How to make a home studio...?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by madguitarsolo, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    What would I need to create a home studio. I already have a PC with Windows XP, Pentium 4 and enough hard disk space to last a lifetime.

    I need to know what I need to create a home studio to create professional quality recordings. Also, can anyone recommend a realistic drum track making program?

    Cheers in advance
     
  2. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    check out this website:
    www.homerecording.com/bbs

    Theres a wealth of info on there. Recording can be simple or it can be complex, but every little thing you do makes a big difference in your finished product.

    the #1 thing is to find some good studio monitors that accurately reproduce the music. Most home stereo speakers try to "make" the music sound good, but you want speakers that tell you whats really there in the first place. Good monitors can cost alot of money, but I have a couple low budget recommendations.

    The Yorkville YSM1p is a powered monitor that is one of my favorites at any price. It does a great job accurately reproducing everything in a mix and not covering up the mids or over accentuating the highs. You can get these for about $400 a pair, and they're a great value. You can get the non-powered version if you have a good clean power amp and they cost about half of that.

    The M-Audio BX8 is a bigger speaker, for around the same price. It has a litle more lows due to the bigger speaker size, and a more acentuated high range. I don't like them as much for rock music, but theyre great for hip hop if you do'nt have a sub.

    If you're on a really tight budget or really tight space, try out the KRK Rockit5. Its a small powered speaker that I auditioned versus several others in its size and price range and it was extremely accurate with a mix of songs I was using for refrence. They come in just under $300 a set most places.

    Whatever speakers you end up with, the best advise I can give anyone is to kearn them well. Listen to every CD you own, especially music that is similar to the music you want to create. The more you do this, the more you can manipulate your own mixes to sound like what you want them to.

    No matter what anyone tells you, never mix on headphones. You can not accurately mix on them, period. Ask anyone who says they do, to hear their work they have done.

    Outside of monitors, you wil need an interface, a pre amp, and a micrphone (At minimum) to begin recording. There are products at every level here, and it just depends on what you want to spend. Recording interfaces are priced so that the more you spend the better it is, and thats just how it is. So get a budget, then search Musiciansfriend or Zzounds, or AMS to find which ones you can afford. I personally use stuff my MOTU and Digidesign, but you can start out for alot less money. I like the M-Audio interfaces for enrty level stuff.

    Pre amps are as numerous as hairs on your head, but every one brings something different to the table. Some are pure clean, which is alot wasier for a beginner to work with, and some add their own character or color to the sound. Generally you want as clean as you can get for under $1000 and over that some of the character pre amps start to sound good. Some interfaces will offer one, two, or more pres built in. So you can look for that, also.

    Mics are even more numerous. The recent (in the past 5 years) influx of cheap Chinese microphones has really changed the home recording market. Companies like Studio Projects, ADK, and many others offer clones (knock offs) of expensive German mics that can really get the job done for a cheaper price than ever before. While they do not rival the original expensive mics in side by side comparison, they do a great job for someone who could never shell out $2500 for a mic anyways. For someone who is just going to record the guitar, the $90 Shure SM57 has probably been used on as many albums, pro and hobbyist, as any mic that exists. Its a great mic to have if you can only have one mic, and its as useful on the stage as it is in the studio. Its also nearly bulletproof.

    Check out the site above for more info than you wish you'd ever known. If you though guitar GAS could get bad, its really nothing compared to Pro Studio GAS. :)

    H2H
     
  3. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    Cheers, H2H. Gonna check out the site now
     
  4. TheOwl

    TheOwl Member

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    As far as recording software, my favorites are:

    CUBASE SE (what I'm currently using)

    SONAR

    Ableton LIve is VERY highly spoken of too, just hadan't had a chance to try it out yet.

    I know some will think I'm nuts, but I just don't go for the whole Pro-Tools thing, too expensive and way too proprietary, you have to use THEIR hardware and plug-ins, if they went out of business you'd be screwed. Plus, too many bells and whistles to wade through for my taste.

    M-Audio www.m-audio.com makes TONS of great products at different price points for home recorders, my PC has an Audiophile 2496 soundcard (w/ MIDI, analog audio and S-PDIF) that works really well. I also have one of their Radium series MIDI keyboards (61 keys) and I'll be picking up a set of the BX-5 near-fields this week, for $300.00 it gives you lots of bang for the buck (and for the size, I'm a bit limited for space). Currently using an Alesis Multimix-16 mixer for audio input. In addition, I have TONS of VST instrument and effects plugins I downloaded from KVR Audio ( www.kvraudio.com ).
     
