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Hello, Im building a home project studio for random uses, lemme give you the low down of my situation. Im currently 15, highschool student. I work during the summer at school as IT work, and do freelance web design and PHP programming. My budget is limited and so is my time. Heres what I've got to work with so far:

* Behringer MX9000 (Actually pretty good! Satisfied with it compared to other medium analog boards I've used at professional studios)
* 2 midi keyboards, M-Audio 61 Radium and a radio shack one
* Windows AMD 2800 64 bit process, 1 gig of ram, 200gb of HD space, gaming computer setup
* Cubase SX3, FL Studio, Reason 3, Sony Soundforge, NI Massive, and the plugins from Sonar 4
* 2 SM57
* M-Audio 1010lt
* DI drum mic kit, works good except for overheads
* MXL 990 "vocal" mic
* 2 other random mics
* 5 pairs of M60 headphones
* M-Audio StudioPro 3 monitors
* P.O.S. 500 watt target brand stereo system, monitor B
* ! no sonic treatment !

This summer I am working and should get around $3,000 (As much as child labour laws allow me to work...) so my question is what to get next?

I know that I need:
* Power conditioner (Fridge is on same circuit as mixer!), maybe Monster cables brand? Those ones looked nice for around $300
* rack of preamps , I can't go with any big single tubes, I need multiple in 1u
* compressors
* 2 more SM57s
* 3 SM58s
* 2 NT1-A
* The $900 Neumannn mic, forgot what the name is
* 4 48 port patchbays
* 2 Echo AudioFire 12

So, please, what order should I get this stuff in?


anonymous Fri, 05/11/2007 - 20:38

Took a lot of work to get where I am :)

I'm thinking actually about making my own room treatment, wall panels with just solid foam under it, about 4" of it. Same type of thing for gobo's, and then make my own Space Couplers for the ceiling (just 6" squares carefully made).

I think for now I'll just continue to borrow other peoples stuff for mics and then get a new A/D.

Whats the difference between this $3,000 Apogee AD-16X which is 16 channel 192kbps/24bits compared to the Echo AudioFire 12 for $700 with the same specs except 12 channels in and out?

BobRogers Sat, 05/12/2007 - 13:58

Does it make sense for someone this age and at this stage to go for the top converters? Isn't that technology that is still changing in price and features pretty rapidly? Good mics, cables, room treatment and speakers are going to be good ten years from now. As he says - he has a lot on his plate, and it may be a while before he gets to get full use out of the equipment.

Let's see - in 1972 I was 15 and had a summer job baling hay and packing sweet corn. I think I made $1.75 and hour. Took a lot of work to get to be a hay baler, too!

anonymous Sat, 05/12/2007 - 22:37

Hahaha well I got an early start on web design stuff at around 9, so I'm fairly handy with that stuff, gets me good money :)

Oh and general IT stuff is just... easy... espeically for $8 an hour

Bob I'm offended by your remark to be honest. Isn't it clear to all of you that my age is not a limitation?

My longer term goal is to move this equipment out my junior or senior year and rent an actual space for this, I really have enjoyed the work that I have done so far.

Kapt.Krunch Sun, 05/13/2007 - 04:13

I say...GOOD for you, man. At that age I was more into just hanging around at the lake all the time hoping the girls' bikini tops would fall off!

Good to see someone your age take an enterprising attitude, and have some sense of direction. Gives me new hope for the future of this long as you don't forget your humanity, and make it ALL about money :wink:

I'm kind of with Bob on spending the larger portion of money on things that will continue to be useful down the road. You'll ALWAYS need the essentials, the other stuff like software and digital I/Os lose their value quickly, and by the time they reach the shelves, something newer and faster (but not necessarily always) better, is right behind it.

If you are not yet to the point of being REALLY good at mixing and production, it may be better to start off a little lower than the high-end stuff until you know all that like the back of your hand. Meanwhile, the money you saved could buy better mics or other stuff that won't lose it's usefulness in year or two. Or, you could learn to get the best out of a lesser quality, but still pretty good, system, and use some of that money for plug-ins, etc., and save the rest for when you are ready. By then, things will have changed drastically...even if it's just a couple or three years.

