Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Recommendations for a semi-pro home recording setup

Collapse
X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Recommendations for a semi-pro home recording setup

    Phil- I have been using a native instruments audio interface for about five years now into logic X for recording. If I was ready to scrap all that today and say I wanted the ability to record studio-quality tracks piece by piece, what would you recommend? My goal would be to capture individual tracks for my own mixing but also to have them be high enough quality that I could send them out to an actual engineer like yourself for professional results.

    Enlighten me on your recommended preamp’s, Mike’s, and DAW.
    .com/

  • #2
    Style of music?

    Types of sound sources you'll be recording?

    Do you ever envision yourself recording multiple sound sources simultaneously, and if so, what? Two acoustic guitars? Guitar and vocals? Piano and guitar? Acoustic drums and bass? Bouzouki, bells and bagpipes?

    What kind of room / environment do you have to work with?

    Any special considerations, such as a need to record primarily direct, etc?

    How is your current computer situation? Do you have a Mac or PC you can use?

    How about your current (if any) transducers - mics and monitors?



    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

    Comment


    • #3
      PS What, if anything, do you dislike about your current approach? What challenges are you facing?

      Also, what do you like about your current setup / approach?

      How do you feel about Logic - pretty happy there?
      **********

      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

      Comment


      • #4
        Man, ask a stupid question, get 1 million good questions!

        Lets say rock, with anything from mic only acoustic to face-melting fuzz, with vocals and bass direct. No hard requirement for dual input recording, but a two-mic acoustic option would be a bonus.

        A relatively neutral room. Treated, so it isn’t a ****************-show of reflections, but not necessarily “sweet”.

        I have a MAC (duh, Logic) and a PC I could recruit (some bloatware I would need to address).

        I have MAudio B monitors and am demoing the Mackie Thump Boosted. A couple of classic Shure mics, one maudio conducted mic, and random stuff.

        I don’t necessarily like/hate anything about my current setup, other than I haven’t invested enough time to feel ownership and am wondering if there is a better way. I like logic and the simplicity of the NI interface, and I’m mostly wondering if I’m half-assimg it or if there is a superior platform so when I catch the lightning in a bottle I’m not limited by the capture.
        Last edited by Chris Loeffler; 04-25-2018, 11:35 PM.
        .com/

        Comment


        • #5
          To capture lightning in a bottle, it needs to be happening in the room.

          If it IS happening in the room, capturing it is relatively easy.... and the better the gear and the better the ear, the easier it is - or so I hear.

          If it's not happening, all of the gear in the world and all of the editing and production in the world won't make it happen.

          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

          Comment


          • #6
            Chris, how often do you use plugins - either for virtual instruments or as effects / processors? Do you have a decent selection of good ones available to you?

            **********

            "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
            - George Carlin

            "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
            - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

            "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
            - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

            Comment


            • #7
              I have quite a few, but I haven’t really used them to date.
              .com/

              Comment


              • #8
                My recommendations would be to invest in a better interface, possibly a couple / few mics, and down the line, a nice channel strip or two.

                For the interface, I'd suggest the Universal Audio Apollo Twin, or the Universal Audio Arrow if your computer has a Thunderbolt 3 connector. The Apollo Twin has great sound quality, built-in UAD-2 processing (Universal Audio's powered plugins are some of the best that you'll find anywhere), and it can be expanded by adding an outboard 8-channel ADAT lightpipe mic preamp, so you're covered even if you do need to expand later (so you can track a drum kit, more musicians at once, etc.)

                For mics, it really depends on what you'll be recording. I'd suggest at least a decent set of small diaphragm condensers for utility use and for stereo miking acoustic guitars. The Rode M5's are great on a tight budget (~$200 for a pair), and if you can still find them, I really like the Blue Hummingbird a lot too, and a pair of those are not all that expensive. Whether or not to get a large diaphragm condenser would depend on how often you think you'll need to track vocals... you might be just as interested in getting a nice ribbon mic for use on guitar cabinets...

                As far as the channel strip(s), we can talk about that after you try the stuff that's built into the Apollo - they have some really good emulations of classic gear.


                **********

                "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
                - George Carlin

                "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
                - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
                - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                  My recommendations would be to invest in a better interface,
                  ? Because?

                  The Audio 6 (probably what he has) is a very fine AI and "upgrading" is likely to return precious little improvement if any in sound IMO.

                  Chris, what you have already provides you "the ability to record studio-quality tracks" easily. Frankly it sounds like more a question of learning more about recording and mixing than it does equipment by far. Your statement about not using plugins much if at all is glaring evidence of that. Don't waste money on hardware that you assume/imagine is going to magically make your mixes better. It won't. Learning more about recording and mixing will. FWIW

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Chris, which specific interface do you have? Bill's correct insofar as it possibly being capable of recording "studio-quality tracks."
                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bill5 View Post
                      ? Because?

