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Next upgrade to my baby suite


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#1 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 03:48 PM

Hey all,

I am working on (slowly) building a home based edit suite, mostly for offline work or web based content.

Was hoping to get some advice on the next piece of hardware I should buy.

Right now, I have the following:

+ Macbook Pro 17" 2.66GHz i7
+ Samsung 22" Monitor (with adapter to plug into Macbook)
+ G-Tech G-Raid 1 TB Drive
+ Wacom Pen Tablet
+ Awful Speakers (Got them for free, probably cost $30-50 at best buy)
+ Sennheiser 280 HD headphones
+ Contour Shuttle Pro
+ External Dock Encloser, for duplicating drives to give to clients

Right now I've been mostly doing stuff on the mac then backing up to the G-Tech drive for archive. But I'm looking to up my work load away from purely web based stuff and more towards the indie film market, or the higher end web market.

Most of the stuff I cut nowadays is either done on the HVX200 or DSLR like the 5D or t2i. It might be a pipe dream, but I'd like to be able to offer offline RED editing.

I'm looking to spend about $600-700 on new equipment this month, and this is what I'm looking into but I'm not sure which is more important. Eventually I am going to upgrade to a Mac Pro, but for the time being I want to continue working off my MBP.

Potential New Items:
- RAID System, CalDigit VR or similar RAID system
- Audio Mixer (Behhringer Xenyx 1202FX
- Audio Monitors / Speakers (KRK Rockit 5s)
- Apple Magic Mouse
- Power Backup System
- Additional Monitor/TV for use as a viewing TV or client monitor (something like a 32" TV with colors calibrated more appropriately)

That is about all I can think of that I might need at this time, the Mac Pro is coming down the pipe in around a year with a Kona card, sound card, etc. I also plan on buying some Tape Decks and Card Readers, but that is also way down the line.

I'm mainly looking for what should be my next upgrade to my baby suite.
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 09:45 PM

I'm not qualified to talk about Macs but I would think about better speakers. You've got a good pair of headphones but the problem with headphones is you're hearing the recorded sound dry, IE with no room acoustics. Since most real world listening to sound tracks is on speakers in anywhere from small rooms to auditoriums you should think about a sound playback facility that somewhat duplicates that real world.

The list of shorts, features, docs, etc. that didn't go anywhere because they didn't have good sound is a very long one. Top quality sound is under-rated by a lot of film novices but talk to a successful film-maker who has actually sold something and they'll tell you that the quality of their final sound mix had a lot to do with their project's success.

In my opinion JBL speakers are about as reliably good as any speaker. Yes, there are better speakers but only at ridiculous prices. JBL just introduced a line of good sounding small powered speakers that I heard at NAB this year and liked quite a bit. It happened I ran into the Metropolitan Opera's sound engineer for their radio broadcasts at the JBL booth at the same time I was there and he liked them also. They sound a lot like the Control Monitor series but have the additional benefit of being self powered.

The 5" woofer and a 1" dome tweeter version is the LSR2325P, around $200 each and the one with an 8" woofer is the LSR2328P at around $300 each. That's within your budget and I think you should consider upgrading to speakers in this class. You could add the matched MSC1 monitor system controller (it enables one to equalize the playback room itself) and LSR2310SP subwoofer at a later date but the speakers alone would be a good starting point for what you can afford now.

http://www.jblpro.co...px?FId=73&MId=5

Set up a good listening environment to do your mixdowns in. A good size living room with the listening position at least six feet away from the wall behind it is a good place to start. The furniture, carpets, drapes, etc. in a nice, comfortable living room serve to provide a reasonable environment for mixdown. The pros are mixing down in remix rooms that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but a nice living room can serve surprisingly well...and has the benefit of that's exactly the way the average person watches and listens to television and DVD/Blu-Ray's. I'd think about setting the speakers up on plumbing PVC pipe poles about 3 or 4 feet off the ground and about 3 feet from the wall. You don't want to jam the speakers up against the wall because that tends to artificially boost the bass. It wouldn't hurt to ask JBL for their advice about speaker placement for that series.

My two cents worth: Take what you like and leave the rest. ;)

An afterthought: Don't throw your crappy speakers away. A lot of people listen to film and video on crappy little speakers and cheap earbuds and it wouldn't hurt to double check any mixdown for minimal intelligibility on junk equipment.
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