The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
New Studio Setup - Under $15k
Old 18th September 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

New Studio Setup - Under $15k

I did music production as a hobby 10+ years ago but stopped and am now looking to get back into it for fun.

I know how to use Pro Tools but have not kept up with developments in gear over the last decade.

I'd like to start a home studio and would love to have you guys critique my thought process and buying list.

I'd like to spend less than $15k in total.

I'm interested in buying items that I can buy once and not have to worry about upgrading later.

Music would be in the pop, rock, and electronic realms. I would be recording vocals, guitar, and keyboard. No drums or live bands.

I currently have:
  • Korg Kronos 88
  • Two Yamaha HS7s
  • 1 Large Computer Monitor
  • Acoustic and Electric Guitar
  • Some 1/4 inch cables

Here is what I had come up with for gear I need:
  • ThinkPad Extreme Generation 2 ($3,747.80)
    - 2.30 GHz, 8 Core (Better to have higher clock speed or more cores for Pro Tools / Ableton / plugins?)
    - 64 GB of RAM
    - 1 TB SSD (perhaps makes sense to go lower and buy a separate drive for cheaper?)
    - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q 4GB
    - I'd like the option to be able to turn this into a hackintosh to use Logic at some point if that's doable - not sure whether the specs align
  • Pro Tools ($599 for perpetual)

  • Ableton Live ($749)

  • Audio Interface (budgeting $1,200)
    - I want something that has at least one XLR for vocals and two 1/4 inch inputs. I hear good things about Apollo but would like your take on whether it's better to just get a straight interface without the DSP stuff - and if so what interface is recommended?
  • Plugins (budgeting $1k for this)
    - I know Pro Tools doesn't have great plugins off the rack so I'd like to have a good basic set to work with. I like Guitar Rig 5 and also was thinking of getting Waves Diamond, plus a few synth plugins. But I'm still very early in my research here
    - I'm interested to understand if going down the UAD rabbit hole makes sense given I'll be getting a high powered PC. It sounds like the plugins are well regarded but I would want to be able to use the plugins on the road and also have them leverage the power of my CPU rather than just relying on having to buy DSP that isn't leveragable for other plugins. But let me know if I'm thinking about this the wrong way
  • SM58 Mic ($99)
    - Should I go more expensive here? This would be for recording vocals primarily but may occasionally want to mic up the acoustic
  • Headphones (budgeting $300)
    - What studio headphones are best under $300?
  • Extra Computer Monitor (budgeting $400)

  • Cables and Unforeseen Small Things (budgeting $1000)
    - I think I just need an XLR for the mic and a midi cable. My 1/4 inch cables aren't super luxurious but unsure whether it's important to go premium here. Do I need pre-amp or any other random gear?
  • Backup Harddrive ($300)

That gets me to $9,394.80 pre tax and about $10,300 post-tax

What items am I missing?
Are there any areas above where I'm allocating too much compared to other areas?
Any items you would not buy?
What are the best items in the categories I touched on?
Any where it's best value to buy used? I.e. decent discount and little chance of issue with the gear and no huge value from manufacturer warranty on new items

Any help is super appreciated. Thank you
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

I think the lack of response might be related to the grocery list nature of the post. There’s a lot to address here. I’ll throw a few thoughts out.

Computer. Why not go Mac to begin with? Others may tell you different but a current MacBook Pro with a bunch of ram will be cheaper and do you well.

DAW. Everyone has their preferences. For the money, I think reaper is the best bet. It’s free to try so you could give it a shot. Or go straight to logic if you’re interested in that. Half the price of PT. I can’t speak for Ableton but electronic folks really like it.

Room treatment is missing. Not just for tracking but key for mixing. Everyone seems to learn this the hard way. I’m part way through my own lesson on that one.

Mics. I love the 58. Use it for vocals often. But yeah, you should invest a bit more here. Probably a nicer dynamic like a sm7, re-20, m88, or pr-40. These seem to be the ones to choose from. Or go for and LDC which will help with the acoustic too.

That’s what I’ve got for now. Hopefully some wiser minds around here will chime in. But you might want to break it down by element and post on the specific forum.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
grasspike's Avatar
Just some random thoughts in no particular order.

1.)why do you want a laptop? Get a desktop and get way more for way less

2.)don't build your studio around Apple products. I had a video setup built around Apple and Final Cut Pro. Got totally screwed when Apple decided to change everything.

3.)don't get more than one DAW. No need for Protools and Abelton Live pick one or the other

4.)Consider Cubase as your DAW
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Some thoughts:

- There are lots of fine DAW's on the market. But Pro Tools is the industry standard and you already know how to use it. Why buy anything else?

- So you want to track vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar. You're spending $1,000 on cables and $300 on a spare monitor yet you've only budgeted $99 for a solitary Shure SM58 mic? Nothing wrong with the SM58 but you should audition two or three additional dynamic and LDC mics for use in your studio.

