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A Studio with a $30,000.00 Budget !

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by TomF, May 6, 2005.

  1. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Okay , I'm setting up a studio and have a maximum budget of thirty

    The studio consists of a 12x10 control room , 14x20 live room and 5x6 vocal booth.All the wiring and acoustical treatment is done as well.Construction took 11 months to complete.
    Now I need to fill it. I need everything from a recording format to monitors ,mics,preamps,etc.I'm having a hell of a time figuring out
    the best way to go! So my question is

    How Would Setup a Studio With Thirty Thousand Budget?
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Private or commercial? Are you the engineer? If so how do you like to work? Primary style of music to be recorded?What do you as a listener hear in todays and yesterdays recordings ?
  3. jonnyc

    jonnyc Guest

    30,000 is decent but honestly you wont "fill" the studio for that, you won't even come close. I know guys that have spent half a million on equipment, I spent 20,000 within two months and I just have a pretty basic home set up.
  4. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Thanks for the replies!

    First let me say, my question should have read:
    How Would You Setup a Studio With a Thirty Thousand Dollar Budget?

    The studio will be private/part time commercial. I have experience in analog recording from having a studio for 15yrs. (10yrs. ago) and also from 38yrs. as a gigging/ studio musician .I don't have much experience with digital recording. The music I'll be recording will be primarily rock/pop. As far as what I hear as a listener,
    todays music is much more produced with a clean sound yet full ,yesterdays recordings have a warmer (analog)sound.
  5. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004

    akg d112 x1
    audix d2 x2
    audix d4 x1
    akg c451 stereo pair x1
    akg c414 x1
    shure sm 57 x3
    rode k2 x1


    motu 828 mkII


    mac g5 dp 2.5 with 2g ram
    logic 7

    how about those mackies?

    take a look at auralex and similiar... very important!

    sebatron 4 channels
    and maybe a octopre or something similiar

    cables and stuff
    be sure to know you'll be spending some big bucks here too!

    go check out prices for this at froogle.google.com
  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    I would buy next to nothing new.

    For example, at the recent auction for a recently defunct studio in Burbank, CA (The Enterprise) a Fullu blown Mix Cubed system with a fast computer, expansion chassis, glyph,USD drives and six (6!) 888 interfaces went for $7k. So shop wisely. Buy stuff a few years old and save.
  7. PCM

    PCM Guest

    to get you started:


    you're doing mostly rock pop...no need for much MIDI (don't think you need Logic or DP):
    I would say go with Digidesign 002r with g5 dual 2.5 (I just picked one up for 1733 on blowout). Pro Tools is VERY easy to use and macs are as well...should have you up and running very quickly.
    -----(1200 (002r) + 2500 for computer with HD's, RAM etc.)

    DA: Benchmark DAC (1000)
    AD: (see ISA 428 below)


    Great river mp2nv ($2100)
    Focusrite ISA428 w/AD card (this will give you 8 great channels of AD) $2100
    Sebatron VMP 2000 ($1249)- for a little tube sound....

    Compression: again subjective: I don't use it outboard much, so let someone else suggest it.


    2 Avalon u5 DI's ($900)- stereo for keys, drum machines, samplers (and bass of course!)

    Mics: (this section is very subjective)

    sm57x3 (250)
    beta52x1 (250)
    audix d6x1 (250)
    KEL Hm1 pair (199)
    josephson c42 (pair) (900)
    akg c414 (pair) (2199)
    soundelux u99 (2795)
    BLUE BLUEberry (1000)- killer on dark vox

    Monitors: (very subjective)

    Dynaudio BM15A pair ($5000)
    NS10's (yeah, yeah, they still are very useful) (600 / pair)
    poweramp (800-1000)

    TOTAL: 25492

    that leaves roughly 5,000 for compression, plug ins, studio control, stands, and cables (mackie big knob works fine- if you want to spend more you can get that coleman unit).

    This studio is based on my workflow...I do not like to EQ or compress on the way in to the box unless necessary...I have 4 channels of compression that just sits in my rack...there are many wonderful and surgical (and nn-destructive I might add) plug ins that will do the trick quite well. If you are big on outboard compression, you may want to substitute something out for a compressor or two. I would not suggest outboard EQ unless you REALLY want it. If so, I owned the Speck ASC's and they are stellar units. ...this would be a top notch studio.

