9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 30, 2008 11:43 PM by (idar_lettrem)

    What the audio experts won't tell you.

    Level 1
      Don't go out investing in an audio studio until you read this:

      Recently we decided to record voices for music in our own production studio. I had never looked into professional audio so I went to ask advice and read all I could on the internet. Everytime I asked audio people about getting quality audio they would just give vague answers about "warm sound" and "quality pre amp" and about how only professionals could provide professional sound. Needless to say I believed all this nonesense. Even the sales people got in on the game. What they told me is basically this: to get good audio you need to spend at least one thousand Euros on a top level pre-amp etc... Only top of the line stuff would do. So what did I do? I went in and purchased top of the line stuff. To top it all off, I purchased an Mbox so I could use ProTools. Finally when I tested all this stuff I got AWFUL SOUND. It sounded just flat and ten times worse than what I got earlier by just plugging a dynamic microphone into my creative sound blaster card and listening on my Logitech speakers.

      It all went back to the store, especially the Mbox which is just an awful piece of equipment. It has a bad pre amp and will interefere with any other pre amp you plug into it. As a rule of thumb I avoid any USB type solutions. They are just gimmicks.

      I went back to the drawing board and wound up spending: 50 euros for Magix Studio, 120 Euros for a pre-amp, and 120 euros for better speakers which I plugged into my 100 euro professional creative sound blaster card. Total bill: 380 Euros. The audio I get is crystal clear and professional.

      Everything they told me was ****. If I had gone their way I would have spent 2000 Euros on an Avalon Pre amp, 1200 Euros on Genelec monitoring Speakers, probably 1000 euros on a high end Pro Tools solution and then some on compression modules, mixers, etc.... not to mention the Neuman 87 microphone at 2500 Euros and change. I could have spent close to ten thousand euros. The joke is that the sound would have been no better to a normal ear.

      Perhaps what is wrong with me is that I don't smoke enough joints to appreciate the difference but I tell you one thing... there's a lot of B.S out there when it comes to audio. Word to the mother.
        • 1. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
          Jim_Simon Level 8
          >The joke is that the sound would have been no better to a normal ear.

          Well...there's the rub. You were asking them for professional sound, not sound good enough for the average listener. Their advice, given the question, was probably correct.

          I know people look at me funny when I get up and move my speaker over 1/8" of an inch because I can hear the difference.
          • 2. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
            shooternz Level 6
            >Perhaps what is wrong with me is that I don't smoke enough joints to appreciate the difference ...

            I think that what is wrong with you juju is that you smoke too many joints to be able to tell the difference.
            • 3. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
              Dan Isaacs Level 2
              So, you go the Mbox (never looked that great to me) and what else, exactly?

              Also, how did it "interfere" with other preamps -- and what kind of permap did you try plugging into it?

              > The audio I get is crystal clear and professional

              You'll have to post a final mix so we all can hear it.
              • 4. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
                Level 1
                Dan, the MBOX is a piece of s... for the following reasons:

                (1) It is USB based, and we all know how "professionally" stable USB is... ha ha ha.

                (2) It's built in Pre-Amp is a disaster... probably because of the USB configuration. The least one could expect from a pre amp is to get its power from a real plug in the wall.

                (3) The MBOX will only work with Pro Tools! This means you can't use it with anything else. Imagine how stupid it looks when the top of the line speakers you purchase for your MBox become totally useless for anything not Pro Tools related.

                (4) I tried pro Tools. It is anything but user friendly. You can figure out Cubase and Magix Studio in minutes. I spent half an afternoon trying to record something in Pro Tools. Without instructions you'll never get it. Add to that the fact the interface looks cheap compared to others and you'll put Pro Tools right back in the box where it belongs.

                (5) If you finally decide to bypass the cheap Mbox pre amp with a better pre amp (ANY other pre amp) you'll still have to go through the cheap Mbox pre amp which adds noise and possibly level saturation.

                When I returned the Mbox to the store I saw a horrified look on the face of the salespeople. They tried every excuse in the book to not have to take it back. Fortunately I kept all the plastic bags.

                In conclusion: Digidesign went for a cheap solution and that's what they got: A cheap solution!! I used to think of Pro Tools as the Rolls Royce of audio editing. After the Mbox experience I think of it as the garage sale of editing.
                • 5. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
                  TradeWind Level 3
                  > I tried pro Tools. It is anything but user friendly. You can figure out Cubase and Magix Studio in minutes. I spent half an afternoon trying to record something in Pro Tools. Without instructions you'll never get it.

                  Nothing new here. A bicycle is more "user friendly" than a motorcycle, by your definition. But for people who learn to ride a motorcycle, getting back on a bicycle doesn't offer the same speed and distance capabilities. And gee, shucks, they had to spend all that time learning to ride a motorcycle for "half an afternoon" when they could have learned to ride a bike "in minutes."

                  I bet they'd agree, when riding a motorcycle instead of a bicycle, "without instructions, you'll never get it."

                  The Mbox isn't so great, you're right about that, but then neither is Magix Studio. You keep telling all those audio engineers that Magix is a superior product to Pro Tools...keep going, they'll buy into that sooner or later I'm sure.
                  • 6. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
                    Jim_Simon Level 8
                    >I used to think of Pro Tools as the Rolls Royce of audio editing.

                    My guess is that audio professionals who actually know how to use it would agree with that one. Never tried it myself, but I do hear it mentioned often in reference to professional recording studios.
                    • 7. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
                      Dan Isaacs Level 2
                      > I do hear it mentioned often in reference to professional recording studios

                      They're all in on the scam, I guess :)
                      • 8. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
                        the_wine_snob Level 9
                        Juju,

                        I do agree that Magix has some good sound programs. I've got versions of several, and use them in conjunction with Audition. The only rub that I have is with their "less-than-adequate" manuals and the total lack of useful posts onto their forums. That aside, for the $, or whatever, they are good programs.

                        Now, there are probably two major contributors to several Adobe forums, who would have/could have steered you in the right direction, had you contacted them, and told them exactly what you wanted to do:
                        Neil Wilkes (MOD in Encore, and seen all over the place) and Ozpeter (mainly in the Audition forum). These guys do this for a living, but they also understand the need to work within the parameters of much of video production.

                        Sounds like you have your HW & SW now, so you might not need their advice. Still, if you require assistance with Audio for Video, they are go-to guys.

                        Good luck,

                        Hunt
                        • 9. Re: What the audio experts won't tell you.
                          Level 1
                          Juju -listen to this Mbox/Protools work . IN THE HANDS OF A PROFESSIONAL FRIEND.
                          http://www.ketilstokkan.no/members/news?zid=NOC10000266&full=on
                          Press for i.e "no turning back". I saw this thread - and beeing a mbox / protools owner myself I felt a bit ....
                          So therefore I had a talk with Ketil - replying "... that melody is with MBox/protools" . Many more examples could be given
                          It is possible to make it sound ok - isn't it ?