- With a $15,000 budget think long and hard about sound treatment before you build anything. The guys in the "Studio Building / Acoustics" forum here at Gearslutz can give you some great advice.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
spending $1000 on plugins and $99 on a microphone makes no sense at all.

the sound starts at the microphone.

Buddha
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Measurability View Post
[. . .] into it for fun. [. . .] start a home studio [. . .] less than $15k [. . .] buy once and not have to worry about upgrading later.

[. . .] pop, rock, and electronic realms [. . .] vocals, guitar, and keyboard. No drums or live bands.

[. . .] Any items you would not buy? [. . .]
fun, home studio, $15k - yea, that all works!

buy once and not have to worry about upgrading later - this seems a more difficult objective. Tech changes so rapidly.

pop, rock, and electronic - any examples of what you mean by pop & rock?

vocals, guitar, and keyboard - it sound's like you've got the instruments [particularly, keyboard] well covered? For me personally, one of my guitars is by far my largest single investment. But assuming you are happy in the instrument department, my next priority would be the microphone(s).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
[. . .] the sound starts at the microphone. [. . .]
Quite so. Indeed, I would personally invest as much as possible [likely half] of the 15K into a couple high-end mics. . .but that's me

I would also consider to what extent I needed and can initially address room treatment [JohnDrake]. Don't know if you've a spouse you'll have to answer to? Or if you're more mobile and will need to record from several venues? For me, room treatment could be an investment to be made over time [months to years].

The warning about Mac [grasspike] is valid, indeed; but I went with with a top-end MacBook Pro with max ram [Scientific]. I live in both worlds, and think much more highly of Window 10 over Mac for many tasks I do. But I'm only using Pro-Tools [Ultimate] from my Mac for more than a year now. Avid and DAD were way slow to support Mojave so I had to reinstall an older OS version and wait, and wait, and wait [before I could upgrade the OS again]; but they're both good with Mojave now.

Any items you would not buy? - half of the stuff on your list?

Had I a $15k budget, I'd likely go for the high-end mics, Pro Tools [since, like you, I have familiarity with it], the new SD MixPre II [for me, the MixPre-10 II] recorder/interface with the music plugin, some good headphones [knowing somewhere down the road I would also need monitors], and a strong notebook computer [for the sake of mobility and convenience]. Those items would account for the bulk of my spend.

These are just comments about what I would do. Follow your heart.

Ray H.

EDIT: I don't currently own a MixPre-10 II. I do own the older MixPre-6, which I pretty much use every day. My primary interface is an Avid MTRX [DAD] via Avid HD Native - but that is way overkill for your goals.

BTW, I wouldn't see the the Pro Tools, MixPre II, high-end mics, etc. as anything remotely associated with 'Low End Theory'. Far to the contrary, you would have a small, high-end system [to my way of thinking]. You also need something like the MOTU Micro Lite USB MIDI interface, on this kind of system.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 

If you’re going to be recording vocals, I would budget at least $1000 for a nice LDC. Maybe spend $2700 on a refurbished trash can and use that extra $1000 on a mic. Better yet, only spend $500 on plugins and push your vocal mic budget to $1500. Also is your room treated? If you don’t plan on treating your room, I’d recommend you go with a nice dynamic (SM7B, 441, or M88) + a cloudlifter over a condenser. How many tracks do you plan on recording at once? If maximum two, then I’d look hard at the UAD appollo twin. It’s very nice to track with their fancy plugins. That said, when I don’t have access to outboard gear and am tracking vocals, I find two instances of fabfilter pro c2 to do the trick just fine for tracking comp for the vocalists.

Also a big part of the power of Ableton is the ability to rack, group, macro, and automate the built in effects, which are very, very, very good. From the saturation, to the reverb, to the glue compressor, and more...(not to mention max for live), so if you really want to learn Ableton focus on learning the stock effects and how you can modulate them. Maybe use the UAD stuff as inserts on busses, but with Ableton stock stuff and one good pro plugin bundle (Soundtoys, Fabfilter, one of the BX channel strips, or the slate stuff) should be plenty.

For what it’s worth, I pretty much only use Fabfilter stuff, Valhalla, and occasionally Goodhertz. Everything else is stock.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
spending $1000 on plugins and $99 on a microphone makes no sense at all.

the sound starts at the microphone.

Buddha
This is true. And if you're recording vocs and gtrs, then please do invest in decent microphones, at the very least (even if you skip out on a dedicated preamp). Interfaces from Apollo, Apogee and Audient offer great mic preamps. A dedicated preamp is good, but not always necessary. But do not skimp on a decent mic. 58s are great for what they are, but there are better. Shure SM7B, Blue (Bluebird), Aston Microphones (Origin, Starlight, Spirit), Lewitt (Almost any), Neumann (TLM 102), AKG (C414), and offerings from ISK are all very good options without going into high-end mics.

