that post.

   We share parallel paths, with divergent approaches. I have the DBX pencil condenser mic I used with the DBX driverack, when I was doing live sound.
I stopped doing sound for a living 20ish years ago.
I have the Room EQ Wizard already, highly recommended.
Another useful tool Acoustic Modeling
A thread I saved from gearspace How to treat small tracking room
Another great place for info John Sayers' Recording Studio Design
I am still working on my room, 750 Sq ft,  I will provide more about that in the future.

 For grins, one could put a sound spectrum app on your phone, put some tunes on, radio etc, and walk towards corners and easily see the standing wave lo freq bump.  
 A fascinating subject in and of itself.
 I'm picking up what you are putting down.
Reminds me of that sound guy over at  REP,  Jack Douglas? who used a SM 57 and hit himself on the chest with it with the PA on, to tune EQ for the room.
 A lost art now!!

Waaay back late 70's early 80's I had a TEAC 3440. Still have tape from those days. I picked up a clean Tascam A-6100, that will play all 4 tracks, might be able to do a
transfer to DAW.  In the 90's had a Tascam TSR-8. Still have a mountain of tapes from that era, and recently picked up a super clean TSR-8. Time to digitize!

 My recording set up us going thru a transition, from a Presonus Firestudio, to Focusrite Scarlet18i20 and a Octopre.
Presonus and Focusrite deal with latency with grabbing the signals and giving you a direct send(s) to monitoring while tracking, say a whole band at once.
It works well enough.
 
I am a mic junkie, have kept them all save for one I sold to good friend years ago a CAD equitec, forget the model.  He still has it, I get first dibs if he sells.
In the mic locker, I will probably forget some of them. SM-7, RE-20, Warm Audio 87 (LDC), 4 Beta 58's, a bunch of 57's, Beta 52, old AKG D112, Sennheiser e602,
 A bunch of the original Audix drums mics, don't have the kick drum one, 2x Groove Tubes MD1b-FET,2 Oktava M-319's, a slew of other mics.

   I am a in and out of the box guy, I don't mind committing some things to a track,  EQ, compression, etc.
To touch on the live sound days with outboard processing, the guy I worked for had gone digital, with 01v's and 02r's.
 Of course he had all of the outboard stuff to satisfy clients riders', Midas,yak, yak, yak. All that jazz.
 Still have an 02r, going to use it for individual monitor mixes.

 Still use some JBL 4206's I have had for years for monitoring, I may look at other ones down the road.
Just a matter of knowing what they sound like.

The intention for my set up is to be able to track a band live and go from there.
The reason I asked what you used, wasn't to swing pee-pee in your face, but to get your perspective.

 People have recorded amazing things with weird stuff that one would be told won't work.
And all the junk I have won't insure any sort of quality.

Again, thanks for putting you ideas to keyboard, and posting them up

Link Posted: 8/25/2023 12:53:59 PM EST
[#5]
Always glad to get some technical info and ideas down in writing on a forum if it may help someone.

I've got a new band and we're going to be recording soon enough.  I need to figure out if we are gonna put the drummer on an electronic kit and then record samples of his acoustic drums to use, or try to record him on the real kit live.  We're getting him on a click track during practice for now and we'll see if he comes around.  I actually would prefer to have some ebb and flow to the tempo but we'll see!
Link Posted: 8/25/2023 11:46:03 PM EST
[#6]
Ah yes.l push and pull or grid.
I dunno what ways you have of generating click tracks.   One way would be to figure our your bar counts, so many for intro,
so many for verse, prechorus, etc. Studio 1 allows you to change the tempo for each of those sections, so you can have some
"swing". Another way would be to have the audio track, then automate the volume for the sections you want to be freeform.
Pull the click out and let the drummer float, then fade in to get him back on the click.
 
Some drum machines let you program the amount of swing, been too long since I programmed drum tracks.
Essentially quantize to 1/4 notes  and let machine wander around.   Can keep things from being too mechanical.
Same for a click track.

