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Building a small studio for my band

Member for

21 years
and my budget is about 7000$ dollars.

What do you guys reccomend i get for this project?

I dont think ill need a Mixer, but i know i migth need a patchbay , racksystems , pre amps ,mics , cables a new computer with perhaps protools digi002 rack(not sure about this one yet)...

A lot of the money i reckon will go into building and isolation material but this is all just still in the planning process.


Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 12/28/2006 - 07:39
Im thinking that these would be a good start
Samson 7 kit drum mics
Shure sm57 , 10 mics
Digi002 Rack
Behringer DI800 Direct box
Digidesign Digi002 MPS (for the hands on approach)

Im still not sure on what monitors i should get, any preferences?

What i already got is a midi Keystation and pearl dtextreme electric kit ,a few shure/ mxl mics and 20" inch flatscreen dell monitor .
So i havent got much to start with, but come next year i will gradually start building this thing.

Ive also been looking into studio furniture online trying to decide for myself if i should build it myself or order it.

Member for

19 years 10 months

Kev Thu, 12/28/2006 - 12:33
I have a couple of cheap Samson things and they are ok ... about as ok as the Behringer or Alto gear is.
There are some gems in there from all of those manufacturers but there are also some dogs too.

One Behringer DI box is fine ... perhaps two if you want a stereo Keyboard.

I think there are many other DI boxes that offer much.
This is a perfect area for some DIY
Also cables ... again DIY
DIY a interface for the DxExtreme Kit.

DIY the furniture
then you can change as you change
Buy modular funiture

I think you will need a Headphone distribution and to keep things cheap but still get you going
... Benringer or Alto 4 way Headphone Amp.

The Rane is much better and so to are the dedicated multi channel distribution systems
there is better stuff to put your money in these early days of getting started.

You won't know until you get started as to whether the band can ignore the latency ...
you may need some hardware monitoring.

Your list is good as a start
one of the first areas to get serious about will be the Monitor Volume and switcher controller.

My favourite commercial unit is the Dangerous St
I don't have one ... just going be the paper work
It is a full remote controlled volume and switcher unit.

I like the BM15 monitors but there is a great deal of choice out there for mid sized passive
you may chose a powered monitor

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 12/28/2006 - 15:46
I have been reading some rather good reviews on the samson mic set, rather strange, considering that they are kinda low budget. It might just be samson employees trying to boost sales though hehe.
I will definately make my own cables, are there any good distributors for cables that you would reccomend??

An interface for the dtextreme kit?
I have been running it via midi into vst plugin called Drumkit from hell Superior and getting some rather good results, im thinking of installing it as a kind of scratch pad for additional percussion and not as a full kit.
But come Protools i would have to rethink its usage hmmm..

That dangerous st system looks really slick, what advantages do you feel it has to other similar systems?

and yeah finally to and this rain of questions.
What do you think of the 002 + 002 MPS idea?
I really wanna strip down stuff that i REALLY dont need but i really wanna have the feel of mixing if im gonna be sitting in front a computer screen all day.

Member for

19 years 10 months

Kev Fri, 12/29/2006 - 12:06
I can't give you info on cable distributors as I am in Australia and local knowledge, in your area would be needed.

I use Belden install cable for the line level stuff and both Belden and Mogami Multi-core
I use Canare Star Quad for all Mic cables

An interface for the dtextreme kit?
I don't have a dtextreme but it can't be then much different to a V-Drums or a typical Synth.
unbalance and less than +22dBu

so you have to make up some gain or use a Mic input with effectively a DI box.

I use these types or units for ALL line transfers / digitisation ... (recording into the computer)

See the Rane notes and library
See the Jensen Application notes and Schematics.

At the very least it can make dtextreme kit balanced so you can send it further than you might if you were just unbalanced.

if you are just using the midi and then triggering the DKFH samples,
then the above may not be needed.
even so
while recording I use the local sounds from the Brain for my monitoring as the latency is a low as it can be.
DKFH or any other sample from the computer are going to be too latent for me to play to.

I actually have a small local mixer with Headphone and power amp (all DIY of course) at the Electronic Kit so I can monitor the Brain and the Cue return from the computer.