I'm also PC Tech, and it might be my bias talking, but I'm also speaking from a place of knowledge - get a desktop and consider a PC over a Mac. Desktops offer more expandability, easier to keep quiet because you can use bigger fans and silent cases, less cumbersome to repair or troubleshoot, and again, they provide a lot more expandability and generally offer more bang for buck. And PCs provide better bang for buck than ANY Apple computer. A lot of a laptop's budget is already used up in the display. You already have a big display, you don't need to buy another just yet. Put the same amount of money (or even less) into a desktop and you'll get more for your money, now and in the long term.

Prioritize your needs. Some things you can get later on. Invest the very best in stuff that you absolutely need now, and stuff that should last you a long time.

Invest in some decent studio monitors, but equally important (and I noticed you didn't mention this anywhere), invest in an adequate amount of room acoustic treatment (not foam). And if you're recording vocals, a well treated room or vocal space is perhaps worth more than an extensive mic! Spend some time over in the acoustics and studio build forum and read as much as you can. For some basics - The bigger or longer the room, the better. Cover all corners with bass traps. Cover your first reflection points. Consider making a gobo that you can use when recording.

Plugins are great, but generally aren't necessary when you're starting out. Most DAWs come with a few good ones in the box. Also, you don't need a lot of money to get started with plugins. Purchase a nice bundle (Native Instruments Komplete 12, for eg), and grow your plugin catalogue over time. NI Komplete and a few Wave plugins for processing and mixing should be fine to start with. If you choose a UAD interface, you'll get some dynamics plugins with it. Although (and this is just my bias speaking), I personally won't go with UAD because I don't like being boxed into one ecosystem. There are also a lot of good, free plugins (I believe Blue Cats have a great, free plugin bundle for dynamics).

As for your DAW, unless you plan on working with many other artists and sharing your mixing work, and sessions, etc, ProTools really isn't needed. It being the industry standard is only really a factor when you're working in the industry. As a hobbyist doing work mostly for yourself, ProTools isn't necessary. That said, you already have experience with it, but I'm sure a lot has changed still. Cubase, ProTools, Studio One - they're not very different from each other in terms of workflow. There's also FL Studio, which provides lifetime free updates. Then there's Reaper, which is far more affordable than ProTools (which frees up finances for other things) and there's Cakewalk by Bandlab, which is 100% free and picks up right where Sonar left off. Cakewalk by Bandlab will easily save you $200-$500 and gets you all the functionality of the best DAWs out there.

But my advice to you concerning DAWs, is to watch a few vids on YouTube to see what these modern workflow generally look like, and download and use the trials for all the DAWs you're interested in. Pick the one that you find yourself having the easiest workflow on or the most fun while making music; simple.

Miscellaneous things to invest in - Books on recording, mixing, etc.

Anything that makes your space more comfortable, personalised and relaxing, or inspiring (plants, lighting, sofa, wall art).

A good cable tester.

A multimeter.

A room measurement mic and SPL meter.

Headphones (at least have 1 great pair that's open back for mixing, and another great pair that's closed back.)

A single/mono grotbox (Mixcube, Auratone, Behritone, Fostex).

You have 15k to spend, tops. What you want to do is get the absolute best out of that money, for your needs, and I'll reiterate by saying, buying a Mac, laptop or spending a lot of money on plugins and a little on a mic is NOT the best way to do that!

Last edited by VenVile; 4 weeks ago at 04:06 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Head
 

I guess my point around the MacBook is that the OP expressed interest in portability and creating a hackintosh for logic. As I understand it, hackintoshes introduce all manner of complications. Some people love them, but I also get the sense that the computer maintenance becomes part of the hobby. If you’re not into that but want to use logic, then just go with a Mac right off the bat.

OP mentioned electrics but doesn’t seem to have an amp. If that’s the case, DI is alright but I’ve found that nothing can quite do the sound of a real miced up amp. You may want to pickup a small tube amp like the vox ac4 or fender pro jr.

If it were me and I was starting from the same place as the OP I’d do this:

Interface: $500-$800. Something with 8 ins. Lots to choose from. Lots to read about. I’d probably go with the Clarett cause I have one now and am happy with it.

Computer. MacBook Pro. Extra storage and ram $3k

Daw: reaper $60 (this is the most personal of all the picks in my opinion - so many great ones)

Mics: M88, lewitt 440, Royer r-10, md421, about $1600

Preamp: lots to choose from. I’d grab the great river m5v or whatever it’s called. $1k

Small tube amp: $300

Mic stands and cables: $500

Plugins: soundtoys, fabfilter pro-q, Valhalla verb (Black Friday spend a total of maybe $400)

Synth: Arturia v collection $500

Dropbox account: $20

External drive: $150

Room treatment: DIY say...$400

That’s basically half of what you’re willing to spend. I’d put the rest away an see what I feel like is missing. Maybe a hardware compressor. Maybe another preamp. Maybe a control surface. Whatever seems like a gap in my sound or workflow once I’m into I for a few months.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Also, I have to respectfully disagree with the poster who said to stick to one DAW. This might make sense if you’re running a studio tracking live instruments, but for home recording different DAWs can be really helpful. Ableton and PT are different enough that they can serve completely different functions in your workflow. You may find yourself composing on Ableton and adding tracks and mixing on PT. The two tools are likely to inspire two different types of works.

