Help setting up a small basic studio

knightfly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
"CD burners are not fast enough to record in real time" - I was under the impression that 1x WAS realtime - burners are now up to 20x and better for "write once" disks (CD-R). I haven't tried this yet, but the only limitation should be whether your software allows you to record direct to CD from sound card inputs. You would have to go into your burner software and set the burn speed to 1x. My version of CD Creator (4) lets you set the record speed at anything from 1x up to the limitation of the drive.

Inverse-square law - If recording to computer (vs. something quiet) how 'bout mic pre local, computer behind a stage curtain 50 feet away ? The signal out of the pre would be lo-Z balanced line level, then if whatever sound card is used requires hi-Z unbal, go thru a DI box into the sound card. This would keep the long run at minimum noise.

I wouldn't put kids (or laymen) in the same room with ADAT or any other optical - Can't remember the last time I was successful soldering fiber-optics... Steve
 
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Darren@dixondigital.com

Guest
OK here goes,

IBook 600MHz w/DVD-rom/CD-rw $1495
MBox $400
2 Baby Bottles $499ea
Wave Gold Native

All together $3275

The Ibook has a built in CD-rw, so you have everything taken care of ther to burn your CDs, Pro Tools has all the editing you need, and then some. The MBox runs off of the Laptop so you don't need any extra power(but is recommended for extended recording times). The Laptop is portable, quite, and perfect for ease of use. You can even take it home to work very simply. The Baby bottle mic are nice hand made mics that are "sleepers". Great value and not many people know about them yet. Great for vox or room recording on a budget. You then have money left over for decent headphones, extra cords, mic stands etc. Oh and the waves Gold bundle is a necesity for vocals and just tightening up production at low cost. You don't really have to have it but you'll be glad you did.

Let me know if you have any questions

Darren
http://www.dixondigital.com
 
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soundsurfr

Guest
"CD burners are not fast enough to record in real time" - I was under the impression that 1x WAS realtime - burners are now up to 20x and better for "write once" disks (CD-R). I haven't tried this yet, but the only limitation should be whether your software allows you to record direct to CD from sound card inputs. You would have to go into your burner software and set the burn speed to 1x. My version of CD Creator (4) lets you set the record speed at anything from 1x up to the limitation of the drive."

It's not a matter of how quickly the CD write mechanism can burn the physical CD, it's a matter of how fast the device can acquire data from the recorder into its buffer. Once the CD burner starts writing to disk, it cannot pause for even a millisecond, or you will have turned your CD blank into a drink coaster. It's called buffer under-run, and it's the cause of most CD burning mishaps. The CD-RW mechanisms in your computer acquire data and fill their buffers way in advance (not in real time), then start burning. They are not designed to record on the fly from an outside input.

Aside from the obvious concern for reliability, you also cannot punch in, punch out or stop the recording process for any reason until the performance is over, nor can you add effects or do editing to the disk, EVER. To do that, you have to dump what's on the disk onto your computer drive, then edit, then burn a new CD. The way the Masterlink gets around this is that it is really a mini DAW. It records the performance directly to a 3.2Gig hard disk, then burns the CD later, after you've edited and done signal processing.

I say go with the Pro-tools system. Darren's got it right.
 

Ted Nightshade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2001
Sounds good. Beats chasing around the older computer. Make sure the mics are appropriate for classical recording- small diameter omnis are probably best.
Ted
 

anonymous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2001
Sounds cool to me too, I've got that I book, it's sweet, no probs so far (touch wood)

:)

Hmm that M box seems cool, I may just get that as well thanks Darren...

We do a lot of vocal editing on PT for free as a secondary edit station to the studios Mix + rig..

But the track count has been a mild pain..

Burning off CD's however has been cool as a moose!

:)
 
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Darren@dixondigital.com

Guest
Ted,
Sounds good. Beats chasing around the older computer. Make sure the mics are appropriate for classical recording- small diameter omnis are probably best.
Ted
I agree with you on the small diaphram mics, they probably are the most appropriate for classical recording. But in one of the posts made I think he was also wanting the mics to double as a vocal mic, for demos for the kids for doing pronunciation, and just learning the melody. Another use was for auditions for vocalists for competition, or even instrumentalists, I don't recall which...maybe both. This is why I suggested the Baby bottles. They are great handmade mics, with great value. I thought it would be a good starting place to get him going with quality components.

HTH

Darren
http://www.dixondigital.com
 

Bear's Gone Fission

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2001
About the small diaphragm condensors, there are a few that work ok or better on vocals. On the low end of the price scale, I'd look at Oktava MK-012's (get the matched pairs with all three heads each at [="http://www.oktava.com"]the Sound Room[/] for best quality), which can work just fine on vocals. The omni is pretty similar to a U87 on vocals.

If the mic budget is a large, look at Schoepps mics. Ty Ford, that compulsive reviewer of mics, has suggested one of the hypercardioid heads (on the CMC body?) would better serve home recordists for vocals than most of the low budget large diaphragm stuff. If you need a stereo pair of high quality mics for micing concert halls and such, just get the hypercardioid head if you haven't already gotten one.

