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What piece of gear has pleasantly surprised you in the last decade?

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  • What piece of gear has pleasantly surprised you in the last decade?

    I was just thinking about my studio progression since I started and how much gear I no longer own....

    It occurred to me that I hardly own any outboard gear anymore... just one mic pre and a couple of synths... I just purchased an Apollo Twin back in June and I have to say, it sounds great and I really like UAD Unison technology... I`m seriously thinking of selling that last piece of outboard gear... So I would say that plug ins are definitely the most improved piece of "gear" but converters are definitely right up there as well.

    Ten years ago I was using a MOTU 2408 MKII interface which I was not crazy about but it was what I could afford... now for $400 cheaper, I own the Apollo Twin which has less I/O but the sound is vastly improved. Even may mobile rig... I use an Apogee Duet 2... the conversion is so much more superior than that old MOTU...

    I cannot think of any other gear that has vastly improved in the last 10 years like software and conversion...

  • #2
    Amen to that. But I'd include speakers as well, not because the technology has improved so much, but because you can get really good sound at a much better price than you could 10 years ago.

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    • #3
      Not a piece of gear, as such. More my ability to finally understand how to make music using software on a laptop

      I struggled fruitlessly for years to try to figure out how to do it. Eventually, with words of wisdom (and patience) from Mike Rivers and helpful videos from Craig Anderton, it all clicked into place

      But if you're holding a gun to my head and forcing me to choose a piece of gear, I suppose it would be recording software


      works | smoke | forum

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mark L View Post
        Not a piece of gear, as such. More my ability to finally understand how to make music using software on a laptop

        I struggled fruitlessly for years to try to figure out how to do it. Eventually, with words of wisdom (and patience) from Mike Rivers and helpful videos from Craig Anderton, it all clicked into place

        But if you're holding a gun to my head and forcing me to choose a piece of gear, I suppose it would be recording software

        Glad to hear you`ve made the adjustment. Even though I jumped to a DAW 17 years ago now... I still find myself missing that 5-10 seconds we once got when we had to rewind the tape... 17 years... yikes... I`m still trying to figure out what DAWs have pause buttons...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Anderton View Post
          Amen to that. But I'd include speakers as well, not because the technology has improved so much, but because you can get really good sound at a much better price than you could 10 years ago.
          Amen to that. I purchased Equator D5s back in 2011 for $300. I wasn`t expecting much but when I put them up, I unplugged my Mackie 802s and never put them back up...

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          • #6
            I've been pleasantly surprised by the newest handheld recorders like the Zoom H4n and TASCAM DR-44WL, and in fact they're getting to be more than half way to being a decade old, and this is probalby the end of the line for that product line. I'm amazed at how good the mics on these things are when you take the time to put them in the right place (as you should with any mics). I used to carry a 40 pound Revox, or a VCR and PCM adapter, or a DAT, and an outboard mic preamp plus a pair of mics like Neumann KM84s. Now I carry the DR-44 and, if I want "pro" mics, just plug them in.

            I've been disappointed with the fact that there's been nothing new in recording consoles. I know, I know, nobody needs a console any more because they have their DAWs, but I really want to replace my aging Soundcraft and I can't justify the cost of a new API or Neve medium sized console, and even the Tridents that I had been watching with interest came out more expensive than I expected. There are plenty of new consoles on the market, but either they've very small or they're live sound consoles which have a different feature set than a recording console. I should have put a d8b in my car when I left Mackie.
            --
            "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
            Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post
              I've been disappointed with the fact that there's been nothing new in recording consoles...There are plenty of new consoles on the market, but either they've very small or they're live sound consoles which have a different feature set than a recording console. I should have put a d8b in my car when I left Mackie.
              QSC sent me a TouchMix-30 to evaluate as an audio interface, which surprised me because I always thought it was a live sound mixer with recording capabilities. And actually it was until recently, when they added Windows drivers in beta to join the existing Mac ones...I was able to stream from the computer into the TouchMix-30, which has gobs of I/O. What you might particularly like, given that you do live sound, is that it can also record directly to hard disk and even some USB sticks are fast enough. So really, it's a live sound mixer that has all the interfacing needed to talk to Mac and Windows. I think you'll probably not be able to use XP, though...
              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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              • #8
                I have to say Keyboards.

