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Starting home recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by liuchengnick, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. liuchengnick

    liuchengnick Member

    Hey guys:

    I just want to start my own home recording studio...I saw many posts in this forum and it really helps.

    But if someone can give me some advise based my own situation, that'll be great!!

    Currently I have TASCAM US144mkII, M-audio axiom 49 and Sterling Audio ST51 and HD280 pro.
    I have 5k-6k budget (including buying a new computer)

    Question 1: which computer should I choose? Since I bought logic pro, I have to use mac...so I'm wondering whether to buy a imac 27' or mac pro?

    Question 2: Which microphone should I buy for my second one?

    Question 3: Preamps for mic? I don't really know what preamp do...

    Question 4: Monitor? I'm looking for Adam a7x...costs me 1200...any other suggestions?

    Question 5: Recording furniture? I really don't know whether it is necessary to buy a designed desk. I found a good one on musician's friend and costs me 200...

    I think that's it...:)

    Appreciated if you can give my any help in any aspect!! I'm new to this field...
  2. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Active Member

    I can speak a little of the computer: I would go with the MacPro if you are planning on investing in high end sound cards. If you're planning on using USB gear, the iMac will be more than adequate. The 27" screen is incredible (I love mine!).
    My 2 cents regarding mics would be to use what you can afford and experiment. I've had great results with Apex mics. Better yet, rent a few and find one that works best for what you're doing.
    A pre-amp goes between the mic and the mixer/sound card, and makes a huge difference in the quality. It will also provide power for condenser mics. I have heard great things about ART pres. Again, try renting a couple and try them out. A store near me rents ART preamps for $28/ month. I spend more than that on coffee!

    Before you go blowing your whole budget, look at treating your room. That is a whole other forum (if you want to go that far!). Basically, look at acoustic tiles and budget for a good amount of coverage. There are products that go behind the mic for absorbing reflections, but even for monitoring you will need some kind of treatment.
  3. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    The US144MKII has phantom power already.

    On this pre amp question - aren't there little amps on top of amps?? For example if you use a condensor mic that already has a pre-amp of sorts in it. So why would one go active mic -> preamp -> yet another pre amp (Tascam US144) ??

    I guess if the Tascam gain is very low (set to LINE) then it becomes more of a pass through not sure that helps the signal quality. II checked the specs on the Tascam the pre amp are pretty good, but they don't list specs when the gain is opened up.

    20-20K with +0.5 db/-1.5 db
    s/n 98 db ADC and DAC 98 dB
    THD 1 khz signal +20 dBu input 0.0045%
    All this is with input set to LINE (no gain ) so I guess that is where the pre amp comes in - cleaner than the 144 I/F???

    Get the mic close enough and the room will have no effect - or make a little cone of silence.
    Direct guitar " "
    Drums well are you recording drums?
  4. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Active Member

    Depends on the mic's pattern. An omnidirectional will pick up reflections from behind and sides. For vocals you will need to have some kind of absorption behind the mic. As the sound bounces around the room, it will still be picked up by the front of the mic anyhow. Perhaps a guitar amp on 11 would drown that out though!

    Yes, regarding the preamp, if you don't know what it does, a new preamp won't make any difference! Listen to the gear you have and go from there.
  5. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Active Member

    Other mics: SM57 and SM58's are standard equipment for any recording or performing artist. I've heard that Bono's vocals are always recorded with a humble 58, but take that with a pinch of salt. True or not, it's still a great mic. You can buy the real thing or something similar for around $100. There's a reason they've lasted so long, so if you want to experiment with multiple mic setups (and why not?) you could do worse.
  6. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    Listening is one thing... but I think it would be better to look at the whole input signal chain to minimize the distortion and noise. So ditch the Tascam and go with a high performance USB interface with a) more inputs and b) higher spec amplification (call it a pre-amp if you want) rather than adding an outboard "pre-amp" only to punt into a 144 box - (if I read that correctly).

    So improve the S/N ratio and lower the distortion those would be things you want to do and get the best bang for the $ doing it.
    A google ad popped up just in typing this but the Fireface UFX is one such box..... RME: Home

    Specs are S/N 112 dB
    THD 0.0003 %
    Massive improvement over the Tascam 44
    Note - also by just using shorter mic cable for example will improve those things too (S/N and signal level)

    About SM58/57 great mics no question we have both but I don't use them because everyone else does and they will lower your s/n ratio. I find them too narrow for vocals and guitar. For recordings condensers are wider, natural and more versatile being active. I got this EV PL84 just used it as a close prox effect vocal mic where one would use a 58. It can also be used like the condenser (ambient o/h etc.) he has already. Just looked it's a deal:

    PS I'm an Engineer (core/electronics) getting back into all of this with my son's band, still a newbie but have the technical background training and electronics/lab experience. I don't like bs'ing and plink plink.
  7. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Active Member

    Fair enough. You don't have to LIKE SM58/57s to appreciate them as defacto industry standards. At the end of the day it is opinion and I would hate for someone just starting out to get lost in needless arguments. No, I'm not an engineer, but I have enough experience to know it is all about listening. Recording music is a combination of technical and creative understanding.
    And budget. Of course!
    Thanks for the technical info too, Shark, that's great to know.
  8. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    Hold on here...I love Shures. My vintage modded Unidyne 517SA man it's way cool. I just used that in a video shoot on the weekend. I tried the Shure (57) for the soundtrack but the characteristics that make them cut it live, are kinda their downfall in recording. So I went with the EV PL84 condenser it was cleaner sounding. We also recorded like 6 songs for my son's band this weekend. Vocals we used an MXL990 AND the EV PL84 side by side at the same time (listen back and select the best sound or even blend the two). Screamer was into the EVPL84 only.

    Guitars were direct and via MXL990. Drums MXL's and the only dynamic I used was for the snare - for isolation and mid-upper range punch.

    The deal with those recording condensers is that they will NOT work properly due to moisture if you get and sing or push right on them. But the EV84 you can do that and still have the benefit of the active mic - all at a stupendous price. Shure makes an equiv to the EV PL84 but the cost is around $300.

    Now we are using a $400 Tascam M164UF interface/mixer and this thing is about a cheapo as something V-Tech ( a toy co. ) would put out! It works great we have 6 mic and a whole load of inputs but the specs are really suspect, hidden in the manual ... 20-20K -3 dB, Less than 0.01% distortion at 0 gain, and your fair share of noise.

    So this RME Fireface UFX looks cool but - in that case I would need more mic inputs = preamp or mixer as there are only what 4 mic pre's built into that box. Specs are overkill on the RME for what we need.

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