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~COMPLETE beginner - home studio, $2000 budget. *HELP*

Member for

21 years
Hey guys, as you can see I'm new here and know absolutely nothing about recording. I play guitar and am starting a band sometime soon. I want a studio in my room so I can record ourselves and maybe help other bands record to earn a little money.

Anyways, I want have it set up for 3 electric guitars, a bass guitar, a drumset, a keyboard, and 3 vocals. I don't know if the drumset will be electronic or not, so please tell me what will be needed either way for that. Another thing, I'd like to record each instrument at different times if that's possible which will mean I'd only need mic(s) for one guitar and vocals(?).

I'm sure I'll also need some programs on the computer for the studio, so if you could tell me about that too. That's all I can think of but if there's anything else I'll need please tell me! Thanks in advance.


Member for

16 years 7 months

pr0gr4m Sun, 09/24/2006 - 11:55
You first need to decide whether you want to use your computer for recording or not. If so, you'll need recording software and an audio interface for it. You could spend anywhere from $200 to $2000 for those two things alone. If you go that route, depending on the number of channels your audio interface has (2, 8, 20, whatever), you may need an external mixer.

The number of channels your interface represents the number of separate things you can record at the same time. If you want to record a whole band at once, each thing on it's own track, 8 channels (4 if you're pressed for cash) is probably the place to start. If that's not important, you could probably get away with just using a 2 channel interface. But if you can afford it, I'd recommend one with more.

Audio software is important. I use and like Cubase, but there are many more available. I have the SX version which is something like $600. There are cheaper versions that may be fine for you since you are starting out.

Will this need to be portable? Many people don't record drums in their bedroom's just to damn loud. So, if you see a need to be able to record at different places, instead of a computer, you might want something portable like one of those Fostex, Tascam, Roland, etc all-in-one multi-track recorders. I've used a Fostex one for a long time and it works well.

Once you've hammered out that computer - vs - all-in-one decision, the rest is a bit easier. With whatever money you have left, you'll have to buy microphones, mic stands and cables. Sure, there are tons of other things you could get, but with your buget, you should focus on the essentials.

You should get 1 or 2 large diaphragm condensers. These mics are generally used for vocals, but are also used for all sorts of things. Get an assortment of dynamic microphones to use for things like the drums and guitars. You may also want to get a DI box for recording the bass guitar.
If you don't know which mics to get, go to your local music store, find a few that peak your interest. Come back here and give us your options and we can give you our opinions.

Microphone pre-amplification is important. It is something that can be handled by either a mixer, the audio interface, or the all-in-one multi-track digital recorder. Generally if the device has a mic input on it, it'll be ok.

If you plan to record live drums, you may want to pick up one of those drum mic kits that have 5 or 6 mics in them. That could save you some $$$ starting out.
If you are going to record electronic drums, there is generally just a stereo output from the drum brain, but you may also want to record the MIDI output from it to trigger different drum sounds.

Once you've got your recording device, mics and cables, you'll be able to start recording.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 09/24/2006 - 15:25
Wow thanks man, that was a HUGE help. To answer your question, I plan on using a computer (laptop, which would allow me to go portable with the studio I assume) to record to. I heard that small rooms + recording drums = not so great quality, so I think I'm going to go with an electronic set (I don't have the drumset yet) which will cut down a lot on the amount of mics I'll need. Also, I do plan on recording each instrument seperately, so I think that would mean I'd need a diaphragm condenser, a dynamic mic, and a DI box? Thanks again for the help.

edit: When you record each instrument seperately, does each instrument listen to all the instruments recorded before it combined? Wouldn't the order be something like: Drums > bass > guitar > keyboard > voice. I'm assuming that means I'd have to buy a special type of headphones?

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 11/04/2006 - 00:23
If you are thinking about getting a decent sounding electronic kit, then that will cost you around $1000 alone. As long as you already have a laptop then all you'd need is an interface, mics, and stand/cables.

For an interface I would get either a Presonus Firebox, or an M Audio Firewire1814 if you would be wanting to expand later.

Depending on your style of music you play I would either get some Shure SM57s or some Audix i5s for guitar micing. For bass you may be able to get by using a DI Box like the Groove Tubes/Livewire PDI. Depending on which kind of vocals you will be doing i'de either get a shure sm58 or for mellower vocals I would get a large diaphragm condenser like the AT2020. Adding in cables and mic stands or a pop filter if you get a condenser you've got your budget.

""When you record each instrument seperately, does each instrument listen to all the instruments recorded before it combined? Wouldn't the order be something like: Drums > bass > guitar > keyboard > voice. I'm assuming that means I'd have to buy a special type of headphones?""

Yes each musician will be able to hear what was recorded before him AND him while he's playing if you set it up right. You will just need to get some good headphones like the ATM4040 or the Sennheiser HD280s, both work great for what you're trying to do.

Member for

15 years

VonRocK Mon, 10/02/2006 - 14:14
Is the electronic drumset and laptop part of the $2000 budget? If your drummer doesnt have his own drumset, then I wouldnt fork out a bunch of your money to try to record him.

All's I can say is READ READ READ. The internet is a valuable tool. Spend the time. Also, go to as many local music stores as you can and start asking questions. It's hard for people here to answer questions that don't make too much sence, and/or have been asked so many times over and over. So keep researching, and asking. Don't get discouraged, but don't have unrealistic expectations either.

Member for

21 years

Member Tue, 10/03/2006 - 17:04
When you record each instrument seperately, does each instrument listen to all the instruments recorded before it combined?

>Yes as soon as you hit record. Best way around this is to get a couple of descent "tracking" Headphones AKA closed cup. Also, a headphone distribution amp, I think Behringer makes an ok one. This will split the signal so you and the person(s) you are recording can monitor.

Wouldn't the order be something like: Drums > bass > guitar > keyboard > voice.

>There is no set order. Best to try different approaches to see what works. Sometimes you can record what they call a scratch track. You could put down rhythm guitar and vocal. Add the other parts then mute the scratch track and later re-record the vocal an Rythm tracks. No written in stone answer for that one.

Amp micing Shure SM57 sometimes even vocals. Your right for vocals you may want to get a condensor mic. A suggestion if you have pro Audio shops in your area find out if they rent Mics. This way you can try a few out before you buy plus you get use out of them.

Audio interface try to go with firewire. Presonus Inspire or Firebox are pretty good. There are others. You dont necessarily need a mixer as the interfaces come with a software mixer. Many also throw in a lite or full version DAW program. There are also some freeware daw like Kristal, Reaper, and Audacity. Check out for tons of audio software + forums.

IMO I would get the audio interface, the SM57, and headphones first. Then just start recording. Best way to learn is to just go for it. Then just slowly add new equipment to your arsenal as you go along.

VonRock is right on READ READ READ and ask questions. Rest is trial and error dude.

Best Wishes