1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

$4000 home studio- what would you buy?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by cruisemates, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    If you were given a $4000 budget to equip a home studio, what would you buy? The client? a one-person song-writer who plays guitar, keys and sings. Uses a drum machine.

    My goal is to see what "state-of-the-srt" is for home recording now.

    I already have a great vocal mic, guitars, and keys. What I need is a versatile mixer/recorder setup with the ability to record, process and mix tracks to a CD for "demo" distribution.

    The all-in-one-units are great, but often not very flexible. I prefer hands-on mixing to software and especially dislike navigating endless menus on little lcd screens.

    Any ideas....?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    You get what you pay for and $4000 is not going to get you much. You might want to shop for used stuff. You'd be wise to make a complete list of every single item you want and/or will need down to the last cable and adapater before you worry about exactly what specificly you should buy. You need to decide how many tracks/channels, if you need to use the PC at all, and many other details.
  3. You obviouisly feel the same way I do. You can make damn fine recording with that budget IMO.

    If it were me I'd get that Alesis HD24 24 Track Recorder. A CD Burner for mixdowns, and an A&H GL22000. If you shop around that comes to exactly $4k new, and damned if you can't get cabling thrown in for free when you're spending that much cash.

    If you shop used though, you'd have some left over for effects if you want them.
  4. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    Home Page:
    Just throwing out an idea here...

    I just went through a similar exersize and wound up with:

    New computer (built by www.advanceddesignky.com)
    Aardvark Q10 (8 preamps and A/D D/A converters)
    Sonar XL software
    Oz Audio 6 channel headphone amp

    I actually bought two Q10's. That gives me 16 inputs that I can use all at once. I monitor direcly from the Q10 outs to the headphone amp.

    This set up (plus monitors, cables, and mics) has given me just about everything I need.

    For better or worse, I do not have a proper mixer. It is all done in the box.

    Since my initial purchase I have added a few compressors and different sounding preamps.



    <note: rmutt stuff from this set up is only the unreleased stuff>
  5. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    I'd get a used G4 ($700)
    Logic Pro ($999)
    Roxio Toast w/Jam ($150)
    (You can sub a cheap PC/Cubase/Peak for around the same dinero)
    Yamaha MSP5 ($500)
    Logic Control (~$700 used) for the hands on control.
    Lynx L22 or RME HDSP 9632 ($650-700)
    Samson C-Control ($99)
    Cables, etc ($200)

    There u have it.
  6. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    The only thing you left out Mark is the 2 channel quality Pre amp which will cost from 1100.00 up.
  7. Is this for a demo recording or do you intend to do basic tracks at home and take overdubs to a pro studio later?

    I'd spend it on the following gear, to make it count since you'll need good HD recording capabilities and good near-field monitors:

    Music XPC - $1,600
    Digi 001 (used on eBay) - $550
    DynAudio BM6a - $1,700

    With the remainder, I guess mic pre would be best or maybe a small-ish mixer console e.g. Mackie 1402-VLZ Pro.

    Good luck!
  8. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    Assuming you could use the computer you are on now
    RME Multiface $650 8 I/O plus digital I/O for later expansion.
    RME interface for the multiface for Laptop or Desktop(depending on what you have) $260.00
    JLM tmp8 $2000 eight channels of pre.
    usb or firewire cd burner $100.
    cubase SL 299.
    Partition Magic $70 To create a second bootable installtion on your computer
    Extra hard drive $250
    cables $275.
    Yamaha msp5 $500.
    Yes I know it's $4,500.
    I just couldn't find a way to do it cheaper without making some compromises.
  9. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    Thank you all for the recommendations. This will be a good place for me to start catching up. Some of these things I have never heard of...

    As to what this is used for...

    The truth is that I have been out of the business for years. The last studio I was on staff with was Producer's Workshop In Hollywood (see Steely Dan's Aja, Gaucho, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Fleetwood Mac Rumors). But it was a totally analog studio. Our recorder was a 24-track Steven's (a modified 3M) owned by Bob Ezrin (he lent it to the studio after theirs blew up). The last actual session I recorded was in NYC ('93) at a 24-track. It was an opera with a live orchestra and 4 vocalists.

    Anyway - I transformed to a new business world - the Web, back in the early 90s, and I have been out of recording completely. I have a home studio for my own songs, (not to take tracks to a pro studio later).

    I have a Zoom 10-track I got on Ebay for $400. It's cute, but not-patchable and noisy. I started wondering what else was out there. I saw Pro-tools, and I realize now it is state-of-the-art. I need to learn more about it.

    I am very computer-adept, but I do not like the idea of doing everything with software. I like to have dials and faders and a patchbay in front of me. When mixing, I move quickly, and to have to navigate menues and screens all the time seems like a huge inconvenience to me. Honestly, I have never created an automated mix, and my recording technique is built upon having to "mix" as little as possible. Just put the faders up and roll the tape.

    I think if I had a serious software-based studio one thing I would invest in is multiple computer monitors just so I could see everything that is happening.

    I just wanted to know what "state-of-the-art" for home multi-track recording is. As noted, there are now options not available before: ADAT and Hard-disk recording.

    What about all-in-one hard-disk recorders like Roland 16-tracks (16 is about all I would ever need). How are they for sonic quality, versatile inserts, and ease of use?
  10. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    Music XPC?

    $1600 is a lot for another computer. Plus I already have a great computer setup in my home, P4 266, 516MB Ram, with 3 monitor screens.

    Who out there has built a music recording computer from scratch? I'll bet I could do it for less that $800.

