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Help me buy my son a $750 studio
Old 11th September 2015
  #1
Gear Head
 
UncleCharlie's Avatar
 

Help me buy my son a $750 studio

I don't do music these days, but surprise, my ninth grade son is in choir and has been told he's the best in his class. Its only natural I invest in his talent.
So far I've gotten a new loaded laptop and Sonar artist. What I'm looking for now are recommendations on a mic, interface and headphones with a $750 budget. I have an old Sweetwater credit card and don't want to use more than that.
Some mic options I've been considering are the sm7b, se2200, nt1 and at4040. Interface options are a scarlett solo if I want to go budget or the Tascam uh7000 which really has my curiosity. Headphones are no biggie, there's quite a few, srh440, akg k240 or athm40x, that should be fine, but it needs to be in the budget.
All advice would be greatly appreciated!!
Old 12th September 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

You can find a TLM 102 on eBay easily for $500 or less. Killer for the money. Put that into a Steinberg UR22 or Focusrite 2i2. Headphones are personal. Mine are half the budget but I use them more than anything so it's worth it for me.

Cheers.
Old 12th September 2015
  #3
Gear Head
 
UncleCharlie's Avatar
 

So one of the reasons I was considering the Tascam was all the reviews were going on about how stellar the pre amps, conversion and headphone amps were, making it sound like a really superb interface. Do you think I should go with that piece and a more budget mic, or go Focusrite solo for cheap and spend most of the money on a higher end mic?
Old 12th September 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I think you should get the better mic for sure. He's in choir. Accentuate his voice first. I sold a higher end interface to get a better mic. It improved my chain much more.
Old 12th September 2015
  #5
Gear Addict
studio

I think the sm7 is a good mic for the money but doesn't work on every voice just saying. the tascam is a good choice money wise 3u audio on ebay makes some great cheap mics trouble is not all mic work on all voices even the great vintage mics will not work on all voice try em if u can but 3u audio has 3 voicing switch for different things my 2 cents
Old 12th September 2015
  #6
Gear Addict
studio

I think the sm7 is a good mic for the money but doesn't work on every voice just saying. the tascam is a good choice money wise
trouble is not all mic work on all voices even the great vintage mics will not work on all voice try em if u can but 3u audio has 3 voicing switch kinda 3 mics in one. They sound great for the money and made with quality parts new company but nice mics
Old 12th September 2015
  #7
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Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 

You might get a pair of CAD M179 mics. They have switchable patterns so you can try different stereo configs (Blumlein, Mid-Side, ORTF) while recording, which will be very useful if you record the whole choir.

For interface, I'd get a used, smaller Focusrite Saffire. They are good gear for the cash.

Headphones - I have no idea.
Old 12th September 2015
  #8
ADK TT, and a Beyerdynamic dt770
Old 12th September 2015
  #9
Gear Head
Michael Joly modded mics have a good reputation and are pretty affordable used on Ebay or the GS classifieds. They seem to pop up regularly for around $300 and to have stellar reviews. Hopefully someone can confirm their suitability for your needs.
Old 12th September 2015
  #10
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zak7's Avatar
 

$300 M Joly Mic
Audient Interface ID14 with 2 mic pres... $299
M50 Audio Technica headphone $100
Old 12th September 2015
  #11
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BrianVengeance's Avatar
 

As others have mentioned, put more money in the mic. Recording quality basically starts from the walls and works its way in (room, mic, preamp, conversion, etc) with performance trumping all. Mics are a pretty subjective thing when it comes to voices, so if you can, I'd rent an hour or two at a studio and have the engineer hang up a few different staple mics within your budget for testing. The money you spend there will be worth more than a mic that was blindly purchased. Regarding preamps and conversion, use the remainder to get the best you can after you sort out the microphone - it will make an impact, but far less than the microphone on his voice.

Practically speaking, from what you've listed, if I had to blindly hang a mic in front of someone I'd go with the AT4040 or the SM7B first, depending on the room. If it was treated, the AT, if not the SM7B. Dynamics are far more forgiving of less than stellar rooms. Certainly not saying there is anything wrong with the SE2200 or NT1, I'm just more familiar with the latter.

Regarding headphones, don't sweat this too much. Get a reasonably reputable brand and you'll be fine - regardless of what is picked, can't escape learning how they translate.

Aside from that, buy used if you can and save some coin. Lurk on eBay and let the deals come to you. Good luck!
Old 12th September 2015
  #12
ndc
Gear Nut
 

I will pitch in with my 2c for a vote on the sE 2200a. Awesome sounding mic. I have done A/B comparisons between this and a few Neumanns (TLM 102, 103, TLM67) and the sE held its own exceptionally well. The TLM67 was a totally different beast, much darker/vintage sounding but versus the TLM102/103 the 2200 was very close and in some cases even more pleasing than the Neumanns.

