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Full Equipment Outfit Question: Somewhat complicated perhaps

Discussion in 'Recording' started by DrAlanLipman, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. DrAlanLipman

    DrAlanLipman Guest

    Hello All,

    A somewhat complicated question, although I imagine not too complex for the experienced. I'm finding it difficult to phrase as clearly as I would like, but I hope that it will be clear to you.

    I have begun to put together a PC based studio. I want to be able to create not home or demo quality, but to be able to have a system that will allow me to create sounds that, at the end point, will equal the sonic quality of what is out there professionally--that is, to build a studio/have the tools that will allow me to go from recording all the way through to creating a finished product that will not sound less professional, sonically than what is out there.

    Of course, writing this, the obvious caveats are jumping to mind--e.g. it depends upon the music you put in and the techniques, not simply the tools--but I would like to have all of the necessary tools to be able to have a system that, when I employ with appropriate skills, I can, on my own, create outcomes that will not be limited by the tools I have, or the lack of them.

    Perhaps another way of putting this is:

    What would be your suggestions for what I need to add to what I already have to have a "turnkey" studio that can create professionally sounding works, and will not be limited in the ability to do so by obvious links in the necessary items? What are the essentials in the chain that are missing here?

    I suspect that there are many different choices and options here, but I suppose, being a novice, that I am looking for the essential chain--A + B + C + D etc.--the basic elements-- that, taken together, will allow for the creation of professional music compositions from start to finish--finish being distribution in CD form. I am aware that there are certain steps in the process such as mastering which occur, but do not yet understand the conceptual distinction between these steps--that is, thus far, I have just plugged various inputs into my 16 track KORG Digital and using various effect, tried to get it to "sound good". So I suspect some part of this requires a better understand of he necessary steps and consequent tools to get from A to Z.

    Within the components, I am looking for maximum flexibility, ease of use, and ability to take advantage of as many sonic options as possible. Most important, though, is that I don't know what I need to add to what I have to have a complete set up that will allow me to produce CDs, start to finish, being my own distributor, with professional quality.

    It may be worth noting that I plan to travel between two studios--one here, one in Asia, so plan to duplicate the setups in each place (carrying info back and forth on a laptop, I suppose, is how I've been thinking of it). Therefore, any thoughts on how to do this more economically without sacrifice of quality/flexibility/ease of use would be appreciated.

    The set up (which I recognize at this point may limit my options) thus far is below:

    Asus P4P800
    Intel P4 3.0G 800FSB (Northwood C)
    512Mb PC3200 DDR400
    Energex PSU
    Lite-On burner
    WD 800JB 7,200rpm System
    WD 360GD 10,000rpm SATA Audio

    So: In your view, and taking into account the many caveats, what would I need to complete the system to create professionally sounding CDs from start to finish and distribute them based on what I've produced?

    Many thanks,

  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    Simply put, with values in GBP

    A/D converters or 'sound card' - £2000
    monitor speakers - £1500
    mixing desk - if you mix in the box, £700, otherwise, anything up to £20,000
    Mics - £10,000 or so
    A DAW and onboard plugin software - £3,000
    Outboard effects inc. preamps and compressors - £15,000
    Acoustically treated live room and control room - POA!
    Cables, stands, drumkit, backline amps, instruments - YMMV

    ...is what you would need to produce pro quality recordings. You can continue to spend to improve on what your ear can pick out as it improves and the sky is the limit there.

    The most imporatn thing (value unquantifiable) is experience with how to use it all, and if you had the experience, you'd know better what you needed, and could produce close to professional results with a lot less expenditure.

    The last paragraph is key. You seem not to know about even the names of the equipment you want. Which implies that if you got it, you wouldn't be able to get the results you wanted.

    This kind of thing seems to be a common question on the forums. I don't want to cause offence but if you don't have more specific questions, you have a lot of learning to do.

    I hope i have understood you correctly. If I was you I would go and buy a couple of books. Visit Amazon and get books by Paul White on Creative Recording, something about setting up a small studio, something on effects and equalizers, and then try to get some experience.

    Then decide on a budget, your requirements (like you only want to be able to record keys, drums and electric guitars and basses, or you want to be able to record acoustic guitars and signer/songwriters exclusively) and come back and ask some questions.

    I was exactly like you 3-4 years ago. I am slowly building a studio from the ground up, and am running a stop-gap facility to finance it. It is a lot of fun but financially it is a labour of love only and exclusively.

    You will need to consider premises and what space you have available to you, also are you prepared to start building things?

    Let us know how you get on,

  3. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Great performances is usually the missing key when a CD sounds bad.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Your post is not real clear .... are you planning to incorporate your KORG D16 into the set up? If you want record quality, the first thing you need to do is get rid of that thing ... the mic pres and converters are very mediocre and the eq and effects all leave a lot to be desired.

    Look to a PC with some type of digital interface ... some good mic pres and mics and at least a couple channels of good eq and compression ... With that, recording one or two channels at a time you can get pro results. If you want to record live drums and rhythm sections, you will most likely need at least eight or more channels of pres and converters to get the job done.

    We need to know more about what you want to record to help any more than this.
  5. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Alan, I think you have a fine system here, I don't see any real limitations in your PC. It's pretty much state of the art. I would make two changes that may help you now and in the longrun. I would use the Raptor (36GB 10K rpm) as your main (OS and Program drive) and buy a large 200 to 300 GB SATA drive for use as your audio drive (for storing music only). This combination would give you great performance and it would take you some time to fill an audio drive that large. My other suggestion would be to increase your RAM to 1 GB. Other than that I see no reason your PC can't handle anything you can throw at it.

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