The Dangerous ST or similar ...
total remote control so the wiring and equipment can stay in the rack with short signal lines.
I see no reason to bring audio lines to the work surface.
It has good features with user settings and expandability ... and of course good signal paths.
A classy unit.
there are other units with a mix of features
and more
Samson may even have one.

we still haven't looked at a talkback method,
although a simple Mic into a channel of the 002 can work fine.
I just did a google and here is one I hadn't seen before
Hear Technologies Talk Back 600 MV
and it has a control room volume control
... with wired or infra-red remotes

never seen one in operation though

What is the MPS.
Sitting in front of a computer screen can be an issue
So I have multiple screens and remote controls

so far I have seen a lay down winner in the control surface market yet but they are getting better and the Tascam 2400 does look good

Member for

19 years 10 months

Kev Mon, 12/25/2006 - 12:40
for me, I do use Protools

ADA8000 - or similar
Microphones to suit your band and instruments
Multi headphone amp - or similar
Speakers (self powered perhaps )
quality cables

current computer and media drives

beg and borrow the rest until you have some experience or the band's requirements become clearer

you may need a mixer IF the band can't work with latency ... I don't use the mixer but I track with NO plugs

the accoustic stuff can be fabricated as needed

Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 12/25/2006 - 14:29
Im mostly trying to get opinions on what basic equipment i need, since the the accoustics and size of the studio itself are still unknown to me. But on the otherhand i would have to always keep a given approximate of costs involving isolation/building material.

The size of the studio will be from 50-60 m2(a given number to work with, most apartment/industrial spaces in iceland are around this number). i would split the space in 3 for,the live room,Control room + machine room and the vocal /bass booth(and other signals wich require to be given a tight isolation).

What i would want of course is mic and thru lines into the booth and live room, but i think i could solve that with a "snake" if installing those into the walls becomes to difficult. I guess the patch lines would go into the machine room from the control room.

What i have rigth now is of course all the Guitar amps, Bass amps and Drums (we are a metal band so i guess thats a good definition). So i would now have to decide how to arrange all this into a 40-50m2 space, the design of the studio as well as which mics i should buy.What kind of computer could handle this processing, Preamps,you know, patchbays(ADA8000 looks good hmm) efficiant monitoring speakers ... basically building up a studio from scratch with just the essintial to start with in order to get pro sounding recordings out of the band.

Member for

19 years 10 months

Kev Tue, 12/26/2006 - 13:41
hafsteinn wrote: Preamps,you know, patchbays(ADA8000 looks good hmm) efficiant monitoring speakers ... basically building up a studio from scratch with just the essintial to start with in order to get pro sounding recordings out of the band.
" ADA8000 looks good hmm "
I was trying to save you some money

one of my mobile rigs has one and it has done a couple of commercial release CD's and more than a few demo and rhythm tracks stuff for later overdubs in a more equipped room

I am about to refurb one of my rooms and the analog desk and patch panel will be removed in favour of a soft patch method, with an over supply of interface instead of the analog patch points
I think a couple of patch panels will remain though.

The equipment room is now a storage room.

To what I suggest above you can add an API-3124 to the four line inputs on the back of the 002.

This leaves some money for Monitors and Cue distribution but $7000 is not much money to complete a whole facility
and then complain when we suggest a B product to save you some money.

Last point
some of us old timers here have done this a few times and seen the industry change dramatically over the last 20 years
and we did it without forums to ask questions on.
today a studio is a varied beast and so there is not one simple answer to your question
To do this cheaply and to use the money wisely, means you need a good understanding of the Band's requirements and expected work flow.

Member for

19 years 10 months

Kev Wed, 12/27/2006 - 00:00
that's cool

the computer and interface with the added unit to give 16 inputs at once is a good start
this could
be done with another single interface/unit and on a different software

either way
this gives the very basic recording equipment that in the past would have cost a great deal

then you can concerntrate on some of the equipment that you can keep for a lifetime
DI box/s
secondary monitors (leave the big ones for later)
cue monitoring (Headphones or IEM and amps)

Microphones are one of the investments that, like instruments, you will keep and use for a lifetime IF you make a good choice to begin with.

the music style and work-flow can influence this selection.

live recording OR studio recording
mic choices could be the same BUT could be very different

without a little detail from you
it can be hard to advise

same goes for monitoring
a system for one person can be quite different than for 6 people with the same budget.

