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On the way to making a tiny low budget studio!!!!
Old 30th June 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 

Question On the way to making a tiny low budget studio!!!!

I am just starting into the whole recording side of things and am planning on jumping straight into the deep end! Extremely dodgy but all the same I am still going to go for it.

Basically on the construction side its 2 rooms, 1 medium size live room and 1 tiny control room.

Now, the equipment...
I am planning on getting a desk with quite alot of channels as I am a drummer,so I will be micing drums, add in voice, keys, guitar, and thats alot of channels.
So I'm going with the Phonic Helix Board 24 U, if I'm smart and get a good B-Stock deal or something, we are talking in the region of €400 to €600! Probably on Digital Village.

Cubase LE4 comes free with that so thats the software sorted for me.

Computer, I will probably have to get a new one, so on this website I found extremely speced out pc's for music production at not too bad prices Music-PC.com : Value-Pro Systems for musicians and producers I was thinking the 2nd one down as I will never have problem with speed, noise, or space, as it has pretty good room in each of those categories.

Monitors, I have not fully made up my mind yet on these, but I have a few ideas, mainly from thomann.de, probably the ESI near05, for €175 on thomann, not too sure if i can find a better price but I'll try!

Right, I have a good condenser mic for vocals, a AUDIO TECHNICA AT2020.

I am planning on getting the set of T.BONE DC1200 drum mic's, for €119 on thomann.de

I am planning on getting head phone preamps, to send into the live room, from the control room, with maybe 5 headphone out's. But I can't find any at a good price or the amin reason being, I don't know the difference between good and bad hp preamps.

Then I will need, some headphones for the musicians in the live room playing so, I am planning on getting about 5 sets of SUPERLUX HD-681, just under €20 each on thomann.de!

And after that, I don't know what I'm missing, essentially!

The reason I am posting this is so I could get a bit of help on better solutions and products.....

A better desk with around 16 inputs, around the same price as the phonic F/W desk, or is it the best option?

Any good solutions to getting a good cheap pc, with all the specs needed for recording?

Any better monitors than the ESI near05's for around the same price with more power and better sound?

Headphones, same again!

Can someone please help me out with hp preamps, like which I should go for, and a question I cannotfind the answer to, which is how do I get the hp's in the live room, into the preamps, into the control room, into the desk???

And another question which I am ashamed to ask, but I am unable to get an answer,
If the inputs for the mic leads and instrument cables are in the desk, in the control room, and the instruments are ALL in the live room, how do I get the leads, through from one to the other? I have seen the box in other studios which I have been to, but can't get a name on it! The boxes with maybe 12 mic inputs and another with 12 line inputs, in the live room, then in the control room, exactly opposite, the exact same box, so I'd image that the box just, gets the inputs in, and sends them to the box on the other side where they are split up into their original channes (i.e 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12) and then you put thm into the desk!

If someone could clear this up for me, It would be hugely appriciated!

And if there is any essentials I'm missing, don't asume I just left it out, as as I said I am a complete newb!!!!!
Thanks,
Mark.
Old 1st July 2009
  #2
Gear Nut
 
Bouldy's Avatar
 

Hmm, gonna be as positive as I can...
Need to know some more details. What is your total budget? What size are the two rooms? What are you hoping to achieve with your studio? Are you wanting to record demos for yourself or starting a business?

Phonic, only ever had one experience with a phonic mixer and it was bad, very noisy and cheaply made, though was a while ago but I'm not sure of any using them here.

If you need software to start with you could try reaper, its cheap and works.

You will need a snake (or multi) to connect the mics from your live room to your control room (thats the thing you don't know the name of).

Monitors need to be pretty good, infact the better everything is the better the end sound will be (as a general rule).

It would probably be cheaper to build a PC to your requirements than buy a premade one, but either way make sure you get what you need (1Gb ram seems a little on the low side to me).

Room treatment is something you haven't considered by the looks either, which is also important.

So thats a start, as I said earlier, needmore info.

