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I need some advice before purchasing

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sweatyballz57, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. Recently I have come to realize that I want a serious career in music producing/recording. So to start my path I decided I want to create a home studio in my garage and go from there. I am a passionate musician and want to be able to record my projects/bands too.

    I am using a Macbook Pro(fastest/biggest model).
    In my garage I have a five piece drumset, Bass Head/Cab, 2 Guitar Stacks, M57 Mic, 2 Rokit Monitors.

    I want to be able to record jam sessions as well as track by track while still being able to mix and master appropriately.

    The band that I am playing in now is 2 guitars, drummer, 2 Vocals, Synth/Samples with Macbook+MIDI keyboard.. and a bassist later.

    With that said, I have roughly 2,300 to get started and expand as I learn and have more cash.

    I have read the basics of recording/mixing so I know how things are routed and what certain pieces of equipment do. But there are just so many different ways I can't decide on which way to go.
    For instance, how would I decide between going with a mixer or interface? Which mics to get and how many?

    What are your tips/suggestions for getting started and preparing for the future with the budget I have now? Are there ways to get around having less gear/mics/etc?

    All responses are much appreciated, THANKS!

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Alvin, if you want to track your band live, you'll need at least 16 microphone inputs simultaneously. I know this isn't generally available on any computer audio interface except for these new series of FireWire capable mixers. Mackie, Allen & Heath, Phonic and others are offering mixers with FireWire interfaces and included software. THIS is what you need to record your band with. That and a couple of decent DI direct boxes and a bag full of Shure SM57/58's. For monitors, I like the KRK RP5's they're bitchin' and affordable and sound a lot like my favorite JBL's so I find and easy to work with and a good reference.

    If all of that is in place, then it's technique that needs to be honed. Not the equipment.

    Making good recordings on lousy equipment for years
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:
    #1 invest in an external drive for recording.

    With the Macbook Pro you could use an express card for an ESATA drive.

    That would free the firewire bus for your audio interface/interfaces.

    A good pair of monitors for mixing.

    On a Mac I suggest Logic Pro, Live7 or Digital Performer. Avoid Steinberg products on Mac unless you want to be a second class citezen.

    Also you will need a good selection of mics.

  4. Remy, would I be able to do what you said with the budget I have?

    What are some specific good mixers that include the interface?

    Also, can you clarify what a DI direct box is?

    Thanks for the responses so far.
  5. gdoubleyou, I have read about the importance of the ext. drive. Space and speed, is what I got out of the forum. Do you think the external can wait to be purchased or do they play that big of a factor in the beginnings of recording.
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    D(irect) I(njection) Box.

    A piece 'O gear used to take line level signals (i.e. Keyboards & Drum Machines) and (via xformer) convert them to low level balanced signals for input into yer XLR laden preamp(s).
  7. remy, I also forgot. I've been looking at the firestudio interface and using cubase. What are your thoughts on Firestudio vs. mixer+interface.. considering the budget.
  8. bent, thanks for the response.. what are your views on the mixer/interface in one?

    I am leaning more towards the firestudio. recording the drums, guitars, bass live. then recording vocals seperately. will I still end up with appropriate tracks for mixing?
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well, there you go, you got the right idea now. Although within your current budget, I'd be more inclined to get the Mackie 1640. Sure, it's a lot more bucks but you get 16 Onyx microphone inputs along with Mackie's Traction multitrack audio program. That in combination with the current software you're using now is a powerful work system. Use your left over bucks for SM57's. Phonic also makes a 16 input version which is less money than the Mackie and you can use your current software, since it is multitrack compatible, as I'm not sure what may be bundled with Phonics' mixers?

    Thinking through the box
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    I've seen and used a lot of different mixers, but have never seen a Phonic (outside of pics on the web).

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the FW card for the Onyx typically sold separately? I don't believe any that I have at work came with them (then again, they're purely used on little DJ rigs and such - no need for FW, YET).
  11. I ended up just getting the firestudio interface, three 57s, mics stands, cables, node condenser mic.

    the reason i did this is because I feel like I should hold off on a mixer until I am more experienced/have the money for a top of the line model. I've been hearing about the hybrid mixer/interfaces being relatively new, so I want to wait and see how it pans out with newer models etc.

    Anyone else use the Firestudio? I think that it will get me goin right away while still leaving options open for expansion.

    ..so now it comes down to what is the best way to record. I want to try just recording guitars/drums live. Synth wil be generated on the computer and dub vocals last. Any tips?
  12. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL

    I assume you mean where to put the mics, as the rest can be found in the Firestudio's owner's manual.

    Put up two 57's on stands - one on the left, the other on the right of the drum kit, a foot or two above the cymbals (yeah, I know, it's almost rocket science).
    Put the third 57 in the kick.
    Put the remaining mic (is it a Rode?) in front of the guitar cabinet.
    Plug all into the Firestudio.
    Set each mic's gain (one at a time) at unity - clipping is bad, remember that, if you clip you went past unity!

    For another take on placing two mics on a drum kit, you might be interested in the video posted here.

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