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  • Small Home Based Recording Studio. HELP!

    Hi guys,

    First of all, let me say hello, as I am a n00b to this forum, I am mainly *dons flaming hat* an OJ'er, and I hang elsewhere on HC too.

    My question is this. I am looking to set up a small (read inexpensive) recording studio at home. I am kinda fed up of having all these songs in my head and written down. I want to record them, to share with my wonderful fiancee (a fellow forumite BTW).

    I am looking to record both acoustic and electric guitar, with vocals too. I plan on adding percussion via some form of computer based sampler (yeah I know, it is a little lame, but this is my limit I am afraid!).

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Nick

  • #2
    There are a lot of ways to skin that cat. Here's one that would be fairly inexpensive:

    1. M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 audio card (stereo inputs and outputs)
    2. SONAR Cakewalk, one of the less expensive versions of it
    3. An inexpensive pre-amp/DI box like a Presonus TubePre
    4. A reasonably priced large diaphragm condenser mic
    5. EZDrummer drum synth
    6. A small set of monitors if you don't have any already
    7. A reasonable set of phones for tracking purposes
    8. A drum pad for entering the drums. You can use a MIDI keyboard if you have one, but it's not nearly as easy to play drums that way as on a pad.

    This assumes you have a PC that's up to the task, but most modern ones are if you aren't looking to do anything super-elaborate composition-wise.

    You could probably get all of the above for around $1500 if you shop carefully and pick up some of the stuff used, and it would allow you to do plenty good demos of your ideas.
    Dean Roddey
    Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, LTD

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a small home studio. These, bar intruments, are what I use:

      Its beating heart is a decent DAS. I use an Emu1616m. Youre going to want mic inputs with phantom power and decent preamps and a few other I/Os, probably including midi. Choose one based on what you plan to do with it: if you're just going to record voice and guitar, you can get one with a smaller number of I/Os adn maybe spend a little more for better DACs, or if youre going ot mic up a kit, you'lll need more mic inputs and so on and so forth.

      You need mics. I recommend a couple of dynamic mics (for instruments mainly) and a condenser (for acoustic guitar and vocals mainly). For acoustic, vocals and electric guitar, start with a Rode NT1-A. Very good mic, superbe value. I also use an SM57 adn audix i5. They get the job done.

      You'll need decent headphones for tracking and monitoring. I cant recommend Sennheiser HD25s enough for this. The 25-1, mind, not the SP (not as good) or 25-13 (you'll never drive it without a headphone amp). Sounds great, light, comfortable, tough as nails. I think its important to get decent headphones for mixing references too, to eliminate the effect of the sound of the room.

      Monitors. You wont need anything big or very flash, since you'll need acoustic treatment to get the best out of high end monitors anyway. Dont worry too much about this, as a huge part of it is not so much having great monitors, but learning what your monitors sound like. I use Adam A7s.

      A DAW, like sonar, cubase, pro tool. Reaper is free and cubase and sonar LE come with many DAS's. Any will do, its just a case of learning how to use it (I use cubase SX3 purely because its the one I'm most fluent in)

      Drum sequencer. You're going to want a sequencer that uses midi to instruct a wav sample of a drum sound to play. Dont just use midi drums, they're awfull. DFH Superior for me.

      Decent cables. Do not underestimate the effect of decent cables!!!

      Grand total:

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestions guys.

        Dean, RE your PM. It may be a little difficult seeing as I am in the UK, but I appreciate your offer all the same!

        While I think of it, any ideas of any software that would contain celtic instrument samples?? Namely bodhran, fiddle and bagpipes?? My fiancee is a massive celtophile

        Comment


        • #5
          There are various general purpose soft synths that are samples based and so can provide pretty good imitations of various instruments. Not sure if I know of any with those specific instruments, and perhaps some are best left unsimulated :-) What's the old saying, a gentleman is someone who knows how to play the bagpipes but doesn't do so?
          Dean Roddey
          Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, LTD

          Comment


          • #6
            A few mates of mine spent about a week trying to make a Fairlight sound like uilleann pipes. (It was a long time ago but the Fairlight was reckoned to be capable of anything from making music to driving a Transit van.) They had to give up and get a piper into the studio. Proper order too.

            My gear consists of a standalone digital recorder (Zoom MRS1266) and a few cheap outboard bits like a Behringer headphone amp and a Korg rack tuner. I have a few half-decent mics as well - 2 Red5 Audio tube condensers, an SM 57, a Beyer something-or-other and a Behringer (ahem) B1. Now that the Zoom has been rendered obsolete by the march of progress you should be able to pick one up second-hand for a couple of hundred quid.
            "Now you've opened a whole sheetload of pain on everyone here, with all your black pudding insaneness." - Zygoat2

            "I'm excited. Nothing turns chicks on more than a fat guy with a flying V playing Monkees songs!" - Sydfan

            "Phuck you and your pseudo toaster." - Silas Dean

            Comment


            • #7
              Howdy Blackpig.

              I shall keep my eyes open for the gear you suggested. This standalone digital recorder, I assume you can output the data into a PC to then burn to disc??

              Comment


              • #8
                While I think of it, any ideas of any software that would contain celtic instrument samples?? Namely bodhran, fiddle and bagpipes??

                Your best investment for getting those sounds is...


                ...beer. Free beer for the players! Can't beat the real thing and it's way more fun... and real!
                __________
                Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                Jesus

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                • #9
                  Howdy Blackpig.

                  I shall keep my eyes open for the gear you suggested. This standalone digital recorder, I assume you can output the data into a PC to then burn to disc??


                  Mine has a built in cd burner. I put a usb card on it so I can send files to a pc as wav files. These can then be converted to mp3 for human consumption but if you have editing software you can play around with them and then export them back to the Zoom for mixing and mastering - I don't use any pc based software for this.
                  "Now you've opened a whole sheetload of pain on everyone here, with all your black pudding insaneness." - Zygoat2

                  "I'm excited. Nothing turns chicks on more than a fat guy with a flying V playing Monkees songs!" - Sydfan

                  "Phuck you and your pseudo toaster." - Silas Dean

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I just purchased the toneport UX2 and it works fine. This was $200 and IMHO, worth every penny. This comes with ableton live but it only records 4 tracks and 4 midi tracks. You can get Audacity for free and Reaper (demo). I use Reaper and it's such a great product. The demo never expires and it only bugs to buy it after 30 days. It is only worth $50 and worth every penny as well. For drums, you can use the Addictive Drums demo (does not expire but is limited).

                    I think if you are in a low budget, this are good ideas. Hope this helps and let me know if you need help.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It is only worth $50 and worth every penny as well.


                      Is this what you really intended to say?

                      I'd say Reaper is $50, but worth even more.

                      If he has a Mac, why not try GarageBand?

                      On the PC, I would recommend the Sonar Home Studio 6 or 6XL.

                      BTW: How many simultaneous audio tracks have you been able to get with the TonePort UX2?

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