Dave
Old 1st July 2009
  #3
getting signals from one room to another - they're called tie lines. A pro studio would have several panels on the walls for mic inputs, and also jacks or XLRs for headphone returns. These would then go to the patchbay where they would be normalled to mic inputs on the desk.

In your case (where you're not going to need the flexability of a pro studio) you might be better off with the above mentioned snake (otherwise known as a multicore) which will have XLRs on one end (to connect to your mixer mic inputs) and a stage box on the other end. Check out studiospares - you can choose a readymade box, or buy cable, connectors and the box and build your own. Lots of other companies will custom make stuff to your requirements.

Biggest advice would be to take it slowly. You sound like you've had very little experience actually using the gear (maybe I'm wrong but you did mention jumping in the deep end!) so if you've never worked in a professional studio before, it would be well worth getting some consultancy advice from someone who has - there'll be loads of things you just don't think of that will be very useful to know.
Old 1st July 2009
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouldy View Post
Hmm, gonna be as positive as I can...
Need to know some more details. What is your total budget? What size are the two rooms? What are you hoping to achieve with your studio? Are you wanting to record demos for yourself or starting a business?
Dave
Thanks Dave,

Budget wise?
Just the gear side of it, I would be hoping to keep it under 2 1/5 to 3 thousand €!

In terms of the construction etc.
Construction, we are basically willing to put in whatever is needed to keep most of the sound in as there are houses about 50 feet away, as the house is in an estate. So basically the main thing is to be able to play comfortably doing live recordings with out having to worry about neighbours etc.
The layrs in the wall will be, concrete on outer, the 3 inch gap filled with rockwool, then a single woooden stud frame, then drywall onto the frame, then green glue, then drywall.
The live room (13x14x8) is already up, it is the front sitting room of the new house.
The control room on the other hand is very difficult to design and construct. It can only be 5x13x8!

I attached a quick picture jsut to give a rough idea.

What am I hoping to achieve with the studio?
Mainly to get good recording of my band, then after that, maybe bring in a few small average bands for them to get tracks out.
Nothing professional obviously to start off with, but at the same time, a non amatuer sound!

Sound treatment.
I am planning on making/buying two 8' high corner bass traps, (in the 2 corners where there are no doors)
Then just put up some standard absorbers, after after that, I'm not too sure!

Thanks for clearing up the whole snake box side of things.
One more thing, I'm guessing you can get snake's with hp inputs, etc. can you?

The Phonic f/w desk.
Do you have any other ideas, besides chaining interfaces and preamps etc. together as I wouldn't fancy that as too much!
Any desk with 12 to 16 in's, a few aux in's, f/w or usb, generally easy to use, And at a good price?

Do you have any suggestions for the moniors?

The reason I fancy cubase is because, i have had a bit of experiencewith it, not actually recording with it, but be recorded on it, and help mixing etc.
Besides if I do go for the phonic desk, it the LE version does suit me, as its easier, easy to upgrade, and still has everything I'd need starting off!

Thanks again, and if you get a chance please reply.
Mark.
Old 1st July 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Bouldy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
getting signals from one room to another - they're called tie lines.
Thanks psycho_monkey, I didn't know they were called tie lines (I'm quite a noob too!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Biggest advice would be to take it slowly. You sound like you've had very little experience actually using the gear (maybe I'm wrong but you did mention jumping in the deep end!) so if you've never worked in a professional studio before, it would be well worth getting some consultancy advice from someone who has - there'll be loads of things you just don't think of that will be very useful to know.
This is great advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark.o.s14 View Post
Thanks Dave,

Budget wise?
Just the gear side of it, I would be hoping to keep it under 2 1/5 to 3 thousand €!

In terms of the construction etc.
Construction, we are basically willing to put in whatever is needed to keep most of the sound in as there are houses about 50 feet away, as the house is in an estate. So basically the main thing is to be able to play comfortably doing live recordings with out having to worry about neighbours etc.
The layrs in the wall will be, concrete on outer, the 3 inch gap filled with rockwool, then a single woooden stud frame, then drywall onto the frame, then green glue, then drywall.
The live room (13x14x8) is already up, it is the front sitting room of the new house.
The control room on the other hand is very difficult to design and construct. It can only be 5x13x8!

