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First Home Studio Insight Request

Discussion in 'Recording' started by blackout68, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. blackout68

    blackout68 Active Member

    Hey everyone, first time home studioer here. I'm in the process of setting up my budget friendly home studio and have a few questions before I get started. The first being what software should I start with? I have access to Garageband, Protools SE, logic pro, and Propellerhead's Record, and would like to know which one is not necessarily the easiest to learn, but the one that could potentially bring the best results (I would like to stick with one of the four for budget reasons). I intend on attempting to record my bands next album (modern hard rock/borderline metal) with this setup and am wondering if anyone might have insight to what major obstacles I probably will run into. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. A list of what I'm working with is below. TIA!

    M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R
    M-Audio BX8a Monitors
    iMac 27" 12gb ram 1tb Hard drive
    M-Audio Keystation
    AKG K44 Monitor Headphones
    2 SM57's
    7 Piece Samson Drum mic kit
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Which DAW software you use is going to be the least of your worries and will make little difference to the result. You can record with whichever package you feel comfortable with and then use a different one for the mixing if you want to work that way.

    Are you aiming to record with the whole band playing at once, or track each player separately? What other instruments are there besides a drum kit? Is there a vocalist involved in all this? What sort of acoustic environment do you have for recording in?

    Full marks for filling in your location in your profile, but I think you may run into trouble doing this sort of recording in an Oxford college. Wait a minute, isn't there a place in Texas called something like that?
  3. blackout68

    blackout68 Active Member

    I intend on recording one person at a time. We have a singer, a guitarist, a bass player, and a drummer. Additionally the album will include synths and live strings. The room itself was a bedroom converted over to my music room. Wood floors, sheetrock walls, and no windows with just one door to the rest of the house. I know what i'm trying to accomplish might just be wishful thinking, but if its possible to get something of good quality with the addition of a few things i'd be down. Are there any essentials that I need in order to have a better chance of success (preamps,etc...)? or should I just abandon ship? Thanks for the advise.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You have got 8 pre-amps in the Fast Track Ultra 8R, and those will be adequate for the moment. Just make sure you run them with the gain trims low to give you enough headroom for tracking drums.

    If you aim to use an SM57 for vocals, it will be fine. Remember to put a pop shield on it, and it will sound indistinguishable from an SM58.

    You may find you get tighter playing if you track the bass player at the same time as recording the drum kit. The bass can be plugged straight into one of the DI inputs on the 8R front panel, and then you would give both the bassist and the drummer headphone foldback of the bass plus the snare and maybe some kick. That will keep the tempo firm and there will be enough acoustic bleed for the rest of the kit to be heard. You have two independent HP outs from the 8R, so you can vary the mix for the two players. Tracking the raw DI gives you the option of re-amping the bass at mixdown if you feel you need a different tone.

    The big problem will be getting anything like a decent recorded sound from the drum kit in your room. Before you splash out on any more gear, I seriously suggest that you talk to the rest of the band and discuss whether it would be worth going to a local studio to track just the drums and bass. The bass is effectively free, but it should not be expensive to do just those parts, especially if the two players know the songs well and work well together. Tracking those two parts in a studio would take away the problems of trying to achieve a decent drum sound in your room, and it gives you the freedom then to add all the other upper parts in your house studio and in your own time but without the complexity of drum kit miking. PLUS...it's a highly educational experience seeing how it's done in a pro studio.
  5. blackout68

    blackout68 Active Member

    Thanks for the help!
  6. blackout68

    blackout68 Active Member

    Ok so i've settled on reason 6 (record) and have done some preliminary test tracking. You were spot on with the assessment of drums, they are awful. I've tried several mic configs/placements and the kick is super bassy no matter what i do, the toms are similar and bleed dramatically over each other and have no character. I would really like to keep this in house as I'd like to learn so is there any advise on treating the room or what dramatic steps I would have to take? I've searched the forum about treatment and have learned some, but in short its a square room and i'm wondering if foaming the living heck out of it would help. Additionally, I have a friend whose willing to sell me his avalon vt737 for $700 and I am wondering if it would even be worth it running into my cheap fast track ultra 8r? or should I buy it and sell it for something like a fmr rnc and have some pocket change? Other than that it seems like i'll be able to handle guitar, bass, and vocals so far, but we'll see as time goes on.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    " Foaming the heck " out of a room will not get you very close to a good quality recording. I'm also of the school of thought that you spend a few ducats and get yout drum and bass tracks done a pro room. Not only will you have a great base for all your songs but you will get to go to school about what you'll need in the future for other projects. Approach the studio owner with it just like this and no doubt he'll give you a break on your time as well as letting you sit in on the micing and the reasons for what he does to get the sounds correct.
  8. blackout68

    blackout68 Active Member

    Fair enough, thanks for the response. Would you happen to have any suggestions on my other question of running high end equipment into a cheap interface and if it's worth it?
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I'll stop short of saying that spending $700 on an Avalon VT737 is a waste of money, as it's a fair price to pay for someone who could make good use of that piece of gear. It's up to you to decide whether it's worth shelling out that amount of cash for a channel strip that would only be used for SM57 vocals, with the output being fed (via a necessary attenuator) into an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R.

    You have admitted your big problem is getting a good recorded sound from the drumkit, and we've indicated that it's not an easy problem to solve in a bedroom studio of any sort. Perhaps you can continue to experiment in your own space and indeed end up with something passable, or perhaps you will make a deal with one of the dozen or so recording studios in Corpus Christi to lay down the rhythm tracks and to learn from the pros about the ways of doing it. Again, it's for you to decide. Studios are being very flexible right now since they having a hard time, for which part of the reason is the number of band members setting up their own rather amateur facilities.

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