Acoustic vs. Electronic.  For me, if you have the means, track real drums. The resonant interaction between the shells and mics,
really enhances the feel.  Overheads can help pull the whole kit together. Just my opinion, Y'alls mileage may vary.
Obvious man says, I hope they are tuned well, and some kinda fresh heads.

  As for tracking with electro drums and replacing the hits with samples.  One might want to re-amp the drums in the same room environment,
with the rest of the tracks playing, to get that room vibe.

 
Link Posted: 8/29/2023 8:30:15 AM EST
[#7]
Yeah I am in Reaper so I have a native click source that drives the whole project (if I want it to).

My general workflow is:
1) Guitar and Vocal Scratch Track to click
2) Program (or record) Drums to click
3) Record Bass to Drums
4) Record Guitars to Drums and Bass
5) Record Vocals while playing an electric guitar acoustically (just so I've got some interaction with my instrument)

I am programming MIDI drums right now and you can quantize with some slop or swing to it.  It actually works pretty well and I'm surprised no one has pulled an "autotune" on it and pushed it to its breaking point to use as a rhythmic effect.  Anyone that does that now owes me royalties for my idea LOL.

I've got a shop building where we might record our drummer's kit acoustically to pull samples just so we can get a cool sound that we like and then do a replacement.  Reaper has fantastic tools for this.  Not sure if I am into his kit.  He just got an acrylic kit and it is loud as fuck and not super toneful.  It is actually hard to hear anything but him during practice so we may have to go to in ears even for that.

I'd always prefer to record acoustically but man if the drummer isn't tight it makes for a ton of post processing to get it sounding right.  That is why I like the hybrid approach so far but we'll see.
Link Posted: 8/29/2023 11:23:07 PM EST
[#8]
Cool, that's workable way to go.

 Reaper.. I have looked into it, for 60 bucks it is really appealing. I am having a wrangle with Presonus.
They promise eternal upgrades. I have Studio1 pro V2. Like 15 years ago. They will not acknowledge
my user code, somewhere in the meantime they changed the way they handled your license to the product,
with out letting me know. I would gladly pay the 129 bux to upgrade to current V6, instead of 400.

   Your method remind me how I did songwriting in the mid 90's. Tascam 424 casssette. a couple of differences tho.
Gotta love the new digi realm, add tracks for what you need with no fidelity loss.

 1: program drum machine, DR 660,  record basic guitar and drums.  
 2: add bass, all 4 tracks full.
 3: get mix of backing tracks, record to 2 track DAT,  put that mix back to 424, 2 tracks open, or three if drums were mono.
 4:  keep doing that process to add tracks, so kinda of a half-assed way to add more track and reduce the hiss build if you were
  bouncing in the 424. This way no original tracks were lost could always go back if you had to.
 As a side note, some guys used VHS VCR to put the submixes on. Those machines had(have) crazy insane audio fidelity, due to the way
  the spinning heads worked, 30 fps. That's pretty good.

 I prefer tracking a whole band, hence the mic obsession and the desire for at least 8 track, with 16 being  a fair amount of tracks.

I understand now on the drum recording.

  Here is some more DIY stuff for building or modifying a mic to have way better performance.
  Build your own mics
I have a MXL V900, got it dirt cheap NIB from a pawn shop, the body looks like the old RCA 44 ribbon mic model.

Going to convert it from LDC to ribbon using one of theseBumblebee Ribbon mic motor

 Looking forward to hearing some of your work!

Link Posted: 8/30/2023 10:25:17 AM EST
[#9]
Well another forum member with a pretty serious pedigree in the studio and on tour is gonna be doing the engineering and production on my band's EP but I will post up some rough demos when I get the chance.

Reaper is great.  Evidently, a bunch of the Protools guys created it when PT got bought out years ago.  It does everything but like anything that can do everything, it can get complicated if you don't go into it understanding workflow and signal chain.  MIDI drums were a learning curve for sure.