I attached a quick picture jsut to give a rough idea.

What am I hoping to achieve with the studio?
Mainly to get good recording of my band, then after that, maybe bring in a few small average bands for them to get tracks out.
Nothing professional obviously to start off with, but at the same time, a non amatuer sound!

Sound treatment.
I am planning on making/buying two 8' high corner bass traps, (in the 2 corners where there are no doors)
Then just put up some standard absorbers, after after that, I'm not too sure!

Thanks for clearing up the whole snake box side of things.
One more thing, I'm guessing you can get snake's with hp inputs, etc. can you?

The Phonic f/w desk.
Do you have any other ideas, besides chaining interfaces and preamps etc. together as I wouldn't fancy that as too much!
Any desk with 12 to 16 in's, a few aux in's, f/w or usb, generally easy to use, And at a good price?

Do you have any suggestions for the moniors?

The reason I fancy cubase is because, i have had a bit of experiencewith it, not actually recording with it, but be recorded on it, and help mixing etc.
Besides if I do go for the phonic desk, it the LE version does suit me, as its easier, easy to upgrade, and still has everything I'd need starting off!

Thanks again, and if you get a chance please reply.
Mark.
Mark, first, your attachment didn't show up.
As far as room treatment goes, I would have a look at the studio construction thread, https://www.gearslutz.com/board/studi...ion-acoustics/ especially the build your own bass traps thread. How I built my bass traps... DIY will be much cheaper if you can use a few tools. They contain some great advice, but more importantly some very very clued up people who could give you some great advice. Probably best to read a few of the threads first, then post a thread with diagrams of your two rooms including the measurements, construction materials and what you are wanting to achieve. I get the feeling though that they will suggest you use the big room as the traking / live room and the small one as an iso booth, but you will see.
I am not familiar with cubase, but I'm sure it will be fine, was just thinking about budget if it didn't come with a desk etc.
As I said earlier in this post, I am still a noob too, so I can't say with any great experience what would be better gear to get, most of my experience is performance or live mixing, sorry.
There are plenty of people here who should be able to help with gear choices now they know a few more details.

All the best with this Dave
Old 2nd July 2009
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouldy View Post

All the best with this Dave
Thanks Dave!
Hugely appreciated. The threads attached are extremely helpful!!!
Old 2nd July 2009
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
LimeMusic's Avatar
 

I have to say, from the sound of things, it sounds like this will be mainly a learning experience for you, so that's where I'm coming from with my responses...

I agree completely with psycho_monkey that you need to take it slow. As in, maybe you should buy a decent computer and interface, maybe a few mics, and just experiment. I personally know that starting out with 16 inputs and 5 headphone sends can really overwhelm you. And in the end, you may be so distracted by trying to keep everything going, that you don't really learn about getting good sounds and whatnot. Just take it slow...

First, keep in mind that Cubase LE has a recording limit of 4 simultaneous tracks, and a VST plugin limit of two per track. If I'm wrong, someone let me know, but I know this was the case with previous versions of LE, so if you want to record more than four tracks at a time, factor the cost of a different/upgraded DAW into your budget.

I have no experience with the Phonic board you are looking at, but it will probably be ok. Personally, I'd buy a Presonus Firestudio Tube or something comparable that you won't outgrow right away as you become better as an engineer... unless you have a reason for needing an actual "board" with faders and whatnot.

The computer you are looking at seems ok. I had a computer with only 1G of Ram and a 250G hard drive, and a similar processor speed, and it worked just fine with 2 Firepods recording 14 tracks at a time. You might find some better prices on Newegg.com for similar computers.

I don't know anything about the monitors your are looking at either, but since this is a learning experience, you will probably find that any monitors you buy in your price range won't be that great after awhile. So, just get whatever you can afford understanding that you probably want to upgrade in a year or so.

As far as headphone amps, I've used the Behringer Powerplay Pro many times, and it does a fine job. It isn't "pro" by any means, but it lets the musicians hear what they need to hear, and doesn't sound like complete crap. That sounds like it's what you need.

Hope this helps...
Good Luck!
Old 2nd July 2009
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeMusic View Post

First, keep in mind that Cubase LE has a recording limit of 4 simultaneous tracks, and a VST plugin limit of two per track. If I'm wrong, someone let me know, but I know this was the case with previous versions of LE, so if you want to record more than four tracks at a time, factor the cost of a different/upgraded DAW into your budget.

I have no experience with the Phonic board you are looking at, but it will probably be ok. Personally, I'd buy a Presonus Firestudio Tube or something comparable that you won't outgrow right away as you become better as an engineer... unless you have a reason for needing an actual "board" with faders and whatnot.
Thanks,
I can't find out how many simultaneous tracks you can play, all it says is upto 48 tracks! But thanks, I didn't know that, and if its true,it would definately be too little!
The only thing that I'd perfer about a desk is the amount of aux sends, eq's, preamps, etc. all in 1! I don't think that I would be able to handle having to chain on etc. stuff, to meet what I need (lots of channels and enough aux sends and buses for the likes of hp premaps. If that makes any sense at all!
But thanks again!
I will look at that computer website, and I think I'll go with the behringer hp preamps!
Old 2nd July 2009
  #9
Gear Nut
 

As an owner of various softwares please oh please stay clear of LE versions of Cubase, i have cubase 4 LE and it's absolutely terrible! theres like 5 plugins or something ridiculously small and they arent great to say the least!
Old 3rd July 2009
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ofutch View Post
As an owner of various softwares please oh please stay clear of LE versions of Cubase, i have cubase 4 LE and it's absolutely terrible! theres like 5 plugins or something ridiculously small and they arent great to say the least!
Thanks,
Will do!!!!!
Old 3rd July 2009
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeMusic View Post
First, keep in mind that Cubase LE has a recording limit of 4 simultaneous tracks!
I have been unable to find out whether this is true or not!
How sure are you that this is true, because if it is, then I will definately have to factor in some software!
Thanks,
Mark.
Old 5th July 2009
  #12
Gear Head
 

I made a lsit of what I think would be the absolute essentials!
Here it is;

STUDIO ESSENTIALS
Phonic HelixBoard 24 U - desk
PHONIC PHHB24U - Irish International Cyberstore
€785
---------
ESI Near05 – monitors
ESI NEAR05 - Irish International Cyberstore
€175
---------------
BEHRINGER HA4700 POWERPLAY PRO-XL – headphone preamps
http://www.thomann.de/ie/behringer_ha4700_powerplay_proxl_kopfhoererversta erker.htm?sid=0408d82d2e0cd9ac394c58bec0f6c4b8
€85
--------------------
THE SSSNAKE M-Studio (x2) - multicores
THE SSSNAKE M-STUDIO - Irish International Cyberstore
€118 (€59 each)
----------------------------
SUPERLUX HD-681 (x5) – headphones
SUPERLUX HD-681 - Irish International Cyberstore
€99.50 (€19.90 each)
-----------------------------------------
THE T.BONE DC1200 - drum mics
THE T.BONE DC1200 - Irish International Cyberstore
€119
______________________________________________________
€1381.50

Is there much I'm missing????
If not, what's the most obvious thing thats below par?
Thanks,
Mark.
Old 5th July 2009
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Bouldy's Avatar
 

Hey Mark, your gear list has come in well under (by about 1000) of your budget. Are you still looking to spend that much, and if so get better gear? Or would you prefer to stick to your list and save some money?

Dave
Old 5th July 2009
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouldy View Post
Hey Mark, your gear list has come in well under (by about 1000) of your budget. Are you still looking to spend that much, and if so get better gear? Or would you prefer to stick to your list and save some money?

