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I'm setting up a home studio. I want to record rap vocals with the best possible microphone, pre, and sound card within my budget. I will be recording my rap vocals with the help of a sound engineer I am hiring. If you want to hear what my voice sounds like please visit:


My Computer Specs:

HP Vectra VL400
P3 Socket 370 (Tualatin 1.4Ghz)
512MB PC133 Infineon Sdram
80GB Western Digital IDE Hard Drive
100GB Western Digital IDE Hard Drive
LG Dual Layer DVD-RAM +/-/R/RW (x2)
Windows Xp Home w/Service Pack 2

Recording Software:

- Adobe Audition v1.5

- Cubase SX v2.0


- $500 Maximum for all items including mic, pre, sound card, popper stopper, cables, and stand.

This is what a close friend suggested I buy:

- M Audio Audiophile 2496 (Sound card) $129

- ART Tube MP Project Series (Pre) $55

- Studio Projects B1 (Microphone) $120


- To record commercial album quality rap vocals at home. Just so you know no booth will be used for some time. So recording will be in an open room.


1. Would the list of equipment my friend suggested be sufficient enough to provide album sound quality for my home studio?

2. Please write a list that you would make for my home studio equipment within my $500 budget. (ie: mic, pre, sound card)



RRRecords Wed, 09/20/2006 - 01:31
the 2496 is a decent sound card for the price.. that was the first sound card ig ot before getting one with more outputs, i.e. the 192.. the 2496 is a good buy..

any preamp for ur use will suffice as long as it has a phantom power supply which nearly all of them do, so the art tube is fine..

As for the microphone, go and ask to test it... some more expensive mics u will not like the sound of.. some famous artsits use the sm58's which are dirt cheap.. test the B1 one out first before u buy it.. if you dont like it, save up a bit more and maybe look at a rodes nt 1a...

hope that helps

TeddyG Wed, 09/20/2006 - 13:38
I have to believe that if $500 bucks worth of gear, including soundcard, were enough, that's all anyone would ever spend. Is it enough? No.

Might it do, for now --- ? Sure. "Pro" things have been done on alot less. And speaking of Shure, get a Shure SM58, as suggested(If you prefer to handhold your mic the 58 is great for that!), along with the 2496 and get ANY old mic preamp, preferably solid state, spending what's left of your budget on it. If you want to go a bit better on the mic try the "beta" version of the 58, a little more costly(Not much) a little newer design, maybe a little better quality(?). ANY cables, stands, etc. will do - for now.

Better??? Look at the Lexicon(And many others) firewire/USB "interfaces", which come with a mic pre(s), a place to plug-in your phones/speakers, etc., even software(Though what you have is fine.). One of these gadgets and a mic and you're ready to rock... 'er... rap. Hard to beat the stuff for price and the quality will be fine -- for now.

Ignore the condenser mics, for now, and ignore ANYTHING with a tube in it - your budget just won't allow any "tube thing" even close to good, let alone pro.


Good you're getting an actual engineer to show you the ropes. Get the engineer to show you how to do at least rudimentary room treatment, too- it doesn't have to cost much to help quite a bit.

Frankly, if it were me, I'd "prep" at home real well, then spend my $500 at a real studio(Or at least more real than you're likely to come-up with for the money) and end-up with some pretty fair recordings - if YOU'RE capable. Be the talent or BE the "studio guy", trying to be both is fraught with much peril and is too much to concentrate on - at least for now.

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 10/01/2006 - 21:49
re: Setup

I'm gonna make some suggestions that are partly based on gear I own.

i88x: 2 decent pres and much much better converters than the 24/96 (which I also own). The sound quality difference is night and day between these two sound cards. The i88x has been discontinued but used ones can be had for around $300 on ebay or various audio boards. That takes care of your sound card and preamp.

For a mic I would recommend getting a decent dynamic such as a Shure SM7 or EV RE20 ( I don't own either of these mics but I know that many a major label lead vocal have been cut with both of these mics). These can sometimes be picked up used for under $200. Either of these mics will pick up less room sound than a condenser and that will be a good thing for a rap vocal.

If you don't feel comfortable buying used then I would suggest getting an M-Audio dmp3 ($160) or Rane ms1b ($150) for your preamp and an EMU 1212M ($150) soundcard or get a presonus firebox (There's a blem on Musician's Friend for $239) which comes with 2 preamps.

That leaves $200 for a mic. I've seen the ADK Vienna/Hamburg condensors go for $189 new on ebay sometimes. There's also some cheap ribbon mics out now (Nady) that may be worth taking a look at or you could go the SM58 route and have some cash left over.

good luck!