Starting Home Studio Help

PianoMan

Silver Supporting Member
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1,136
I'm looking to get my own little studio for recording electric guitar set up, but I'm a little overwhelmed by everything out there, and I'm wondering what my best choices are for building the best setup I can. My goal is to create a setup which will allow me to act as a freelance studio guitarist at home.

I've got about $700 to spend. I've already got a high-end guitar setup for recording, so nothing is needed there. I also have an MBox 2 with ProTools LE 8.

My thought is to upgrade ProTools to full HD, and use the remaining money to get some studio monitors (buying used to maximize value). Any other ideas or opinions?
 

tdawg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
504
Don't do it. Home studio equipment is a slippery and expensive slope. haha
 

PianoMan

Silver Supporting Member
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1,136
Cool spreadsheet! I'm glad you took the time to make that - it's very helpful for people like me who are trying to get a start.

I put down a 7-8 for the quality bar, as I do want to market myself as a professional musician making quality product.

I will need two channels for stereo recording from my AxeFx. I already have an MBox 2, so I believe this is already taken care of as far as interface requirements go.

I have a high-end desktop computer already, so no investment is needed there.

I put down monitors-only, but I live in a very cramped space, so I won't be able to do much of anything for room treatment at this point in time. Maybe it would be better to go for headphone monitoring? I'll defer to the experts on this point.

The output was $1700 new / $1000 used budget. As I mentioned though, I already have an MBox 2, and I do have an SM57 (and access to several more if need be) so to my limited knowledge, those needs are already taken care of.

Any input after this?

EDIT: I made a mistake in my original post. I meant to say that my idea was to upgrade ProTools from LE 8 to a full version of 9 - not to HD 9.
 
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Scott Whigham

Member
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3,529
I will need two channels for stereo recording from my AxeFx. I already have an MBox 2, so I believe this is already taken care of as far as interface requirements go.

I put down monitors-only, but I live in a very cramped space, so I won't be able to do much of anything for room treatment at this point in time. Maybe it would be better to go for headphone monitoring? I'll defer to the experts on this point.

The output was $1700 new / $1000 used budget. As I mentioned though, I already have an MBox 2, and I do have an SM57 (and access to several more if need be) so to my limited knowledge, those needs are already taken care of.

EDIT: I made a mistake in my original post. I meant to say that my idea was to upgrade ProTools from LE 8 to a full version of 9 - not to HD 9.
You're right - the MBox2 has you covered on the interface front and the single SM57 has you covered for mics if you like the sound of it. If you aren't happy with the SM57, just spend another 15-20 hours until you ARE happy with it. Once you do that - once you cross the "It's hard to get a good sound with just a single SM57" bridge - then you might consider adding a ribbon or omni and dual miking.

Let's talk room treatment and why it's so important: Without adequate room treatment, you will have nulls and dips in various freqs. When you playback, you'll be tempted to add/boost those freqs in the mix. When you then burn your mix to a CD and play it back elsewhere, you'll then hear those freqs boosted above normal and it will likely not sound anything like it sounded in the studio.

With a budget of $700, your best bet IMO is to get both a set of monitors and a set of open-back headphones. This is your "penalty" for not having the room treatment - you will mix on one or the other (you'll develop a preference), and then check your mix on the other to cross reference it. Headphones also allow you to mix at night/early which is handy. FWIW, if you had another $500 in the budget and were going to add room treatment, I still would have suggested headphones. You need to be able to hear your backing track/click when you play, right? The difference is that I probably would have recommended a closed-back phones.

Quick clarification question - is the $700 budget what's left over after the PT9 upgrade, or do we need to take out the $300 to do the upgrade?

I'm not sold on the idea that PT9 is a significant upgrade for you though. Maybe you have researched it though. I was in the same spot as you - recording guitar only and already had MBox2 w/ PT8LE - and I opted to spring for PT9 too. I wanted "latest and greatest" so that I could build something that I'd use for 5+ years and I didn't think PT8LE was "it".

Product suggestions:

Monitors: I'd suggest 5" or 6" speakers and would expect to spend $300-$600 if I was also needing to save some for buying cans. KRK Rokit 5, M-Audio BX5A (my fav in this range), JBL LSR series (2325s prob), Mackie MR5mk2. There's just not a huge difference in terms of quality in that range - the $300 monitors, IMO, aren't necessarily "$300 worse than the $600 monitors" if you know what I mean. A lot of this will come down to preference. You might like the mids in the KRKs better than any other monitor and so choose it. It's okay. I've always bought used monitors because you can get such great deals. I can buy a $600 retail set for 50% off usually. It is commonplace that people go to the pro audio store/Guitar Center and audition monitors. The salespeople expect it; they are setup specifically for people to (a) bring the CDs that they know and love the sound of, and then to (b) play those CDs on a variety of monitors. Don't be shy about this - they will likely think you a bit foolish if you didn't do that and instead just bought monitors based on price alone.

Phones: Senn HD595 (I actually have a pair that I'd sell - bought them before I had room treatment), AKG K240, AKG K701, Denon AHD2000, Grado SR80s or SR125s, or even the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro. These range from $100-$350 so it's a function of how much you want/have to spend.
 
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PianoMan

Silver Supporting Member
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1,136
Thanks for the input.

I have $700 total to spend on everything, including ProTools.

My thinking there is that if someone gives me a ProTools file and expects me to record my part, I don't want to have problems with getting into it because I have LE and it can only allows 4 channels. Maybe this isn't an issue with opening other files though? My ProTools experience is minimal right now.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,529
Are people going to be giving you, a lowly guitar player (and I say that as one guitar player to another, with tongue firmly in cheek :)), a Pro Tools project? That's not generally how it goes - usually someone gives you a WAV/MP3 of the "mix to that point". You can then import that as a single channel/track.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,615
Scott gave you some good pointers, question though, how come your version of LE only allows 4 channels?
 




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