Dave
I would be planning to spend a bit more alright!
But I'm not too sure which side I should upgrade.
Is there anything below par compared to the rest that you can see me having to upgrade within a year anyway?
Mark.
Old 6th July 2009
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Bouldy's Avatar
 

I am wondering why you are getting 2 snakes that have 4x XLR's and 4x TRS's? What are you going to use the TRS's for? The sssnake mc 8 has 8x XLR's so one of each would give you 12x XLR's and 4x TRS's.
I have a HA4700 and I think should do the job, though you may want to look at some extentions for your headphones.
You could look at upgrading the monitors and also the drum mics to something better, they both seem really cheap (and possibly nasty?). I would look at brands you have heard of, or do a few searches here on GS to see some opnions.
You haven't allowed for mic stands either.
As far as software goes, I think you really should at least have a look at Reaper. I don't use it myself, but there are plenty of people here that do, and from all reports it stacks up pretty well (and only US$20 or something ridiculous like that). REAPER | Download

Dave
Old 6th July 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
LimeMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark.o.s14 View Post
I have been unable to find out whether this is true or not!
How sure are you that this is true, because if it is, then I will definately have to factor in some software!
Thanks,
Mark.
I had Cubase LE for a short time about 2 years ago (came with some hardware I bought). I don't remember what version it was, but there was a limit in that version. I looked all over online before I posted before, and I found one reference to that limit in the new version. So, I don't have personal experience with this version of Cubase LE, but free software is usually meant to tease you into buying more, so maybe just doing some research would be best.

Since it seems like you have some play in your budget, this might not be that big of a deal...
Old 6th July 2009
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
iflyinmymind's Avatar
 

What ever you do.. just save until you can get either the Aurora 8 by lynx or the apogee Ensemble.

All your recordings and mixing will be much much easier.

The Room is most important! if its small. then fill it with as much owens corning 703 or 705 to absorb all the extra bass and mid freq. that build up in the small rooms

The good converters will save you time and money later when you are not happy an want to make it sound like the records.. Just Do It RIGHT the FIRST TIME~!

Cascade Fathead ribbon mics are cheap and amazing !

Good luck.. dont cheap out on converters!!!! You wont know whats missing until you do.hitt
Old 6th July 2009
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouldy View Post
I am wondering why you are getting 2 snakes that have 4x XLR's and 4x TRS's? What are you going to use the TRS's for? The sssnake mc 8 has 8x XLR's so one of each would give you 12x XLR's and 4x TRS's.
Dave
I was thinking 1 trs for keys, 1 for guitar, 1 for bass (maybe), then a few for headphones. I know I end up woth 2 or 3 spare but at times I might need that if I have more people in.
Then 8 xrl's are a bit small for example, 5/6/7 for drums, then MAX 3 for vocals and micing non electric instruments!
Any thing that you can think of to suit me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouldy View Post
You could look at upgrading the monitors and also the drum mics to something better, they both seem really cheap (and possibly nasty?).
Will do, monitors mainly I'd say! Right????

REAPER
Ya dowmloaded the trial version alright, but pretty pointless because I don't have much point for it first, other than just exploring with it and getting grips with it!

Thanks
Mark.
Old 8th July 2009
  #19
Gear Head
 

I was thinking 1 trs for keys, 1 for guitar, 1 for bass (maybe), then a few for headphones. I know I end up woth 2 or 3 spare but at times I might need that if I have more people in.
Then 8 xrl's are a bit small for example, 5/6/7 for drums, then MAX 3 for vocals and micing non electric instruments!
Any thing that you can think of to suit me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyinmymind View Post
Will do, monitors mainly I'd say! Right????

REAPER
Ya dowmloaded the trial version alright, but pretty pointless because I don't have much point for it first, other than just exploring with it and getting grips with it!

Thanks
Mark.
Old 15th July 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Electric Sugar's Avatar
I've recorded 8 tracks simultaneously with Cubase LE4 and it worked just fine.

Bear that in mind.
Old 15th July 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Electric Sugar's Avatar
Also, on LE4, the limit on FX is 8 inserts and 8 sends per track. And up to 48 tracks of audio.
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