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Need Advice on setting up home studio

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Rennagade, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Rennagade

    Rennagade Active Member

    Hello, my name is Michael I am going to be putting together a home studio when I get back from my patrol with the coast guard, I will let you all know what I have currently: I have studio quality headphones the beats by dre pros, A KORG Trinity keyboard, a akai MPK 25 little piano beat pad, and a audio-techina like 100$ usb microphone. I play piano and sing but I need a Good microphone one thats not a usb and i dont have a converter to put it on my computer, I have no clue what I need what program, or what microphone I should purchace I really want to be able to play piano and have it recorded, and be able to sing over it, I would also like to make beats for the background some how drums or anything please let me know what I need to get. Im willing to get all new equipment if I have too, I dont really have a budgett max I would spend on a mic is 400-500 and whatever program or converter I have no idea how much they are, thank you for the help :cool: oh I have a pc but am going to purchace a mac book pro soon.Thank You,Michael
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Michael, it's hard to give you some suggestions since many of these suggestions are specific to PC or Mac. The only reason to go Mac is if you want to. It's not a prerequisite for music production as it was 20 years ago.

    For your purposes and personal pleasure, I would suggest the Pre-Sonus Audio Box USB 2.0 device. This unit runs approximately $250 US and is far more capable of doing real-time effects processing for a better monitoring and recording production. The USB 1.1 Audio Box by Pre-Sonus is only $150 but does not have the same kind of speed or real-time effects capabilities while recording that the USB 2.0 device offers. The deal is further sweetened by Pre-Sonus Studio One version 2. It's designed exactly for what you want to do. And then you can select any microphone you want to use and I would suggest a SM58/Beta 58 by SHURE. Those microphones sound way better than anybody's cheap Chinese USB condenser microphone and actually can sound every bit as nice as a Neumann + $3000 U87. I kid you not. Besides, I wouldn't mess with a Coast Guard guy because I know you're tough. And I don't believe that Studio One 2 software package is Macintosh compatible? The amount of cross compatible PC-Mac audio programs is slim. ProTools is one. But today with ProTools, 600 bucks in version 10 can work with anyone's hardware. This is not the case with ProTools just a couple of years ago when it required the use of Avid/Digidesign hardware. And you could still go that route too. You could pick up an M-Box (The models are, mini, 2 & The FireWire Device) and it will come bundled with ProTools 8 from $200-800, depending upon which interface you choose. If you want to go for a really fine microphone than the skies the limit or maybe the water? I personally like the AKG line of quality studio condenser microphones such as the new 214 or the multiple polar pattern equivalent the 414. But you really don't need the multiple polar patterns of cardioid, figure of 8, Omni. The 214 is a fixed cardioid and will do just fine. You might think others may initially sound better but there's a reason why these are so popular throughout the world. That's because they're real. They are not Chinese imitations. Though some other lesser expensive units aren't bad either.

    Bring me back some sushi please.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. Rennagade

    Rennagade Active Member

    Thank you remy, i looked into the pre-sonus and Im going to purchace it deffinitly its just what i was looking for thank you so much, im looking into the akg 214, thank you for all the help ill make sure to let you know how it works out thank you :)
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Just for the sake of knowing, I think you should look up some reviews on Beats headphones. Not all of them are favorable. And, while they are expensive and maybe they sound nice for listening, they aren't particularly good for monitoring. I wouldn't be mixing with headphones. There are some very nice headphones to be had for a fraction of the price of a pair of Beats. Yes, I mean studio grade headphones by Shure, Sennheiser and AKG.

    Studio One 2 is in fact Mac compatible. That being said, you should consider Reaper. It's cheaper than Studio One 2 and easily as functional, if not more so. I have both currently and Reaper is just very well equipped for what it is.

