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GAS Hell - lil' help?


David Bryce

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I made the mistake of telling my wife she could recarpet the house. :rolleyes:

 

I wasn't thinking. Really I wasn't. It must have been a busy day at work or something. It never occurred to me that she'd want to do my studio as well.

 

So, of course, the only way to do that is to rip every last thing out of there....which means, of course, that I'll have to basically rebuild the thing from scratch...which means rethinking the entire setup...which means new gear, of course... ;)

 

In the six years since I last streamlined my rig, some gear has been sold/traded, some new gear has been bought and temporarily wired into the system so I could use it as quickly as possible...you know how it goes...I finally get to really integrate all that stuff the way it should be done.

 

So, anyway, the first major step is working out the keyboard rig. My last configuration had different small keyboard stations in different areas of the studio, but I really couldn't get to them in such a way that made me want to just play 'em....so I'm gonna make a big-ass Rick Wakeman looking thing on one side of the room. That's so much more fun, and much more likely to make me turn on the rig just to jam.

 

On the other side of the room, I'm getting rid of my analog mixer (Alesis X2) and replacing it with a Tascam DM 3200 digital mixer. Over the past year I've acquired both a PowerCore card and a UAD-1 card for my Mac (and a bunch of plugs for both), and I really want to do a lot more of my audio inside the computer. I think the Tascam (with the FW card) will be the key to that...

 

Now I have to figure out how to place and wire this whole mess. :eek:

 

It's driving me nuts. I can't decide how to submix the keys...right now I'm using analog mixers - I could keep doing that and route their submix busses to the analog ins of the Tascam, or I could rethink the submixer thing entirely and go with a bunch of i/o boxes (I already have a MOTU 2408 - I could just hang a 24 i/o box off of the 424 card which would give me 48 inouts directly into the Mac). Then, I'd have dedicated inputs to DP for each synth, which would probably be less noisy and easier to work with (after working through the buss assignment setup configuration) but then would I have to open my DAW program (DP) every time I want to hear them..?

 

Same thing with my effects. There are some hardware effects I wanna use (my PCM 90 and my SpeakEasy Vintage Tube Pre, for starters) and I want to be able to route them easily in and out of the mixer - but the mixer only has four assignable ins and four outs and I need to use half of them to have a master buss insert for my Manley Vari-Mu (yeah, I know - I can have more if I buy the analog expansion card). Get this - I'm actually thinking of putting them in a rack with an ADAT XT I have, using the lightpipe i/o from the ADAT to the DM 3200, and basically just usig the ADAT as a patch bay. Hey, it ain't like people are gonna be lining up to buy the ADAT. I'm also thinking of wiring up an analog patch bay between the hardware effects and the Four i/o busses, but that presents a whol different set of problems.

 

Anyway, I'm looking for people who wanna help talk me through some of these ideas I'm trying to work through, and/or share how they workled through similar problems in their own studios. Any assistance would be appreciated. :cool:

 

dB

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"Before" pics:

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/Console.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/Drums.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/Rack.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/Keys.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/Workstationrack.jpg

 

These pics are a few years old. The PPG Wave 2.2, JP8 and several other things are gone and/or have been replaced with new toyz.

 

dB

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I've been looking at the Speck X-sum mixer as a submixer for keys. Its a 16 stereo channel (32 channels in 1U) mixer with 2 busses and audiophile quality.

 

Mercenary has it at a reasonable price:

http://www.mercenary.com/speckxsummixer.html

 

I can't justify it yet but maybe by next June...or so.

;)

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Originally posted by linwood:

if you need a tt patchbay lemme know. I'll give you one. I've got signal transport 96 just laying here I'm not using. No cables though.....

I may take you up on that. I've got one normalled 32 point 1/4" bay - that may be enough...

 

Thanks, Linwood! :thu:

 

dB

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Originally posted by Carbon111:

I've been looking at the Speck X-sum mixer as a submixer for keys. Its a 16 stereo channel (32 channels in 1U) mixer with 2 busses and audiophile quality.

I was looking at that piece as well (doncha hate that you need to buy that dopey little breakout box just to get a second set of mix outs? :rolleyes: ). The sound quality of the Speck stuff is beyond belief, though.

 

If I decide to stay analog submix, I may pick one of those up to replace this one questionable mixer I'm using. :eek:

 

dB

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It'd be my pleasure, db. It's a nice one. Check out their website to see what the back looks like and the types of cables they'll sell you. They're not cheap, but you don't want cheap. E me an address when you're ready for it and I'll ship it to you. Ho Ho Ho!!
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So far, I've ordered two pieces of studio furniture. The DM3200 is going in this bad boy I got from the nice Argosy Console folks:

 

http://www.argosyconsole.com/images/dm3200page/703200r.png

 

Still not sure what's going in those rack spaces.

