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Old 30th June 2015
More cowbell!
natpub's Avatar
In order:

1. Room: GIK Acoustics Room Kit Package #2 - GIK Acoustics
2. Mic: Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone with Case Lowest Price on eBay | eBay
3. Monitors: Event Opal |
4. Preamps/AD Interface: API A2D Mic Pre/Converter - Vintage King Audio
5. DA Monitor Output/Headphones: Lavry Black DA-11 - Vintage King Audio
6. Headphones: Sennheiser HD25-1 II - Vintage King Audio

These items will get you much closer to the quality you are seeking than the items you mention, and keep you in a reasonable price ballpark. These are items that would go very well with R&B/Hip Hop music. I listed them in order of importance if you are prioritizing purchases on a limited budget. The GIK Kit2 will get you started well, and you might look at the Kit3 if you have the cash. Proper acoustic environment is a crucial first step. The Manley Reference is one of the best Hip Hop mics, one of the best mics period, really. The Opal monitors fare very strongly against even far more expensive ones, and have excellent low end, which you will need. The API A2D gives you two preamps and DI, which you will need, and are much better than what you were considering. You'll have a killer API color to give your samples and vocals some balls, run keys, samples, whatever, for that API sound. The AD conversion on the API is fantastic. The Lavry Black 11 is one of the finest DA converters out there, and the included headphone amp is amazing--both the DA and headphone amp are extremely accurate. The Sennheiser HD25's are very good, standard phones, closed-back, which will help with isolation you need.

The only thing missing is a volume control for your monitors--the SPL Volume 2 is a nice solution. You need to use this to control monitor volume. A lot of people starting out don't realize if they skip this, and use the DAW to turn up and down, they are reducing bit rate and output quality. Set the outputs from DAW properly, then use the volume on something like this--here's a link:

Another nice thing on a setup like this is everything is USB and fairly portable (other than the room kit, obviously). Besides lugging the monitors around, if you had your ProTools 10/11 on say, a decent MacBook Pro, you could tote it all around wherever you need. You can find a lot of these items used, here on GearSlutz Classifieds, or Ebay, whatever. The API comes up a lot, as does the Manley and the Opals. The Lavry, not so much, probly have to get new. If you had the money, I'd get the Neve DPD instead of the API, but that's another grand, and the API is awesome.

Keeping everything modular like this lets you expand however you want in pieces without any fluff in your chain. Every piece is a keeper, can be useful for years to come, and last just as long or longer. Each piece should retain value fairly well. The total price for everything would be somewhere in the $8-9K range, if you shop around.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Last edited by natpub; 30th June 2015 at 08:54 AM..