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Need help finding gear in the $300 range

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Molarmite, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. Molarmite

    Molarmite Guest

    So a couple of my friends have bands that would like to record CD's, so I decided that I would buy gear and let my friends use it for a portion of their profits. To start out, I was looking for stuff in the $300 range, they're 18-19 years old so we don't need anything fancy just stuff to get the job done and possibly expand it when we make more money and they get more serious.
  2. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Hmmm... you are starting from scratch and you want to make money on CDs with $300 worth of recording gear total? Sounds like you have unrealistic expectations, I am sorry to say. Not that you can't get started and learn alot, but to jump in with a very small budget and expect to have a semi-professional product in the short term is probably not gonna happen.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Someone else will hopefully help with this, I'm just trying to get information.

    What do you have so far? Nothing?

    What style of music is it?

    What country are you in? US? UK? Mozambique?

    Do any of you have any skills?
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There you go again. Asking a lot of questions............... :shock:

    Anyway. Those need answering.
  5. Molarmite

    Molarmite Guest

    Yes pretty much, we're planning on just selling the CD locally, price it so we can at least make the $300 back and possibly more to expand and buy better equipment.

    We have the instruments and the amps so far. Will Audacity work? If not, I'm willing to put down $100 for cakewalk.

    It's Rock music so guitar, bass, drums, and singer.

    We live in the US.

    I'm assuming your talking about recording skills, I'm really good with computers, I'm a quick learner. I also have friends who know a lot about speakers, amps, etc. and guy that I know who does some recording and mixing.
  6. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    A lot to cover...

    Yes, you probably could get started with Audacity for software (it's free, so you still have $300 left!).

    I presume you have a computer - is it up to the task of audio processing? You'll need plenty of RAM, a good processor, and a big fast hard drive, for starters.

    Next you'll need an interface to get the audio digitized and into your computer. At the very basic level, this could just be a soundcard with a line input. Quality will take a big step up if you go with something designed for recording, but this could easily blow away your budget and then some.

    If you go the soundcard route, then you will probably still need some type of mixer - you connect your mics and/or instruments here then take that line out to your computer.

    Bare-bones like this, you may be limited to recording a single track at a time. Are these bands technically competent enough to play in time and tune to a click or scratch track?

    How we doing so far? Still need to cover mics, cables, headphones, etc. Got any of that stuff?

    And a BIG BIG consideration is the space in which you will be recording and mixing. There is a whole forum here devoted to studio construction, acoustics, and such.

    As I said, with such a small budget and less experience, you have a long way to go. I don't mean this to discourage you at all - on the contrary, I wish you luck and lots of fun getting into recording. Just be sure to realize that it may take more than you expect to put together a product that people are willing to pay for.
  7. Molarmite

    Molarmite Guest

    We planned on recording a single track at a time so that's good. If we're doing a single track, we would only need one or two mics and headphones, correct? We still haven't decided on the space yet, but we're looking around. I was thinking about going the soundcard route also, you think that should get the job done for a bunch of teens who just want to get their music out there. Also I think a preamp could fit into the budget at $69, you think that's needed?
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    DON'T use the soundcard in your computer if you aspire to any sort of sonic quality.

    Get a low-cost 2-channel audio interface such as the E-MU 0202 USB, M-Audio MobilePre or TASCAM US-144, a pair of Shure SM57 microphones (one with a foam pop shield for when you want to sing into it), two boom mic stands, closed-back headphones and a pair of XLR-XLR mic leads. You'll scrape to get inside $300, but anything lower than this entry-level standard of gear is not going to cut it for making CDs.

    Some of the interfaces (e.g. EMU) come with bundled audio software, otherwise Audacity will work for this type of project.

    I haven't even mentioned getting a decent pair of monitors for mixing. I have now.
  9. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    +1 to Boswell.