The 2200 handles dynamics well, has a high-end sheen/sparkle but not harshness like the Rode NT1a (which I also own) has. Very smooth sound overall with just a little bit of high end sparkle to liven things up. I love it on vocals and acoustic guitar. Not to mention it was used for an Amy Winehouse album so it has some legacy within the professional world.

To summarize the overall character of the 2200a: Smooth bass and mids, natural in-the-room kind of sound, sparkle at 12khz+.

The Neumann TLM microphones had a slightly more present sound, more "breathy" frequencies around 3-5khz and a comparatively more subdued top end. Worth the price difference? Only if his voice really sounds better on the TLM.

Last edited by ndc; 12th September 2015 at 05:08 AM..
Old 12th September 2015
  #13
Gear Head
 
UncleCharlie's Avatar
 

Just curious, not really the route I was going, but, what about the cheapo Focusrite Solo Studio Bundle for 250? They seem to go for about $200 on ebay, would it be worth the price or would the only thing of value be the interface?
Old 12th September 2015
  #14
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nyandres's Avatar
I want to suggest the Apogee One (the new version), and along a cheap but excellent mic like the Warbler I (these are really outstanding and surprisingly only $200).

This is the also excellent older version of the Apogee one Help me buy my son a 0 studioApogee One USB Audio Interface | eBay (crazy discounted, but have no idea on the condition. Guy claims it works)

With a combination like that, you can invest the rest in room treatment, which will contribute a lot to the clarity of the vocal takes. In craigslist I see GIK acoustic panels every now and then.

I suggest not to buy new unless you need to. The only stuff that makes sense to buy new are computers, and phones which improve in quality massively with each release.
Old 12th September 2015
  #15
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BrianVengeance's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleCharlie View Post
Just curious, not really the route I was going, but, what about the cheapo Focusrite Solo Studio Bundle for 250? They seem to go for about $200 on ebay, would it be worth the price or would the only thing of value be the interface?
The Scarlett interfaces are actually pretty good for the price, and if you don't have the other bits of kit it could be a decent kickstart. Can't say much from experience for the mic or headphones, but they'll probably do just fine until you recognize they don't. By that time you'll also probably know if you / your son wants to stick with recording as a hobby and it will be worth investing more on better or different gear. and the space to do it in.

Besides, if you get the recording bug, you'll be back and spending more money anyways.
Old 12th September 2015
  #16
Gear Head
 
UncleCharlie's Avatar
 

Yes I thought about the old itch lol, I only considered the Scarlett bundle because there was one on ebay which sold for $94 last night, unfortunately I was outbid at the last second.
Here's what I'm leaning toward at the moment:

First choices: Se 2200a ii c condensor mic and the Tascam UH7000 interface.
I absolutely love the UH7000 design and it seems to be among the best in the sub $400 range, I could maybe find one on ebay for $350. The Se 2200a ii c I haven't heard, but I've read a lot of good reviews and gotten feedback from long time sources who like it.

Second choices: Tie between Bluebird and AT4040 microphones, as well as the Audient iD14 interface. I've used the Bluebird and I liked it on my voice, however since it's primarily for him, I've been told the AT4040 (and the se 2200) are much more suited as workhorse mics which will work better on multiple sources. The Audient may be the interface I end up with because of the $100 difference. While I like the design of the UH7000 better, the Audient seems to be on par as far as quality goes.

Who knows though, maybe I'll just go budget and grab a Scarlett solo, AT2020, and a pair of SRH440 headphones (which will probably be the headphones I get regardless). I'm currently searching ebay for deals and may call up a dealer or two to see if someone can get me the desired items for a great bundles price.
Old 12th September 2015
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Daw, mixcraft is garageband for pc & will work for even a zombie.

Monitors alone can be $750 a piece, so maybe headphones for now. Monitors that are like $200 a pair is really just wasting money and will have to be replaced. Headph's sony mdr-7506 are about $100. Sony mdr-v6's are a bit cheaper and a close relative of the 7506.

I don't see a problem w/ the interfaces like the UH you listed.

Cables, I use pro-co from swtwtr. For a 10' cord, they are like $20 each and a decent quality.

I think a condenser mic suits vocals better, but I am mic dumb. I did ser some usb condenser mics for $1-200, wonder if you could use this straight into the computer with the headphones straight into the computer and call it a day and just skip the audio interface.

At this point it seems like you just need to get the job done and testing the level of interest at the same time so you are not spending a pile of money on something that will be abandoned after a few uses. So maybe headph's and a usb mic for a couple of hundred bux is the way to go. Then upgrade if the person really gets into it and NEEDS more equipment to get better results and more work done.

