Your 2019 in gear: What'd you get? What'd you sell?

  • I completely disagree on the “for the price” comment personally... the amp flat out SMOKES a lot of high gain stuff out there. Under a mic especially with good IR’s you would never know it’s “only 15 watts... or rated at 15 watts anyways. Has PLENTY of thump and power, the best deal on the high gain market by far in my opinion... it’s been used on some records lately, including the new Whitechapel blended in with a dual recto rev F through a driftwood power amp and Fortin blade pedal... that’s some heavy company... the amp flat out smokes, period. Regardless of price point.


    I am sorely tempted. Thing is, I would have to pay more for the Archon, so the MT15 is really tempting at the moment. Of course, you know what they say about buying twice. That Archon 25 was insane, I even liked it more than the 50 watt one. One of the most brutal amps I've ever owned. I part traded it away for a Mayones, and that's a sick guitar and another story. That Archon calls out to me every time I see it in the local gear classifieds though.


    You are aware that the MT15 and Archon are both PRS amps, right? Its not like I am comparing a Fender delux to an Epiphone practice amp. I was comparing an American made PRS amp to an imported PRS amp. Not only are they both PRS amps but the MT15s gain channel is reported to be modeled after the Archon as well. I was not making as blind assumption about either of these amps, I have owned them both and within the last year. My opinion was not based on their country of origin but of my own experience. I have played them, heard them, opened them, and poked around inside them.


    IF you have had a different experience buying things from China, good for you. I have yet to see a quality guitar or amp come out of China (except the MT15).


    I've heard a lot of good things about the MT15, place of manufacture notwithstanding. But it is really helpful that you think the Archon outshined the MT15. The one I had was really badass, I am sorely tempted to get it back. Of course, once I do, I may remember why I was okay with getting rid of it in the first place haha

  • I am sorely tempted. Thing is, I would have to pay more for the Archon, so the MT15 is really tempting at the moment. Of course, you know what they say about buying twice. That Archon 25 was insane, I even liked it more than the 50 watt one. One of the most brutal amps I've ever owned. I part traded it away for a Mayones, and that's a sick guitar and another story. That Archon calls out to me every time I see it in the local gear classifieds though.



    I've heard a lot of good things about the MT15, place of manufacture notwithstanding. But it is really helpful that you think the Archon outshined the MT15. The one I had was really badass, I am sorely tempted to get it back. Of course, once I do, I may remember why I was okay with getting rid of it in the first place haha

    Now I should say that I only sold the Archon because I had a chance to get the Kemper stage. I also only let the MT15 go because I had the chance to pick up the Archon. I did make sure that I profiled the Archon before I sold but I do miss that one, not the weight, the amp. Now that I own my house, I wouldn't mind the MT15 again either.

  • Built? Woah!

    Yeah, Alan is one of my heroes given that my friends do their best to keep me away from woodworking tools and other sharp objects.


    The closest I ever got to that level was stripping the white paint off an SG back in the 70s (it was pretty beat up looking) and staining the wood. Man, I thought I'd never get that freakin' paint off. No more of that stuff for me!

  • Luna looks online like a console, but there is a hint of tape. I can't imagine it being a DAW. Maybe, like Slate, just a console with tape flavor (or as some say, like the Harrison daw, which I liked the sound of, but when I used it, very unstable. Wonder if it's better these day. I'll have to revisit it when I'm bored)


    But as for UAD, I can't get my Apollo to allow a Demo of a plugin. My satellite will, but not the apollo. They tell me to either destroy and redo my studio computer (not gonna happen) or send it in for $300+ (not gonna happen)


    I'll keep the Satellite, and perhaps the Apollo for now since it works, but I'll be looking for an alternative Audio Interface. There is no way Hardware is supposed to fail to recognize software, the main reason for that hardware to exist (DSP plugins) Major fail. I've had other UAD hardware fail (three UAD1's, two LA-610s) so they just don't make good hardware IMO beyond the major ones, ie LA2A, 1176, 6176. But for that price, they ought to. They're starting to remind me of Warm Audio in that regard. Great sounding, but lacking in physical reliability long-term. For me, not even that. I barely make 5 songs a year. Prob haven't put 20 hours on this particular Apollo. And it worked on demos until the previous UAD update software.