    30,000 is plenty...
  8. PCM

    PCM Guest

    Oops. I read the dimentions wrong...those bm15A's might be too much for a small control room. Check out the Dynauadio BM6A's and that will save you a couple thousand right there......put the extra $$$ into compression maybe/???
  9. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Recorderman, I agree with you about saving some money , but I like the warranty with the new purchases ,Just in case of a problem down the line.

    PCM Theres a good portion of items on your list that I've been considering. First ,where did you get the Apple for $1733?
    The best price I've gotten was $3005 for a G5 2.5 2gb(2x1gb sticks)and $490 for two LaCie 250gb Big Disc D2 Extreme= $3495.00

    As far as the 002R , I am looking at that as well , but was concerned about the latency , so I was thinking of tracking to a Hard Disk , then transfering to the DAW , Not to deal with it .But then I need a analog or digital board,which I also been thinking about. Being an analog guy ,I always had a board in front of me, don't know if I'll get used too just a keyboard and mouse.
    Anyway with the Benchmark DAC , how are you using it ? Are you monitoring out of the S/pdif on the 002R to the DAC ?If so, are you using the monitor outputs for the talent.

    With monitors I've been considering the BM6A's as well as the JBL's LSR6328's, I have my old NS-10's with Hafler amps from my old studio.Pres I've been checking out are the Focusrite ISA428 w/AD card (if I went with the 002R) Vintech1272 ,APi3124 ,2-610and Great river mp2nv

    DavedogI'd like to hear you suggestions, let me know!!

    Thanks again for the replies, all your info definitely helps!
    As I have so much to consider
  10. PCM

    PCM Guest

    Hi Tom, good to know you also have Ns10's as that will knock money off the budget I suggested for you.

    When apple comes out with new computers, they reduce the very strict minimums on their computers. One of my good friends is a manager at a major music center, so....(1733 is a tad above cost). By the way, NEVER buy RAM from apple...check out OWC (macsales.com). They have great RAM and also hard drives that are cheaper and IMO far superior to LAcie. I will never again buy LAcie products as I've had problems with every piece of gear I've ever bought from them. I got two FW800 drives from OWC that are fantastic and came out to be cheaper (OWC enclosures and then I installed two seagate 120 gig 8 MB cache drives).

    I have the 002r and am happy with it. It's nothing stellar, but it runs pro tools, and IMO that alone is worth it...and I also run DP 4.5. Latency has not been an issue, and I've been running on a powerbook. A powerful machine like the g5 and you can probably run at 64 or 128 samples up until final mix. Never had any complaints.

    I use RME DA/AD through ADAT, so as far as the benchmark is concerned, yes I would suggest SPDIF...there is a software setting in the 002r driver that can SPDIF mirror analog outs 1&2 (002r monitor mains) so personally, I would run 002r mains to a headphone distribution amp (for musicians...I doubt they'll complain about DA conversion) and use the SPDIF outs for Benchmark monitor DA. I think you'll probably have to invest in some sort of control station to have both of those sets of monitors hooked up simultaneously to the benchmark.

    The dynaudios are amazing. Can't go wrong with them. Have to say though, I was really impressed with the JBL's as well (not sure which model I heard, but the one with 8" woofer)...

    As for pres...looks like we are on the exact same page...i suggested the sebatron instead of the UA to save a few bucks, but either one is a great tube front end. The vintech and great river are certainly not the same, but similar enough that I would choose one over the other (I would choose the GR but both are great pieces of gear). The ISA is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned (the AD is quite nice actually). NOt sure if you are aware of this, but the AD card allows 4 extra analog inputs (in addition to AD conversion for the 4 built in pres) so if you got the mp2nv (or 1272) & 2-610 (or sebatron), or just the API 3124, you'd have 8 channels of ROCK solid pre and conversion....BTW, the u5's (I own two) are amazing on bass.

    This website has some audio samples posted of many different pres:


    IMO, it's not done perfectly and it's hard to compare as they use many different sources (and it's mp3), but it's good enough to get basic sonic ideas of different pres....