    Who has used their home computer, but with a new hard-drive and OS installation? What are the drawbacks?
  11. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    I use my home computer. There is no drawback(except for extra hard drive space taken up by a second installation of the operating system) if it is set up in dual boot with partition magic. All you have to do is reboot and select the operating system partition you want. I also have two hard drives one dedicated to audio the other to the OS and swap file. You have a great computer for it you could get a real good track count with what you have(two monitors does help). I have a feeling though you would be more comfortable with the alesis hd24 and a mixer since there would be no learning curve for you there. Arm the tracks on the hd24 and press record. The hd24 has an eithernet connection so you can dump the files to your computer to burn them to cd.

    I have used an old Roland vs880 before and it is fun but it has its limitations(quality and flexibility) as well plus if you hate endless menus on your computer wait till you look at one of these. I have not used any newer ones though and can't comment on them.
  12. mcguin

    mcguin Guest

    If I were in your position, I would do exactly what I did before I got my RADAR setup - find a used Roland 2480 (make sure the preamps have been done by Roland) and spend the other $2000 on a couple of basic mics, cables and some reasonable monitors - it will be tight, but it can be done if you look for good used deals.
    With a CRT monitor (cheap) you can do edits easily, work a real control surface and get great results! The internal effects are surprisingly good too! I did 3 commercially released CDs on my 2480 before I got my RADAR. They are all doing well locally and no one has ever commented negatively on the quality. Now that Roland has the O/S problems under control and are doing the preamp fix - these are (IMNTHO) the best all in one box around!
    (Dead Link Removed)

    Good luck

  13. I really don't think so... unless you want to buy couple of generations old.

    Since you already have a P4 running in the GHz range you should be fine to run ProTools LE. Beware, it's a beast and needs the Digi hardware, e.g. AudioMedia III card.

    If you really prefer a physical mixer / console since you have a load of experience with those, I'd have to change my orig. recommendation and say go for the all-in-one Alesis HD recorder.

    Extra $$ can be spent easily on accessories or extra MIDI gear.
  14. djui5

    djui5 Guest

    266Mhz processor or was that a typo?

    Where in Phoenix? I live in AJ and could possibly come over and help you out.
  15. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I also agree with the idea about the hd24 by alesis. It functions more or less as a tape recorder...plus it sounds great and is rock solid. Then find a decent board and cd burner, an Alesis masterlink, etc. for mixing and you're set!

    I personally do most my work on protools but if you are not already familiar with it and work on computers a lot then it can get in the way. If you do want to use protools later the hd24 will still be of use to you. You can usually find one of the regular hd24's for about 1000 on ebay, new ones are like 2000.
  16. x2x3

    x2x3 Guest

    haha It took me too much research, time, and money to just give this info out. I will tell you this info though. Trust only your ears and you best advice is probably something you don't want to believe. 90 percent of people willing to give information freely don't know jack. Know exactly you want to do for music or to have it do for you.
  17. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Being as you are computer literate, build up your current home rig,including dedicating a drive just for the music....get a very good set of monitors....get an interface for your mics and instruments and buy a ProTools rig.Two grand can get you into the Digi 002 with a decent bundle of plugs.It also has 8 channels of decent mic pres.If its demo's you're looking at this is a great way to achieve a very very good sound with not a lot of outlay and also its expandable.The computer will be the part that you absolutely need to have up to the highest standards as music takes a lot of processor power.And yeah...get two monitors.(screens)A real good set of playback monitors will be about half your budget.
  18. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    I agree with Dave, use half the budget for good monitors.
    Then buy an MBox or 002 and a KSM44 and SM57.

    All set.

  19. Michaelm

    Michaelm Guest

    You want hands on dials? You want digital equipment that's set up like a classic recording studio? Forget the Roland VS2480 - great machine but what will cost you less and is much much better - really the top of the line of these types of machines is an Akai DPS24. Hands on faders and dials - better preamps than Rolands, a mixer that can be routed in just about any way, NO data compression like Roland, in fact the sound has got to be the best of any of these standalones. This is THE most complete, most professional unit of its kind - and it's oly $2500 new right now. With care, know-how and talent, it's quite capable of recording pro music.
    Do yourself a favor and check it out online.
    This will provide everything that the Allesis 24 mentioned does - plus a lot more - inboard FX for one that are actually usable.
    Here are some links:

    This latter has a great bunch of pros and novices who will answer anything you want to ask about this unit.
  20. Michaelm

    Michaelm Guest

    "haha It took me too much research, time, and money to just give this info out. I will tell you this info though. Trust only your ears and you best advice is probably something you don't want to believe. 90 percent of people willing to give information freely don't know jack. Know exactly you want to do for music or to have it do for you."

    I must partially agree here. I've spent two years with pretty good recording equipment and am only now making my first recordings that are worthy of being called pro. Why? Because even if you were allowed access into the most expensive studio in the world with the best gear around, you would make crap recordings at first. What a lot of studio owners don't want anyone to know is that machines like the Roland VS2480, the Yamaha 4416 and the Akai DPS24 are quite capable of turning out pro recordings. And when people go out and get these machines and turn out crap recordings - everyone says "see? I told you! You have to come to a studio!" The trick is, it's not all the gear - it's the years of experience they have in recording. I've researched, experimented, recorded, pulled my hair out, researched more, read my ass off, mixed one song for 20 hours learning how to mix..... Knowing how to record is not a laughing matter. So if you want the gear, be prepared to learn as much as you can.
    If you want a good sound right away, learn as much as you can about recording and record something decent - THEN - do NOT mix it yourself - hire a pro to do it and then hire a pro to master it. These steps will mean a lot. If you want to do everything yourself, have LOTS of patience. For me, it's worth it - but only now that I know a few things. When I began this, I did not know it would take this long!

Share This Page