    I'm keeping my eyes out. MonkeyMan will spam me with MOTU wonders, no doubt, haha. I need something with at least 2 XLR IN, 6-8 Line IN, at least 6 OUT so I can do 2 monitors and a subwoofer. Plus one each at least of SPDIF and ADAT. Doesn't have to have MIDI. A company with a good history, and decent mix software that isn't a bear on the learning curve.

  • MonkeyMan will spam me with MOTU wonders, no doubt, haha.

    You read my mind, Brother Dennis. :D


    As you've no doubt heard me say, there's a flavour for every occasion; just take a gander, mate:


    MOTU.com - Products


    You would've heard me bang on about quality, so you should know that you won't be compromising fidelity if switching from UAD.


    As for replacing your fave DSP-powered plugins, IMHO there're many high-quality native options out there. I often recommend Plugin Alliance:


    All Plugins & Products - Plugin Alliance


    Of course, some of the Brainworx UAD plugins have already been offered as native options, with more to follow I reckon. Quality and features have been bit-identical thus far, apparently.

  • But as for UAD, I can't get my Apollo to allow a Demo of a plugin. My satellite will, but not the apollo. They tell me to either destroy and redo my studio computer (not gonna happen) or send it in for $300+ (not gonna happen)


    I'll keep the Satellite, and perhaps the Apollo for now since it works, but I'll be looking for an alternative Audio Interface. There is no way Hardware is supposed to fail to recognize software, the main reason for that hardware to exist (DSP plugins) Major fail. I've had other UAD hardware fail (three UAD1's, two LA-610s) so they just don't make good hardware IMO beyond the major ones, ie LA2A, 1176, 6176. But for that price, they ought to. They're starting to remind me of Warm Audio in that regard. Great sounding, but lacking in physical reliability long-term. For me, not even that. I barely make 5 songs a year. Prob haven't put 20 hours on this particular Apollo. And it worked on demos until the previous UAD update software.

    That's a crazy amount of hardware failure. I wonder why that happened.


    What's with the inability to try out demo versions? Have they all been activated at some point of time by accident?


    I've been toying with the idea of getting a 6176, but can't really justify it.

  • I can't justify the 6176, but bought one, none-the-less. More as a backup preamp on the one side, b/c what I needed was the 1176 and this was essentially almost the same price. But I would go with a BAE 1073 married to a WA-2A and stick an NOS tube in there (I think 12AX7WA is the biggie in terms of bang-for-buck sound upgrade)


    If/when replacing the Apollo, I'd keep the Satellite just to keep the plugins. No way to really recoup much on the plugins. Maybe $600-1000 for what would easily be 4x that, cheapening everyday they make news ones and offer the olds ones dirt cheap in comparison.


    There's only a few that are truly good. The Neve is good but I got that covered. The Lexicons are top notch in plugin-land. Truly all you need is the 480L IMO.


    Oh, OK, I'll give MOTU a serious gander! And checkout plugin alliance. Not familiar.


    As for the Demo's and activation, no. When you buy one, they all reset. So with the Apollo attached, they all say "expired". With the Satellite, some are, some aren't, depending on which I demo'd this past year. When I bought 2 plugins, the Satellite showed them ALL to be able to be demo'd. The Apollo still showed them all to be expired. Same result on the iMac and the MacBook Pro.


    First, they wanted me to destroy the studio on my computer. I had a few curses for that idea. Said it's across multiple computers.

    THEN they said it's hardware since the Apollo is doing it on both computers. I just told them that it RUNS the paid-for plugins, and shows them authorized. Just won'd authorize the demo's. That's CLEARLY not a "hardware" issue. It's the software inside the hardware. Something maybe flashable.


