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Discussion in 'Recording' started by jisker, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. jisker

    jisker Guest

    I would like to have a small computer based recording studio for myself. Mostly singer songwriter type recording (acoustic, electric, bass guitar, keyboard, vocals). I've saved up $800 and i would like ANYONES OPINION on what i should maybe look into or stay away from. Here is the gear i plan on getting (keep in mind i already have all the instruments). I will be using a new HP Desktop to use.

    -M-Audio Delta 44
    -Art Tube Pac PreAmp
    -Shure Sm 57
    -Logitech z2300 Computer Speakers
    -Sennheiser HD-280 Headphones
    -Line 6 Spider III Guitar Amp
    -Pop Filter

  2. Shure SM57's aren't all that great. They're not BAD mics, but for 30 dollars more, you could spring for an AT3035 condenser on Ebay. It will sound better on acoustic guitars, vocals, etc.

    It needs phantom power though, so check that on your preamp you buy. I've been using presonus Tubepres, but only because I got them for about 60 dollars each, they don't get many great reviews. Sound fine for what I'm doing though.

    Check Karma Audio on Ebay for a pop filter. It will cost 20 dollars, including shipping.

    The computer speakers won't make good monitors. Save your money and get a pair of powered monitors to use for mixing. I'm using a good Sony system right now, but home stereos aren't great, and computer speakers are worse...

    The Sennheiser phones are popular...I own a pair of ATH-M40fs that are in that price range, and I'm pretty happy with them because they're not really "flattering" to the sound of my mixes, they're very even, and clear sounding. Good bass response, too, but not over-hyped. Whatever sounds good to your ears and your wallet.

    I'm not big on the line 6 series...but I'm part of a rapidly shrinking minority in that case. If you're really going to use all the effects built in, I guess that could be a good choice, but then you could just get the Pod and go direct in.

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    That's a bit cheaper, for 100 more, you can get the bigger board with more effects...or you could use 300 dollars to get 3 real pedals and go into a real amp. My problem with ing direct in is that you can't get feedback, and I use that for sustain and as an effect of its own...but I like it loud.

    Audacity is free online...and it's not bad for recording. I used it to do a demo for our band and it sounds as good as the soundcard in the computer. You might want to upgrade your card, too...
    and the M-Audio Delta 44 looks pretty good for that.

    I would stay away from hype. Listen and don't be afraid to buy gear that isn't from the big names. If something lists performance specs on the front of the box and has a warranty on performance, chances are it's pretty well built.

    Look out for fake mics on Ebay. If someone's selling "New SM57 in Box" on ebay for 30 dollars, it's not a real mic. be careful.

    So I think that's about 700 dollars...and that leaves you with enough for

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    some decent monitors.

    Hope that helps...I'm not an expert, but I do a lot of home recording and I've been around a bit. You could look into getting some better software, but that's about it...

    I wouldn't suggest bittorrenting anything. It's easy, I guess, but it's illegal, and they can prosecute offenders. That hasn't stopped anyone, but the fines are ridiculous.
  3. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    The Delta 44 is nice...I've had one for about a year, and have no trouble from it. Sounds good, too. I also have the ART Tubepac, and while its no ones idea of a great pre, it definitely sounds ok. As a plus, it also makes a good pre for an acoustic guitar for live use. Sm57 is ok as well, but maybe look at the AT3035 as mentioned above, or even the AT2020, which costs about the same as the SM57. Either of the AT mics need phantom power, but the Tubepac does provide that, so no problem there. For software, get Audacity as mentioned, but you might look into this as well...
    Its free, 16 track recording software, and does a nice job, especially paired with Audacity (which is better for editing). Hope this helps! ANDY
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Instead of the Art Tube Pac what about a Aphex 107. THere some used ones on ebay. They are a much better pre than the Art Tube Pac. Oh and by the way ever wonder why the tube Pace gets so freaking hot? Its not the tubes, a good tube circuit should not get that warm. Its the power suppply and insanly tight packaging. Simply terrible from electronics viewpoint. Whereas the Apex 107 is laid out very nicely.

    oh and you might want to check out Apex mics too. For the money are pretty good, quality control is a little lacking, So you may want to try out a few different ones and pick the best. I use the Apex 460 quite a bit. The great thing about those mics is they are very easy to mod. So down the road if you want a higher end mic you can invest $500 bucks and up grade your apex mic to something simular to AKG CR12. Apex also has a lot of cheaper wide diaphram condensors as well.
  5. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    I don't know...yeah the tubepac gets hot, but my bass player uses one to preamp his bass and acoustic guitar, and it hasn't crapped out yet. But I will agree that the package is very tightly packed...no room to do squat as far as mods or repairs, but hell it was only $100 new and warrantied. I haven't heard the Apex 107, but I'll look it up.
    As for mics, why go with an Apex, where the quality control is lacking as you say, when you can get an Audio Technica AT2020 for $100 new, and it sounds good out of the box, and they are known for having great QC? I'm not an electrical engineer, so I prefer mics that sound nice without having to do mods. Others with such skills may prefer mod-able mics, but the original poster didn't come across as wanting to rebuild stuff to get a decent sound. He's just looking for decent demo stuff.
    Another option for mic pre might be the M-Audio DMP3. Its dual channel, phantom power capable, and seriously clean sounding. My thinking is you get a Delta 44 for $150, a DMP3 for $160, a pair of AT2020 mics for $200...lets see, that's $510...throw in $200 for two stands and some cables, and thats just over $700. I think if you buy the AT2020 from zzounds.com they give you a pop filter for free with each mic. I bought two of them a year ago, and they came with a pop filter each. ANDY
  6. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Like I may have said, I haven't used the Aphex 107 pre, but this was what I came across when checking it out...
    Not many kind words. I think with limited skills, and looking at the instrumentation you want to record, the DMP3 might be a good option. Plus, it don't get hot, and no tubes to worry about...just sounds clear. ANDY
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Sorry -Typo -I meant APHEX 107. And yes I think it did get bad reviews. But the unit is solid and very easy to mod.

    I have both an Aphex 107 and tubepac. I have moded the tub pac, but it still is never my first choice. I fixed the heat issue and excessive noise problems.

    None of these issues exist in the APHEX 107. I believe the negative reviews came more from the fact that it was priced cheaply when it first sold.

    A low price = bad in some peoples minds.

    I and inspect and probe and modify almost every piece of gear I buy. And honestly the build quality of the APHEX 107 is much higher than its price range should be. And the ART tube pac is much lower then its price.

    That’s just my opinion.
  8. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Link, have you played with the DMP3? Curious to get your take on it. I think its a nice cheap option. Also, I'm interested in your Pinky compressor. Seems like a good concept. How's that going? ANDY
  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Hey thanks Andy for the interest in Pinky. It goes well I tracked a pop vocal through it 2 days ago, and it worked well. I was originally hoping it would work well on bass, but the vocals seem to like the treatment more. Funny you set off in one direction and you end with something really cool in the other direction. So the first prototype is done. I am boxing it and using it in my studio.

    The next version however is well on its way. I am expanding the pink idea, adding a de-esser like feature and a parallel compression setting. I am not sure how far off the next version is but I will be starting the pcb pretty soon.

    To answer your other question on the DMP3, I haven’t had a chance to try one out yet. I have owned or used a variety of M-Audio, midi-man products over the years. I usually open up there box's to see a decent printed circuit board layout, with average components on it. I have had no complaints with there gear, for the price point they are a reasonable product. And their software has never given me any grief. However sound wise, it left me wanting a bit.

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