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


Ernest Buckley
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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.

 

Mike, do you know if the Behringer X32 mixers support sync and full automation, or is it just snapshot store and recall?

 

 

 

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Rock solid. Could not be more reliable. And they sound great. The one I have is an older model as well. Doesn't matter. German engineering. Really precise. It's so obvious they put a lot of time into their drivers as well. The thing just cannot go out of sync no matter what the computer does. And I'm using a 2006 Mac Pro, so it does a lot of weird things. No matter. Pro Tools is rock solid with this thing.

 

I was using PreSonus FireStudio before, and I always had weirdness and the thing falling out of sync and having to reboot the computer or continually change the settings of their drivers, which would mysteriously change every time I booted up the computer.

 

 

I too used the Presonous FirePod, and it was a nightmare in terms of stability. I used to refer to it as the "Crabby Pod" because on any day it would work and the next day it wont.

 

But here is one thing I love about RME: I can turn the computer on without turning on the UFX and as soon as I turn it on it Syncs. I can turn it on before turning on the computer or any outboard gear and it works.

 

I bought a special USB PCI Card as recommended by RME. By Sonnet Allegro:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/allegroprousb3pcie.html

 

The RME is one of the best Gear I own and very proud of it.

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Mike, do you know if the Behringer X32 mixers support sync and full automation, or is it just snapshot store and recall?

 

All I know is what I read in the manuals. The Behringer X32 manual says:

 

"... the X32 console can work as a large-format control surface for many popular DAW platforms. The X32's motorized faders can control the on-screen DAW faders, while each channel's mute and solo buttons can control their on-screen counterparts. This makes it possible to quickly work with the finer nuances of a DAW mix, much better than adjusting channel levels one at a time with the mouse."

There's nothing about how to set it up with a DAW, but there's a whole section on MIDI Show Control.

 

The Midas M32 has a little more information about using the MIDI ports, and states that it supports Mackie Control, HUI, and raw MIDI (continuous controllers and note on/off). That's probably a pleasant surprise.

 

The MIDI ports on both versions are 5-pin, so you'll need an interface that has real MIDI ports in order to connect it to your computer. You're probalby already set for this, but kids these days think that MIDI is connecting the USB port on their keyboard to a USB port on the computer.

 

Edited by MikeRivers
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Yeah, I'm fine for 5-pin USB I/O. :) But I hear you on that - I commented in an article recently about the lack of a "real" MIDI output jack on a lot of inexpensive modern "MIDI" keyboards. Many modern USB MIDI controller keyboards lack the traditional jacks, making them unsuitable for use with older MIDI hardware.

 

I expected they'd have a DAW control layer. What I was wondering is if you could feed the X32's SMPTE time code and have them lock their automation to it, like you can with an 02R96. If that's the case, no computer - or even digital recorder is required - you just stripe track 24 (or 16) on your analog multitrack, leave track 23 (or 15) empty as a guard / bleed track, and away you go.

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What I was wondering is if you could feed the X32's SMPTE time code and have them lock their automation to it' date=' like you can with an 02R96. If that's the case, no computer - or even digital recorder is required - you just stripe track 24 (or 16) on your analog multitrack, leave track 23 (or 15) empty as a guard / bleed track, and away you go.[/quote']

 

The way these things work, they depend on the DAW to do the actual automation. There's no input or output for SMPTE time code. That autiomation interface is through MIDI, so if there was time code involved, it would be MIDI Time Code (MTC) and not SMPTE. If it had a time display, that would display the DAW time, but I don't thing there is. There's a time on the top line of the main display, but I think that's only for its built-in (USB drive) recorder.

 

I don't have much experience with these things, given my general aversion to using a DAW, but I did have an Allen & Heath MIDI-capable console in here for a review several years ago. It didn't have motorized faders, so the way to work with it in conjunction with a DAW was to record fader moves into the DAW, then play back the track with the faders at unity gain (there was actually a fader bypass button).

 

Since there's MIDI receive for faders, pans, and mute buttons, it might be that the console controls follow that data coming back from the DAW. It would be useful to have the faders as indicators, but you wouldn't want to have both the DAW and the console controlling the channel levels. I suppose that the working mode would be to use the DAW's mixer and monitor the DAW mix output while watching the faders dance up and down.

 

Why don't you ask them for one to review? Or ask them to send me one to review?

 

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I recently inquired with Uli about doing a review of one of their new synths (the Behringer Model D - a $299 Mini clone in Eurorack form), and simultaneously asked them if they'd please make sure HC News was added to their press release distribution list, and was told that they don't send out press releases anymore - they only announce via social media.

 

My request about doing the review was completely ignored. :(

 

 

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I recently inquired with Uli about doing a review of one of their new synths (the Behringer Model D - a $299 Mini clone in Eurorack form), and simultaneously asked them if they'd please make sure HC News was added to their press release distribution list, and was told that they don't send out press releases anymore - they only announce via social media.