For me, I use FL studio to program drum beats and write synth stuff. Send it out to reaper for vocals, bass, guitar, etc. And do the mixing in reaper. Two DAWs for two completely different functions.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
I had an old PC setup for years with Waves plugins and I eventually changed my whole setup over to a Mac-based rig a couple years back very hesitantly, b/c i didn't want to lose my Waves plugins. This may be an unpopular opinion here, but after making the switch I was astonished at how fantastic the stock Logic plugins are, seriously. I would wait on buying any plugins until you work with the stock ones and figure out what you're missing. For my needs, I wound up supplementing the stock ones with a bunch of free ones, a couple of which I've found to be very useful (Softube Saturation Knob, TSE BOD Sansamp clone).

And yeah, for acoustic guitar, you should probably pick up a condenser. An LDC could be nice for vocal and guitar duties, depending on the voice(s) that will be singing. Which leads me to: Are you only recording yourself? Or are you looking to open a studio to the public? What kind of mic(s) you pick up will depend on that heavily.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Thank you all for taking the time to write up all these thoughtful responses! There's a wealth of information here. Here are my replies based on topic:

On Computer
I want a laptop because (1) I'd like to be able to work on music from anywhere and (2) my sense is the specs on laptops have improved enough that a ThinkPad Extreme or MacBook with 6-8 cores and 64 gb of RAM is going to be plenty for even very intense sessions with many tracks and plugins running simultaneously with no latency or system freezing up. Is this an incorrect assumption?

One hesitation I have is that if I buy a high powered computer and then I'm using an Apollo interface and UAD plugins, the DSP is going to be a bottleneck and won't take advantage of the CPU on my computer that I've paid for. And if I buy a bunch of UAD DSP cards, they won't work on non UAD plugins. So it seems to not make sense to me.

I like Macs and used them exclusively years ago (later switched to PC for the corporate world) but if I want a high powered laptop then I'm restricted to buying a MacBook Pro and I don't like the lack of function keys or the lack of ports. I guess I can get some port dongle for the desk and live with no function keys on the road.

I also wonder if Windows will work well in Mac's boot camp if I decide to use that as my everyday OS for music production and (secondarily) gaming. I also worry that Apple is increasingly neglecting its Mac ecosystem. Am I wrong here?

Then again, if there are more problems running a Mac through a Hackintosh than running Windows through Boot Camp, perhaps it's helpful to get a Mac so I can get the best of both worlds? I don't want to spend a bunch of time on maintenance and workarounds if that's part of the game with Hackintosh.

On Mic
You have all made great points about the mic and I'm realizing I need something better. Will take a look at the ones you all have mentioned. I don't know much about mics but will look to educate myself on the ones you all discussed.

I will be mainly using the mic for vocals at first so perhaps I get something geared to that at first. I think I'm OK using a vocal mic on the acoustic to start, in situations where I'm using it, even if it's not the optimal method, as it will just be a layer in the mix. Any best mic in my price range for vocals?

On Kronos
I really like the sounds that come out of the Korg Kronos and the ability to modulate using the ribbon, joystick,etc, I was hoping it might be possible to export both the notes and the ribbon/joystick data to the DAW using Midi and at the same time run 1/4 inch audio into the DAW as well. This would allow me to edit individual notes in the DAW, possibly change the sound on the Kronos, and then just re-record the audio into the DAW running Midi back out of the computer into the Kronos and then sending audio back into the DAW. Does this workflow make sense? Maybe there's a less cumbersome method that exists.

If this makes sense, I might want to do multiple 1/4 inch outs from the Kronos to the interface to send multiple sequencer instruments playing at once on separate channels into the DAW, being played by either MIDI sequences saved on the Kronos on-board drive, or using MIDI tracks in the DAW routed out to the Kronos, with audio back to the DAW. There may be a simpler method here and perhaps this isn't feasible but it's the way I came up with.

On Interface
I'd really like to get some thoughts on the UAD question - does it make sense to get locked into that ecosystem when I plan to get a high powered PC? Or are the plugins that good? Is a UAD interface like an Arrow or Apollo good across other dimensions (latency, sound quality, etc) such that it makes sense to pay for it if you're not going to use UAD plugins / don't care about DSP? My sense is other interfaces may be better in these other raw dimensions for lower price and perhaps more ports.

On number of ports, I think 2 1/4 inch and 2 XLR will be max what I'll need but I may want more flexibility to do the workflow I described in the Kronos section (if the method makes sense).

On Plugins
On plugins, does Pro Tools have good EQ, compressor, limiter, reverb, delay, sampler, etc nowadays? I was thinking Waves or UAD would be what I’d need if Pro Tools has bad options for that stuff but perhaps it's unnecessary at this stage. I would definitely want a few synth plugins for electronic (maybe Massive, Sylenth, etc), a pitch correction tool (like Autotune) and then I like Guitar Rig as well.