Bear
 
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Ted Nightshade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2001
My sister is quite a capable aspiring opera singer, so I've heard some very well made vocal audition tapes. They seemed to be the usual classical room sound approach, not at all a close mic on vocals type of situation.
Considering that the 'example' tapes to show the students the pieces are strictly for learning purposes, and the "audition" tapes and 'evaluation' tapes seem more crucial, I think you could get away easily with using some small diaphragm omnis for the 'example' tapes. Did you follow that?
Ted
 
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btmusicman

Guest
You guys are great! I'm getting a real education here.

What is "Wave Gold Native" and what does it do?
 
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btmusicman

Guest
...vocal audition tapes. They seemed to be the usual classical room sound approach, not at all a close mic on vocals type of situation.
Considering that the 'example' tapes to show the students the pieces are strictly for learning purposes, and the "audition" tapes and 'evaluation' tapes seem more crucial, I think you could get away easily with using some small diaphragm omnis for the 'example' tapes.
I agree with this, Ted. My demo tapes are not meant to be judged on their technical quality, nor do I intend to spend a great deal of time cranking them out. The audition and evaluation tapes are the most important by far. It is not uncommon for singers to make their audition tapes at a professional recording studio, even at our level of competition. Our nearest recording studio is 70 miles... not a convenient location.

I gather that there are several schools of thought on mics and micing techniques. Maybe I should outline what I want to do so you can tailor your advice to my specific needs:

I would like to be able to record choirs of up to about 50 singers accurately so we can evaluate our own performances. We also have many singers working on solos and small ensembles ranging in size from 2 to 16 voices. These groups are usually accompanied by piano.

The same rehearsal room is also used by the band (50 - 70 students) and various instrumental solos and ensembles. The instrumental teacher does not seem very interested in making recordings, except last year when he needed an audition tape and didn't know how to go about making one. If we had the gear in place he would probably use it, but the vocalists have raised the money for the recording gear and I am primarily interested in meeting their needs.

There has been little discussion of portability. There is a small chance that we would wish to record our concerts, but the sad truth is that we perform in a gym that could be used for demonstrations of how not to design an acoustic environment. If I ever choose to make a fundraising CD (the high school choir's Fall Concert, only $20), I would probably not use live performance takes for that reason. Two of the local churches have excellent acoustics, as well as good organs. They would be a nice place to record. But portability is not real high on my list. Convenience and simplicity (user friendliness) would rank much higher. And at the top of the list is accurate, realistic sound.

Does any of this help guide the choice of mics and how to place them? Is it asking too much for one set of mics to perform all these tasks well? Am I better served with one pair of excellent all-purpose mics, or two pairs of cheaper, job-specific mics?
 
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Darren@dixondigital.com

Guest
Two Mics that are higher quality most definately! Your budget is tight to begin with. If you add two more mics I think it will hurt the overall sound in the long run. I still think the Blue mics are a good way to go. When you use the small diaphram mics for the soloists and use them more as a room mic (like Ted suggested) you are at the mercy of the room acoustics. If you have great room acoustics you could have a great recording, I agree. Alot more depth. However, Most school environments are at best below adequate, (at least in my area). If this is your case you would be better off with mics used closer to the source. If you have decent to good acoustics in the room you could get by with Ted's suggestion for starters, and if you find yourself wanting better soloist recordings you could then address that when the time came.

Waves Gold Native, is a bundle of software plugins- that add greater funtionality to your Pro Tools Le software (the software that comes with the Digidesign MBox). It comes with reverb, compression, eq, and a few other bells and whistles that you could grow into.

Many decsions.... Easy to get overwhelmed. Stick to it you'll get it.

Darren
http://www.dixondigital.com
 
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sixpence

Guest
Hey... You've even got me thinking about the M-Box/IBook combo.... I feel a bad case of GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrome) coming on now. Add a pair of Genelec 1029a's and I'm on the way to a great portable setup... Hmm Stereo Live mixes straight into PT... Sigh..
 

Ted Nightshade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2001
I don't see how you will record a fifty piece choir without using room mics. They would sound great in a good church, but you knew that.
I think a small diaphragm omni would make a very good solo vocal mic as well.
Take a look at http://www.dpamicrophones.com (a pair of these would be your whole budget, oh well) under "microphone university". This will give you a good overview of microphones- applications, various patterns and sizes, stereo techniques, etc.

" But portability is not real high on my list. Convenience and simplicity (user friendliness) would rank much higher. And at the top of the list is accurate, realistic sound."

This last one is a pretty tall order. It's at the top of my list too. You will want the best mics, preamps, and A/D converters you can possibly afford. Good thing you only need two channels worth! This approach makes it possible.
I'm glad you're persistent in your research. I think what you're looking for is just about possible with your budget. Is it at all flexible? If not, you will have to figure out what you're using as a recording medium before you know what will be left for mics, pres, A/D conversion, which is a big one for sure.
I would go for portability, just because your accurate, realistic sound will only be good sound if the room is good. A field trip to record in a church could be the ticket to good ensemble vocal sounds.
Ted
 

knightfly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
I second Ted's comments about going to good acoustics - One personal experience that transcended the crappiness of high school gym acoustics - I was in a 5-piece "lounge lizard" type band in early 80's, and we somehow got roped into playing a "battle of the bands" fiasco (anybody here NOT initiated?) Anyway, the acoustics were so bad in this National Guard Armory where it was held, that we (almost) got away with playing the first three chords of a song and leaving, letting the room "finish" the song - I doubt if anyone would have noticed unless they actually saw us leave... Steve
 
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