 

My request about doing the review was completely ignored. :(

 

It's a wonder that they sell anything, but I guess they do. Used to be at the NAMM show they had a large booth with about 100 new pedals, a dozen new consoles, speakers, guitar amplifiers, and other stuff. Then a couple of years ago they had no exhibit at all, just a meeting room (on the exhibit floor). Last year, as I recall, they only had a new keyboard synth on display and nobody there would talk about anything else.

 

I figured that if anyone had their attention it would be HC, but I guess they just rely on the magazines, if even that, these days.

 

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It's a wonder that they sell anything, but I guess they do. Used to be at the NAMM show they had a large booth with about 100 new pedals, a dozen new consoles, speakers, guitar amplifiers, and other stuff. Then a couple of years ago they had no exhibit at all, just a meeting room (on the exhibit floor). Last year, as I recall, they only had a new keyboard synth on display and nobody there would talk about anything else.

 

I figured that if anyone had their attention it would be HC, but I guess they just rely on the magazines, if even that, these days.

 

Behringer survives on slave labor. But you knew that already. I refuse to buy anything from them. However, we digress...

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Why do you think that is?

 

Touching a flat surface to manipulate a "knob" does not satisfy me in any way. No dopamine drop to be had...

 

Granted, I own dozens of plug ins... I would prefer to own their hardware counterparts but that would be a bit pricey so the mouse will have to do... I do own a Mackie Universal Control so that gives me some satisfaction but its not close to tweaking the real piece of hardware.

 

Whats really interesting to me is how much I detest mini-menus and screen diving so I`m slowly transitioning from Digital Performer to Ableton Live. I think we`ll see more DAWs simplify in the next 3-4 years... Live definitely thought it out and figured a way to simplify the complicated. So even though its a flat screen that we manipulate with a mouse or other controller, they have figured out a way to streamline the complicated process that most DAWs have not figured out.

 

Also, I had absolutely no interest in synthesizers until recently when DSI and Moog re-issued some classics... nothing beats grabbing a knob and hearing a result. As good as software synths and plugs are sounding... I still prefer the hardware.

 

 

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I recently inquired with Uli about doing a review of one of their new synths (the Behringer Model D - a $299 Mini clone in Eurorack form), and simultaneously asked them if they'd please make sure HC News was added to their press release distribution list, and was told that they don't send out press releases anymore - they only announce via social media.

 

My request about doing the review was completely ignored. :(

 

 

The reviews I have seen and heard look promising. Its hard to argue that their clone of the Model D does not sound legit but again, I`m not giving $300 to a company who pays their employees pennies. I rather spend 10x that amount and support a company who actually appreciates their employees. Long live Moog.

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Behringer survives on slave labor. But you knew that already. I refuse to buy anything from them. However, we digress...

 

I believe that's changed somewhat since the early days (when they survived by copying other products even down to the circuit board layout). They have a massive campus in China where they employ a real engineering staff, have lots of automated assembly equipment, and workers who are smart enough to work for a living wage.

 

Still, I know that unpleasant history dies hard.

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There are a few things that have been surprising me.

1. The Kemper Profiling Amp. Now I get great guitar sound anytime, anywhere.

2. The PreSonus FaderPort. That one fader got me into the wonderful aspects of automation.

3. What a good DI did for my bass. Now even I can sound good playing the bass.

4. My ears' connection to my brain. It's surprising to me that it still develops and I'm hearing things I didn't hear a decade ago.

 

Chers,

 

Mats N

Edited by Mats Nermark
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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' date=' 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.[/quote']

 

Yeah, the Unison technology is pretty amazing. I have two Avalon 737s which I have not used since I purchased the Apollo back in May... one of them is up for sale on Reverb... I`ll probably end up selling both of them eventually.

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Behringer had a very long history of slave labor and patent infringement and are complete scumbags. While they might have gotten better (or gotten better at suppressing it), there are so many other products out there that don't have a long history of stealing and using slave labor an d are better quality. Not purchasing Behringer is an easy choice to make.

 

 

There are a few things I need and Behringer could easily solve these problems but I am one of those people who will never buy a Behringer product. The mere association is bad enough.

 

No matter what they do, the damage is done. Unless the company is willing to make a public apology and provide explanation and evidence of change, then I will never buy or own anything they make.

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I am still using those. I've been using those for maybe a little over twenty years now. I also have some ADAM A-7s (why didn't they name these ADAM-12s? or ADAM IM ADAM?).

 

Yeah, I was a little late into the Yorkies. In fact, I'm sure I bought my Yorkville YSM1s at a discount "Being discontinued sale." That was a close one. I'm still looking for the older Yorkville subwoofer that people commonly paired with these. Not too many years ago I saw them on eBay, but not lately.

 

I'm not personally familiar with the ADAM A-7s, but you're right about the name... "One-ADAM-12, see the man..." :cool:

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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...