    I only mentioned the soundcard as a possibility because you may already have one in your computer. It could technically do the job, but don't expect it to sound good. This goes along with my previous mentions of realistic expectations...
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    In addition to trying one-track-at-a-time recording (which will be a lot harder than the bands think - have them practice with a metronome starting yesterday) read up on stereo recording techniques. Find a good sounding room and record the bands live with a stereo pair. You can do this with the equipment you have; it will teach you a lot about recording; it will be great practice for the bands; and the recordings will have a stolen, bootleg vibe that might go over better than your first attempts at multitrack recording. No matter how good the multitracks are, they won't be nearly as good as the recordings you will make after a few years experience. Same goes for the direct to stereo recordings, but since you are going for more of a live raw sound, the stereo recordings may be more popular. They will almost always get a better performance from inexperienced bands.
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Big thing about soundcards I would say, is timing issues.
    Mine runs in a sort of dual mode, separating the front mic jack and the back mic/line jacks to 2 devices.
    Ran some signals off a mixer and into the comp...
    During a solid 2 hour recording (no dropouts, but...) I found that the front would slip in time from the back. The same mic signal was being sent to both the front and rear in some cases but they were out of time and caused unreal amounts of HF cancellation...
    Basically soundcards can't keep time is my experience.

    And Davedog, I ask questions because everyone generally needs to give away such information about what they're trying to do but noone does.
  12. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Good suggestion, Bob, but I don't think he has confirmed that he has the equipment necessary to record a stereo pair.
  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Agreed. I should have said the equipment he was planning to get for multitrack recording, e.g. Boswell's recommendation of a pair of 57s and a two-channel interface. The interface would have to have two mic pres (the ones the Boswell recommended do) but this is definitely a feature worth paying for anyway.
  14. Molarmite

    Molarmite Guest

    I definitely plan on getting a soundcard, I'll look into those three you suggested. As for mics, I was actually planning on getting the ShureSM57 from Musicians friend.

    What did you mean when you were talking about "studio pair"?

    Is a preamp necessary?

    How important are studio monitors? I was planning on not getting them because I just didn't see the point of them for my project, am I missing something big about them?

    EDIT: If going up to $500 is necessary, we could probably do that too.
  15. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    A pair of mics is 2 of the same mic (2 x SM57s).
    Yes you need a preamp (you would need 2, one for each mic).

    Monitors and monitoring and room acoustics/treatment in general is very important. If you can't hear your mix right, you're likely to overlook something or compensate for some problem with your speakers so that when someone else with different speakers listens to them, they get blasted with your compensation...things like too much bass etc.
  16. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    $300 eh? I'll sell you my firepod
  17. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I want to save you some time. Get a Line 6 toneport and plug the guitars in Direct. Do NOT use Audacity. You will hate yourself for it in the long run. It is a major pain. Try Kristal Audio Engine. It's also free but allows you to use plugins in REAL TIME. Whereas in Audacity it a crap shoot, apply after the fact thing.

    Use a single omni for the drums. Let's face it, with two mics you are not going to get awesome stereo sound necessarily so minimize the potential problems(phase among other things). Just put that mic smack over the drummers head and have at it.

    An SM57 would be a good investment and any cheap omni would probably do fine.

    This is your first recording. Don't expect miracles, however there's no reason why you couldn't get a decent recording if you take your time with it.
  18. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    OOps. Just went back and read BobRogers' suggestion. Good advice.
  19. Molarmite

    Molarmite Guest

    So it's looking like I'm going to need this:

    2 of these for $200
    (Dead Link Removed)

    Possible two of these for $120
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    One of these for $130
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    And this two for one deal for $50
    (Dead Link Removed)

    I'm still unsure about the studio monitors, if I'm going to be in the same room as them when they're recording am I going to need to them, or is that not even recommended? Also if anyone has MSN add me joli334@yahoo.com and your quicker help there would be greatly appreciated.
  20. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Those Kustom monitors you listed are stage monitors (for live performance), not studio monitors for mixing.

    Instead, you'll need something from this list:
    (a powered set, unless you want to buy a separate power amp).

    You might also check ebay or the like for SM57's. They have a great reputation for durability so a used one is likely to be in good shape and you could save a few bucks, maybe to go towards cables and stands.

    The MAudio interface looks right on to get you started.

    I don't know those headphones specifically, but do you need two sets? (will you be able to hook up two sets at once?)

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