Was Brandon correct when he rebelled against spending money on recording gear?

Was Brandon correct when he rebelled against spending money on recording gear?


Yes, I do believe there is a difference, basically because there’s no real other way to do it.

But I think you guys are arguing separate points. If I wanted to record an orchestra, my house would be a terrible place to do it. Because of the lack of gear and lack of space, it would be a bad experience for everyone involved. There’s no question about it.

But, if I wanted the sound of a full orchestra, or a full band, or whatever, I have the tools to do that in my room. My limitation is most definitely my skill and even more so my ability to write good music.

I’m not using these as any sort of golden example, but all of these songs were recorded in my room, on my behringer interface and mixed in Reaper.

Now, there are lot’s of things I can’t do in my room. But I don’t think there are really many sounds I can’t get in my room. With orchestral stuff, I’m limited by the sounds the libraries can reproduce, so I can’t do everything you hear on film scores.


As I said, and as you now seem to be saying, it’s hedging your bets. Use the expensive one, not necesarily because it’s going to get a better sound, but because - why not? Especially if it makes the client feel better.

We were discussing drums. Now we’re apparently talking about orchestras, which is a highly specialised area of recording, and I doubt if it was uppermost in Brandon’s mind when he made his point.

Experience, knowledge and ability are the most important factors.


Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but in some cases the lower priced equipment or facility actually does a better job than the higher priced equipment. I think this has blurred the lines a bit, and perhaps even confused a few people.


Yes, that would be unbearable.

A grizzly sight, indeed.


You make me laugh @jonathon , in a good way. You just don’t believe a word anyone else says.
If it’s not in the tablets of stone you wrote, it can’t be right.
Open your mind and let some sunshine in!

FFS. NOBODY in this thread has suggested cramming a huge orchestra into a tiny basement. If you think that is what this discussion is really about you have enitrely missed the point … and that doesn’t surprise me.


Sorry I can’t quote where I want to Jonathan. Doing this on my phone and it’s not so easy with the frames that appear on this board.

Anyway, I think you may be misunderstanding me. I’m not saying don’t go to these rooms and it’s a waste and we can do better in our basement etc. But, some of us actually can do better. I can mic a drum kit at close range and add an impulse library that will make you smile. Our two studio locations both have pretty good live rooms for drum tracking and they aren’t basements. Although, the room in my house where I do a majority of my net work and mixing is actually a basement, I can still kill a drum kit in whatever location I’m working at.

I saw you mentioning reverbs somewhere…I’ve not used one of those in 10 years or more. Impulses obliterate digital verb and when used correctly…no one will notice but those that really don’t matter. :wink:

As for when people used triggers as safety nets, I do and just about all my colleagues do in some major studios in NY and PA. It’s stupid not to. Time is money. Sometime a drum.capture is a great capture but still might not be right when you go and work with it. Do you really find it that odd that an engineer wouldn’t cover his own ass? It’s a hell of a lot easier to send some midi data to BFD 3 and hybrid over rerecording the track or playing with individual sample replacement. I call it mega smart, whether you use the midi capture or not.

The pricey rooms and engineers themselves have sometimes failed. I mentioned before about how bad breaking Benjamin’s first album was before the audio editing sessions, right? I can’t remember the room, but the drums were dismal. Between beat detective (that was the in thing then) and sample replacement, very little of that real.kit remained. This done by a producer who authorized all the edits that went gold I believe. I sat there and watched it.

I say go to these rooms if need be. Sure you’d want to create an orchestra sound in a nice room with all the trimmings. As AJ said though, now you’re changing to a totally different animal. Drums…I never worry about drums. I’m no ocean way but have always come up with drums sounds that are just as good as what I hear on the radio. Whether they be sampled kits, module kits or the real thing, I would talk a client out of spending $1200 a day in one of those rooms when I know I could get them what they needed if we spent a little time here.

As I said before, sample replacement and impulses are amazing. Mic a kit, make it sound as good as you can hoping the drummer knows how to play and brings you a good kit, then do your magic after if you have to and enhance the performance and sound.

