The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Utter noob. Help needed
Old 19th November 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Utter noob. Help needed

Hi all, really hope someone out there can help me with a question.

I'm sure there are tons of questions like this but I couldn't find one covering my specific questions.

I'm completely new to this but have wanted to set up a little home studio for ages. I've finally got a bit of spare cash to invest in an entry level set up (audio and midi) and i'm ready to splurge but while I'm looking at what I need I'm getting utterly baffled by the range of different options out there. All I have at the moment is my PC and my electric bass and guitar

Anyway, here's what I'm thinking of getting...

DAW - Cubase 5 Lite (if it's worth it i might stretch to Studio 5)
SoundCard - Lexicon Omega
Midi Keyboard - M-Audio Axiom 49
Monitors - M-Audio AV30
Headphones - Some Sennheiser ones - i forget the model!

Question 1. Is this enough to get me started with a basic home studio set up to record Midi and live audio

Question 2. The soundcards I'm looking at don't seem to have an out for the monitors - where am I supposed to connect them to? (Really dumb question I know!).

Really appreciate any help.

Cheers
Old 19th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Eric Pederson's Avatar
 

You can use the Line Out LR 1/4" outputs to connect to your Speakers. The Lexicon website has large images of the back panel.

Good luck =)
Old 19th November 2009
  #3
not very specific..

what are you going to be recording?

what kind of vocals, what kind of music, what instruments (other than your electric guitar and bass) etc
Old 19th November 2009
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Some people will try to steer you toward all sorts of esoteric boutique gear and have you believe that you need discrete, handwired pre's, thousand dollar a channel converters or even analogue tape to make pro recordings. Don't believe them. You can make solid recordings with that set-up except for one thing: the monitors. Although they are well made, they are limited bandwidth speakers. In other words you are not going to be able to hear what's going on in the bottom end -- and that is a critical frequency band. Although you should monitor your mixes on your headphones -- just because your listeners may choose to listen to your music on headphones, not because they will provide an accurate representation of the recording (they won't) -- you really do need to be able to judge the bottom end in real acoustic space.

I won't get into which monitors to get (everyone has their own opinion) other than to suggest that you take one of your favourite recordings, that you know well -- and is similar to the type of music you produce -- and go to your pro audio dealer and listen to a bunch of different monitors and pick the one's you like. You are going to need something with a 6" woofer, minimum -- and that is often enough if you will mix in a small room (ie one of your dimensions is less than 20 ft.) Of course if you produce hip-hop you'll need a sub.

You will also need to consider some mics, too. Keep it simple there, as well. You will be able to find all kinds of recommendations on this board for affordable, neutral mics. CAD, Audio Technica, Shure, ADK as well as my own company all make mics that fit that description. Avoid mics with too much top end, or too much "character" when you're starting out. If you get two, you will have the ability to record acoustic instruments in stereo, which can greatly enhance the realism, as well.

And remember, the only dumb question is the one that doesn't get asked. Don't succumb to analysis paralysis, either. Get some gear and start making recordings and learning. Good luck. Keep it lite and have fun.
Old 19th November 2009
  #5
Gear Addict
 
FredYeah's Avatar
 

Great post Kelly.

OP: Kelly has some valid points here. The monitors you chose wouldn't be my first choice, due to their limited freq range and because of my personal experience with M-Audio monitors. I would look at Yamaha Hs50m / HS80m, Adam A7, KRK, Event, Blue Sky Media desk, etc. etc.

Since you also want to record your guitar and bass, I would certainly look at a solid pre-amp. Let's say an ART MPA Gold or something like that. Won't set you back thousands of dollars and will have a huge improvement over stock preamps in soundcards in this pricerange.

For mics, I would look at the Kel HM2U to start out with or a Shure SM7b, because i make the assumption here, that you don't have a acoustically treated space yet. (Also room treatment or at least some easy to DIY panels - look in the acoustics forum - will probalby be the best value for your money.)

As for the soundcard...I just read that the Omega ocmes with Cubase LE4. (Not sure though). If this is the case, I would not invest in newer DAW software yet, Cubase LE 4 will suit your needs (I think!) fine.