    The original Audio Box as Remy points out is not an ideal piece of hardware. In fact there has been some discussion about issues with it's mixer software as well. They are discontinuing it anyway as far as I know. I'm a fan of Mackie products (though their QC has been a bit sketchy lately) so I'm going to suggest the Blackjack. It's a handy little unit with decent preamps.
  5. Rennagade

    Rennagade Active Member

    I really like the consept of the pre-sounos and studio one, and if it is mac compatible that would be great because i plan on getting a mac book pro, Does the mackie / blackjack come with a program interface, or would I use reaper?
  6. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    The Blackjack is an interface and it comes with Tracktion which is Mackie's own proprietary DAW. Originally developed by Raw Material, Tracktion is not a "lite" software but the full version minus the extra plugin packages that come with the retail version. Never the less, it supports VST plugin format of which there are many. Unfortunately, Tracktion is Windows only.
  7. Controversy Rising

    Controversy Rising Active Member

    I personally would avoid pre-sonus, I bought a pre-sonus interface last year (fire wire something) and as soon as I connected it I had driver conflicts with my other studio gear. I called the tech support line to talk to a customer dis-service rep and never reached a human and I found it rather odd that an audio company put so much effort into sharing cooking recipes on their web site. It sounds like you do put money into your gear, I won't go "cheap" on an interface. Focusrite make several interfaces that I think would perform better than pre-sonus gear.

    Headphones ... I use AKG 240's ($200) they sound good, are comfortable to wear and what I think is key, you can order ANY part of the headphone that you or your clumsy friends/clients break so they will last for YEARS.
  8. Rennagade

    Rennagade Active Member

    [h=1]Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP Firewire Audio Interface - would this work? it comes with Ableton Live Light 7 - I really dont know anything about this stuff but i just want to have the right equipment and then I will study the details, I'm deffinetly getting the akg 214 microphone, I'm just curious about what interface to purchase the focusrite is bad ass but I have no idea how I would use it im new at this. what should I do?[/h]
  9. Controversy Rising

    Controversy Rising Active Member

    I think if you are just getting into it the focusrite pro 24 is a good start, they support their drivers and I can't find anyone calling their stuff crap. I don't know anything about Ableton Live, but if you haven't used a DAW (digital audio workstation) ... give your self 3-6 months for a learning curve.. depending on how much time you put into. Knowing how to use the software you have is more important than what software you use. Some friends came over a few weeks ago to track a song and brought an AKG 214, I liked it on the acoustic guitar. I wouldn't say it was an awesome mic, but it was a very usable sound, just a bit "darker" than what I would expect from a condensor
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    A lot of the less expensive microphones are into this center capsule membrane design which really hypes the high end frequencies. This can initially sound good in comparison to something much more mellow like a AKG 214/414 which is actually quite a bright sounding microphone in comparison to the Neumann U 87 which is darker yet. And since thousands of hit songs have been recorded with that 87 and/or 414's brighter doesn't necessarily mean better. In fact it can be far more fatiguing to your ears. And then you also quickly discover it doesn't sit right in the mix and conflicts with everything else. People just don't understand necessary bandwidth limiting. Not everything should be 20-20,000 even if it is. There is a reason why I keep recommending SHURE 57 & 58's for vocals. They are nearly goof proof in their audible delivery and that's because they roll off after 50 Hz and after 17,000 Hz. So right out of the gate, and has some effective bandwidth limiting which has nothing to do with dynamic range limiting.

    Quite frankly I find AKG 214 & 414 to be awesome sounding microphones. Everything else seems like peculiar imitations with strange hyped responses that certainly doesn't make them better but certainly makes them different. Generally, as a freelance engineer and broadcaster, I use anything that is placed before me even if it's stuff I don't like. And there's plenty of stuff that I haven't liked. Either way, you come up with a viable commercial sound and mix because that's your job to do that. This isn't an engineering contest. I'm not out to try to out engineer anybody else. That's not my job. And besides, I have my own unique sound just like other quality engineers have. So I'm not really trying to emulate anyone or anything. Some people like what I do and other people don't think it sounds like everybody else's stuff. Oh well. It's not supposed to.