 

I also ordered one of these from Omnirax :

 

http://www.omnirax.com/site/pimg/photo_synthrax76.jpg

 

It's kinda monolithic, but I dig it! I especially like the rack spaces at the bottom. I believe it's gonna house my QS8 on the bottom shelf, PEK on the middle shelf, and my Ion and Nova on the top shelf. Still not sure what modules are going in the bottom, but my Roland M240R 24x4 rack mixer is probably going to be in there somewhere.

 

Speaking of keys - here's some questions: do those of you with lots of keyboards have them set up with your MIDI bays so that they all send MIDI to the computer? Do you wire the ins and outs of all your MIDI instruments so you can do bulk dumps? Do you dedicate MIDI jacks on your bays for each synth, or do you daisy chain a couple of synths/modules off of each jack?

 

dB

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Hey Dave:

 

My new system - much, much smaller than yours, uses the new Saffire pro with 2 Behringer ADAT boxes for 24 channels of all digital inputs, with mixing done in Cubase 4. It's going in this weekend.

 

No analog mixers at all.

 

Good luck on the studio re-build.

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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I am attmpting to move to a new house by June. It comes with a nice big room for a my first real studio. I'm looking forward to starting from scratch and getting new furniture.Maybe I'll put it all on wheels in case I ever have to recarpet. ;) It has a double door entry.
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That looks great, Dave. Your wife's gonna love it! Very clean look. I've got a similar set up. I'm using an old d8b and have it in a desk with rack space on either side. On either side I've got compressors, mic pres, tt patchbay,AD/DA,2408mk3, etc. and then a omnirax commander that I sit and work at. I only have one keyboard, the rest are modules.In the back of the commander, I have a synth driver from signal transport. Keeps things quiet and everything has been brought to the patchbay at the console. A single 96. The commander is really comfortable to work at and the studio furniture was such a smart buy. (You hate to spend the money on it, but once you do you're so happy you did. I swear when the room is clean, I work better and faster.) Not to mention, a meter bridge to set your adams on! Now you gotta spring a couple k for two chairs.... I haven't bit that bullet.... yet. Oh one more thing...RealTraps!! I put those in a couple years ago and love 'em! Again, your wife will love the look and idiot clients will ask you, "What are these? Speakers?"
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Is that a violin case I see in the corner?

 

Regarding the "play my stack without turning on the DAW", yeah, I think a patchbay would be the way to go; a hassle to set up at first but you won't have to touch it after that.

Botch

In Wine there is Wisdom

In Beer there is Freedom

In Water there is bacteria

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Ah, studio reorganizing. I went through this recently :cool:

 

I notice that like me, you play drums, bass, and guitar as well as keys so our needs are common.

 

I use 1U Rane SM82s for keyboard mixers. 8 channel stereo line mixers with stereo FX buss, no EQ. EQ isn't necessary with synths if you program your patches carefully, and it eliminates a source of noise. The SM82s are really clean and pristine sounding. As my studio has expanded, they can be chained without consuming a channel. I'm up to three SM82s now.

 

I have a bass preamp and a Red Box DI for the guitar amp so I can play those through the SM82s. My A&H GL2200, which I acquired for FOH sound, doubles as my studio console with decent mic preamps and EQ whenever I need them for vox and other stuff. Next on my GAS list is the Alesis HD24, to supplement the old Tascam four track (I've had to put off purchases due to divorce obligations).

 

For years I had eschewed processors, but I started adding compressors and other stuff for FOH and dual duty in the studio I realized that my old system was not going to accomodate my audio needs.

 

I totally revamped my patchbay system and racks a couple of years ago (a LOT of work, so planning for expansion is critical). Over the years, certain components no longer leave the house on gigs so I organized everything with that in mind. I'm a DIYer and I made my own I/O panels for AC, MIDI, and audio - although I utilized Proco PM148 48 point patchbays wherever I could as I have had good luck with those. Trust me, you WILL find use for all 48 points and may need more than one patchbay. I wore out a few drill bits making all these panels (eight total). I bought a spool of canare patchbay cable and a gross of 1/4" plugs and spent many many hours building patchbay cables (I've had bad luck with OTS patchbay cables).

 

Certain processors are normalled to certain boards - IE I love the Memorymoog through the Korg SDD-3300 and the Moog Source through the Korg SDD-1200. My patchbays have these audio links normalled, but I have the flexibility to patch anything else through the SDDs if I want. That's why planning your patchbay for flexibility and expansion is important. What I like about the Proco's is you can configure IO jacks to open, parallel, normal, or half normal. Half normal is a really neat feature not found on most patchbays.

 

My MIDI system is split into two sets of 16 channels each with JLCooper MSB+ being the master router on each set. The MSB+ is a very practical tool, shame that no similar product is being made today. Every MIDI port on those MSB+ is spoken for. Every keyboard has its dedicated in/out MIDI jack on my homemade IO panel, with the exception of FX and other devices that rarely need MIDI control and I kept a spare "AUX" MIDI jack for those exceptions. Remember, plan for expansion.