Another tip: Look into the free VSTs. There are a lot of good freeware VST out there. Of course, the ones from the famous brands are better IMO, but just to start with, to determine what you actually need and use, this is a great solution.

Take it step by step, don't try to purchase a fully loaded studio at once. It is wise to sit on your money for a while and start spending when you have a solid idea what you want to get and for what purpose.

Welcome in the wonderfull world of recording. You just signed up for a lifetime of buying stuff you don't actually need
Old 19th November 2009
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Raider's Avatar
 

Sage advice all.
Be a recording artist first, it's too easy (and fun) to be an equipment collector.

Once you get pretty good, reward youself with some plug-ins (vst's) and a controller.

One thing I neglected was room treatment.
Get bass traps and get control of that bottom end.
Save you a lot of grief.
Old 19th November 2009
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobDobalina View Post
Hi all, really hope someone out there can help me with a question.

I'm sure there are tons of questions like this but I couldn't find one covering my specific questions.

I'm completely new to this but have wanted to set up a little home studio for ages. I've finally got a bit of spare cash to invest in an entry level set up (audio and midi) and i'm ready to splurge but while I'm looking at what I need I'm getting utterly baffled by the range of different options out there. All I have at the moment is my PC and my electric bass and guitar

Anyway, here's what I'm thinking of getting...

DAW - Cubase 5 Lite (if it's worth it i might stretch to Studio 5)
SoundCard - Lexicon Omega
Midi Keyboard - M-Audio Axiom 49
Monitors - M-Audio AV30
Headphones - Some Sennheiser ones - i forget the model!

Question 1. Is this enough to get me started with a basic home studio set up to record Midi and live audio

Question 2. The soundcards I'm looking at don't seem to have an out for the monitors - where am I supposed to connect them to? (Really dumb question I know!).

Really appreciate any help.

Cheers
Very good advice so far.

To answer your questions directly:

1) With the exception of a microphone for vocals or guitar, yes, that is everything you need to record.

2) Most Audio interfaces (soundcards) use either 1/4" or XLR outputs for studio monitors and there is a left and right output. It sounds like you might be looking for a 1/8" headphone jack like computer speakers use. Studio monitors use the above mentioned connections and each monitor is independant of the other in cabling and power.


And you'll get 500 recommendations on things you should do, but ultimately that setup will work for now...so don't get too wrapped around the axel.

And now for my suggestions:

1) My experience with Lexicon is that it is cheap and low quality. That's not to say that it won't do the job, but at that price range, I would maybe look for something like this:
Echo | AudioFire2 FireWire Audio Interface | AUDIOFIRE2 | B&H
You will have a much higher quality interface that is expandable later if you decide to get other components. It comes with a free version of a DAW called Tracktion which you can use and see if you like. If not, certainly Cubase is a great choice.

2) As others have mentioned, your biggest weak link would be those monitors. KRK, Blue Sky, and Yamaha all make decent entry level monitors that would give you better response range.

3) A versitile, quality inexpensive microphone like a Shure SM57 is always a worthy investment, as it gives you more creative options when recording. Of course, this also means that you will need a mic preamp, but as previous posters have mentioned, you can get a usable preamp for not too much.

4) Ultimately, you'll just have to dive in and get your hands dirty. Then you'll learn what you need, what you like, and what you want.

Have fun!
Old 19th November 2009
  #8
All good advise, and that list is just fine to start with. But those monitors are crap, and you'll be upgrading within 6 months, so better to spend a little extra now and cover yourself for a few years. You need to come up to the €300-400 range, KRK, Yamaha, Adam A5, Samson r5a, etc. If you can't swing that get a really good pair of headphones, it's absolutely critical that you can hear what your doing.

The Lexicon is not great, but it will get you started. Another option would be the EMU 0404usb

For mics there are lots of good entry level ones, SE2200a, Studio Projects B1, Sure SM58/57

You can ignore the suggestions about acoustic treatment at this stage of the game.



.
Old 19th November 2009
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for all the advice

Guys

A sincere thank you for all the tips.