    They won't tell me if they've seen this on other units. They say it's $75 plus an auto ability to do up to $200 more in work, then they'll contact you if it's more, plus parts. I said "I'd rather buy another interface if it's going to cost that" and they said it could just be $75. But then I'd be without the unit for 1-2 weeks. It works on the plugins and as an interface. Just won't demo new ones. So I just can't check out their demo's on a nice sounding audio interface. (have to use computer's audio chip to demo them) So not worth the money, or the hassle. It's forcing me NOT to buy more plugins, then I go and buy more. I'm an idiot. Well, I thought it wasn't a hardware things, just an easy software reinstall or something.


    Thanks for the advice!

  • 1248 is good. I have one in my studio along with the 24ai.

    Problem with the new MOTU stuff is that the first 1248 died (they sent me a new one). Now, the 24ai is dead too and needs replacing.

    The power supplies on these seem pretty bad. Especially for the money.
    The routing software is a bit weird too. The signal flow comes from the top of the app for the inputs then goes left to the outputs. Really weird for me to get my head around a signal flow not just going left to right.
    Another strange thing is that the app runs in a web browser. So, while you think you are safely pressing save in the app thinking you have a backup, that is only saving it into the current preset in the actual hardware. There is another menu to specifically export the settings and routings. Has to be done per unit too. This caught me out when the first 1248 died and it turned out I didn’t have a backup when I thought I did.
    MOTU eventually got the original to boot and sent me the file but that was two weeks later when I already had the new one up and running with the routing painstakingly setup again the way I had it.
    I love MOTU AVB the units but I wish they would sort out the power supply problems.

  • To make a more serious post: I actually sold most of my guitar gear and guitars. Felt some need to offload most things. Instead, I got 2 PRS Korean guitars: one is a zack Myers signature and the other a multifoil style rainbow pupe custom 24. That’s without substantial experience with such guitars and also previous guitars being quite radically different, from fret size to radius, to scale length, to bridges, to you-name-it.


    Weirdly enough it’s been a big success. Somehow PRS designs clicked with me big time. The only issue is too small frets, but I’m managing before stainless refrets. And also maybe I can’t quite play as fast as I did on my ESP-LTD guitars. Can’t say this bothers me too much though as playing as fancy as I can is not really something that interests me nearly as much. If anything, I almost feel like slowing down more has helped my musicality. A forum member has also helped me on that end.


    Lack of Floyd Rose has been an issue though I’d say. Which means a third guitar should soon enough come in. Lesson for 2019 for me has been to keep things as minimal as needs allow and care as little as possible about gear in general, to be frank, unless there’s an important need (till tomorrow perhaps). It’s just that there’s a lot of expressive things I can’t do without a Floyd or floating bridge.


    Cheerios

  • And another bonanza of 2019: giving away (new, haha) strings packs I had and buying daddario “balanced tension” sets of 9s. While this doesn’t sound exactly like a “gear acquisition”, these strings have come to be the only ones I use, at this point. Having more balanced tension for bends on high strings has meant my technique can be more even (my normal set = high E had considerably more tension than B). And even the low strings haven’t been an issue as I’ve relaxed my picking too. Such string sets is something I wish I knew about earlier on for sure.

  • The power supplies on these seem pretty bad. Especially for the money.

    I've been following the mega thread at GS since the AVB line's initial release (133 pages since July 2014), and I can't remember having seen any reported power-supply failures, Vinny. I can't help but wonder if you've neglected to leave 1U-sized empty spaces above and below your units in the rack/s.


    I remember back in the day MOTU recommended this for its 24I/O units, which ran hot due to the 48 AD / DA convertors on board, and your 24ai apparently runs even-hotter. If your room is warmish and you haven't left these spaces, I'd say there's a good chance you've created an outside-spec environment internally.

    The routing software is a bit weird too. The signal flow comes from the top of the app for the inputs then goes left to the outputs. Really weird for me to get my head around a signal flow not just going left to right.

