Need help for new studio!!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Ju1cesk8er, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Ju1cesk8er

    Ju1cesk8er Active Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    I have had two setups but I want better quality. My last setup was an audio technica at2020 condenser mic and I had it plugged up to a nice sized mixer that was plugged into my computer through the soundcard. I was recording with cool edit pro. I want PROO QUALITY!!! This studio setup will be used for rap music. I really need help. Let me know where to start. Like should I get an mBox? Feedback pleasee!!
  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    My faaast

    Do you have proooo mooooney, toooo??
    Do you have a decent budget for gear?
    Do you have any deeper experience in recording?
    Do you want to record instruments, too?
    Do you want to work with MIDI, too?
    Do you have good enough monitors?
    Do you want to mix your stuff, too?
    Do you know about room acoustics?
    Do you know about microphone techniques?
    Do you own a decent PC?
    Do you own a usable sound card?
    Do you want to make the job of giving you good advice a bit easier and post more info..?

    Greets from the Alps...
  3. Ju1cesk8er

    Ju1cesk8er Active Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    I do have pro money. II have a 3000 budget right now because I'm a student but I can always save up more money ya know? I wouldn't say I have alot of experience but I have taught myself to record and ix decent. I won't really need to record instruments I just wanna record really really clear vocals. I don't really know about MIDI. I need new monitors ,I do want to mix, I don't really know about room acoustics. I don't know about microphone techniques, and I own a hp. Not so great for recording but I can always upgrade. I just don't wanna buy something expensive for a studio and not need to use it ya know? I have a soundcard tht I currently have been using for my last setup. Enlighten me please!
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Your enlightenment will come when you have learned the true road to follow, grasshopper......

    "Pro Sound" isnt something that comes with a better box or a more elaborate mousetrap, it comes with the application of real knowledge learned through real skill building by doing something over and over and over and improving each time. It also comes with complete and utter failure to achieve your perceived goal, and then rising up to meet the challenge and become better at the work needed to succeed.

    Did you catch the "work" part?

    First, look at Rainer's list. Really look at it and then ask yourself to honestly assess each point. DO NOT let your ego overstep your reality. Those that get ahead of their actual abilities are in for some serious failure.

    Since you have been recording to some degree, sit down with your recordings and reason out what is missing. No one can tell you what those things might be, and we here can only hint at what possibilities might be attainable but in reality, we arent you, and we arent in your environment to fully assess your needs.

    Recording requires honest hearing. Do this, then ask your questions. Buy a book. "The Recording Engineers Handbook" is a good place to start. Dont take shrtcuts with the information available. Learn it.

    After almost 30 years I am still a student of this business.

    I hope that never changes.
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    May i add the mix engineer's handbook. It's been helping me. To reinforce daves post, i work out of the same studio that a couple 20,30 yr vets use, and i don't get the same level of quality they do. our speakers alone cost around 6grand, our main vocal mics 3, 5k each. Nevermind how much time and money went into building the place.
    Don't get discouraged, just keep learning and improving.
    Watching pro's in action really helpped me progress 10x faster than i did on my own. there's plenty of youtube stuff out there, and i think vh-1 did a series about production of great records, i watched the butch vig episode on nirvana's nevermind, which is out of the hip hop genre, but a hit record nontheless.
    I read sound on sound, and i notice in their 'inside track' article that alot of the hip hop producers have avalon, and empirical labs distressor's. an avalon channel strip will be about your budget. A shure sm-7 would probably be a great mic to start off with for your genre.
    I bought a $1k mic, and it took me about a year to get consistently good results at my home. Mainly it picked up all kinds of things i never was able to hear before. 90% of it was bad stuff that i learned to listen for.
    Be sensible with your money, many expensive mics, are one trick pony's, and company's like sony have the money to buy all of them.
    What i've learned, that they don't teach you in books, is coaxing a good performance out of an artist. Each one is different, and requires a different tactic. There's no 'inspiration' pluggin yet, so until then, our arguably, most important task is getting the best performance out of the person.
    None of my friends have ever said, wow great use of compression on that rhianna track. Or judicious use of eq on ludacris's new album.
    I did live sound for wutang's, ghost face last year, and he refused to use our selection of akg/senheisser wireless mics, instead opting for my $20 peavy i brought for a spare. Why? becuase it plugged in, and he is superstitious of wireless. the crowd loved it.
  6. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    As the moderator of the gear forum (and don't take offence if I move this later dependent how it pans out) I'd like to suggest that you really really spend your time looking at gear, and reading others' similar questions. The Avalon stuff is much beloved for rap vocals but I'd suggest that if its $2,000 and does 3 things, you may find the equipment that does the one thing you want for $660. This will take much revision, including understanding that the wisdom you receive online is opinion and not fact.

