New home studio, tips and recommendations?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Khaoss, May 27, 2007.

  1. Khaoss

    Khaoss Active Member

    Ok so I have been playing instruments for my whole life and I have been playing in few bands. Now studio times and prices are starting to be serious pain in the ass for the band, and an idea of setting up little home recording studio has came up in my mind several times. I have just a little experience in simple garage recording, so your opinions and tips are important.

    So, to the point. What kind of recording device would be perfect for home recording (low price, at least 4 microphone preamps and an hdd) - FOSTEX MR-8 HD to me seems like a good device, any experience with this device?

    Also one thing that has always interested me is how to trig drums? I mean, is there a device for that, just a pc, what software etc.. ? If it is just an pc software, can I link pc with Fostex MR-8 HD recorder?

    Also, which is the best way to record guitars? Straigh through pedal to the recording device or an mic near the amp? (i am talking about an electric guitar sound with distorsion).

    Hmm, i think that's about it...
    Thank you!
  2. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    For starters:

    If you already have a PC (and who doesn't these days?), Cubase LE is very effective and inexpensive for recording and mixing up to 48 tracks, which is plenty.

    Shure SM57 is a studio staple for a reason. Get enough to stick one on each guitar amp, and maybe the bass amp (bass can go direct), and either 57s or SM58s for vocals (I'm assuming you're rehearsed enough to record mostly live), and one "overhead" for drums and one for the bass drum. You should also have a screen around the drums (the clear plexi-glass screen comes to mind).

    This is a great start. Many very good rock recordings were made with similar set-ups. Of course if you and your band plan to track one instrument at a time, it is, of course, MUCH simpler to have just a couple or three SM57s...

    Going into and out of the PC can be the difficult part. But don't skimp here. I'd recommend the Presonus products. There are choices ranging from 2 simultaneous tracks to 8 tracks for a single unit (you can piggy-back units for even more tracks).

    There are cheaper methods if you don't plan on posting on the net, selling off the stage, etc. However, having your own recording set-up is addicting, and quite gratifying. 8)

    If you have used studios prior to now, your ears are already acclimated to good sound. So it is best to at least start with this formula and season to taste. There is a market for used Shure SM57s. So when you replace them with fancier mics, you can sell the 57s on eBay. But I doubt you will. They are staples for a reason!

    I now have 32 mics, with several 57s included in my ever growing mic collection. But I made some very fine (if I do say so myself) rock recordings with nothing more than a few 57s and this (well, similar anyway) set-up.

    I was quite happy to NOT have to deal with tape. And although stand-alone digital recorders are very capable these days, the quality, and compatibility are not always what you'd expect or want (I'm sure others will chime in on both side of this fence). I find even limited software programs are better sounding and more flexible. And since you probably already have a PC, you already own the expensive part.

    There are almost as many answers to this equation as there are “recordists!” And it can become a collection obsession as well. Ultimately, its the journey! So enjoy!! :D
  3. Khaoss

    Khaoss Active Member

    Thanks man! I might turn to talk to you when I have more questions :) Awsome!

    And yes I already have a decent PC and i've readed several tips/hints for cheap recording and all of them said that the PC is the most expencive part. I feel lucky that I have a laptop too...

    Thank you!
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    It should be known that just because you get a PC and a bunch of gear, that doesn't mean that you will have the same skills or will be able to achieve the same results to match what can be done in a real professional recording studio. A real good sounding recording room, good audio engineering skills, and years of real world experience are still required.
  5. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    Try to ignore this mod's negative attitude. He may have a good reason for it...

    Everything but the room can be accomplished with practice (just like anything, practice makes perfect). Don't underestimate the room factor. However, using your ears and practicing mic placement and mixing technique will accomplish the rest over time. You can make music every bit as good in your home studio, as what is made in a "real" studio. If you can hear, you can train your ears to hear what has already been recorded, then duplicate that sound. Studios are instruments that need practice just like guitar or saxaphone. It ain't rocket science, but it does take work to master the skills. Effort applied with discipline over time equals excellent results. You shall succeed (positive attitude required)!
  6. Khaoss

    Khaoss Active Member

    Well... Ofcourse it is. That's so obvious that I even wonder why did you posted your reply here. I am not expecting to be a pro even if I have the gear for it, neither am I going to buy lots of books about recording and read them all day long, I prefer learning through trying like tifftunes said here.

    I know that it might take many years untill i am even a decent recorder, but I don't care. I'll learn it while playing music with the band.
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    Well my reply wasn't just for you but to also to help educate others that may be thinking like you or are lacking in thinking like you. If what I said was so obvious than you shoud of known that the point is really that if you are using a studio and getting the results you want, using a professional studio can still be an easier, better and cheaper choice in the long run. Many musicians buy gear but are unable to perform music and do decent audio engineering. And even those that can do it, don't usually do it well and can often need to spend 10x-100x more time to get the same thing done, yet alone with exeptable results.

