Need help in building studio

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Ellegaard, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Central Copenhagen
    For a couple of years I've been messing around with my little home studio consisting of very basic gear such as an M-Audio soundcard, Behringer mixer and monitors and ADK/KEL/Shure microphones. With finances looking brighter now I see an opportunity to expand my studio and aquire gear that allows me to record at a higher level of quality.

    My ambition is primarily to be able to record string ensembles - mainly quartets - and, being a violinist, music for violin and piano. My plan is to create a studio that specializes in tracking string parts for movies and rock/pop-bands, so what I aim for sonically is not necessarily a clean, transparent and acoustically correct sound but rather a fat, warm, smooth and silky sound.

    I would like to operate with a budget of 10,000$ to begin with and get the best possible gear for that - possibly by buying most of it used. I believe the majority of the money needs to go to a high quality pre-amp and a small selection of microphone - my only problem is I don't really have any clear idea about where to begin and what to look at for my specific purpose. My experience with different gear is very limited, so I'm looking for some expert advise and what I should start looking at. Any suggestions are much appreciated!
  2. Glide

    Glide Active Member

    Mar 28, 2006
    Atlanta, Ga.
    The operative words in your post were "higher level of quality" and for that, simply start researching and learning about room treatments...probably 30% of that $10k (or more) should be applied to acoustics if you are looking for a higher level of quality. Fortunately, you hit the motherload by finding this place. It is going to take time, work, and research on your part to increase "your" recording quality. In other words, if someone needs to lay things out for you because you don't have the unquenchable thirst to do the research work to learn about it then your recordings will not be high quality even if you have the most expensive equipment made.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Ellegaard, with many microphones technologies available to you, specifically for stringed instruments, I'd recommend your first microphones to be of ribbon technology. The German Beyer M160/M130 velocity ribbon microphones are some of the best known in your neck of the woods. Very popular as a stereo MS pair or a Blumlien crossed figure of 8's.

    My father was a great concertmaster of some of the finest American orchestras. I love to record the violin with a M160. For under $1000 US, it's a great buy. Although I think that the tube powered Royer ribbon for $2900 US also wouldn't be shabby sounding on violin.

    Small diaphragm condenser microphones can sound impossibly shrill on violin's. The kind of nasty, crispy, sterile, metallic sound that even gets the SPCA upset. And I'm a firm believer of working a M-160 a little closer to the solo violin for its added warmth from the proximity effect. This ain't your everyday violin recording. You'll have to put a stereo pair out for the piano and carefully mix in the solo M-160. You'll love it!

    Ribbons and strings are related. They're the same thing but different.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    I'll pseudo echo what Glide and Remy said...

    First let me address your statement; "so what I aim for sonically is not necessarily a clean, transparent and acoustically correct sound but rather a fat, warm, smooth and silky sound."

    You are in many ways confusing yourself. To get a fat warm silky sound, you need (for the most part) a warm fat smooth and silky environment to record in. That environmemt needs to be a fairly clean, transparent and acoustically correct environment.

    Does it need to be a million dollar facility? No, but it can't be a 3.5mx3.4mx3.5m converted bedroom either.

    Try searching for "Golden Room Ratio" and look for books on acoustics and recording studios. I would recommend Rod Gervais book, " Build It Like the Pros".

    It doesn't matter if you've spent $10 or $10 million on gear. A bad sounding room is going to sound like a bad sounding room.

    Now about your gear...
    I agree with Remy, ribbon mic's and strings... there is no better match. A great pair of pre's is certainly going to perform better than a low quality pre.

    I'm not quite sure whether you mean used decent pre's or vintage pre's... but a pair of VINTAGE 1073's, a rack and PSU are gonna' possibly cost more than your entire budget.
  5. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Central Copenhagen
    Hey! Thanks a lot for the answers!

    I am perfectly aware of the importance of the acoustics - I've been reading about it since I started recording. So I'm not counting acoustic treatment into this budget. And regarding the acoustics it's my intention to sound-proof one room in my apartment and treat it acoustically. It won't be a concert hall, but I believe it will work; I've done a ton of string sessions for commercial studios in such environments. I will keep my setup mobile so I can get out of the house if that's what's needed.

    Okay, I guess I need to more clear then. I didn't ask for a complete patent-solution list of items that would give me the perfect million-dollar sound; if that was an option, there wouldn't be a need for forums like this. I'm quite simply asking for advice for in which direction to focus my research - the amount of information available on the Internet is overwhelming, and every producer and engineer has a different take on what works and what doesn't. If I could get some things narrowed down (such as, "look for ribbons", as suggested), that would be a big help.

    I'm talking about used gear (vintage or, probably, not; whatever is better!).
  6. ganubis

    ganubis Guest

    I'm probably gonna get flamed like tianamen hooker, but here goes. As far as equipment goes, that is your most important. the room is not that big a deal. some well placed padding will get you what you need. You just don't want any reflective sounds. sounds hate 90 degree angles versus 45 degree. just don't give the little guys somewhere to settle and make noise.
  7. ganubis

    ganubis Guest

    woops missed the point totally. if you are wanting to record a quartet of stringed instruments it can be wierd. lots of resonate frequencies in the same room.....a small room at that. I can do it but I would need more info.
  8. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    The important thing to remember is this. Not every offered solution is right for every individual circumstance. Anyone that says "more gear and 45 degree angles will work" is free to do so.

    If one or more agree with this statement, then this statement builds merit and the cumulative support will bear this statement out as valid and worthwhile.

    You will not get support for this statement ganubis.
  9. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I'll second Space's comment.
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