On Guitar / Amp
Could also get a Kemper / AxeFX instead of Guitar Rig and I hear it sounds better. Plus I don't need to boot the computer to just play and mess around with sounds, create loops, etc. That’s interesting to me.

But I like the ability to change sounds after the fact in Guitar Rig and not have to commit to anything which I don't think is an option with the hardware (correct me if I’m wrong).

I don't think I would want physical amps and pedals in any event because I imagine the quality difference isn't going to be perceptible enough vs running a Kemper / AxeFX through my HS7s.

At some point I’ll want to upgrade my acoustic and electric guitars to Martin/Taylor and PRS but what I have is good enough for now as I think I’ll be focusing more of my time on keyboard anyway. I have a Seagull acoustic and an old Ibanez strat style guitar

On Room Treatment
In terms of room treatment, I understand it makes a big difference in sound quality. I don't have a dedicated room in my apartment for music production. I have a 1 bed room so my living room, kitchen, entry way, etc are all in one big space and would look strange to have a bunch of foam everywhere. And this might be overkill for where I’m at, at the moment. Perhaps it’s something I revisit later. Maybe there are a few panels I could throw up or maybe I attach a microphone isolation shield?

That said, I was planning on (1) recording keyboards direct in and (2) plugging guitar direct in and using Guitar Rig (this is what I did years ago) OR getting an AxeFX / Kemper - this would mitigate the need for room treatment in my mind. Vocals are the issue here but I would imagine vocals should be OK with a high quality mic, no room treatment plus maybe an isolation shield? How much quality am I giving up?

On DAW
I like Ableton for the clip based workflow for creating ideas, and in-the-box tools for morphing sounds, sampling, etc. It's tailored for electronic music and a lot of tutorials on electonic music use Ableton. I don't think PT and Logic have the same types of features but tell me if I'm wrong. But I know Ableton also isn't great for non-electronic stuff.

I already know how to use Pro Tools but I have used Logic occasionally before and could probably get up to speed on the learning curve. I assume there are things you can do in PT that Logic doesn't have? I love that Logic has a bunch of in-built plugins and sounds, updates are free, it’s cheaper, etc but that would also mean I'd have to lock myself into the Mac ecosystem (may be worth it?).

Other
Any good headphone choices? How much would you spend here?
Views on buying used vs new?
Should I get a sub as well to complement the HS7's? If so, any recs?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Measurability View Post
[. . .] MacBook Pro and I don't like the lack of function keys [. . .]

[. . .] Any best mic in my price range for vocals? [. . .]

[. . .] Any good headphone choices? How much would you spend here? [. . .]
Function Keys: Newer MacBook Pro notebooks have functions keys. Hold down the function button [lower left-most key] and they pop up in the OLED Touch Bar.

Microphones: You strike me as a Manley kinda guy. Well maybe, but search or ask over on the High-End forum to better understand options for mics. Don't cheap out on me here.

Headphones: Closed-back professional-level for laying down vocals & guitar. I use the high-end AKG, but wouldn't recommend that for you - a bit clunky to use and over kill for what you likely want to accomplish. Maybe a second [open back] pair of headphones for mixing. Again hit the High-End forum.

Apologies I don't have time to contribute more now. Hope this helps.


Best wishes,

Ray H.

EDIT: If room treatment is not looking feasible, try to understand where your issues are coming from and ameliorate them in some other way. For example, perhaps move away from the ceiling by sitting on a carpet when recording vocals. . .furniture and/or sound blankets may sufficiently block hard reflections from walls to improve your result. Try different parts of the room, facing different directions - stuff like that.

I use Pro Tools Ultimate and find the plugins quite useful. Don't know how Ultimate compares to the standard version, though. Obviously, they don't solve everything. Maybe ask on the GS DAWs Pro-Tools forum. For fun and imagination, also look at izotope. Not recommending it to you, just thinking you may benefit from exposure to it. In any case, I agree with the notion of pushing additional costly plugin acquisitions to somewhere down the road.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Maniac
From what I can tell you dont use too many virtual instruments which means you wont tax your computer the way some people do. I just recently upgraded my rig. Got what I feel is a pretty solid rig and I didnt spend a fortune doing it. I got a late 2012 model mac mini 2.6ghz i7 quadcore with hyperthreading. 16 gig of ram and dual 256gig ssd's. Dual drives is super important no matter what computer you end up with. I also got logic pro x and the MOTU 828es for my new convertors. The 828es also has midi i/o which with that Kronos would be very powerful. All in about 1700 bucks. With this set up I can easily run 6 instances of ozone 8 simultaneously and not even crack 25% cpu usage or 7gig of ram. For those that dont know ozone can be very power hungry. With your budget savings you will get on a similar rig you could easily afford an octocore UAD satellite system. The UAD plugs kick ass. Then take the rest of that savings and treat your room and get some decent Mics. 58s are great live but you will need more versatility in the studio. I would look at a good LDC, a good ribbon, and a stereo pair of SDC's for mic'ing acoustic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
On Computer
Again, I have a bias here, but I'd always recommend a Windows PC over a Mac, and the same goes for laptops. There are Windows laptops that are just as powerful or even more powerful than Macs, for cheaper. But again, that's my bias. If you like working on Macs, go for it.

