Worst Studio Gear That You’ve Owned?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by TravisE, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. rixtertech.com

    rixtertech.com Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    NH, USA
    In order of ascending Annoyance:

    The Alesis 3630 "Compressor". I use the term loosely.

    The MAudio Delta 44 I/O. As others have mentioned, it was a formidable looking ribbon cable and patch box and that was about it. If I could only have found a girl who was impressed by such things... I would have sold it to her.

    Cakewalk "Guitar Studio" This early software DAW was marketed to guitarists as a sort of "Cakewalk Lite" product. I foolishly bought it for sale discount, and found out it had latency that can only be termed "glacial". I kept foolishly hoping Cakewalks famous "Great product support" would kick in and there would be a wonderful update. Never. Not one. Not for as long as I kept that damn thing around did they ever produce so much as a minor patch. I never bought another Cakewalk product, on principle.

    Behringer "Feedback Destroyer". This was a sort of automatic EQ that would supposedly sense and cut frequencies that were causing feedback. Since I was playing a lot of single shows without a soundman in a particularly bad room (300 capacity, shaped like a large horn with very low ceilings and lots of hard reflection, oh dear) it sounded like an idea worth trying. It wasn't. This piece of complete trash was intended more for live performance than studio work, but it certainly was useless for either. In it's "automatic" mode, it needed to be reset every few minutes or it would select and cut frequencies with mad abandon until it just sounded like you were fading away. Well, enough about that. The lights were sort of pretty though.

    Korg D888 an 8 track hard disk amateur-grade DAW. It really would have been pretty good if not for the pres, which were From Hell. They were either off or full on, clipping hard. If you fiddled with them enough you could get them in a sweet spot from which you could use an attached mixer to bring your signal into somewhere near the level you wanted. Maybe. And of course add to the noise floor while you do it. Junk.

    Bottom line: you get what you pay for, sometimes. These were the products that taught me what I should have already known: never be afraid to pay extra for a good pro quality tool.
    Daanh and DeWayne355 like this.
  2. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Member

    Nov 25, 2017
    You know, I am so happy to say that I have never owned any crap recording gear...I was mentored by Aaron Campbell at Rumpel Pickups who is also a pro engineer. His advice and recommendations have enabled me to only make good choices on recording gear. I try to pass it on whenever I can. He saved me thousands of dollars...
  3. mydayisgood

    mydayisgood Member

    Sep 4, 2019
    who knows, some people might like the sound of pure ass
    rockabilly69 likes this.
  4. gm55

    gm55 Member

    Feb 1, 2020
    ISP Decimator Noise Reduction, rack mount and pedal. Brutalizes the very front end of attack no matter the settings.
  5. Dohboy

    Dohboy Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Worst in terms of performance? I once had a pair of cheapo M-Audio monitors where one monitor drove itself and the other monitor via speaker cable. Can't remember the exact model. At any rate, the one with the amp(s) in it melted on my desk. I was sitting there thinking, "I smell plastic burning" and as I'm trying to ascertain where it's coming from, the speaker starts to slump over (for lack of a better description) right before my eyes. Then I saw the flames come out of the tweeter hole and realized it was on fire.

    Worst in terms of value? In 2009 I was building a studio space and wanted to get some nice plug-ins, so I purchased a new TC Powercore 6000 for $2700 and a new SSL Duende PCIe card for $1300. Within 18 months, TC discontinued Powercore and never updated it past Windows 7 32-bit and SSL stopped producing Duende cards and firewire externals, opting instead to offer users software plug-ins. The studio build took longer than expected so by the time the space was ready, both were obsolete. Both only work with 32 bit systems and unless I'm mistaken, only work with XP or Windows 7. What a waste. I could have bought two LA-2A's at that time for $4K. Instead I have two doorstops.
    Captngeetch, Crowder and Badtone like this.
  6. CobaltBlue

    CobaltBlue Member

    May 9, 2012
    Literally laughed out loud.
  7. Peter L

    Peter L Member

    Jan 9, 2020
    The DDA DCM 232 mixing desk; a piece of kit that simply didn't work. Automation which crashed every time it was used and all sorts of earthing issues. Absolute stinker.
  8. rockabilly69

    rockabilly69 Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2008
    Ogden, Utah
    tirekicker :)
    Badtone likes this.
  9. mech

    mech Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    Hong Kong
    Digidesign Sound Tools.