Last edited by rimisrandma; 13th September 2015 at 12:14 AM..
Old 13th September 2015
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Also, idk if fl-studios fruity loops allows you to record from a mic or which version may allow you to, but some beats & rhythm would be a breeze to lay down and track his vocal on top. When I was shopping DAW's the first thing that puts you off if it is too complicated to use. Mixcraft and fruity loops are probably the easiest to get going with. I bought s1v2, and it's decent too, but I still like Garageband(MAC)/Mixcraft(PC) as a mean get things done machine that's just plain easy to use and you can get good sounding stuff out of. Maybe get it in addition to Sonar in case put off unintentionally the same way.
Old 13th September 2015
  #19
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyandres View Post
...and along a cheap but excellent mic like the Warbler I (these are really outstanding and surprisingly only $200).
...if you're looking for an exceptional vocal for under $300, I'd recommend checking out this thread...the 3U Audio Warbler-series LDC mics ($270 shipped) are markedly superior to the other options you're considering...even the 3U Teal CM-1 ($125 shipped) is quite impressive, so it may be worth your time to consider these:

Affordable LDC Microphone With Multiple Voicings

Last edited by kidvybes; 13th September 2015 at 04:00 AM..
Old 13th September 2015
  #20
JAT
Lives for gear
The UH-7000 is a really nice piece of kit. Great preamps, better converters. $375. The Joly Hulk was going for $400 or so. I haven't used it but if it is nearly as good as the OK 319 mod you'll have a great mike without a strident high-end.
Old 13th September 2015
  #21
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jaxman12's Avatar
I replaced my M-Audio C600 Audio interface last year with a Focusrite Saffire 18i20. After consulting with Cakewalk Tech Support, they said that the Focusrite Saffire Series worked very well with no known problems with Sonar.

As far as a mic for your son, a lot will depend on the environment he will be singing. Will he be singing live with a band? If so, a dynamic mic like a Shure SM58 BetaA may be a better choice. If he will be singing in a controlled environment like a home studio away from drums, maybe in a closet or separate room, then a condenser mic would be better. They pickup every little sound in the room. The AT4040 is a very good mic.

Headphones, the AT MX40 is a good headphone. Later on you should get some decent monitors like the JBL LSR 308 series or the Yamaha HS8
Old 13th September 2015
  #22
Lives for gear
 

how about a focusrite 2i2 some akg 240s that leaves 500 for a Mic and a pop filter and stand I'd recommenced something like a cad trion 8000 or a used rode k2 you want different polar patterns if you only have 1 mic or a rode nt2a kit

the reason for the 212 is it comes with all the plugins you need out of the box and I'd switch the daw to reaper very easy to use and tons of plugins to get you started more bang for the buck then others.

Help me buy my son a 0 studiohttp://www.ebay.com/itm/Rode-NT2-A-S...item3d02d732e7

Last edited by doulos30; 13th September 2015 at 05:44 AM..
Old 13th September 2015
  #23
check out 3u Microphones.
Also, the Stellar CM-6.

I'm a male vocalist and i've tried out almost every Condenser microphone under 500 bucks and the CM-6 fared really really well.
If vocals is what you want, get that.

i made the mistake of buying a microphone like the At4040 and i have to tell you, for a noob in sound engineering, relatively honest microphones like that can be quite uninspiring/demotivating as you really need to know how to mix properly to deal with microphones like that.