    Awww man, I wish I could start fresh...
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Whichever system you decide upon,do demo it rather completely as all have their plusses and minuses.I like the ProTools simply because its easy to use and transfers to any studio(mostly) around.On the other hand Cubase and other programs have a lot going for them.It seems that workflow and familiarity are the important issues in this choice.A powerful computing platform with lots of speed and drivespace will reduce latency in any setup.

    Pop/rock will require some pieces to have color and some without.

    mics: While I dont know what vocals you'll be dealing with,be your own or a partners, a primary high-end mic is very important.You want to put up something that 9 times outta 10 is going to produce usable results without a lot of fuss.Part of this equation is to have you vocal environment down.Being a former studio owner this goes without saying.It involves not only sound control but vibe as well......

    Soundelux U99 or iFET7.....Gefell UM92....Lawson 47...Korby 47....Neumann(duh)...Blue Bottle...all of these are in the ballpark and are simply flavors.

    instrument mics..a couple of ribbons.AEA R84 is good choice as are Beyer M160's.
    Audix makes really good and solid sounding drum mics and can be a saving in your budget that may allow for a bit more spent elsewhere.The "D" series is quite good.Through a very good pre these sound quite amazing and they work in a lot of other situations as well.

    Sennheiser MD421's are standards....Electrovoice RE20 is a great mic to have in a collection....Shure SM7 always finds a spot on a project, sometimes can be the savior of a vocal that the big mic just cant get...SM57...okay but the new Audix i5 gives it a real run for the money.At a similar price point.

    A few other condensers would include a stereo pair for acoustic instruments..You really cannot go wrong with the Neumann KM series.I dont specify model because you may like working omni mics for this purpose and if your room is up to it this will be a great help.There are lots of others in this department, but the Neumanns will not build up a lot of crud from multiple passes which you can certainly do with a digital system that is capable of great numbers of tracks.After having a #1-go-to LDC already, other LDC's are like icing and variety.There are a LOT of second tier less expensive LDC's that sound really good used in small amounts on a project.
    Rode...ADK...Studio Projects...these are some of the best in this catagory.

    Preamps...This is a land of many colors. Quality will always be your friend.In working a digital system you'll need enough to do as many instruments as you can envision recording all at once.Since you have some experience in this it'll be up to you to decide whats best.If you like to do a basic band all at once then you'll need at least 12 channels avaiable when the red light goes on.12 channels of high-end pres is a big number.So your compromise comes at the expense of the drums first,guitars next.Bass and vocals never.Heres waht I would do.

    2-API 3124= 8 channels
    1 John Hardy 4 pack
    theres 12 right there to equal all others. Then I would buy one channel strip with everything you might want in tracking a vocal or solo guitar sax ...basically anything thats a feature in a song.

    Theres lots of other stuff...Monitors are important.You have NS10's..You want a set of main tracking monitors.The JBL's are good.B&W's...Genelec...Dyne's...stay away from the Mackies.(sorry mackie lovers theyre just not in the same league as Dynaudio,genelc,B&W...etc)

    Aa Apogee to clock with...If you do go with a harddisk recorder get great converters.

    One thing....GREAT tracks are more about comfort and vibe than the amount of blue lights in the racks.
  12. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Hi there Tom

    If you are getting Dynaudio monitors, and your rooms are well balanced and treated...I'd highly recommend Dynaudio BM15a's.

    Go for the 6a's if you already have soffit mounted main monitors, but it doesn't sound like it...

    OR go for B & W Nautilus

    Dynaudio's will keep you & your clients happy and your mixes should translate very well to the outside world within a short space of learning time...

    There's also ADAM & PMC and many others...all very good monitors...

    Affordable preamps (but theres already a plethora of fantastic suggestions above) : Sytek & Sebatron.

    A VERY comfortable chair is HIGHLY recommended such as the Herman Miller Aeron chair.

    A VERY comfortable and styilsh couch is also HIGHLY recommended!!! Your clients will appreciate this to the extreme! Really important and oft overlooked factor of a studio: client comfort.

    do you have bass traps? http://www.realtraps.com

    Best of luck.
  13. Antho

    Antho Guest


    I've actually heard three reports of this chair FIXING back problems. It's not often a chair can claim that!
  14. jonnyc

    jonnyc Guest

    I'm not sure the latency issues you're speaking of on the 002r. I've been running it for 9 months on a 20" imac g5 and I don't have any problem with latency. I mostly record rock so the 002r was a pretty decent choice and digidesign gives away pretty good plug ins once in a blue moon.
  15. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Your using the alesis HD24.How are the converters or are you using something else? I was looking at the HD24XR as well.Are you also using the Apogee to clock with?

