Help build a small Studio

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by fenderbender4, Jul 25, 2005.


  1. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Hi, I am pretty sure I need:

    1. mic
    2. mixer
    3. Software
    4. Drum Machine

    To record stuff that I want to. I was wondering what people suggest for the aforementioned stuff. Please try to keep the stuff cheap, but quality and ease-of-use comes first. I know that a Shure SM57 mic is pretty much standard.
     
  2. It really depends what you are useing it for. I am after a protools Mbox cause its cheap and I only need to record 1 or two mics at a time anyway.

    So if you already have a pc or mac then you just need the mbox (about 300- 350 ish on ebay) a 57 or two (60-70 ish on ebay) and your good to do some basic recording.

    For more of a professional band type setting your options are greater although more expensive. The roland VS series is good (what my band is currently recording on) and protools is always an option.

    Well here is a link to a few demo songs recorded by us on a roland 2480.
     
  3. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd be using a Powerbook 15" by Apple. So is Protools the standard?
     
  4. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    PT isn't your only option. Logic and DP are both excellent. The mbox/PT LE might be appealing because it's a complete ready to record package. I've personally stayed away from PT for that reason. You can't use the software and hardware independently. You also can't use 3rd party interfaces with PT.

    On the low end, Garageband is also decent and includes a number of drum loops.
     
  5. BSHARP

    BSHARP Member

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    Cubase SE at $99.00 is a bargain and works great with any interface and virtual instruments. I'm using SX-3 now, but used SE for quite a while and loved it. The Tascam US-122 interface is the best low priced interface IMO, because it has fairly low latency, direct monitoring, XLR mic and guitar inputs.
     
  6. gomez1856

    gomez1856 Member

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    Depending on your budget, I'd at least give a look to Logic Pro. Don't be set off initially by the price ($999 or $500 for the academic version off ebay). It is the most inclusive product out there in that it has a TON of amazing plug-ins, softsyths, samplers, and drum modules right out of the box. IF you don't need these, then it may be overkill but if you get pro-tools then get a Native bundle of plugins and have to buy Reason or Gigasampler, you're gonna approach and/or pass Logic's price point.

    I have Logic Pro and a PowerMac G5 and couldn't be happier. The midi sequencing capabilities combined with the audio editing and bundled plugins are so much more than I expected.

    If you don't need the sequencing and softsynths or your budget doesn't allow it, it may not be your best choice, but I'd suggest at least taking a look at it.

    Good Luck!

    Rick
     
  7. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    True and not true.

    True, you have to use the ProTools software with the Digidesign authorized hardware.

    The great news now is that you're not limited to the MBox... there are a number of M-Powered systems that utilizes many of the the M-Audio interfaces. Go to the Digidesign site and you'll see about over a dozen supported M-Audio interfaces!

    ProTools has such a large user base that I eventually ditched my Logic Audio Platinum and Cubase SX systems for the ProTools. All my musician friends were on it... I finally decided that 'holding out' didn't make sense any more.
     
  8. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

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    I found a drum machine that I really love: the Zoom Rhythmtrack 234. Tons of drum sounds...some of which I think are very good. There are like 100 drum sounds on it of all different styles...it really depends on your needs, but there is such a wide variety of sounds that there is very likely to be stuff you'll like. Of the hundred sounds, I'd say there are maybe 10 that I think are good and 4 that are my favorites. That's really plenty of variety for recording when you think about it. It's a breeze to use, as well. Can be found used for about $100 (I think I bought it when it first came out for over $200). There's also the Rhythmtrack 123...which is a stripped down version with fewer drum sounds. It also allows you to program the bass...both the drums and the bass sound good. Couldn't be happier.
    I don't use a computer to record, so I can't offer much there, but as far as mics go I think you're right on with the sm57...that's a great jack of all trades. That's my favorite for guitar and snare...can also be used for vocals, etc. Maybe a condenser mic would be a good compliment to the 57 (good for vocals, drum overheads, acoustic guitar...lots of stuff)...I've heard really good things about one of the Audio Technica condensers...I think the model is 4033...it may be discontinued, but I don't think it's all that expensive.
    Also, if you decide to get a compressor, the RNC "Really Nice Compressor" is a phenomenal bang for the buck at $200.
    Good luck! Have fun.
    Another good thing to get would be a
     
  9. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    I was always under the impression that 3rd party hardware could be used with ProTools, AS LONG AS you had a digidesign perepheral plugged in as well.
     