the CM-6 sounds great to boot with minimal corrective EQ required to sound decent.
Old 13th September 2015
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleCharlie View Post
I don't do music these days, but surprise, my ninth grade son is in choir and has been told he's the best in his class. Its only natural I invest in his talent.
So far I've gotten a new loaded laptop and Sonar artist. What I'm looking for now are recommendations on a mic, interface and headphones with a $750 budget. I have an old Sweetwater credit card and don't want to use more than that.
Some mic options I've been considering are the sm7b, se2200, nt1 and at4040. Interface options are a scarlett solo if I want to go budget or the Tascam uh7000 which really has my curiosity. Headphones are no biggie, there's quite a few, srh440, akg k240 or athm40x, that should be fine, but it needs to be in the budget.
All advice would be greatly appreciated!!
Well, my opinions on these things have changed so drastically. For instance, I have mics that cost thousands of dollars, custom made and otherwise. My most commonly used mic at the moment is an AKG Perception 150 that I picked up for $49 at Sweetwater as it was being discontinued. Of course it wouldn't sound nearly the same if I weren't running it through another cheapie, the Art Pro MPA II. I thought the Art was interesting when I first bought it, but then I spent almost as much for a pair of genuine NOS Telefunken red tip tubes, and now you'd have to pry the thing out of my cold dead fingers. It works fantastically with that cheap condenser mic, smoothing out any trace of sibilance. Honestly, you would have to hear it to believe it. Voice, instruments, whatever, all sound great. Another cheapie goto piece for me is my little Onyx 820i mixer. The pres on it are okay, but just as a mixer and monitor controller I find it extremely good and well thought out. My headphones, with which I am completely satisfied are the AKG K271, which are especially good for the recording artist. Very comfy, good isolation, I know what to expect, etc., they just work. As for interfaces, there are so many from which to choose. I wouldn't use the Mackie as others are noticeably better. I think Focusrite and MOTU give you a lot of bang for the buck, but there are so many others that I'm sure are fine. One thing to think about, most budget interfaces digitize your signal, mix it with other streams digitally then convert it back to analog for your monitor. This leads to all manner of trouble, and in my opinion should be outlawed by an act of congress. Really, it sucks. Latency, phase problems with the ambient sound, digital artifacts. I will never monitor that way again. The easiest way out is to monitor through a little mixer and record through another line. Of course, there are interfaces with all analog monitoring, but I don't know of one in your price range. Anyhow, the point of all this tirade is that people make fantastic music with cheap stuff. You have to work with what you have. I love a Shure 58. Not perfect, but really good, extremely dependable and used by famous people all over the world. Forget also all the informed opinions about it has to be this or that, large diaphragm, whatever. The whole signal chain and the environment in which you are recording all contribute. I would say that the latter is next to the most important, the very most important being practice getting the best out of what you have. I would suggest to get him some decent, well regarded budget items and let him experiment to find out how to use it. Apple Logic is a very thorough DAW, though I personally use Studio One as I find it simpler and more elegant.
Old 13th September 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Fast_Fingers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleCharlie View Post
I don't do music these days, but surprise, my ninth grade son is in choir and has been told he's the best in his class. Its only natural I invest in his talent.
So far I've gotten a new loaded laptop and Sonar artist. What I'm looking for now are recommendations on a mic, interface and headphones with a $750 budget. I have an old Sweetwater credit card and don't want to use more than that.
Some mic options I've been considering are the sm7b, se2200, nt1 and at4040. Interface options are a scarlett solo if I want to go budget or the Tascam uh7000 which really has my curiosity. Headphones are no biggie, there's quite a few, srh440, akg k240 or athm40x, that should be fine, but it needs to be in the budget.
All advice would be greatly appreciated!!
Scarlett Solo: $99.
ADK Odin: Help me buy my son a 0 studio$175 used.
Monoprice headphones:$25 or so after shipping.
Yahama HS5 and cables combo: $400.

Monitors are more important to figure out if a sound is good. There should be enough money for Reaper.
Old 13th September 2015
  #26
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleCharlie View Post
I don't do music these days, but surprise, my ninth grade son is in choir and has been told he's the best in his class. Its only natural I invest in his talent.
So far I've gotten a new loaded laptop and Sonar artist. What I'm looking for now are recommendations on a mic, interface and headphones with a $750 budget. I have an old Sweetwater credit card and don't want to use more than that.
Some mic options I've been considering are the sm7b, se2200, nt1 and at4040. Interface options are a scarlett solo if I want to go budget or the Tascam uh7000 which really has my curiosity. Headphones are no biggie, there's quite a few, srh440, akg k240 or athm40x, that should be fine, but it needs to be in the budget.
All advice would be greatly appreciated!!
Been thinking about this. Let me strongly suggest that the most important thing to develop as a musician is to be able to monitor oneself through headphones. The single most useful (and fun) piece of gear in that regard is a decent mixer. Then it is very easy to sing or play along with your cds or tuner, etc. There is also room to grow, should you add say a stand alone reverb, which is a great investment, and many mixers have built-in effects too. The Onyx 820i records through firewire, which may not work out for you. There are also USB mixers available. Check out A&H. The ability to monitor in the analog realm with real knobs is priceless. As for mics. I think all Shure mics are all really good. Pick up anything recommended for vocals and you can't go wrong. The best place I have found for purchasing Shure mics is Northern Sound and Light--fantastic prices.
Old 13th September 2015
  #27
Lives for gear
 

I give up, why are you and most here intent on overkill? A Shure M58 is $100, a quality AI you can get for similar. Toss in a very good pair of headphones for similar. Are you expecting him to suddenly "turn pro" or something? If you spend more than about $300ish IMO you overpaid. By a lot.
Old 13th September 2015
  #28
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wakestyle's Avatar
without a doubt a RME babyface would be a great interface for him - also easily portable for remote sessions. A bit high on the price but hey...
Old 13th September 2015
  #29
SM7b is a great choice, basic interface like that is great, a cheap pop filter, some headphones and a pair of used Yamaha monitors and that's a great little studio. Splurge on a couple slices of OC703 and mount them in a corner for instant vocal booth on the cheap.
Old 13th September 2015
  #30
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

...SM7B love is over-rated...just my .02c...
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