    If you have a $3,000 budget, we can help you with gear choices/suggestions. But you need to be MUCH more specific. Like exactly what spec computer do you have, what is the soundcard, what is the mixer.

    Rainer's suggestions are artistic. Make no mistake, you need to be an artist to get results, this is not "Plug and Play". But on your budget I/we can make good buying suggestions but there are plenty of loopholes so we need to know your gear better to help you.

    My quick-fix suggestion for a $3,000 budget, assuming you buy Reaper and your computer soundcard isn't a joke. In fact forget that, if you think an Mbox is an improvement (no offence, just a statement - it is not) - then you need A/D converters too.

    Shure SM-7B - $500. NB you can, and should, substitute a Mojave, Charter Oak, AudioTechnica, KEL, or EH mic. Ideally, you should get the below, find a shop that stocks 3 or 4 of these mics and go and make them let you test them with whoever your house rapper is.
    Lavry Black AD11 - NB this may meet with disapproval as its USB but for just rap vocals this would be a genius purchase. $1500
    Adam A5X Active Monitor - pair @ $1000

    Chuck everything else you have on eBay and buy some decent cables - canare, accusound, or something like that, and a pair of ATM-M50 or HD280 headphones.

    Part of my thinking here is that you may luck out on your computer being able to talk to the Lavry well, but post some specs and we will see how you go.

    And please remember the $20 on the book is a better purchase than the $3k shopping list I just gave you.
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    Buy Shure SM7B Microphone with Switchable Response | Dynamic Microphones | Musician's Friend ($380)
    I don't love it for everything, but it's priced within reach + a decent condenser. As basic as the setup could be, why not have a dynamic and LDC to choose from?
    As far as monitors go, i'd try my best to test them in your room, this could require purchasing them, then bringing some back, but hearing speakers in a room your never going to mix/record in is a gamble.
  8. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Aug 24, 2005
    Pacific Palisades, CA
    Home Page:
    I used to have a Neuman TLM103 ($1,000) and an Audio Technica 4030 ($200). We recorded some vocals with both and compared the two. Could not tell the difference.
    I know a guy who sang through a Shure SM57's ($89) at a pro studio with a pro producer for his album. That mic worked perfectly for him in a studio that had all sorts of Rolls Royce mics.
    For home recording there's no point in spending more than $200. From that point on it's all about the preamp and interface to the computer.
  9. nightjar

    nightjar Active Member

    May 10, 2011
    Getting an Mbox + one good mike + one good set of headphone is an OK choice...

    Not that buying is the key to achieving "pro" quality. BUT, if you buy these 3 things and invest the time to really know your way around all the plug-ins that come with it... AND invest the time to quickly edit....

    Then you'll have some skills that can start you on the path to "pro" quality... It's mostly an investment of time and serious effort.
  10. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    On the subject of learning materials, I wold like to make a couple more book recommendations based on what you have described your experience to be:

    1. "Modern Recording Techniques" - Miles Huber

    2. "Mastering Audio: the art and the science" - Bob Katz (geared more towards mastering, but great info none the less)

    In terms of the gear, whatever your choices end up being, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE really spend the time to get to know your gear inside and out (output/input levels, pre-amp characteristics, mic characteristics/frequency responses, etc..) Just keep experimenting with mic placement, levels, etc... (this is the fun part and quite educational)

Share This Page