One other thing. Be careful about what you use for room treatment. Don't just start slapping up any old kind of foam. Some of that stuff will ignite and burn like a flashpot! Some of it will burn so quickly, and cause so much toxic smoke, that it may make it difficult to escape if it goes up.
Remember the Great White Rhode Island gig?

Good luck,


BobRogers Sun, 05/13/2007 - 05:36

Didn't mean to offend Ryan. It's not your age that I considered your limitation - it's your schedule. Unless you are planning to quit school and take up recording full time you are going to have a lot of activities pulling at you from all directions. I'm assuming (maybe wrongly) that you will be spending only part of your time on recording. If that is the case I'd say it's better to invest in equipment that has a long shelf life.

jdier Wed, 05/16/2007 - 18:16

neoific wrote: Ah, alright.

I think you guys are right. I'll get that Echo AudioFire 12 and then invest in some mics (58, NT1-A, 4040) and new monitors.

2 58's
2 NT1-A's
2 4040's
1 Audiofire 12
1 Genelec 8040A

What foam should i use? I haven't looked much into it yet.

I really do not know much, but I would think about those mic purchases. I think I would error more on the side of proven dynamics. 58's are nice live and proven, but I prefer 57 in the studio. Never used the Rodes, but I think I would rather have one AKG414 as a LDC. Not sure what the two 4040's would be used for, so here is where I will throw in some more dynamics... an SM7 for sure and then maybe a RE20 and at least one Senn 421.

It is just me, but I think you would really love the mics I am suggesting and as you seem like the type that would take great care of the things you purchase, they will be with you for the rest of your life.

On the preamp side, I have been pleased with my Great River pre. I have the two pre in 1U unit. I like my VC1 from Joe Meek, but not sure I would recommend it to everyone, something like an API 3124 would be a better choice likely.

For compressors, I do not own a high end one, but that is only because I have been so pleased with my FMR RNC's and RNLA's. Just great bang, and they look nice in the funklogic racks.

Again, you seem bright and like you have done your homework. Everything you are looking at seems logical. My only suggestion is to rethink those mic choices. You are light on the high end dynamics.

Good luck!

jdier Wed, 05/16/2007 - 18:17

neoific wrote: Ah, alright.

I think you guys are right. I'll get that Echo AudioFire 12 and then invest in some mics (58, NT1-A, 4040) and new monitors.

2 58's
2 NT1-A's
2 4040's
1 Audiofire 12
1 Genelec 8040A

What foam should i use? I haven't looked much into it yet.

I would skip foam all together and look into getting some owens corning 703 and building your own bass traps. Do a search on Ethan Winer and you will find PILES of information. I followed his instructions for DIY traps and have been very happy.

tifftunes Sun, 05/27/2007 - 14:37

Have to agree:

Room treatment, mics, pres and monitors would be very important steps.

Owens Corning 703 for room treatment (as mentioned, look up Ethan Winer for great "how-to" articles, and Real Traps).

Mics: EV RE20 (or RE27), Sennheiser MD421, and Shure SM57 are all multi-use studio staples for a reason. I actually prefer one of the first 2 mentioned mics instead of LD capacitor (condenser) mics for vocals! I'm not shy on various mics either at 32 and counting.

Can't beat FMR Audio's RNC (Really Nice Compressor) and RNP (Really Nice Preamp) for the clean, mostly uncolored stuff. But best "colored" bang comes from Joe Meek SC2 oe SC2.2 (stereo compressors), IMHO. I also prefer the color of vintage Ampex pre-amps - tubes, but more importantly transfrmers, and clean (mostly uncolored) to dirty sound. Focusrite has some Neve designed pres that sound good too.

Monitors: I recommend Blue Sky and Mackie as excelent lesser expensive alternatives to Genelecs.

Have fun!