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  1. #1

    Default Home recording studio

    I want to set up a home recording studio, or something on the way to that, and am looking for advice from the more knowledgeable/experienced people on here. My budget isn't that great because I'm between jobs, but I'd like to get a start and maybe add to it as I go.

    My instruments at the moment are guitar, keyboard and myself. I will probably have a maximum of two channels recording at any one time (ie. voice and guitar), and I probably need midi input for keyboard too. I'd like to use my computer for audio editing and mixing.

    So the first thing I'm wondering about is what is the best way to record my acoustic guitar to the computer and my voice to the computer with minimum noise. ie. what configuration of microphones, pre-amps/mixers will give the best result for a reasonable price? Or are there better alternatives to pre-amps if I want to record to computer? What's the best way to interface to the computer also? (my computer is a PC)

    At the moment my main focus is keeping noise on the recordings to a minimum so I can mix things without it adding up, and also getting decent sound detail, but is there anything else I should be looking out for as a beginner? Where is the best place to start?
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Abstract Thinker does this stuff for a living (has been doing it for a long time and is quite accomplished) and Halla's got a ton of experience and gear as well. They'd be great people to consult.

  3. #3
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Abstract Thinker does this stuff for a living (has been doing it for a long time and is quite accomplished) and Halla's got a ton of experience and gear as well. They'd be great people to consult.
    Fidelia, where is your recent "Recording" thread?

    Alot of the info there is very pertinent here, and would be a great link to refer to.

    Also, generically, a great FREE reference online is at the TweakHeadz Lab Electronic Musician's Hangout site.

    Look for the link to "Tweak's Guide" for free, short, and easy to read articles on every aspect of the recording/mixing process.

    Tweak's Guide to the Home and Project Studio


    The article on different home rigs at different budgets would be priceless for you to read right about now:

    How to Configure a Recording Studio Rig

    Start on that, and post follow ups to see where Abstract Thinker and I can maybe add some additional insight.

    Good luck!

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    It's in the Bonfire.

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    Junior Member Old-Timey's Avatar
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    What is your budget, exactly? I went to college for this stuff, and learned ProTools there, so that's what I'm going to tell you is the best software, but plenty of seasoned home-recorders disagree with me. For a few hundred bucks, you can pick up an "MBox 2," which is a 2-channel mic/line preamp and analog-to-digital converter, plus a MIDI port, that is made to work with ProTools.

    Get at least one Shure SM-57 mic. I'd say it's the only microphone that's indispensable. It's a standard mic for electrified instruments and snare drums, and will sound pretty good on almost anything, if you spend time learning how to position it.

    If you can afford it, get your hands on a condensor mic, which better handles more delicate, complex sounds, like your acoustic guitar. I'd say spend about $300 on your first condensor, unless you have more cash. You don't need a $3000 mic to make a good sound. Neko Case records with an Audio-Technica 4055, which is a cheapish ($600) condensor mic, and she sounds fantastic on it. But she is, of course, Neko.

    For beginner level outboard preamp/compressors, look at FMR Audio's "Very Nice Preamp" and "Very Nice Compressor." They work beautifully together, and the SM57 sounds really nice on them.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for all the info Halla! I'm just checking out the links and will look into it more over the next few days.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Hello Old-Timey! Thanks for adding your two cents. I have some other questions for you guys in a bit.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-Timey View Post
    What is your budget, exactly? I went to college for this stuff, and learned ProTools there, so that's what I'm going to tell you is the best software, but plenty of seasoned home-recorders disagree with me. For a few hundred bucks, you can pick up an "MBox 2," which is a 2-channel mic/line preamp and analog-to-digital converter, plus a MIDI port, that is made to work with ProTools.

    Get at least one Shure SM-57 mic. I'd say it's the only microphone that's indispensable. It's a standard mic for electrified instruments and snare drums, and will sound pretty good on almost anything, if you spend time learning how to position it.

    If you can afford it, get your hands on a condensor mic, which better handles more delicate, complex sounds, like your acoustic guitar. I'd say spend about $300 on your first condensor, unless you have more cash. You don't need a $3000 mic to make a good sound. Neko Case records with an Audio-Technica 4055, which is a cheapish ($600) condensor mic, and she sounds fantastic on it. But she is, of course, Neko.

    For beginner level outboard preamp/compressors, look at FMR Audio's "Very Nice Preamp" and "Very Nice Compressor." They work beautifully together, and the SM57 sounds really nice on them.
    Thanks Old-Timey. My budget is probably quite low at the moment. Maybe $300-$400 Australian for the mic and preamp part. I'll add the midi controller or keyboard later, just need to make sure I have support for in it whatever I buy.

    I sort of want to get a start before I have more money. I know the best stuff isn't cheap. Budget will improve quite a bit when I get a good job again.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

  9. #9
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    I can't give you really any technical advice, but my dad is a recording engineer and has a set-up in his house. He's been in the business for many years and would be able to give solid advice... However, I'm not my dad and this is all I have to offer

    With your needs being minimal, I'd recommend looking at the MBox which is a creation by Digidesign (Pro Tools):
    Avid | Mbox 2

    I don't know that it would be the cheapest route (looks to be between $400-$500 new), but the Mbox does come with the ProTools LE software, which is relatively easy to use and is pretty much the "the name" in audio recording/mixing. I know it's exactly the kind of thing you're looking for. Whether you can find something that meets your needs and is just as efficient and more cost friendly is what needs to be determined. So at the least, the Mbox would be something to research and consider.

  10. #10
    meat popsicle r.a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-Timey View Post
    What is your budget, exactly? I went to college for this stuff, and learned ProTools there, so that's what I'm going to tell you is the best software, but plenty of seasoned home-recorders disagree with me. For a few hundred bucks, you can pick up an "MBox 2," which is a 2-channel mic/line preamp and analog-to-digital converter, plus a MIDI port, that is made to work with ProTools.

    Get at least one Shure SM-57 mic. I'd say it's the only microphone that's indispensable. It's a standard mic for electrified instruments and snare drums, and will sound pretty good on almost anything, if you spend time learning how to position it.

    If you can afford it, get your hands on a condensor mic, which better handles more delicate, complex sounds, like your acoustic guitar. I'd say spend about $300 on your first condensor, unless you have more cash. You don't need a $3000 mic to make a good sound. Neko Case records with an Audio-Technica 4055, which is a cheapish ($600) condensor mic, and she sounds fantastic on it. But she is, of course, Neko.

    For beginner level outboard preamp/compressors, look at FMR Audio's "Very Nice Preamp" and "Very Nice Compressor." They work beautifully together, and the SM57 sounds really nice on them.
    I agree with almost all of this, especially the FMR references, but i would stay clear of the sm57 for recording instruments. the audix i5 is a superior microphone for instruments, drums included. the sm57 and 58 are the same capsule and they do not represent well in the high frequecies, and represent too much in the low/mid-low frequencies. shoot the 57 and the i5 off against each other to to hear it for yourself. same fuckin price!!!

    for vocals, i tell my clients to steer clear of 58's and to get the sennheiser e835 instead. as before, its the same price, MUCH superior microphone. with +6db gain over the sm58, much more transparent sound and ultra low handling noise you wont find a better handheld vocal mic for 100 bucks. plus sennheiser has a 10 year warrenty.

    yeah im not a big SM57/58 fan because i have ears. its just they have been oput for a very long time and are famous for their durability, but their sound has been eclipsed for DECADES. the i5 and the e835 are just as durable, and sound better.
    "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is destructive and evil. Leaders destroy the followers and the followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
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