    If I go with a console.I have to decide between an analog or digital . The two consoles that I've been considering are, the SoundCraft Ghost 32 and the Yamaha 02R96V2. With the Yamaha I'd have to go in ADAT on the alesis. I'm not sure how light pipe interface will sound with the two.
    Any opinions on these two console choices?

    Thanks Again For the Replies!!!!! :D
  16. bounce

    bounce Guest

    a few things from me :

    1. I believe analog mixers are a lot easier to repair (usually) than digital ones (read: less downtime) and you don't have to worry about whether or not you're up to date on the latest sample rate yada yada. i track to Pro Tools TDM with analog pre's and some bit of an analog console (sometimes) and monitor playback, talkback, and midi gear through the console (Soundtracs Topaz). I can't find anything near the features and sound anywhere near the price (the Ghost would be a cool option).

    2. If you go the DAW route, buy the biggest coolest monitor you can because you will probably upgrade computers but keep the same monitor for A WHILE. You'll be REALLY glad if you spend the money now on a BIG bad monitor because you will look at it A WHOLE LOT! (I'm dying for a big 27" LCD TV with PC inputs. They're getting CHEAP!)

    3. I'm a big Pro Tools fan (using since 1997) and you can get a lot of power with an HD rig (about half or more of your budget there with plugs, interfaces, etc. or you could go used). add a stack of good mics, good pre's, headphones, HP monitoring, mic stands, monitors, desk, chair, more, more MORE!!!!

    have fun!

  17. Xspringe

    Xspringe Guest

    I would recommend against getting an LCD TV for DAW purposes. LCD TV's generally have lower resolutions (<1024*768) then their computer oriented counterparts- and generally are quite expensive as well! A lower resolution means you will be able to fit less information (tracks, plugins, mixer channels) on your computer screen.

    If you decide to go the DAW route, you might want to consider using two LCD screens with a preferred resolution of 1600 * 1200. This will provide you with plenty screen space.
    The Dell FP2005 20 inch LCD had some nice deals on it recently at ~ 350 USD (http://forums.anandtech.com/categories.aspx?catid=40&entercat=y). This would get you two 20 inch 1600 * 1200 LCD screens at a price point which is probably lower then one single 27 inch LCD TV.
  18. bounce

    bounce Guest

    You'd be surprised at the prices and resolution of some of the LCD's and plasmas these days...They're getting cheap and fancy pantsy here in L.A.
    Seems to work for Hans Zimmer!

    If you plan on doing more detailed graphic work on your monitor (ie. photoshop, etc.) you'd probably want to stay in the PC monitor world.

    For years I've been using a mammoth beast of a black Cannon 21" CRT that weighs more than Detroit and have been eyeing the LCD monitors to see where I'm gonna land. The dell prices look great (I just hate the split screen thing. it drives me crazy-feels like bad drum edits- hee hee). But everyone has their favorite way of working ; )

  19. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    one point when buying LCD screens is to see the one your goin to buy each of them have dead pixels. the larger the screen the more dead pixels, so look at the one your going to buy, this is just as important as trying any things else, and when i say try the one your goin to buy i mean the exact ones. while your still at the store open the box and plug them in, and look hard and close, look for flutter and dead pixls. and if you buy one your goin to want two, so just save your self the trouble and buy two the first time so they match.

    i would also say what ive heard, motus converters are not that great, and neather are most digital mixers, the only digixal mixer i would buy is software on my DAW speaking of which Cubase is a great program if you go PC. if you go mac with protools expect to spend 7-10k on a good protools system i dont recomend the 002 becasue you can get better for less.
  20. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    I have 2 lcd screen and it work great for me- I split them with the tracks, controls, audio waveform and the mixer is spread across the 2 screens- works great for me although some of those apple 30" screens look awful good- they will set you back 3k though, so unless you got money to burn...

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