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Old 19th September 2019
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
spending $1000 on plugins and $99 on a microphone makes no sense at all.

the sound starts at the microphone.

This is true. And if you're recording vocs and gtrs, then please do invest in decent microphones, at the very least (even if you skip out on a dedicated preamp). Interfaces from Apollo, Apogee and Audient offer great mic preamps. A dedicated preamp is good, but not always necessary. But do not skimp on a decent mic. 58s are great for what they are, but there are better. Shure SM7B, Blue (Bluebird), Aston Microphones (Origin, Starlight, Spirit), Lewitt (Almost any), Neumann (TLM 102), AKG (C414), and offerings from ISK are all very good options without going into high-end mics.

I'm also PC Tech, and it might be my bias talking, but I'm also speaking from a place of knowledge - get a desktop and consider a PC over a Mac. Desktops offer more expandability, easier to keep quiet because you can use bigger fans and silent cases, less cumbersome to repair or troubleshoot, and again, they provide a lot more expandability and generally offer more bang for buck. And PCs provide better bang for buck than ANY Apple computer. A lot of a laptop's budget is already used up in the display. You already have a big display, you don't need to buy another just yet. Put the same amount of money (or even less) into a desktop and you'll get more for your money, now and in the long term.

Prioritize your needs. Some things you can get later on. Invest the very best in stuff that you absolutely need now, and stuff that should last you a long time.

Invest in some decent studio monitors, but equally important (and I noticed you didn't mention this anywhere), invest in an adequate amount of room acoustic treatment (not foam). And if you're recording vocals, a well treated room or vocal space is perhaps worth more than an extensive mic! Spend some time over in the acoustics and studio build forum and read as much as you can. For some basics - The bigger or longer the room, the better. Cover all corners with bass traps. Cover your first reflection points. Consider making a gobo that you can use when recording.

Plugins are great, but generally aren't necessary when you're starting out. Most DAWs come with a few good ones in the box. Also, you don't need a lot of money to get started with plugins. Purchase a nice bundle (Native Instruments Komplete 12, for eg), and grow your plugin catalogue over time. NI Komplete and a few Wave plugins for processing and mixing should be fine to start with. If you choose a UAD interface, you'll get some dynamics plugins with it. Although (and this is just my bias speaking), I personally won't go with UAD because I don't like being boxed into one ecosystem. There are also a lot of good, free plugins (I believe Blue Cats have a great, free plugin bundle for dynamics).

As for your DAW, unless you plan on working with many other artists and sharing your mixing work, and sessions, etc, ProTools really isn't needed. It being the industry standard is only really a factor when you're working in the industry. As a hobbyist doing work mostly for yourself, ProTools isn't necessary. That said, you already have experience with it, but I'm sure a lot has changed still. Cubase, ProTools, Studio One - they're not very different from each other in terms of workflow. There's also FL Studio, which provides lifetime free updates. Then there's Reaper, which is far more affordable than ProTools (which frees up finances for other things) and there's Cakewalk by Bandlab, which is 100% free and picks up right where Sonar left off. Cakewalk by Bandlab will easily save you $200-$500 and gets you all the functionality of the best DAWs out there.

But my advice to you concerning DAWs, is to watch a few vids on YouTube to see what these modern workflow generally look like, and download and use the trials for all the DAWs you're interested in. Pick the one that you find yourself having the easiest workflow on or the most fun while making music; simple.

Miscellaneous things to invest in - Books on recording, mixing, etc.

Anything that makes your space more comfortable, personalised and relaxing, or inspiring (plants, lighting, sofa, wall art).

A good cable tester.

A multimeter.

A room measurement mic and SPL meter.

Headphones (at least have 1 great pair that's open back for mixing, and another great pair that's closed back.)

A single/mono grotbox (Mixcube, Auratone, Behritone, Fostex).

You have 15k to spend, tops. What you want to do is get the absolute best out of that money, for your needs, and I'll reiterate by saying, buying a Mac, laptop or spending a lot of money on plugins and a little on a mic is NOT the best way to do that!

Last edited by VenVile; 19th September 2019 at 04:06 PM..