    No, not Pro Tools. But its original predecessor that was released for the Atari ST platform: Sound Tools. And not so much worst purchase for its technical aspects as for the company-related ones.

    Late 80's, and we'd had Sound Tools dedicated on one of our Atari Megas (the Mega 2 ST, IIRC) for 2-track mixdown and editing for about a year or so. Worked great; sounded great. But Digidesign had just released what seemed to be a 4-track version of Sound Tools called Deck, and its initial release was only for Mac. Since we liked Sound Tools so much, I put in a call out to Digidesign's headquarters merely to see if there were any plans for a future port of Deck on the Atari platform. I finally got connected to one of their BD people. After a few minutes talking, he revealed that not only were there no plans for a Deck port, but not to expect further development on Sound Tools either. As the conversation continued, he eventually started berating us on using Atari's then stated, and I quote: "Why don't you just sell that piece of sh*t (referring to the Atari) and buy a REAL computer. (referring to Mac)".

    Now, this was still around that point of time when Apple and Mac's couldn't even so much as work out a MIDI communication standard across different vendors. If you wanted to run Opcode's Vision, for instance, you could only do it by purchasing Opcode's hardware interface. MOTU's software/hardware would only work with their matched software/hardware. And Southworth was same/same, etc., etc... Vendor products were not cross-compatible. Not only were ST's light years beyond this, but even PC's had already succumbed to a common market standard with the success of the MPU interfaces. So calling Atari's a POS in a business conversation was, at that point of time, not only uncalled for but just plain stupid.

    However, this conversation told us two important things: First, that Digidesign had no interest in ongoing and future support for our studio's chosen platform. Second, and just as important, it told us Digidesign was being run by a bunch of arrogant f*ckwits with whom we had no interest in any continuing relationship.

    That next week, we cleaned off all our files and marched our Sound Tools machine down to the local music shop for a trade-in. And to this day, I have not and will not touch any other Digidesign product, Pro Tools included.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020 at 2:48 AM
    Jerry, jmoose and MikeMcK like this.
  10. octatonic

    octatonic Member

    Apr 19, 2009
    Behringer MX8000 24 channel console.
    That thing broke down every week.
    Haven't owned a Behringer product since.
  11. chinstrap

    chinstrap Member

    Sep 1, 2008
    Poofter Froth Wyoming
    Where to begin....

    TC Finalizer....a mastering box that made everything sound like a dull plasticized turd and removed dynamics from everything. The advent of digital drove us to use all glistening black boxes with lcd displays. Within a couple of months I was back to using analog outboard.

    Digidesign Pro Tools- sure , ubiquitous, omnipotent...and arrogant beyond the pale. I literally had a version of PT HD that was “outdated” and incompatible for the Digidesign interface purchased at the same time, 25k in those years dollars, and less than one year old. I was instructed by AVID to ditch the rig and just start over and there would be no “path forward”.... It’s been Steinberg ever since.

    Windows...just shoot yourself. (I was building project studios for customers, and those who weren’t Apple fan boys were always in for a special treat from Microsoft back in the advent of digital recording).

    2nd gen Alesis Adat....we built clear plastic top covers with hinges and racked them on sliding drawers so we could get inside the POS quickly to affect repairs.....

    There’s a novel worth....and strangely my U87 and 1073 combo is still en vogue and all that other stuff is in a landfill contributing to our carbon footprint..
    mech, jmoose, McGTR and 1 other person like this.
  12. Pete Dabell

    Pete Dabell Member

    Aug 14, 2017
    I made some pretty good recordings on my B16? I think with tape, you have to run the signal hot into it? ( always get those meters into the red!)
    Terry McInturff likes this.
  13. AlvenElven

