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First 'real' studio setup...
Old 20th July 2007
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Kveld Ulf's Avatar
 

First 'real' studio setup...

I'm finally building my first 'real' home studio after years of all-in-one recorders and 'guitar-->1/4" adapter-->cheap computer with Audacity or Cubase LE"

I'm looking at getting an ADK Core 2 Pro computer. For getting sound in and out, I've was looking at the RME FF400 and 800, and the MOTU 896HD.

I've been thinking about going with separate converters and pre's though.

I'm open to any suggestions with similar prices.

I need to be able to record a full band with this. Quality is far more important than the number of tracks, as I want releasable (even if its not 'pro') material.
My main problem is that I don't know anything about converters, and after reading around here, I'm slightly confused as to what kind of setup is best for me. I'd like to get the most quality for my money. Expandability, and future use of the system is important. Ex: having components that will be useful in a few years, and that won't be useless when/if I upgrade.

I always get to a point where I think I know what I want, then my plan falls apart with new info. I feel totally clueless about gear right now, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Old 20th July 2007
  #2
Gear Addict
 
hle144's Avatar
 

You are asking all the right questions.

1. Get a Mac
2. Converters are one of the main keys in good fidelity
3. Mic Pres are one of the main keys in good fidelity
4. Good mics are one of the main keys in good fidelity
5. Good musicians are one of the main keys in good music
6. Throwing money at a problem won't nessassarily solve it.
7. Good performances can go a long way.
8. Invest more now so you spend less later
9. Check Ebay to see what the street value is before buying from the store
10. Make sure you can get something back in case you decide to sell it

Meditate on these few thoughts about pro audio, I hope this helped.
Old 20th July 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
tomdarude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kveld Ulf View Post
I'm finally building my first 'real' home studio .....

I need to be able to record a full band with this. Quality is far more important than the number of tracks, as I want releasable (even if its not 'pro') material.

....I feel totally clueless about gear right now, and any help would be greatly appreciated.


let me pass you a few thoughts....

I find it pretty important to come up with a whole concept for your tasks.......including the gear...but also including things like:

*room / acoustics
*instruments (set-up, finetuning, drums->tuning)
*amps
*mic´s
*preamps

these will play a BIG role in the quality of your recording!!
more than, which software/daw/converters are used. period!

are sure you NEED to record a full band?
I guess you mean by overdubbing, not a full band at once??

what´s your budget ??
by the time you got these 5 points above covered I´m sure you won´t worry about the price of converters......recording HAS become cheaper, but it´s STILL not CHEAP after you have come up with a modest set-up
.....there is no solution to record a whole band with a quality approach for $1500,-, even though some ad´s make us want to believe otherwise.

and IF you´ll come up with "quality" and "releasable" recordings, will by a large
(def more than 50%) percentage depent on YOUR engineering skills...not on the gear used !!! recording/micing techniques play an important role...as does "producing" a song until it feels "right"
(what I mean is e.g.: deciding on a clean or crunch or acoustic guitar or a piano or a keybooard sound for a certain part or using doubles,hard-panning,flanging whatever.....)

.....this opinion is not popular on gearslutz, but true nevertheless. heh



my advice:

*skip the drum-recording for now....book a "real" studio ONLY for tracking drums!!
watch them do it, learn a bunch of stuff, collect more money.... heh

and overdub the rest in your place:

*get a used Fireface800
*1 good 2ch. preamp...maybe used, too (Pacifica,TG2,GTQ,BAE, whatever)
*a few mic´s to start, for guitars,amps & vocals (pair Oktava012,1x sm57, 1x AT4047, 1x 421........do a search)
*4+ Realtraps too improve your mix-room and serve double duty as gobos for recording!


get recording and only add the stuff you really FEEL a need for!
hope I could help, cheers tom
Old 20th July 2007
  #4
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Do you plan on mixing inside of the computer?

Unfortunately, seeing in the future to avoid upgrades isn't the best plan of attack as all of this stuff can be bettered by something else in the future. I would say get something that will handle 96k / 24 bit and you're good to go for quite a long time.

On the RME stuff, why use external converters? The Fireface stuff is clean and clear, no reason why you can't make a record with one if it has the right amount of inputs you need.

For what you're doing though, I would seriously look at the Presonus Firestudio as it already has the bare minimum on board to record a band and also, it's very expandable via the Digimax FS pre / converter unit that can be added. You can take the Firestudio up to 24 i/o easily at 96k operation with those units. With the MSR remote it's really a powerful tool for people in your exact situation.

Knowing the total budget, what mics you own etc would probably help you get better answers also.

War
Old 20th July 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
let me pass you a few thoughts....

I find it pretty important to come up with a whole concept for your tasks.......including the gear...but also including things like:

*room / acoustics
*instruments (set-up, finetuning, drums->tuning)
*amps
*mic´s
*preamps

these will play a BIG role in the quality of your recording!!
more than, which software/daw/converters are used. period!
Yes, yes, and yes.

I love these threads because I feel slightly useful. I just built a recording "studio" out of my 14x18x12' high rehearsal room. I'm thankful for the high ceilings, and I can tell you that the gear comes last.

If I had to do it all over again, it would be done in this fashion:

1) Determine room 'everything', if room sucks find different room (seriously! and this means in regards to space and temperature, not only acoustics)

2) buy instruments to test room

3) buy devices to record raw sound

4) add patchbay and mixer configuration - this was the most under-rated part of the process

5) Then hit the forums and shop.

It's so dull, but so true.

I've met a few people in L.A. who have humble cubicle-like studios using Rode and Shure mics into a PTLE rig. But they get solid, marketable recordings because they know electrical signals and acoustics like the back of their hand. I have big respect for these people.

2 cents,
-soupking
Old 20th July 2007
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
I've met a few people in L.A. who have humble cubicle-like studios using Rode and Shure mics into a PTLE rig. But they get solid, marketable recordings because they know electrical signals and acoustics like the back of their hand. I have big respect for these people.

2 cents,
-soupking
knowing what youre doing can go a longer ways then just pricy equipment.
Old 21st July 2007
  #7
Here for the gear
 
Kveld Ulf's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude View Post
let me pass you a few thoughts....

*room / acoustics
*instruments (set-up, finetuning, drums->tuning)
*amps
*mic´s
*preamps
The only problems there are the pre's and mic's. I've got lots of instruments and amps, most of good-excellent quality (ESP guitars, custom Taye drumkit, etc.). Plenty of 'weird' stuff too(bodhran, panpipes, tinwhistles, mandolin, etc.) I can setup, tune, repair, play, and in some cases build from scratch, all of it.
Room is not an issue, other than basic treatment. I can't do much with it right now, and what I can do won't cost me anything(I have access to surplus materials)
Right now all I have is one SM57.

Quote:
are sure you NEED to record a full band?
Not at once. I can overdub.

Quote:
what´s your budget ??
$4000 just for the core setup. Computer, mic's, a way to get stuff in and out of the box, monitors, etc. This will be added to in the future.


Quote:
my advice:

*skip the drum-recording for now....book a "real" studio ONLY for tracking drums!!
watch them do it, learn a bunch of stuff, collect more money.... heh
This is exactly what I've been thinking of doing for a long time! It started seeming like a better idea recently, especially now that someone else has mentioned it heh

Quote:
Do you plan on mixing inside of the computer?
Yes, until I feel the need for external methods.

Quote:
On the RME stuff, why use external converters? The Fireface stuff is clean and clear, no reason why you can't make a record with one if it has the right amount of inputs you need.
I was thinking that I could save money by buying a stand-alone converter, then adding just the pre's I want. Maybe get better quality this way too?

I think I should menton that I'm not one of those people who think that some 'magic' gear will make them sound like the pro's. I just want something that won't hold me back/need constant upgrading as I get my recording chops together.
I would also like to say thanks for the replies! I feel like I may yet get somewhere with this! I look forward to further suggestionsheh
Old 21st July 2007
  #8
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kveld Ulf View Post
I think I should menton that I'm not one of those people who think that some 'magic' gear will make them sound like the pro's.
Well for what it's worth you didn't sound like that to anyone here.

War
Old 21st July 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
tomdarude's Avatar
ouch,

well for computer, DAW-software + plugins, audio-interface, monitors, monitor-controller, micpre´s and mics.......4000,- is not very much!!

*I´d again recommend looking for a used Fireface800....it´s really bang for the buck!!
(converters are good, it´s got 4 usable internal mic pre´s, total-mix will take care of your headphone mixes etc.)
a MetricHalo 2882I/O is even better and more bang for the buck, but MAC ONLY!!

*get decent monitors!!! you don´t wanna skimp on this one!
...used Dynaudio BM6a, Adam P11, maybe try & swing the Focal Solo6´s!!

*don´t spent too much on software just yet. any old cubase & musician bundle II will get you going.
you can easily spent more than 4000,- alone in software for a decent set-up later!!

*get some mics!! what I said.....try to borrow them and see what you like:
-a pair of oktava012..
-sennheiser 609/606 for amps
-senn 421
-audix i5
-shure SM7
-a SP C1 (don´t kill me folks...it "can" work sometimes in such a setup)
-used Peluso P12,Brauner Phantom etc.

*preamp: considering your budget I´d start messin around with the FF800 pres...collect some more money and keep your eyes open on a good deal for a used hi-end 2ch. pre !! don´t buy some external 400$ pres...get something great!! like the ones i mentioned in the above post.

*make some DIY bass-traps (search GS, and read ethan winer´s site)


don´t mess with drums on that level.........focus on the rest instead!!

cheers tom
Old 21st July 2007
  #10
Here for the gear
 
Kveld Ulf's Avatar
 

Yeah I know $4000 isn't much, but it's just to get me started. I'll be adding a lot to that in the future. Thats one reason I'm not too concerned about room stuff right now. I'm able to do a lot of DIY stuff though, with access to some free/cheap materials, so money isn't an issue with a lot of these things. I also have more instruments and related gear than some of the local full blown studios, so I'm a little ahead in that aspect, and can save some future spending for other things. I can work with the software I already have as well (Cubase LE, as well as some open source stuff) which hasn't really held me back yet. Wait till I get a handle on the hardware, then get some decent software, maybe.

I'll be looking into all the stuff you listed for sure though...maybe even getting a Mac if I can squeeze some more out of the MH-2882I/O. Any suggestions for a Mac at this level? Looks like I got some bargain hunting to do Thanks again.

Quote:
Well for what it's worth you didn't sound like that to anyone here.
Thanks dude, I didn't think so, but some other forums aren't so nice, you know?heh
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