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where should i put my money?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by asianbob, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. asianbob

    asianbob Guest

    i'm setting up a recording studio for my school that will incorporate an aardvark q10 to do multitrack recordings of small bands and project recordings of different styles. my goal is to be able to create high quality productions, but i'm certainly not shooting for pro quality. we're currently working with a budget of around $3000, and i'll also be building some acoustic treatments for the room. i'm looking at a vocal mic in the $500-600 range (AKG C4000B, Audio Technica AT4050, Shure KSM32, etc.), SM57's for drums and other instruments, and i'll use the built-in pre's of the q10. would it be wise to invest in a decent plug-in package for better effects and maybe a mastering package if i'm using less than top-notch mics and pre's? i'm currently looking at sonar4 for a sequencer, so will this be adequate to accomplish what i want to without pricey plug-ins and mastering software? if i were to spring some extra bucks, would i be better off spending it on better mics, pre's, effects plug-ins, or mastering stuff? any suggestions for specific products? thanks a lot for any help. cheers.
  2. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    I'm in no way an authority on recording or a top notch engineer or anything but I can offer my thoughts on an "if it were me" approach. With 3,000 you can build a pretty nice, high quality set up - granted that you have the skills to utiilize everything you will be purchasing. The Q10 is IMO a very good deal for the price and should fit within your budget perfect. It is good for your since it has pre's and you wont have to spend money on other ones unless you wish to. (Seeing as you already stated that you aren't going for PRO sounding recordings I think it would be best to get the most bang for your buck with your purchases.) I think a good way to go is to buy used. You can save a ton of money when it's all said and done and might be able to purchase more than you thought. I will list the items I would buy and their average going price on Ebay so you can see what you can do for 3,000.

    Q10 - $500
    Studio Projects C1 Condenser Mic - $200 (use it for vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar cabinets, pretty much anything - great all around mic)
    AKG D112 - $160 (for kick drum and bass guitar cabs)
    3 Shure SM57's - $70 (electric guitar, toms, bass cabs, many other uses as well)
    Rode NT5 Matched Pair Pencil Condensers - $275 for both (Drum overheads, acoustic guitar, hi hats and cymbals, room mics)
    Shure Ksm27 Condenser Mic - $300 (Lead Vocals)
    Sonar 4 Producer Edition - $500

    This would leave you with roughly 1,000 left. I would split it between 2-3 sets of headphones for the musicians, acoustic treatments, and various needs such as cables, pop filters, drum dial tuners, digital tuners, mic stands, etc...

    This is just the way I would start out if it were me and I had only 3,000 to utilize.
  3. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Without getting into specifics. I would budget the lion-share of the money for microphones and monitors.
    Those are the 2 most important areas of the recording chain,
    (besides great acoustics, great engineers and great musicians that is).

    57's and NT-5's are cool for the drums. I would probably pick the Sennheiser e602 for the kick. I think it's a more versitile mic that can be used for other sources, unlike the D112 (imho)

    The Audio-technica line is always something to consider. For the money, they make very high quality mics.

    But, take your time and find the right monitors, they will be your only window to the source and you should be able to understand what you are hearing. I would avoid monitors that sound overly hyped. Take some recordings that you know well, to where ever the monitors are and listen to them "all" for an extended period of time. Choose the set that is pleasant to listen to and doesn't fatigue your ears.

    Hope this helps,

  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I will try to address the question and not recommend things that were not asked about in the original post.

    The Aardvark has class A pres built in and should do well for the application.

    Since you say this is for a school, I am assuming that the music room is of a decent design ... Most of the ones I have been in were pretty good. So treatments will probably not be an issue. Are you going to set up in the live room or are you going to create a control room? If the latter, be sure to factor in the acoustics. Otherwise when you track and mix you will be running in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.

    Because this is a school and theft and damage is of consideration I wouldn't get too fancy. I would get a bunch of 57's for the snare, toms, amps etc. and a D112 or D6 for kick drum, I prefer the D112. The D112 is not a one trick pony, I have used it often on other things than kick, including male vocal and guitar cabs. A pair of C4's from Studio Projects will take care of overheads and acoustic instrument duties.