The stuff you mention in these nice rooms is all acceptable to me. I’m not knocking them or telling you they aren’t needed. I’m saying I do not believe they are necessity for drums, which was what we were talking about originally. An option for something different, definitely. Something to totally be sold on…never.

Listen to the movie score stuff done today. Lots of cinematic drum samples. Ever see the dudes that did avatar or even some of the sick scoring in video games? Some of the best drum sounds ever. Sure, created in a good room…or were they? Strip the verb in the sounds back and you have pretty much the sound of a basic drum you could record anywhere.

These big pricey rooms and ridiculous prices are also the reason labels and quality have gone down because some budgets can’t handle it. They do what they can and sometimes get a crappy result. I hear quite a lot of pricey recordings by big name bands that actually sound like ass. Their budgets and pricey producers don’t win me over with their price tags. That’s not to say I can do a better job. But, in some cases, I feel I can especially with rock.

Same with pricey gear…sometimes it’s not made a difference for the better for people. I’ve had some issues with it…but was it all my fault or was it hype? I say a little my fault, a little more hype. You know…I’d love to hear a real famous mix engineer do a full song on a Behringer or something and then compare it to his Neve or SSL etc. I don’t think the results will be that drastic if the dude knows what he’s doing. Don’t you think it would be more of a coloration difference over “this is way better”?

But God forbid we debunk yet another myth and prove the differences within consoles or interfaces is down to the pompousness of what people spend. Lol! That’s really meant to be funny as I know a Behringer can’t compare to an SSL…but you just never know. In the right hands, maybe it can? How many people spend money just because they can?

One of my mentors who is a really good engineer had this problem that annoyed the crap out of me. If he didn’t own a piece of gear that you had, what you had was always shit and his was better. That whole mentality just sucks. I see this with people all the time.

I got a pretty cool mic locker here. I borrowed one of those Bocks a little while ago. For some.reason, it does nothing good for my voice much like my U87 does nothing for MY voice. It doesn’t get much better than that with those two mics. Do I use them because both cost a fortune even though my voice doesn’t quite sound like what I hoped through them? Hell no, I sent the Bock back and grabbed a stupid Equitrk E-200 that I bought in 1989 for $500 that makes me sound freaking good that actually compliments my voice. Lol!

I think price tags are over inflated and aren’t always the answer. Rooms, gear, producers, engineers…it’s all horseshit and hype. Some of it is grand…other parts, reproducible and achievable and no one will notice but those that really don’t make up much of the buying public. Not knocking you or your beliefs. I just feel there are ways to get a good enough happy medium without spending money “for the sake of”.


So then in your opinion (not his), it comes down to if drums benefit proportionately to an orchestra in a well tuned room?

I’m of the belief they do in certain situations. When you’re gauging the value of the room and everything in it, for me this is a question of weather there will be clear acoustical/sonic advantages under certain circumstances. I never asserted its always better to always use the more expensive room, and have said repeatedly that sometimes its not necessary.

Bottom line, my point was the advantage of the acoustics and the gear together on SOME BUT NOT ALL projects. Just citing a single instance where the bigger room hurt more than it helped doesn’t really tell us much without knowing everything else that went wrong in that particular project. Its trying to make a point based on a single fact without providing context.

Then certainly aware of the limitations of your own space…are you not? Or are you purporting you can do anything and everything that can be done in the Oceanway A room? To all drum sets for all drummers under any circumstances? That’s not intended to sound mean spirited, and its rhetorical to iterate the main point. If a different room has a clear advantage for a specific application, why not book it? Unless you believe that the Oceanway A room can never have a true advantage over yours.

I’m not dogging on your tracking room, when you say you ‘know you could get them what they want’, the questions is what happens when you know that you can’t?

I see no reason to distinguish between necessary and beneficial so long as both are equally convenient and within your budget.