 

My four Kurzweil 1000 romplers use a single MIDI port instead of four individual ports. I built a box with five parallel MIDI thrus from a MIDI input, and a "poor man's" five-way MIDI merger to a MIDI output. The only MIDI output out of the 1000 boxes is sysex dumps so my "poor man's" MIDI merger is sufficient. This saves me real estate on the MSB+. The box needs some tweaking and I'm still unpacking stuff from my recent move.

 

I can route a controller from either MIDI set to control module/boards at the other set, and my MIDI sequencing PC has two sets of MIDI outputs and merged inputs so I can use any controller for MIDI sequencing. I also have an Alesis Datadisk SQ that does double duty as MIDI archiving and sequencing for stage - that rack is optimized to accomodate a live drummer using my MIDI drum kit, to accomodate my gigging boards, and to work either in my studio or onstage.

 

Nothing is daisy chained. I do bulk dumps to anywhere - PC or Datadisk. And I can turn off modules/boards I'm not using and it will not impact the rest of the system.

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Excellent. Lotta good info so far. Thanks, guys!

 

Originally posted by Botch:

Is that a violin case I see in the corner?

Yep. You'll never get me to pick one up in front of anybody, though... :eek:;)

 

dB

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Speaking of keys - here's some questions: do those of you with lots of keyboards have them set up with your MIDI bays so that they all send MIDI to the computer? Do you wire the ins and outs of all your MIDI instruments so you can do bulk dumps? Do you dedicate MIDI jacks on your bays for each synth, or do you daisy chain a couple of synths/modules off of each jack?

 

dB

If you're sending or receiving sys-ex bulk dumps

I'd recommend connecting directly to the in/out ports on your midi interface. MIDI thru can definitely screw up large data transfers. Also I don't know if the daisy chained board would show up as a separate device in you sequencer (unless Apple allows for this (core midi maybe?). Either way it's much cleaner to have each midi device hooked to a separate port on the interface. I do this using a Unitor Mark II and AMT8 for 16 in/out ports. Except for the PEK/PER which have dedicated MIDI inter-connections

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Originally posted by Carbon111:

+1 on the SM82s

 

Rane actually makes some great quality gear...much less expensive than Speck without too bad a quality hit.

Totally agreed. I'm real familiar with the SM 82 - they've been around for a long time...like, ten or fifteen years.

 

Just that fact alone speaks volumes. :cool:

 

dB

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Originally posted by Cydonia:

dB, you have waaaaaaaaay too much stuff. ;)

I have neither too much nor too little. I have what I have.... (dB bows...gong sounds in background). :D

 

Seriously...it's difficult to work in the industry that I do and not end up with a lot of stuff. :rolleyes:;)

 

dB

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, I think I'm done. Check it out:

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/DSCF1988.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/DSCF1983.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/DSCF1982.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/DSCF1981.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/DSCF1987.jpg

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/DSCF1980.jpg

 

The DM 3200 is missing it's meter bridge - they're backordered....

 

I'm gonna play with it for a few days to see if it all works correctly/makes sense, but I think it'll do. :D

 

Thanks to everyone for their help...especially brother Synthetic. :cool:

 

dB

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You're always had nice racks :) Really, nice setup... I do want to bear witness to it in person one of these days if the stars align sometime when I'm in SoCal.

 

Does that monolithic Omnirax keyboard stand take up more or less room than the USS keyboard rack you had before. I tried to setup the USS in my studio, but it just wouldn't work for me, but I'm thinking the Omnirax dealy may be more useful.

 

Congrats -

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Great carpet! :thu:

 

.

 

;)

 

.

 

Seriously though, very nice remodel, Dave! :cool:

 

Your room has a much more streamlined, attractive, and functional look to it. And of course, you already had a great keyboard setup to start with.

 

I'm sorry I didn't catch this thread when you were still looking for suggestions, but I do have one based on what I see from your photos: get your Mac off of the carpet! The likelihood of your motherboard getting fried from a static electricity shock is probably low, but do you really want to risk it? I bought a vented rack with a door for my G5. It keeps it off of the carpet and muffles fan noise as well. Just a thought...

 

Also, for what it's worth, I'm a very happy Speck user. I have both an Xtramix and a pair of ASC EQs and I love what they've done for my signal path. It also helps that I use custom-made Canare cables with Neutrik plugs which I highly recommend.

 

By the way, did you decide to buy the Receptor ? I didn't notice one in your rack photos. As I mentioned in the thread I just linked to, I'm happy with mine.

 

I haven't seen your setup since you bought the MacBeth M5 -- very drool-worthy! :D How are you liking it?

 

Again, nice work on the remodel, Dave! :thu:

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

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