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Old 30th June 2015
Lives for gear
DomiBabi's Avatar
Some thoughts:

The quality of your final product will have much to do with the quality of the instrumentals you are purchasing.

Your monitoring needs will be determined by the room you will be mixing in. Don't buy huge speakers for a tiny bedroom. Buy a smaller setup and a sub that you can control.

Placement of your mobile rig in the room will make a big difference. Give your speakers the room they need.

If you don't want to fully treat a room, concentrate on the basics: the area around the speakers and the wall behind where you will be mixing. Absorb the bass and float your monitors. Get rid of rattling noises, noise from electronics, and weird resonant sound gnomes. That will make a huge difference.

Without a booth, you will need at least 2 pair of headphones that won't bleed into the mic or fatigue your ears.

Don't dump your money into a preamp. The difference in quality is not as much as you might think. I can personally vouch for the Little Labs LMNOPre as an inexpensive pre that performs above the price point. It has some interesting features that make it an excellent pre to use on hip hop vocals.

A u87 is a sensitive mic. Without proper treatment, you will pick up as much of the room as you will the rapper. You are better off buying a very directional broadcast mic in an untreated room. The Electrovoice RE-20 and SM7b work very well in poorly treated rooms. Since rap is more spoken word than anything, broadcasting mics make sense here.

Avoid channel strips if you can. Tracking with outboard compression and eq can screw up an otherwise perfect take if you aren't careful. Also, you may want different processing for different artists. I'd pick up some quality plugins so you aren't stuck with a hammer when you need a wrench.

Pro Tools is fine. For an interface or converters, I like the new Motu gear if you are on a budget. I have an cheap 828x and also have a Lynx Hilo. The differences are noticeable but not so much that it makes the MOTU sound like crap... A lot of the differences people talk about on these forums come from anal retentive perfectionists. Again, the differences are not huge.

Take all the extra money you just saved and buy a second set of very differently voiced monitors to A/B with. Learn your gear and proper recording techniques. Teach your artists to work a microphone properly. Buy books on mixing and keep detailed notes on what works for you. And if you haven't learn about the music biz and how to promote and market yourself. That may make a bigger difference at the end of the day than any of the gear you buy.

Oh... and buy an H2o DMX light. The ambiance will make your studio 10000% cooler to work in.