project studio ideas

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by roushc, Jun 20, 2005.


  1. roushc

    roushc Guest

    A fellow bandmate is seeking the path of the audio engineer and I intend to provide as much support as possible (I might love the recording arts as much as he does anyway). We plan on putting together a project studio to hone our craft and record local bands (probably for free). We don't have a lot of money to put into it...and we don't expect it to make us money...we just want a setup that will deliver some quality recordings and help us develop our skills. So...via endless hours on the net and after perusing myriad forums, magazines, and online reviews...we've put together some ideas for our entry-level DAW. I'd really like to know what thoughts/suggestions/words of sage wisdom might be out there. Here goes:

    DAW:
    iMac G5 (already have it)
    RME Fireface

    OUTBOARD:
    Presonus M80 (is there a better 8-ch box for the money?)
    Presonus ACP88 (just to get us started and have some versatility...although we probably only need about 4 channels compression at once...very open to suggestions here, especially if they save $)

    MONITORING:
    Headphones:
    Sony MDR-7509
    Extreme Isolation Headphones
    Speakers:
    Mackie HR824

    MICS:
    Shure SM57 (x2)
    Sennheiser MD421 (x2)
    AKG D112
    Josephson C42 (sd con)
    AKG AT4050 LDC

    PLUGINS/SOFTWARE:
    Cubase SX3
    Propellerhead Reason 3
    Waves Platinum Bundle

    MISC:
    Mic stands
    Mic/patch cables
    Headphone distribution amp
    Extra headphones

    --------

    FUTURE DREAMS:
    Expansion: RME ADI-8 DS
    Dangerous 2-Bus LT
    Royer R-121
    Soundelux u195
    Another gig of ram
    API 3124
    John Hardy M-1
    FMR RNC

    --------

    For musical reference, we play stuff in the realm of indie rock...some hardcore influences, some post-rock/instrumental influences, etc. Check out http://www.myspace.com/thebrightlightsocialhour for mp3s...we recorded them ourselves actually...not on the above gear (digi 001 and such)...we had some helpful friends, but it was pretty much out first crack at it.

    Your consideration is deeply appreciated.
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd lose the Presonus stuff and save for an OSA rack. It'll work with API modules too. I think you'll be wasting money on the m80 especially, since you're getting 4 decent pres with the fireface.

    Aside from that, think about a decent 8 ch. converter (maybe down the road) if you need to record more than 8 ch. at once. Or even a good 2 ch. converter (sooner) for vocals.

    Demo the Mackies first, if possible.

    Don't forget:

    Room treatment and comfortable chairs and beer.
     
  3. roushc

    roushc Guest

    The OSA stuff looks great and it might be a good alternative for future pres...but, it'd be quite expensive to start out with 8 channels of the stuff. I suppose I could start with four and use the other four pres on the Fireface, but does the quality outweigh 2-3x price difference, esp. considering I could probably find an M80 used?
     
  4. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Paying for a Waves Plat Bundle at this point in time is nuts, imo. Grab a UAD card or two, and supplement it with some of the great offerings from the likes of Sonalksis, PSP, Voxengo, etc.

    When i bought my Gold Bundle there were not many legit competitors doing work of substantial quality. Happily, that's no longer the case.
     
  5. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm just not a big fan of Presonus gear of recent plus I firmly believe in buying gear one time only. You can probably get the m80 to work for you just fine. The difference b/t my presonus preamp and my mixer's is so slight, I can hardly hear it, let alone determine which is better.

    I agree, $1500 is tough to cough up for 2 channels but it seems to be the price point b/t decent and great.

    As an alternative to the m80, have you considered a multi-channel pre with adat out? That would free up some analog ins on the fireface.
     
  6. roushc

    roushc Guest

    I'm actually looking at the Audient ASP800 right now too...I'm just to sure about the quality of converters in it's expansion card. It's around the same price as the M80 and I've heard good things.

    As for the plug-ins...I don't have PCI expansion capabilities on the iMac, which I kinda regret as of late...either way, the UAD card isn't gonna fly. I probably won't regret the lack of PCI slots as much when I can throw the iMac in a carrying case and record virtually anywhere. So...the Waves stuff just seemed to jump out at me...but you're right, I need to do more looking.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I think the M80 and ACP88 are good choices starting out. They sound good, very clean, but do yourself a favor and check each and every channel when it arrives, to make sure they ALL work like they should.