  5. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    ahh, hate to burst your bubble bud, but Digidesign (Protools) owns M-Audio! :)

    They ain't goin nowhere.

    H2H
     
  6. TheOwl

    TheOwl Member

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    [quote author=Hard2Hear link=topic=5012.msg70941#msg70941 date=1134435683]
    ahh, hate to burst your bubble bud, but Digidesign (Protools) owns M-Audio! :)

    They ain't goin nowhere.

    H2H
    [/quote]


    Ahh haaaahhh! So THAT'S why they've gotten so involved with bundling with certain M-Audio products.

    OK, Pro-Tools may not be my cup of tea, but at the very least, they're not being evil idiots like Sony (bunch of greedy, unethical sleazebags they are). And I have to give 'em credit for making an affordable entry level Pro Tools package available to folks.

    In any case, M-Audio will still see much business from this Owl, they do make a pretty amazing array of products for the money!
     
  7. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    I like M-Audio stuff, too, and agree with you. I used a Delta44 for years and it was an excellent little unit!

    H2H
     
  8. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    Hard2Hear
    You said
    Please explain. I would have assumed that the best critical listening device is headphones. But that is probably moreso because of my novice experience with PC speakers/jam box speakers verses headphones, and the headphones always sound better.
     
  9. Bonfire

    Bonfire Active Member

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    the size of the speakers in headphones just physically dont allow them to reproduce accurate bass... ive tried many headphones, all were crummy compared to monitors!
     
  10. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    I see, O0 I didn't think of the lower end of bass very much, but that makes good sense. It would quickly become dangerous for headphones to produce subwoofer bass, moves too much air.
     
  11. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    MGS
    I'm interested in how things go for you as I am in the market for the same sort of thing. So far, the Presonus stuff (i.e. Inspire/Firebox/Firepod) seems to stand out pretty well. Besides the obvious functional things to look for (# inputs, phantom power, effects), I've been reading that you want a product that (1)lasts and (2) works well with your PC.

    So I like to hear about products that have stood the test of time and still get good reviews. The Presonus firewire products have a really good price value point, and the firebox has been around for about 2 years or so and it still enjoys popular support. But there are others. I thought I was going to buy an Emu 1616m or 1820m cause it looked so good on paper, but then I found out that they don't last long and or have some troubles with how they interface with the PC, plus their tech support is said to be quite bad, so I dropped that pursuit quickly.

    Dig into that recording site, and also check this one out. I was pointed to it from that recording forum. This site has lots of info on different stuff you might be interested in checking out.

    http://www.tweakheadz.com/

    8)
     
  12. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    After I started this thread I started to consider more ways to record good quality recordings. I started thinking about a laptop with a good sound card mostly. Then I really thought about a portastudio, it made more sense than a big corner being taken up with a PC and stuff for that. Then I started a new band and I began losing more money ;D Oh the joys of live sound :)
     
  13. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    ;D :p I hear you! Sometimes change is good. So what is your current band setup? And how many inputs do you think you will need? I'm just a loner so far, so I'm thinking of getting by with a portable PC/laptop, and a portable firewire interface. I might even go with a rack mount Presonus Firepod, and I believe they are daisy chainable, so you can add more stuff if you need it. Very good reports about their preamps and sound quality, and they seem to last pretty well too. Also you can buy a separate mixer with sliders if you want that. `Above that, Mackie seems to be a well trusted name, but is more expensive.

    Keep us informed on how things go. I'm headed to Chicago today to get me a portable PC or a laptop, not sure which yet. Then soon to add the PC interface, probably something firewire as they seem to be doing well. The PC is a great recording device because of it's functional power and flexibility, but if you don't need to do much beyond just recording, then simpler solutions may be better. For me, I have to have a PC involved, gotta have the unth degree of control over the sound (and video) from inspiration to the studio to live performances, I want it all.

    I just hope I can get a good deal on a highly portable PC or laptop. I want a faster PC (=desktop) but want the portability of a laptop... Ugh...
     
  14. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    I haven't got much in the way of a band set up, we haven't had time to buy band stuff like lights and a PA, because we've been trying to get our personal gear up to scratch. We're looking through for PA's atm though.
     