 

Gibson Les Paul.

 

I never wanted one. Price was so low I bought one. I love it. Huda thunk?

 

I'm mainly an acoustic guitarist. I can actually get clean tones that are almost acoustic-sounding on this thing. It's a nice piece of work.

Edited by Etienne Rambert
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ADAM A-7s are very different in character from the YSM1-Ps, and are absurdly detailed but not bright, no fatigue after mixing for hours. I can't stand bright monitors. I am monitoring them through an RME interface, and their detail, the ability to hear reverb tails, etc. are excellent. I mix probably about 70/30 between the two, using the ADAMs most of the time.

 

I may have to give the ADAMs a listen, but that's how I would describe my Yorkies... not at all ear fatiguing. I don't have the powered YSM1i, but the passive 70 watt. I have two power amps that I've found work really well with them. The old Alesis RA-100 (100 watt per channel) and a vintage Yamaha P2050 (tested at 55 watt per channel). The Alesis especially seems to be the perfect match for the Yorkies. My favorite so far for monitoring in the near-field.

 

I also bought a brand new pair of ART SLM1 since they are basically clones of the Yorkvilles. I haven't found a connection yet between the two companies that would explain how ART was able to market the Yorkvilles in disguise. They're identical inside and out, but for the name branded on the front.

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The YSM1-Ps, I purchased for $200 21 years ago. I'd say I got my money's worth. :D

 

 

Ah, I see. You probably have the original YSM1-P before they changed the look of the cabinet? Those have a good rep. I was looking at those first before I went with the newer, but still made in Canada design about 2005ish. I read a good review of the original Yorkies back then in Home Studio and Recording Magazine about 2003 (If memory serves me correctly). 21 years... yeah, I'll say you got your money's worth for sure. :cool: I think I paid about 249.00 for my YSM1i and 199.00 for the ART SLM1.

 

 

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I'll give an easy vote to my Alesis HD24XR. It was a fine day when it arrived. Right before I gleefully retired my 2 Adat xt20's and 1xt I even had them all working together. 48 tracks! Which I in short order decided I didn't need and then I removed said Adats from my rig. Hooray! I needed a new learning curve in my life not, and HD24XR fit right in. I bumped the tray one day while it was on and killed a drive-lost some work, but other than that it has been trouble free 6 years now. It sounds really good and has more editing features than I ever seem to need.

 

There was the time that I forgot that the Finalyzer look ahead delays were engaged on the stereo buss of my board. Well, if I want everything I play to be delayed 10 ms relative to the already existing tracks and programming, I'd prefer to play it that way on purpose. smiley-wink So it was cool to just slip those tracks ahead 10 ms and be on my way. I mostly just use it like a tape recorder though, minus the beneficial rewind break of course.

 

An iMac with a 26 inch display and DVD/CD superdrive that I'm typing to you guys on gets a nod as well. Beautiful. Zero troubles since purchased in late November 2011. I've dinked around with the GarageBand, and it's nice to have it there just in case, I suppose, but the computer is really for everything else and I like it that way. :)

Edited by RockViolin
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"What piece of gear has pleasantly surprised you in the last decade?"

 

Several items have pleasantly surprised me in the last ten years or so.

 

In no particular order:

 

1) Microtech Gefell M29x Series microphones. My favorite mic pair for solo fingerstyle acoustic and classical guitar. Of course, the M296 (omni) behaves differently than the two cardioid versions (M294 and M295), and those behave differently than the wide cardioid (M297). Gefell just nailed it with these mics.

 

2) Quested F11 monitors. I'm cheating because I got my first pair about 15 years ago. These are wonderful monitors...honest, accurate, clear and with a bit of mojo, again for solo fingerstyle acoustic and classical guitar.

 

3) Altiverb. This reverb plug-in is simply the best convolution reverb around. The IRs are top drawer and often unique, the software controls are clever and encompassing and the resulting processing (again, for solo fingerstyle acoustic and classical guitar) are simply stellar.

Edited by sdelsolray
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And make proper amends to the thousands of people whose lives have been affected by their illegal, antagonistic, and immoral business practices and thievery.

 

Well, it definitely affected my life. I was an expert witness in a patent case against Behringer, and they lost the suit...in a German court, no less. I did a few expert witness cases after that, it's fun stuff to do the David vs. Goliath thing.

 

 

 

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Okay, back to the matter at hand. Blu-Ray data drives are on my list. Really robust optical storage with discs that aren't that expensive.

 

And while I'll get flack for this, I don't work with Gibson any more so I don't care. I love the robot tuning thing. To push a button and a few seconds later the guitar is in tune...works for me. And if the thing dies, you can't get batteries any more, etc. etc. the spacing will fit standard tuners.

 

IK Multimedia micro-monitors also impress the hell out of me, but mostly because they violate the laws of physics. I really don't know how something that small can sound so good.

 

 

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