    AlvenElven Member

    Nov 25, 2019
    Many moons ago, I purchased a Tascam 144 USB Interface. Shortly thereafter, when Microsoft released Vista Tascam did not update the driver for the unit. Tascam, of course, released a new Interface available for purchase that is compatible with newer operating systems.
    I highly and emphatically doubt I'll buy any other Tascam product. Besides I have a Focusrite now, anyway. I got it used for 50 USD.
    I suppose its not a big deal considering the equipment I have is pretty impressive compared to what many albums were recorded with; with much more expensive equipment that, according to today's standards, would be considered inferior. But just the thought of buying this unitfrom Tascam, never even using it and it becoming obsolete because a new OS was released always pops up in my head whenever I see the Tascam logo. In the same way when I see that lunch has been prepared I know its time to eat.
    Not technically, but essentially Tascam stole from me.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 7:32 AM
  14. Baskervils

    Baskervils Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    Arturia Beatstep Midi Keyboard - Nothing was mapped with Ableton, so it wasn't really usable unless you went through the tedium of manually doing it. No Thanks. Beautiful looking and a great size, though!

    Owning A Console - I gave it a try. It wasn't worth the hassle for me, especially because I build tracks and mix as I compose. It is much easier to have a summing mixer and get my color with pedals and preamps (and the summing mixer doesn't get used much because I get the sound going in).
    LoudBadRocknRoll likes this.
  15. theRagman

    theRagman Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    Lexicon PCM 92. Sure, it sounded great, but it had the most nonintuitive, perplexing UI I've ever encountered, so I could never actually get what I wanted out of it in a timely fashion.

    I've had some crappy budget gear, but nothing that was appalling or unusable given its price point. That Lexicon, though... Ugh.
  16. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Jersey shore
    Almost forgot... Arturia KeyLab 49. No, not a ton of money down the tubes, but soon after I got it (for recording only... I'm no keyboard player) one of the keys popped up so it stayed about 1/4" above the rest of them and stopped working. I remember being told that something must have fallen on it, and that physical accidents weren't the company's responsibility.

    I actually agreed, because who ever heard of a fairly new consumer keyboard just breaking on its own like that? Then another key did the same thing, so I went online and found tons of pictures of KeyLabs with the same problem... usually on a 'C' key for some reason.
    Baskervils likes this.
  17. GMGM

    GMGM Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    Another vote for ADAT XT.

    Once upon a time, I was recording to an 8-track reel-to-reel.

    Then I "upgraded" to a pair of blackface Alesis ADAT's. Didn't sound as good as the old tape deck, but I had 16 tracks and they were fairly solid/reliable. (at least as reliable as the 8-track tape machine).

    Then I figured it was time to "upgrade" again to three ADAT XT's. Within a year I had to buy a 4th machine, because the others would take turns breaking down. And I'd already been spoiled by having 24 tracks. Thank god I got out of the ADAT game altogether, I do not miss that technology.

    I think someone else mentioned the Alesis 3630. This was never meant to be high-end equipment, but I always liked the functionality/layout. And if you were handy with a soldering iron, they were easy to modify. If you'd take the time to swap out a handful of components, they were pretty great IMO. I'll never understand why Alesis (or any manufacturer) doesn't just the extra $3 for better parts and do it right from the get go.
    russ6100 and jmoose like this.
  18. Badtone

    Badtone Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    Kerrville, Texas
    I agree with this completely. Way back when I thought it would be awesome to have a mastering box at home, so I got one of these and proceeded to hear it destroy everything I put in it. Maybe it can be tweaked to act in a beneficial manner but enough was enough. I still have it in my rack as a reminder; to parahrase the Hippocratic oath, "first do no harm".
    Crowder likes this.
  19. LoudBadRocknRoll

    LoudBadRocknRoll Member

    Dec 11, 2016
    I have a Mackie Onyx 1602 (or 1620, I forget). Nice board. The Fireface digital interface on that board sounds like *ss. Also, the drivers were buggy as well and Mackie stopped supporting it a week after it was released (figuratively). Mackie analog? It's fine. Mackie digital? Avoid.
  20. Pete Cage

    Pete Cage Member

    Apr 25, 2002
    Damascus, MD
    Ampex 456 tape (eventually.) :mad:
    jmoose and Badtone like this.

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