    Apparently once one has one's head around it, it's simple to set up and leave untouched, Vinny.


    It might help to think of it as a sophisticated patch bay. As Lady Gaia at GS said:


    Most signals go through the matrix twice. Once from a physical input to a mixer input, and a second time from a mixer output to a physical output.


    In your setup all your sources, such as analog and digital inputs plus your “from computer” inputs, should be connected to mixer inputs “In 1” through however many you need to accommodate every channel you use at once. That gets everything into the mixer where you can blend signals to taste without touching the matrix.


    Then your “Main L/R” and “Monitor L/R” sources should be connected to your analog 1/2 outputs and headphone outputs, respectively. Now you can hear everything coming out of the mixer through the main outputs, and the headphones will be identical until you solo something, which is what causes the monitor mix to diverge from the mains.


    Once you have this in place you can start thinking about using other analog outs as sends from aux or group busses.


    HTH, mate, although I suspect you've figured this stuff out already. Nevertheless, it sometimes helps to hear someone else's method of explaining it.

  • Yes, a 1u gap above and below each unit. Before I was using these, I was used to my Focusrite ISA 828 and ISA 220 in my studio rack and those created at least twice as much heat as the MOTU could dream of putting out. So, ever since the Focusrite were in there, I have always used a 1u space above and below.

    All powered from a Furman too.
    I got used to the routing after one week one of owning the AVB units and I had the 1248 since first released. Still hate the routing though. 😂

    I much prefer the old MOTU routing programs. Been using them pretty much since the late 90’s. Have had a couple of other things in there like an Apogee Ensemble over the years. Must have owned over 10 MOTU interfaces though.
    828 mk2 never lasted long either.
    At least in the uk, when sent back to the distributor out of warranty, they send you a brand new unit for £110 or thereabouts. I think it might be the UK voltage that fucks them up.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like the units. That is why I have kept them. I also like MOTU which is why I have had so many of their units over the years. 😊

  • Awesome, Vinny. ;)


    Seems you did the RT; that 1U gap is something I swear by for warmer gear too. Based on my observations of the line's users these past 6 years, I can only conclude that you were very-unlucky, you poor bugger.


    I too loved CueMix's simple approach - a mix layer for each output pair on your interface/s. So quick-and-handy. MOTU's gone the whole hog with the new system 'though, and I reckon it's due to the huge networking (and resulting channel counts and complexities) abilities of the AVB line. Overkill for we mere home-studio types for the most part IMHO, but I can see why the company went this way - it'd have had to offer two separate apps in order to satisfy both those with simple needs as well as the heavy-hitters.

  • Awesome, Vinny. ;)


    Seems you did the RT; that 1U gap is something I swear by for warmer gear too. Based on my observations of the line's users these past 6 years, I can only conclude that you were very-unlucky, you poor bugger.


    I too loved CueMix's simple approach - a mix layer for each output pair on your interface/s. So quick-and-handy. MOTU's gone the whole hog with the new system 'though, and I reckon it's due to the huge networking (and resulting channel counts and complexities) abilities of the AVB line. Overkill for we mere home-studio types for the most part IMHO, but I can see why the company went this way - it'd have had to offer two separate apps in order to satisfy both those with simple needs as well as the heavy-hitters.

    I kind of wish they would go the whole hog with AVB as an updated line for their midi interfaces.
    I have a few of my favourite synth things in my little control room run from a MOTU Express 128 over usb but I also have synths in my live room hooked up to a MOTU Midi Express XT USB for writing in there and it would be great to be able to just send an Ethernet through my wall boxes and trigger the synths in there via an AVB unit.

    They seem to have everything else figured out over AVB. Surely that must be coming eventually.

  • They seem to have everything else figured out over AVB. Surely that must be coming eventually.

    Perhaps, mate. :/


    I swear by (but never at) the MIDI Express XT units - got 2 of them and an Express 128 as a spare for emergencies, so... same two units as you. 8o