  10. RPCGuitarist

    RPCGuitarist Guest

    Ive been using the Roland VS tabletops for years. and now I'm recording a full length CD on a 2480 and the results are insane.
    the built in comps and pre's are decent.

    your biggest investment after that is a really good microphone.
    NT1000's are awesome bang for the buck
     
  11. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    With mic types and general advice, I should clarify that I'm going to be laying down a drum machine, vocals, and electric and acoustic guitar.
     
  12. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

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    Vocals: SM57 or 58 or Audio Technica 3035 condenser ($200 from Musicians friend...the one I originally suggested is out of production, I think)....depends on the voice...harder driving tracks may work better with the dynamic mics, softer, breathier songs may benefit from a condenser like the 3035 (the condenser requires phantom power...most preamps and mixers offer this).
    Electric guitars: SM57
    Acoustic Guitars: AT 3035
    Drum Machine can go direct
    $200 may seem like alot of money to put out for a mic, but you can get them used for cheaper. Between a decent condenser and a few SM57's you can do alot.
    Good luck!
     
  13. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Well I just bought a Zoom rythmtrack or whatever from a guy on TGP. If I just go with an Mbox and Protools w/ mics, will I be alright? Do I really need a mixer?
     
  14. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    Remember "Latency". I use a mixer for monitoring during tracking and as a glorified patchbay. Why?

    1) I don't want to stress out the PC, so I don't compensate for latency at all!
    2) Output from Mbox goes to the monitoring mixer
    3) Patchbay mixer (where my keyboard module, mic preamps and PODxt are connected) main out to Mbox 'Input' (for recording), and patchbay mixer 'tape out' to monitoring mixer (for monitoring during recording).

    No stress on my processor by not making it compensate for 'latency' and I record latency free because I don't monitor the instrument I'm recording with the Mbox, I monitor with the mixer.

    I use two Mackie 1202 VLZ Pros.
     
  15. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

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    I think it's definitely worth it to go with the mixer. It will really give you lots of added flexibility and I actually think the preamps in the Mackie stuff are actually pretty good (even the inexpensive ones)...I think they'll suit your purposes just fine. For your purposes you can probably get away with one of the small ones...besides the increased sound quality and flexibility it will give you phantom power.
    If you don't want to get a mixer, you could get one of those inexpensive ART Tube MP's. They actually work pretty good.
    An inexpensive compressor would be a big help for recording...I don't like to use much but a decent transparent compressor set at a low ratio can really help getting a good strong signal recorded without it clipping (which I think is the biggest struggle when recording digitally...getting a nice strong signal without it clipping and giving you some nasty digital distortion). I don't usually compress guitars, but bass benefits from compression and vocals REALLY benefit from them (because they tend to be so dynamic). I usually set a pretty low ratio going in...like, 2:1. It just smooths it out. The RNC Really nice compressor is...um, really nice, but if you don't want to spend that much ($200 new) you might want to check out the behringer stuff...compressors all do pretty much the same thing, so functionally even a low end compressor will really help.
    The bottom line, however, is that you can do alot with what you already have. Don't get hung up on gear. When I started recording I would plug a keyboard direct into a little casette 4 track and record the cheesy backing drum beat for rhythm...then overdub bass, guitars, etc over that. You'll figure out what you feel you need as you record and have to solve problems you have in the process.
     
  16. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    Depending on how serious you are about recording there are several shortcuts you can take on your beforementioned items.

    I have a 12 track Zoom digital recorder that works great. It has a drum machine built in as well as bass. All of the mixing can be controled via the levels on the unit. The songs are stored on the internal C drive as mp3 files. The final track (track 13) is what is called the master track which incorporates all of the 12 tracks into one, appropriately balanced track. You can transfer the files onto your computer as a normal mp3 file using the USB port out. The recorder was a gift and it was $700 three years ago. At that time the same model with a built in CD burner was $900, now the model with the internal on-board burner is about $699. It is a great deal and the recording quality is second to almost none for do-it-yourself at-home recording.

    As for mics, I have a basic sure 57 which is super versitile. It can be used for vocals or amp micing. You mentioned that you wanted a drum machine so I am assuming that you are not going to be recording drums. If you were considering recording drums I would suggest no less than 5 mics depending on the complexity of the kit (symbols, high-hat, tom, snare and bass at least).

    As for computer software with my recorder all you need is a basic computer burning program such as Windows Media Player, Easy CD Creator, Nero etc. You can completely skip the computer stage if you get the on-board CD burner option.

    I would post some examples of what it sounds like, but I have had it in my buds basement for sometime now. It's much easier to move than his 18 piece maple drum kit.

    Just some thoughts.

    B
     

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