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Old 24th July 2015
Lives for gear

To the OP, as you can see there are as many opinions as there is equipment. So I'll throw in my 2 cents worth, keeping in mind you do have money to spend, but not waste. So everything I'm suggesting won't be top price, but stuff you can continue to use even after you put in another $8,000.

Interface/preamp: Tascam UH-7000. High end conversion with very very nice preamps. High-latency in the drivers, but it soft switches between AES and SPdif so you can integrate it into a cheaper but faster interface (I get 11ms on my system, which is fast enough for most tasks and all mixing, of course). The preamps are clean (transformerless) but not sterile so if you want to "warm" up your sound a WARM Audio preamp will add some nice transformer goodness to your sound. Both units retail about $400. If you want to go whole hog get a RND Portico II Channel for your transformer sound. That is what I use here at home (RND>7000). Brilliant at home sound. The two hardware units will run about $3500, but you are set for a professional sound.

Speakers - Yamaha MPS 7s. The monitor version of their speakers, flatter instead of sounding good like the home series. A solid investment that will let you hear the sound you are making/mixing better than your ears, if you are just starting out. The 6.5 inch woofer can go low enough in a medium room that you won't need a sub. $800, + stands etc.

Mics: Love Joly stuff so I'm down w/ the Hulk. $400. But you might as well get some others as well. Do you record guitar cabs or horns (if you don't record guitar you are likely to soon). There are plenty of cheap ribbons that work well. I use a sub$100 MXL that works great on a cab. I just did some trombone and it sounded old school on that. A good friend w/ a major studio here in Dallas got rid of his Royer since a $200 ribbon sounded better on cabs. It is worthwhile to have one, esp. with the Hulk being more mid forward. A ribbon is high-shy. Nice mix and match, and a sm-57 is always welcome, if not a 7. And you should really invest in a pair of SD condensers for stereo recording, but that can wait. Still, my suggestions (including cables/ stands/clamps) is $400 +$100 + $100, which brings you to under $1000. You can spend another $700 for a pair of joly-mod Oktava 102s, or wait and spend more when you've developed your ear to taste.

Plus the $800 for room treatment.

So, the above is less than $6000. You'll have as good as an input channel as you can get and a fine stereo mixing rig. The Portico is as flexible of a single channel as you can find, and you have several good choices of mics (and more flexibility for input). With an OK room you can get a killer sound from all that. And half the investment is in the RND unit, which I never see for sale so if you did get rid of it, you are likely to loose only a couple of hundred bucks. And the Tascam unit will make a pricey but hell of a home playback unit if you retire from recording. You'll have to eat some of the mics and all the room treatment, but you know that already. But all the above makes a great basis for a recording studio, and it is all stuff you can use even if you go full-bore professional.