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Mulling over new studio purchase

Discussion in 'Recording' started by wags, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. wags

    wags Guest

    Hi everyone, just mulling over what my next home studio purchase should be. I'm looking for a little guidance on what my priorities should be. I should start off by saying I'm a newbie to the recording end of things but I've been playing guitar and keys for years.

    What I have:

    Computer: 3.2 Ghz, 1 Gig RAM, 200 Gig HD. Dual Monitors(I had some extras around the house) Windows XP, DVD recorder.
    Interface: Presonus Firebox 4 ins 6 outs I am pretty impressed with this box so far. It has not given me a lick of trouble and sounds excellent to my ears.
    Software: Cubase LE. Came with the firebox. I'm amazed considering the last piece of recording equipment I used was a Fostex x-15
    Mics: Rode NT1 a, old beyerdynamic
    Monitors: MAudio bx5a
    Instruments: Korg N264. This is where most of my sounds come from and quite frankly, compared to today's standards, are pretty unsatifying. It's not bad, but todays keyboards blow it away. Les Paul Custom Guitar. Roland ep7 digital piano(again, 10-15 year old technology)
    Misc: Mic stand, pop screen, keyboard amp, headphones

    My Goals: To produce the highest quality recording I can within a limited budget. I only record myself primarily. I have access to other musicians but mainly it will be me alone. I don't see myself recording more than 1 or 2 parts at a time. I do mainly acoustic pop,rock, folky jazzy music. In other words, no electronic, rap, film scoring. Pretty much singer-songwriter stuff.

    Items on my list:

    Yamaha Motif Rack:. I'm basically looking for stock sounds. I'm not a big "tweaker". If I find a good piano sound I will probably just stick with it and not try to change it. Organs, basses , drums, synth pads that sort of thing is what I need. I can use my Korg as a controller.

    Tube Preamp: Seems to be a staple in most studios

    Power conditioner: Ditto

    Room treatment: Forgot to mention that I have a dedicated, finshed 12x8 room in the basement.Carpeted

    POD(or similar): would consider something like amplitude or something else software based.

    Upgrade Cubase: Maybe to SE or sl, I think SX is overkill for me. I might as well stick with cubase since I'm now comfortable with the interface
    Headphone amp: In case I have guest musicians or adoring fans in for a session

    Mixer: Don't need one now, perhaps when I have more stuff it will make things easier as far as routing signals and plugging and unplugging things

    Plugins : Maybe som higher quality effects,compressors, eq's

    Mastering program: Little premature for this one I suppose

    I have about $1200 in the "studio fund" right now(not that I have to spend it all). What do you guys think I should go for??

  2. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    If you in it for the long haul, get 1 piece of gear at a time. It's too hard on yourself to try to get all the good stuff overnight. No one gets everything overnight. And "ONLY" buy high quality gear. That more importantly keeps it's value year after year.
    Almost all gear that is worth a rats ass is expensive, but quality gear keeps appox 85 to 90% of it's value.
    On the other hand, if all you ever see yourself doing is throwing down $500 here on "one of those" and $500 there on "one of these". You will soon end up with a bunch of gear that is not worth today, what you paid for it orig.
    For instance, don't blow $1200 on an entire studio setup. $1200 sounds like alot of cash until you start to spend it all. Next thing you know your trying to get everything "overnight" so to speak. And you make hasty decisions on things like, cost of mike's vs quality microphones, and getting 3 average units, when really all you can afford is 1 really nice unit, because it hurts to spend all your money, and only get 1 thing with all that money.
    Another thing to concider is this...stay way from the ideology "I will upgrade later". That will only cost you more money down the road. Sure it's only $200 here, or $175 there, in actual money loss, but 3 or 4 of those per year or so, and then the cost of upgrade will quickly add up to $800 to $1000 if not more, real quick. And that's almost enough for another nice piece of quality gear.

    FYI---I've owned 5 studio's
    Trust me I've wasted some dough (hindsight is a b!tch)
    I wish you luck, no matter what you buy!
  3. wags

    wags Guest

    Thanks for the reply Pre Amp, a agree with you about buying quality first. My intention is not to try to get everything at once though. I was actually trying to decide which item on my wishlist should be my next priority. I'm leaning towards the motif because it's all about the sounds you have. I guess things like a tube preamp, or a power conditioner can wait a while.

  4. aztec

    aztec Guest

    Well, reading your post made me think you need:
    1) room treatment cause you already have a "preamp" in your firebox that can do the job for now. You already have a mic, treatment will make your recordings sounds better and you are not really recording any full bands like you said + you will be able to hear better which results to a better mix. If you cant hear properly a killer preamp/mastering program/etc would go wasted anyway.
    2) upgrade to cubase SL at least, its the same as sx anyway, just missing some of surround sound stuff(compared to sx). Not a bit difference if you look at the specifications.
    3) for your scoring needs you sounds like you could use a motif rack or roland v-synth...
    4) get a pair of better monitors maybe ? :>

    With your budget i think 3 & 4 can wait. I suggest you get 1 & 2 and wait a while till your next purchace.

    P.s if you like n264's bread n butter sound, like you said you need organs, pads etc, you can get korg legacy digital edition which is a software version of wavestation & korg m1 for really cheap( i think it should cost around 140usd?). I bought it last month, i think its one of the best software buys i did. Really useful stuff.

  5. wags

    wags Guest

    thanks Aztec. I'm looking into room treatment. I'm going to do that free Auralex room analysis and see what they tell me and then take it from there. As for the Cubase upgrade, now I'm taking a serious look at Tracktion.

  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Check your Cubase instructions to see if it would like to put "temp files" on a "second, physical" HD? If so(Or even if not), I'd run out and "blow" 75 smackers(US) on a new HD! A nice, 40 gig EIDE. Put ALL your software on IT! Use your "biggie" only for data.

    Actually, I'd buy two(2) - no THREE(3) new EIDE HD's, two 40's, one 40 or 80(If you do l-o-n-g audio projects?) and the "drawers" to go with them(20 bucks, Comp USA). I'd put my OS and audio software on HD one(C: drive), my "data" on the second, along with the temp files and, put my "other" software(Word processing, whatever) on drive #3, also an OS drive(Exchanging drives 1 & 3, as needed). I'd put my "backup images" of the other drives, on HD #4(My "biggie", your 200gb - which would be out of the system and on a shelf most of the time, with the OS drive you aren't using) - "several" backups of each drive, over time - never can tell how far "back" you'll have to go to eliminate a problem that creeps in...

    How it's done:

    1. The computer has to be "right"(It's todays 'reason for being'.)

    2. The soundcard/interface has to be "right"(It's todays 'reason for living'!).

    3. The "sound space"(Your recording/listening area) MUST be dealt with! "The room" is the least worried about, most important part of the entire equation(It's the reason most recordings suck!).

    4. All the other stuff, mics to speakers to talent, to experience, which will never be "right", no matter how much money you spend or how long you live.


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