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Focusrite VoiceMaster Pro or Symetrix 528e
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:19 am    Post subject: Focusrite VoiceMaster Pro or Symetrix 528e Reply with quote

Hello,

I am setting up my first home studio and I have narrowed it down to two pre/pros, the VoiceMaster and the 528. Which would you recommend...and why?

Feel free to recommend any other pre/pro in that price range if you think that there is something better.

I'll let the cat out of the bag and say that I am inclined to jump on the special at Musician's Friend, a Blue "Baby Bottle" and a VoiceMaster Pro for $999. Whadda ya think?

nick
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jrkaiser
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a BLUE/Focusrite guy, however, never did the special. I'm Running a BlueBird and Voicemaster Platinum Pro.

I had a Symetrix 528, and it was a great start. Many people use the for radio. But you don't want to emulate radio. You want to be better for it.

The Focusrite Voicemaster is cleaner and quieter with the Class A pre-amp, and Symetrix can't touch it. The unit offers a nice and quiet gate, great compressor, EQ, Tube Emulation, and de-esser. The Platinum line is for budget, however, the preamp section is the same throughout their various models.

The Focusrite Voicemaster Platinum Pro has many more features with a lot of tweaking necessary. And it runs HOT. Maybe not the best choice for a beginning studio effort, but a great choice for the VO Pro.

Class A, you understand. Not recommended for a beginning studio effort.
Especially when time is of the essence in getting a production out.


The Voicemaster Platinum may be a better choice at half the cost of the Platinum Pro.

Here's my setup http://justinkaiser.com/audio/demos/justin/studio/smalleroptimized/

Let me know if I can help!

Justin
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steeleman
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Birmingham, Al.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:04 pm    Post subject: symetrix vs focus rite Reply with quote

I have used a Symetrix 528 and a Symetrix 528e for years! It rocks!
The Focus rite is super though! I am in the opinion that if you are really
serious about a career in v/o that you get the right gear up front and
then work on your craft and talent. Get the purchase out of the way
first then work your style and marketing and get work. If you wanna change gear down the road after you've made some money than you
can do it...

I like AKG c-3000 or Neuuman U-89

The AKG is usually about 3 to 4 hundred. The u-89 is about 3 grand!
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm set up like a radio jock with an RE 20 and a 528. Most of the work I do is broadcast, so it makes sense, but I have also had distant studios tell me how much they love my sound either via ISDN or sent FTP.

So what the hell. That RE20 is really great for someone with my general vocal range: alto-to-the-occasional-tenor. I'd love to try another mic sometime on the basis of recommendations I've read here.

We'll see if there's a capital improvement for Mission Control this year. It all depends on how the summer goes.
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Andy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm so broke, I can't afford to pay attention. So, I took a gamble on a little known company called, Phonic and pulled the trigger on this tube pre-amp:

http://www.musiciansbuy.com/phonic_t8100_tube_vocalmax_mic_pre_amp_with_free_t8100kit.html

They threw in the Apex 435 condenser mic free. When it all arrived I figured the mic, with a retail value of 80 bucks would stay in the pouch. Surely, it couldn't better my $400 Sennheiser 421. Well, I had a new demo produced at the first of the month and we concluded the inexpensive condenser combined with $250 tube amp produced a much better sound...

You be the judge (Gulp...dad always said, "... hang it out there boy, somebody just might take a wack at it.")


http://www.interactivevoices.com/voicesuite/studiofiles/rx/drewhadwal/Drew%20Hadwal%20-%20demo[1].mp3

Sometimes, ya don't have to shell out a lot of bucks to get the sound you're after.
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billelder
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm representing the poor people. Laugh

Did I see where you said "my first home studio"? $1000 is a great price for the Musicians Friend special. Can you get by spending less? Absolutely. I've seen people get started with a Behringer mixer and a Sure SM57. Just make sure you spend money on what you need to get started, but not at the expense of promoting yourself.
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Bailey
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill not only represents the poor people... he also sounds like the voice of sensibility. A "first" home studio doesn't need to be "gold plated". It's almost like when you wanted your first car. I would dream about getting a GTO, Chevy Super Sport, Ford Galaxie 500XL,or even a T-Bird. But my "first" car was a '62 Falcon sedan. It got me on the road, and it had a radio! Everything I needed at the time...plus dates! Gold plating will come when you need it. In other words... I would have felt pretty foolish if all I could do was drive around town in a new GTO, and not get a date. :wink:
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:33 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the input... Reply with quote

I want to thank you all for the excellent input...very much appreciated.

Justin: Just how hot does the VMP run? I used to have a pair of Class A mono amps that were literally hot enough to fry an egg. The pair of them raised the temp in my room 10 degrees it seemed. Does the VoiceMaster run that hot? Can you put your hand on the top of it?

Do you really think that the VMP would be too technically challenging? Perhaps it is but I would think that I could master the basics enough that it would not get in my way. It may take longer to utilize it to its ultimate advantage though. I will check out the VM non-pro if I can find one.

Steeleman: Boy do we think alike about getting the purchase out of the way. I just want to get some equipment that I feel confident in and inspires me to work. Get it out of the way and then forget about it and get to work. It's always nice to know that someone else feels the same way you do, doesn't it?

Deirdre: I have heard some of your work and I love your voice. I don't know if it was done on the RE-20 or not. This was on the companion CD to "The Art of Voice Acting".

Andy: Nice demo, I can't fault the sonics on that at all.

Bill: I certainly understand where you are coming from, and yes, I could do it with less. I am not a rich guy but I like quality...it speaks to me. Also, I am an audiophile who builds stereo speakers as a hobby. Sound quality is extremely important to me. I have to have it. Also, I have learned that, for example, I could buy a $300 mic and a year later want a $600 mic. Now, I have spent $900 to have a $600 mic. So, I spend $300 on a dbx pre/pro and later want the VoiceMaster. Again, I have spent approx. $900 to get a $600 unit. That's a total of $1800 to get $1200 worth of equipment. As you know, the combo deal at Musician's Friend is a good deal. In this case, I will have spent $1000 to get approx. $1200 in equipment. It's a much better value that way, plus, I have something really nice to work with from day one. That's my thinking anyway...

Bailey: You would have gotten five times as many dates with the GTO...really... :wink: Personally, I see "Gold Plating" as a Neuman U87 with an Avalon pre or something like that. Hey, I know that I don't deserve this level of equipment at this time. I haven't earned it. But think about it, many people have TV's that cost two or three times this much. I don't. $1000 isn't that much money these days. That's about what my current computer cost. $1000 is maybe a good set of golf clubs (I don't really know). And $1000 for equipment to start a career? Chicken feed.

nick
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steeleman
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Birmingham, Al.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject: first studio gear.... Reply with quote

Nick,

One more thing...When I built my studio about 8 years ago. I took
advantage of "90 days same as cash" and bought a few pieces
like that. It helped me get my studio stuff and hey...it gave me
a plus on my credit! Which can't hurt either!

Either way good luck. Oh...and I would go with the Symetrix 528E
and not the old 528...
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Philip Banks
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a Focusrite Penta. Does the job nicely without increasing room temperature.

If you're not doing the final production work, just providing your voice, the best setting for any "voice effectiator" is by-pass. Always worth remembering that what you add can not be subtracted.

RE20 owner/drivers please ignore second paragraph unless you use it to record yourself playing a saxophone.
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jrkaiser
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Pro Audio Focusrite turns heads. Whether you are on a budget, or have the money to spend, the preamp is the same.

My unit runs hot in 2 ways. First, I can hear the squirrel play with his nuts from across the road. And second, I can barely put my hand on top of the unit. Make sure you have plenty of space around it.

If this is your first studio, I don't recommend it. Keep it simple but keep quality in mind. Especially when you want to get the audio out the door and the checks in the mailbox. The Symetrix is nice for broadcast, but you want to be able to outperform radio.

When recording... KEEP IT FLAT. The fewer buttons and knobs the better sometimes. My point is, if you want to outperform the station but stay within budget bet the Voicemaster Platinum. Don't buy entry level. Think of the future when you start and you will sound great on a budget.

Buy Quality, it's more fun working with, but be prudent in where you spend the money. I learned and taught the the exact opposite, and it sounds like you have the right idea from the start. It took me a while to figure that out.

Don't overthink the obvious, go with your gut, TEST IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT!

Justin
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the input... Reply with quote

nick reed wrote:
You would have gotten five times as many dates with the GTO...really...


Boy, this just shows how you fellows perennially misunderstand the correlation between girls and cars.
A muscle car attracts OTHER GUYS. Other Muscle Car Guys.
Girls worth spending time with simply want your car, whatever it is, to be clean and smell nice.

It's amazing any of us finds a mate, I tells yeh.
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

www.TheListeningSessions.com contains numerous recordings in MP3 format using a plethora of different microphones and preamps. Earful and eye opening, after a while, mind numbing. Check it out, sometimes listening for yourself answer the questions you might have, then again, you may have many more afterwards. The equipment range is project to world class studio.

Speaking of equipment range - Focusrite (Justin, don't slap me). In pro audio, Focusrite turns heads because they made nice recording consoles. Their current Red, Blue and ISA series of products still have the same effect. They use to have a "Green" series but that died out. The Platinum series, is their consumer offering, which gets a raised brow in many books, but not the full head-on Belgium bobble and turn. One big reason is because the Platinum series is manufactured using circuit boards which do not retain as much signal. The more you spend in audio equipment, the closer you get to point-to-point soldering by hand, but it all comes at a price.

All that to say, the great thing about the Platinum ranged VoiceMaster Pro is that its a sound purchase for your business. It has all the bells and whistles you might find on the more expensive all-inclusive recording strips - a Class A preamp, compressor, limited EQ and that's all you 'might' need, the other features are just icing on the cake.

Kevin

Oh yeah, Diedre's right. In my single days (2000) I sold my 1971 351 Cleveland Mustang and bought a conversion van. I do not smoke, other than the New Years cigar, but I've always been fond of the smell of those tobacco pipes. A bunch of buddies and I made the three hour drive to Ocean City, MD and they pulled out a box of cigars. After we arrived, the smell was just awful, had to leave the windows down all weekend. I ended up using coconut scented leather oil in an attempt to mask it and I can still remember the day the scents finally meshed, it was just magically, like I had walked into a tobacco shop on a coconut filled island so I stuck with it. I guess it comes as no surprise that my wife is from South America.
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Kevin,

You and I are on the same page pretty much. I am a forum member on (blush) gearslutz.com and I have visited The Listening Sessions a few times.

Since I posted my query, I have had a couple of interesting gear experiences. I tried a Focusrite Trackmaster Pro. I thought that the preamp sounded rather sterile and since this was the first compressor that I ever had in my hands, I was lost there. It seemed that I had to crank up the gain to almost maximum before I would see any movement of the meter (using the meter just for output, not compression). I don't remember what all I didn't like about the unit but it was a disappoinment and I took it back.

I just had to try a Behringer Composer Pro XL for $109. I used my mixer's mic input since the Composer does not have a preamp. The Composer has an expander/gate, compressor, de-esser, peak limiter, tube simulation and a few other things. It is also set up to work with +4dB or -10dB. I have to say that I was quite impressed with it on most accounts. I could not hear the tube sim at all but perhaps I just did not have the right signal for it to show up. Bottom line is that it appears to be an incredible bargain. But I am a gear slu...ah, that is, gear freak, so I just have to have something that really wow's me... sonically, esthetically and every other way...something, not like a Mustang but more like a Cobra would. :wink:

So, I continued my research and finally found what I think is the best unit for me... an SPL Channel One with Lundahl transformers. I'm going to roll it around in my mind for another day or two before making the commitment though, so feel free to give me your opinion on that decision. I would value your input.

Nick


Last edited by nick reed on Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick,

I've never heard the preamp itself, but watch the Lundahl transformers. Make sure they're not going to add to much color. My guess is that given the clients using SPL products, transparency is a big selling point which is why I assume they have the preamp available without those transformers. As with any purchase, make sure you can take it on a healthy test driver even if it only costs shipping.....

Oh, I saw the price too, very competitive, it's just foolish that SPL hasn't produced more marketing material for this particular product, especially with Bob Ludwig sitting in their camp.

Kevin
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