  15. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan New Member

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    Hey y'all, new to the forum and I'm leaning seriously toward buying a Boss BR 1600 digital home recording thingy. A couple of old guys I know with OLD analog gear seem to think the 1600 is a good way to go. I already have a set of Roland powered monitors. I really don't want to get my home computer involved, and the 1600 has 8 live inputs to get the killer drum sound I want to use as my foundation. Pro drummer friend of mine has volunteered his services as well as a couple of mic's to use, when drums are finished I can start in with my bass and then guitar experimentation. I think a Shure 57, 58 and a good condenser mic will be a good purchase, needing the borrowed mic's from the drummers' live rig only while doing drum tracks. Not really on a budget, I just want to get the right gear the first time and spend only what I need. I have several guitars for variety and amps include a Hot Rod DeVille, JCM 800, and an old Peavey Musician solid state head with all sorts of effects. I have 4x12 A & B cabs. I really want to keep it live sounding and simple, using multiple mic placement like the Jimmy Page stuff. I've done some research but would love any input from anybody who has stumbled down this road already. Thoughts and suggestions welcome and needed.
     
  16. Ne_buddy

    Ne_buddy Member

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    I'd advise against a standalone digital recorder because the computer is definitely the best bang for the buck - recording wise -- because you get as many tracks as your processor can handle, a RAM-load of effects, and mixdown -- not to mention the capacity to instantly publish or share your tracks with your peeps on the other side of the world. Also, it's your computer! You already use it to do other things, so upgrading it for music makes everything else run better as well: cost effective.

    Seems like your computer is fairly new. Otherwise I'd say get a Mac and Garageband -- they make it soooooooooooo easy to record songs, podcasts, & sountracks with at least demo-worthy audio quality. But really, you can't go wrong with either platform - there's a ton of software for PCs. You'll need a pretty quick HardDrive with at least 7200 rpm (pref. an outboard HD that is used only for recording), an interface/soundcard (like an M-box or Digirack etc.), software (of yr choice) and a mike (if you want vocals & real amp sounds). That's it, really -- the rest is just cheap tricks, like trying to a decent level of quiet when recording. You can record in the quietest room in the house or build a soundproof booth in the garage or sound proof a box big enough to hold the mike and cover the front of your recording source (like an amp). Fun, fun, fun. Good luck!
     
  17. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    In college I like to record this way.... Record the drums on the portastudio, load those tracks into cubase SX3, record bass, then guitars and then vocals. Mix, edit, master and export the whole lot. In fact I have a cover of AC/DC's stiff upper lip in the Audio Lounge section of the forum. Have a listen to it if you want to hear the result of this method.

    On that recording I used a low quality beginner drum kit, a low quality (crap) amp, and a beginner's bass through a bass pod. Of course the SG's came out for the session though O0
     
  18. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan New Member

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    Hey madguitarsolo, I'll check out your track. Thanks! You know, I get the feeling I'm the Lone Ranger wanting to avoid computers in recording. :-) It's a multi faceted thing. My wife and kid use the computer all the time so I would have a battle there. I like the portability aspect that allows me to take my recording gear to my drummers' house 70 miles away, or to a local piano teachers' house to maybe lay down a few REAL piano tracks. Portastudio and some mics sounds much simpler. I could use it at some point to record some live shows some of my buddies do on weekends. I could record whatever is convenient and go home with my stuff to mix later. I work in a power plant with enough modern computer technology to run the NASA space program and this crap is broke, crashed, lost, malfunctioning every time I turn around. The computer guys say "Hey, no problem!" and then scratch their heads all night trying to find the "problem". I'm a stone tablet and chisel kinda guy. I hope I'm not too naive thinking I could get the results I want with amps and mics in my living room and keep it all in one machine. When I get something I can use I'll burn it on a disc or store it on my computer to free up the portastudio memory. I admit to having a bad reputation at work as the IT systems assassin. I wreck our email all the time. I think computers hate me. Am I really gonna be disappointed in the results from the Boss BR 1600? I know two guys who have used them some, their experience with them is limited but positive. They usually use computers as well. If I must buy software and go the PC route, I'm really starting at Zero. Call me clueless. (Does Jimmy Page do consulting work?)
     
  19. madguitarsolo

    madguitarsolo Active Member

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    No I don't think you will be disappointed with the portastudio. From what I've read it's a good machine, the only thing that might let the first few records be disappointing is the lack of experience with it (I assume). Getting used to new things is great to do, and when you've had a few songs done with the Boss BR-1600, the final products will keep sounding better.
     
  20. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan New Member

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    At last!!! Words of encouragement! Yeah, I expect to encounter a bit of a learning curve, with a few hard lessons sprinkled in for building character. I really believe the Boss BR 1600 and a few Shure mics (including one good condenser) would be a good investment if I could limit my financial exposure after that, since this will all come out of my guitar/amp funds. The K.I.S.S. plan (Keep it simple, stupid) is my best bet until I get really savvy with this recording thing. Thanks MGS! I'll keep an eye on the forum to see if I can catch more nuggets of wisdom.
     

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