On Mic
You don't need a high-end mic to capture good sound. There are perfectly good mid-range mics that will yield you excellent results, especially if this is just a hobby (for now). You have 15k max to spend; I really wouldn't invest a 1/4 of that on a Manley mic, or any high-end gear as a hobbyist. Mid-range offerings will get you perfectly adequate results, and there are many, many options. With time, you can dip your feet into the high-end pool when finances dictate or if you start doing this professionally.

On Kronos
I can't really speak to the Kronos, because I have zero familiarity with it.

On Interface
This is another personal one really. But put the pros and cons of each option on paper, study them and see which pros/cons are most important to you, and use that to decide. UAD makes excellent plugins, but so do many others. And in blind tests, no one will be able to say if you used a Waves emulation or UAD; they really can't. I think having UAD plugins and interface helps with a lesser power computer, certainly. But if you're going for a powerful system, I see less practical need for their stuff, and depending on what you buy from UAD, you can run into bottlenecks pretty quickly. It also really locks you into an ecosystem, and forces you to continue using their stuff long into the future if you ever want to revisit your work or mixes, for backwards compatibility. Take a look into IK Multimedia's dynamic plugins - they make excellent stuff.


On Plugins
Honestly, almost all DAWs offer some pretty decent plugins out the box, including ProTools. It's truly not something to worry about. The thing is is; you can always buy plugins. So why not just start out with what comes in the box, of whatever DAW you choose, and expand on your plugin catalogue when you see the need to. Again, the key here is to PRIORITISE your spending. Spending a lot on plugins outright is a very bad idea, because everyone who has a vast array of plugins will tell you that after a while, they only end up using a few regularly. You don't need a bunch of plugins, right now. You're a guitarist, so I can understand the need for good sims - that's a priority, and there are many options: Amplitude, Guitar Rig, and several others. Personally, I recommend you check out the sim from Blue Cat Audio called Axiom. It's my new favourite amp sim. The sound is excellent and the versatility and feature-set is truly unrivaled at this point in time.


On Room Treatment
I still say you're a good candidate for room treatment (and no, not foam - you don't need foam). Have you seen acoustic panels hung in theatre rooms, even at home? Once they're neatly made, they actually look good and can add to the aesthetic of the room. They're not really invasive either. A few carefully positioned panels won't even hinder your movement about your apartment, and they really can look good, especially if they're wrapped in coloured fabrics that compliment your space. The thing about acoustic treatment is, it's modular. You can move, orient panels to your liking somewhat, and add or remove panels. I think you should still consider investing in it. Because you're in a studio apartment, the general acoustics of your entire apartment would benefit lol. Watching movies may even be more enjoyable.

Also, strongly consider having some gobos. Gobos are very portable acoustic panels supported in a wooden frame and stand that can be positioned around drums, guitars, or any recording space. And they're easy to tuck away in corners when not being used, or even under your bed if it's high enough. For easier movement, you can put wheels on the feet of the stands.

On DAW
Another personal thing. For the most part, they can all do the same things, just differently. Sometimes the difference is minor, sometimes it's major. Try out a few and see what suits your style of production best. But because you're familiar with ProTools more than any other, try it first. You can always experiment with DAWs as time goes by, and change to something that works better for you, but only after you've actually figured out what works for you and what doesn't. So try them out, experiment.

Other
Good headphone recommendations -
Under $100
Philip SHP9500 (Open back)
Sony MDR 7506 (Closed Back)

Midrange $300-600
Audio-Technica R70x (Open back)
Beyerdynamic DT1990 (Open back)
Sennheiser HD650 (Open back)
Beyerdynamic DT1770 (Closed back)
Shure SRH1540 (Closed back)
Meze 99 Classic (Closed back)

High end
Almost anything from Audeze
Sennheiser HD800
Hifiman Arya
Fostex TH900 MkII

There's a wealth of headphones to choose from, though you don't necessarily have to go to the high-end range to get great quality or results.

Personally, I always recommend a sub, it really helps. Even if you may not be making music that has a lot of low-end detail, it helps in mixing, because sometimes there's an unwanted sub freq rumble that you may not want from a source or sample, and you won't hear it without a sub. Although, headphones with a good bass response can usually do the trick.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
JAT
Lives for gear
Since you seem to be doing a track at a time recording, make the most of a single channel. Micro tech geffel 930 into a Rupert neve designs portico II channelstrip into an audient id44 will cover most ground at as high of quality as can be got for acoustic recording. About $5k and you can figure out the daw, computer as you go, the important part is now covered.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by VenVile View Post
[. . .] You don't need a high-end mic to capture good sound. There are perfectly good mid-range mics that will yield you excellent results, especially if this is just a hobby (for now). You have 15k max to spend; I really wouldn't invest a 1/4 of that on a Manley mic, or any high-end gear as a hobbyist. Mid-range offerings will get you perfectly adequate results, and there are many, many options. With time, you can dip your feet into the high-end pool when finances dictate or if you start doing this professionally. [. . .]
The masses [reasonably] go that direction. But, in any specific case, it depends on where the focus of one's interest lies when they talk of doing it for 'fun'.

$15K seems a lot of money to spend [given assets the OP already owns, and his circumstances] and not walk away with a high-end mic in the package - but, that's me. I would have 'a lot-a, lot-a fun' [way more than the money's worth] with the high-end mic!

Further, I see building/mastering related skills [getting to intimately know, and becoming effective with, a high-end mic] as one of the most important notions I can possibly undertake.

The mic is far-and-away the most critical link in the chain today - so much else has been commoditized - or so I believe. And I see it as likely the only asset that will retain value 10 years - perhaps even decades - into the future.

In any case - if we're talking about doing this for fun, a high-end mic delivers exactly that!

I appreciate the contrary opinion, though - you state it very well!


Cheers,

Ray H.

A bit off-topic: Other musicians - seeking similar thrills as I do - may also demand a high-end pre-amp. That's not me; but in looking at high-end mics, the OP will certainly be exposed to associated opinions and options.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAT View Post
Since you seem to be doing a track at a time recording, make the most of a single channel. Micro tech geffel 930 into a Rupert neve designs portico II channelstrip into an audient id44 will cover most ground at as high of quality as can be got for acoustic recording. About $5k and you can figure out the daw, computer as you go, the important part is now covered.
Agreed, especially with the Audient recommendation. I won't necessarily stress the need for a preamp this early on in your hobby stage, but having a great one surely wouldn't hurt either.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Well, just some suggestions here. I’m not a ‘studio expert’, but I do actually record music at home, and have done so in bigger professional studios (have had my music recorded, more to the point). So I have some idea. Context!

Get yerself a desktop computer (PC or Mac as you prefer). 16gb+, an SSD for OS and programs, and a big separate SSD for recording on. Other SSDs / HDDs for storage as required. 8+ cores/threads, CPU-wise. The more the better, really.

A very good interface is essential. Prioritise this. Max out clarity and low latency.

One DAW is sufficient. Get one with excellent workflow, above all. Research it - I know what I like, but workflow can be kinda subjective, as well as flat out different according to, well, your work.

I recommend having at least one great dynamic and one great condenser mic. How much you spend is your deal, but again, research is key. Get some that suit your needs and preferences. IMO, you could do a lot better than the SM58.

If you don’t know exactly what plugins you need, maybe try free plugins first, both to see what *kinds* you will definitely need, *and* to see how much more than $0 you might need to spend on any of those.

Consider power conditioning and so on, as this can be an area of weakness otherwise.

Likewise, of course - as no doubt many have already said above (tl;dr ) - acoustic treatment is your best and first friend.

Right, so, there’s a lot more that could be said, but there’s a start. Most of all, research is where it’s at. And, lastly, only spend what you *need* to at any given time, particularly up front. Having some money left is a good thing in many ways.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimket View Post
Well, just some suggestions here. I’m not a ‘studio expert’, but I do actually record music at home, and have done so in bigger professional studios (have had my music recorded, more to the point). So I have some idea. Context!

Get yerself a desktop computer (PC or Mac as you prefer). 16gb+, an SSD for OS and programs, and a big separate SSD for recording on. Other SSDs / HDDs for storage as required. 8+ cores/threads, CPU-wise. The more the better, really.

A very good interface is essential. Prioritise this. Max out clarity and low latency.

One DAW is sufficient. Get one with excellent workflow, above all. Research it - I know what I like, but workflow can be kinda subjective, as well as flat out different according to, well, your work.

I recommend having at least one great dynamic and one great condenser mic. How much you spend is your deal, but again, research is key. Get some that suit your needs and preferences. IMO, you could do a lot better than the SM58.

If you don’t know exactly what plugins you need, maybe try free plugins first, both to see what *kinds* you will definitely need, *and* to see how much more than $0 you might need to spend on any of those.

Consider power conditioning and so on, as this can be an area of weakness otherwise.

Likewise, of course - as no doubt many have already said above (tl;dr ) - acoustic treatment is your best and first friend.

Right, so, there’s a lot more that could be said, but there’s a start. Most of all, research is where it’s at. And, lastly, only spend what you *need* to at any given time, particularly up front. Having some money left is a good thing in many ways.
Clean power is so often overlooked. If you cant afford to have your space custom wired, for electrical not mic and monitor lines, then get the best power conditioners that you can afford. Make sure it filters stuff and isnt just a glorified power strip.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Nut
Nobody really mentioned this, but if you ever get into producing other people, melodyne studio becomes an amazing tool. You can see a guitar player’s chord voicing and then write additional midi for virtual instruments based around it. For 800 bucks you suddenly have the music theory in front of you.