                I was working on a song for a while and when I turned to look at my sound module, The Roland Integra 7 had turned off.

                I also own a Yamaha Montage 8 and this thing is like a Space shuttle. It also shutdown by it self.

                These features may seem trivial but this was not the case a few years ago.

                Not forgetting the Korg Kronos.

                What I really love about Korg compare to most gear is they are never dumbing down their system to the "Any one can use it." market.

                The Kronos and Montage are as complex and sophisticated as they get. You can't simply use without reading some parts of the Manual.

                I wonder what's coming next.
                Last edited by audioicon; 11-12-2017, 07:10 PM.
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                • #9
                  An inexpensive, used iPad 3 (first model with the Retina display) running Garage Band, SampleTank and a few other apps. Some of the sounds are amazing! Of course, a lot of included sounds are pretty crappy or just not suited for my genre of music (mostly Classic Rock), but the good ones are usually really good. The combination of the iPad and a 49-key M-Audio MIDI controller has become my secondary gigging keyboard rig.
                  ---
                  Jim
                  Keys: Roland Jupiter-50, JX-8P; Alesis QS8.1; Korg DW-8000, Mini-Korg (original); Moog ConcertMate; Farfisa Compact Deluxe. And other assorted stuff.

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                  • AlamoJoe
                    AlamoJoe commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You had me at Farfisa....What a classic sound!

                • #10
                  Originally posted by JazzMastaJim View Post
                  The combination of the iPad and a 49-key M-Audio MIDI controller has become my secondary gigging keyboard rig.
                  I'm curious...how do you set this up physically? Do you have an iPad on a stand? And what do you use as a MIDI interface...the camera kit? Trying to remember my iPad history...mine is so old, when you call up Mapquest it places you somewhere in the Roman Empire.
                  CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                  Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                  • #11
                    Yorkville YSM1i Two-way passive near-field studio monitors, AKA ART SLM1, both made in Canada. I wouldn't work without them.

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post
                      I've been pleasantly surprised by the newest handheld recorders like the Zoom H4n and TASCAM DR-44WL, and in fact they're getting to be more than half way to being a decade old, and this is probalby the end of the line for that product line. I'm amazed at how good the mics on these things are when you take the time to put them in the right place (as you should with any mics). I used to carry a 40 pound Revox, or a VCR and PCM adapter, or a DAT, and an outboard mic preamp plus a pair of mics like Neumann KM84s. Now I carry the DR-44 and, if I want "pro" mics, just plug them in.

                      I've been disappointed with the fact that there's been nothing new in recording consoles. I know, I know, nobody needs a console any more because they have their DAWs, but I really want to replace my aging Soundcraft and I can't justify the cost of a new API or Neve medium sized console, and even the Tridents that I had been watching with interest came out more expensive than I expected. There are plenty of new consoles on the market, but either they've very small or they're live sound consoles which have a different feature set than a recording console. I should have put a d8b in my car when I left Mackie.
                      Mike,

                      No interest in the Toft consoles?

                      The d8b would have been a headache... I`m not sure how many people are still using them... Glad I sold mine back in 2005... it was a 6 year run.

                      E

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Ernest Buckley View Post

                        Mike,
                        No interest in the Toft consoles?
                        I was, several years ago. There's been some history here. Toft's consoles from about 10 years ago had a good functional design but there were some internal grounding problems that never really got fixed. When he was a partner with PMI, things were getting fixed, but then they had a breakup and Malcom's new consoles under his own name were kind of slow getting started in the US. Besides, given that I've been a long time friend of the PMI folk, I'd feel a little like a traitor to buy one from Toft. The current price for Toft's 24-channel at Sweetwater is $7k plus the meter bridge, and that's more than I can justify spending, particularly on a console that doesn't have much support over here as far as I know.