    IMO Fostex T-50s are better than the Sony headphones in the studio. The Sonys tend to exaggerate the high end a lot.

    I like the Waves plugs a lot, but the UAD card may be a better buy for your system. I don't know if they work in Macs, tho. If not, Waves plugs are terrific. There are other companies who do similar things, but Waves sounds better than most, at least to my ears.

    Add the gig of RAM now. Why wait? What's it cost, 125 bucks or so? Buy it here. Absolutely 100% reliable, high quality product, and best price besides. Odds are, whoever else you buy it from will get from them and mark it up.
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Supporting Member

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    I'd swap out the compressor for a FMR Audio RNC and an ART Pro VLA, which would give you two different colors of compression, for around $400. You're not going to need that much compression, when tracking at 24-bits. Use some for taming a vocal or smoothing out an acoustic guitar, but do the rest with plugs at mixtime, until you get a handle on how much to use, or not use.

    Take THAT $400 you just saved and look at a Sytek 4-channel jobbie for the pres, for $700. Take the other and get a channel of Brett Averill API, for $895. Use these for kick, snare and OH's, and use the others for toms, etc.

    Your mic choice is cool, but I'd substitute an AT ATM-25 for the kick mic. Easier to get a happening sound with, IMHO. As far as you LDC goes, there's a ton of stuff out there. I might look at a bunch before deciding on which one.

    Same with monitors - I'd start w/Tannoy Reveals and work your way up. NOT the place to skimp, tho. Putting your $ here and in mics will give you the best payoff, sonically.

    If you're doing rock-based stuff, the only plugs you need are a good EQ, compressor, delay and reverb. Get the best you can find here, and don't buy all sorts of crazy stuff. Disregard that if you're doing techno or sample-based stuff. <g>

    With the stuff you've picked out, a good room, and most importantly, a great song and players, you'll have no problem getting some very nice results, once you get your chops up.

    Keep in mind that it's a new skill you're trying to learn, and it takes YEARS to learn how to do it well. There's not an engineer worth his salt who isn't constantly trying to get just a little better or learn a new trick or technique. Be patient, ask questions, read everything you can get your hands on, and record as much as you can.

    Good Luck,

    Loudboy
     
  9. roushc

    roushc Guest

    Thanks a bunch for the heads up on the Sytek. As a result of this thread (and some other research), I'll probably ditch the Presonus stuff. I'll start with the Sytek (and the four pres on the Fireface) and gradually accumulate OSA stuff to play along. And as for compression, I have no idea why I ever thought I need eight channels straight away anyway - a few RNCs to start out will be more than fine. I'm also currently looking at a pair of Dynaudio BM5As.

    Did anyone ever check out the songs on the link in the original post? Any thoughts on the quality (esp. considering the meager means)? And, since this is mostly a guitar forum, I figure I should probably tell what I used: Fender CS Tele Jr (w/ P90s) into a Dr.Z Carmen Ghia into a Z-Best 2x12"...mic'd up with a 57 and occasionally double-tracked (pan one hard left, one hard right). The pre was a Presonus M80 and the conversion was via a Digi 001...which I felt was the weakest link. I have a pretty wicked living room with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and irregular architecture (lacking in those treacherous 90 degree angles) so I felt the drums came out pretty cool considering the minimal mic setup (one small diaphragm condensor overhead, a large diaphragm back further in the room, a 57 on snare, and a D112 on kick).
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    If you're recording a full band live in the studio, or even just a drum kit, I think 8 channels would be only a start.

    I use the ACP-88 in my live PA rig. It's a very good, very transparent compressor. Not that you always want "transparent," but I think for the quality and cost per channel you can't beat it.

    The only drawback is PreSonus' lousy QC. As I said, you really need to test all channels after opening the box.
     
  11. roushc

    roushc Guest

    I like pretty minimal drum micing setups...and I have mixed feelings about using a lot of compression. I hardly ever mic up toms to begin with...I could see compressing snare, kick, and the room mic...maybe overheads from time to time...which would be 4-5 channels of comp tops. But then again, my needs may suddenly change. Fortunately, those RNCs are pretty cheap!
     

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