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need some help setting up my first rig

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jrh0283, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. jrh0283

    jrh0283 Guest

    Hey! So I'm pretty new to recording,i've recorded in a studio once several years ago, and have messed around on garage band with some old cheep m-audio gear, but that is about it.

    I'm looking into getting into recording and would appreciate some tips. I'm looking at using the m-audio pro tools. I want a fire wire interface for sure but not sure what to get that is in my current budget. I want to spend about $500 starting out, but of corse I want the good stuff, the pro fire 2626 haha, what are my best alternatives? Also, i'd like some mic suggestions. Something that will give me a decent sound recording vox and acoustic guitar.

    Few things to throw out there: I plan on expanding eventually to be able to record drums using a 7 piece mic set. For now, I am going to be mixing with headphones until I can afford monitors. And finally, I have a habit (dunno if its bad or good) of only wanting to buy nice gear.

    Thanks for any tips you have! Appreciate it!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Welcome to the forum!

    There are inconsistencies in your post. For example, "only wanting to buy nice gear" does not fit with "want to spend about $500" and "M-Audio".

    You will be aware that M-Audio M-powered Pro Tools requires an M-Audio interface (or, recently, a Mackie Onyx i-series mixer). If you want to be able to record at least 7 channels, that constrains you to considering an M-Audio FireWire interface with 8 microphone channels such as the ProFire 2626 you mentioned, but the list price for that item is $900 before you even start to add the M-Powered software. However, you can get it including the stripped-down PT Essentials for around $700.

    What about budgeting for microphones, cables, stands, monitors and some room treatment? I know you said you plan to mix using headphones, but this is not a good idea if you want mixes that sound good on many different playback systems.

    The lowest-cost reasonable microphones for vocal and guitar are the Shure SM58 and SM57 respectively. If you can stretch to a bit more, keep the SM58 for the vocal and get something like a Rode NT5 for the guitar.

    Don't skimp - it's a false economy.
  3. jrh0283

    jrh0283 Guest

    hey, thanks for the reply! I appreciate the input!

    yes, I realize the contradiction between $500 and nice gear haha. $500 is simply what I have to spend right now starting out. You mentioned that mixing in headphones isn't a great idea, and i deffinatly agree, however studio monitors are simply something that is going to have to come later on. I feel right now, my main priority is to start getting hands on with the software and just start learning the ins and outs of pro tools. So budget wise, monitors are on hold.

    The Shure mics you talked about seem to be dynamic mics. I was under the impression that for recording you should stay away from dynamic as they tend to pick up exterior sounds that arn't intended to be recorded. The condenser I'm looking at is the AKG Perception 220. It seems to be a pretty well balanced mic that would be alright for vox and recording guitar. Please let me know if i'm wrong though, like i said i don't have a lot of experiance on this.

    As for the ProFire 2626, Id love to have that, but like the monitors, I simply can't afford it quite yet. What are your thoughts on some other m audio gear such as the m-box to start off with at first just to learn the program? or should i simply wait a few more paychecks and go ahead with the 2626?

    Once again, thanks for the input, and if anyone else has any ideas or suggestions please jump in!
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dynamics are better because they are less sensitive to stuff. Most dynamics have a cardioid pickup pattern (which is what matters most in terms of picking up background noise) whereas most condensers will have omnidirectional.

    You can get cardo-whatsit condensers and omnidirectional dynamics, but those are rarer.

    Dynamics especially the SM58 are usually cheaper and work for 99% of things except grand piano.

    You mention "Pro Tools" which is the name of a full scale package which will severely limit your choice of interface: if you meant "professional equipment" then go ahead, but if you mean the PT software, your upgrade choices are limited (and will quickly become expensive).
  5. jrh0283

    jrh0283 Guest

    Hey, thanks for the reply Codemonkey

    I looked into the cardioid pattern and what you're saying makes sense. Now I'm a little confused as to why most recording studios use condensers over dynamic mics. And why dynamic mics seem to be a lot more affordable.

    You shook my limited foundation of knowledge I had on mics! Mind patching things up a bit for me and help me understand?

    Also, I was talking about protools m-powered software. I've asked around and read up on software and what i've been hearing is that pro tools is the way to go as people say it is easy to learn and can produce some great sounding mixes. M-audio is fairly expensive, but eventually the 2626 is what I am looking at using once i get the software down well and can afford to upgrade.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Both dynamic and condenser microphones have their strengths and weaknesses. Dynamic microphones are the primary type of microphone used for live sound especially rock/blues/etc. In a controlled environment like a recording studio you will find BOTH dynamic and condenser microphones. There is also a third type of microphone that can be found for either live or in the studio and that's a ribbon microphone.

    At any rate, an SM57 is always a great place to start.
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You've had responses from others about the mics. I'm not a fan of the Perception 220. For an LDC in that price range, I prefer the Rode NT2-A.

    Despite its name, the Mbox is not an M-Audio badged product It's made by Digidesign, but they are all part of the Avid group. If you go for the Mbox, you need ProTools LE and not M-Powered. The Mboxes come with only 2 microphone inputs, and the newer ones have mediocre pre-amps. The original Mbox units had decent Focusrite-designed pre-amps, and are available at reasonable prices second-hand, but may not be supported by the latest software.
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    What JackAttack means by "a controlled environment like a recording studio" is that in a studio, you can place instruments and musicians apart from one another (drum kit in another room, etc.) that you can't do on a stage.

    And in a studio, there's usually not a few hundred drunks pushing their way over the fence.
  9. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    Personally, I'd stay away from M-Audio.
    You can get a DigiDesign Mbox2 or Mbox2 mini for a little more money, with protools 8. And its definitely worth it.
    The mbox2 mini is available with a condenser mic, cables, etc, for $399.
    Then just get a feel for the interface and the software and upgrade your mics or upgrade your interface. But that is your best bet for your budget for now.
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Except that recording at least 7 sticks voids the MBox idea. Not to mention that again you are limited to Digi hardware.

    I'm not a huge fan of M-Audio either but it is arguably better than the current MBox though not necessarily the 003.
  11. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    i highly disagree... M-Audio's low end stuff is absolute junk. I've had 3 different interfaces by them and had feedback and latency issues with my recordings... (AMD Phenom quad core, 6GB of crucial ballistix, 2TB's -Western Digital Caviar, 300GB WD Raptor for OS/protools only...) hence not being a computer problem. and once i switched to the mbox all of my problems were gone. A close friend of mine has the 003 system at his studio, and I have to spend a little more time tweaking, but overall they're definitely compareable. I would only take an M-Audio piece of crap if it was free, so i could sell it for more mics, etc.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There is worse stuff than the low end M-Audio gear out there but M-Audio is definitely cheap. I've never had any particular latency issues and certainly not any feedback problems but the sound is just terrible and brittle.

    The MBox may function better as an interface but the aural signature of that box is just as bad as the M-Audio. The preamp is just not very good on the MBox. The original MBox was a different story. It had pleasant preamps.

    The 003 is a much better and superior interface all around with much more usable preamps than the MBox. They still aren't anything to be overjoyed with but usable.
  13. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    Yah, i can't argue there. The original Mbox and the digi 001 were both amazing. I had an 001, until an unfortunate power surge took out my entire rig (aside from microphones). But I hear people say bad things about the Mbox preamps, but I've personally never had any arguments against them. I'm not saying they're Godly, but for what you're paying, they're worth it in my opinion. But at the same time, I'm going to invest in some better preamps for sure haha.

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