I keep using the term work-flow .... ?

some bands record ALL at once and in one pass
some bands go and have a beer'n'pizza while the genious of the band locks themself away and does everything ... in the Star Ship Entrprise

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 12/27/2006 - 18:32
hehe yes i guess i would be the Trekkie in this equasition.

The workflow will vary, since ive decided on rather than just recording for my band that im gonna make a deal with a label here in order to pay the rent on the place /equipment cost by recording the labels bands with a little percent off for them.

Im gonna focus on just the basic live recording and mixing, but also be open for offers from ad agencies and tv jobs (such as dubbing and location recording if it comes to that). So the studio has to be quite universal in that sense. And yeah my budget for building it will increase alot if im gonna do this, make a living out of this...

So rigth now im making an estimate on building material in accordance with m2 , as well as arranging the equipments up in my head(hehe very nice).

Getting good mics ,monitors and cables is given, what type though is something ive got to really settle on because.. as you said they should be an investment for life.
and yeah the style will most likely always be some kind of rock.

1)I have been wondering for the last weeks if there is any real use for a huge console mixer except for the look it self if all the mixing and recording are infact all done by DI, racks and DAW?

2)when you are talking about the digi002 , do you mean the mixing interface or the rack system? and the api3124´s , a single on of those is worth about 3000$?

3)pc vs mac? what specs would you want from a computer that is serving as a prime computer for a medium budget studio?

4)Mic and DI questions,.. What mic would you say serves well as a bass drum and bass amp mic? matter of fact , if you were given, say 8000$ for a mic for each instrument (drums, percussion, guitars,bass, vocals,additional) what would you buy? Just to get your opinion
What bass DI would you reccomend?

anyways, thanks alot kev
As you can tell, im a little green when it comes to arranging a studio together but my heart is completely in it if you know what i mean.
So sorry for all the questions hehe

Member for

19 years 10 months

Kev Thu, 12/28/2006 - 01:04
1) ... " for the look it self "
tough one to answer
I've chosen to take my old fantastic looking desk out and have sold it to a friend for all the same reason you give

2) 002R
I don't like the desk top as it just doesn't in my opinion
YEP ... the API is a real Mic-pre
now get what I'm saying
take a look at the JLM Audio gear
Dan Kennedy
Buzz Audio

3) " pc vs mac? what specs would you want from a computer "
this is where I get pragmatic and a little rude
who give's a rats arse anyway
the computer will come and go
I'll had a few computers
currently I have the 001's on XP but the HD system never made it to an XP machine as the whole experiment failed because of hardware and SLOT issues
I have just acquired a Dual 2.3 G5% with PCI/X slots

it's just a computer and not your studio
if you can handle a computer you will be able to handle either platform
get over it and just decide
see a working system and say ... I want that

4) I mostly use a BeyerM88 or ATM21 on kick drums
other sware by the AKG egg
Bass Amp Mic ... I usually have a DI and so I have used almost anything on the bass amp
distant room with a typical vocal condenser or a large dynamic ... or the M88

I have a few DI's and most are made by myself
passive and active
I often use the Great River for Bass in the control room

industry standards are a good start but there is so much competition out there that there are very good budget mics to chose from
the bargains will depend on what your local shops have on special at any point in time
some standards
SM57 ... guitar and drums ... and anything
I still like my AKG414s
Beyer M88
Senh 421
Royer Ribbons
Neumann U47 U87 TL2 ... or wanna-bee equivalents
you must have at least one SM58

can be cheap and can be expensive
DIY is a great thing
Radikal, ... Country Man
stylish sounding ones like SannsAmp

please ... that's not a definite list

I can't give you all the answers as I'm not there
I can just give you a gut reaction to some of YOUR selections

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 12/28/2006 - 02:00
I will definately have a rough sketch of what equipment i need in the next two months after some good research, in the meantime im gonna thank you for all the help. Im still trying to decide for myself if i should get a desk just for the look and feel or rather save the money for something completely different.

P.s would it be possible to see a photo of your studio?