Thats asking to have a cake and eat it too. Strip away the verb sounds in the back and you make the example irrelevant because you just removed the drum form the context in which it was used. Back the mic far enough off the source, and you DO hear the verb.

At least one person on here fucking gets this!!!

And which hands are those… Someone who doesn’t know how to use an SSL? Anyone who can’t make an SSL outperform a Behringer shouldn’t be working on an SSL.


I think drums can be done well in any room with the right know how. For example, if you came to me with a specific drum sound, I think I could accommodate. From the drums themselves to the tuning to the room ambience. Do you supply the kit or do I? Do you supply the drummer or do I? I’ve had people present me with drum sounds and ask if I could replicate. I’ve come super close or nailed them spot on each time.

The orchestra thing…again though, impulses are amazing. Sure, a good room for both drums and an orchestra can be beneficial. But I think with the tools we have today, with the right know how, you don’t have to spend $1200 a day just because you can. That’s all I’m trying to say.

I agree 100% there. I’m not really trying to argue anything with you, man. I’m merely trying to say we can do some pretty incredible work these days without spending huge amounts of money. I’m so meticulous with creating room within a room effects, it’s become a bit of a special sauce for me.

Agreed there too which was what I said. Not all, SOME rooms. Citing a single instance is better than no instance at all. I sat in on the audio editing sessions of a band that created crap in a pro studio. Part of it was the engineer, part the sound was not right for the album, part was the room was not right for the album. This was mentioned to further illustrate my point of “just because it is, doesn’t mean it DOES.”

I don’t take that as mean at all. It’s a legit question. I’m no Ocean Way and have never claimed to be. What I DO claim is, I can accommodate just about anyone if I have to. I’ve never failed to deliver something someone needed. Whether they be pro, semi pro or amateur, people come to me with a vision. They come with sounds in hand that they wish to achieve.

I have to nail them by any means necessary. That sometimes means more time spent, going through a million samples, various mic’s, placements, heads and if there is something specific that can or needs to be done in a room from one of my colleagues or partner studio’s, I DO have the means to deliver the goods. We network with and partner with several studios in the area if or when we need something that I may not be able to provide. But that said, I just about always can give a person what they want/need from our two studio’s. If we can’t get it right (which has never happened) we’re still covered. All I do is call my buddy Drew Raison at Philly sound or Robby G at Viscious and I use the place or send the client to them.

.I think you missed the point. When you strip a sound out of a module…whether it be East/West, Kontakt, BFD or Superior drums…the sound itself is nothing special. As a matter of fact, most of the sounds are pure shit without the impulses used to enhance them. My point is…I can take a sound and mic it and then impulse it and I can get the same result. Want room mics separately, no problem…we have time control as well as pre-delay etc with room control unlike digital verb. I’m simply saying, some of the killer sounds today don’t even come from real time percussion. When you strip back all the stuff going on in the sound, it’s just a sound that anyone can get with a mic. It doesn’t sound like it’s been specially processed or tri-mic’d etc. Add in impulses using different rooms and timing and you get something so similar, only guys like you may notice. And if you do, who cares? I don’t try to impress other engineers or sell them on my theories. That’s not meant to sound harsh nor is it meant for you to take personally…I’m saying, in general, guys like us/you/other engineers don’t pay my bills. I don’t have to sell you on anything, I just need to deliver to my clients and I always do. That’s what matters most at the end of the day. :slight_smile:

The hands of someone that can run both consoles that also knows how to mix. I trained on an SSL, but I’d be lying to you if I told you I mastered it. I’ve done more work on the SSL plugin and NEVE console plugs than the real things. You don’t get much time in school. That said, I look at it like this Jonathan…

Eq is going to eq. SSL eq’s, as you and I have established in past conversations, are a little harsh. But to me, an EQ is an EQ. You adjust it until it sounds right. Compression is just that unless you get the characteristics of a tube compressor, right? The circuitry is the circuitry. Pre’s are the pre’s…do you run them hot or not depends on the console as well as the material. I’ve always hated the sound of hot SSL pre’s. I prefer the NEVE.

Signal passes through and you mess with things until you get the sound in your head. To me it’s cut and dry, Even if I knew nothing about an SSL or a Behringer and did a song on each. I’d be willing to bet the mixes would be good other than some different colors used. I mix the way I mix…I hear tones the way I hear tones. I compress until I hear consistency without the loss of dynamics. All the rest is coloration and subjectivity, is it not? In my world, I sincerely hope what we would hear would be “different” not necessarily “better”. I’d feel much better with that result over hearing “dude, you smoked that Behringer with the SSL and rightfully so.” That would be the expected outcome…but I’d hope for the opposite. I’d want both toe sound great with some coloration differences.

I’m in the less is more camp. I don’t do 100 things to create my sounds anymore with racks etc. I create a sound at the source. That source doesn’t get printed until it’s the sound I want. That sound once in my PC, is not going to change drastically. Neither will any of the other sounds I printed. Other than subtle eq sculpting, and a few other little things I do, I’m gonna be up an running with a tight mix in 4 hours because the sounds are there from the start. The console and gear post print are going to enhance, not completely change the material. So for someone like me, I’d probably get the outcome I was looking for if I used both consoles. I’d be totally happy with that. :wink:


They’re progressed to where they’re unlike anything we’ve ever had in the past, but they’re just not good enough yet to people who live and breath this level of recording.

Well the how else do you get this? Go ahead and tell me strait out. How does ANYONE touch this quality of finished product when you cheapskate your way out spending money on the room? Have you really listened to the differences between a room that was designed to cater to producers with $100 - $200 million production budgets? There was almost a billion dollars budgeted for the LOTR series. Do you really think they batted an eye at daily room rental price?

If you REALLY believe you don’t have to spend $1200/day to deliver a product like you see below, then tell me how else this is done using average run-of-the-mill shit. I’m honestly listening.

I respect that. I’m in the exact same boat you are, doing the best work I can do with what I have on hand, but I firmly believe setting your sights on where you want to be in the future, entails understanding why the most successful people around got themselves there. And always being realistic about what you need to do to progress from point A to point B. I don’t have a desire to ever own a facility like East West. And I’m sure none of the conductors do either, because its not what they do. Aspiring to work at that level of engineering DOES entail understanding how and why first call session players thrive in a room where the detail and balance of their instruments is never hampered by someone who’s too stupid to know when the room is worth renting.

I realized you just hit on a difference between your situation and mine. I just flat out can’t. I can’t accommodate tracking sessions for theater orchestras, church choirs, church music publishers, video game composers, and classical ensembles without having a working relationship with bigger rental facilities in my area. I have one of the strongest digital production rigs in my state, but I can only take them through the pre-production. As soon as the needs of the project go beyond what I can emulate digitally through virtual instrument libraries like Vienna, L.A.S.S., Chris Hein, etc… then I have to move them to a legit room. I don’t get paid a dime for going in there with them, or the time I spend on the phone with the studio managers coordinating the sessions. But I’m glad to do it because its part of making the most of the opportunity.

[quote=“Danny_Danzi, post:215, topic:322”]
When you strip back all the stuff going on in the sound, it’s just a sound that anyone can get with a mic.
[/quote] Now that you’ve clarified this and I understand what you meant, I 100% agree.

I said that whole thing under the assumption that a mixer would fully exploit the features of the SSL vs fully exploiting the features of the Behringer would make a better mix on the SSL because the SSL has more features to fully exploit. But for the sake of conversation, if you leveled the playing field and built a Behringer with a Midas based preamp section, an analog dynamics, digital bus routing that was as flexible as the SSLs, then added the equivalent channel count, mini faders, summing section, flying faders, stellar metering etc… you’d have a whole different conversation on your hands :smiley:

By the way, that would be a truly fascinating console!!! Would it not? :smiley:


One link answer…though this is an Avid ad sort of…what’s bigger than Avatar? All VSTi’s so they say.

Still hundreds of thousands in the work involved and how they went about it…but the end result, stuff you, me and everyone else can physically own.

There are times I have to use my networking. But it’s nice to know I have other places I can just use in a pinch or if I’m swamped, I don’t mind losing the paycheck to make someone happy. But honest, that’s been rare. But truth be told, I’ve not been in circumstances like you. I don’t get calls for orchestra stuff or anything too “specialty.”

I get bands from all over the country, I get resampling jobs, mixing, mastering, video sync and effects, transfers from older media, audio clean-up, short film scoring, infomercial work, theme music, on hold music, jingles, huge answering systems where the readers literally sit here and read 2500 different words/phrases, producer jobs, audio consultations, musician for hire, kareoke singers singing to their own tracks, recording lessons via video where we mix tracks and let people see how and why we do things…stuff like that.

I do get people coming to me wanting orchestra stuff, but it’s nothing that my sample libraries can’t handle. I have never been asked to record a full orchestra other than schools and orchestra’s in concert halls where I knew some of the players when I use to run my mobile system. If I had to do a real one, I’d really like to try it in my big room along with some impulse processing after. I really think I could come close to replicating a good room with the right impulse, compression and eq on the impulse. Would it be perfect? Probably not by your standards…but I bet it would be close enough to where I and the client would be happy. You never really know until you try and dive in, ya know? I know…I’m optimistic…failure is not an option for me in this field. Falling short while giving my all is acceptable though.

I had a feeling you may have lost me on that one. :wink:

I’m with you there. I guess I look at things too black and white. I’m by no means great at any of this stuff, man, I just do what I do and thank God I’m as busy as I am and have gained the clients I have throughout the world due to having a little success on a few indy labels. Whether God is looking out for me me or people really like what I do and spread the word…whatever it is, I am thankful every day and hope it never stops. I do the best I can and never cut corners. I put myself into every project to the point of sometimes living it to the extreme and making myself sick over it. I can’t sleep if someone isn’t happy. I can’ take any money if I can’t truly help a person to where it is blatantly obvious. So I’m probably more passionate and accommodating than I am skilled in this field.

And yeah, that would make for a pretty awesome console!!!


Its not all VSTi’s, you may have misunderstood that. They created score with VSTi’s. That’s the written composition and a mock recording or it (or a demo so to speak). Then they tracked with a live orchestra over top of the edited reel, which replaced the demo.

They say they mixed (almost) completely in the box, which is pretty normal for film. The tracking always involves some pretty sophisticated concoction of analog gear and processing though.

When you hear about the Star Wars final mixes being all tracked with L.A.S.S., that was some episodes of the Clone Wars cartoons…not the full length features.

VST’s can handle a lot of stuff. Don’t get me wrong. And they’re the only option sometimes for a project on a tight budget or time constraint. There’s nothing wrong with using them. But I’m certain for a movie like Avatar ($237m budget) everyone would agree the movie benefited from tracking the main score with real instruments in a specialized studio.

lol…I think passionate and service oriented IS a skill in this field :wink:


Today right this moment Im thinking Brandons expectations were too high and he was let down (felt ripped off) then in addition to the psychology of having wife and kids changed things to want to “support NOT buying gear” anymore too which in a sense is the same issue of expectations of the gear making a persons life better in some way. Kids+Wives+$$$bills can zap the fun out of any gear buying or hobby stuff.

What was cool about all that was he spent the cash and compared himself and alot of us benefited because he stumbled through it all publically. While I dont disagree the computerized Behringer X32 type “all in one box” can do everything it isnt my type of gear. (I find having to push 5 buttons and save options just to turn up the treble on a Roland too cumbersome and death to the fun vibe of creating.)

So its like good advice to not buy the hype, but then on the flip side buying gear is fun and trying new stuff is fun…so its kind of like buying a unhealthy pizza vs doing situps and jogging…or going on a vacation vs saving money…or not doing anything vs meth high gear buying buzz.

