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Old 20th September 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 

On Computer
Again, I have a bias here, but I'd always recommend a Windows PC over a Mac, and the same goes for laptops. There are Windows laptops that are just as powerful or even more powerful than Macs, for cheaper. But again, that's my bias. If you like working on Macs, go for it.

On Mic
You don't need a high-end mic to capture good sound. There are perfectly good mid-range mics that will yield you excellent results, especially if this is just a hobby (for now). You have 15k max to spend; I really wouldn't invest a 1/4 of that on a Manley mic, or any high-end gear as a hobbyist. Mid-range offerings will get you perfectly adequate results, and there are many, many options. With time, you can dip your feet into the high-end pool when finances dictate or if you start doing this professionally.

On Kronos
I can't really speak to the Kronos, because I have zero familiarity with it.

On Interface
This is another personal one really. But put the pros and cons of each option on paper, study them and see which pros/cons are most important to you, and use that to decide. UAD makes excellent plugins, but so do many others. And in blind tests, no one will be able to say if you used a Waves emulation or UAD; they really can't. I think having UAD plugins and interface helps with a lesser power computer, certainly. But if you're going for a powerful system, I see less practical need for their stuff, and depending on what you buy from UAD, you can run into bottlenecks pretty quickly. It also really locks you into an ecosystem, and forces you to continue using their stuff long into the future if you ever want to revisit your work or mixes, for backwards compatibility. Take a look into IK Multimedia's dynamic plugins - they make excellent stuff.


On Plugins
Honestly, almost all DAWs offer some pretty decent plugins out the box, including ProTools. It's truly not something to worry about. The thing is is; you can always buy plugins. So why not just start out with what comes in the box, of whatever DAW you choose, and expand on your plugin catalogue when you see the need to. Again, the key here is to PRIORITISE your spending. Spending a lot on plugins outright is a very bad idea, because everyone who has a vast array of plugins will tell you that after a while, they only end up using a few regularly. You don't need a bunch of plugins, right now. You're a guitarist, so I can understand the need for good sims - that's a priority, and there are many options: Amplitude, Guitar Rig, and several others. Personally, I recommend you check out the sim from Blue Cat Audio called Axiom. It's my new favourite amp sim. The sound is excellent and the versatility and feature-set is truly unrivaled at this point in time.


On Room Treatment
I still say you're a good candidate for room treatment (and no, not foam - you don't need foam). Have you seen acoustic panels hung in theatre rooms, even at home? Once they're neatly made, they actually look good and can add to the aesthetic of the room. They're not really invasive either. A few carefully positioned panels won't even hinder your movement about your apartment, and they really can look good, especially if they're wrapped in coloured fabrics that compliment your space. The thing about acoustic treatment is, it's modular. You can move, orient panels to your liking somewhat, and add or remove panels. I think you should still consider investing in it. Because you're in a studio apartment, the general acoustics of your entire apartment would benefit lol. Watching movies may even be more enjoyable.

Also, strongly consider having some gobos. Gobos are very portable acoustic panels supported in a wooden frame and stand that can be positioned around drums, guitars, or any recording space. And they're easy to tuck away in corners when not being used, or even under your bed if it's high enough. For easier movement, you can put wheels on the feet of the stands.

On DAW
Another personal thing. For the most part, they can all do the same things, just differently. Sometimes the difference is minor, sometimes it's major. Try out a few and see what suits your style of production best. But because you're familiar with ProTools more than any other, try it first. You can always experiment with DAWs as time goes by, and change to something that works better for you, but only after you've actually figured out what works for you and what doesn't. So try them out, experiment.

Other
Good headphone recommendations -
Under $100
Philip SHP9500 (Open back)
Sony MDR 7506 (Closed Back)

Midrange $300-600
Audio-Technica R70x (Open back)
Beyerdynamic DT1990 (Open back)
Sennheiser HD650 (Open back)
Beyerdynamic DT1770 (Closed back)
Shure SRH1540 (Closed back)
Meze 99 Classic (Closed back)

High end
Almost anything from Audeze
Sennheiser HD800
Hifiman Arya
Fostex TH900 MkII

There's a wealth of headphones to choose from, though you don't necessarily have to go to the high-end range to get great quality or results.

Personally, I always recommend a sub, it really helps. Even if you may not be making music that has a lot of low-end detail, it helps in mixing, because sometimes there's an unwanted sub freq rumble that you may not want from a source or sample, and you won't hear it without a sub. Although, headphones with a good bass response can usually do the trick.