Point taken about the monitors I'll take a good look around for something else and maybe spend a few extra pennies. Although I'm sure the wife will insist I'm on the headphones all the time!

I'll also have another look at the soundcard options and check what they come bundled with - maybe spend the saving on DAW on the monitors.

Thanks again. I think I've stumbled into a most useful forum.
Old 19th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Lifted's Avatar
 

It'll work if you are recording guitar, keys or bass guitar, just fine.

If you going to record vocals, you obviously need a mic heh

If so, what's your price range, so maybe we can help you out with picking one out for the money you have.

P.S. You just plug the monitors into Line Out (Left and Right) as stated in the first post by Eric

Check it out
Lexicon Omega Close-Up | Sweetwater.com
Old 20th November 2009
  #11
Here for the gear
 

I've got a max of £700

So now, with a little input from you guys I'm thinking

Monitors - upgraded to KRK RP5-G2 £250
Keyboard - M-Audio Axiom 49 - £165
Soundcard - Controversial but sticking with the Lexicon, with the big increase in monitor cost I need the bundled DAW and I think Cubase will be the long term solution so may as well get stated with that. £132
Mic - Shure SM57 - £97

To start off I'll be recording instruments mostly, (I don't know anyone who can actually sing!) so any vocal stuff will mostly be me messing around.

I figure this set up should see me through the first 6 to 12 months while I learn what's going on and save up for the next piece of kit / software.

Edit: If I'm not really going to be doing vocals will I really need a mic, can't I just stick the guitar into the soundcard??

I'm still open to any suggestions obviously.

Last edited by MrBobDobalina; 20th November 2009 at 12:24 AM.. Reason: extra question
Old 20th November 2009
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobDobalina View Post
Edit: If I'm not really going to be doing vocals will I really need a mic, can't I just stick the guitar into the soundcard??

I'm still open to any suggestions obviously.
Yes.

With the Lexicon Omega Interface you can plug a guitar cable from your guitar into one of your line/Instrument inputs and record your guitars pickups directly. However, you'll probably want some kind of amp modeling plug-in (NI Guitar Rig or Line 6 Pod Farm) to get any other kind of desired sound. An amp-modeling plug-in is a software which will allow you to place your audio signal into virtual amps such as a JCM800 or Vox AC30. Don't fret however, most DAW's (like Logic and Cubase) usually come with some kind of amp modeling plug-in that doesn't sound too bad (convolution technology has come a long way) for free. So if you don't want to spend the money on the Shure SM-57 right now that is definitely one way to do it.
However if you want a more authentic sound and/or have a nice collection of pedals, effects, and amps you'd like to use...going into one of the Mic inputs with the '57 and mikin' a cab with said '57 is the way to go.

Also, you can invest in either an A/B box, re-amping box, or DI box with dual/parallel outputs, and record both the amp and the direct signal simultaneously. That way if you later decide you don't like the way your amp sounds you have the direct signal to play around with.

*NOTE: It might be easier to get a good bass sound by just going direct with the bass right now, though, because mikin a bass cab can be a real pain for beginners. However I don't discourage it if you want to give it a try, it can also be really rewarding if you do.
Old 20th November 2009
  #13
Here for the gear
 
dylankf's Avatar
 

The axiom-49 is a great midi controller.
Drum pads have nice response, semi-weighted keys, lots of control.
Old 20th November 2009
  #14
Gear Addict
 
willsing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Dueck View Post
Some people will try to steer you toward all sorts of esoteric boutique gear and have you believe that you need discrete, handwired pre's, thousand dollar a channel converters or even analogue tape to make pro recordings. Don't believe them. You can make solid recordings with that set-up except for one thing: the monitors. Although they are well made, they are limited bandwidth speakers. In other words you are not going to be able to hear what's going on in the bottom end -- and that is a critical frequency band. Although you should monitor your mixes on your headphones -- just because your listeners may choose to listen to your music on headphones, not because they will provide an accurate representation of the recording (they won't) -- you really do need to be able to judge the bottom end in real acoustic space.

