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i have a home studio consisting of the Pro Tools mbox, a Studio Projects condensor mic, and decent speakers.

this is very simple, but understand that i only need to mix vocals because i am a rapper. i dont record any live instruments.

i wanted to know if there is anything else i might want to do in terms of upgrading my studio,

ie better monitors, sound proofing my studio, buying a mixer

thanks a lot



jonnyc Sun, 07/17/2005 - 12:05

I agree with david, for you, acoustics are a must, get your room as good sounding as you can and it'll show in your vocals, I think you should look at a good set of 8inch monitors for mixing, I like the Event asp8's if those are a bit much look at the Event 20/20 bas v2's I've used and love both. After that a good pre like the brick will help you get a good sound, never under estimate the importance of mic pre's, acoustics, and monitors all are very important.

Guest Mon, 07/18/2005 - 18:36

I dont know much about rap. But my vocals sucked for years...until the last few years. Now the sound is so good you wouldn't think it's me singing. The main upgrade was in a microphone pre-amp. Later on I got a good vocal processor (reverb unit/effects) and with any $100 to $300 mic, it sounds way way AWESOME.
Well my sound was always lacking for years and the main issue was cash.
I suggest buying the best mic pre-amp you can afford. You could get a killer single channel unit for just your vocals. And then an effects unit later on. Then you'd be set too, any old $100 mic would do, and it would sound so good you will love yourself even more than you already do.
I say----throw some loot down on some real gear, you will be sooo frinkin happy that you did.
Get a mic pre and a harmonizer, you will be beside yourself
Good luck

jonnyc Mon, 07/18/2005 - 20:24

Yeah blankets. Unless you want to properly treat your studio so that you don't have to keep puttin up and taking down blankets which I'm not even sure do much more than isolate you from outside. Just realize that no matter who's suggestion you take here, whether you buy a good mic, a good mic pre, acoustic material, better monitors, each one of those you buy will make you're sound that much better. Every link that gets better makes your sound better.

Randyman... Mon, 07/18/2005 - 20:51

You can easily get dead vocals by singing in a closet full of clothes! Treating the room is never a bad idea, as this will also improve your monitoring system's sound. If your mixes already translate well on other syatems, you may want to consider investing elsewhere, but acoustics are VERY important in recording, and mixing.

I'd second a descent Mic-Pre. Your "SP" mic is not bad as long as you like "bright" vocals.

Proper use of compression will also go a LONG, LONG way to getting the popular "in your face" vocal sound. You can use software plug-ins for this, and get pro results. Rap vocals don't usually have tons of effects that I have heard. Just dry and in your face (I'm thinking Snoop style). Maybe the occasional "doubled word" in a different voice and panned for dramatic effect.


Guest Tue, 07/19/2005 - 03:58

Re: the thing with rap

I spent money in the past on sound proofing. Wish I had that money back :cry: :x :(
Do what you think you need to. To me, it sounds like your ears are getting better with time, and now you can hear some of the things that could be better about your recordings, mainly because you are getting a more "trained" ear. And now you want to "do the right thing" and upgrade.
I love to upgrade. But only once. It cost too much darn $$$$ to upgrade 3 and 4 times.
When you can't sleep at night because you are so motivated about getting a KILLER vocal sound to make you sound incredible, and bigger than life.
Think these two words...
Microphone preamp

KurtFoster Tue, 07/19/2005 - 09:49

Yes, the M Box does already have 2 mic pres built in. However they are nowhere near what could be called "the best" of pres. IMO there is no upgrade (other than decent mic pres) that yield as much of an improvement.

In a budget crunch? For a best bang for the Dollar mic pre, I recommend you get your hands on Groove Tubes "The Brick". This should be a really good choice for RAP vocals. You will need a XLR (f) to 1/4" cable to get the pre into the insert return on the M Box ....

As far as moving blankets go .... Putting them up around the mic is only done to control mid and high frequency reflections. There is no soundproofing with blankets. You need serious mass to soundproof. You also have to seal the room up so no air can leak out ...where air can leak, so can sound.

In most home and project studios, complete soundproofing is almost impossible to achieve due to expense or aesthetics. In fact I will venture out a bit and say in my experience, what usually makes the difference between a home or project studio and a real studio is that real studios are designed from the ground up to be air tight and soundproofed as well as to have great acoustics. Very expensive.

jonnyc Tue, 07/19/2005 - 11:15

Sorry had no idea that you had no idea about good mic pre's. A good to great mic pre will make whatever mic you're using come to life. I spent a while recording with my built in 002r pre's and always thought it was acceptable. One day I went out bought a Presonus Eureka(not expecting a huge difference) and I was blown away. It made everything sound good, I did a pre comparison between the Eureka, the 002r and the ada8000 from behringer. The behringer sounds ok compared to the 002r and terrible compared to the Eureka. For the third time a good pre is very important. Now don't get treating your room confused with soundproofing. You need treatment for acoustics not to soundproof. Kurts right the acoustic treatment may not do a ton for your sound considering your house wasn't designed as a music studio so that being said I have to change my vote to preamp first, then I'd look at fixing problem areas with your acoustics.

KurtFoster Tue, 07/19/2005 - 13:16

McCheese wrote: [quote=Kurt Foster]... You will need a XLR (f) to 1/4" cable to get the pre into the insert return on the M Box ....

Why not just run the Brick into the line input on the MBox? You can switch the input from Mic to Line to Inst.Because the "line input" on the M Box, will still route you through an unnecessary gain stage. Usually, on these kinds of interfaces the "line input" is really the mic pre with a resistor to pad down the input level, switched into the signal path. You're still running through the pre though.

By pass the input stage completely by routing you mic pre into the insert return.

Guest Tue, 07/19/2005 - 14:25

Do like Kurt said. Get a GT Brick
They are only a few hundred bucks. And if you hate it, you can return it for it's full value, or sell it on ebay for about 95% of what you paid for it.
I have NOT heard even 1 complaint about the GT Brick's. Everybody seems to really like them alot.

Preamps man... preamps 8)


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