    If you are just dicking around, wanking and/or recording band practice or something like that, then it doesn't really matter. But if you are trying to do serious recording, that is whole different thing. And if you have been around for years, you should also know that studio prices have never been more competitive or more of a bargin than they are today.

    It's your money and time, go and do you what you want...
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    As a point in favor of my learned friend and fellow Mod... I can both record and play to a fairly high level...BUT I always need another engineer type when I'm being the talent. The tracks are ALWAYS better and the recording doesnt suffer for it. This, I feel, is what hes alluding to with the studio for hire concept...

    In defense of the poster, yeah man....go for it! Stay positive and do your best. Its a learning curve that will frustrate you to no end! The only suggestion I have and I think this parallels Gaffs' thoughts.....When you find yourself NOT achieving what you think you should be, based on the gear, DO NOT try and fix it with MORE GEAR.

    This is the point you step back, dial everything back to straight up and down and begin again taking the time to pay close attention to the basics.
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    Let me jump in with the other Mods here and state some obvious stuff.

    First, if you are really just trying to record yourself during practice for the sake of getting better, than just about any recording device and tactic will work. However, if your goal is to (even if only eventually) make good recordings, you need more than just gear, practice and hardwork.

    Those 3 things will take you a good bit down the path, but they will not help you make great recordings. You need education. I'm not stating that you need a college degree in music or engineering (audio), nor am I stating that you need to go to a recording engineer farm such as SAE or Full Sail.

    What I'm saying is, it's not enough to say "I HEAR that sound and I WANT that sound, what do I do to get that sound" and then start tweaking. That will often get you going in the completely wrong direction and cause you to waste time and money. Instead, you should say:
    "I HEAR that sound and I want that sound, what techniques were used to get that sound and how can I properly apply them."

    All too often, fledgling engineers start out with some cracked software and some cracked Waves plug-ins and they call themselves audio engineers. They have no idea how a compressor works nor probably even an EQ! (I can't tell you how many discussions I've had with young engineers who try to explain to me why their 31 band Alesis or Behringer EQ is clearly better than my 5 band Crane Song because it has more bands, it clearly is more accurate and you can sculpt the sound however you want...)

    In fact, my advice to you would be VERY simple -

    Get a handful of cheap/good microphones (Audix i5s and Shure SM57/58s), a decent mixer (a Mackie 1202 VLZ) and something like an Echo Audio Interface. Get Cubase (the free version is fine) or use Mackie's Traction (which comes with the Echo gear) and do your absolute best to get the sound that you want with absolutely NOTHING other than that. No EQ, no compression, no gating, no delay, no nothing!

    Only after you've spent countless hours sculpting your sound with microphones and microphone placement should you consider adding effects. Effects should be added only when:
    1 - you know their purpose and WHY you want them on the track
    2 - you know how to use them correctly
    3 - you want the desired "effect" of the effects processor, not because you're trying to "fix" something.

    All of what I've just mentioned IS the education that I'm referring to.

    Of course, hanging around in these forums and reading about the proper use of compression/eq, etc. is another form of great (and free) education.

    In any case, good luck and welcome.

    Our mods here are not rude or short - they've been around the block and they've (we've) seen the exact same questions thousands of times. Not to say we're jaded, but we know that the vast majority of people getting into recording are bound to waste a lot of money and time in the pursuit of something that they'll never achieve. Only a rare few make it and do anything even mildly successful with this massive amount of money and time spent.


  10. Khaoss

    Khaoss Active Member

    Ok first of all im not trying to underrate your experience. I am very thankfull of your tips and I give you deepest thanks!

    That's true, but there is more than just the price. I am passioned about music and it would be great to record material with band whenever we want to without booking a studio time. And it's not that I am going to buy the best possible gear at the start. It's all for the learning at first...

    I WILL think about the equipments and softwares untill I'll buy anything...
  11. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    Ok understood. Good luck to you in whatever you decide.
  12. TristanLodge

    TristanLodge Guest

    Home Studio Recording - budgeted

    Hi, I am a 17 year old from the UK and have recently become interested in doing some recording. I have tried using the line-in port on my computer and a couple of old microphones and had pretty rubbish results. I am now thinking about buying some equipment so I can do some semi-decent recording, however, I am a novice at this and so need some help in what I should be buying.

    I have a budget of around a few hundred pounds and would like to be able to record vocals, guitar and keyboard (possibly an electronic drumkit), have you got any ideas?

    I have been looking at the 'Alesis IO/14 Portable Audio Interface', along with perhaps buying a couple of microphones (not sure which ones yet-any tips?) and would like to know whether these would be a good investment or whether I would be better getting something else?

    I am open to any suggestions and would like to be able to 'mix' some of the tracks after recording, on the actual computer.

    Thanks in advance! regards,


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