    If you are having driver problems with your previous audio interface, that probably means that you have either not set up your computer properly for audio purposes or, just like my situation with ProTools. I have ProTools version 7.1 that I got with my M-Box 2 from Avid/Digi design. Then I got a M-Audio Transit and M Powered 7.4. Well... I can't have both on the same machine. And even Avid indicates that as such. So while the programs are cross compatible, they cannot both be loaded onto the same machine and neither can there audio interface drivers. I can use both of the audio interface drivers with different software together on the same machine but I can't use ProTools, either version with both devices on the same machine. It's not the equipment's fault. It's the way the software has been written that causes the conflicts within the operating system. So while they seem to be the same, they are wholly not.

    You seem to be indicating that certain audio interface devices are far too complex for your Simple Mind. Which might be accurate when you think that Simple Minds didn't do their own recording work but rather had Bob Clearmountain do it on his analog SSL 4000 E. And that's the way Bob likes to work because he gets a certain sound that way. He wouldn't get the same sound working purely in software. He's relying on the mushy mess that the VCA's throughout his entire console has to offer. Otherwise it might be so crispy bright nobody would want to listen to it? So everybody is too preoccupied with advertising hype regarding clear, transparent, neutral, clean, bright. My god it sounds like a dishwashing detergent commercial and not something about audio. So the equipment I utilize is dark, rich, colorful, not transparent and it sounds real. Real good. Reel good while never having seen a reel. But sounding a lot like it did. So I can push some analog equipment beyond its linear operating capabilities causing it to go slightly nonlinear. I can also accomplish likewise in a similar manner within software. You just have to screw it up the right way. You might even have to rely on some very subtle creative clipping on transients. Then you can process those transients to smooth off the flat clip while still retaining some of the nonlinear response to what you have done. And that's playing around with digital not analog. Most of those tube emulators can provide some of that effect in software. Problem is, folks either select a preset or they don't understand how to use it in a most subtle of manners. So everybody is frequently overcooking everything. Just like my 88-year-old mother. She used to know how to mix food really well. Today most of her mixes are awful. But you still have to smile and say thank you this is delicious. Afterwards, I can go out and have some more dinner that actually tastes good. Sort of like remastering. As opposed to regurgitating. Because that's not a mix you want to pass in again.

    Bottom line, there is no guarantee that all equipment will be compatible all together in a single computer. So you have to choose the appropriate weapons to begin with. Sometimes you need more than a two shooter. Sometimes you need a clip of 8. Others require 24 or more rounds of ammunition. And I never believe anybody when they say " I'm only using it to record vocals and guitar...". Really? That's all you're going to do professionally? I never exactly thought (even though I wanted it) that I would ever have a control room like I currently have. I've always used immensely affordable low-cost stuff. But all that changed about 30 years ago. That's when you realize you needed a plethora of different types and styles of microphones first and foremost. Then good preamps first and foremost. Because of the operatic and orchestral work I was doing at the time, I couldn't even accept spring reverberation. It was 100% awful. So only a plate would do. And on and on and on, never-ending, never stopping, spending all of your retirement before it was time to retire. I wonder if I can be buried in my Mercedes 1117 since I can't even afford a coffin today? They say you can't take it with you but I'm going to try!

    Not dead yet
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. Controversy Rising

    Controversy Rising Active Member

    "Generally, as a freelance engineer and broadcaster, I use anything that is placed before me even if it's stuff I don't like. And there's plenty of stuff that I haven't liked. Either way, you come up with a viable commercial sound and mix because that's your job to do that."

    What a perfect statement .. use what ya got as best you can.
  12. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    There are plenty of people having issues with Focusrite interfaces as well. It's all a matter of compatibility. As far as tech support is concerned, starting a support ticket by email is much more effective. It starts a "paper trail" and it gives the tech support person time to research your issue.

    There are quite a few happy Presonus customers out there. I am one.

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