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New gear recommendation/opinion?

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Adam Verner
Contributore Level V

Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 198
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:36 am    Post subject: New gear recommendation/opinion? Reply with quote

Hey all, I want to replace/upgrade a few pieces of my equipment and am looking for recommendations.

AT4050 -> Symetrix 528e -> RME FireFace400 -> Win7 PC w/ AA3.0
This is the exact same set up I've been using for 10 years, haven't touched the settings since orginally setting up.

They don't make the Symetrix anymore, so I'd like to transition to a newer model in anticipation of when this one (10 yrs old) eventually quits. I do mostly audio books, so I'd rather not have to deal with getting a used one off eBay 10 hours into a 20 finished hour book in order to match sound. The only things I use on it are the preamp, then a touch of downward expansion and compression. Looking for similar strips on SW, there really only appears to be two:

I'd also like to replace the Fireface, mainly because I'm sick of having to install Firewire cards into my PC every time I upgrade, and the tech is getting pretty old. All it does is convert the signal - that's it (once or twice a year I can hook an extra mic up to it as a talkbalk mic) I'm looking at these two models with a more standard USB connection:

Natural Voice
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Been Here Awhile

Joined: 25 Feb 2016
Posts: 217
Location: Md/DC

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're running a pretty simple, straightforward 'honest' line of sound here.
If you;re happy (and SUCCESSFUL!) with the character you have, the 4050 is really a nice mic in that realm. The SYMETRIX is a pretty clean, honest preamp. the RME is a fairly pristine convertor.
I had been running a 4050 or a 4033 (sorta the same as the 4050 in cardioid) thru an RMEFireFace 800, but then I also do some significant multichannel production work with music. The FF400 is excellent and likely more than you need.
Most ANY 2 channel interface spitting USB , with the 4050 would get you a match for what you are doing now, as to the light expansion (why?) and compression, these are doable on software, but if you want hardware there are many choices... the ones you mention , as well as the channel strips would be choosable according to your budget.

I recently bought a Neumann 102, and as a character-full alternative to the 4050 neutrality it was money well spent.
SoundscenesDC, main talent and production offices just 385k km up the gravity well in LuNoHoCo Center, old satellite studios still bookable at the future site of Johnson City!
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Jason Huggins
The Gates of Troy

Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 1829
Location: In the souls of a million jeans

PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a pretty big fan of the Apollo Twin and the SSL Channel strip. I add in an 1176 to protect against high peaks on a good ol 416 and I have had no complaints.

You can get as clean as you want or add character to taste with various tools. I have use both the HPF and the expander on the SSL and it is quite transparent when set correctly if needed. The routing matrix is also SUPER helpful for phone patch and playback. Very easy.

This also means that the pieces of "gear" you have in your chain will never need tubes or crap out on you...but it also means you have to get into the UAD plugin ecosystem, which I personally love, but it they can't be used with any other interface so you have to have their hardware to use their plugins. You can also easily get a new interface if there is ever an issue and just use the same plugins on the new interface.

I've use the original Apollo Twin for like 5 years I think and have never had a single issue.
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Lance Blair

Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 2240
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adam,
I got the SSL2 last month and it's extremely good for the money.
The plugin strip that comes with it can do all the processing you need, but it probably doesn't work on Windows 7. This is the plugin that it comes with:

As for preamps and converters on the SSL2, they sound 80-90% as good as the Apollo Twin for only $229. The switchable "4K" presence boost/harmonic distortion on both channels is really nice on some mics.

The headphone amp on it is pretty good. Not the loudest, but much louder than on the Focusrite interfaces for example.

It also has a Input/USB monitor mix knob with a stereo setting too.

AT4050s are superb mics. Is there a certain style or sound of mic you're looking for to have something different?
Skype: globalvoiceover
and now, http://lanceblairvo.com the blog is there now too!
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