Also there are tons and tons of video tutorials online.

I think they honored my license through like three or four versions and then I had to buy a new license to upgrade to the latest version a few months back.  No complaints about their model.

ETA: I actually have that site bookmarked.  For all my utilitarian talk I have a "do want" problem with a nice tube LDC mic of some sort.
Link Posted: 9/1/2023 12:22:37 AM EST
[#10]
That's great you are getting some pro help! Always stuff to learn. It's a never ending process.

I skimmed thru the Reaper manual, it does have endless workflow setups. Otherwise is similar to Studio 1.
For 60 bux, even if you cough that up every few years, I would call that a bargain.

It is plain to see that the DAW workflow environment, has dramatically changed how everyone records.

 Briefly going back to room treatments, I forgot about this tremendous room treatment web site resource.
Amcoustics tools for room acoustic treatments.
 Have it book marked, just slipped on by.
This one tool is amazing, The Room Mode Calculator

 Look especially to the 3D rendition of where the modes(nodes) occur.  There is a lot to read and digest on that site.
  At minimum, using the resources there would assist in one strategically placing treatments. Instead of willy-nilly slapping stuff
 on the walls cuz it looks good.

Maybe we could get a sticky for these resources..
Link Posted: 9/5/2023 8:45:38 AM EST
[#11]
The biggest issue with proper room treatment is actually finding the OC703.  I had to buy an entire pallet of it since it was special order at the only distributor willing to even order it for me and I had to drive quite a ways to pick it up.

The cloth covering is readily available online and I made my bass traps and gobos by riveting together the drywall corner protection strips to form a frame.  It worked great and assembled quickly.
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 10:14:28 PM EST
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
The biggest issue with proper room treatment is actually finding the OC703.  I had to buy an entire pallet of it since it was special order at the only distributor willing to even order it for me and I had to drive quite a ways to pick it up.

The cloth covering is readily available online and I made my bass traps and gobos by riveting together the drywall corner protection strips to form a frame.  It worked great and assembled quickly.
View Quote




Are you referring to corner bead?  If so, that's a great idea. If I cannot source the OC703 locally, I will use something else. A six pack is $135 shipped..
Ouch..

Link Posted: 9/9/2023 8:46:32 AM EST
[#13]
You can also look at rock/mineral wool but the OC703 is rigid by itself which makes construction of lightweight traps easier and they will last since the material won't sag over time.  The mass loaded vinyl products work great over windows and such but you just need thickness for those low frequencies, no two ways around it.
Link Posted: 9/14/2023 6:06:52 AM EST
[#14]
Quoted:
I have been looking into 500 series modules for quite some time.  In that search , there were a few places that offer
DIY 500 modules.  Some of the more interesting offerings come from this place.
 
DIY Recording Equipment
I am particularly intrigued by theCoulor Format series.


In the meantime, I thought I would go ahead and get one of the cheaper offerings, to see how their stuff looks up close.
I opted for the MB2 mic booster kit
Basically it is a two channel phantom powered booster like a cloudlifter for alot cheaper.

 It's a very nice package, quick to assemble and solder, bullet  proof directions, and it does indeed provide 26db gain.

 For all of you solder sniffers, there are some really great looking things to build offered by DIYre.

 

 
View Quote


Can I ask in what home recording application you need 26dB of additional gain above the ~60dB of gain you get from most preamps these days? Just curious.

500 modules are like crack. Be careful. Hahaha.
Link Posted: 9/14/2023 12:38:12 PM EST
[#15]
Uh-oh the adult entered the room...

Good to see you back, buddy.
Link Posted: 9/14/2023 8:28:29 PM EST
[#16]
Gain structure? Largely irrelavant with the advent of digital.

Link Posted: 9/15/2023 10:13:41 AM EST
[#17]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Gain structure? Largely irrelavant with the advent of digital.