                        The d8b would have been a headache... I`m not sure how many people are still using them...
                        I wasn't in love with the d8b when I had one at my desk in Woodenville, and they had some manufacturing problems that made them a real pain for some users and didn't do much for Mackie's reputation. But 10 years after, when I saw where other manufacturers were going with digital consoles, I realized how good the functional design of the d8b really was. It was always frist a recording console that, with some limitations, could be used for live sound. Today, all of the digital consoles are designed around live sound needs, and there some compromises up with which I don't want to put for using them for recording.

                        The Allen & Heath GS-R24 was as close as I came to buying a new console, though, like the PMI Tridents, the price, after adding in the I/O cards, came in at more than I could justify. I was hoping that they'd be going at about half price when they decided to discontinue it, but that never happened. I was tempted by their 16-channel recording console after having one around for a couple of months for a review, but I wanted a meter bridge and at least 24 channels for mixdown.

                        --
                        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Anderton View Post

                          QSC sent me a TouchMix-30 to evaluate as an audio interface, which surprised me because I always thought it was a live sound mixer with recording capabilities. And actually it was until recently, when they added Windows drivers in beta to join the existing Mac ones...I was able to stream from the computer into the TouchMix-30, which has gobs of I/O.
                          I'll take good look at the TouchMix 30 at the NAMM show. I'm sure they'll have one on display there. I've mixed live sound on one of their smaller models and survived, but I never thought about using it as a studio console. What I really want is a console that I can use with my Mackie hard disk recorder so I won't have to fool with a computer until I really need it. What I want to see right in front of me when I'm working is a row of meters wiggling (or bouncing - LED ladders are OK) so I know what's going into every channel. That's so important for me. I also want to be able to easily switch channel inputs from the microphone to the recorder playback. That's not just a pushbutton, but a separate set of "recorder return" input connectors. And no (like zero, for small values of zero) monitor latency for more reasons than are appropriate to discuss in a "what's a great product?" discussion.

                          If I was using a console along with a DAW, I'd need to have a computer monitor in front of me and that's what I don't like about using a computer-based DAW.

                          Greg Mackie and Peter Watts were involved in the development of the TouchMix, so maybe there's something in there that shows that the designers actually knew something about recording.

                          What you might particularly like, given that you do live sound, is that it can also record directly to hard disk and even some USB sticks are fast enough. So really, it's a live sound mixer that has all the interfacing needed to talk to Mac and Windows.
                          And that's exactly what I don't want. I don't really do live sound unless I get pressed into it, and recording a live band in the studio isn't like mixing a band live on stage. I'm gradually dragging myself across the board to Windows 7, so I could live without XP support. But I'd rather work with no computer support. It's about patience - both for learning and for working.

                          I've given some thought to getting a Behringer X32 (only $2k) or maybe spring for the Midas version ($4k). I could get the recorder returns via the USB or AES50 expansion plus another box to go from analog or ADAT optical to digital to send ot the console, and I could slowly break myself into using a computer as a recorder if I live long enough.
                          --
                          "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                          Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                          • AlamoJoe
                            AlamoJoe commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I'm just really glad there are guys like you that still do stuff with transports involved. Makes me feel a bit less stupid for missing tape...With all it's warts, it's still the medium I feel I should still be working with.

                        • #15
                          I began recording on a Tascam 244 in 1984. Through the years I've owned some pretty nice gear for pres and interface. By far the biggest game changer after I ditched a lot of my external gear, is BY FAR the Apollo Quad Firewire I have now. Unison and just how it all sounds and plays easily is brilliant. I actually have the same matched pair of Mackie HR824s (speaker wise) I've had since 2002, and they're still amazing.
                          Last edited by Makzimia; 11-13-2017, 06:59 AM.

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