I won't get into which monitors to get (everyone has their own opinion) other than to suggest that you take one of your favourite recordings, that you know well -- and is similar to the type of music you produce -- and go to your pro audio dealer and listen to a bunch of different monitors and pick the one's you like. You are going to need something with a 6" woofer, minimum -- and that is often enough if you will mix in a small room (ie one of your dimensions is less than 20 ft.) Of course if you produce hip-hop you'll need a sub.

You will also need to consider some mics, too. Keep it simple there, as well. You will be able to find all kinds of recommendations on this board for affordable, neutral mics. CAD, Audio Technica, Shure, ADK as well as my own company all make mics that fit that description. Avoid mics with too much top end, or too much "character" when you're starting out. If you get two, you will have the ability to record acoustic instruments in stereo, which can greatly enhance the realism, as well.

And remember, the only dumb question is the one that doesn't get asked. Don't succumb to analysis paralysis, either. Get some gear and start making recordings and learning. Good luck. Keep it lite and have fun.
Definitely good advice. And, Kelly's mics are some of the best. I have a couple of them (the HM 2U and the HM 7U) and they are right up there with mics I have used in the $1000 range. I will not part with my HM 7U.

Good luck,
Will
Old 20th November 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Lifted's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobDobalina View Post
I've got a max of £700

So now, with a little input from you guys I'm thinking

Monitors - upgraded to KRK RP5-G2 £250
Keyboard - M-Audio Axiom 49 - £165
Soundcard - Controversial but sticking with the Lexicon, with the big increase in monitor cost I need the bundled DAW and I think Cubase will be the long term solution so may as well get stated with that. £132
Mic - Shure SM57 - £97

To start off I'll be recording instruments mostly, (I don't know anyone who can actually sing!) so any vocal stuff will mostly be me messing around.

I figure this set up should see me through the first 6 to 12 months while I learn what's going on and save up for the next piece of kit / software.

Edit: If I'm not really going to be doing vocals will I really need a mic, can't I just stick the guitar into the soundcard??

I'm still open to any suggestions obviously.
You don't really need a mic if you plugging straight in, just to give you more options, you can buy AT2020 condenser mic for the price like SM57, which I consider a way better mic for vocals, and you can mic guitar cab with it (the sound will be more clear, compared to SM57 where the sound will be more round, but more muffled because it's a dynamic mic)

Audio-Technica AT2020 | Sweetwater.com

There is also a Studio Projects B1 mic, that basically costs same amount of money, which sounded very nice on vocals for such a cheap mic.

Studio Projects B1 | Sweetwater.com
Old 26th November 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
low_z's Avatar
 

thumbsup GAP73. Will do wonders as a bass DI. Also, consider the Heil PR20. $50 more than a 57, but way more useful and not as boxy sounding IMO. 57 is ok for many applications, but I've often found the PR 20 often beats it out. (esp. if you are recording vox through the GAP). My 57 is definitely jealous (and a bit dusty). And unlike the AT2020, it's a mic you will never outgrow. Many pros love it on snare instead of a 57. Just my $.02
Old 26th November 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
rackdude's Avatar
 

I think what you have there is fine. I like those monitors, I like Senn headphones, the Lexicon is ok though I'd say go with an EMU 0404 usb for about the same price that also has Cubase with it. It will work, and that's all you need right now. Go buy it and you'll know what you want to upgrade after you use it for a few months. How are you supposed to know you want a better preamp till you can hear what your mix sounds like and what you need better? Then come back and we can talk about mics (or you can just read... hint hint at2020 and B1 are 2 good ones to remember). No use in telling you more until you have the experience. Sounds like how I started, just have fun.

HOWEVER, if there's one thing I would recommend, if you've ever played piano at all... get the 61 key keyboard the first time. It's not much more expensive... and you'll want the other keys pretty quickly (I was lucky to find out in the first few days and GC let me return it and upgrade). The axiom 61 is a great keyboard and I feel it's the only one I'll need to buy in a long time (bought it 2005 or so and it's still the only one I have and the only I need... other than the Juno-106 my uncle unloaded on me that I had to kinda solder back to working order heh)
📝 Reply
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…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
♾️ Similar Threads
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump