I know we have several musicians around who range from low-end ghetto bedroom studio setups (like me) to professionals who have really nice studios. Knowing how many different ways there are to get music into a recorded format, and how many ways there are to get good-quality recordings there are, I’d like to solicit informed opinions. I have kind of a gearhead question re: mic preamps and compressors.
Assuming I’m miking a vocal in a relatively acoustically-controlled space, how necessary is it to have a nice mic preamp and/or hardware compression? Is hardware compression necessary, or can I get a reasonable sound by running the vocals through onboard software compression (ftr, I have Sonar 4 Producer)? If hardware compression is vital, which models are good?
How about preamps? Should I invest in a nice mic/line preamp to get some of that tube softening? If so, what do you recommend?
Should I start filling a rack, or just make do with Sonar? I know that if I spend tons of money, I can get a great sound (all other things being equal,) but I guess I want to know if a small investment in select units can get me large gains in production value.
Oh, and one other thing - in one of these past threads, someone recommended buying a unit like the BBE Sonic Maximizer or the Aphex 204 Aural Exciter to add sparkle to the sound and make it more professional. Is it worth it?
I’m running decent (but not great) condenser mics into a fairly standard Behringer mixer, and into the computer from there. I’m using an Audigy 2 soundcard, so although I still have to do track-at-a-time recording, it’s possible to get some good recordings. One of the first upgrades I ought to make is a multi-input soundcard.