View Quote


You're not wrong.  I use Reaper and it is all floating point calculation.  That means that the only time "clipping" actually occurs is on a render from the master buss.  I chased this around for a long time before being taught that it didn't matter anymore.
Link Posted: 9/16/2023 8:00:32 AM EST
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


You're not wrong.  I use Reaper and it is all floating point calculation.  That means that the only time "clipping" actually occurs is on a render from the master buss.  I chased this around for a long time before being taught that it didn't matter anymore.
View Quote


Now do dynamic processing. ;)
Link Posted: 9/17/2023 12:17:04 AM EST
[#19]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Now do dynamic processing. ;)
View Quote


WHAT?!?
Link Posted: 9/17/2023 11:12:37 PM EST
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Can I ask in what home recording application you need 26dB of additional gain above the ~60dB of gain you get from most preamps these days? Just curious.

500 modules are like crack. Be careful. Hahaha.
View Quote


    The ART DPSII I have can get kinda noisy with like a SM7 or cheapo ribbon, having some help to keep the noise down would be handy.

 The second aspect, which I didn't make clear  is that I wanted to build one of their cheaper devices to get a look
at the quality and build instructions. Which are clear, concise and complete.

 I would place the gain structure argument  right in with "Beans or NO Beans", 9 vs 45 type arguments.
 Someone who is not a gun enthusiast will ask "why do you need an AK 47"?
 My response is ," I don't need one, I want one"
 Why does a guy that only knows cowboy chords want a $5000 Les Paul?  That's what he wants, ok by me.


Link Posted: 9/18/2023 8:35:05 AM EST
[#21]
I think his point is that gain staging to tape was very important but doesn't matter "in the box."  It is a mechanical distinction, not really one of preference.
Link Posted: 9/18/2023 10:00:06 PM EST
[#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I think his point is that gain staging to tape was very important but doesn't matter "in the box."  It is a mechanical distinction, not really one of preference.
View Quote


Proper gain staging most certainly matters in the box.
Link Posted: 9/19/2023 8:20:44 AM EST
[#23]
Well then stop partying with rappers and come show me!
Link Posted: 9/19/2023 11:08:38 PM EST
[#24]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Well then stop partying with rappers and come show me!
View Quote





I will date myself, but this book was, and has been my guiding light. In fact I need to reread quite a bit of it.
Amazon has it, 1989 version mine is a 1980 version.
The first time reading that book, early mid 80's, I was sooo bummed out , because there wasn't any real gear I could afford,
much less know about.  I had a Sm58 with a smashed grill, a 57, a couple radio shack mic's ( C'mon man, a mic is a mic right?)
and a TEAC 3440.

  Fast forward to today. Killer plugs, Automated mixing, affordable preamps.. the list goes on.
 Even in the digi world, pros still have, and demand killer outboard stuff to get things recorded.

Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 9/20/2023 8:06:08 AM EST
[#25]
So to be more clear on my statement about gain staging "in the box."

What I should have said was "clipping doesn't matter in the box until you hit the output of the main buss."

All modern DAWs use floating point calculations, which means that there is no (practical) absolute limit anywhere until it renders or sends signal to an analog device.  In reality I think 32bits gives something like 1000dB headroom before information loss, or "clipping."

You can literally overload the input on a reverb plugin by 100dB, then attenuate it 100dB on the output side of that plugin, and it will give the exact same waveform output as if you had it at -6dB going in and coming out.  You can send +100dB kick drum to the drum buss and then attenuate it 100dB there and you get the exact same waveform on the main buss.

So unless a plugin is actually set up to reference input gain for an effect (like simulating the overdriving of a preamp, for instance), or you are running analog devices in your signal chain, then gain staging doesn't really matter in a modern DAW.  But it can matter sometimes.

ETA: don't trust me - go check it out yourself using phase/null testing.
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