                      The Audio 6 (probably what he has) is a very fine AI and "upgrading" is likely to return precious little improvement if any in sound IMO.
                      I made the assumption that he had an older interface that he wasn't crazy about. Plus, I am a BIG fan of the UA powered plugins, and the modern UA interfaces give him the ability to emulate some pretty classic front end signal paths, plus they give him the ability to use better plugins than what he's probably currently using when it comes time to mix... but you're correct that he may already have a decent enough interface, and I probably shouldn't have made the assumption that I did.

                      However, not all interfaces are created equal, and "studio quality" covers a pretty darned broad range.

                      Chris, what you have already provides you "the ability to record studio-quality tracks" easily. Frankly it sounds like more a question of learning more about recording and mixing than it does equipment by far.
                      No offense Bill, but now you're making some pretty big assumptions. Have you ever heard any of his recordings? Do you know what he knows and what he doesn't know? I've known Chris for a long time, and he's more knowledgeable than he lets on...

                      Your statement about not using plugins much if at all is glaring evidence of that.
                      Really? I know people who prefer to avoid plugins and who would much rather use hardware... and they make some pretty amazing sounding recordings that way...

                      Don't waste money on hardware that you assume/imagine is going to magically make your mixes better. It won't. Learning more about recording and mixing will. FWIW
                      I definitely agree that knowledge trumps hardware / gear, but there's a reason why the best engineers in the world tend to use high end gear. High end gear without the knowledge of how to get the best out of it is indeed wasted, but that doesn't mean gear doesn't make any difference.
                      **********

                      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
                      - George Carlin

                      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
                      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
                      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        +1 on the Rode M5 stereo pair. I have those too, I've used them on both guitars and drum overheads. Very affordable and they get the job done.

                        Chris, you never mentioned what mics you already own. Maybe you can experiment with what you currently have, such as trying various mic positions, room locations, instrument-to-mic combinations. Anyway, a while back I was discussing with Phil about a new mic I got, the Shure SM81, it seems to record almost everything pretty well. especially acoustic instruments. Might be a bit biased since its currently my favourite mic.

                        Also, are you using any external mic preamps? Or just the built-in preamp of the interface? I find that mic preamps could make a big difference, especially with certain mics.
                        Moderator - Vocals and Voiceovers Forum
                        Follow me on Twitter and Soundcloud

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bill5 View Post
                          ? Because?

                          The Audio 6 (probably what he has) is a very fine AI and "upgrading" is likely to return precious little improvement if any in sound IMO.

                          Chris, what you have already provides you "the ability to record studio-quality tracks" easily. Frankly it sounds like more a question of learning more about recording and mixing than it does equipment by far. Your statement about not using plugins much if at all is glaring evidence of that. Don't waste money on hardware that you assume/imagine is going to magically make your mixes better. It won't. Learning more about recording and mixing will. FWIW
                          I agree with what you are saying, and I don’t disagree. Phil is right in that I tend to understate my pedigree because I work with giants like Phil and Craig Anderton, and I am also looking to start a conversation for other people who have less immediate access to them.

                          For my my specific goals, I am interested in capturing the highest quality raw tracks. I absolutely can mix and master, and I’m not that interested in that for myself. I can rock it for other people, but I don’t want to engineer my own tracks... I want to be creative, perform, and hand off the highest quality tracks to someone else.
                          .com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                            Chris, which specific interface do you have? Bill's correct insofar as it possibly being capable of recording "studio-quality tracks."
                            NI Audio 6
                            .com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post

                              I made the assumption that he had an older interface that he wasn't crazy about. Plus, I am a BIG fan of the UA powered plugins, and the modern UA interfaces give him the ability to emulate some pretty classic front end signal paths, plus they give him the ability to use better plugins than what he's probably currently using when it comes time to mix... but you're correct that he may already have a decent enough interface, and I probably shouldn't have made the assumption that I did.

                              However, not all interfaces are created equal, and "studio quality" covers a pretty darned broad range.



                              No offense Bill, but now you're making some pretty big assumptions. Have you ever heard any of his recordings? Do you know what he knows and what he doesn't know? I've known Chris for a long time, and he's more knowledgeable than he lets on...



                              Really? I know people who prefer to avoid plugins and who would much rather use hardware... and they make some pretty amazing sounding recordings that way...



                              I definitely agree that knowledge trumps hardware / gear, but there's a reason why the best engineers in the world tend to use high end gear. High end gear without the knowledge of how to get the best out of it is indeed wasted, but that doesn't mean gear doesn't make any difference.
                              You are kind, Phil.

                              Yes, I’m not a mook, and I know (at least theoretically) more than the average bear, but what’s also true is I have realized I don’t want to engineer for myself. For others, yes, I am happy to apply polish and such, but for my own stuff, I want to perform and be done. What I am curious about is what an engineer wants to make my scratch tracks mix-ready.

                              .com/

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X