    Is this a pop stage band or an orchestra? if you're recording horns, woodwinds and orchestral instruments more condensers are called for ... Think about the Studio Projects B1 ... a very affordable LD condenser mic that you won't need to worry about too much ... it will get the job done on a budget. Don't forget to budget for cables and stands too ..

    I am not familiar with Sonar ... but if the plugs are comparable to what came stock in my software (Cubase VST 5.1) I don't thing extra plugs are necessary. I do very well with the plugs that came in my software ...

    The reverbs and effects, like chorus and flanging are fine and the limiters and compressors are very workable although they do not impart any kind of sonic signature.. If you want that from compressors or limiters, IMO hardware is still the only way to go. But if all you want to is alter the dynamic range, these tools are fine. In Cubase there is a plug called "Da' Tube" that really is killer ... great for adding that classic distortion thing to guitars after the fact.

    You didn't ask about monitors but if you had, I would recommend the Yamaha MSP 5's ... robust and able to withstand the type of use I expect your rig to encounter ...
  5. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Kurt, you are correct that the D112 isn't a "one-trick-pony" I probably over-shot that opinion a bit. But, I've found that for a little more $$$ the Sennheiser e602 is more versitile.

    It sounds really nice on Sax and trumpet. I haven't tried the D112 on these, but I don't expect they would shine, or would they?

    As always Kurt, thanks for your thoughts.

  6. asianbob

    asianbob Guest

    thanks a lot guys for the awesome replies. makes my job a whole lot easier. i pity the folks who had to set up recording studios before there was the internet (not to mention all this great, new, cheap recording technology). i'd be in a mell of a hess if i didn't have these resources at my disposal.

    kurt, to answer your questions: i'm actually setting everything up in a room in the basement of the school, so it's hardly a "music room". it's simply a rectangular room with ciderblock walls, ceramic tile ceiling, and a concrete floor, and i'm gonna have everything set up in this one room (no control room), so i've got some work to do as far as acoustic treatment goes. i've done all kinds of research on that though and i have a pretty good plan in place for how to tame things a little bit. the studio will be used to record mostly rock/pop stuff with guitars, bass, drums, etc., but since it is for a school i'm sure there'll be kids who'll want to record all kinds of stuff. no orchestra though.

    i've got a pretty good idea of what equipment i'll be getting, except headphones. i'll need about half a dozen sets of phones, so each member of a band and the engineer will have one. there won't be any serious mixing or anything done with these; i just need them to be comfortable and sound good enough for the band members to be happy with what they're hearing. and they've gotta be under a hundred bucks. i'm looking at something like Audio Technica's ATH-M30, any thoughts?

    one last thing. the q10s seem to have been discontinued. (wtf!) will they ever come back or will i have to go ebay? it's not the end of the world if i have to buy used for this one, but since the school's paying everything convincing them to go through ebay could be kinda sketchy. i'd just like to buy new wherever possible.

    thanks again for the great replies. cheers.
  7. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    I use Sonar 4 every day all day long and can recomend it totally for this type of aplication. The plug ins that come with it will be just fine for what you are talking about. I think they give a pretty good price break to schools as well. More important than Sonar is making sure you have a computer that can handle the processing when you get multiple tracks using several plug ins at once. On another note, I have both the D112 and the D6 and love them both. It seems to depend on the day of the week or something wich one works better on any given application.
  8. adlibmusic

    adlibmusic Guest

    Hi. I'm new here, but I've had Sonar2.2 and a Q10 for a couple of years and they have worked well for me. Recently, I built a new PC based on an Intel P4 with hyperthreading. Ver 2.2 of Sonar doesn't like hyperthreading so I installed the demo of Sonar4, which will not see my Q10.

    Has anyone heard of this issue with S4 and a Q10?


    Also, as a side note, since someone was going to buy a Q10, Aardvark seems to be out of business.
  9. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    I would suggest you consider a Studio Projects T3 for your vocal mic in the price range you mentioned. It is a great mic for the $599 price tag. I agree with earlier posts that you should put most of your money in good mics and not worry so much about getting a bunch of plug-ins. If you are using a computer for mixing and editing as I assume you will be, you might look at the Mackie UAD-1 or Powercore for your plugs, they are very high quality (most of them). They will outshine most if not all plug-ins and don't drain your CPU power. Good luck.


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