I cant even recall the side-gearhead Riddic or Rupert but he did some good posts too where the Line 6 sounded about as good as the $2000 AXE…and that was years ago.

My recent opinion of my retail $1000 headphone amp vs my interface headphone amp is very small, the preamp stuff I spent last year doing showed miniscule differences on clean, the microphones seem to hold interest but its not something a $8000 mic can do that most people will hear from a $300 mic as the Sweetwater Shootout shows.

So yeah, Brandon kind of rehab’d me from gear buying and now my life is empty and sucks and my obsession of buying gear is dead and so is my hobby really. Thanks Brandon!

I mean come on, if we had cash would you really buy a Rane MS1 instead of a Martech and LA2A? or a Squier instead of a Fender US 1960 strat? Its all about money and buying a Harley and then the Harley shirts and Harley bandannas and the Harley shoes, and Harley coat with a big Harley patch on the back and Harley calenders for the office and Harley sunglasses and Harley tattoos and Harley underwear, Harley condoms and Harely enima kits…we all want that. Brand Names make us cool.

sorry havent had my LSD this morning.


Funny, crazy, and ironic as this sounds, I would defend Brandon on this one. I’m pretty sure he opposed buying high gear on the value/benefit/functionality level, not the collectability. He actually never even mentioned that from what I can recall. If you wanted fancy guitars because you love to collect nice things (which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that imo), I’m sure he would have said go for it. The way I read him was that one just ought not mistake a $10,000 PRS dragon II, for being a better tool than a $3000 Custom 22 based on the price and some misinformed hype. lol. (Can you believe I actually just said that?)

You know the LA2A is a compressor…not a preamp…right? lol :wink:

!!?? Dang dude! Which headphone amp are you using?


Yes, Harley enema kits are in demand. So much so that they’re out of stock everywhere I go. I would be forever grateful to anyone who can inform as to where I can purchase a lifetime supply…I always have difficulty finding appropriate Christmas and Birthday presents. …and on very rare occasions I also have difficulty going for a dump. :poop:


I heard those are “the shit”. :grin:


I stumbled across this video addressing the differences in rooms, and remembered this thread. The debate over if top teir room rent was primarily an ergonomic and logistic necessity, or if there were times when it also had a substantial impact on the sound.

I was reminded of that this week when I had a to overdub a several string players in my little vocal booth (one player taking multiple passes at the same score). Did my lack of space change things? Yes. Did I deal with it and push through anyway? Also yes. Would it have recorded this at EastWest? Yes. Would it have been worth it? Absolutely not.

I’m conflicted. At the same time, those tracks in that video sound sooooooo amazingly good. They were distinct, they had character, and with the drums as open and exposed as they were in this context, I think the room DID matter in that case.

Since dialoguing with people over this 5 months ago, my views have been wavering back and forth on the value of extravagant unique audio (like in this video) vs the price of it vs a consumer base that (even when they notice it) its debatable if they they care.

But so did that video!! :smiley:


cool video, looked like SM57 snare, kick mic, U87 LDC OH?
ISA 428’s for preamps into a RME into the DAW.

not sure what the tom mic is.

the Focusrite ISA was left the same volume for all tracking to show loudness vs room too, interesting. Total No processing to allow the rooms to show the true differences. wild, really huge differences.

that robot head is creepy. is that the wave of the future? everyone has a robot head in their studio?


It’s a binaural (stereo) microphone. It’s supposed to represent how sound is experienced by the human skull and the ears on the side. I believe each mic in the stereo config is about where the ear is. If that’s the Neumann model, only about $8000. :zipper_mouth_face:


maybe Behringer has one for $800? lol …its funny, maybe we will start seeing Robot Heads all over the studio, mixing room, mastering rooms, drummers throne eventually…“perfection ears”

do owners name them? like thats Scott…or thats Ralph…theres Joe…what if the Producer says “give me more head!!” will he be fired?


lol haha!