Figuring out what scales to use off of a set of chord changes is always fun, it becomes a game of seeing what you have and what works with it. Then you can layer anything on top of it.

This is obviously no replacement for say, a college educated composer, but it will be a real life saver if you can’t phone up your songwriter and bug them with theory questions.

I’ve always thought that doing that makes me seem not too pro anyways, so melodyne is a key ingredient.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 
s wave's Avatar
Go for acoustic treatment - mics - preamp - interface in that order? With that budget get a good pro LDC and a dynamic minimum... if guitar is going to take center stage - get 2 mics for stereo recording? or whatever. I would add a second monitor for an 'external editor' - Room size and floor material is kind of important - how about a lower level power conditioner?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Go for acoustic treatment - mics - preamp - interface in that order? With that budget get a good pro LDC and a dynamic minimum... if guitar is going to take center stage - get 2 mics for stereo recording? or whatever. I would add a second monitor for an 'external editor' - Room size and floor material is kind of important - how about a lower level power conditioner?
You must have never run across having to record in a place with ****ty power and rf hum. Getting a low level power conditioner doesnt work out well in those cases. Plus you can NEVER guarantee a stable voltage coming off the line. My place consistantly sits about 4 volts too high and hums badly. The wiring in my studio is pretty new but what cpmea from the pole is ****. Why spend money on nice gear and leave it open to getting damaged from crappy power?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
You must have never run across having to record in a place with ****ty power and rf hum. Getting a low level power conditioner doesnt work out well in those cases. Plus you can NEVER guarantee a stable voltage coming off the line. My place consistantly sits about 4 volts too high and hums badly. The wiring in my studio is pretty new but what cpmea from the pole is ****. Why spend money on nice gear and leave it open to getting damaged from crappy power?
True - if that's the case yea you have to adjust. I started with an unbalance mic.. and it picked up random radio waves... one time I almost left them in - they sounded nice but I didn't want infringement. You can work around most anything. Till this day I am pretty good at removing unwanted sounds... it worked out well - had plenty of practice,

I now have a homemade faraday cage and ferrite inventions... and have most of the recording chain's power separated. (individualized) Even a real good power conditioner wouldn't work I assume. So yea your decisions are not really that important then. Just make Glitch or Lo-fi music...

(by the way - My Comment was as a reply to 'Measurability' and his posted question as a REPLY.)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
True - if that's the case yea you have to adjust. I started with an unbalance mic.. and it picked up random radio waves... one time I almost left them in - they sounded nice but I didn't want infringement. You can work around most anything. Till this day I am pretty good at removing unwanted sounds... it worked out well - had plenty of practice,

I now have a homemade faraday cage and ferrite inventions... and have most of the recording chain's power separated. (individualized) Even a real good power conditioner wouldn't work I assume. So yea your decisions are not really that important then. Just make Glitch or Lo-fi music...

(by the way - My Comment was as a reply to 'Measurability' and his posted question as a REPLY.)
This isn't cheap but its not as expensive as some of there stuff. This was my solution and it works for me.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...rman-f1000-ups
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
This isn't cheap but its not as expensive as some of there stuff. This was my solution and it works for me.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...rman-f1000-ups
Very nice. Furrman has some good products. I did a little studying of how radio stations handle some dirty electricity problems... when they are located near high power wires. A lot of applicable stuff from that type of trouble shooting.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
This isn't cheap but its not as expensive as some of there stuff. This was my solution and it works for me.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...rman-f1000-ups
I'd definitely recommend a UPS over a plain-old power conditioner. A UPS provides both surge protection, stable power and battery backup power. There are cheaper rack-mountable units too, from Furman, Cyber Power, Tripp Lite, Pyle and others. A quick Amazon search yields results.

I'd also suggest a power sequencer. But that is not a priority in this case; it's a luxury and can be purchase much later on.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by VenVile View Post
I'd definitely recommend a UPS over a plain-old power conditioner. A UPS provides both surge protection, stable power and battery backup power. There are cheaper rack-mountable units too, from Furman, Cyber Power, Tripp Lite, Pyle and others. A quick Amazon search yields results.

I'd also suggest a power sequencer. But that is not a priority in this case; it's a luxury and can be purchase much later on.
Did you read what this unit does or did you blindly write a response?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
Did you read what this unit does or did you blindly write a response?
I wasn't opposing what you were saying. I was in agreement with your recommendation. I know what it is; I can read.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by VenVile View Post
I wasn't opposing what you were saying. I was in agreement with your recommendation. I know what it is; I can read.
I didnt say you disagreed with me or that you couldnt read. But had you actually read up on it you would realize that it can also do power sequencing. The reason it is so expensive is because it does just about everything. Without speaking for other brands, I am pretty sure there isnt a cheaper Furman that will do all of that. I agree that it would be nice to be rackmounted but it fits nicely on a rack shelf.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump