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Setting up a studio and need some ideas... Condenser Microphones
Old 21st December 2010
Here for the gear

Setting up a studio and need some ideas...

I have been recording and writing music for around 9 or 10 years now. I've finally decided to break down and setup a real studio with better gear. What I used before was just a desktop PC running windows XP, Cakewalk Home Studio 2002, a Korg Pandora digital 4 track recorder, and a shure sm58 dynamic mic. What I am looking to do is upgrade completely. I wanna switch to a Mac and go with Logic. I am dropping some serious cash on this and any suggestions you have will help me greatly. Here's the list.

Macbook Pro 13" 2.4 or 2.6 ghz
Logic Studio
Apogee One
Apogee Gio
M-Audio 88es Keyboard
Shure PG42 Condenser Mic
Alesis USB Studio Drum Kit (Non-Surge Cymbal Kit)
Firewire External Hard Drive for storage

I'm basically setting this all up for solo work. I would be laying down all the tracks myself most of the time. So I wouldn't need the Apogee Duet because I can use the Gio and the One at the same time. I would use the M-Audio 88es for Bass, Keys, Strings, etc... and the Alesis Kit with BFD2 for drums. I'm planning on making an album or an EP. I am also going to use this to record a few of my friends to help them out too. If you can think of anything that I need to add or anything that I should change please let me know.

Also I want to use the Macbook for Mainstage 2. I would like to know if anyone does this currently and has any advice for me. I would most likely be playing guitar and singing then pre-record the rest of the tracks to play behind me. Would this work out or would it be difficult to do. This is a big selling point for me on the Mac/Logic system so any advice would help. Thanks!
Old 21st December 2010
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turtlejon's Avatar

are you 100% certain you can run the gio and the one at the same time? the duet cannot work at the same time as another interface, through normal aggregation. these might, though.
i would maybe trade out the one and the gio for the duet. the gio seems kinda overpriced for what it is. one could get a midi footboard for less than 150. the duet rocks! so easy, great sounding, etc. 2 channels can really help an acoustic guitar recording, a lot of people use 2 mics on the same source pretty frequently, so having that extra channel seems a lot more important to me.

logic comes with a great collection of sounds and samples, one could wait on the drum software till you've outgrown what logic offers, if $ is an issue. i'm never a fan of synth drums, i actually can't stand them except for, like, sounds that a real drum can't produce. but for acoustic drums you'd need some more inputs... there are lots of threads on here how to record a kit with just 2 or 3 mics. glyn johns method, etc. i'd skip the usb kit, and get some ok real drums, if you have the room and noise is ok. and the room itself becomes way more important in drum recording, etc. the usb kit will be a way more realistic choice, but just not for me...
i am pretty biased, though, i play percussion for a good part of my income...

that mac has a big enough HD, maybe save some$ by waiting on the external.

i assume you have good monitors?

also save some $ for room treatment. i know it's not as fun as cool toys, but making some bass traps will be the best ratio of sound quality improvement to money spent. i mean it. there are lots of good sources here @GS.

i really do love my MBP, logic/ duet combo. tight integration, good sound. small and light... definitely wise choices there.
mainstage is the right program for doing that, exactly. it works pretty well too. i usually record the parts in logic, then just drop them into a main stage project. it also has a decent looper, and any of that apogee gear would be fine for doing that too. i tend to dislike having a computer onstage, but it's not uncommon these days...
Old 21st December 2010
Lives for gear

Yeah, a GIO + ONE seems like something you'd outgrow quickly. I'm not sure I understand what you'd use the GIO for anyway? Duet would be a better choice IMHO. I also agree with above poster about holding off on software instruments - logic's built-in libraries really are quite good.

Also, I don't see any studio monitors, cables, stands, *ACOUSTIC TREATMENT*, or a variety of other things on that list. Don't blow all your scratch on computers and software - a turkey sandwich has better resale value

On the MBP, I'd try to spring for the SSD hard drive - the 5400 rpm drive isn't going to help *anything*. If it came down to it, I'd take the SSD over a faster processor, personally. Don't skimp on the ram either (although don't forget you can buy 3rd party ram to install yourself for a significant discount from what's on the Apple site).

I'm not a big fan of the action on that m-audio keyboard, but I'm a piano player, so maybe I'm too fussy.

I've never used the PG42, but the PG is their cheaper brand - I'd maybe look elsewhere for a LDC with variable pickup patterns (instead of the fixed cardioid).

What's your recording space like? Acoustic treatment? Monitors? etc....
Old 21st December 2010
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turtlejon's Avatar

maybe a cad m179 mic!! (really a pair)
Old 21st December 2010
Here for the gear

Im not really sure what I am going to do for monitors yet. I know I am going to get some but I haven't done that research yet. I am going to use headphones for the time being.

I'll be recording in my basement. I am going to sound proof with actual egg crates. I know it sounds crazy but I used to do food service work for a prison and have like 5 trash bags full of 30 count egg crates that I am going to put up on the walls. As for Bass traps, I am honestly not really sure what those are. Im still learning new things everyday so I'll do some research on that. But the basement is actually a decent space and I am putting carpet down for it in the next few weeks.

The reason I was going with the Gio was so I could eliminate my amp and go only with the effects and amp sims that come with Logic. I play acoustic and electric stuff so I just thought that would be easier when playing live. Also I don't have alot of pedals or anything that I really like and I play a variety of music everything from funk/blues/r&b to country to heavy metal so I want to have as many sounds at my fingertips as possible. And even if I can't run it at the same time as I run the One that is fine with me. The way that I record I always do the vocals after I get the guitars and drums and stuff done. I feel that when I record the guitar and vocals at the same time it takes away from each one. I prefer to do it seperate and focus all of my energy on one thing at a time.
As for the keyboard I read the reviews that the action wasn't great also. I am not going to be using it alot because I am not much of key player, but for what I am using it for I think it will be ok. Im going to get it because it had a larger scale of notes and it was usb for decent price.

As far as the mic goes I know that PG is the lower class I have a PG equal to the SM58 that is decent. I am not sure what the difference is between the variable and fixed. If you know of a good vocal condenser mic that is around $200 please let me know.
Old 21st December 2010
Gear Guru
Ethan Winer's Avatar

Originally Posted by MyndLessArtist View Post
I am going to sound proof with actual egg crates ... As for Bass traps, I am honestly not really sure what those are.
Please don't waste your time with egg crates. This short article explains the basics in plain English:

Acoustic Basics


The Acoustic Treatment Experts
Old 21st December 2010
Here for the gear

Thanks that article really helped.
Old 21st December 2010
Lives for gear

well.. I didn't get where you were going with the interfaces ether.. so here's yet another vote for the duet.

On the acoustic treatment issue.. the egg crates.. well.. look.. you're ether treating your space for recording or critical listening or both... and the egg crates don't really make too much sense for ether.

Me personally.. if I'm going with a laptop based thing.. I'm also going mobile.. so I'm not worrying too much about treating a space for recording... just for critical listening / mixing.

The electronic drum kit + BFD?

Well I highly recommend BFD.. I don't know about the kit... it's clearly on the low end side of electronic drum kits.. so I'd recommend sometime trying before you buy... see how you feel about the feel of it. The ideal of course would be to find some way of working with it to see how you feel about really working with it.

I don't know.. what's the cost of an electronic drum kit + BFD versus an acoustic kit and some microphones? And probably an additional interface cause the duet would probably not be enough.. What are the pros and cons of going ether way? Then do those pros and cons match up with what matters to you?

My guess is that that particular drum kit is probably not super red hot.. and I think anyway you want to slice it.. you're going to have to make compromises.. and it maybe be that the drum kit and BFD do end up working out fairly well... depending on what sorta a process for dealing with that you're able to come up with.

I don't know about the idea of sticking with what logic comes with till you out grow it.. sounds like it's possible that you've been doing this stuff long enough that... while you may have a honeymoon...

Err, I haven't used Logic.. accept playing around in an Apple Store and I've sorta followed what's in it.. for a while. Well my opinion is.. it would not be enough for me if I were to go to Logic... I would need more / better effects and VSTs.

I think it comes down to.. well what do you want to do / what are your priorities.. like.. if you go the BFD route.. your kinda saying "well yes, drum sounds are real important to me.. and being able to do that realistically." I mean.. I think if what you want is realistic drum sounds.. via programming stuff.. and whatever.. you can't really beat BFD...

I'd contrast that with logic... I would.. and this is kinda my subjective guess here.. but I would suggest that Logic is probably.. mediocre in terms of it's general ability to cover all the basic bases.. and I'm sure the loop / sample libraries are pretty good. It may have some strong suits here and there.. Looking on the website it sounds to me like the amp / fx modeling is probably pretty trashy.. and.. you know?

I don't expect a hell of a lot out of a DAW in terms of virtual instruments and effects.. but I'm guessing Logic is probably better then most but.. I'm sure I would be looking at additional EQ/Compressor plugs.. and synths.. and maybe other stuff to.

I mean I recommend taking a look at Native Instruments Komplete.. I mean what you get for $500 in that bundle is pretty earth shaking.. In terms of VST's particularly..

If I was going cheap EQ and Compressor wise.. I'd look at PSP's old timer, there EQ bundle that came out last year.. a few of there cheaper offers.. maybe Liquid Mix.. People seem to like some of IK Multimedia's stuff.. that's part a part of there T Racks stuff.. There's Waves stuff that seems to have a good reputation..

But I think it's all kinda tricky and persona. Like.. if you want to really go for it.. generally I'd say "well, get the good stuff, you'll no doubt save money in the long run" but.. maybe you'd be content with what logic has to offer?

Hard Drive? I have no idea what the current Mac Book Pro's offer hard drive wise.. but I would go for as much as you can get internally.. cause I just NEVER in my life have had enough disk space..

If you're doing a good deal of recording you might also consider looking at microphones more.. and perhaps some preamps?
Old 21st December 2010
Lives for gear
turtlejon's Avatar

if you really intend to record any acoustic instruments the 2 channels of the duet will be way superior. the gio is way overpriced to me. there are plenty of midi foot controllers that will be superior and less expensive. the duet's di is awesome. control logic with the midi foot, or the ultra foot... there are better and less expensive choices here.
i also really believe the m179 to be an incredibly versatile mic. like 140$, continuously variable patterns, etc.
logic's drum machine is ok. i'm sure bfd is better sounds, but when i made the "big switch" to mac/logic i had enough to learn at once, that i waited to buy anything else. and i still believe in real drums, it doesn't have to be perfect. logic has great fx. the compressor has a dry feed, for parallel, the phase linear eq is, well, phase linear, space designer is awesome, and the delay designer is super cool. many of my friends went right into spending big$ then found out logic can already do a respectably good job at a lot of things. eventually, it may get outgrown, though.... but i still prefer smaller incremental upgrades, as i find weak links, then move to advanced upgrades. monitors and logic over bfd and logic, if i were to choose.... but that is just my preferences. and build a half dozen moveable bass traps/ absorbers. i sure wish someone gave me that advice when i started out. ethan's business's website is FULL of awesome acoustics - related advice. dig through it!
mixing on HP is pretty tough to do well, a small set of near fields will make the mixes a lot more realistic.
i have helped a lot of small studios get going, and a few good basic tools seem more important than fancy plugins and VI's.
these are just my random opinions, though. experiment! good luck!
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